Trotskyism by other means

16 11 2010

via the Conservative Blog for Peace

This is in evidence by the most frequent complaint heard at Tea Party rallies, about the war against “American exceptionalism” – how this rather obscure Marxist concept became the religion of the American right is a topic for another day and perhaps another author. My long-time readers may recall my invoking this article, the last ever published by Irving Kristol, which I consider a smoking gun in understanding neoconservatism. He laid out frankly his arriving at the conclusion in the 1950s that European welfare states were unfit to destroy communism and extend the global democratic revolution, and therefore it must be done by some sort of military-industrial complex heavy “democratic capitalism”.

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My own worst nightmare for myself is becoming some sort of political neocon. In fact, it may be the real reason why I find myself so a-political in places. (Though I think that I have the sensibility of a European social democrat, if a very particularly left-wing one). The fallen Trotskyist-turned-capitalist-militarist became so disgusted with Stalinism that he wanted it defeated by any means necessary. Max Shachtman, a once collaborator with Trotsky, even backed the U.S. military effort in Vietnam. And it goes without saying that Irving Kristol was once a young Trotskyist himself.

Trotskyism is a theory of extremes, and Trotskyists are often accused of being agent provocateurs, and no better than bratty anarchists in demonstrations. Neoconservatism is in part an intellectual result of such strange ideological fickleness; when rhetoric itself drives theory, and not the other way around. In this case, it proved useful to the ruling class. There is a sort of delicious irony involved in some intellectually sloppy Catholics trying to baptize American exceptionalism in the name of inculturation. Indeed, most spend their time trying to graft an icon of Mammon onto one of God in a rather grotesque portrait.


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3 responses

19 11 2010
synLeszkax

I have not read on this forum, tirades about how the most underpriveliged class are the consumers, how we should impower the consumers in their battles against the producers of goods.. Being in Europe, in the European Union, looking at the ideal ideological socialism/social democratism, which in my opinion is beautiful but these things do not exist in reality. The main point of the Social Democrats policy is restrained in the “consumer rights”, “free trade area”, “disestablishment of local particularism in favour of an united Europe”, “elimination of barriers which hinder trade between EU subjects”… The European Left has accepted the ideals of neoliberalism, and views capitalism as essential to the sustinence of their ideals. The New Left tries to upkeep revolutionary radicalism for causes outside of the traditional leftist genre, but in a couple of years they will move up from the “potatoe-eating left” to the “cavior-consuming left”.
It’s a pun in Polish, from the “lewica kartoflana do lewicy kawiorowej”.

16 11 2010
Steven Wedgeworth

Justin Raimondo’s book, Reclaiming the American Right lists all of the various Trotsksyites who founded the neo-Conservative movement. It’s quite a list.

16 11 2010
Henry Karlson

The other side of the neo-conservative tradition is to look towards Carl Schmidt. I think he is a genius, and I respect his genius, even if I find much which is troubling in his work and life. He tried to deal with difficult questions, and he led to the development of ideas which really are the neo-conservative tradition; however, his life and work also shows what this leads to — even if it is not, in itself, fascism, it is entirely capable of being used by fascism. Moreover, the foundational roots are dualistic in the worse sense: states are at war with each other, and all is fair in love and war — once you determine someone is an enemy, go at them, for morality no longer applies. That is exactly what we find in the current political environment. And as Zizek points out, the so-called liberals actually reinforce this, not go against it.

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