It is amusing, and sad somehow to watch the continued desperate efforts of some to regain the hard-fought and rapidly-abandoned days of American Marxism through angry Twitter videos and fiery Facebook speeches repeating their tired (and now ignored) call to revolution. “We have won the ideological battle,” they declare, knowing full well that is a lie. The whiplash must be tremendous indeed for them, suddenly irrelevant those who thought that they were on the cusp of something grand – epic redistributionary projects and the advance of a Marxism cultural and vicious upon the disgruntled jealousy riding the foam of our tremendous wave of prosperity, seizing energy from the silent submerged swell of wealth to call for its seizure. It seems like eons ago when in fact it was only a short time that America’s political debate had been appropriated through laziness and envy to that ancient call for legal theft as is the project of the socialists.
But those days are done; a suicide we will not engage in, since the fight of this generation will not be against the virus of bad ideas, as we had thought. Our battle, sudden and unexpected, is against a different foe altogether – and thankfully one that unites us all in a common struggle, a common foe and an oh-so-human panic as comes from a disease that might strike all alike; the true purveyor of equality, equality found in infirmity. Yup, American Marxism is dead – it was killed by a little virus and the epic, single-minded fight of a great nation seeking to return to the place where it was only a few short weeks ago and which these days does not seem so bad, does it? Walks beside beautiful parks maintained for the pleasure of the free and their movement. Bars serving micro-brewed beer to the ever-discriminating. Cheap travel to see the sights of the Louvre or the Hermitage, elbowing through the insect-clicking of cameras of those who traveled in herds (but not anymore!) Night-clubs where those who wished could dance far into the night and beaches for where to gather to gaze at the spectacle of youth on parade and the generous gifts of God or nature to the few.
Were we really just a month ago debating how many genders there are? Replacing bathroom signs in Target Stores now shuttered and policed by beetle-men masked and with batons, in front of which lines now extend for a carton of milk or an odd roll of toilet paper? Were we really debating the ancient origins of oppression in order to single out a sorry few for vindictive retaliation in a final revenge on their success? It seems foolishness now, does it not, the rantings of the economically illiterate comfortable lying fetid and hazardous upon so great a bounty as our free-market system had given us.
To be sure, there are still some who see the collective effort of a world at war with an invisible foe and salivate hungrily at the though of putting that oppressive might at the service each of their fringe agendas. The “Green New Deal” people dreaming in technicolor of sending the goon-squad out to confine the entire world to their houses to starve at the service of a cleaner view of a mountain (as we have now) or in defense of a butterfly flitting innocently in a national park. Sure, we all love the view, and we cherish the butterfly, but really…?? The clarity of their demands are now being lived, and a world weary of home is now ready to say confidently “Surely there must be a better way!!!” I for one welcome thinking that through.
No, what the great pandemic has given us is a reminder of what we had, before a little bug took it away. The well-being of even the poor in a world that was rapidly becoming more and more livable; the runoff from so great a prosperity as we have known going to feed diminutive agendas and mini-motivations (both good and bad) and giving us a planet that has been more colorful than ever before. Plays and theater and ballet; movies and documentaries and sit-comes; food so varied, Thai and Cambodian and Peruvian all at the fingertips of people complaining around each mouthful of their bitter inequality and their desire as well to possess a castle as they whip out the unfathomable computational power of the most-Lilliputian of computers to use 4G to compare their net worth with those of the Pitts or the Hanks.
It is good, I suppose, and right. Great wars must have success (or failure) accrued to all society. They involve all of us – the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II – they bring us together in a common struggle and the common cause of victory, making our decisions existential and highlighting the all-to-real results of failure. This fight is one that unites us, and that must be the silver lining.
Ah, but when the fight is over we go back to beating each other with sticks. We need to evolve not revolve, or we end up back at the starting point. That we all had a memory like an elephant so we wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.
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And those that have been insisting this debate upon us were quick to let us know that it is those “nonbinary” sorts who are hardest hit by this ‘event’.
Yours is an unrealistically optimistic take.