We Won the Cold War, Right? Right?
The state trudges on while the soul of the nation atrophies.
What was a tolerably accurate description of German thought twenty-seven years ago would now appear to be true of Western thought in general. It would not be the first time that a nation, defeated on the battlefield and, as it were, annihilated as a political being, has deprived its conquerors of the most sublime fruit of victory, by imposing on him the yoke of its own thought. – Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History
Leo Strauss wrote those lines in 1949 referring to the depressing fact that though Germany had been defeated in war, its way of thinking about human nature, truth, and history had spread across the conquering nations of the West.
We need urgently and intelligently to consider the possibility that though the Soviet Union “collapsed” in 1991 and the U.S. “won” the Cold War, the Soviet Union nonetheless successfully imposed the “yoke of its own thought” on the West.
Critical Race Theory is much in the news these days, as clear-eyed conservatives and Republicans at both the grassroots and state level attempt to take the first step, for really the first time, in the much-needed long march through our educational institutions. As I wrote at the beginning of June, critical race theory is a piece of a larger postmodern political project whose goal is totalitarian subjugation of the West.
Critical Theory in its current form, as a cancer on American higher education (and now, American politics), isn’t Marxist in the technical sense, but its mechanism of political conquest—pitting factions against each other in order to effect a revolution and swap “oppressor” and “oppressed”—is close enough for government work. In politics we can work in the rough-and-ready and use our common sense: today’s proletariat is the identity politics rainbow and the bourgeoisie is the straight white male and his “adjacent” henchmen.
The regime of the American Founding—natural rights and limited government in ultimate service of securing property and, at its height, achieving virtuous human flourishing and excellence—is now said to be white supremacy (and evil). Capitalism too. The details of the indictment have changed since Workers of the World Unite, but the targets and the totalitarian solution are akin.
Some of our institutional and cultural mechanisms would have been perfectly at home in Soviet Russia (indeed, are at home right now in Communist China). The apparatchiks supervising Pravda and Izvestia in the 1980s would recognize the subtle and not-so-subtle manipulations and memory-holing that so often happen today at our leading media organs.
The Biden administration’s just-released National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism suggests that a good portion of its political opposition are potential terrorists and enemies of the state. Domestic law enforcement (and U.S. foreign intelligence services, in some instances) will now be deployed more aggressively against a wide swath of Americans who are guilty only of holding incorrect political opinions. This is not how a constitutional republic secures itself.
The growing call for vaccine passports across the nation and states should be considered the opening wedge for a bio-social-credit system imposed through a public-private/corporate partnership. The governments of the West, seizing on the opportunity presented by COVID, are fusing “public health,” corporate HR, and the wider bureaucratic apparatus (including the military) into a tyrannical control mechanism at war with human nature and human freedom.
Finally, the predicates for an American cultural revolution led by a youthful student vanguard seem to be dropping into place. The recently released 2021 American College Student Freedom, Progress and Flourishing Survey shows that 69% of students think professors should be reported for saying offensive things in class and 60% of students think students should be reported for the same offense.
But don’t take my word for all this. Harry V. Jaffa predicted the continuing and deadly threat of Marxism and its descendants back in 1991. He concluded a lecture, “Political Philosophy and Political Reality,” in the following way:
The defeat of communism in the USSR and its satellite empires by no means assures its defeat in the world. Indeed, the release of the West from its conflict with the East emancipates utopian communism at home from the suspicion of its affinity with an external enemy. The struggle for the preservation of western civilization has entered a new—and perhaps far more deadly and dangerous—phase.
It is incumbent upon everyday Americans to understand the stakes of this fight and its international dimensions. This is the ideological and political universe in which Critical Race Theory (and, for that matter, Ethnic Studies, Postcolonial Theory, Gender Studies, etc.) is situated. It is not an exaggeration to say that leftwing K-12 curriculum modules and “white privilege” HR struggle sessions have as their ultimate goal the overthrow of the West and the despotic subjection of you and your fellow citizens—even if many of the pedagogues and consultants involved are mere useful idiots.
We should, within the law, plan, act, and organize accordingly—before it’s too late.
A sign you are criminalizing politics is when the circle containing your political opponents and the circle containing enemies of the state are the same in a Venn diagram.
Thank God for the Young Heretics podcast which lead me to the Claremont Review of Books, the American Mind, and its podcast. I have the Strauss Book mentioned and a few Jaffa books. It's a great pleasure to read an article of such profound insights with these Strauss and Jaffa references and understand the points being made. We need to wake up without going woke and we need to fight these leftist ideologies that foster division and racial animus.