Godard is a Godless, Worshipful Communist

Was, whatever. Any perusal of his filmography — especially from the Era of ’68 — could have led me to that conclusion. But reading Godard on Godard, his collection of film criticism I earlier linked to, has rather shoved my nose in it, to a distasteful degree.

In his obscure five-run magazine Gazette du Cinema, Godard wrote a piece called “Towards a Political Cinema” sometime in 1950. It begins thusly:

One afternoon towards the end of a Gaumont newsreel, my eyes widened with pleasure: the young German Communists were parading on the occasion of the May Day Rally. Space was suddenly lines of lips and bodies, time the rising of fists in the air. On the faces of these young Saint Sebastians one saw the smile which has hunted the faces of happiness from the archaic Kores down to the Soviet cinema. One felt for Siegfried the same love as that which bound him to Limoges. Purely through the force of propaganda which animated them, these young people were beautiful. “The beautiful bodies of twenty-year-olds which should go naked”

Yes, the great Soviet actors speak in the name of the Party, but like Hermione of her longings and Lear of his madness. their gestures are meaningful only in so far as they repeat some primordial action. Like Kierkegaard’s ethician, a political cinema is always rooted in repetition: of history. The actor infallibly becomes what he once was, the priest. The Fall of Berlin and The Battle of Stalingrad are Masses for a consummation.

He at least has the honesty to acknowledge propaganda as propaganda, and to absolve it, as everyone does, by its intentions. Communists always get their alibi.

One wonders if it occurs to Godard that the little Saint Sebastian’s has little choice in whether they were there or not. Under communism, everything not forbidden is compulsory, and everything compulsory is to be embraced with the enthusiasm of addicts. After a while, this simply becomes conditioning. One also wonders if this did occur to him, and this is precisely the reason he likes it. By the effacing of the individual alone can New Soviet Man be built. That’s why the gulags and the trials and the mass starvation were not accidental, not unintended aberrations of Communism. They were precisely the point. By terror are the little virgins sacrificed to appease the great God History.

There is nothing about this philosophy that is not Satanic.

 

The Communist Alibi

One of the repeated questions of the modern age is why Nazis are our culture’s go-to villains, while Communists, no less accomplished in building pyramids of human skulls, are largely ignored or given a pass. I mean by the producers of culture; the intelligensia and the commentariat. I mentioned in my recent post about Oscars:

Which is why we don’t see films about the Holdomor, or Sherman’s March to the Sea. Hollywood will never ever shove Communists into the role of cartoon villainy that Nazis play, and Hollywood doesn’t give a damn about the South except when using them as a backdrop for films about Race. That doesn’t flatter the sensibilities of the Academy, so you won’t see them.

That offers one explanation for the ComPass: The Commies themselves were intelligensia and artists (young Stalin’s poetry was not bad, actually) and poseurs to art, so there’s a kinship even as they know on some level not to let the bastards actually take the reins. Even a PoMo fog machine like Derrida knew that communism was no less worthy of deconstruction than capitalism, but he still teared up when he heard the Internationale and he held up “Justice” as the one thing you couldn’t deconstruct.

There’s another reason, and for that we consult Camus:

…nor did they know that the negation of everything is in itself a form of servitude and that real freedom is inner submition to a value which defies history and its successes.
-The Rebel

That ol’ Albert on the Nazis, and he’s dead on, because the whole inner fuhrerprinzip was the eradication of anything like norms or rule of law. The State will do what the State has to do to survive, and anyone crushed thereunder, well, can’t make an omelette, etc. They were open about it. Kristallnacht is the result of a movement embracing shamelessness.

The Commies are no less ruthles, of course, and no less proud of their ruthlessness. The difference lies in messaging. Unlike the Nazis “negation of everything”, war for war’s sake, the Red Star brigade can always point to the high and grand utopia they were building as the grace for all of their sins. Fascists take their bullying and murder as a demonstration of their strength and victory, and thus make it an end in itself; Communists take theirs as an unpleasant reality on the road to Promised Land, and anyone who talks of the unpleasant reality and not the Promised Land is leading the peoply awry.

Hence, the Communist penchant for lying about what they do. For decades the Soviets pretended the Katyn Massacre a) never happened, b) was the Germans’ doing, and c) was so long ago, who even cares anymore? They always have an alibi, and they always have people willing to help them charge the gaslights. Which is why they so readily reached for the “That wasn’t TRUE Communism!” line for a few years. When you’re willing to sacrifice everything to achieve the end of sacrifice, what difference does the Truth make?

This may seem like I’m holding up Fascists as exemplars of honesty. I’m not. Those goons invented the Big Lie. But they did not provide themselves with an alibi. They did not imagine that they’d need one. At Nuremberg they stated that they’d followed their orders, and obeyed their laws and that was that. They called the legality of the Trials into question, and the hypocrisy of their accusers out (The governments behind the Gulag, Jim Crow, and the Irish Famine hardly deserved to be anyone’s instruments of righteousness. But neither did the Assyrians deserve to be God’s instruments. We play the roles we’re given), but they didn’t pass the buck.

Not that it would have mattered if they had. If Goering wasn’t guilty, then Aushwitz was no crime, and that absurdity could not be born by the mind of a civilized man. But Communists have never had to make that reckoning, because no one was in any position to force it on them. They got to retreat to their academic playgrounds and spin new alibis for themselves, comparing the realities of capitalism to the fantasies of Justice and Equality and flunk anyone who pointed out the fallacy.

I don’t know how it all plays out this time, with neo-nationalists rising on one side and neo-socialists on the other. But if God is on his Throne and we’re spared them all again, we should remember that the dog is not dead if the tail keeps wagging.

The Three Laws of Politics

Robert Conquest was a historian of note in the middle of the last century. He is best known for his books about the Soviet Union and the purges thereunto pertaining. He is routinely quoted by those on the right (of which he was one) for his Three Laws of Politics:

  1. Everyone is a conservative about what he knows best.
  2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
  3. The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

I don’t know how serious the Third Law is, but it’s a pretty droll commentary on large institutions. The Second seems often to be dead-on-balls accurate (it’s an industry term).

I’m not sure about the First. It sounds nice, but I’ve always observed that on the things people really and truly care about, most people want a Big Government solution. But that’s fear, which is the antithesis of knowledge, so it’s not really a refutation. I shall have to ponder the matter.

Dan Simmons Demonstrates There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

Apparently he committed thoughtcrime by criticizing Little Angry Climate Girl, whereupon the usual gang of Two-Minute-Haters jumped up and down, whereupon his most well-known book shot up to #1 on Amazon. Larry Correia has the details.

Now, logically speaking, we must stipulate that Correlation is not Causality, so it’s entirely possible that the Legions of Woke were not the cause of Dan Simmons’ thirty-year-old book getting purchased by everyone who wearies of the Legions of Woke.

But if something else were the cause, then that might be even worse for the Neo-Puritans. Because that means their *INTERNET RAGE* had no power to derail … whatever that cause was. Incompetence or irrelevance, take your pick.

This reminds us that, absent a real armed struggle, the perpetually angry only have the power that you grant them. And once people realize that, realize that there are plenty of people who are sick as they are of the endless noise, then the noise retreats accordingly. As Rotten Chestnuts has it:

once the revolutionary fervor passed away with the first generation of fanatics, Puritanism was unsustainable.  In Massachusetts, for example, they were hanging witches in 1693; by 1698 Cotton Mather was being openly mocked, and by 1700 everyone was pretending that the whole sordid business never happened.

Stand Your Ground seems to be the operant principle.

 

The Democrats are Democrats

Is Megan McArdle actually surprised that no one mentioned Obamacare at the debates? Or is this rhetorical surprise?

The Affordable Care Act barely came up. What candidates wanted to talk about was Medicare-for-all.

That is nothing short of extraordinary. In 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the biggest entitlement expansion, and the most significant health-care reform, since the 1960s. You’d think Democrats would be jostling to claim that mantle for themselves. Instead it was left in a corner, gathering dust, while the candidates moved on to the fashion of the moment.

There are those of us toddler-eating, goose-stepping monsters who argued way the hell back in 2010 that this was the point all along; that the ACA was just the camel’s nose to get the government in the business of managing health-care (anyone out there who wants to argue that the real camel’s nose was Medicare and Medicaid, nolo contendre). It was destined to fail, designed to fail, so that the next Democratic President could give the ratchet another turn, so that the Republicans could jump up and down about it, and then do nothing, so that the next Democratic President could give us a European-style National Health Service.

McArdle is educated enough to have heard of the Cloward-Pliven Strategy.  This would appear to be a variant of that. It’s that old socialist tactic, “the worse, the better”, which is why the Democrats were furious this week at having to vote funds for migrants at the border. They don’t want migrants at the border to be reasonably cared-for. They want concentration camps. They want dead children in the Rio Grande. Because what they really want is open-borders with concomitant demographic shift that earns them the majority they need to rule. And the way to get that is to present these people as saintly victims, martyrs of our hatred, all the time. Alexandra Occasio-Cortez isn’t stupid; she knows what she wants and makes the moves necessary to get it. People who take her public statements at face-value, as if she was different from any other kind of politician, those are the stupid ones.

And the same applies to Marianne Williamson, the “beautiful lunatic”, whom Stacy McCain has been giving the George McGovern treatment (Stacy might have a wish to be the Hunter Thompson of his generation). I’m not in the business of making predictions, but when Williamson said this:

I tell you one thing, it’s really nice if we have all these plans, but if you think we beat Donald Trump by just having all these plans, you’ve got another thing coming. Because he didn’t win by saying he had a plan. He won by simply saying, “Make America Great Again.”

My response is:

giphy

Let’s be real here a second. Nobody cares about politicians’ plans. Politician’s plans are like their rectums; they each have one, and they all stink. Mitt Romney had a 47-point plan to fix all the things. Nobody wanted anything to do with it. They wanted to re-elect Hope and Change instead.

Having a Plan is political shorthand for “I know what I’m talking about and am a serious person. I’m smart and stuff.” Which is not a bad position to be in, but having an idea that the average voter can relate to and respond to is a better one. “Build a Wall” resonates in a way that “My plan calls for tweaking the QZM, Snorfhonkling the BLYC, and Adding a new Part to Medicare” simply does not.

So Marianne Williamson is not as dumb as you might think. I don’t know that she actually has an idea that will resonate with the Democratic base yet, but if she gets one, watch out. The Democrats are Democrats.

The Story is That We’re Ignoring the Story

Martin Luther King, Jr.

There’s a throwaway line in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X, wherein two FBI agents who’ve been wiretapping the titular character, and are listening to him have a heartfelt conversation on the phone with his wife. One of the agents says to the other “compared to King, this guy’s a monk.”

That movie came out in 1992. Which means that, in 1992, the awareness that Martin Luther King was not a saint behind closed doors was already sufficiently out of the bag that it could be referenced in a major Hollywood film – for which the lead was nominated for an Oscar – and it would be assumed that the viewing audience would get it.

But that was 1992. In 2019, we pretend this information does not exist, and we attack the messenger naive enough to bring it to our attention.

Now, what is alleged in the article in the Spectator goes beyond mere extramarital shenanigans to include orgies and in one instance, cheering on a forcible rape. It’s lurid and sickening.

And before I go any further, let us stipulate that the article might not be true. Since the tapes themselves won’t be released until 2027, we won’t know until then whether the notes used to source the article are reflective of reality. Given that the FBI did not cover itself in glory in its treatment of King, there may indeed have been some goosing-up of the material in the notes to keep J. Edgar Hoover happy.

But then again, it might be true. The question is, what do we do about it?

We could, acknowledge the fact that those held up as heroes by the world often have feet of clay. We could allow ourselves the awareness that those of great courage are not without their flaws.

Or we could denounce this information as lies and attack the motives of those who speak it. Standard DARVO (Deny, Accuse, Reverse Victim and Offender) procedure. Which would be fine if it came from those with a vested interest in maintaining the cultus of MLK pure and unblemished – progressive policy institutes and black civil rights groups and the like.

But when its the media? That is most instructive. Witness this circle-the-wagons moment by a black feminist professor of history in the New York Times:

The #MeToo movement is the culmination of decades of agitation around the pervasive problems of sexual assault and harassment. Rich and famous sexual predators have been brought down by the courageous stories of women who are finally being believed. In this climate, Mr. Garrow seems to want his own “Me first” spotlight by getting out in front of an unsubstantiated story, but the problem is this: He presumptuously tells his version of stories of women who never themselves acknowledged being victims or survivors. We cannot put the F.B.I.’s words in their mouths and call it justice.

If in 2027 when the full F.B.I. tapes are released there is credible and corroborated evidence that a sexual assault occurred and Dr. King was somehow involved, we will have to confront that relevant and reprehensible information head-on. But we are not there.

Meanwhile, to accept highly suspicious evidence as fact and to dress it up with a litany of salacious anecdotes is to complete the job J. Edgar Hoover failed to do two generations ago, when he dedicated himself to denigrating Dr. King’s life and work. Mr. Garrow’s piece also names numerous black women, most of them dead, who were allegedly Dr. King’s willing romantic partners, delving into their private lives without their consent or any compelling reason. This is as reckless and unethical as the actions of newspaper tabloids that circulate titillating gossip to sell papers.

Everyone got that? If, when the tapes come out, this turns out to be true, then it will be true. But in the meantime, the author is a fame-hunting bastard and this is all salacious gossip.

I feel like an idiot for even asking, but where was all this devotion to truth and evidence, this distinction between non-pretatory and predatory sex, when Brett Kavanaugh was being accused? Oh, that’s right, it didn’t exist, because Brett Kavanaugh is the wrong sort of person. Martin Luther King is a Martyr for the Cause, and therefore entitled to a full and exacting defense.

The Rules are not the Rules when you’re the wrong sort. Everyone who’s the wrong sort needs to absorb this.

Cut the Federal Government in Half

Everyone wins.

Of course, these reductions in Federal taxing and spending would be accompanied by increases in State taxing and spending. However, these new State-level spending programs would reflect our present ideals and state of knowledge, and be more sustainable, effective, and appropriate than today’s legacy programs. Related government bureaucracies would be relatively lean and efficient, simply because they are new. Successful solutions could be imitated, and mistakes learned from. Competition between States would help governments to stay effective. Dissatisfied people could migrate to States where other like-minded people have gathered.

State politics would get very exciting. They would also get a lot more democratic, because each representative of State congress has a much smaller constituency than Federal congresspeople. Each member of the Massachusetts State Assembly, for example, has about 41,000 constituents, while each member of the U.S. Federal House of Representatives has about 760,000 constituents. Plus, their offices are probably near your house.

The way to prevent a civil war over differing conceptions of what the nation is about is to allow those differing conceptions to live in peace. Worth a shot, anyway.

Facebook Should Be Broken Up, Company Co-Founder Says

Chris Hughes, who co-founded Facebook with Mark Zuckerberg and others 15 years ago when they were students at Harvard, believes the federal government should dismantle the extraordinarily powerful social-media giant. In a 5,700-word New York Times op-ed piece published Thursday, Hughes argued that Zuckerberg holds “unchecked power” that is “unprecedented and un-American.” “Mark is a…

via Variety

I’m fine with this. The libertarian in me dislikes the notion of the government smashing companies with a hammer, seemingly as punishment for their success, but the more primitive mind says “Facebook isn’t my friend”. Principles of liberty are not a suicide pact.

Sri Lankan Author Finds Himself on Nebula Ballot, Completely Baffled By American Political Discourse

Book Awards are becoming increasingly ridiculous, an extension of Twitter rhetorical battlefields with some side-talk about literature.

You should read it in full, as it nicely encapsulates the descent into madness that has resulted from the beachhead politics has made into fandom and entertainment. But this in particular amused me:

I’ve tried understanding American politics before, and it’s a bizarre mutation. Their conservatives are, like ours, highly religious, but they also champion freedom of speech, like our liberals, and they want a minarchist state, preferring to let market economies work. Their liberals are, like ours, pro-equality, but unlike ours they seem to disfavor freedom of speech and prefer heavier government structures. This is interesting, because this markets bit at least comes from the economist Hayek, who championed free markets at all cost. Hayek’s views were considered liberal in his day and would be considered a liberal pretty much anywhere else; it was Keynes who was the conservative.

This is like driving on the left side. They take something normal and do it the other way around.

Well played, sir.