By Charlie Johnston
One of the few things that Karl Marx ever got right was when he said that, “history repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce.” As dumb as I know they are, I think I may have over-estimated the cultural revolutionaries – in Washington and in the world.
At less than two weeks in, Joe Biden’s administration already has a rickety, square-wheeled clown car feel to it. So far, he has spent his time killing jobs in oil and gas, making America energy dependent once more as he kills jobs and raises gas and heating prices; killing off women’s sports by forbidding any school to reserve them for actual biological women – and making it a federal crime to forbid boys to use girls’ washrooms and locker rooms. Meantime, he issues executive orders to empower hostile regimes while denigrating allies. Not only will we have Americans paying for everybody’s abortions, but we are going to do it for the whole world. Meantime, as ordinary Americans struggle the spending balloon gets blown up even further. What could possibly go wrong?
Oh, they definitely want to cancel conservatives and Christians and outlaw actually practicing any orthodox version of Judeo-Christian faith, but there is a decidedly Monty Pythonesque feel to it all. It as if Biden were being played by Adam Sandler – and Hitler, Mao and Stalin by Larry, Moe and Curly, respectively. Biden sent Kamala Harris out to try to put the squeeze on West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to force him to toe the line on their leftist agenda. Besides repeatedly calling “mine lands,” “land mines,” Harris so offended West Virginians and ticked off Manchin that they may well have made a committed enemy of him. I would say there has never been such a cackling mass of ambition as Harris – but memories of Hillary are too recent. It is as if a couple of Hollywood producers got together and decided to make, “Hillary, Part Deux,” and the big twist is that this time they will cast her as a woman of color.
For four years the left tried to overturn an election by mounting a series of conspiracy theories, none of which were true – and called it patriotism – and the Republican establishment indulged them with investigations of what the GOP already knew was poppycock. Now, rather than doing a vigorous and transparent investigation into the massive irregularities and plain illegalities in the 2020 election, the left insists that even asking the question makes one a “domestic terrorist” and a “white supremacist” – and now want to outlaw and punish half the country. They even speak of sending us and our children to re-education concentration camps. The fact is you cannot oppress half the country without the acquiescence of the oppressed. All you can do is cull the herd in an effort to intimidate the rest into acquiescence. Instead, every effort is red-pilling a greater percentage of the population. The GameStop market phenomenon showed how ordinary people are finding ways to fight back against the establishment – and how the establishment is putting a stop to that – AND how that is further enraging normal people, including some of those suburbanites that hated Donald Trump’s tweets. Though they do not yet realize it, the left is playing a giant game of ‘Whack-A-Mole’ and, with each mole they actually whack, creating ten more.
Even the tried and true weapons of the past are losing their power. As the left shrieks, ever more panicked, that any disagreement is a manifestation of “white supremacy,” people recognize the lie for what it is and just don’t care anymore. The incantation has lost its power. I even see it in some of the vitriolic messages I get. There is a puzzled desperation in them. You can almost smell the fear as they begin to suspect that they are not the superior vanguard of a new ruling class, but the pathetic pawns in the power game of a tiny elite class. About three years after Lenin’s takeover of Russia, the “vanguards” there realized the same thing. I know many of you are worried about the frenzied and more violent rhetoric of some of your old friends and family, but I stand by my advice to give them a simple, gentle and firm answer to your position if you respond at all. When angry advocates of a peculiar position get particularly frenzied, it is usually a sign of one of two things: either it is the last stage before their terminal descent into madness or the last defense before the blinders fall in a rush before a return to sanity. If it is the former, there is little you can do and if it is the latter, your strenuous arguments are only likely to delay their recovery.
The classical Greek saying, usually attributed to Euripides, that “…whom the gods would destroy they first make mad,” is very appropriate to this moment in history. The baseball Hall of Fame is no longer reserved for the most skillful players of the ages, but for skillful and marginal players who have the proper political beliefs. French police busted a giant orgy near Paris over the weekend. Participants were not charged with any sexual offenses or breach of public decency. They were charged with…wait for it…violating Covid restrictions. In big things and small things, the world has gone mad.
It is rare to see a coalition start tattering before at least three or four months go by. The new ascendant coalition of the pagan left is not a coherent intellectual agenda, but rather a rickety cobbling together of disparate interest groups. Even as the folks at the top indulge one part of their base, they enrage and alienate another part. It is not a stable formula. Say what you will about Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao, they each had a form of malignant competence that escapes our modern cultural vandals.
Whether because of pathological incompetence or malignant intent, collapse has disastrous consequences for everyone involved. I am beginning to think that any secession this time will be less about escaping destructive oppression and more like a panic room – a safe haven as most of the country collapses. If it is the latter case, those souls who stay behind to care for the suffering and try to protect – and then rebuild – from the rubble, will be among the noblest souls of all.
This is not the big piece I have been working since the beginning of last week. We are in a very fluid situation. Some things are developing in ways I expected while others are manifesting in startlingly unexpected ways. I am wary and, for now, act as if I am in the rapids in a dangerous, unknown river. I seek to anticipate as little as possible and react as skillfully as possible. Former British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan was once asked by a reporter what would be the decisive factor in formulating his policies. “Events, dear boy, events,” MacMillan replied. Hear! Hear!
This coming weekend I begin a series of talks. To see when I might be in your area and how to attend a talk, you need to be a member of CORAC. If you are not already signed up, please do so and then look under the “Meetings” tab at the top of the site.