1. We need to start using the word MARXIST more liberally; Tea Partiers should identify the president and his minions primarily as such; and then conservatives must follow the argument to its logical conclusion regarding the apolitical nature of Counterculture. There is no conflict between identifying as politically conservative while countercultural in one’s spirituality, lifestyle, artistic tastes, sexuality, and drug habits. As more people become politically engaged over the course of the next decade — due to the effects of our chronic debt problems — it is vital that we articulate this distinction so we can maintain political power.
It’s been almost a decade that I’ve explored and researched ideology, the political world’s equivalent of theology. And after two years of full time observation at the professional level I’ve come to doubt the utility of the Left vs Right paradigm.
These are abstractions which have been so muddied and expanded that they are no longer useful. Everyone — no matter which side they sympathize with — can just fill in the blank with what the term means to them. Thus for you, “the Left” is your own mishmash of socialist politics, caricatures of dope-smoking 60s hippies who say unintelligent things, and non-Christian culture. And there’s little I can do to reason you out of that experience-driven comprehension of the supposed territory amidst the fog of our political war. Better for you and I to just set the metaphor aside in place of another.
For our opponents, ambiguity in definitions has strategic advantages. Occupy Wall Street retains its potency because it refuses to define what it wants. Thus OWS provides everyone who’s got a chip on their shoulder about how much credit card debt they have or some other grown-up stressor with a target to blame AND a break from the hard work of figuring out how to solve their own personal problems and character flaws.
Using the terms “Left” and “Right” does the same thing. We’re playing into the ideological constructions that have been defined to our enemies’ advantage. Continuing to accept these metaphors fuels the Marxist movement’s destructive, revolutionary fire.
So Mary, while in our previous dialogue I suggested that the president and his supporters should be regarded as leftist, today I revise the thesis and instead posit MARXIST is the more appropriate description. In the past I’ve argued that “the Left” was analogous with Christianity — and that various branches within the Left (Socialists, progressives, labor unionists, stealth community organizing Alinskyites, mainline Democrats) were akin to Baptists, Lutherans, and Catholics. But now the conclusion that I come to is that the broad designation “the Left” vs “the Right” is better compared to the religious characterization “monotheist” vs “polytheist.” It’s certainly there and is useful in one sense, but to accurately characterize the nature of the shifting political culture in a clear manner requires more precise, and potent language. And yes, the fact that this terminology irritates our opponents more deeply is further reason to employ it. Comfort the disturbed, disturb the comfortable.
Next: Naming names and increasing clarity…