Skip to main content

Once secret but now available documents show that people like Anne Applebaum are intellectual hacks of the worst kind

It seems the sole purpose of people like Anne Applebaum is to warn educated and engaged liberals (you know, the kind that read "The Atlantic" and 'The New Yorker") about allowing their ideology to stray too far from bourgeois comfort zones. Make your home in identity politics, vague and self-righteous notions of human rights, hell, maybe even support a national health service, but by god make sure you don't start talking about property relations because then before you know it you'll wake up, look in the mirror, and you'll have a big bushy mustache and be starving Ukrainian peasants!

Of course, some new found information (you always find it in the last place you look! Doh!) always will pop up to ensure you that Stalinism was indeed purely ideological and there is, of course, a straight line from Marx's "workers of the world unite" to Stalin's "socialism in one country." No pragmatism there. No, none whatsoever. The Communist International notoriously switching from promotion of world revolution to suppression of it? Yes, well that was well understood to be a purely ideological move, based on Marx's (although probably largely ghostwritten by Engels) polemic "How to Keep Some Guy Who Hasn't Been Born Yet Named Stalin in Total and Complete Power."

You know, in order to understand societies based on classical liberalism, nuance is ok. Yes, our development was based on genocide and slavery, but freedom of speech and Iphones and stuff. Yes, they went from a backwards peasant society to first in space in a couple generations but everything about it was BAD. BAD. BAD. BAD. And that was because of IDEOLOGY. Get it yet? Even with lots of the same people running things the same way in the post-Soviet states, the people are much better off because they lost the ideology.

Thanks Anne, because of you I can't have a decent conversation, with proper historical context, without a liberal (or anarchist for that matter) feeling it necessary to drown the baby in the bathwater violently in front of me. Yes, fuck Stalin, I'm with you, but if you can still pull some feelings of hope out of the glimmer in lady liberty's eyes (I'm with you on that too) let's talk about ideology, history, and politics like well-rounded adults that understand life is full of contradictions. That's why anything about everything is fucking complicated. Reductionist punditry of this sort is taken serious by powerful people, and therefore far more reactionary than what comes from punching bag buffoons like Bill O'Reilly. So let's stop thinking these people are fucking geniuses because they write in the New York Review of Books and can find other countries on a map. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Austerity Ecology and The Collapse-Porn Addicts

I just finished Leigh Phillip’s left defense of humanity, “Austerity Ecology And The Collapse-Porn Addicts.” I think it’s important to frame it that way, as one of the main point he makes (and I fully agree) is that the earth doesn’t need us to survive. What we should focus on is our species. And not just surviving, but prospering, even conquering (I know people don’t like that word, but we ought not be scared of power). Phillips goes through every argument that I grew up with, from green austerity to that overpopulation nonsense, and convincingly does away with them. (I read Derrick Jensen was I was younger and had completely spaced out how truly terrible his arguments are. Embarrassingly bad. When I tried John Bellamy Foster I luckily found him too dense to get through. Just like George Ciccariello-Maher is a caricature of your “edgy” left wing professor, Foster is a caricature of what a Marxist is, tough to understand but you should know what he’s saying is super important!) 

Phill…
I’m listening to Christopher Hitchens’ fine collection of essays, “arguably.” I’d read many of these years ago, but had forgotten how good of a writer he was. Listening to him take down JFK is pure poetry. However his post 9/11 theme, that fundamentalist Islam is the threat most comparable to 20th century fascism for the enlightenment influenced democracies, stands on even shakier ground today. His realpolitik version of Trotsky’s “permanent revolution” had our enlightenment influenced democracy with Puritan characteristics as some sort of revolutionary regime spreading the best we can do to some despotic areas. It’s quite a twist that Iraq ended up being a boon to Iran, which caused the gulf monarchies to freak out. Of course Trump and his goons are now trying to make amends by demonizing Iran to an absurd degree. I wonder if America allying itself with al-Qaeda in Syria would be enough to cause Hitchens to rethink some things? Maybe his weird hatred for the Baathists extended to the…

Hanging from a cliff

The day after Obama won his second term the markets took a bit of a tumble. The Dow dipped below 13,000 for the first time in a few months. US Congressional gridlock and the ongoing crisis in Europe are mostly to blame. What is more interesting, even if it's unsurprising, is the rush to bonds- US government bonds to be exact. Indeed, the yield on ten-year treasury notes dipped as low as it has since May. Even with our ratings downgrade (which no one now cares about in the slightest) and huge debt, it is cheaper than ever for us to borrow money. We are still the safest piggy bank out there. 

With the "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending cuts looming, the spirit of compromise is being sprayed into the air like a bottle of Glade mountain berry. Democrats are fond of saying we need a "balanced" approach to reducing the deficit. Nominally this means some tax increases along with spending cuts. Republicans are now, apparently, open to some sort…