Provocateurism 15: "Hiding Socialism"
From Stanley Kurtz’s Radical-in-Chief, ppgs 59-60:
Every aspect of Obama’s treatment of his career choice in Dreams from My Father was an active theme at the 1983 Cooper Union Socialist Scholars Conference. Want to fight the “dirty deeds” of Reagan and his minions? Become a community organizer. Do it well — and do it in a minority community — and you just might become the next Harold Washington, leading a coalition of blacks, whites, and Hispanics (“black, white, and brown”) for a socialist “redefinition” of America. Here, in community organizing and its associated proto-socialist political movement, was a rebirth of the sixties struggle for civil rights, yet focused now on economic equality. Through participation in this movement, Obama could earn himself a place in the African-American community, transforming America in the process. Obama says it all in Dreams. Only the socialism is omitted. Yet, by suppressing the socialist context of his organizing, a deadly serious radical strategy to transform the United States goes missing, buried beneath a heart-rending tale of existential agony and personal redemption.
As for socialism itself, Obama’s conservative critics (along with Newsweek) seem to have a better handle on the term than anyone else. The idea that America might inadvertently and incrementally fall into socialism is a great deal closer to the strategies of “actual existing socialists” than textbook definitions of economies nationalized at a single revolutionary blow. The reason Americans don’t understand this is that the universe of post-sixties socialism has remained largely hidden from public view. Yet this is Obama’s world. It’s time we got to know it.
I’ve talked plenty here about the left’s long-march through the institutions — particularly its revolutionary understanding that once it controls epistemology, which it is able to do by setting the institutional parameters for language and how it works, it will control every major social narrative, and have at its disposal the rhetorical tools to bracket out dissent as either intolerant or inauthentic. The control of language keeps those who would rebuke leftist, statist policy prescriptions on the defensive — and in fact is designed, in part, to do just that: once meaning is granted by way of willful consensus, it is predicated on nothing more than a tacit understanding between those with shared motivations that they need only insist it be so — that is, that believing in the truth of their proposition is not necessary, and in fact can be counterintuitive in an epistemic framework wherein the ends justify the means, and wherein the supposed greater good trumps the autonomy of any one individual (or individual attempt to mean).
In other words, it matters how you get there.
To the leftist, “pragmatism” is an assertive manifestation of an (ironically) dogmatic adherence to the idea that all “meaning” is subjective and a function of power — that in a world where right and wrong is determined by a battle over man-made edicts, he who controls the edict controls truth. Which means the only “truth” the “pragmatic” leftist is committed to is his belief that to control power is to control those narratives that as a matter of epistemology control us.
Or maybe not. I’m just spitballling here.