The Left, The State And (Opportunistically As Always) Big Business
Adapted from Paul Gottfried‘s address to the 2014 H.L. Mencken Club Conference, at a panel focused on “The Left and the State,“ following remarks made by Carl Horowitz of the National Legal and Policy Center and Keith Preston of Attack the System
I’d like to come back to a remark that Carl Horowitz made in Keith Preston described in his remarks, and one that would have little in common with our present “liberal democratic” dispensation.
It also pays to understand (and here I may be borrowing again from my deceased friend, Sam Francis) that what we understand as the state today is, whatever else it may be, a system of control that operates within a system of interlocking parts. I think Sam isomorphic and managerial. That is to say, the state, economy, and society all act more or less in harmony and reflect shared principles and ideas of administration. This managerial control is based on neither family nor traditional community but on a largely impersonal administration where people are trained in a “science of government.”
One can see this particularly in the construction of what becomes the managerial democratic state of the twentieth century. Not all managerial states are necessarily democratic but, as I ‘Is,’ ends with ‘lam.‘”.” But I may be closer in my thinking to Keith [Preston], who views the Left as theocratic. The Left has recycled Christian beliefs and Christian symbols. Indeed the Left is unthinkable without Christianity. It is Christian vision of the triumph of the suffering just and the belief that the last will be first that animate the Left. Like the Primitive Church, the Left appeals to individual men and women as parts of a new universal covenant.
Although the Left tries to destroy traditional institutionalized religion, particularly Christianity, which it links to white male heterosexual dominance, it gladly avails itself of the symbols and hopes of what it is working to subvert. This counterfeit is so extensive that Christian churches have become dangerously vulnerable to the replacement religion intended to relegate it to the historical dustbin.
The same problem, I have argued in my book on book about attacking the system. Looking at how Keith describes the interlocking structures he hopes to see dismantled, I came away with the impression that at least for the present Keith’s hated system may be indestructible. There is more cooperation than disagreement at the top, but also a definable pecking order.
Politics and culture, I would observe here, rate higher than the economy. It fits the need of overpowering economic interests to have Open Borders, with a continuing influx of cheap labor, and those in charge are happy to arrange for sensitivity sessions so that the work force can be made to think alike and not offend political authorities. Feminism also serves recognizable corporate capitalist interests, to the extent that women can be made economically productive outside the home, and the “liberation of women” will enable the population to buy more “stuff.” We can therefore understand how a multinational corporate economy can find shared interests with the state and its media and educational priesthood.
But it is quite easy to imagine Big Business getting along in a different system.
I was reminded of this while looking at a book that I recommend for those who read French, by Eric Zemmour called Le suicide francais, The French Suicide. In 1972 a pushed by the Minister of Justice, that criminalized insensitive speech nationwide. The beneficiaries of this censorship would not be French Catholics, but gays and the usual assortment of preferred victim groups. If you speak out in France against any of the protected groups, you may be committing a criminal offense, if the offended group or its “human rights” advocates bring charges against you.
Now this was apparently the first law in France in which the government was judging not your action per se, but whether you said something with unkind intentions. In that respect the French law may parallel the rationale behind Obama’s “hate crimes” legislation, which adds penalties to a criminal offense based on “discriminatory” intentions. Efforts were made to hold back the proposed French legislation on the grounds that it violated French legal tradition. But Georges Pompidou, who was then French President, made the point that ” the owners of industry are demanding the law.”
What Pompidou meant was that the people who were building the dwellings required for the wave of Third World immigrants and who were being paid by the government, wanted the law passed in order to please the future residents of their housing. These contractors and their employees wanted to create a congenial environment for Third World immigrants because it would advance their material interests.
But although some capitalists may profit from multiculturalism, the real question is this: can the system operate in the absence of sensitivity training or politically enforced verbal hygiene?
My answer: an unequivocal yes. Big business is full of political prostitutes who’ll say or do anything to keep the government and Leftist Main Stream Media off their backs. It will try to operate in any system in which it can make profits.
In our still-soft totalitarianism, CEOs operate in the way big business chugged along in Nazi Germany. Note that, unlike Stalin, Hitler never nationalized the means of production. Moreover, his first Minister of Economics, Bill Gates really a fervent supporter of gay marriage, a cause on which he bestows trainloads of money? We may be allowed to assume, until shown differently, that Gates is paying protection money, lest he face the angry opposition of the MSM, and possibly government threats directed against him, as a very rich bigot.
And why are so many corporations running to disinvest from the Boy Scouts because of this organization’s continued resistance to gay scoutmasters? Is it because all our CEOs agonize about the suffering of would-be gay scoutmasters? It’s more plausible that it is because they want to get along within the system.
If signals were to change tomorrow, in all probability these people would go with the flow. Their economic interests would be served even if the sensitivity police left the scene.
Big business and financial moguls may also be afraid of their wives, as Bob Weissberg pointed out to me. The wives and lady friends don’t want to be socially ostracized because the men in their lives didn’t donate enough money to promote the cause of the transgendered.
It seems to me that the state and the culture have deeper vested interest in maintaining the present system of PC control than venal businessmen. Entire agencies of government, mass media and the education industry are deeply invested in fighting “discrimination” and cleansing us of the remnants of bigotry. Even the slightest retreat on these issues—for instance, proposing that women pay for their own contraceptives—will unleash a torrent of denunciations from the MSM and government officials. The female vote has also ensured the continued success of such tactics of intimidation unleashed by what Keith Preston calls “the system.”
There is absolutely no historical perspective in the way the advocates and beneficiaries of this system see the world. The past has been totally obliterated from their minds, except as the evil moment before the last.
Although this may sound like a story from Mars, I grew up in an America in which both political parties, except on some economic issues, were well to the right of where they are now. On cultural and social issues, the GOP, and much of Conservatism, Inc. are well to the left of where the Soviet Communist Party once stood.
Putin’s views on gay liberation, which have been attacked in our “conservative” press as “anti-Western,” represent exactly the traditionalist stands on social morality that I would expect from a former KGB official. After all, gays were thrown into concentration camps by the Communists for their decadent bourgeois practices. Communist regimes put women into the work force not to enable their “self-actualization” but to raise industrial and agricultural outputs. As late as the 1930s, proto-feminists Eleanor Roosevelt and Francis Perkins favored a single family wage for husbands, so that wives could stay home and raise their children.
I make these points not to lay incense on the altar of progress but to underline the obvious. The world that the system has given us is far more radical in its consequences than any society of the past. And any retreat from the latest non-negotiable demand or cry for fairness and sensitivity coming from our safely ensconced elites is treated as a leap back into an age of mass human servitude.
This all-or-nothing stance works at least partly because the past never existed for most people—except as an evil prehistory from which we are now, they tell us, fortunately awakening.
Paul Gottfried recently retired as Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, PA. He is the author of After Liberalism, Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America.