Ideology and Disunity – The American Conservative


If you doubt the totalitarian ambitions of the modern left, look around.

For the first time since the 1850s, a secessionist debate is spreading in the former United States. There is even talk of civil war. What is driving such a strange development in American politics? An attempt to turn this country into an ideological state.

History knows ideological states, states where contradiction with official ideology is dangerous: the Soviet Union, communist China, fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, etc. At times, various ideologies have tried to attract Americans, with some temporary success. Fortunately, no one has gained enough power to impose themselves on the country.

Because of the nature of the ideology itself, all ideologies aspire to a totalitarian state. Every ideology says that, based on this or that abstract idea, certain things must be like this: only Aryans can do everything right, and Jews are inherently evil; everything is determined by ownership of the means of production and the bourgeoisie is evil; modern Italy can be a new Rome and only Italians can make good coffee etc. Reality always contradicts the central theses of ideology. The ideologues react by forbidding the discussion of the contradictions. Freedom of thought and expression are mortal threats to ideologies and therefore the first targets of any ideology.

The ideology now trying to impose itself on America is cultural Marxism, a Marxism translated from economic to cultural terms by a think tank founded in Germany in 1923, the Institute for Social Research, commonly known as the Frankfurt School. (Anyone who would like a quick introduction to Frankfurt School can do so find it on youtube under “History of Political Correctness.”) Cultural Marxism says that all history is determined by which groups, defined by race, gender, and sexual orientation, have power over which other groups.

White, male, and straight were at the top, so they are “oppressors,” while some (not all) other races, women, and gays were “victims.” All Marxism is loser worship; Cultural Marxism only redefines the losers. Their goal is to empower black, feminist women (feminists only), gay, etc. over straight white men.

Anyone who doubts the totalitarian ambitions of cultural Marxism need only look at most universities. Those who think differently from cultural Marxism, whether student or lecturer, are persecuted. More broadly, in America today, one cannot be a member of the elite if one opposes the emerging state ideology.

Not surprisingly, many Americans, probably the majority, reject cultural Marxism and its attempts to get them to tell lies. We have seen this in recent efforts by parents to keep critical race theory out of their children’s schools. (Denials that it is taught are lies; the entire public school curriculum is informed by the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, of which CRT is a subset.) These Americans are not looking for a fight, but they will fight before they bow and reject cultural Marxism. The cultural Marxists, on the other hand, regard everyone who thinks differently not only as wrong, but as evil. They must not be tolerated, they must be “unregistered”: fired from their jobs, banned from their professions, defaced for publication, sometimes physically assaulted. They are “non-persons”. Only through a creeping “excuse me” can their existence be recognized. Trump voters and millions of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump will reach for their guns before they get on their knees.

While cultural Marxism is the ideological threat of the moment, another, even more dangerous ideology is waiting in the wings; extreme environmental protection, sometimes also called “deep green”. Deep Green Conservation sees man as a bane on the planet whose duty it is to eliminate himself. Other ideologies have called for the liquidation of this or that minority or social class; Deep Green is for everyone. It provides a perfect basis for totalitarianism because it argues that everything a person does, including eating and breathing, affects the environment. The verdant ideology currently hiding under the wings of cultural Marxism is waiting to emerge when its protector falters. Again, millions of Americans would rather fight than switch.

Currently, no right-wing ideology threatens freedom of speech and expression in this country. History shows that such ideologies are possible; Fascism and National Socialism are examples. Libertarianism is an ideology—anyone who believes free markets solve all problems should drive through a city that doesn’t have zoning—but it appeals to only a small intellectual clan and can follow its own logic of freedom of thought and speech not oppose.

Conservatism is not an ideology. As Russell Kirk wrote, it is the negation of ideology. She rejects all attempts to redesign man and society in terms of any abstraction. It aspires to a culture and policies shaped from the ground up by the experience of many generations. It is manifested in customs, habits, and traditions that vary widely from place to place, a diversity embraced by conservatives.

From a conservative point of view, ideology itself, regardless of its tenets, is the ring of power in Tolkien’s trilogy. It cannot be used for good in the long run, despite its promises. Our task is to get our fellow citizens to see all ideologies for what they are, paths to tyranny, and to oppose them all. That’s a big challenge, because ideologies lend themselves to dumbing down, and dumbing down sells. But it’s what we must do to redeem time. Frodo’s path was not easy either.

William S Lind is the author, along with Lt. Col. Gregory A. Thiele, of the 4th Generation Warfare Manual. Lind’s latest book is Retroculture: Taking America Back.

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