Now that I’ve devoted several posts to deconstructing the flawed concept of “Cultural Marxism,” I think it’s fair that I shift my attention to real Marxism (aka Communism).
When I started this blog and named it “Classical Values” with a stated goal of ending the Culture War, the idea was to disagree with both sides of this damnable excuse for a war, by reminding people (hopefully in a gentle and constructive manner) that our precious Western heritage is far richer, culturally much deeper, and far antecedes any of the “Culture War” memes which distract so many people by causing them to hate each other. The blog theme was intended to remind everyone that Western Civilization is good. To the right wing, the reminder is that personal matters like human sexuality are not alien forces threatening the fabric of Western Civilization to its core. On the other hand, things like identity politics and post modernist deconstructionism do threaten long-cherished Western cultural values like logic, reason, skepticism, scientific inquiry, and even the arts. I had a classical education and I consider myself a classical liberal (rebadged these days as a “small-l “libertarian”), so I thought I should speak up on behalf of our classical past against those forces which are in a great hurry to disregard or even destroy it.
Unfortunately, the damned “Culture War” is a nexus of this destruction, where both sides seem to conspire, as if in an unholy alliance.
And I do mean alliance. What most annoyed me about traditional (that word!) Marxists is that they are hung up to the point of being obsessed with this thing called “Class War“:

[T]he antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is a struggle of class against class, a struggle carried to its highest expression in a total revolution. Indeed, is it at all surprising that a society founded on the opposition of classes should culminate in a brutal “contradiction,” the shock of body against body, as its final denouement?

Class war is culture war, and the Marxian view is based upon a hopelessly outmoded concept that only the so-called bourgeoisie owned what Marx called the “means of production.”
What in hell is the means of production? I produce this blog on a computer that cost me as much as a pair of shoes. Anyone can sell anything on ebay.
I don’t think further examples are needed to show how outmoded Marxist thinking is. But this “class struggle” deal — something about it has thoroughly penetrated Western thinking. On both sides.
Class war rhetoric underlies much of what we call the Culture War. In political disagreements, points are scored and countless arguments punctuated by derisive remarks about the class background of the person on the wrong side (“grew up with a silver spoon in his mouth,” “a member of the ruling class,” “rich,” “elite,” and other similar remarks about the quality of the person’s parentage). This is invariably contrasted with the salt of the earth, working class or poverty stricken background of the person on the other side. Both sides — left and right — blatantly engage in class war attacks on each other; the latest manifestation of this is in the “Red State” “Blue State” conflict in which the Red Staters play the role of proletarian masses who seek to be free from their elitist Blue State bourgeoisie oppressors. Rough hewn rednecks versus preppie Ivy League elitists. (Ironically, Marxism has been so perverted that it is the elites Marx hated who most champion it.)
I am sick of this Class War stuff, and I think it lies at the core of a lot of what’s going on with the Culture War.
Unstated and unacknowledged Class War issues are a major reason I’m so intrigued (and amused) by the uproar surrounding President Bush. Not that I’m enamored of him or his politics. (As regular readers know, I’m in the I-held-my-nose-and-voted-for-Bush camp.)
But here’s what I most like about Bush, and I think it’s the very thing he’s most hated for: Bush is, simply, a walking, talking Class War!
Why, I’d go so far as to say that he’s as shocking and outrageous in his own way as “Brokeback Mountain” in its.
I know that will come as a shock to some of my readers, so I’ll try to explain. It’s my theory that the Class War has been largely folded into the Culture War, but that this has happened so slowly, and with so much cooperation by both “sides” (often because of political necessities) that people haven’t had time to realize it, much less understand it.
Bush is at once the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. He’s the rich, unaccountable, spoiled Ivy League brat every “Red Stater” loves to hate, and the Texas, church-going, oil-rig-working redneck every “Blue Stater” fears and regards with contempt. To an inflexible Marxist steeped in Class War and Culture War thinking, a rich preppie is one thing, and a redneck is quite another (and there are different techniques for indoctrinating or neutralizing each). But a hybrid of the two? That’s a monstrous atrocity — a cruel affront to the sensibilities of every true-believer leftist in the United States, whether they admit it or not. Most of them hate Bush with a passion bordering on the insane, but few of them understand why the hatred is so intensely and so bitterly personal. (There are other prominent examples of people who stir similar feelings of cultural outrage, but there’s no need to name names.)
I think it’s because the Class War is the Culture War, and the nexus is founded on division. The proponents of division hate and fear its opposite — mongrelization and mixing of any kind. A preppie redneck president is almost as horrifying and disgusting a thought as the idea of gun-toting gays going out and voting for him. (How do you remind people like that how dreadfully misguided they are? By making a movie?)
Fortunately, America is a land of mongrelization and cultural hybrids. Of people who don’t like being told what to do, how to live.
And fortunately, inflexibility of thinking is what has made Marxism (and the Class and Culture Wars it spawned) such a miserable failure.
Notwithstanding the occasional success, I think it will keep failing.
Unfortunately though, Marxist thinking has insinuated itself into both “sides.”
(Mongrelization isn’t always a perfect process….)