By Raimund St. Canon
For those whose politics fall squarely within the acceptable limits of upper crust society, “cultural Marxism” is a signal word that elicits eye-rolls and an immediate tuning out. I’ll admit (e.g., signal), I’m guilty of a knee-jerk dismissal when I hear the phrase tumble out of a mainstream Republican talking head or an effete National Reviewer. Like so much of what Conservatism, Inc. does; its attacks on cultural Marxism always seem to get some of it right, most of it wrong, and all of it entirely for the wrong reasons.
Leftist globalism–the du jour brand of materialist, humanist, egalitarian globalism whose adherents pass off their policy positions and culture-shaping as if they were just universalist umpires calling social justice balls and strikes–is, fundamentally, a type of cultural communism or cultural Marxism. I’m not talking about the grand conspiratorial theory of “cultural Marxism”, but rather about the actual attacks on traditional cultural mores and institutions that are purported to be the bulwarks of injustice or oppression. These are fundamentally informed by a communistic philosophy and employ communistic state-enforced social engineering to achieve their ends.
One key to leftist globalism’s success in the American marketplace of ideas was the re-imagining of what America is and Americans actually are. The classical ideas of nation, country, and state have been entirely dismantled. In America, these terms have merged into one, having no separate meaning to the common person. A nation is no longer a people of an ancient, common, ancestral family. With no nation, a state is no longer a legal, forceful expression of the people’s communal self-determination. Without these, a country is no longer a collective expression of private property that houses its nation and its nation’s state. In America, the federal government is both state and country, and the nation is, at best, simply any human on Earth who desires to be American and, at worst, another analogy for the federal government.
Take a look at the Wikipedia page for “American”–the first place most people look for a quick introduction to a topic they’re interested in learning more about–and from the get-go we’re presented with several squishy definitions: An American is someone who is a citizen of and gives allegiance to the United States of America. An American is also any non-citizen resident of the United States. Being an American is open to anyone willing to become an American. An American is someone who commits themselves to liberty, equality, and republicanism.
The last of these, obviously, is ridiculous. If being American was truly dependent on adherence to ideals, then rejection of these ideals should strip you of citizenship, but of course this isn’t the case. According to our elites, to deny any non-citizen person on Earth access to Americanhood based on any quality other than an individual’s documented violent criminal history is a crime against humanity itself.
In practice, being American is conferred by birthright–either the Americanness of your parents or the Americanness of the soil over which you entered the world. For the globalist, finding your way into its territory at some point is functionally equivalent to jus soli. Simply desiring to live in America is sufficient for Americanhood. Borders, after all, are arbitrary lines and holdovers from a less enlightened era; and who are we to deny them if one of our ancestors immigrated here as well?
As Jon Stewart reminded us, there is nothing here–not culture, not nation, not country, not state, not identity–the belongs to us. If membership in the human race is all that is required to be American, then there is no “American”. There is nothing to own.
It’s these weak notions and practices that have led to a national identity crisis in America, and which will ultimate kill globalism in North America.
A fully realized nation with a true identity and a defined country has the capacity and moral authority to determine for themselves how they wish to live both through the force of the state and through their everyday lives. But a nationless state, with no identity and a perforated idea of country, finds itself controlled by whatever forces have the strongest motives and greatest means to control it. Even if its leaders are nominally selected by democracy or republicanism, it cannot serve the people because there is no “people” to serve. When everyone is citizen, no one is; and the state–an entity we are told is meant to serve us–instead serves an ideology that cares little for us.
What is the purpose of politics? Of the state? Of ideology? Do people and institutions exist to serve philosophies, or do philosophies and policies exist to serve a people?
Communism ultimately failed not because it was fundamentally more unjust than the mixed-economy capitalism it clashed with (although I would argue it was more unjust), it failed because it attempted to socially engineer away natural, healthy, and advantageous human behaviors it refused to fully understand and adequately predict. Communism was a theory that reality ultimately bore out as incorrect, while capitalism took potentially harmful behavioral tendencies and channeled them into a just, productive, and agreeable system.
So too, one way or another, reality will bear out that cultural communism is fundamentally flawed because it pathologizes natural, healthy, and advantageous human behaviors and attempts to socially engineer them away. What system, then, must we have on a global stage to take the potentially harmful behaviors of nationalism and channel them into something more just, more productive, and more agreeable to all? The idea of the nation as an ancestral community will never die because it is fundamental to humans and their well-being, and its attempted murder has the potential to result in human suffering communistic in scale.
As we enter a phase in the west where the consequences of leftist globalism’s cultural and policy successes are beginning to come to bear, we find nationalism raising its weary head in the United Kingdom, France, Greece, Germany, Sweden, America… everywhere that leftist globalism has had its successes. What we should have had waiting in the wings is a fully fleshed-out and well-known nationalist ideology. Instead, Big Conservatism’s open-armed embrace of globalist philosophy and intellectual cowardice has left us with a vacuum. If something harmful fills it, the gatekeepers of mainstream conservatism are the ones who will be left with blood on their hands.
A national identity–even one without a state or country–is what is desired and needed. Leftist globalism has left us atomized, nationless, and ultimately spiritually unfulfilled. We try to fill that void with allegiance to electronics brands, pop cultural tastes, career advancement, political ideologies, etc.; but these identities are not fulfilling because they are neither fundamental nor unconditional. A real identity is one that can never leave you.
As identity continues to be whittled away, feelings of restlessness and resentment will continue to grow. All people are more fully realized with a nation that is theirs, that they own, that they are responsible to, that takes their side, that gives them identity, that they inherit from their ancestors and pass on to their progeny. We live on through our nation. We find identity in who came before us and who comes after–in the place and culture they left to us which we will leave our heirs. We want to make our nation, state, and country better because they are as much us as we are them. We want to help our brothers and sisters because we are our brothers and sisters.
According to leftist globalism, seeing one’s own ethnicity as an extended family when compared to other ethnicities is morally wrong. Recognizing and accommodating differences in behavioral preferences between us is evil. Purporting that we can have respect, show dignity, and value all human beings while at the same time finding greatest spiritual fulfillment and happiness in an ethnically homogeneous sovereign society is a vile notion not worth engaging with. “Blood and soil” necessarily leads to Auschwitz. This leftist rhetoric is obviously untrue, but if you paint the only real alternative to your ideology as a historical boogeyman, do not be surprised when people think that acting like that boogeyman is the only way to oppose you.
Globalism will continue to try to engineer away the natural world and fight against the stream of healthy human behavior. It will continue to sell us a hollow spiritual despite the obvious and growing feeling of emptiness in the populace. Something is deeply wrong with the dominant view we are being told to build our modern world upon. You can either channel the swell into something just, productive, fulfilling, advancing, safe from its own ills; or you can watch it wash over us in an unpredictable and violent tsunami. This current flavor of globalism will inevitably fall, the real question is what will be there to catch us?