To Talk of Many Things… (Vol. #8 – The Death of Gramsci)

It is a singular sadness for a writer to accept that often-times he writes only for himself. To posterity perhaps, to hone his craft and sharpen his thoughts in expectation of the day when truth again matters. Sometimes I channel Czeslaw Milosz, as I too consider the fact that, “All over the world people are now sleeping in their beds, or perhaps they are engaged in some idiotic pastime; and one might easily believe that each in his own way is doing his best to deserve destruction.” Sometimes I am Nietzsche cowering in Hotel Waldhaus in Sils Maria clinging to my collection of ancient figurines while Dionysus, the god of drunkenness and ritualized insanity ravages the world.

No, I often cannot give most readers what they want. I have no lurid tales of obscenity; no ‘inside-information’ which to reveal to those eager to lap up calumny hurled against those whose pictures appear front-page above the fold. I am not a celebrity to slip half-baked ideas in-between pornographic images to drip feed poison as if through an I.V. to the madding crowd. Nor do I stand beside others, begging to be gifted the power I desire in order to destroy those I hate – at least not yet…


I read, and I write, and I think. Nothing of any interest, I suppose. For example these days I have been considering the death of Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci. Not the physical death – although I suppose he felt the same as I do today, penning the “Prison Notebooks” in his dungeon slowly dying at the hands of Benito Mussolini. Little would he know that his ideas of “hegemony” – that of predominance by consent – and the accompanied “great march through the institutions” whereby the ruling class manipulates society by controlling the values systems, morals and mores through their control of media, entertainment, universities and the church would have such resonance, at least for a season. Little could he have expected that the Frankfurt School would take his ideas and apply them successfully in America, and for eighty years as they gave us a steady ‘progressive’ culture war undermining that which made America great – faith, family, personal responsibility – as a bait and switch with cultural Marxism, replacing slowly the value system of a successful nation with the failed philosophy of victimization.

But, as must happen, Gramsci has at last died, killed by his own success in a Newtonian “equal and opposite” reaction to hegemonic ideas which no longer resonate. The real failure of Gramscian Marxism arrived with the false consensus begotten of hegemony. Those involved in the cultural bait-and-switch: Hollywood actors, main-stream-media ‘journalists’, university professors in their ivory towers all began to believe their own rhetoric, that the ‘end of history’ had arrived; and deprived of feedback loops due to their creation of airtight echo chambers and buttressed by progressive zip codes outside of which ‘sic hunt dracones’, they denied the very existence of the opposition which they were trained to fight. If they had to consider them, they were dubbed ‘clingers’ and ‘deplorables’ – to be placed on public subsidies and subsequently destroyed.

And then it got more difficult, because this hegemony created an atmosphere in America, in the West of pluralistic ignorance. That precarious position where common man begins to believe the hegemony all around them – considering themselves as an aberration to a universal norm, a norm that does not in fact exist. This goes on, until a crisis moment arises when the entire edifice is exposed as a lie, emboldening the majorities who can now sigh in relief in the newly discovered fact that they are not an aberration but in fact they have been the victims of an epic fraud, in this case one that lasted almost eight decades.

And this is where we are at. Gramsci is dead, ‘hegemony’ has been revealed as a sham, in fact has even created the ‘equal and opposite’ reaction which we have seen sweeping the west but which those trapped in their echo chambers still cannot see, to their tremendous peril. No, the emperor has been found nude, and he is ugly indeed (especially because he thinks he is wearing Gucci, its quite a grotesque display).

Of course, none of this is interesting to the average reader. It contains no vulgarity, no base appeals to crude humor or those soft places within each of us in which we can rest unchallenged. So I write for myself, as I always do, seeking to understand the movement of the great tide of human opinion as it ebbs and flows while I realize with some satisfaction that there are limits even to Gramsci’s great lie, and those limits I am having the great privilege of witnessing, much to the panicked comical dismay of those who are losing control.

And I guess that is enough.

About Joel D. Hirst

Joel D. Hirst is a novelist and a playwright. His most recently released work is "Dreams of the Defeated: A Play in Two Acts" about a political prisoner in a dystopian regime. His novels include "I, Charles, From the Camps" about the life of a young man in the African camps and "Lords of Misrule" about the making and unmaking of a jihadist in the Sahara. "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" and its sequel "The Burning of San Porfirio" are about the rise and fall of socialist Venezuela (with magic).
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2 Responses to To Talk of Many Things… (Vol. #8 – The Death of Gramsci)

  1. TheWatcher says:



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