Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Paradox of the 60s—Part Two

In my initial post about the paradox of the 60s Revolution, I wrote:

The fact that [French pop philosopher Jean-Francois Revel] was virtually alone in concluding this [i.e., in concluding that America was the greatest epicenter of the new cultural revolution] speaks to the pathological myopia of the New Leftism that was born out of the 60s more than it does to Monsieur Revel’s eccentricity. And that pathological myopia of the New Left reflects, in turn, one major characteristic of the paradox I am addressing in my post today.

In yesterday’s post, I never focussed on this particular characteristic, as I had another fish to fry. I’d now like to put this queer little sea creature into the frying pan to see what can be dished up that might shed more light on the 60s Paradox through one of its major mutant offspring, the ‘New Left’. (In a future posting, I intend to revisit this offspring by examining more closely the differences and relations between ‘Liberalism’ and ‘Leftism’.)

I dismiss the ‘New Left’ as a “queer little sea creature”; in reality, it is rather a Leviathan in terms of its sociopolitical hegemony in the modern West—though in terms of its philosophical weight, it really is just a deformed jumbo shrimp.

Let’s take a look at it now, in the context of my statement about Jean-Francois Revel’s epiphany about America:

On the face of it, it would be odd and even self-contradictory for the ‘New Left’—the principal benefactors and purveyors of the cultural revolution—to begrudge Revel’s revelation, since he is celebrating that same cultural revolution, and he is praising America for giving birth to it and for helping it grow.

It shouldn’t take the reader long to hit on the answer: Anti-Americanism. Members of the ‘New Left’, whether Europeans or Americans themselves, are profoundly, irrationally, pathologically anti-American. But this is where the paradox of the 60s—and by extension, the paradox of Leftism—becomes interestingly grotesque in its Möbius torsion: it is not merely a case of New Leftists “biting the hand that feeds them”. Rather, the feeding hand which they are biting is their own hand! I add that spin onto that familiar saw to highlight the intimately organic interrelation between America and the cultural revolution to which she gave birth. Of course, the New Leftist wishes to eradicate that cultural child’s umbilical bonds to the wider culture that gave it—and continues to give it—life. The New Leftist wishes to radically extirpate all connections between America and the cultural revolution, between America and ‘Amerika’. This radical motivation already reveals a pathology afoot.

One could understand—and at least discursively deal with—a philosophical attempt to articulate a paradoxical dissonance between America and the cultural revolution that grew out of the American milieu: an articulation that would note the factors of struggle, dissent and criticism, without, however, losing sight of the paradox that it was, in effect, America struggling and dissenting against itself. Even this articulation, however, would be simplistic and would botch the paradox if it failed to take into account the fact that this same America that became embroiled in an internal and internecine schizophrenia also, at the same time, managed to digest and assimilate and find nourishment in this internecine conflict, without succumbing to anything more crippling than a few bouts of intestinal gas that have become, from the perspective of history, bumps on the road to the overarching progress of which America has always been, and continues to be, the greatest beacon in world history.

But the ideology of New Leftism will have none of this. It cannot tolerate that the cultural revolution—and by extension, the Neo-Gnostic worldview they would locate at its heart—has anything to do with America: their mythologization of this offspring, the cultural revolution, is of a miraculous birth that may have come out of the womb of America, but has utterly nothing to do with her nutritive matrix: it was, and remains, a miraculous freak of nature, an epiphany out of the blue, outside the realm of the dominant culture, outside the real world of the nation-states of the West. As the ancient Gnostic text Thunder: Perfect Mind puts it:

I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am the mother and the daughter.
This unholy virgin birth in the Leftist Revolutionary mind has its source in some transcendent knowledge of the true utopia of mankind, a knowledge that only a minority throughout history have been specially graced with—all the rebels, heretics, gnostics, underground revolutionaries who fought against the Roman Empire, then against the evil Catholic Church, then against the evil Masonic-Jewish cabal of Capitalist Nation-States that in the West succeeded Christendom, etc. And in America in the 1960s, that special transcendent knowledge burst forth again, having nothing to do with, and nothing to owe, the America out of which it came: a miraculous re-appearance of the knowledge of the perennial Revolution against... against what, exactly?

In future posts, we shall explore more deeply to palpate more precisely the irrational welter of forces against which the Neo-Gnostic fights with such committed passion. It will suffice the limited purview of our post today to conclude that, to the New Leftist, the 60s Revolutionary popped out of the American womb ready to turn around committed to commit matricide—a matricide so radical it would necessitate not merely vituperative repudiation of, and even violence against, its own cultural matrix, but further than that, also a disavowal of any filial connection whatsoever.

So we can see, at least a little more clearly, why New Leftists would dislike Revel’s epiphanic encomium to America: he was, in effect, urging them to love and appreciate their Mother for doing so much for them, when their entire psychological and philosophical system is based upon not merely disliking some of her annoying traits and reasonably criticizing some of her faults, but of positively hating and killing her.

In a later post, we shall spelunk one of the deeper caves of darkness in the depths of the Neo-Gnostic psyche, and shed our miner’s light on one major twisted root of Western anti-Americanism: a literal, existential, ontological self-hatred.

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