Skip to comments.Why There Is A Culture War: Gramsci and Tocqueville in America
Posted on 06/14/2006 7:26:33 PM PDT by Darnright
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"Our chief weapon is surprise. Surprise and fear. Our two chief weapons are surprise and fear. And ruthless fanaticism! Our three chief weapons! Are: fear, surprise, ruthless fanaticism. And nice red uniforms. Damn! Amongst our weaponry! Are such diverse elements as ..."
Yeah, I know I'm being unfair to the author, but I couldn't resist.
...for pre-slumber reading.
This is the kind of stuff we used to see more of on Free Republic. Forte does a good job of analyzing the machinations of the Left, and of the modern struggle in which we find ourselves.
Yes he does.
I got out of academia in '93, just as the craziness was getting noticable. Looking back I am glad I did...not just for the family reasons I chose to, but because I would not have fit in today, even in the junior college environment I was working in.
I have blamed a lot on Hegel for the modern worldview...and I see I am correct in yet another way.
All I can say is while I have strength to stand I will fight against the darkness they want to impose on us. And, thank God, I know I am not alone.
Fascinating. Ping for rereading later. I've always admired Tocqueville, but I consider myself more Lockeian than anything else.
Thank you for the excellent post. Gramsci casts a long shadow and must be dragged out into the light and destroyed.
You may enjoy the following blog treatise:
I wish people's eyes would be opened to what is taking place in our culture. We're being slowly, surely, imprisoned, and most of us are totally unaware.
It isn't actually that Gramsci was more "nuanced" than Marx in his exposition of class relationships. He was simply considerably more vague in their boundaries. For Marx those boundaries were necessarily economic, described by the standing of the inhabitants toward something he termed the "relations of production." Other class identities that were non-economic in nature were outside his treatment of the economic forces behind historical progress. Irrelevant. And those who advanced them even in his day he furiously attacked as heretics.
But there were no classes in Marx that were not also described by class consciousness; that is, the notion that one member dealt with a member of a similar economic class who was also a member of differing classes (most importantly nationality) as a co-equal rather than a rival. This is class solidarity. Without it economics was useless even in Marx, as his famous characterization of peasantry in France reveals. These people shared economic similarities but they did not act as "co-peasants" with others of their economic class, they acted as members of one estate versus another. Marx was very specific in stating that they were not, therefore, properly proletariat because they did not possess class consciousness.
It is for that reason, incidentally, that Marx placed such an emphasis on breaking down national and ethnic identities. These did not describe class consciousness to him, they hindered it.
On to Gramsci. That class consciousness was expressed in terms other than economic was not new, it simply lay outside Marx's historiography. The relations that were important to him were described in terms of political power, which inevitably became a circular definition - women, for example, were a class because they were oppressed and oppressed because they were a class. That is exceedingly unsatisfactory as an intellectual argument, but as an appeal to emotion - politics - it escapes the constraints of logic and becomes very powerful indeed. Michael Foucault in particular explored this in terms of a free "class" versus an imprisoned "class" in Discipline and Punish and in terms of sane versus insane in Madness and Civilization. Here, however, the class identifications are essentially external, and class consciousness becomes nearly vestigial. I do not think Gramsci would have taken that altogether happily.
The difficulty, of course, is that in politics an ill-defined class may be motivated to action based on temporary class consciousness and that this, in a democracy, may be used to create social change that will endure past the waning of this consciousness and the dawning of reality. More to the point, according to Gramsci the institutionalization of manipulators who are adept at creating these temporary identifications is the very essence of political power. It is, therefore, the institution itself that comes under attack - the academy, the media, the corporations, the government itself. Once these are taken over by those of a mind to exercise their powers of creating class consciousness, those who are members of the classes so described are infinitely malleable.
That is tyranny, of course, but it is tyranny for the own good of the "oppressed," most of whom are so only because they are told that they are so. And woe unto anyone found outside the supposedly oppressed classes. They are eternal scapegoats. The system depends on it. Without them there can be no class consciousness, no insularity, no righteous hatred. For Gramsci's system to work there must always be the Jews, the "bosses", the "wealthy", and yes, the "Americans," for the basis of institutionalized anti-Americanism also falls along Gramscian modeling. Without them there is no ability to manipulate.
Thank you. Your post could command a thread all its own.
Too late. Bump for tomorrow
I bookmarked it!
I'm ready to start to put together something - a blog, a book, I don't know what yet. Going to call it something like "The war on two fronts."
We are seeing the old boiled frog technique in action. Turn the heat up little by little and the frog doesn't realize he's being cooked until it's too late.
I simply hope that it reaches "the right people". One can thoroughly, accurately analyze the state of things - but to what end? Is it any comfort to those intellectuals knowing why the future might be hopeless? Populists have no use for these essays, not unless they contain pictures of celebrity newborns or heroin-shooting rock bands. Or even Ann Coulter.
In any case, I generally attribute all issues to the vastly conflicting goals of urbanists vs. individualists. These are deeply ingrained differences of personal value, almost psychologically based reflections of opinion on what's "fair" about life and everyday survival.
Inspired by ever plainer terms... the nation is stuck in a classic battle of commies vs. freemen, confused only by those who wish to obscure this chasm for their own selfish gain.
I fear that we won't be "stuck" forever: Marxism is a cancer; eventually it wins, and then we die.
>the nation is stuck in a classic battle of commies vs. freemen, confused only by those who wish to obscure this chasm for their own selfish gain.
I fear that we won't be "stuck" forever: Marxism is a cancer; eventually it wins, and then we die.<
Let's hope you are a bit pessimistic. I still hold out hope that, even though we have a lot of leftists, both innocent idealists and committed totalitarians, the foundation our Founding Fathers left us will be solid enough to prevail.
Great Read, Particularly when viewed within the war of the Islamic and Western civilizations.
A few months ago, I taught my high school Sunday School students about the effects of Gramsci on our culture. And they were interested. Not your typical high school Sunday School topic, and not the typical reaction that you would expect to get, but my Korean kids are BRIGHT and curious.
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