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Marxism and Holistic Thinking

New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 27
(Video version)

Holistic thinking isn't just a feature of the weird New Age and spiritualists; it's also a centerpiece of Marxist thinking. For Marxists (like all Hegelians), the goal is to understand the parts in terms of the whole in which they are a part, and this is what's meant by "holistic" thinking. What Marx and Hegel mean by this form of dialectical thought is that they understand the whole, like the whole of History itself including its purpose, and you don't. Thus, they deserve all the power. This manifests in pushes for "whole child" education involving the "whole community" backed up by the "whole government" using "holistic methods" that transform "whole schools," for example. If you read their documentation on almost any subject, you'll find this peculiar "holism" all over the place. Join host James Lindsay in this episode of New Discourses Bullets where he pulls back the curtain on this seemingly strange phrasing and the diabolical ...

00:14:32
The Theft of Education

New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 26
(Video version)

Education is being stolen from our kids and our society. In fact, for the most part, it has been stolen already. The way it's being and been done is through using something that is known as the "generative themes" approach, which derives from the work of the Marxist educator Paulo Freire. Generative themes are supposed to generate particular kinds of political conversations in the context of presenting some other kind of educational lesson. In this episode of New Discourses Bullets, host James Lindsay shares (with permission) Jennifer McWilliams's example (https://www.jennifermcwilliamsconsulting.com/ ) of a seemingly benign and innocuous second-grade word problem in mathematics class to show how a simple subtraction lesson can be turned into any number of political conversations about poverty, race, sex, gender, sexuality, family, parental authority, and environmental issues or climate change by a manipulative teacher-activist using ...

00:20:17
Totalitarianism and the Progressive Impulse

New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 25
(Video version)

With the possible exception of our would-be overlords, we all know Nazis were bad. Fewer of us, especially in the younger generations, understand that Communists are also bad. Do you understand these two movements and how they're actually both bad because they're actually both part of the same current of thought? That current of thought is progressivism, especially of the collectivist-socialist kind, which is more broadly an actionable manifestation of the Romantic counter-Enlightenment movement. While different in important ways, what these two evil movements share in common is profound. Join host James Lindsay in this longer episode of New Discourses Bullets to see them both, as well as our present circumstances, more clearly.

00:33:08
Marxism and Holistic Thinking

New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 27

Holistic thinking isn't just a feature of the weird New Age and spiritualists; it's also a centerpiece of Marxist thinking. For Marxists (like all Hegelians), the goal is to understand the parts in terms of the whole in which they are a part, and this is what's meant by "holistic" thinking. What Marx and Hegel mean by this form of dialectical thought is that they understand the whole, like the whole of History itself including its purpose, and you don't. Thus, they deserve all the power. This manifests in pushes for "whole child" education involving the "whole community" backed up by the "whole government" using "holistic methods" that transform "whole schools," for example. If you read their documentation on almost any subject, you'll find this peculiar "holism" all over the place. Join host James Lindsay in this episode of New Discourses Bullets where he pulls back the curtain on this seemingly strange phrasing and the diabolical concept behind it.

Marxism and Holistic Thinking
The Theft of Education

New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 26

Education is being stolen from our kids and our society. In fact, for the most part, it has been stolen already. The way it's being and been done is through using something that is known as the "generative themes" approach, which derives from the work of the Marxist educator Paulo Freire. Generative themes are supposed to generate particular kinds of political conversations in the context of presenting some other kind of educational lesson. In this episode of New Discourses Bullets, host James Lindsay shares (with permission) Jennifer McWilliams's example (https://www.jennifermcwilliamsconsulting.com/) of a seemingly benign and innocuous second-grade word problem in mathematics class to show how a simple subtraction lesson can be turned into any number of political conversations about poverty, race, sex, gender, sexuality, family, parental authority, and environmental issues or climate change by a manipulative teacher-activist using the Freirean ...

The Theft of Education
Totalitarianism and the Progressive Impulse

New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 25

With the possible exception of our would-be overlords, we all know Nazis were bad. Fewer of us, especially in the younger generations, understand that Communists are also bad. Do you understand these two movements and how they're actually both bad because they're actually both part of the same current of thought? That current of thought is progressivism, especially of the collectivist-socialist kind, which is more broadly an actionable manifestation of the Romantic counter-Enlightenment movement. While different in important ways, what these two evil movements share in common is profound. Join host James Lindsay in this longer episode of New Discourses Bullets to see them both, as well as our present circumstances, more clearly.

Totalitarianism and the Progressive Impulse

I've read it in detail. They don't.

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This is actually MAGA country, lady.

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If @elonmusk makes his own phone, they'll block it at the level of ISPs. The government will definitely interfere as well to limit materials, exports, and hiring. Watch em.

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How to Kill a Science: The Process of Dialectical Inversion

One of the “key goals” of the Woke Marxist movement is to “decenter the natural sciences” (e.g., Carey et al. 2016). How on Earth is someone supposed to “decenter” the natural sciences—and from what, and why?

The second of these questions is extremely easy to answer. The natural sciences have to be decentered from credibility and authority. “Other ways of knowing,” especially (Marxist) political activism, have to be brought from margin to center in terms of what is considered credible and authoritative in terms of “scientific” knowledge production—in other words, Marxist scientism has to usurp the authority and credibility of the sciences. Why? Because knowledge is power, obviously. If the mass lines of action in your activist agenda are believed to carry the credibility and authority of science, everyone just has to go along with them. “Believe science,” remember? Did Covid-19 teach us nothing?

A little more specifically, being a “holistic” way of thinking derived from Georg Hegel, that which is at the “center” of a system has power. That which is on the margins has less or none. From the center, the whole and its many particulars can be perceived and influenced; from the margins, none of this is possible. If you want to center marginalized “knowledges,” like scientism, political activism, superstition, or whatever else you find useful to your activist project at any given moment, you have to decenter the legitimate methods of establishing knowledge first and then center alternatives, or “other ways of knowing” and “other knowledges.” That way, they command influence and can shape the ideas, material conditions, cultural conditions, or whatever other aspects of societal and human production for which the activists want to seize the means of production. Simple.

So, fine, what Woke Marxist activists want to accomplish by “decentering science” and why they want to do it is obvious enough. How, though, can they do it? The sciences earned their reputation, and they have a lot of power to prevent this kind of corruption, as the activists themselves have lamented for decades. The answer is through a dialectical inversion.

Here’s how it works in two steps. First, scientific knowledge and “diverse knowledges” from “other ways of knowing” are “sublated” onto “equal” footing through a dialectical reinterpretation of “knowledge.” Once the epistemological superiority of scientific knowledge is thereby obscured, it is relentlessly attacked for all the “harms” it causes and has caused (benefits aren’t useful to denounce, so they’re not mentioned) and all the negative “systems” and “structures” it’s associated with. This process inverts the worth of the different “knowledges” on moral grounds. So, the first step, the dialectical sublation, removes the question of epistemological worth, and the second step, the moral inversion, puts the activism on top.

To understand this little trick, we have to understand the dialectic. In the simplest way of putting it, the dialectic proceeds by a process Marxists have called “sublation,” which translates the peculiar German word aufheben, which means simultaneously to abolish or cancel, to keep or maintain, and to lift up. In short, sublation means understanding how two things that are apparently opposites to one another in some way are really part of some singular whole when understood from a higher level. So, you abolish the particulars, keep the essence, and do it by lifting up your understanding to a higher plane, which is obviously (in their eyes) better.

Here’s a non-controversial example adapted from Hegel himself. If I have a red apple and a yellow apple (or any two apples), they’re obviously different. In that sense, they’re opposed to one another, but we call them both “apples.” That’s a contradiction, dialectical thinking insists, because different things can’t be the same thing, but here we are with two different apples both being apples. If we abolish the particulars of red and yellow but keep the generality of it being the fruit of the species Malus domestica as what confers their essential “appleness,” we can lift up to a higher level of understanding about the particular fruit by seeing them as classified as “apples.” We abolished particulars, kept the essence, and understood it from a higher (in this case, more general) level.

So, what the dialectic does is takes two apparent opposites, sees them from some “higher perspective” whereupon some contradiction reveals itself, and then adopts the higher-perspective view to see the opposites as two aspects of a single phenomenon. (When done responsibly, this process is actually called generalization and isn’t idiotic.) Capitalism and socialism might, for example, both be seen as organizational systems for the modes of production, and thus they’re not opposed to one another but potentially miscible socioeconomic systems that obtain some “better” result than either alone, in this case “sustainable capitalism.” At this point, it’s worth pointing out that the dialectical opposites is called their “synthesis,” and so rather than calling the result “better,” we should call it “synthetic.” It tells us more about how likely it is to work out. Objective and subjective synthesize into “creative.” Being and Nothing synthesize into Becoming. Noble savages and noblemen synthesize into “savages made to live in cities.” Individuals and collective society synthesize into “individuals made to live in society,” i.e., socialists—or so insisted Karl Marx at the bottom of his analysis.

Marxism doesn’t proceed merely through dialectical synthesis, however. It operates through dialectical transformation, which requires an inversion. If you wanted to usurp scientific authority to your crackpot ideology, for example, it wouldn’t be enough to just do what Marx and Hegel did and call your crackpot ideology a “system of science” (System der Wissenschaft, Hegel; Wissenschaftlicher Sozialismus, Marx). No scientist this side of the end of the 19th century is going to fall for that. You have to kill the existing science too. The hard part is that you don’t have the necessary tools to do it on the “master’s” playing field. “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” we’ve heard it said (by Audre Lorde).

In order to do a dialectical transformation of a science into another tool in your revolutionary toolkit, you have to kill it first, then gut it, and wear its skin as a suit. That requires you to commit a sciencecide, the murder of a science. That’s done through a process I’m calling dialectical inversion. It’s a two-step: first a dialectical sublation and second a moral inversion that “critiques” the existing science into submission.

The first step in this process—though usually not performed temporally first—is a dialectical sublation of the knowledge generated by the science. Your knowledge is no different than my knowledge. Scientific knowledge and activist gnowledge (gnosis) are still both knowledge, and how dare you exclude mine? Yours is a culturally produced product; mine is a culturally produced product; and no one has the privileged standpoint to say yours is better than mine. They’re just different. They’re two forms of knowing that are apparently opposed unless you understand “knowledge” on a higher level that includes both scientific knowledge and other kinds of knowledges. “Knowledge” has to be construed broadly, and then scientific, activist, indigenous, superstitious, magical, made-up, and downright crazy are all really apparent variations on a single theme. What they have in common is that different people who come from different “traditions” claim to “know” them. They’re all “knowledge.” In some sense, even if they’re not all “science,” they’re all scientia, which just means “knowledge” or “knowing.”

Scientists, as scientists, aren’t apt to fall for this word game, and thus the natural sciences have withstood the dialectical assault for longer than almost any other discipline of thought. People, as people, are, though, and, as it turns out, all the people we consider scientists are people. People like—in fact, need—to be liked, or at least held in esteem, especially to function in institutional settings.

“Critical” thought, as in the Critical Theory driving Critical Marxism, isn’t one-dimensional; it’s two, or so Herbert Marcuse, one of its greatest expositors, explained in One-dimensional Man, one of the most influential works in Leftism in the last hundred years. It doesn’t just understand; it has a moral dimension of understanding too (and a transgressive, artistic one). Refusing to recognize other knowledges and ways of knowing is exclusionary, which is a word that means “chauvinist” and carries all its pejorative stink, on steroids. You’re closed minded. You’re bigoted. You’re sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, capitalist, imperialist, colonialist, fascist, and all the other things you’re desperate not to be considered by friends or foes—or, especially, yourself. Thus, speaking temporally, the relentless accusations of bigotry in or around your science, its conferences, its departments, its organizations, its community, etc., etc., precedes the sublation. Otherwise, it won’t take.

This step is often accomplished through erosion, that is, simply wearing people down with relentless accusations that sometimes work. There’s some intersectional trickery going on here too, though, that works a bit like hiding a bitter pill inside a bit of cheese to get a dog to swallow it. Rather than presenting the activist “knowledges,” like feminist or antiracist “knowledges,” as the alternatives, it’s presented as one of many other forms of “diverse knowledges” (often explicitly invoked in this supremely vague way) that it’s morally pretty crappy to ignore, like indigenous knowledges, which are mostly practically experiential and/or superstitious. “Diverse knowledges” like indigenous knowledges are the bit of cheese the activist is using to get the poisoned pill of Soviet (construed broadly) knowledge on the table. You can’t include one without including them all, and what kind of a Western-centric bigot would add epistemic oppression and violence to indigenous people after all they’ve done with colonialism, imperialism, racism, exploitation, marginalization, and so on. Of course, the activists are using indigeneity as a tool to accomplish their agenda, but they phrase it like they’re helping. They (look like they) care.

In practice, “diverse knowledges” have to be “included,” and once they are, people will find out really quickly that they overwhelmingly mean activism. You might protest that they’re lying, but of course they are. They’re Communists.

Once you allow the sublation, you’ll be compelled to see all these different types of “diverse knowledges” as particulars of a similar phenomenon, “knowing.” You might not see them as equal yet (you bigot), but, don’t worry, for all their bluster, the activists don’t either. Their goal isn’t the equality they wear like a cloak but Gnostic supremacy, and the relentless association of your science with the abuses of systemic power structures has just begun.

The way the inversion is actually done, once the dialectical sublation has been achieved, is slightly more subtle than the blunt instrument of just calling a science racist, sexist, and transphobic all the time, though that never really stops being insisted. It’s a matter of consciousness. The activists, as Gnostics, position themselves as more aware than you. You aren’t even aware of all the ways your science is complicit in systemic harms. They are. You don’t even know your science proceeds on tons of implicit political assumptions, including about the definition of knowledge. They do.

The manipulation that achieves the sleight of hand isn’t really the relentless moral bullying, though that makes it possible. It’s the claim to consciousness. The case is made that every “knowledge system” proceeds from a concept of the world and man. They realize this, but you don’t. It’s always happening, but only they are aware of it. Yours causes all these harms. It’s complicit in all these evils. They point it out relentlessly. Theirs is, thanks to the sublation, epistemologically roughly the same, but it distinguishes itself by being conscious of all the harms yours causes and evils yours is complicit in, which, in being conscious of those, it denounces. Theirs is actually better than yours. Your science is evil, and so the dialectical inversion progresses. Your science, in the end, has to be handed over to more and more of their control until it’s not your science at all anymore. It’s a Lysenkoist zombie of your science; it’s a Sovietized counterfeit. (At this point, they can, and might, drop the pretense to caring about indigenous stuff, depending on how hegemonic their grip on the science has become.)

You might have noticed they didn’t have to make a positive case for their approach here, which they couldn’t do anyway (their way cannot work, so it doesn’t work). It’s not their obligation to offer a positive case for their approach. They have used a dialectical sublation of “knowing” to render any epistemological differences irrelevant at best or chauvanistic on your part at worst and demonstrated your approach is morally deficient in a way they abhor, thus inverting the relative validity of the two approaches. They don’t have to tell you why theirs is good; they only have to say why it’s better than yours, which provides nothing particularly unique and is framed out as all kinds of bad.

You might think this is a con, and that’s because it is. Scientists and government and university bureaucrats all over the world are tripping all over themselves to fall for it over and over again, though, almost like a contest to see who can signal their virtue loudest by falling for it hardest, fastest, and the most times in any given fiscal year. You might think you couldn’t possibly fall for it or that your science couldn’t possibly succumb to it because it has its methods, but that’s exactly why you will and so will it. All it takes is the right incident—and may George Floyd rest in power for-ever—and in your desperation not to be a Very Bad Person, if you’re like most people, or like your boss probably is, or like his boss (who is eventually a politician who lives and dies by public relations) probably is, you’ll “diversify” and wind up losing.

It’s not impossible to stop a dialectical inversion. It’s not even all that hard, honestly. You’ll get run through a public relations storm from hell, though, because we’ve already let this thing get way too far out of hand already. (Years ago, I was warning people that this would only get harder to stand up to later, not easier; welcome to later.) What you have to do is stand up for your science’s epistemological superiority, which it really does have, and thus prevent the sublation of “knowledges.” You have to reject their appeals to consciousness as crankery and crackpottery and then flip it over on them, pointing out the myriad harms and outright catstrophes that reliably follow from either their specific activist program or every historical attempt to intentionally subvert science to ideology. They’re not conscious; they’re crackpots. They don’t know something others don’t; they assert it. Not all sets of underlying assumptions are equal, and those seeking social transformation are always both unscientific and unmitigated disasters.

Don’t let it in. You know how it works now. Learn to spot it. Expose it for what it is when it happens, show your colleagues, and kick it out with extreme prejudice. Don’t be afraid.

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CRT, Queer Theory, and Marxism by Any Other Name

As a theory of “political economy,” Marxism isn’t at all complicated. At the very bottom, it is the belief that human beings are fundamentally social beings whose true nature shapes and is shaped by their societies. Off this, Marxism boils down to two essential beliefs about people and society. Those are

  1. The Division of Society Through Private Property: Some people illegitimately declared themselves the exclusive possessors of some special kind of private property and order society and its supporting ideological narratives to justify their claim on this property now and into the future; and
  2. A Dynamic Relationship Between “Praxis” and Its “Inversion”: People—especially those with access to structural power—can shape society as a matter of continually becoming what it is and will be (called “praxis”), and in turn structural power in society shapes the people who live within it (called “the inversion of praxis”). Phrased otherwise: Man makes Society makes Man makes Society… in an endless loop of praxis and inversion of praxis.

That’s how Marxism understands society. Basically, certain people create systemic (or structural) injustice by granting themselves exclusive access to a special form of private property and using it to shape society to their own persistent benefit, including by arranging systems and the narratives surrounding them to brainwash people into accepting this unjust state of affairs. This arrangement becomes the fundamental organizing principle of society until such time as it is overthrown from its conscious margins in societal revolution, according to Marxist thought.

That word “conscious” is the key term because Marxists believe that humans are making society and thus themselves no matter what. They’re always doing praxis, and the inversion of praxis is always occurring. Society and mankind are always becoming what they have been, are, and will be, whether we’re conscious of the trajectory of it or not. Marxism bills itself as the first true scientific study of History, which claims to reveal the true causes of the unfolding of society and thus man historically, by which is meant through his entire past, present, and future. Hitherto, one might say, this process has largely happened blindly, by people unconscious of the Scientific Socialism, as Marx called it, but that doesn’t need to stay the case. We can consciously seize the means of production of society and consciously direct it where it’s meant to go.

For Marxists, whoever has control over the capacity to do meaningful praxis in the world can shape society, which in turn shapes mankind. That’s, in fact, what makes us human, except that oppression is inherently dehumanizing, so we’re all estranged from our true nature until all structural dehumanization is brought to an end. Communism, writes Karl Marx, as the “positive transcendence of private property as human self-estrangement” and as “the abolition of private property” is the only possible answer to the end of all dehumanizing structures, by which we remember who we really are as human beings—Communists. The people who would benefit least from this transformation of society have arranged things so that they can’t possibly see it, and the people who would benefit most from it have been conditioned (through narrative, ideology, and the inversion of praxis) to accept those terms as “just how it is” or to be too marginalized, divided, and disenfranchised to do meaningful praxis.

Marxism isn’t just a descriptive theory of political economy, then. The point isn’t merely to understand society, explained Karl Marx, but to change it. As a theory of consciousness—which in this case means gnosis—Marxism is a program with two other essential beliefs about what to do with their beliefs about the organization of society at the level of its fundamental organization. Those are

  1. Historical Purpose (Telos): History has a purpose and a trajectory, and it is people’s role in life to realize this purpose and direct it to its (teleologically) intended endpoint; and
  2. Class Conscientization: People, especially those who directly experience the oppression, estrangement, and alienation of this unjust arrangement in society, can be awakened to it being the fundamental organization of society, which was historically derived and is malleable by understanding and seizing the means of the production of society, i.e., of the inversion of praxis, which is effected not so much by individuals but by the class in which they are situated.

In short, Marxism posits that those excluded from the special form of property are disenfranchised from the capacity to do praxis to shape society to their betterment (and, in fact, emancipation from the structural injustice imposed upon them). The privileged have structured society to reinforce their own worldview and principles from every dimension, so they naturally operate as though they are a conscious class even though they are not. Their imposition of “structural reality” and the ideology that seeks to justify it prevents the oppressed underclass from being able to realize that they could band together as a class to do meaningful praxis and transform the system to one that is more just and equitable.

Speaking religiously, as an aside, what Marx proposed is that the real Fall of Man and ejection from the Garden of Eden was self-imposed by taking up “knowledge” of the ownership of private property. This, in turn, created the division of labor and thus, through the inversion of praxis, the division of Man. Man sundered himself from himself, each other, nature, his true nature in this Fall. Marxism is therefore a “theory” (technically, it’s an anthroposophy or, depending on one’s perspective, a theosophy) for how Man can remember who he really is (a socialist), undo the Fall (the division of labor created by the belief in private property), and return to the Garden on his own terms.

There’s nothing particular about economic material production that defines the essence of Marxism, then. Karl Marx, for reasons we might speculate about, believed that one’s material economic conditions are the overwhelming primary determiner of one’s person and character through the inversion of praxis. In other words, it is one’s material and economic conditions that “make Man” and estrange him from his true social nature, which is Communist. Classical Marxism therefore becomes a matter of teaching the disenfranchised workers, who are marginalized and exploited in the unjust system of capitalism, to realize how things really work, seize the means of economic and material production (like factories and farms), and then use that to control the means of societal and human production, consciously and in line with Marxist anthroposophy about the purposed endpoint of society, which is Global Communism. In other words, there’s no reason that other types of exclusive or private property than capital might not be plugged into this political economy machine and spit out another fully formed Communist theory. This allows Marxist Theory to mutate according to need in whatever society it finds itself in, depending on where the biggest levers of power against that society might reside.

Take race, for example. If one assumes, as did Cheryl I. Harris in 1993, that “whiteness” defines a special form of property that certain people (“whites”) can treat as exclusive, a complete Marxist theory of race can drop out of the political economy machine. They call it “Critical Race Theory,” and, for reasons that are about to be perfectly clear, I call it “Race Marxism.” Here’s how it works, comparing against classical Marxism with a forward slash between the concepts.

Some people (whites/capitalists) unjustly declare themselves the exclusive possessors of a special form of private property (whiteness/capital), thereby divide society into those who have it and those who don’t, and begin to arrange society such that the power granted through that access increases for those people over time. Those excluded from the resource and thus power by this declaration (people of color/workers) are thereby exploited for their productive capacity that is then turned into surplus value (cultural property/profit) for the advantaged class. Not only are the exploited thereby robbed of what they produce (cultural property/labor value), but they are estranged from who they really are (valid representatives of a culture/producers). More specifically, the product of their work (cultural production/labor) is subsumed into the privileged class (becomes part of white culture/is turned into profit), leaving the exploited (people of color/worker) impoverished (culturally/materially) and unable to recognize himself for who he really is (say, authentically Black/a producer). All this is enabled by the privileged class structuring society at its most fundamental levels for their own benefit (structural or systemic racism/structural classism), justified by the privileged class promulgating an ideology that it’s how things are supposed to be (white supremacy/capitalism and meritocracy). People in this dynamic system can be awakened to the structural “realities” of their lives and become (race/class) conscious activists (antiracists/proletarians) who work to seize the means of production (cultural/material) of their society to make it more fair (equitable/socialist). Eventually, this will be generally understood as the right way to order a society and will, through their praxis inverting into the inversion of praxis and thus socially conditioning people to accept it, become spontaneously fair (socially just/communist).

This extends to other forms of property, construed more abstractly as not just material as in capital and land, but also as social, cultural, and even human capital. This allows for the instantaneous creation of the entire constellation of “Identity Marxist” theories of identity politics with virtually no work (which makes it funny how much work it has taken these people to devise this stuff). Again, technically none of these is a theory (they’re all anthroposophies and/or theosophies). Here’s a quick summary:

Marxism: The bourgeoisie claims access to a special form of property called capital. They create an ideology called capitalism (based on things like meritocracy) to justify this. This allows them to structure society with structural classism that advantages the bourgoisie and exploits, estranges, and disenfranchises the working class. People can be made aware of the Marxist theory of societal production and become class-conscious proletarians or a bourgeois vanguard operating in solidarity on their behalf. If they seize the means of production of society and Man, they will usher in socialism that will eventually ripen into Communism through the inversion of praxis.

Critical Race Theory: The whites (and their adjacents) claims access to a special form of property called whiteness. They create an ideology called white supremacy (based on things like meritocracy and racism) to justify this. This allows them to structure society with structural or systemic racism that advantages whites and exploits, estranges, and disenfranchises people of color. People can be made aware of the Critical Race theory of societal production and become race-conscious antiracists and/or “white allies” operating in solidarity on their behalf. If they seize the means of race-cultural production of society and Man, they will usher in racial equity that will eventually ripen into racial justice (a kind of social justice) through the inversion of praxis.

(Marxian) Feminism: Men claim access to a special form of property called maleness or masculinity. They create an ideology called male supremacy or hegemonic masculinity (based on things like meritocracy and sexism) to justify this. This allows them to structure society with patriarchy and structural or systemic sexism, enforced by misogyny, that advantages men and exploits, estranges, and disenfranchises women, as a class. People can be made aware of the (Marxian) feminist theory of societal production and become feminist-conscious feminists and/or “male allies” operating in solidarity on their behalf. If they seize the means of sex-cultural and material production of society and Man, they will usher in gender equity that will eventually ripen into feminist justice (a kind of social justice) through the inversion of praxis.

Queer Theory: Straight people whose “gender identity” and sex match (and those who pass as such) claim access to a special form of property called normalcy (by declaring themselves the normal ones and defining normalcy to mean like themselves). They create an ideology called normativity (e.g., heteronormativity and cisnormativity) to justify this. This allows them to structure society with structural or systemic homophobia and/or transphobia (or, generally, queer-phobia) that advantages the “normal” and exploits, estranges, and disenfranchises “queers” (anyone different, especially gays, lesbians, bisexuals, the gender non-conforming, transgenders, and the mentally ill). People can be made aware of the Queer Theory theory of societal production and become queer-conscious (“proud”) allies operating in solidarity on their behalf. If they seize the means of normative cultural production of society and Man, they will usher in gender, sexual, and sex equity that will eventually ripen into gender, sexual, and sex justice (a kind of social justice) through the inversion of praxis.

Disability Studies: The able-bodied claim access to a special form of property called “ability.” They create an ideology described from the outside as dis/ableism (based on a belief that it is generally better to be fully able-bodied than not, and further based in ideas like “medicalism”) to justify this. This allows them to structure society with structural or systemic dis/ableism that advantages able-bodied and exploits, estranges, disenfranchises, and disables the disabled or “differently abled.” People can be made aware of the Disability Studies theory of societal production and become disability activists conscious allies operating in solidarity on their behalf. If they seize the means of ability-relevant cultural and material production of society and Man, they will usher in ability-based equity that will eventually ripen into ability-based justice (a kind of social justice) through the inversion of praxis.

Fat Studies: The “thin” (those who are not “fat”) claim access to a special form of property called “normal weight” or even “health.” They create an ideology described from the outside as thinnormativity (based on a belief that it is generally better to be at a healthy weight than not, and further based in ideas like “healthism” and “medicalism”) to justify this. This allows them to structure society with structural or systemic fatphobia that advantages “thin” people and exploits, estranges, and disenfranchises the “fat” (they cannot be called “obese” because that “medicalizes” them or “overweight” because that “unjustly” implies a normal or acceptable weight). People can be made aware of the Fat Studies theory of societal production and become fat activists fat-conscious allies (or fat) operating in solidarity on their behalf. If they seize the means of weight/health-relevant cultural and material production of society and Man, they will usher in fat-based equity that will eventually ripen into fat-based justice (a kind of social justice) through the inversion of praxis.

It’s extremely important to understand Marxism on this general level so that what we’re dealing with around us in the world can be properly understood, called out for what it is, and prevented from achieving its ultimately destructive goal of seizing the means of production of anything, especially Man and History. Understanding these “theories” for what they really are not only allows us to call them out accurately and understand why they must be stopped, but it also allows us to be strategic in our fight against them because it enables us to easily predict their next moves and to delegitimize their manipulations as quickly as they arise. Failure to understand them this way means continually being taken off-guard, losing, and being manipulated, or—more accurately and through the inversion of their praxis—being exploited, estranged, and disenfranchised from our own societies.

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The Riddle of History, Solved

“Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution.” –Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844

As you can see, according to Karl Marx, Communism, true and proper, is the self-conscious solution to “the riddle of history.” Of course, in reality, where things have to work, there is no riddle of history. The “riddle of history” Marx referred to is, in fact, dialectical anthroposophy (which is a really fancy word for man-centered heretical nonsense), thus any claim upon a solution to that riddle is pure pretense and dangerous hubris. The true solution to the riddle of history, if we should even allow such a phrase, must begin with the outright rejection of Communism and the dialectical framing in which the riddle is posed in the first place, including the underlying assumption that History has a purpose and is thus a riddle to be solved.

Karl Marx did not reject that assumption, however; he began with it. What, to Marx, was the riddle of history, solved, other than just to say “Communism,” as described above? It’s socialism that can produce, that can “deliver the goods,” one might say. Productive socialism that allows Man to escape toil, exploitation, suffering, and work, which arrives when Man is freed from the existence of private property and thus the division of labor, which was his Fall, is the pathway to the “transcendence of private property as human self-estrangement,” as Marx had it. The problem is that “productive socialism” is a functional oxymoron.

The history of the twentieth century is basically the story of productive socialism not existing, either in reality or in actuality (these are different to Marxists). So far, all bids to create it have fallen flat on their faces, universally after starving and people by the millions in the pretense of having finally got it right—or, at least good enough for government work. The reason is straightforward: history is not a riddle, and the dialectic in which it is framed as such is bogus and ultimately a power grab for people who do not know how to wield power. We therefore have every reason to expect the newest “solution” to the “riddle of history,” which believes that it knows itself to be that solution, is going to fail and do a ton of avoidable damage so long as we keep giving it any countenance. Utter failure has never slowed a Communist down, however, so they’re doing what they always do when confronted with failure: keeping their bogus product the same while giving its branding a face-lift.

The fancy, new-fangled “solution” to the non-existent “riddle of history” therefore now tends to go by the name “sustainability,” or more specifically, “sustainable capitalism.” In sustainable capitalism, the economy will be “circular,” and “you will own nothing, and you will be happy.” We’ve heard this kind of talk before, always from the mouths of the emissaries of Mordor. It’ll be great, a “better future” that is both “sustainable and inclusive.” Our systems will be more “resilient,” and we won’t waste so much because we’ll be reusing most of our waste. Didn’t you see the video of Bill Gates smiling as he drank a glass of water pressed out of human sewage? We’ll eat far less meat and, one presumes, far more soy and bugs. Western values like individual liberty and the ownership of private property will hit their breaking points and be abolished, and the United States will no longer be the world’s superpower because room has to be made for China and a new mirror-image supranational West governed by the United Nations. Most importantly, this whole scam will be “sustainable” for the planet we live on, the people we live among, and, even more most importantly, for the Regime that administers it for us. That’s the rub, too. We’ll need someone to administer this unnatural, nonsensical, expensive crap for as long as it lasts because in that Marx was wrong about us being a “species-being” who has forgotten his true nature, nobody is going to sign up for or maintain this disaster for themselves willingly.

Lenin understood this. That was the point of his vanguard strategy, which he located in the Bolshevik Party. Thanks to the need to administer the proposed solution to the riddle of history, you may have heard of sustainable capitalism referred to by another name, “stakeholder capitalism.” That’s adorable. Lenin would smile. Administration of the sustainable capitalism has to be done by a council of expert stakeholders who, in their greater wisdom and perspicacity, make sure all the real stakeholders’ stakes are accounted for, after being passed through the supremely informed and equitable filter of their claim to expertise. That’s why it was called the Soviet Union, don’t you know? The Russian word for the deciding “council” is совет—Soviet, as it gets rendered in English. The совет акционеров, the stakeholders’ council, will administer the sustainable capitalism that us rubes are too dumb and selfish to produce and maintain for ourselves.

Where sustainable capitalism is the solution to the so-called riddle of history, stakeholder capitalism is little more than its mechanism of implementation. Phrased more historically, where sustainable capitalism “is the riddle of history solved” and “the positive transcendence of private property,” to riff from Karl Marx, stakeholder capitalism is the supranationalist Leninist-style vanguard program that will implement it for us—rather, on us. That is, because we won’t be sustainable in the right sense by ourselves, our elite betters are going to have to implement it upon us for us—for the greater good of all. Though we can only speculate, this might be why Klaus Schwab, alleged father of the stakeholder capitalism model, has a bust of none other than Vladimir Lenin on the bookshelf in his office. In other words, stakeholder capitalism being offered as the vehicle to sustainable capitalism is just further proof that this whole giant socioeconomic Ponzi scheme is going to fail catastrophically. It actually gives away the game that they’ve tucked away and hidden inside of a fancy new Western technofuturist box.

What we’ve already realized, however, is that there’s another term that could pass equally well for what is meant by “sustainable capitalism,” understood as “the riddle of history solved.” That term would be productive socialism, which, if administered long and hard enough, will result in the People undergoing the positive transcendence of private property as human self-estrangement as they remember that they are and always were Communists in their essential being. That’s what Marx characterized it as. Communism, as he had it, is “the true resolution of the strife between existence and essence, between objectification and self-confirmation, between freedom and necessity, between the individual and the species.” The problem is that through the “inversion of praxis,” which is how the existing society allegedly brainwashes people into accepting its terms and thus reproducing it, people can’t solve the riddle of history. They have had the wrong values “introjected” into them through the inversion of praxis, as it was phrased in 1969 by the Critical Marxist Herbert Marcuse in his infamous Essay on Liberation. They need to be freed from those and have new values—a New Sensibility—introjected into them instead so that they can establish a true (biological) foundation for socialism.

This, “productive socialism,” is what they pretend to have in China under the CCP now. Communist China can be looked at as the test-run for this brilliant new global scam. They introject the correct values into the population not only through the usual old-fashioned methods like 鬥爭 (dòuzhēng, struggle) and 洗腦 (xǐnǎo, brainwashing) but also through forced compliance with a pervasive social credit system that makes you behave, shall we say, productively and sustainably. The Marxist doctrine of the inversion of praxis instructs that if you force people to live and practice the new values system, eventually it will determine their character. They will become socialists by being forced to live as socialists.

This is easily enough said, but how did it get here? The case for my claim—that “sustainable capitalism” and “productive socialism” are synonyms—derives from my reading of the leading Critical Marxist Theorist of the 1960s, Herbert Marcuse. Particularly, in my view, the second and ninth chapters of his magnum opus, titled One-dimensional Man and published in 1964, constitute the conceptual bedrock for the development of “sustainable capitalism,” and that this concept represents nothing more than a West-palatable brand name for what would be more honestly called productive socialism. I think this book rephrases the so-called riddle of history while never admitting the slightest doubt that “socialism” might not be its solution. Of course, in the religion of Marxism, questioning the completion of History as truly transcendent capitalism (which resolves the Fall of Man as the division of labor) is roughly the same as asking a Christian to doubt the Resurrection (which resolves the Fall of Man as the Sin of Adam). It’s not going to happen.

In One-dimensional Man, which reached and influenced hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Leftists in the 1960s and 1970s—Leftists who went on to become your college professors and your kids’ teachers’ college professors, among other world-building professionals—Marcuse wrestles with a number of mid-century challenges to the sputtering Marxist sophistry, which was barely chugging along on fumes everywhere outside of East Asia and, to a degree, Latin America. Prominent among them, and essentially the thesis of his second chapter, is the dialectical relationship between capitalism in the West and socialism in the East (and South). What that means is that capitalism and socialism are in some obscure sense the same thing viewed in different, incorrectly opposing lights. Both are partial answers to the riddle of history, which finds its solution on a higher plane of understanding that synthesizes them both into a single program. Putting capitalism and socialism in a dialectical relationship, in fact, might have been Marcuse’s most significant contribution to Leftist thought because it, in a sense, poses the two great warring systems as two key insights to the so-called riddle of history.

For Marcuse, part of the solution exists in what he sees as the chief problem of capitalism. The problem is that capitalism “delivers the goods.” It enables the middle class to rise and the worker to have a good life that he enjoys. He has stuff. He isn’t hungry or cold. He isn’t miserable. Though he is allegedly still exploited, he’s conditioned by the goodness of his life (the inversion of praxis) to accept and even enjoy it—and, he admits, it’s absolutely true that his life is a good life. That makes him “one-dimensional” and completely ruins his revolutionary potential. To be a revolutionary, the worker has to be radicalized by making him miserable through the abuses of monopoly-capital and exploiting that misery. “Advanced capitalism,” as Marcuse called it, had fairly effectively put a stop to these abuses, thus flattening Man and conditioning him to accept and even love his largely meaningless and static one-dimensional workaday-consumerist life.

For Marcuse, the working class was removed from his historical position as a revolutionary base by this evil success of advanced capitalism, so much so that he insisted that a new working class would need to be found through identity politics, racial, sexual, feminist, and more, led by the more easily programmed college students (Mao preferentially xǐnǎo-ed the youth too, and Marcuse knew it). In Marcuse’s telling, besides flattening Man and thus locking his essential nature (as a socialist) away from his consciousness, this successful dimension of capitalism creates an impending disaster of excess. Capitalism delivers the goods, but it turns people into relentless consumers whose needs multiply as fast as they can be satisfied. Meanwhile, in his telling, it profiteers off deliberately wasteful practices like planned obsolescence and the destruction of the limited natural environment. Capitalism works, in Marcuse’s dialectical view of it, but it works too well and simply isn’t sustainable.

On the other hand of the grand riddle of history, socialism has the right view of things, the right sensibility, argues Marcuse, but it’s a dump. Socialist nations were undeniable shitholes—in fact, far worse than that because they were brutally totalitarian and abusive. Marcuse pinned these failures on the abuses of bureaucracy and their tyrants, but those in turn were, to him, the result of a specific problem that Marxists of his era didn’t know how to solve. That problem is sometimes called the problem of production. Stated simply, socialist societies can’t produce. They cannot even manage to meet the basic needs of their people, and in their mounting failure to be able to produce, they become brutal. Socialism, for Marcuse, has it right, but it doesn’t work. If it did work, it would be both productive and sustainable, and the people would be happy.

That “riddle of history,” which I will insist defined Marxist Leftism (a redundancy, frankly) in the tumultuous 1960s and stagnating 1970s, was the framing in which stakeholder capitalism and the notion of a “sustainable and inclusive” future emerged, I believe. The Soviet Union, for all its might, was toast, so the model was tested first in China. It developed not under Mao Zedong—though important meetings between leaders like him, Richard Nixon, and Henry Kissinger proceeded, perhaps to that theme—but under his successor Deng Xiaoping, who rose to Chairman of the CCP within a couple of politically tumultuous years following Mao’s death in September 1976.

The “productive socialism” experiment, as it might now be called, was to open up restricted markets within China and Chinese industry to Western markets. “I don’t care if the cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice,” Deng famously remarked, so why not experiment with a markets-driven solution to the problem of production? In some sense, it worked. China was rapidly enriched and went from being a broken, backwards, and extremely populous nation with an economy roughly the size of Italy’s to a global financial superpower in just a few decades. They had, it seemed, cracked the code on productive socialism.

The trick, it seemed, was to open up quasi-capitalist markets like little controlled terrariums inside the socialist architecture of the command-driven Communist state. The trick, in reality, was probably little more than turning that humongous, impoverished, and easily exploitable population base into a gigantic manufacturing base for Western consumer goods, which is only good so long as it lasts. (The check might be coming due on this now, for what it’s worth.)

If the model could work in China, why not in the West—and thus, in some sense, everywhere? The West, obviously, would naturally fall behind the rising command-economy behemoth in the East if it didn’t transform as well, right? That makes for one hell of a sales pitch, one that many of our Western elites seem to have bought hook, line, and sinker. To get productive socialism in the West, especially in the United States, where socialism is largely anathema, what changes would be needed there?

Herbert Marcuse told us. You’ll definitely need a radicalized youth that believes it can’t even live without socialism, and getting one of those is as simple a matter, more or less, as getting hold of the education system and disrupting family, faith, and national identity. More would be needed, too, though. A right understanding of capitalism, the basis of the West, that synthetically moves it toward “productive socialism” would also be needed.

Again, to believe Herbert Marcuse on the issue, the problem with Western capitalism wasn’t that it couldn’t produce; it’s that it isn’t sustainable. The problem of advanced capitalism isn’t production and the satisfaction of needs, argues Marcuse; it’s overproduction and thus the insatiable production of newer and newer false needs. “In the contemporary era, the conquest of scarcity is still confined to small areas of advanced industrial society. Their prosperity covers up the Inferno inside and outside their borders; it also spreads a repressive productivity and ‘false needs,’” he tells us.

What’s to be done about these “false needs” generated by the excessive successes of advanced capitalism? Says, Herr Marcuse, “The process always replaces one system of preconditioning by another; the optimal goal is the replacement of false needs by true ones, the abandonment of repressive satisfaction.” Of course, consciousness (the Marxists’ Gnostic counterfeit of Christian discernment and Greek wisdom) is needed to distinguish the two. True needs are the actual basic needs of life, not more, which a government of productive socialism should provide thus liberating Man from needing to provide them for himself. False needs, on the other hand, can be identified through critical consciousness as well, however.

We may distinguish both true and false needs. “False” are those which are superimposed upon the individual by particular social interests in his repression: the needs which perpetuate toil, aggressiveness, misery, and injustice. Their satisfaction might be most gratifying to the individual, but this happiness is not a condition which has to be maintained and protected if it serves to arrest the development of the ability (his own and others) to recognize the disease of the whole and grasp the chances of curing the disease. The result then is euphoria in unhappiness. Most of the prevailing needs to relax, to have fun, to behave and consume in accordance with the advertisements, to love and hate what others love and hate, belong to this category of false needs.

So much for relaxing and having fun in the socialist utopia, comrades! That’s not all, though! “Liberation of energy from the performances required to sustain destructive prosperity,” advises Marcuse in the ninth chapter of One-dimensional Man,means decreasing the high standard of servitude in order to enable the individuals to develop that rationality which may render possible a pacified existence.” It “also presupposes reduction in the future population,” he points out in the next sentence (written in 1964 when the population was roughly half what it is today), but let’s not digress into the uncomfortably obvious. To achieve the parallel of productive socialism in the West, capitalism would have to be modified to free up the “energy…required to sustain destructive prosperity,” and the denizens of Western capitalistic nations would have to accept generally a lower standard of living (and smaller population). In other words, capitalism would have to be made sustainable (and inclusive). So we’re back to the socialist shitholes, but in the new sustainable ones, you’ll be happy, not merely comfortable, relaxed, and euphoric.

I believe “sustainable (and inclusive) capitalism” is little more than the capitalist-side solution to this false riddle of history posed in 1964 by Herbert Marcuse, and that it knows—rather, believes—itself to be this solution. The “productive socialism” of China under the hybrid system currently run by the CCP is the socialist-side solution to the same, and, in fact, these two are not significantly different in any noteworthy way. These two, sustainable capitalism and productive socialism, are the two great systems dialectically reframed as part of a greater whole: the impending shithole world of the New World Order. Thus, in China the Communism is on the outside and the fascistic market structure is contained within to produce “productive socialism,” and in the West, perhaps mostly due to some combination of marketing constrains and dialectical wizardry, the fascistic “public-private partnership” is on the outside with the “equitable and inclusive” redistribution scheme hidden within. This, though is a distinction without much difference. Both are in a position for ultimate synthesis into the great tyranny of the twenty-first century. In a bizarre twist of ironic inversion, the Chinese model will be the nationalistic one. The West will not be allowed to be so lucky.

Karl Marx said of the true sort of Communism that it is “the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be the solution,” and this is characterized by “the positive transcendence of private property as human self-estrangement, and therefore as the real appropriation of the human essence by and for man; communism therefore as the complete return of man to himself as a social (i.e., human) being.” Sustainable capitalism phrases this more plainly: “you will own nothing, and you will be happy.” Marx said about it that it, “as fully developed naturalism, equals humanism, and as fully developed humanism equals naturalism; it is the genuine resolution of the conflict between man and nature and between man and man.” The sustainable capitalists explain that it’s environmentally and socially responsible, or sustainable and inclusive. Inclusion as a Communist ideal is obvious, of course, but what about (environmental) sustainability? Karl Marx explained this too, though a bit more abstrusely,

Just as plants, animals, stones, air, light, etc., constitute theoretically a part of human consciousness, partly as objects of natural science, partly as objects of art—his spiritual inorganic nature, spiritual nourishment which he must first prepare to make palatable and digestible—so also in the realm of practice they constitute a part of human life and human activity. Physically man lives only on these products of nature, whether they appear in the form of food, heating, clothes, a dwelling, etc. The universality of man appears in practice precisely in the universality which makes all nature his inorganic body—both inasmuch as nature is (1) his direct means of life, and (2) the material, the object, and the instrument of his life activity. Nature is man’s inorganic body—nature, that is, insofar as it is not itself human body. Man lives on nature—means that nature is his body, with which he must remain in continuous interchange if he is not to die. That man’s physical and spiritual life is linked to nature means simply that nature is linked to itself, for man is a part of nature.

In estranging from man (1) nature, and (2) himself, his own active functions, his life activity, estranged labour estranges the species from man. It changes for him the life of the species into a means of individual life. First it estranges the life of the species and individual life, and secondly it makes individual life in its abstract form the purpose of the life of the species, likewise in its abstract and estranged form. (EPM)

We—as a collective—are nature, apparently. We, as individuals, sunder ourselves from nature, both as nature itself and as the necessary window into our true human natures—as Communists. Sustainable capitalism managed by Klaus Schwab’s совет акционеров, a.k.a. “stakeholder capitalism,” allows the properly conscious to remedy this primordial Marxist evil, and it knows itself to be the solution.

So, I think I’ve made my case. Karl Marx instructed in 1844 that the true Communism is the self-conscious solution to the riddle of history, and Herbert Marcuse 120 years later framed the riddle of history for the stage of “advanced capitalism” and faltering socialism to be how to synthesize them into a single functional system. While “productive socialism” is not a term in the common use, its Western brand name, “sustainable capitalism” is. These are not different, however. They’re both approximately the same new iteration of Communism, a Neo-Communism based on Marcusian Neo-Marxism instead of Marxian Marxism.

The whole thing is a scam, and it will do incalculable damage if we allow it. We don’t have to allow it, though. We have a choice. We can understand what we’re dealing with beneath the jargon and slick branding, and we can say no. Marcuse said that overcoming the tyranny of the system he hated required what he called a Great Refusal—“the protest against that which is”—and to that much, I say yes. We can refuse this scam, whether we call it “sustainable capitalism” or “productive socialism” (which is an oxymoron) and get back to living history as it unfolds instead of falling on our faces by thinking its a riddle we can or should solve.

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