Wednesday, October 03, 2012

LIBERAL FASCISM 8


 

I continue this mini-series on Jonah Goldberg’s 2007 book Liberal Fascism.* (In these Posts, Jonah Goldberg will be shortened to ‘JG’.)

Having given an overview of JG’s thoughts, in this Post I’d like to select some particular points of interest. In several subsequent Posts I’ll deal with some of the numerous and eye-opening quotations from historical figures in American and/or socialist and Progressive history, from the young Woodrow Wilson up through LBJ.

Equally ominously, the Progressives (as all totalitarian variants) “saw the home as the front line in the war to transform men into compliant social organs”. (p.88) (Note that JG uses the generic “men” to refer to all Citizens.)

Consequently, “an archipelago of agencies, commissions and bureaus sprang up overnight to take the place of the … influences of the family”. (p.88) [italics mine]

Further, “the home could no longer be seen as an island, separate and sovereign from the rest of society.” (p.88)

To this end, John Dewey – the noted educational thinker and Progressive – “helped create kindergartens in America for precisely this purpose: to shape the apples before they fell from the tree – while at the other end of the educational process stood reformers like Woodrow Wilson, who summarized the progressive attitude perfectly when, as president of Princeton, he told an audience, ‘Our problem is not merely to help the students adjust themselves to world life … [but] to make them as unlike their fathers as we can’”. (p.88) [italics mine]

I invite you to give deep and thoughtful consideration to this agenda. And not only for whatever information it conveys about the now-distant very early 20th century of first-wave Progressivism, but also for the very recent and still-working third-wave Progressivism of the Identity Politics and Culture and Gender wars embraced by the Beltway after 1972. (Recalling as well Bismarck’s acutely apt phrases Kulturkampf (culture war) and Gleichschaltung (total alignment of all aspects of society and culture.)

The foundational presumption of the Progressive hostility to the Family (seen also in Lenin and Mussolini; and also in Hitler, who – however – paid deep lip-service to the volkisch Family even as he ensured that not only neighbors but even relatives and children would feel bound to report to the Gestapo about any un-Correct conversation or ideas that they overheard among parents and relatives) is that the Family represents a counter-influence to government-embraced Progressive attitudes and objectives, and a counter-influence to the Progressive Stance generally.

(And here you can see where the Catholic Church, with its abiding focus and insistence on the absolutely vital human necessity of the Family for genuine individual human development, was almost guaranteed to become the target of any Progressive (or other total-izing variant) government’s hostility.)

If thus Progressivism’s totalizing approach – so hugely antithetical to any traditional Western or American concept of Family’s role in the social ethos and to the American Framing and Founding concept of a limited Constitutional government’s role – was to succeed, the Family had to be ‘aligned’ with the Progressive agenda a) so that the government would not have to tolerate in its midst and at the very heart of culture and society any alternative and oppositional influences and so that b) the next generations could be Progressively shaped in their most impressionable (and vulnerable) years.

Progressivism contains – and has always contained – at its core some core presumptions that are stunningly antithetical to the American ethos and – I would say – to the fundamental structures of human society and the process of raising, shaping, forming, and socializing its young. And if you consider the now-established Flattening and Mono-planar Progressive/’liberal’ secularism, then it becomes clear that not only practically but metaphysically that secularism seeks to Shape the young.

Nor – I would say – can We accept blandly and blithely and without question Hillary Clinton’s assertion that “it takes a village” to raise children. This sly gambit sought simultaneously to a) justify radical-feminist efforts (embraced by the Beltway) to ‘deconstruct’ the Family in order to carve out non-maternal roles for women while b) seeming to support a more ‘tradition-friendly’ emphasis on ‘community’ and masquerading thus as a somewhat ‘conservative’ and ‘traditional’ approach which, in truth, it most certainly was not.

Indeed, it should be clear how very much third-wave Progressivism, so deeply and viscerally enmeshed with radical-feminist agendas, has slyly used ‘the children’ as a crowbar to break apart the vital and heretofore sacred space of the Family in order to further its agendas and objectives.

Domestic violence initiatives – claiming to be motivated solely by a concern to stop ‘violence’ – have resulted in draconian and totalizing legislation which itself requires twisting American and Western legal first-principles and jurisprudence into pretzels. To say this is not to ‘support violence’ but simply to point out – as should have been strongly pointed out before such initiatives were erected into law and jurispraxis – that there are monstrously lethal consequences built-into them and that those consequences were pretty much guaranteed to actualize themselves. As they have.

In the same way, the third-wave, post-1972 Progressive/’liberal’ sex-offense initiatives of the 1990s have done precisely the same thing, to the extent of creating – in the internet age – electronic ‘registries’ of Citizens (already ‘convicted’ according to the aforesaid deformed and deranged new legal practices and concepts) in precisely the same way that police-state totalitarianism (the Cheka, OGPU, NKVD, KGB, Gestapo and Stasi – to name but the most familiar) kept card-files of this and that category of Citizen for easy tagging and reference. Long before 9/11 and the subsequent anti-constitutional ‘national security’ impositions under Bush-Cheney, these developments should have been recognized as the alarming symptoms they were.

And, on that other end of the education process, high-schools and universities are no longer in the business of educating into the knowledge and critical thinking skills essential to a competent Citizenry. Why should they? Since according to Correct Progressive/’liberal’ assessment, a) all of the ‘history’ is tainted with this and that variation on the themes of dominance, hierarchy, patriarchy, oppression, hegemony and marginalization – and thus the past is useful merely for fishing around to get this or that example of same.

And b) because all that the New Order Citizen really requires is socialization into the Correct mindsets and practices that have always been the objective of the Progressive and ‘liberal’ totalizing urge to re-make and re-create and re-form and re-shape and re-Shape everybody anyway. The last thing the New Order Citizen needs to do is to think critically: the elites and the Correct dogma has already done the thinking; and – if I may – ‘there need be no further education in the New Order for a thousand years’ (paraphrasing the hyper-confident totalizing stylings of that former head of the Third Reich).

And during this transitional phase there need only be the ability – and predisposition – to come up with historical or conceptual ‘proof-texts’ that demonstrate the pure wisdom of the New Order and the utter depravity of anything and everything that had gone before. (With a savage irony, this ‘proof-text’ mentality is so very similar to American Protestant religious fundamentalism, itself raised up by the Reagan-era political elites as an (equally-lethal) counterforce to the Progressive/’liberal’ fundamentalism of the totalizing cadres and elites of the New Left that the Democrats had embraced a decade before.)

Meanwhile, generations of children have now grown up without the stability and security and guidance of mature adults (who, now, are themselves the chronologically-grown under-developed ‘children’ of not long ago). And these generations now demonstrate all of the predictable developmental and maturational derangements that might clearly have been expected of such a toxic and treacherous gambit.

And these generations now not only lack the skills necessary to sustain an adult life, but to execute the responsibilities of competent Citizens who – in the Framing Vision – were to be the governors of their government (and its remora-like expert-elites).



What is the interior world occupied by the average youngster or young person today? I would say that it is not capacious. And that in far too many instances it does not extend back in Time into the rich and valuable traditions  of American – and perhaps even human – culture and experience and tradition. And that in far too many instances it does not extend Upward into any Beyond, although a tendency-toward such a Beyond has very demonstrably been an enduring characteristic of the human species from its beginnings.

And that when it does extend in Space it does so only shallowly, entranced and obsessed  – even if only by default because the youngster knows no better and has never been taught any better – with  the surfaces and appearances and ephemera of a culture seeking to reduce them into being merely consumers and not Citizens or even genuinely full human-beings.

And that that shallowness reflects an interior shallowness and emptiness and un-Shapedness, an unripeness induced by the dearth in their young lives of any education-into or example-of the higher reaches of the human being, of the human Self.

And that thus such persons will not develop into competent Citizens precisely because they have not been helped to develop into genuinely ripe and mature human beings.

It might be cheeribly burbled – in the accents of Antonio Gramsci – that once all these generations are sufficiently socialized into accepting the New Order and their own ‘liberations’ as ‘normal’, then the government can once again release to them the authority to have an actual functioning say in their own governance. But human history does not support such an optimistic outcome – indeed, just the opposite: the government will continue to increasingly trail-boss the increasingly helpless (though Correctly ‘liberated’) herds.


Such progress.

And the Family and the educational institutions continue to devolve into haphazard and ever-shifting foundations of sand. The Family is whatever those who – for the moment – seek some connection wish it to be. The University is now a consumer-oriented font of socializing Correctness, catering to the whims of those it is supposed to be educating (on the presumption that those who are students need to be educated) and offering as a return on its (verrrry expensive) services merely a ‘ticket’ to glorious higher-employment and all the liberation and fulfillment that goes with a well-paid job that will enable them to consume and thus to reach human fulfillment.

But at this juncture, with the Beltway and its Progressive/’liberal’ knowledge elites and pols of both Parties now having allowed the national economy (and, indubitably its solvency) to slide beyond the tipping-point, those generations are confronted with a future of shifting-sand;  because for decades and with increasing intensity, only government cash – variously infused – has been keeping those marvelous jobs and the Oz-like illusions of a vibrant robust and growing ‘economy’ administered in the service of all the Correct Progressive/’liberal’ dogmas, going.

As the cash runs out, the illusions will increasingly dissolve into thin air for all but a very very few at the very top of the (once-again) Hobbesian and Social Darwinist ladder.

And how will an infantilized and un-educated and unripe Citizenry – for so long treated as a ‘herd’ – respond? What does the herd do when the trail-bosses themselves have led it into a box-canyon in a blizzard?

Stay tuned. But be warned: this picture will not be pretty.

NOTES

*Goldberg, Jonah. Liberal Fascism. Doubleday: New York, 2007. ISBN: 978-0-385-51184-1 (hard cover). It’s also out in paperback.

 

 

 

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