Culturalism · Economic History · Federal Government

The Opposition Death Squad

A few days ago, an octogenarian called Botoxi was reelected to lead the House of Representatives over the next two years of bland political soap opera. While a narrow outcome, the result was hardly unexpected, as Democrats possessed a 222-211 majority in the new chamber. Nevertheless, five centrist Dems refused to cast their ballots in the Speaker’s favor, either voting for other candidates or simply dropping “present” on the lectern. Botoxi was thus denied a clear numerical majority, sailing through on the force of a 216-209 tally.

Yet it should have been worse. In a move entirely predictable for their ilk, all six members of the Democratic Socialist “Squad” voted to return Nancy to power. Supreme Leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had this statement to justify the empowered decision:

“Well, you know, I think when you look at the razor-thin margin … We are just an extremely slim amount of votes away from risking the speakership to the Republican party and this is, it’s, it’s bigger than any one of us and that is consequential. But I also think it’s important that we realize that what kind of communities, which communities and all of the communities that, that creates Democratic power, power,”

The last several words are highlighted for a reason. Against all claims of fighting the system and opposing corporate influence, the Plural Left’s freedom fighters marched right back into the loyalty column when times demanded it. Though one could dismiss the issue as minimal, those brave partisans might have placed real pressure on the Democrats by embarrassing them with a Kevin McCarthy victory, thus setting up a consequence, but of course they did not.

 AOC’s mental recriminations reminded me of an observation made by Georges Sorel in Reflections On Violence:

“A cunningly conducted agitation is extremely useful to Parliamentary Socialists, who boast before the Government and the rich middle class of their ability to moderate revolution; they can thus arrange the success of the financial affairs in which they are interested, obtain minor favors for many influential electors, and get social laws voted in order to appear important in the eyes of the blockheads who imagine that these Socialists are great reformers of the law.”

Notice the bit on “minor favors,” and then go back to AOC’s quote about the slim amount of votes. She is essentially admitting that the only way for the Squad to oppose Botoxi was if the Speaker’s success had already been guaranteed, presumably by a large Democratic majority. Hence progressive opposition is merely a pipe dream involving the securement of a subcommittee seat or symbolic commitment to generalities like “universal healthcare,” all while the system chugs on in contentment.

Later on, Sorel considers the fakery of DemSoc reforms:

“The social revolution is conceived by Jaures as a kind of bankruptcy; substantial annuities will be given to the middle class of today: then from generation to generation these annuities will decrease. These plans must often seem very alluring to financiers accustomed to draw great advantages from bankruptcies; I have no doubt that the shareholders of L’Humanite think these ideas marvelous; they will be made liquidators of the bankruptcy, and will pocket large fees, which will compensate for the losses which this newspaper has caused them. ”

That, in effect, is Democratic Socialism. Any pronounced opposition is annihilated as soon as money and power become matters of discussion. Just keep spinning and ranting about Wall Street taxes.

Culturalism

Napoleon’s Wolves

As part of my research into an upcoming book project, I stumbled upon the Principles of Syndicalism by Tom Brown. Though written from an admittedly leftist perspective, it contains a number of interesting observations on the post-war labor economy, especially in the UK. Brown also dedicates a considerable amount of time outlining the specifics of a proposed syndicalist revolution, down to the merits of a standing police force used to detain counterrevolutionaries. It is here that matters become quite interesting, because he unleashes Napoleon’s wolves:

“Let us recall the story of Napoleon’s wolves. It is said that while Napoleon was Emperor the number of wolves increased in France, so Napoleon offered a large reward for each wolf’s head brought to the local authority. Wolf hunting became a lucrative profession until the wolves began to disappear. Fortunately for the hunters the decline in the wolf population was mysteriously checked and their numbers began to increase. Upon investigation the authorities discovered that, rather than lose their jobs, the hunters were breeding wolves and even shepherds had turned from their flocks for the more remunerative work of wolf breeding and hunting”

Brown employs the story to illustrate the problem of organized police attempting to protect their jobs after the revolution by generating culprits to pursue, but his approach is applicable to most institutions. How many times do we see government agencies (or their corporate cousins), actively generating self-justifying missions and spotlight vignettes in order to remain relevant? The most obvious federal example would be the FBI, as Glenn Greenwald notes:

 “The known facts from this latest case seem to fit well within a now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.
Once they finally get the target to agree, the FBI swoops in at the last minute, arrests the target, issues a press release praising themselves for disrupting a dangerous attack (which it conceived of, funded, and recruited the operatives for), and the DOJ and federal judges send their target to prison for years or even decades (where they are kept in special GITMO-like units). Subservient U.S. courts uphold the charges by applying such a broad and permissive interpretation of “entrapment” that it could almost never be successfully invoked.”

The strategy is terribly convenient. People want to feel like the government is doing something, so the feds gladly oblige, even if the cost is someone who might well be innocent. It would seem logical for such agencies to direct folks towards appropriate care or attempt to talk them down, not actively encourage terrorism for the cameras. Skepticism has gotten so bad on the matter that even radical leftists are calling the government out.

But doing so, and nipping any hostile activity in the bud, is poor content for the television cameras. They would not be able to agitate for more funding using the moralistic line of “inadequate resources,” while appealing to all the children who might be harmed otherwise. Even worse, their jobs might feel pointless, and in the loving culture of the State, that’s bad news.

Culturalism

Did Georges Sorel Predict 2020?

Georges Sorel was a French civil servant who produced political content in the late 1800s and early 1900s. While not renowned today, he expressed a remarkable prescience about what the Western world has devolved into, particularly during the last several years. The following are some truly savage quotes from Reflections On Violence, his most famous work:

Commentary Applicable to Social Media Influencers:

“These are opinions which scarcely touch me, since I have never paid attention to the views of people who think vulgar stupidity the height of wisdom and who admire, above all, men who speak and write without thinking.”

On the Weakness of Government and Police:

“[…]most decisive factor in social politics is the cowardice of government.”

“One of the things which appears to me to have most astonished the workers during the last five years has been the timidity of the forces of law and order in the presence of a riot: the magistrates who have the right to demand services of soldiers dare not use their power to the utmost, whilst officers allow themselves to be abused and struck with a patience hitherto unknown in them.”

On Cowardice Preceding Destruction:

“Capitalist society is so rich, and the future appears to it in such optimistic colours, that it endures the most frightful burdens without complaining overmuch: in America politicians waste large amounts of taxation shamelessly; in Europe military preparation consumes sums that increase every year, social peace might very well be bought by a few additional sacrifices. Experience shows that the bourgeoisie allows itself to be plundered quite easily, provided that a little pressure is brought to bear and that they are intimidated by the fear of revolution.”

“A social policy based on bourgeois cowardice, which consists in always surrendering before the threat of violence, cannot fail to engender the idea that the bourgeoisie is condemned to death and that its disappearance is only a matter of time.”