Tag Archives: three essays: on washington; on marxism; on america

Three essays: On Washington. On the decline of Marxism. On America.

5 Jan

On Wa(r)shington DC

A purely secular culture vs. a Christian one? The problem with Christendom is that it is not national or race-based, but international in scope. The patriots of nations must put the interests of their own nation-states first. Marxism, like Christianity, was primarily a transnational idea. But American nationalism, like that of Germany, was markedly self-interested. Just as a person is capable of self-interestedness, so must be the nation-state, if it is to survive in this world. The Founding Fathers and most of the leaders we’ve had, have put country first. They were both nationalists and patriots, but once the USA became a victor, following the World Wars, we succumbed to the urge to reorder the world. We followed and emulated the class-based British Empire, with mixed results. The American colossus has since then become a dinosaur, inflicting upon us such catastrophes as Vietnam and the Iraq War. Even the formerly pacific-seeming Obama has succumbed to the Beltway. He remains pompous and cautious about expressing his true intentions, while largely failing in his national agenda of improving the lives of people here in the States, long after the New Deal and the Great Society programs were criticized and attacked by the right-wing crowd.

The State, the Pentagon, and the mass media, not to mention Wall Street, have all been shown to be highly fallible. More and more of us are beginning to grow critical of the Establishment. The USA is becoming a ‘society of the spectacle,’ a parody of itself, an emulator of the British Empire. The Georgetown and Ivy Leaguers think that they’ve replaced the blue bloods of the United Kingdom, and are in a position to protect the institutions of capitalism by sending the less-fortunate, less well-educated working classes to fight and die for them in foreign fields. The wisdom of the Iraq war is still being questioned; the Afghan war, less so. Still, it’s clear that our policies in the Middle East have largely failed. The ‘Arab Spring,’ has turned bloody. A war in Syria has consumed 40,000 lives or more. Al Qaeda and the Taliban, far from being defeated, have reconstituted themselves. And what is our earthly reward?
TV, which represents to us a seemingly constricted, if not wholly censored view of the recent wars. The comedy shows and other junk forms of entertainment constitute a decadent parody of American pretensions.
America wants to have its proverbial cake and eat it, too. And the mass media offer up a daily dose of sugary substance for us to ingest.

During the halcyon fifties, the Frankfurt School declared that America was becoming an ‘authoritarian society, but in truth, we’ve become a ‘meritocracy,’ a society in which the Ivy Leaguers and near-Ivy Leaguers rule over the rest of us. America wants first class brains running the country. Have we been well served? And what do the Prepsters of the Northeast corridor really intend for us?

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“Those who are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it.” G. Santayana

From the hour of the caveman, civilization has somehow emerged, triumphant, but man himself hasn’t changed much. Democratic systems protect us with a system of laws that are supposed to protect our inalienable rights.
The Marxist system failed even to acknowledge that people have rights! Hence Marxism needed to be recalibrated or dismissed.
America in response to the challenge of the Soviet Union, developed a form of liberal social engineering, a progressive alternative to the Marxist ideas which we staunchly opposed.
The social and economic disparities of capitalistic society were perceived as being easily remedied by mass education. But can education really socially engineer for us a ‘better tomorrow?’ It stands in contrast to the rough individualism preached by Emerson during the 19th Century. Individualism today is under intellectual attack in the academy. It’s taught to the business class, but it is not embraced in all quarters. It became transformed into Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth,” a strange subversion of Christianity, a muscular Christianity, as Teddy Roosevelt called it – appropriate to the age of Titans and so-called “Robber Barons.” Carnegie practiced what he preached, endowing colleges, universities, libraries and museums liberally, in order to bestow upon the common man the benefits of superior culture.
Hence the capitalists began to realize that they had to protect their culture from Marxist critiques of ‘hegemony.’ We must ask, isn’t life in the USA better because of the brains of such giants as Ford, Edison, Carnegie and other great men of industry? They were called ‘robber barons,’ by the newspaper men of their day.

Taking a radical view, the Marxists wanted to destroy capitalism altogether, believing that the future is better served by a dictatorship ruling over the Proletariat (the working classes). Few today agree with Marx’s ideas. We prefer to have our rights protected by a liberal democratic state, with a mixed capitalist economy. That’s what we are told we live under; although the fact that twenty percent or more of the US Federal budget goes directly to the waging of warfare in foreign post-colonial nations must give us pauce. Hence, we must conclude that it is the common folk, the middle-classes, the working-classes, and the poor that President Obama must forge together into a new social democratic, liberal alliance. The alternative provided to us by the Republicans, namely a Romney-Ryan ultra-right-wing agenda of austerity combined with tax cuts for the wealthy, failed to win over the majority of the voting public in 2008. So the rich now must pay higher taxes. But what about the rest of us?

Opposing Marxism: there have always been the advocates of “Culture and civilization,” meaning largely, but not exclusively white culture and civilization. Christianity, although Judaic in origin, spread throughout the world, thanks to the Roman Empire. Hence it thereafter became the official belief-system and expression of the white peoples.
Art, science, culture, civilization, and the Christian religion have produced the modern world in its better aspect. The northern hemisphere nations, namely the US, Canada, Europe and Britain, and the Soviet nations share a common civilization. Culture is only aspect of that glorious achievement of Western man. Science was another aspect. And Marxism was sold to the Russian peoples as a form of ‘scientific socialism,’ one which sadly failed. We must address the causes of this catastrophe.
Marxism was the ‘light that failed,’ (Koestler) because it arrogated to itself absolute power and certitude to a tiny ruling class. The Marxist nations had their power struggles and upheavals: the Mensheviks fought the Bolsheviks, the Trotskyites fought the Stalinists. Literally they were at each others‘ throats. Nevertheless, the Marxists did succeed in ultimately creating a ‘planned economy,’ which functioned for a few decades, at the price of freedom.
Unable to spread the Marxist gospel of ‘scientific socialism,’ by force in Western Europe during the late, unlamented “Cold War,” the Communists exported it to the undeveloped or Third World, where it still continues to breed anti-American critics, like Chavez in Venezuela. Marxism was rejected by the northern nations, ultimately, but it was embraced by many of the anti-colonialist intelligentsia in the so-called “Third World.” This is what constitutes Marxism today, or Marx mingled with a strong dose of anti-colonialistic fervor.
Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia, and later Chairman Mao, wanted to become the leaders of a second wave of Marxist insurrection throughout the world. The Red Chinese gov’t adopted the ideas of the German, Marx, and combined them with their own native peasant philosophy. Today, the Red Chinese people have largely sloughed off Marxism, although it is still the official ideology of the State. Over one billion people presently live under the dictatorship of the Party, long, long after the Russian Communist party marched off to lick its wounds following the Soviet collapse on Dec 25, 1991. The question is, Will Marxism take a new form and lead those of the ‘wretched of the Earth,’ to allude to Frantz Fanon?
The people of America largely reject Marxism, preferring our soft and easy Coca-Cola capitalism. No brains required for belonging. In academe, Marxism has become largely passé, but it still has its vociferous advocates in certain trendy corners. Neoliberalism, environmentalism, and feminism have largely superceded fashionable Marxism, but there’s always a certain amount of social discontent, within and without the USA’s borders, which may, like the can of Coke, explode under pressure right under our noses.
Marx, I would argue, is still relevant as a system of criticism of the vagaries of militaristic American state capitalism.

The truth is that the rich, the corporations, and the connected run America, rather than the common folk, who are becoming increasingly vocal about their alienation from the system.

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In America:

In America, there exists the city, the town, the village, the farm and the woods. The people of one part of the country don’t necessarily like or understand those of the next tier of society. Thus we have developed the phony, ‘red-blue’ state division. The people of small upstate towns fear and loathe the people of the great cauldrons of social experimentation that we call big cities. They see in them the future of the multicultural US already being born, and view it with great suspicion.
Hence there is a lot of fear and loathing in these states. The ‘disunited states of America,’ brought to you by
Wa(r)shington. Doubtlessly they will resort to the usual rhetoric of the struggle for the ‘hearts and minds of the masses,’ but in the end, the Karl Roves and the Dick Morrisses, the talking ‘pundits,’ are all cut from the same cloth. They all end up at the same dreary cocktail parties in Georgetown, exchanging engaging witticisms doubtlessly gleaned from Mark Twain or some other true wit.

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