Belmont Club

Looking for a Way Out

Dionne Searcey of the New York Times tries to explain, without much success, how the Boko Haram turns its teenage female hostages into willing suicide bombers for Islam. “Boko Haram, one of the world’s deadliest extremist groups, has used at least 105 women and girls in suicide attacks since June 2014.” Although the actual process of indoctrination was explained by one of the women who escaped from the camp, Ms. Amos, a Christian,  who said “she was forced to enroll in Boko Haram’s classes on its version of Islam, a first step on her way toward being taught the art of suicide bombing,” the article emphasized the use of drugs or food deprivation.

There was no alternative but to invoke a physical agency to explain the girls’ willingness to die. The establishment press has lost its access to the rich vocabulary of religious belief or patriotism that once was a normal part of language. To explain Islamic suicide bombing — indeed current events — they have to make do with the meager and ridiculous glossary of Critical Theory studies, often deliberately foisted on America, as Michael Walsh shows in his book The Devil’s Pleasure Palace as an actual joke.

The idea of the Critical Theorists was to break down American culture and turn everything upside down.  They succeeded to an extent undreamed of. Edward Rothstein, surveying the state of science museums, observes that over the last two generations even “the science museum has become a place where politics, history and sociology often crowd out physics and the hard sciences. There are museums that believe their mission is to inspire political action, and others that seek to inspire nascent scientists; there are even fundamental disagreements on how humanity itself is to be regarded.”

The catch to Critical Theory, as Walsh predicted, was that people would eventually learn that nothing worked in the left-wing paradise. Turning atoms into anomie and mandating ladies’ rooms be opened to transgender men turning into dragons would eventually result in a breakdown in the host.

Paul Krugman may now be afraid that the joke has gone too far. He warns in the NYT that actual catastrophe will result from a Bernie Sanders presidency. A “break up the big banks”  is something you say but something he’s thankful that Hillary’s “pragmatism” would prevent. Ironically, Clinton’s strongest selling point may be that she’s perceived as a liar where Bernie is perceived as sincere. Sanders may actually be dumb enough to believe the party’s talking points; Clinton is thought smart enough to know better.

A palpable desire to get things under control is running through both political parties because nothing is going as planned. Asked how Hillary could lose 8 out of the last 9 primaries to Sanders, a befuddled Charlie Rose confessed he could not explain how a “very, very good politician” like Hillary could have such a long losing streak. The GOP is also in dire straits, with The Daily Beast reporting a “secret movement to draft General James Mattis” to head off Donald Trump.

It is as if the entire body politic were squirming to get out of a trap. With Trump the candidate of “anyone but the RINOs”, Bernie the champion of “anyone but Hillary” and Mattis the standard bearer of anyone but either, nobody has any answers. Nobody can find an easy exit because the political class is trapped by a dogma of their own making. Whether it is President Obama vetoing 50 plans put forward by the CIA to topple Assad or former president Clinton apologizing for his remarks about Black Lives Matter, each is a prisoner of their self-subscribed official lies. As with the NYT article on the Boko Haram girl suicide bombers, neither the problem nor the solution can be characterized with the vocabulary allowed. Everyone must participate in a ridiculous charade where the things that will work are strictly forbidden.

After decades of amassing power, the giant Western megastates find themselves curiously impotent, not only unable to act, but incapable of even describing their assailants as if they were the victim of a hit and run unable to recall the number of that truck.

Bernard Haisch in his book The God Theory tries to explain that we are trapped in a new kind of bigotry; that the more we learn about the role of consciousness and information in the working of reality the more reluctant we are to accept the utility of truth and to challenge the outdated 19th-century mechanistic model of the universe.  This conflict makes us like the robot of Lost in Space, trying to square a circle to find that It Does Not Compute.

Historical materialism is the foundation of Critical Theory, now the foundation of Western orthodoxy. The attitude is implictly conveyed in all the upscale talk shows and mini-series plotlines where truth is merely entertaining froth upon an uncaring universe, something to be manipulated, manufactured, revised and distorted according to convenience as George Orwell described in 1984. In that world, no harm can come of the lie; no harm could come of aborting a child even minutes before it was due to be born.

Yet the possibility that lies are not harmless broke upon Sam Hamad when he realized that Noam Chomsky whom he formerly admired had “betrayed the Syrian people” and abandoned them to genocide in order to advance his dogmatic, monomaniacal anti-Americanism. “In the past, Chomsky’s political stasis seemed virtuous to me,” Hamad wrote.  But what seemed virtuous in the abstract became monstrous when Chomsky started abetting the destruction of people whose names Hamad knew. “The part they [Chomsky’s adherents] are playing in Syria’s counter-revolution is discrediting leftism. In this way, their actions are comparable to those ‘socialists’ who destroyed the left for generations because of a blind loyalty to the nightmare of Stalinism.”

And the Stalinists are still at it long after even Stalin is dead. Chomsky can’t help himself any more than Obama or Bill Clinton could. He has to lie, not having noticed that somewhere along the line, he’s entered into an unnoticed transaction with someone or something that holds him in thrall rather then the other way round. The Great Linguistics Guru would be just as bereft of words as Dionne Searcey when it came to explaining why the Boko Haram can recruit suicide bombers because there’s a faculty he’s lost, a power of choice he’s given up to something — and this is the real gotcha of Critical Theory — to something that he won’t admit exists.

In seeking to become the masters, the Western political elite has become the slave of ideas they can’t even name, yet which oppress them like a dream weight, holding them down, making everything impossible. In an ending filled with irony, a Western Left that declared that nothing was out of bounds, which boasted it would achieve its goals by any means necessary, finds itself in a strait-jacket of its own device, unable to lift its own feet, quivering in fear before third-rate desert bandidos and a Russian thug.

Today, the Western heritage is being stripped by a dying left to pay for a lost wager for the soul of history. Yet, however hard it plunders the Western left is going down and the only question is how much else goes down with it. If the current crisis corresponds to the tremors that heralded the demise of the Soviet Union, it may only be a few preference cascades from interesting times.

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