People Can Be Deceived to Relativism, but Reality Intervenes


Erstwhile Anchor Rising contributor Mac Owens had an op-ed in yesterday’s Providence Journal that’s worth a read:

… In classic Orwellian double-speak, Marcuse, a German émigré who is seen as the godfather of the 1960s “counterculture,” argued that tolerating all ideas — the essence of reasonable discourse that traditionally has defined the mission of the university — was in fact repressive, since it did not “privilege” the “correct” ideas. True tolerance, Marcuse argued, “would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.” This of course is the essence of the “political correctness” that afflicts academia today. …

These “cultural Marxists” recognized that Marx’s target, the working class, would never buy into their argument. Communism had always been imposed by force. So instead, the Frankfurt boys exploited American intellectuals, who had always exhibited a sense of inferiority relative to Europe. This was indeed fertile ground, making it easy for them to effect what the Italian communist, Antonio Gramsci, called the “long march through the institutions,” most importantly the academy but also popular culture.

This aspect of our cultural history deepens another that I’ve observed before, namely that the rich and powerful have incentive to drain the arts of their subversive power by overwhelming truth with abstraction.  The two forces create quite a whirlpool.  The Marxists want to impose rules that don’t seem like reality, while the rich and powerful don’t want their primacy challenged.  The Marxists want to promote nonsense, while the 1% want people to believe nonsense, because people who believe nonsense will not compete well.

Our problem, these days, is that we can go dangerously far out on the limb of absurd understandings of reality.  Most of the feedback that we receive from the world about the world’s nature comes from other people, so if they’ve all bought into something that’s just not true, it can still seem true until it reaches such an extreme that physical reality asserts itself painfully.  This has been the project of the “long march through the institutions” — to get as many people as possible reacting to the world in a false way.

Being beings capable of abstract thought, the necessary catalyst for a realignment of what people believe and how the world actually works needn’t come with the observation of good intentions’ yielding calamitous results.  If we can get people to notice that the very wealthy are in lock-step with those who would destroy traditional culture, then maybe we can turn things around before our universal delusions propel us right into the cliff face of reality.

  • Mike678

    “…a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.” Thomas Paine