intellectuals and their delusions

One of the most amusing thing about intellectuals who identify as being on the Left is their sense of their own importance combined with a startling degree of naïvete and outright delusion. They are all convinced that once the Glorious Socialist Revolution is achieved that they will be leaders or, at the very least, high-ranking commissars.

In fact of course as far as the people pulling the strings are concerned intellectuals are disposable. They have their uses in creating the instability that makes revolution possible but once a revolution actually succeeds those intellectuals become not merely useless but a positive embarrassment.

The problem is that once a revolution succeeds instability is no longer a desirable thing. The aim of all revolutionaries is power. Achieving power, and then maintaining it. The last thing they want once they have power is people who create instability. Once the revolution succeeds the intellectuals are most likely to be the first people lined up against a wall and shot.

Back in the 1930s effete western intellectuals were hopelessly in love with communism. They looked forward eagerly to the coming of communist revolutions in the West. Their admiration of the Soviet Union was embarrassingly adolescent. What they failed to understand was that if they had been in the Soviet Union during the 30s the best fate they could have hoped for was to be sent to a labour camp. Far from being welcomed as leaders these intellectuals would have found themselves cowering in cells in the Lubyanka, begging for their lives, followed shortly thereafter by an appearance at a show trial in which they would have been making grovelling apologies for counter-revolutionary crimes and facing the prospect of a bullet in the back of the head as a reward for their loyalty to the revolution.

What intellectuals always fail to understand is that actual revolutionaries, or at least the successful ones, are hard-headed practical and unsentimental. Successful revolutionaries recognise that intellectuals are a menace. Successful revolutionaries are concerned with power, not ideology.

The globalist elites are no different. Once their aims have been achieved they will have no further use for the hordes of worthless academics with professorships in gender studies. At the moment the globalist elites want instability, but they want instability as a means to an end. Once their power has been established beyond question then instability will no longer be a desirable thing. That’s when the purges will begin, and those being purged will be professors of gender studies and other similarly worthless academics. Those further down the food chain, the armies of paid activists and agitators, will be seen as not just expendable but dangerous. A potential threat that must be liquidated.

The most extraordinary thing about intellectuals is their complete incapacity for learning from experience. Reality always surprises them because reality plays no part whatever in their theories. They never learn, and they never will learn.

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the culture war as class war

I speak in my previous post about the rise of the intellectuals as a self-conscious class. This has had serious consequences as far as the culture war is concerned. To a considerable extent the culture war has been a class war. It’s been rather different however from the kind of class war Marx envisioned. This has been a class war launched by the ruling class against the lower classes who were already disenfranchised and powerless.

The motivation is partly class interest. It’s in the interests of the ruling class to keep the masses docile and demoralised. But it’s more than that. A good deal of the motivation seems to be pure hatred. This is particularly true of the intellectual sub-class of the ruling class. They have a visceral loathing for working-class people.

A large part of the culture war has been an attack on the values of working-class people. And on the symbols that are important to working-class people. Even just the ordinary day-to-day habits of working-class people are enough to enrage intellectuals.

This is not just a class war for dominance. It appears to be a kind of war of annihilation, with the objective being to destroy the working class utterly.

It’s important to understand that this is not a rational response on the part of intellectuals. It’s pure emotion.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that intellectuals live in a fantasy la-la land of theory and working-class people tend to regard the theories of intellectuals with scepticism. Some ideas are so crazy and so obviously wrong that only people with a university education can convince themselves to believe in them. The main purpose of a university education is to deaden the mind in order to allow people to believe in things that are clearly false. Working-class people, lacking the advantages of university educations, tend to rely on common sense. And nothing makes intellectuals more angry than common sense.

Intellectuals get very upset if anyone disagrees with their oh-so-clever theories. One of the driving forces of the culture war is to create an environment in which such disagreement will no longer be permitted. The very existence of people who disagree with them triggers intellectuals. Since working-class people tend to disagree with intellectuals on most subjects then obviously the working class must be eliminated.

intellectuals and the other class struggle

When we hear the term class struggle we think of the rich vs the poor, capitalists vs workers and so forth. Discussions of this topic often involve the concept of the ruling class. In fact class struggles are often much more complex and much more interesting. The really bitter struggles often take place within classes.

The idea of a monolithic ruling class that has always exercised power is clearly nonsense. Ruling classes evolve. And evolution can be a brutal process. The survival of the fittest and all that.

In the Middle Ages power was based on the possession of land. This was the age of the aristocracy of land. Even that is an over-simplification since there were often bitter struggles between large land owners and smaller ones and there was very often conflict between the crown and the large land owners so it wasn’t really a monolithic ruling class. Nonetheless it was a ruling class and it was based on land.

The Industrial Revolution changed all that. It created a new aristocracy, the aristocracy of money. Naturally this set off a bitter conflict within the ruling class and of course the aristocracy of money won.

In the 18th century another new aristocracy was emerging. This was the aristocracy of ideas. The intellectual class. Intellectuals in the modern sense hardly existed prior to that time. In the 18th century they emerged and grew and prospered. You could find them in the universities, attending elegant soirées, in coffee houses, anywhere that was safely sheltered from the real world. Intellectuals like theories and the annoying thing about the real world is that it rarely conforms to the theories of intellectuals. As a result intellectuals shun the real world.

There was one thing that really frustrated these intellectuals is that they had no real power. They wanted to run things. They wanted to run everything, including the government.

The intellectuals were part of the ruling class in the broad sense but they also had their own distinct class identity. Their primary loyalty was to their own intellectual class.

This meant that the old aristocracies, of land and of money, were an obstacle. This partly explains the enthusiasm of intellectuals for left-wing political ideas (an enthusiasm that was already becoming evident even before the rise of classical marxism). The intellectuals didn’t care about the working class but they did have an interest in overthrowing the existing order, or at least destabilising it in order to take power themselves.

Intellectuals were also somewhat internationalist in outlook right from the start. They tended to be  rootless cosmopolitans. Not all of them. In the 19th century some were attracted to nationalism. By the mid-20th century however virtually all had adopted some form of internationalism.

Of course the big problem was that intellectuals loved theory and despised reality. There has never been a class with such a lust for political power combined with such a total incapacity for exercising it sensibly. No-one should ever take intellectuals seriously. Unfortunately we have taken them seriously, with catastrophic consequences.

to control society first control the culture

A commenter at Oz Conservative recently stated, “Liberals can only mount their progressive tyranny on non-liberals through the power of the state.” I’m not sure I agree with this, not completely anyway.
The current dominant ideology, a combination of globalism and liberalism, has gained its ascendancy mostly through gaining control of the culture. This process began early in the 20th century. By the 1960s liberal leftists were firmly in control of the worlds of art and literature. They controlled Hollywood, and most of the world of entertainment. They controlled most of the news media. They controlled the universities. They had thoroughly infiltrated most of the churches. They were well on the way to controlling the culture. Their cultural control is now total.
In most cases they did not advance their agenda through direct political means. They did not control the power of the state. They have certainly been able to force the state to enforce their agenda but this has been a fairly recent thing. In every case the coercive power of the state has only been used to compel obedience to cultural changes that have already taken place.
Homosexuality had already been culturally normalised before legislation was passed to make homosexual acts legal. Marriage had already been undermined before divorce laws were relaxed to the point of making marriage nothing more than a temporary sexual arrangement. Feminists had already gained acceptance of most of their program before feminism started to be legally enforced by the state.
The use of the judiciary to accelerate the rate of social change is a recent phenomenon and it has only been made possible by liberal domination of the culture (both high culture and popular culture). 
Liberals haven’t actually needed the power of the state to push their agenda. Nor have they needed to win election victories. As long as their control of the culture remains total they can rest assured that the power of the state can and will be used to reinforce their victories. Those victories are however always won by cultural battles, not political battles. Politics is downstream of culture.
It logically follows that liberalism cannot be defeated by conventional political means. Liberalism can only be defeated by wresting control of the culture away from them. That can only be achieved by a more powerful, more attractive, more dynamic, cultural force. At this point in time such a cultural force does not exist. Until it does liberalism will remain in the driver’s seat.

the Dutch election and the Trump Factor

An interesting sidelight on the Dutch election is the Trump Factor. I’ve seen reports that support for Wilders’ PVV party started to plummet after he came out as a Trump supporter.
European intellectuals have for decades had an absolutely visceral hatred for Americans, and particularly for Americans like Trump who glory in their Americanness. That hatred has now permeated most of European society. Europeans like to imagine they are morally and intellectually superior to Americans. Which is pretty amusing when you consider the catastrophic course of European history in the past century.
It’s partly a matter of style. Trump’s style plays very well in the US. It antagonises European.
It’s also a matter of class. Trump obviously likes ordinary people, including working-class people. European intellectuals loathe and despise the working class, and intellectuals have real influence in Europe. 
The style and the class elements combined have caused a complete psychological meltdown among European intellectuals and the European media. The anti-Trump hysteria in the European media even surpasses that in the US media. The end result of this may be that moderates have been frightened off. Even people who agree with Wilders on immigration are afraid of being associated with someone who admires Trump. 
Europeans don’t seem to like outspoken charismatic leaders. They like bland managerial types, the more boring the better. They seem to think that strong charismatic leaders are automatically fascists. As a result they have had seventy years of weak treacherous leadership.
Never underestimate the European terror of being labeled fascist. Americans can pass such things off as jokes but Europeans (at least western Europeans) can’t. Western Europeans would rather die than be thought of as racists or fascists. The way things are going that’s probably the fate in store for them.
It might be advisable for Marine le Pen to do everything possible to distance herself from Trump.

living in a two-movie reality

Scott Adams’ blog has become a real must-read over the past year or so. I think his idea that we live in a two-movie reality is probably the best explanation of the world as it is today.
It’s not that different people have different political views. It’s not even that different people have different world-views. The two sides of the political debate literally inhabit different realities. There are two alternative realties running side-by-side. Those who live in one reality quite simply and quite genuinely are incapable of perceiving the other reality. It’s like two people watching entirely different movies, and the two movies have nothing in common.
This is profound implications for the future of our society. Our society is built on the assumption that political differences can be settled amicably through the ballot box. It’s based on the assumption that we can agree to disagree. If however we live in a two-movie reality that’s not going to happen. Each half of the population, being utterly incapable of perceiving what the other perceives, believes the other half is not merely stupid and deluded but willfully evil. They must be evil, since they refuse to see what we can see so clearly. You can only agree to disagree if you believe the other person holds his beliefs in good faith.
There’s little doubt that Adams’ two-movie theory holds true for the vast majority of the rank-and-file supporters of our competing ideologies? But does it hold true for those who pull the strings behind the scenes? Does it explain the motivations of the very rich very powerful men who direct international finance and control the political system? Are they deluded themselves because they are honestly believe in the version of reality in their movie, or are they actively and consciously manipulating their followers?
If the latter is the case, how far up the totem pole of power do the delusions reach? Is everyone subject to the two-movie problem except for the top one percent, or is it the top .01 percent? Are journalists and academics mere deluded foot-soldiers or are they active manipulators?
As far as the top levels of the elites go, I’m not sure which is the more depressing scenario – that they sincere but misguided believers in a delusion or that they are cynical con artists.

why our elites don’t know what they’re doing

I’ve spoken before about the perplexing problem we have of elites who are not only destroying our civilisation – they will inevitably end by destroying themselves. How on earth can this have happened?
Nassim Taleb has some ideas on this subject in his essay on the “Intellectual-Yet-Idiot” Class
It does seem increasingly obvious that our so-called intellectual elites are quite unable to foresee the consequences of their actions. When their decisions turn out badly they are unable to understand why and, more worryingly, being essentially mediocrities  with no deep understanding their instinct is to deny reality rather than question their own beliefs.
There’s a lively discussion on the topic at Vox Popoli. This discussion raises another fascinating possibility – that high IQ individuals are in fact to a considerable degree excluded from positions of power and influence.
Even a cursory glance at the history of the West over the past century makes it pretty clear  that during this period most western countries have largely been ruled by people who are, to put it mildly, not very bright. Back in the 70s British historian Corelli Barnett pointed out the disastrous consequences of the ineptitude of the British ruling class in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (in his superb book The Collapse of British Power) so the problem is certainly not new.
What is new is that a reasonably large number of ordinary people seem to be slowly realising that they are being ruled by elites who don’t have a clue what they’re doing.