In a recent piece on “woke capital” in The American Conservative, Chronicles Editor Paul Gottfried wrote that “the fascist enemy for the cultural left never goes away.” Dr. Gottfried went on to mention New York Times film critic Manohla Dargas, in a comment on the film Dunkirk, writing that “the fight against fascism continues.”
We know, of course, which “fascists” Dargas had in mind: Us, the “deplorables,” and our own Agent Orange, Donald Trump, who has come to symbolize all that the cultural left hates and wishes to destroy.
The fight will go on forever. It cannot end. Permanent revolution is more than a Trotskyite imperative meant as a counter to Stalin’s “socialism in one country.” It’s a feature of post-industrial cultural leftism.
There are at least two reasons for that.
One is that the militants attract the disaffected. They are, as pointed out by the perceptive blogger who calls himself “the Z-Man,” among those left behind by globalism. Our pathetic militants seek a sense of purpose our society can no longer provide. That purpose is to be found in the revolution. Thus, the revolution must go on. The enemy must never quite disappear.
It’s something we have seen before in other times and other places.
The revolutionary right of the interwar period (and some in the movement formerly known as the “Alt Right” today), for example, experienced modern life as a stultifying and demoralizing phenomenon. As they saw it, bourgeoise society was soft, effeminate, and Eloi-like in its sensibilities. The revolutionary right identified modern life with the castration of their societies. They longed for something that was missing from their lives—the element of heroic struggle they identified with mythic pre-modern societies. The struggle was what attracted the street fighters.
The struggle, whether that of the left or the right, was an end in itself.
The other reason for justifying perpetual revolution has been the hard reality of human limitations, limitations that have often undercut revolutionary utopian plans in the past.
In explaining that second justification, there are parallels with the Stalinist view that the class war intensifies as socialism advances that we should consider.
Following the victory of the party of the proletariat in the Soviet Union, for instance, phantom “wreckers” and traitors had to be rooted out long after the reactionaries and deviationists had been defeated. Something, you see, was spoiling the Plan.
Collectivization and forced industrialization may have been necessary for the revolution, but Stalin’s application of blunt force combined with socialist theory was woefully inefficient from an economic perspective. The Soviet regime, however, could not recognize such fatal flaws in its applied ideology. The assumed presence of hidden enemies, therefore, offered an explanation for the shortcomings and inefficiencies of socialism. “Wreckers” who were thought to be undermining the Plan had to be identified and eliminated. Thus, purges and terrorism continued.
In our own time, the cultural left needed something to fight long after their side had taken over our institutions and enacted “civil rights” laws. The left won on those fronts, but it needed an explanation for the failure of the previous stage of the revolution to produce the expected result of absolute equality. At the same time, it needed a justification for endless revolution that would perpetuate its own sense of purpose, as well as its tightening grip on power.
Sensible people understand that the natural abilities and interests of racial and ethnic groups are unevenly distributed, therefore economic and social outcomes are unequal. The cultural left will not, indeed, cannot accept that for the same reasons the Soviet regime could not acknowledge the flaws in its system and ideology.
Thus, “white privilege” and “systemic racism” remain to be rooted out. Since those alleged phenomena are undetectable to the naked eye, all the better.
Do not expect the militants to go away, no matter the outcome of the election in November. The cultural left will have need of them. Human nature and other hard facts will not change over the next two months.
Wayne Allensworth is a Corresponding Editor of Chronicles magazine. He is the author of The Russian Question: Nationalism, Modernization, and Post-Communist Russia, and a novel Field of Blood. He writes at https://american-remnant.com/ .