“The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by precedent, by implication, by erosion, by default, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other – until the day when they are suddenly declared to be the country’s official ideology.” — Ayn Rand
Have you ever been asked whom you liked better, John or Paul? And have you ever answered “John” on a vague assumption that otherwise people might have less respect for your other views? Wonder why? The question was never about music – it was about your moral philosophy. To answer it correctly – assuming you wanted to fit into the crowd – you had to consider the moral philosophy of the crowd, thus voluntarily submitting your mind to thought policing. In most cases, answering “Paul” constituted a thought crime. But the practice of shaping musical tastes based on political correctness comes too close to the practices of the Soviet Politburo – which in fact, frowned on both John and Paul equally.
In the 1960s I was still a young kid living in the USSR. The available literature led me to believe that in the United States it was an era of romantic class struggle, moral battles, and massive heroic protests against American imperialism. In the USSR we also had massive rallies against American imperialism. They were meticulously organized by the Party apparatchiks. Attendance was mandatory because nobody in the right mind would join them voluntarily. But that’s a different story.
In an old Soviet magazine I once read an opinion about the 1960s that had stuck in my mind as an odd example of the workings of the Marxist dialectics: America had swallowed and digested a refutation of itself – and became a better country. That’s what I believed for a long time – until years of observation and analysis prompted me to place this notion on a mental shelf explicitly marked as “Historical Falsehoods,” next to the pile of other erroneous first impressions about this country.
Already in the States I was surprised by the impact the “progressive” collectivist ideas have on regular Americans whom I once imagined as the epitome of individualism. Take the anti-war rallies. On the March 18th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, massive anti-war protests will once again shake the peace in every major city of America and beyond. The rallies will be organized by the Party apparatchiks at the International A.N.S.W.E.R., which is a communist front group. Attendance won’t be mandatory, yet millions of people will join them.
Are they in the right mind? Why are they doing it?
Being a reluctant expert on communist ideology, I examined the Marxist connection first. But while Marxism may be strong in the academia, most people at the rallies won’t be members of any Marxist nor any other radical movement. They’ll be students and teachers, office clerks and welfare recipients, who will join hands to chant collectively, in one voice, certain slogans, which may sound moot yet morally upright. Many may be surprised to learn that marching next to them and leading the chants will be professional radicals and terrorist enablers whose dream it is to see America destroyed. Surprised they may be, but will they be appalled to the point of confronting the extremists and leaving the rally? Absolutely not. They’ll be more likely to treat the radicals as celebrities.
So what mysterious force is driving these multitudes into the streets? Why is it morally rewarding to hate this country’s leaders and embrace its enemies? What makes it feel so good? The answer is in your definition of what “good” is, otherwise known as morality.
Your morality is what guides you in your choices between right and wrong, good and evil. If you believe it’s wrong to enjoy life in a successful capitalist society, you’ll feel guilty about your high living standard and a disproportionate consumption of world’s resources. By extension, you wouldn’t want to miss the once-in-a-year opportunity to redeem your sins by supporting such a highly moral cause as an anti-war protest.
But what is the source of a morality that forbids to fight terrorism and views the United States as the enemy? Clearly it isn’t rooted in the American tradition. Such a morality manifested itself on a massive scale for the first time in the 1960s. Many of today’s protesters admittedly crave to recapture the spirit of those days. Many will be singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
My research has led me to the excerpts from Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s articles published in the 1972 editions of Sundance magazine. Although attributed to John and Yoko jointly, they were written mostly by Yoko who clearly was the one wearing the pants. It should be a required read for everyone who would like to know where their otherwise lazy and cynical leftist opponents get their passionate idealistic convictions from.
Here is a condensed list (the full text is here):
1. A collective hallucination can create objective reality.
2. “The fenceless and doorless world is soon to come.” Obviously it’s a good thing.
3. Middle America is stupid and “afraid of youth and the future.”
4. People work not because they’re glad to have a job but because they’re being bullied into working by the “tyranny and suppression of the capitalists.” (Karl Marx called and left a message).
5. Immature youth are “the aware ones”; traditional education and thought discipline is the enemy.
6. Material reality is evil.
7. “Come together rather than claim independence.”
8. “Feel rather than think.”
9. Immature and irresponsible behavior is a virtue.
10. Possessions are immoral. “Any possession that is more than what you need belongs to someone who needs it.”
11. A worldwide revolution (“progress”) is inevitable, and such a future “cannot be anything but brightness.”
12. To resist the revolution is immoral because it prolongs people’s suffering.
13. A society based on competitiveness and logic produces “hypocrisy, violence, and chaos.”
14. A society based on love rather than reasoning will produce “balance, peace, and contentment.”
15. To remove evil from this world men must be feminized (if you liked this one you will also like “The DaVinci Code” which is a 500-pages-long regurgitation of this very doctrine).
Absurdities may be a good material for rock lyrics, but presented as a life philosophy they are, well, absurd. Nonetheless, in the absence of logic and reason whose use had been abolished by liberal education, this psychobabble has become Holy Scripture of the new “progressive” religion. John’s fame and his unfortunate martyrdom have turned these mind games into unquestionable prophecies. They might as well be called the Gospel of John and Yoko, from which generations of protesters have been religiously drawing their strength and moral fortitude. Can you say, “Imagine no religion?”
While Yoko may not be the original creator of these inanities, she certainly succeeded in presenting them as the original “Instant Flower Garden” combination package. Planted into the heads of faithful innocents, the seeds have grown into the bizarre efflorescence covering the left side of America’s brain that we are dealing with today.
So many of these uncontested absurdities have been inserted as moral messages in popular novels, TV shows, and Hollywood movies, that one can only wonder how come they haven’t yet become the country’s official ideology. One might even suspect there’s some ominous dark force in this society that is preventing a total compliance with the “progressive” morality. A conservative might identify the culprit as the good old common sense. But if you are a frustrated “progressive,” you will either blame it on the American stupidity, or claim a criminal conspiracy. Either way you may become convinced that the culprit had better be eliminated with prejudice for the sake of the Greater Good.
If you believe the Gospel of John and Yoko represents a higher morality, you will naturally begin to resent such obstacles in the way of “progress” as reason, the rule of law, common sense, the need to be a master of your own life, and the responsibility for your own well-being. And since the United States of America was built on such values and remains their most dedicated proponent, any honest and consistent “progressive” is bound to develop a seething hatred towards this country.
In the “progressive” book of virtues, American values are the quintessence of evil. So if you are a “progressive” and you aren’t mad at this country, that just means you’re neither honest nor consistent. But then again, because living by this dead-end moral code is logically impossible, one has to resort to hypocrisy and seek compromises, forever balancing on the edge of madness.
Such mad morality is exactly what drives people into crowds at anti-war rallies. The fate of Iraq is not their biggest concern. Protesting the war is more of an excuse to take revenge for the daily torture of maddening hypocrisy and compromises with the “system.” Believers in the Gospel of John and Yoko use these rallies to claim high moral ground, work out anxieties, seek reassurance – and some of the die-hards may even still harbor hope that a collective hallucination will somehow change the objective reality – just as the prophecy predicted.
As for the Iraqis – to hell with them! Let them all kill each other. “Progressives” have more pressing issues, struggling to maintain and expand their high moral ground. They have never cared about the lives of the people they claimed to protect. They didn’t care about the Soviets, Cubans, Vietnamese, Cambodians, or Palestinians. It was always about them and their maddening inner struggles.
Granted, this mad dead-end morality has always existed in various forms around the world. But it was in the 1960s that it gained such massive proportions in this country – and has been growing ever since, affecting schools, culture, politics, and even science – occasionally winning the official status. So even if America had swallowed and digested a refutation of itself then, it has suffered such a severe poisoning that many toxins have reached as far as the Capitol Hill and settled there, resulting in Congress’s erratic and self-destructive behavior.
Attempts to confront the lure of “progressive” ideology with facts and logic have failed and will continue to fail because the “progressive” faith is not based on facts and logic. It is based on morality and this is the ground on which it must be fought.
Conservatives who support their positions with economic and political data but give away high moral ground to the “progressives” are thereby admitting that their economic and political achievements are immoral – and thus have no right to exist. Those seeking middle ground and a moral compromise are thereby proposing that hypocrisy and absence of moral standards be made the law of the land. Guess what fish will grow most rapidly in those murky waters!
The only way to fight absurdity is by exposing it for what it is – an absurdity. The “progressive” morality based on logical fallacies and wishful thinking cannot sustain the life of a society or even one individual. It lures people with seemingly easy solutions to life’s problems, but results in breeding hateful wrecks wallowing in their own madness, trapped in their communal moral dead end, longing for self-destruction and trying to drag the rest of us down with them.
Because the spreading of the “progressive” morality has always brought suffering and misery to real-life humans, it should be exposed as inhuman and condemned. It should be opposed with the true human morality that is based on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – the one that has proven to spread happiness, prosperity, and real progress without any quotation marks.
At this point the question about my favorite Beatle comes down to whose moonbattery makes me least uncomfortable. I guess I’ll go with the one who’s got the most common sense: Ringo. But speaking strictly about music, objectively – the most musically talented was, without doubt, Paul.
Oleg Atbashian – writer and graphic artist from Ukraine, currently lives in New York. Creator of ThePeoplesCube.com, a satirical website where he writes under the name of Red Square.