Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Wherefore the Revolution?

It seems thoroughly appropriate that we turn to Karl Marx for the best commentary about the revolution currently sweeping across America. Or better, the revolution that is consuming itself with its own stupidity.

As Marx put it, in a well-known quotation:

Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”

Is the farce stage now upon us. When a curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is forced to resign because he dared say that the museum would still collect the works of white artists, we are certainly living a cultural farce. (American Thinker via Maggie’s Farm.)

Besides, an election campaign is fast coming upon us. And the Democratic Party, if it wants anything, does not want to have to defend Black Lives Matter and Antifa and rising crime rates. It’s a losing hand, if ever there was one. 

Victor Davis Hanson takes the measure of the current farcical stage of the latest revolution. If the Middle Ages could have its Children’s Crusade, we have our very own Children’s Revolution, being the heir to the Chinese Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. The latter, you recall, was led by unhinged children, until the PLA stepped in to shut it down.

Hanson concludes:

So the revolution is tiring, devouring its own, terrifying its enablers, embarrassing its abettors, and becoming worried that somewhere some courageous nobody might dare say, “You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

The unhinged revolution is trying to make the U.S. into one big CHOP. Millions of Americans seem to be scrambling to avoid it, preferring instead to let the effort cannibalize itself at a safe distance — at least for now. 

When your opponents are devouring their children, best get out of the way and let them go about their business. Without pushback they might just self-deconstruct.

The puerile antics seemed like a good idea when they made the president look bad. They might have advanced the Biden candidacy. But,they are now fast losing their entertainment value, or better, they seem to be yet another lame campaign ad:

Finally, even looters and arsonists get tired of doing the same old, same old each night. They get bored with the puerile bullhorn chants, the on-spec spray-paint defacement, and the petite fascists among them who hog the megaphones. For the lazy and bored, statue toppling — all of those ropes, those icky pry bars, those heavy sledgehammers, and so much pulling — becomes hard work, especially as the police, camera crews, and fisticuffs thin out on the ground. And the easy bronze and stone prey are now mostly rubble. Now it’s either the big, tough stuff like Mount Rushmore or the crazy targets like Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. 

There are only so many statues to destroy. And besides, what will happen when the world discovers that destroying statues does not improve the test scores of minority youth.

Now, a band of intrepid intellectuals signed an open letter in Harpers Magazine, calling for a return to free speech. Without disparaging the motives of any of the signers, we note with Hanson that the American left, supposedly liberal, has been ranting for years about how President Trump was going to inhibit their rights to free expression. They have been blinded to the obvious: that the greatest threats were coming from their own house:

They want it stopped and prefer free speech. Of course, they first throat-cleared about the evil Trump, as if the president had surveilled Associated Press reporters, or sicced the FBI on a political campaign, or used CIA informants and foreign dossier-mongers to undermine a political opponent. And some petition signers soon retracted, with “I didn’t know what I was doing” apologies. Nonetheless, it was a small sign that not all of the liberal intelligentsia were going to sit still and wait for the mob to swallow them. 

Hanson continues that #MeToo ended up devouring good men on the left. For now, we note the value of filling the media with stories about the ongoing revolution. If you do so, it’s easier to forget the overt racism in Virginia governor Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook. And it’s also easier to blot out the name of Tara Reid, a woman who denounced Joe Biden for sexual harassment:

They learned well from #MeToo that, in the end, being emancipated, feminist, and woke did not mean that anyone accused of anything was protected by the Bill of Rights, statutes of limitations, the right to cross-examination, sincere apologies, and all that reactionary jazz, whether the accused was Al Franken or Garrison Keillor. Everyone else can also learn from #MeToo: As the revolution moved on from Brett Kavanaugh to Joe Biden himself, it went the way of the fading Jacobins. Tara Reid, after all, was tsked-tsked away in the old-boy “she’s lying” fashion. If not, then she might have empowered the evil Trump in his reelection bid.

As it happens, America’s streets are not looking very good these days. What with the remains of rioting, looting, arson and pillaging, and the increased crime rate… someone at some time is going to notice that these cities are all run by enlightened woke Democrats:

The streets of our big cities are no longer a “summer of love” hate-fest targeting Donald Trump, but downright scary, given that murdering someone on sight is a COVID-get-out-of-jail-free crime. Blue-state officials green-lighted the multibillion-dollar wreckage and are now coming cup in hand, begging the Trump administration to pay for it. Their logic is: “Don’t dare send your damn troops to interrupt our beautiful looting and arson, but now please send your racist money for us to clean up the mess.”

As it happened, when the governor of MInnesota asked the federal government for money to rebuild what the local authorities had allowed to happen, the Trump administration happily said-- No.

But, the pandemic and the Black Live Matter movement have also allowed radical mayors and governors to do something they have long wanted to do: to empty the prisons. One assumes that the released prisoners will become a Democratic Party voting bloc. Otherwise we would have to believe that they will become a vanguard of the revolution.

In California, the jails and prisons are emptying, ostensibly because of the virus, in reality to enact a long-desired agenda of emptying and defunding prisons. As a result, you cannot find an automatic handgun in most California gun shops: The more left-wing a community, the harder to find a gun on the shelf. For what reason do liberals think liberals are buying guns?

Led by New York’s mentally challenged and grossly incompetent mayor, political leaders are declaring that even though congregating is a very, very bad thing, if you are congregating to protest racism, that is perfectly fine. At which point, their shrill denunciations of congregating sound hollow.

How much did the Black Lives Matter protests contribute to the coronavirus contagion? Not a little, we dare say:

The more the Left insists that millions in the streets for a month were not violating quarantines and had no effect on the second wave, the more protestors got infected and graciously went home to spread it to their more vulnerable relatives. Even leftists who were not infected know that this narrative is untrue and that their own demonstrations essentially ended the legitimacy of mass quarantining.

And, of course, these mayors are doing their damndest to shift the narrative, by saying that the fault for inner city crime lies with the police. They are defunding the police department, disbanding anti-crime units, and discovering, lo and behold, that crime rates have been spiking:

The hated police are slowing down in anticipation of early retirements, layoffs, and budget shortages. The logic is that going into the inner city is a trifecta losing proposition for them: Either get shot, or get accused, or get hated for doing your proper duty. De facto “community policing” seems to be operating in Atlanta, Chicago, and New York as murder spikes and shooters rediscover how it once worked out in Deadwood, Dodge City, and Tombstone. One can learn a lot about “community policing” by watching a 1950s Western in which “community leaders” plead for the outgunned sheriff to remove the accused from his jail cell and hand him over to the posse, which, with one minor lynching, would make it all go away.

Strangely, Hanson notes, our superb military officers, both active and retired, have become woke. And have seemed to become #NeverTrump:

If the chairman of the Joint Chiefs won’t even appear on camera with the commander in chief who restored a decrepit Pentagon budget, and the pantheon of retired military luminaries believes that proof of a Mussolini, Nazi, or fascist in the White House is to be found in the act of securing the southern U.S. border, or not staying another 20 years in Afghanistan, or not inserting American youth into the middle of Kurdish-Turkish bloodletting while inside Russian- and Iranian-occupied fascist Syria, then many might decide that the U.S. military should deal on its own with the defunding Left.

The irony never ceases. While the American left has been screeching that Trump is a fascist, their street brigades have been following the Storm Trooper handbook:

As the cities turn into wastelands, children are gunned down, and careers are destroyed, fewer and fewer bore us by intoning that Trump is Mussolini, or that he resembles the operators of Auschwitz. Fewer still care about the spiraling tragic carnage of the inner cities — not Black Lives Matter, not the Squad, not Nancy Pelosi.

When will we see the BLM/Antifa/Democratic agenda spelled out in full? A new inheritance tax for the midlevel retiring Google executives? A yearly wealth tax on Beyoncé, Cher, and LeBron James? No more carbon foot-printing in a private jet for Barack and Michelle, or Bill and Hillary? Reparations for Maxine Waters? No police force for Pacific Heights?

Terrified inner-city dwellers can’t count on their progressive governors or mayors, or sympathetic billionaires, who will soon be able to hire politically incorrect ex-policemen at a bargain to beef up their private security patrols.

Its own stupidity will do it in.


trigger warning said...

"A majority of Seattle City Council members now say they agree with a high-level proposal by advocates to defund the Police Department by 50% and reallocate the dollars to other community needs."
--- Seattle Times, 7/9

Good. Democracy in action. Let Hobbesville do its own thing. Wasting taxpayer dollars on ineffectual left-wing nonprofit grifters is, IMO, preferable to buying diesel and ammunition for urban special operations wannabees to tool around on no-knock doorkicking forays in surplus armored military vehicles.

urbane legend said...

The governor of Minnesota wants money to rebuild? Let him ask all those celebrities who proudly voiced their support for BLM; they certainly have enough. Go on televison, Governor. Say, " You celebrities, you big entertainment people who supported the BLM movement, put your money to work helping us rebuild. Show us you really do care. " I would name names.

As for buying guns, I saw a meme which went, more or less: The rioters plan to come to the country next. They don't understand we sit 30 feet in a tree half a day waiting for the right shot.

Sam L. said...

The Left liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeessss.

Sam L. said...

"So the revolution is tiring, devouring its own, terrifying its enablers, embarrassing its abettors, and becoming worried that somewhere some courageous nobody might dare say, “You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?” No. N.O. Not happ'nin'. The first person to stop clapping will be shot. Or hanged.

Giordano Bruno said...

Hobbesville! We ain't taking Roy Hobbes here. I love it. Yes, I agree, let Hobbesville do the heavy lifting. Time, privation, employers wiped out, tax base leaving, and predators running the city is a recipe for a good, solid, nasty, brutish lesson. Let the iron law of "otherwise" have its inexorable way, and to that, I cheer "Huzzah!" As long as I get to watch llantas beat up white, noddle-armed hipsters on Twitter, I'm down with it.

Janszoon said...

Englishman here. I’m watching this lunacy unfolding in the US with such a heavy heart. That’s not to say that it hasn’t infected the body politic here, too, but not quite to same extent. At least, as yet. These are such dangerous matches to be playing with. Having worked in the prison system here at one time I’m not blind to the fact that it could surely used some measure of reform, but who this side of an utter maniac thinks that letting out all prisoners and defunding the system is a tenable position? I keep waiting for the adults to re-enter the room and stop the children from their Lord of the Flies antics, but it’s proving a dispiriting wait.

urbane legend said...

The supply of adults appears to be quite limited right now.

Anonymous said...

Stop wasting time with Marx:

Thomas Hobbes: “Hell is truth, seen too late.”

Anonymous said...

"'Hell.' wrote Thomas Hobbes, 'is truth seen too late.' Survival is falsehood detected in time."
"The essence of civilization is the orderly quest for truth, the rational perception of reality and all its facets, and the adaptation of man's behaviour to its laws. So long as we follow the path of reason we shall not move far from the lighted circle of civilization. Its enemies invariably lie among those who, for whatever motive, deny, distort, minimize, exaggerate or poison the truth, and who falsify the processes of reason. At all times civilization has its enemies, though they are constantly changing their guise and their weapons. The great defensive art is to detect and unmask them before the damage they inflict becomes fatal. 'Hell.' wrote Thomas Hobbes, 'is truth seen too late.' Survival is falsehood detected in time.
"Civilization... is the rational pursuit of truth within a framework of order. The discovery of truth, of course, is part of this ordering process, the way by which man located himself in the universe. This is a very long, complicated and cumulative process. Man needs to orientate himself in time, by discovering and perfecting chronology; in space, by acquiring geographical and astronomical knowledge; in nature, by discovering its laws and using them to master his environment. He is also engaged in a continuous effort of moral and social orientation, reflected in his attempts to improve his designs for civil government, for legal and ethical codes, and his image of what a just society should be. There is, likewise, a process of moral ordering, in which man seeks to discover his worth in relation to other men, and to the potentialities of his surroundings. Human beings need to know where they stand in all these matters, for such knowledge is an essential element in their security, and... their happiness..."
Paul Johnson
"Enemies of Society"

- shoe

Giordano Bruno said...

Nice, Shoe. Paul Johnson is among the greatest of the living big-sweep historians, the true scholars who try and impart meaning to history, not turn it all into trivia or low-brow hectoring. Relevant quotes.