Saturday, March 30, 2013

Socialism and Self-Esteem

The moral and intellectual fabric of Western society has been disintegrating for some time. To a large extent the destruction can be blamed on Marxism (or perhaps Marx misinterpreted), socialism, left-wing thinking, "underdog" mentality, which has encouraged the nanny state, with people living in perpetual imbecility and irresponsibility. In the middle of the last century, Marxism never had much luck in intellectual contests among Westerners, so it had to burrow underground, eroding the foundations of modern society and leaving people in a state of perpetual self-doubt and abnegation. Not much of the reality of left-wing thinking is clearly described anywhere, and it is largely impossible to provide citations: most of it is experienced as a mere premonition, like that of a coming change in the weather, and its existence can easily be denied.

But what does "left wing" mean nowadays? In France long ago, the terms had a precise meaning, based on where one was actually sitting in the Estates General, indicating one's attitude toward the Revolution. Now it perhaps means big government, and big spending by that government, but above all it means supporting the "poor" rather than the "rich" -- or the "lazy" rather than the "greedy," as a more-neutral person might see it.

Leftists have a strong sense of "wrong," but especially when they look at themselves. They hate their own culture and their own heritage. They live with a sense of guilt and shame, they suffer from self-loathing. They feel a need for self-abasement. They have low self-confidence, low self-assurance, low self-esteem. As confirmed underdogs, they have self-destructive attitudes about sexuality, marriage, and the family. To them, a stable marriage, heterosexual and monogamous, is anathema. But they can never feel happy about themselves, just as they can never feel happy about anyone else.

Once that sense of low self-esteem has become fixed, all else follows. One must believe that "sharing the wealth" is more important than reducing the problems of overpopulation and excessive resource-consumption, although such "sharing" would only create universal poverty, especially as the ratios between resources and population become more severe. One must also believe that one's own culture is guilty of some nameless crime that makes it necessary to give preferential treatment to any and all other cultures.

Of course, that is a belief with which those "other cultures" are always happy to agree. And once that "guilt" has become established as "fact," every piece of paper that appears in public must emphasize "multiculturalism" at all costs. Although the terms are used misleadingly, everything must emphasize "fairness," "democracy," and "equal rights." The punishment for breaches of "multiculturalism" is swift and merciless, unless one is attacking Christians; Easter seems always ready to disappear from the free calendars handed out by politicians.

There are corollaries to all the above. Leftists must believe in prohibiting the ownership of guns, for example. If people believe they are inferior beings, they must also believe they have no right to defend themselves. Only grown-ups should have guns, and leftists know they are not grown-ups.

But the opposite to Marxism is not Nazism. The two are actually quite similar. They both say, "You are the oppressed. We shall raise you up." Whereas Marxism emphasizes the "oppressed" in the first sentence, Nazism emphasizes the "raise you up" in the second. They both conclude with, "Stop thinking, and let us do the thinking for you." Any country with a two-party system offers a highly diluted but essentially similar display of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. But it takes very little to turn most people into what Eric Hoffer called True Believers, and whether they follow Marxism or Nazism or any other "ism" is a rather arbitrary matter. Anything is better than the headache of having an original thought. The dichotomy between one party and another is not the same as a genuine struggle against industrial slavery, which most "isms" perpetuate, no matter how dissimilar they may appear on the surface. Jean-Paul Sartre, a self-proclaimed Marxist, had no trouble living in Occupied France; why should he, since he was almost single-handedly training French academics not to think?

The trail left by cultural Marxism is a long one. William Lind names a few names in "The Origins of Political Correctness," but there are others: all of Existentialism and Postmodernism, for example. Jean-Paul Sartre and Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote the two greatest works of academic dementia, Being and Nothingness and The Savage Mind. What those two savants failed to accomplish was completed by Herbert Marcuse and Noam Chomsky. How many graduate students in the West have phoned home to say, "Mom, they're making me read stuff that makes absolutely no sense"? Well, there wasn't much Mom could do. I myself had a girlfriend in graduate school who shook her head sadly when she saw that in a reference list to an essay I had included some scholars whose first language was actually English.

But most Leftists believe all cultures are, in some inexplicable way, equal. In their naivety, they cannot believe that many cultures are cruel and intolerant, locked in the pre-literate mentality of a thousand years ago. In reality, even in most cultures of the present day the average person can barely read or write, contrary to the official figures on literacy. There are, at the same time, many petty tribes each of which regards itself as "God's chosen people." Westerners today cannot understand that there can be such vast differences between the mentality of one culture and another. The mainstream news-media foster this misunderstanding by failing to report the shocking statistics of rape, mutilation, murder, and other barbarisms that go on in this world.

Most people have little sense of history, yet cruelty has long been a part of that history. Beginning about 5,000 years ago in the Near East, various civilizations arose in Egypt, Babylon, Assyria, Persia, and so on. After a war between city-states, it was customary for all the male inhabitants of the losing city to be put to death, and impalement was one of the most common forms of killing. That ancient mentality has not entirely passed away. Yet Westerners like to fool themselves into believing that the entire world consists of people who read glossy magazines and keep up with all the liberal intellectual trends. The reality is that, even in modern times, the counterpart to an act of "tolerance" in one country would just as surely result in a death sentence in another.

Leftists are self-contradictory in their comments about "world government." Although they believe that there is a terrible global conspiracy to create a New World Order, via the UN or the Bilderburgers or whoever, they are nevertheless infatuated with an ideal global organization of some sort that would ensure the equalization of all people, and which above all would ensure the equal division of the world's resources. This self-contradiction can be explained as a fantasy about one's parents, as they never were -- omniscient, omnipotent, and infinitely loving, or in other words godlike, "someone to watch over me."

Leftists fail to understand that the world is starting to run out of fossil fuels, and out of a hundred other non-renewable natural resources from aluminum to zirconium. Leftists believe we just need to share the existing resources more equitably. Besides, leftists think we have no reason to worry about fossil fuels because we will all be saved by some sort of "alternative energy," in spite of the fact that many long years of searching for this mysterious "energy" have resulted in nothing impressive.

We must understand the fact of global overpopulation. We must understand the fact of the gradual depletion of everything that civilization is based on. We should not be satisfied with "standing room only." To the extent that there is still any time left for making a difference, we must support family-planning programs, and we must support rational controls on immigration levels. And we must accept the fact that the cultures of this world do not easily mix. We're all very different from one another. That's just how it goes.

Peter Goodchild

Author of Tumbling Tide: Population, Petroleum, and Systemic Collapse (London, Ontario: Insomniac Press, 2014)

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