In the aftermath of this election we can see that elitist neo-Marxist intellectuals have evolved–from champions of the working class to enemies of the working class. I have to ask myself if they were ever really the former. How about those labor unions in China and Cuba!
There is something very unsavory about the use of the phrase “climate-change denier.” The allusion to the Holocaust seems to me to be particularly sleazy but rather transparent. This rhetorical trick subliminally equates those who do not believe that “the science is settled”– whatever that may mean in reference to an ongoing inquiry like science– with rabid antisemites. This kind of smear tactic is precisely what we should expect from people who can’t distinguish science from religion.
Reading the original “progressive” thinkers I notice that it is an unquestioned assumption in their reasoning that there is something we might refer to as ‘the good of society.” They cannot deny that “society” consists of individual humans because that fact is too obvious to everyone–except to certain devotees of a metaphysics once popular among German thinkers in the 19th Century and still implicit in the present thinking of the more extreme statists among us. But society is nevertheless an abstraction, whereas individuals are the “things” which form or are subsumed in the concept “society.” There is no question that associations of individuals exist–to refer to a relationship among them, a relationship which we conceive in our minds. Therefore, what “good” can can there be for such a relationship apart from the several goods of the individuals? Can we say that the relationship benefits from putting one group in conflict with another, such as labor and business? Things are good or bad for individual humans and only in that sense can they be be good for “society.” How can society even “exist” in the mind apart from the people who compose it? It reminds me of the point Murray Rothbard made: If Nazi Germany was a society, it included German Jews as components. If Germany supported the Holocaust, then German Jews condemned themselves because German society required their destruction. But, of course, Hitler didn’t believe the Jews were part of the Volk (another abstraction), so that society itself contains conflicting interests and the good of “the society at large” is nothing more than the “good” of the majority or of one faction against the rest.
We classical types learn to live, not in the moment, but in the millenia. Read closely in Plato or Aristotle or even Pindar, and you will find both the truths and the lies of the present.
My parents were strivers; they worked hard every day to fight their way into the lower middle class in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. They didn’t know it was all right if you failed and that someone would take care of them.
Just realized that this September it will be exactly half a century since I was a freshman in college. A few months into the freshman year I joined my first political protest, an anti-draft demonstration. Other students sneered at me and called me a communist, which, in those days, was anyone who expressed an opinion other than the commentary on the network news.
Now when I tell people I don’t want to vacation in Cuba because the Castros put journalists in prison, people call me a right-winger.