The Third Wave
Not only has Marxism survived, it is thriving and has in some ways grown stronger. Leftist ideas about Multiculturalism and de-facto open borders have achieved a virtual hegemony in public discourse, their critics vilified and demonized. By hiding their intentions under labels such as “anti-racism” and “tolerance,” Leftists have achieved a degree of censorship of public discourse they could never have dreamt of had they openly stated that their intention was to radically transform Western civilization and destroy its foundations.
That's pretty much my view of it. I've been reading a bit lately about the theories of Antonio Gramsci, an early twencen Marxist. His contribution to the endless Marxist discussion is essentially the idea that the way to win the war against capitalism, and create the necessary preconditions for a revolution, was with subversion of it's educational, political, media, religious, and commercial institutions. His name is fairly obscure, but his influence is not: anyone who's spent any time on a modern university campus, sat through 'sensitivity training', or had to carefully police their own language in front of colleagues in order to avoid breaking the ever-tightening strictures of political correctness has encountered it.
This has all been in the works for a long time. There's some evidence that, even fifty years ago, Stalin was using fellow travellers and useful idiots inside American communist parties to subvert the U.S. at a cultural level. Evidence only came to light after the fall of the Soviet Union, with the release of the Venona transcripts, which document KGB contact with agents inside the U.S. ESR at Armed and Dangerous has a post in which he discusses this in more detail.
At any rate, it's occurred to me that at the moment we're at the crest of a second marxist attack on the West. The first one, universally known as the Cold War, was motivated - on the surface at least - primarily by economics. I'll call this strain anticapitalism. The Marxist argument was that communism, or socialism, was a better method of generating and distributing wealth than capitalism. This proved false, as was obvious to all but the most intellectually dishonest by the 1970s.
Not that this empirical truth stopped the marxists: they simply switched the target of their hostility, from capitalist economics to Western culture. Call this strain anti-occidentalism. The anti-occidentalists invented postmodernism, radical feminism, deconstructionism, political correctness, and any number of [insert oppressed group here] studies. And, of course, after 9/11, they largely sided with the Islamists who wish to drag our civilization back into the medieval mud, taking the side of barbarians that violently repudiate every principle they claim to cherish.
This too shall pass. Already, the resistance towards the cultural assault gathers, stronger every year. The wilfully blind media; the dissembling politicians; the academics gone off the deep end; all these groups hemorrhage credibility with every lie, every mistake, every rejection of obvious truths for increasingly empty ideals.
Boys raised in schools that treat their gender as a disease. University students who go deep in debt to endure four years of stalinism and learn nothing save that which they teach themselves. Women made to feel subhuman if they elect to make their career the raising of their children. Christians whose faith is spat upon at every opportunity, while they watch those who spit with the most enthusiasm bow and scrape before muslims.
The anger grows. Anti-occidentalism will not survive it. One day we will wake up, and nothing will be more disrespectable than hating the West merely because it is the West. We will have realized their only power comes from us listening, and we will simply ignore them.
Not that that will be the end of it. What we're dealing with isn't a series of unrelated mass psychoses, or simple human error: it's an evolving memetic virus, more virulent than anything ever seen before. Religions are as nothing before it. It will mutate again, and come back as something even nastier.
The generations aren't self-contained; there's considerable overlap. Even today, you'll find those who refuse to admit that economic marxism doesn't work. "Communism just hasn't been really tried," they insist, though their plaints fall on deaf ears. Communism is out on the long tail of the intellectual market. Thirty years ago, at the height of economic marxism's power, was when cultural marxism was incubated; the more farsighted amongst the fellow travellers saw the writing on the wall, acquired a different target, and began their long march through the institutions of the West.
And now? If you look closely, inside the lunatic fringe that the marxists themselves refuse to give much in the way of credibility or attention, you'll find the next generation: embryonic, largely ignored, and for now, essentially dormant. But it's there nonetheless, and when anti-occidentalism implodes it will move into the niche it leaves.
I call it extinctionism.
The Church of Euthanasia. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. EarthFirst!. Deep Ecology. These various groups and movements have been around for years. Their position is simple: civilization is an existential risk to the biosphere, and thus the population should either be severely curtailed or even eliminated entirely (after all, even if 99% of the population died, and only a few scattered hunter-gatherers were left, they might well expand and start the whole nightmare of civilization all over again.)
How many times have you heard humanity compared to a virus? A malignant cancer? A dangerous pathogen, that must be removed. Expect such rhetoric to increase as time goes on.
The progression is simple. Generation 1 targeted capitalism. Generation 2 targets western civilization, And generation 3 will target the human species itself.
Note that the first two generations tended towards methods appropriate to their focus. The first used labor unions, general strikes, nationalization of industries, and welfare; the second, speech codes, behavioural restrictions, textual 'analysis', guilt, and shame.
Nothing so elaborate will be required for the next generation. Their weapons will be simple: infectious disease. After all, if humanity is dangerous to the biosphere, then they must be eliminated. Today, most sympathizers claim that the viral pandemics will arise naturally, out of crowded urban conditions and natural happenstance. The problem is, as we've seen with SARS and bird flu, modern medicine has the capability to contain outbreaks when they occur, and even track them before they do. Some will grow impatient, and opt to help nature along.
And this is the really dangerous thing. The previous generations required the participation, or at least acquiescence, of a massive segment of the population to be effective: revolutions don't happen unless the people actually rise up and revolt, and speech codes are useless if ignored. But viral weapons can be developed by tiny cadres; all extinctionism need do is attain sufficient intellectual credibility that a fraction of a percentage of supporters are willing to help nature along.
Ray Kurzweil, amongst others, has called for a 'Manhatten Project' against biological warfare. I think it's doable, but not easily and not quickly, and one of the things that keeps me awake at night is the thought that a lot of people will die before such a project can be completed. Extinctionism might not kill off the species, but it might well kill billions.