The Culture War is over. The Marxists lost.
They were always going to lose. Because cultural Marxism cannot sustain itself without feeding off of other people’s wealth. It’s a parasitic ideology that first consumes the host then drives it mad to destroy everyone else.
After the 2016 election of Donald Trump when Kanye West had his famous meltdown on stage and walked off during a show it was a pivotal moment.
Many saw an enfant terrible throwing a tantrum and crying for attention But I didn’t. I heard a man whose world-view was in flux and causing him real pain.
The kind of pain that changes a man.
It’s a moment when you look at what you’ve built and see it for what it is. In Kanye’s case it wasn’t his art that was the problem, it was the reaction to it. The system supporting it.
He saw the politics and structure of the music industry, rightly, as just another mechanism of social control. He railed against radio, MTV and the rest of the distribution system.
He saw his place within it, how it was driving artists and fans apart, to bicker and argue while the real power lay with those controlling and stoking the conflicts.
And he torched it. Willingly. With an almost hyper self-awareness.
Fast forward to this week when Kanye emerges from his personal 40 days in the desert and tweets out, as Scott Adams said, “Seven Words that Changed Everything.”
I love the way Candace Owens thinks
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) April 21, 2018
Scott’s right about that. I’m not sure about his whole “Golden Age” thing (watch the video linked above). But, I am sure that Kanye West put paid his promise to his fans that he pissed off in November 2016 that he would be a change agent.
That he wasn’t going to go along to get along, stay quiet, be a good boy and reap the benefits of a system he saw as corrupt and corrupting.
Like Kanye or hate him, in this moment you have to respect him.
What he did this week goes far beyond red-pilling a large swath of the American black community about how the Democrats take them for granted, use them for their purposes.
What he did was throw the entirety of cultural Marxism into the ashbin of history. He just took a massive dump on the entire canon of identity politics.
And then he lit it on fire and threw it on the Gatekeepers of Culture’s front door.
Actions Over Intentions
I don’t know how much of Kanye’s original rant was calculated performance art but I don’t care. As an economist I’ve trained myself to dispense with such nonsense.
Because you don’t measure a man by his intentions. You measure him by his actions.
This is one of the fundamental issues of identity politics and Marxism. The insistence that intentions are more important than consequences.
Cultural Marxists wrap themselves in the moral high ground, stating their intentions are noble and selfless. The are putting the community over themselves, while denigrating those honest enough to admit they act for themselves first and the community second.
And this is their defense mechanism for deflecting criticism when their plans fail.
At least our intentions were pure.
But, as Ayn Rand rightly pointed out, altruism doesn’t exist. One helps another person because it satisfies their own needs first and the object of their help second.
Some people get immense satisfaction in helping others.
And there is nothing immoral about that. It doesn’t taint their good works with the stain of profit. It simply is.
So, I don’t care if Kanye did these things for purely selfish reasons or not. I don’t think he did. But, he could be the kind of malignant narcissist his critics accuse him of being, most of whom today side with the cultural Marxists.
I just know that whatever his reasons he destroyed the narrative of minority victimization. And he did it with the precision of a brain surgeon, cutting out the ideological rot in millions of brains with seven words.
As a writer, I’m a bit jealous.
As a human being I’m eternally grateful.
It’s Not My Fault!
And this is why the Culture War is over. It’ll take some time, but this period of history is the culmination of more than a hundred years of Marxism as the dominant political ideology.
Their long march through the institutions is complete just in time to see all of these institutions fail.
They aren’t failing all at once. A pension system here, a small country’s hyperinflation there. But they are failing.
Why? Because central planning in all its forms is beset with what Hayek called, “The Knowledge Problem.”
In short it is that the most important knowledge, that of time and place most relevant to individual actions, is unknowable to the central planner. And that propagates errors in policy which ultimately is capital destructive.
It is why global debt is out of control. It is why the central planners made the Faustian bargain with the banking cartel to create debt-based money to fund their Utopia. The Marxists get wealth redistribution but at the cost of the banks’ vig.
And everyone else suffers.
As we approach the moment where we finally reach the end of the societal road paved with debt these institutions will fail more rapidly.
Cultural Marxism is, like all collectivist ideologies, Utopian. By divorcing intentions from consequences it not only insulates itself from criticism but sells itself as a path to higher plane of spirituality which it can’t deliver.
It justifies ends with means that are abhorrent and, like all psychopaths, blames its victims.
It’s never their fault when people are starving in the streets, throwing acid on infidels and selling aborted fetuses to the highest bidder.
No. Basic welfare is a right. Open borders? a right. Abortion, a right.
The Utopia Trap
And that’s the Utopia Trap, the idea that we can make Heaven on Earth by appropriating the life and time of another person through enforced communal responsibility.
On the other hand is the staunch individualist who understands that life is suffering, time is precious and death inevitable.
So, no matter what bad decisions we as individuals make they are still better than the ones the willfully ignorant and ideologically blinded make for us.
So, as the Culture War grinds to its inevitable conclusion, we humans will emerge from this foray into mass insanity known as Marxism smarter just like we did when we overthrew the High Priests of the Sun Gods and the Divine Rights of Kings.
And if we have people like Kanye West and, yes, Donald Trump, to be our Loki figures, gleefully blowing holes in their Utopian dreams so be it. Because, honestly, who is better suited for that job?
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‘Socialism, Communism, or any other political ideology based on primacy of collective ownership is realisable only insofar as it implicitly negates, to a degree, the agential capacity of individuals, which in turn negates their creative capacity and ethical responsibility. What necessarily follows is erosion of the existing value-supply without replenishment and, subsequently, corruption of the collectivist ideology in favour of individual survival. Collectivism is immanently self-defeating and therefore bound to result in misery for all.’
as economists we say…the lack of retional calculation of profit by producers and supression of preferences by consumers is necessarily capital destructive.
two filters…same conclusion
They won’t give up, the cultural Marxists. It’s not a culture for people; it’s a culture for the ruling class to use _on_ us – to “frack” the structure of traditional cultures and schools and religion to the point they can’t survive.
They can’t lose because consequences only exist for the odd individual cultural Marxist; in aggregate and as a culture, they are sacrosanct. This is de facto true. Nobody has laid a glove on them in my lifetime; their power and influence has only grown. My hair is grey.
What a sublime piece. Concise and clearly focused on THE major affliction of Western society today.
Thank you Patrick.
“Cultural Marxism” academically speaking, is defined by 3 groups of neo-marxist theorists (labelled The Frankfurt School’s ‘Cultural Marxism’, The Birmingham School’s ‘British Cultural Marxism’, and E.P. Thompson’s ‘Thompsonian Cultural Marxism’) – all of whom critiqued aspects of “mass culture”.
The Frankfurt School started it all by describing The Culture Industry. Adorno writes things like this in his critique of The Culture Industry:
“The dependence of the most powerful broadcasting company on the electrical industry, or of the motion picture industry on the banks, is characteristic of the whole sphere, whose individual branches are themselves economically interwoven.” Source
They were the first thinkers to realize there was a ‘corporate media’ which pushed it’s own corporate values and agenda. Adorno says things like:
“The Culture Industry not so much adapts to the reactions of its customers as it counterfeits them.”
The Frankfurt School didn’t like pop-culture at all, the Culture Industry Wikipedia page says “Adorno and Horkheimer especially perceived mass-produced culture as dangerous to the more technically and intellectually difficult high arts” – so they believed pop-culture was a risk to Western Civilization.
The Birmingham School came after The Frankfurt School and quite liked British Working Class culture. The founders of The Birmingham School were WW2 vets, and their complaints focused on the ‘cultural drift’ away from the strong, local, community based cultures which they loved, and towards a more bland globalized culture (a process they called “massification”).
Other theorists such as Max Horkheimer (of The Frankfurt School) rallied against the application of science without morality. He called this “instrumental reason” and took the Kantian moral position that reason without morality could cause nightmares (such as the application of science during the Holocaust).
The Frankfurt School were big against the Holocaust, and contributed to the Nuremberg Trials… which later led to the creation of modern medical ethics boards.
This has all somehow been misconstrued as their attack on Western Civilization – even though The Frankfurt School were specifically trying to protect the arts from pop-culture.
…later Frankfurt School theorists such as Jurgen Habermas, and Nancy Fraser have specifically critiqued things like Post-Modern relativism and even Identity Politics.
The term “Cultural Marxism” has since become a right wing misrepresentation of the (left wing) Frankfurt School. It’s now tied into the theory they were “International Jewish Communists” trying to “Destroy American Academia and Hollywood”. You can judge whether that’s true for yourself.
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