Why Does Cthulhu Always Swim Left?
Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 here)
Pondering America’s political landscape since the 1960s can be rather maddening. For the most part, the Right has been spinning its wheels in a rut. The best showing was in the 1980s, when the leftward slide into the abyss came to a relative pause. Even so, they weren’t recovering lost ground. The fall of the Soviet Union should’ve been a major victory — and it seemed to be until the globalists, the enemy within, inherited the useful idiots and carried on without skipping a beat. The Right, most especially its mainstream, has been like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football: falling for the same trick over and over again, ending up on its duff, and then repeating the same thing while expecting different results.
As the Neoreactionary proverb goes, “Cthulhu always swims left.” Although they sometimes overanalyze things even more than I do, they correctly observe a ratcheting effect that’s pushed the Overton window leftward for nearly a century. It’s effectively turned out to be a perpetual cultural revolution. What’s up with all that? Recently the question arose, “Why has the Left won?” It was suggested as a topic of discussion. Accordingly, I’ll provide some answers. They have lots of strong points, some of which can be countered or adopted by our side.
A brief introduction to practical dialectics
The subject of dialectics is rather involved. Marxist theoreticians with brains the size of Saturn have rambled at great length about it without really saying much. Cutting through the obscuring jargon, a very brief functional definition of dialectics in practice, down to brass tacks, is that it’s the use of an action/reaction cycle to obtain a desired political outcome. This will typically need to be carried out in stages — “boiling the frog slowly,” as the saying goes. It’s one of the causes of the ratcheting effect. The results are to shift the Overton window the way they want it to go, as well as to obtain public policies that are increasingly favorable to them.
To provide what will hopefully be a relatable example, it’s somewhat similar to Isaac Asimov’s concept of psychohistory. (He very likely had dialectical materialism in mind; he repackaged it in a politically neutral context while making a very dry subject entertaining — and in space! Way cool, huh?) The idea is that individuals are mostly unpredictable, but the behavior of crowds and especially entire societies can be accurately predicted. Moreover, the masses can be manipulated carefully, playing factions against each other like the pieces in a centuries-long chess game, with the planner ruling from the grave. In Asimov’s groundbreaking novel Foundation, after a galactic empire falls (an obvious parallel to Rome), a cabal of (more or less) benevolent philosopher-kings executes a long-term conspiracy to restore order as quickly as possible by taking over the galaxy. Essentially, psychohistory is applied sociology that actually works.
In real life, even the most astute central planners are susceptible to the “fog of war,” just as everyone else. In practice, they’re not as smart as they think they are. Furthermore, it’s impossible to have one’s finger on the pulse of every significant variable. History therefore can’t really be predicted centuries ahead of time, much less planned out in intricate detail. Moreover, exceptional individuals can take history into unexpected directions, even disrupting the best-plotted conspiracies. The sequel to Foundation addresses such a maverick, in this case a spiteful mutant. History features lots of exceptional individuals, including some who are in very bad odor with good liberal opinion.
Despite its practical limitations, the basic idea has some merit. For further explorations of how this is used by Leftists and globalists in practice, the essays “What is the Hegelian Dialectic?” and “Useful Idiots Play Checkers, Marxists Play Chess” provide a good basic background. Yuri Bezmenov’s discussions about ideological subversion are also quite telling. The idea is to influence disaffected elements of society, nudging them in the desired direction. (Obviously, entryism and front groups are helpful.) The rank-and-file might believe they’re agitating for the benefit of their own group’s interests, but they’ve been manipulated into doing what the subverters want. Given the tremendous effect that cultural Marxism has had on several forms of identity politics since the 1960s, they played society like a fiddle.
Countermeasures: Rightists already understand certain basics of dialectics. Now we need to start learning how to do the sneaky stuff, such as playing factions off against one another. For anyone who feels that we don’t need those damn dirty Yankee tricks because gentlemen fight better than dadgum rabble, remember that the other side observes the “all is fair in love and war” rule. Since forever, Leftists have been doing that in spades. Oops, can I still say “spade?”
Dialectics through convenient emergencies
One classic tactic is to exploit a crisis, or manufacture one as needed. Then, an unscrupulous government can get away with things that the public otherwise would have resisted. This isn’t exclusive to Leftists, and in fact is the oldest politician’s trick in the book. The first known instance was in the interesting year of 23,401 BC, when an eclipse scared the daylights out of the Hill People. Chief Gruk had a vision from the spirits warning him that the Sun never would come back unless he borrowed someone’s wife immediately. The next day, the spirits demanded that he borrow two wives, or they’d send another eclipse. Soon, Chief Gruk’s social calendar was booked solid, but fortunately his tireless labors with the tribeswomen kept the Sun out of danger.
More often than not, the proffered solution to an exploited or manufactured crisis will involve the government granting itself “emergency powers.” Then, the frightened public will go along with trading liberty for safety. Remember this?
- Thesis: Domestic spying is illegal
- Antithesis: 9/11
- Thesis: “PATRIOT” Act
The PATRIOT Act, which turned the Fourth Amendment into toilet paper, was supposed to be a temporary measure, yet Congress keeps renewing it. (How many crooks did they catch with it, anyway? Maybe they had a different purpose in mind!) Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last three years, you’ve seen a very notable example of a manufactured crisis. In fact, it was manufactured in a lab — our taxpayer dollars at work!
- Thesis: Opposition to globalism (President Trump in office, nationalist movements emerging elsewhere, narratives collapsing)
- Antithesis: COVID-19 plandemic
- Synthesis: Massive surveillance and control packaged as security theater, strip-mining the economy while a few billionaires profit tremendously, the Big Pharma bonanza, election fraud, The Gr6at R6s6t
Before this, the fright peddling was about climate change. That turned out to be a big nothingburger — at least so far — but they’ve now gone back to beating that dead horse. I don’t have a crystal ball, but according to rumors further economic woes will be exploited to push for digital currency. If that flies, we can kiss our remaining freedoms goodbye. Other rumors speak of another virus in 2025. (Could that be what Epstein’s buddy, the big software developer guy, was smirking about in that notorious video with his former wife?) Again, I don’t have a way to confirm these things, but if it happens, you heard it here first.
Often this strategy unfolds one small step at a time, accomplishing a ratcheting effect. Several iterations of this will, via gradualism, accomplish a massive power grab that never would have been accepted by the masses had it been rolled out all at once.
Countermeasures: To defeat such a strategy, call bullshit on the hidden agenda. Shout it far and wide. The good news is that the convenient emergency trick has been overused so much that the public is starting to catch on.
Dialectics through false compromise ratcheting
When is a compromise false? That’s when one of the parties agrees to meet in the middle, but with no intention of honoring the deal. Another straightforward use of thesis-antithesis-synthesis dialectics is Saul Alinksy’s doctrine in Rules for Radicals in which he says that a compromise should become the starting point for new demands. The cycle goes like this:
- Make demands
- Society relents and grants partial concessions
- Move the goalposts
- GOTO 1
Note that the compromise doesn’t have to be a bilateral agreement in writing that holds each side to the terms. In fact, it’s better for the party making the demands if the deal isn’t set in stone, but rather involves tangible resources being traded for a non-binding expectation. This can be an implied informal understanding with a collective. It’s basically like getting something for nothing.
Here’s how the modern version of the Dane Geld racket works: A wise Leftist authority figure may editorialize or speechify to the effect that “civil unrest is happening because City Hall isn’t providing X. If only they had a program for X, then our minions the oppressed will be happy and quit rioting.” If the city takes the bait, then it legislates a semi-permanent Bureau of X and commits funding to it — all in exchange for hope. Neither the shakedown artist nor the “oppressed” must even pinky-swear on the deal to get the goodies! They have nothing to lose, and learn that bad behavior gets them what they want. What if they begin rioting again later, accompanied by new demands? Although this collective broke its part of the informal understanding by agitating for more protection money, City Hall won’t abolish the Bureau of X; doing so would make them look mean-spirited and probably spark yet another destructive tantrum. The path of least resistance is to double down on the payoffs.
False compromise ratcheting, in which a collective is granted concessions but then moves the goalposts, has been a top Leftist strategy since the 1960s — or longer, in certain cases. (Society should’ve caught on long ago, but it hasn’t happened yet.) This is a major reason why the Overton window has been pushed far leftward as a result of several different causes that previous generations would have dismissed. For example:
- Thesis: Segregation
- Antithesis: “Civil rights” movement
- Synthesis/New Thesis: Integration
- Antithesis: Demands for “temporary” preferential treatment to make up for past discrimination
- S/NT: Affirmative Action
- Antithesis: Waves of urban rioting
- S/NT: Welfare state (this, with the occasional shakedown, bought them off until recent times)
- Antithesis: Black Lives Matter, more massive riots, statues vandalized, etc.
- S/NT: Critical race theory (CRT); diversity, inclusion, and equity (DIE); environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG); constant anti-white bile from the mainstream media
- Antithesis: Demands for “equity,” which means absolute equality of results across all socioeconomic metrics
- If society gives in, the “new normal” will feature a massive rollout of policies to siphon resources away from whites with the object of dragging us down to black standards
- The next move in the perpetual revolution will be to demand even more gibsmedats, because we have to make up for being mean to the poor coloreds long ago, ad infinitum
Note that during the 1960s, demands for equal treatment soon become demands for preferential treatment — maybe about five minutes after desegregation was complete. Even so, the young boomers who enthusiastically supported “civil rights” in the name of fairness weren’t thinking ahead to when their future grandchildren would be indoctrinated with critical race theory and blamed for all the world’s problems. They thought they’d get brotherhood and harmony. They sure got taken for a ride!
The perpetual revolution has gone down other avenues as well. Similar ratcheting phases can be observed in the various waves of feminism. Each was put into effect until society acquiesced, making it necessary to move the goalposts in order to stay relevant and keep the racket going. As for the LGBT movement, who knew that the Mattachine Society’s modest calls for compassion and tolerance would eventually pave the way for more and more, ultimately leading to wonders like sex changes for kids and groomers being permitted in public libraries?
Bear in mind that there is no endpoint to the perpetual revolution. Once activists are committed to a ratcheting strategy, it has to go on indefinitely: moving the goalposts, making obnoxious new demands, concocting displays of mass pouting — ad infinitum. What happens if they ever admit that society finally has made enough concessions, or that they’re happy with the new status quo? Without new fuel and constant stoking, the fires of resentment would sputter out; without all the heat on the boiler, the agitation engine would run out of steam and the wokomotive would come to a grinding halt on the tracks. Then all the professional agitators, bureaucratic barnacles, grievance studies professors, and other grifters making a buck off the racket would have to find real jobs. Horrors!
Countermeasures: To defeat the Alinsky false-compromise trick, everyone must be made aware that such activists won’t be satisfied with a negotiated deal. To them, it’s merely a stepping-stone to more demands, where you cede more and more ground until you’ve given away the farm. No matter what deal they’re proposing now, they really want everything their way and nothing for you. There’s no sense in trying to negotiate with someone who, even before the ink is dry on the agreement, already wants to abrogate it. That’s as pointless as debating property rights with a thief. Simply put, don’t let the camel get its nose under the tent.
If any wiseass brings up the “slippery slope” fallacy, remember that it’s not a fallacy when it’s the strategy! Why do Leftists do it? Because it works! Although the “my way or the highway” effrontery of these pipsqueaks can be staggering, society has been rewarding their bad behavior at every step of the way. If a spoiled brat in a store demands a candy bar, throws a tantrum, and the parent gives in, then the kid learns that screaming gets results.
Suppose you haggle over the price of a car, and after coming to an agreement and going to the finance desk, the dealer resumes haggling, treating the price you’d just settled on as an unacceptable lowball figure. You’d never put up with dishonesty like that, of course, but society falls for that trick every time when dealing with Leftist activists. Again, the countermeasure is for society to realize that it is being tricked. If such demands are accepted, it will take about five minutes after the “new normal” settles in for more demands to be made. The answer is to deploy the “N” word — specifically, no.
Capturing important institutions (and some other considerations)
Leftist radicals started infiltrating the universities about a century ago, and have been taking over their departments ever since. They also began colonizing other major opinion-forming institutions. This Long March Through the Institutions also included the mainstream media, of course. By the 1950s the World Council of Churches commenced unifying all the denominations under its umbrella. All this began to pay off by the 1960s. Nowadays, Leftist indoctrination has reached a degree in K-12 education that would’ve been unthinkable even a couple of decades ago. Advertising, comic books, and pornography have been politicized as well. And lately, they’ve gotten the Tech Tyrants to censor competing narratives they don’t like, conveniently also creating a make-work racket for green-haired social justice warriors.
How this was done speaks to another Leftist strong point: They have a knack for getting into key positions at important institutions and inviting other comrades on board until they can call the shots. Then the process of convergence begins: a Gleichschaltung to make the institution start serving the left’s purposes. This entryism strategy allows them to take over and begin exercising top-down control. This is how a few people in the Department of Education can transmit whatever they want into the soft heads of the nation’s kids before they’re old enough to think for themselves.
Another key pursuit, though somewhat tangential, is lawfare. If a legislature won’t approve something the Left wants because the politicians know it would make them unelectable, there’s always the judicial route. They’ll go judge-shopping and perhaps even manage to get one of those “landmark rulings.” The Warren court was notorious for politicized decisions in which the Supreme Court, often with a 5-4 vote, legislated from the bench as if they were Solomonic philosopher-kings, profoundly directing the country. Moreover, it’s helpful for the Left that they have a number of lawfare foundations to argue important court cases.
Their activities are quite well-funded as well. They get big donations from Woke Capital, of course. Then there are a number of Leftist moneybag foundations, some of which are operated by contemporary globalists. Others are converged Gilded Age trusts; surely their Robber Baron founders are rolling in their graves about how their money is being spent. Besides all that, I suspect that Leftists are quite generous with their political contributions. When someone shakes the cup for donations, a good number of them will throw in what they can.
Countermeasures: First, it’s necessary to discredit Leftist-converged institutions. There’s been much progress on this so far. According to one study, even the majority of garden-variety liberals have figured out that the mainstream media is biased. I’m not sure why they still tune in; maybe they enjoy being lied to out of sheer masochism.
We could pull off our own Long March Through the Institutions, although obviously that would take a while and is easier said than done. Another approach is creating parallel institutions. We have a long way to go with that. We also have a handful of lawfare foundations, but they need more funding to thrive and become effective.
Speaking of funding, our side has a long way to go to catch up. I suspect that all too many people on the Right are cheapskates: paying monthly cable bills, eating overpriced restaurant food, regularly running up big bar tabs, and so forth, but their budget is too tight to give a plug nickel to their favorite party, lobby, advocacy group, and so on. It’s too bad they don’t regard it as an investment in the future. Now imagine a rare generous Joe Sixpack contributing $100 to a rare decent politician, feeling that he’s made a sacrifice on the order of donating a kidney. Then some big corporation cuts a check for several million dollars to Black Lives Matter, given that it regards virtue-signaling as a cost of doing business in Clown World. Compared to that, we’ll really have to step up our game if we’re going to make even a dent.
Miserliness sometimes affects the very wealthy, too, and is hardly anything new. A 1950s-era anecdote from This Time the World by the rascally reactionary George Lincoln Rockwell speaks volumes:
“All right!” said [Russell] Maguire, with the air of a man suddenly decided on an immense step. “I’ll back it! The country doesn’t have five years left! We’ve simply got to do it! I’ll put in a thousand dollars for the first year!
[DeWest] Hooker looked at me with his mouth open. I looked at Hooker, then we both looked at Maguire’s old friend, [Fred] Willis. Here was a multimillionaire with over $80 million, sitting in an apartment which was costing him at least $1500 a month, to say nothing of his fabulous palace on the waterfront in Connecticut — and he was telling us that he was going to ‘back’ a national political movement of gigantic proportions to save America, with $1000 a year! And he was going to do this great thing because “we only have five years left!”
After that, the wealthy businessman — who generously offered such a princely sum to save the country from certain ruin — never ponied up the promised thousand bucks.
* * *
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Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 534 Interview with Alexander Adams
Notes on Strauss & Husserl
George Friedman’s The Next 100 Years
The Dakota Territory’s Indian Wars During the Civil War, Part 2
The Dakota Territory’s Indian Wars During the Civil War, Part 1
How Much Would Slavery Reparations Actually Cost?
Munchhausen: The Third Reich’s Wizard of Oz
Documenting the Decline
Never give a mouse or a liberal a cookie.
The Right loses because it keeps fighting for the wrong prize. The Right thinks it can save ‘the West’ or some version of ‘Western civilization’. This leaves it trying to save the silverware in a burning house rather than looking for a new house. You cannot properly steer a car always looking in the rear-view mirror and you cannot move fast or gracefully carrying 100 pounds of old junk. The Right saddled itself with the past. And that’s why it cannot win the future. Even if it was tactically astute.
Wascally Weactionaries beware! I met West Hooker (as we called him) back in 1985 and he was the first person to tell me about Russell Maguire, the Tommy Gun tycoon. Maguire wanted to make a stink, but not too much of a stink. This is the period when Maguire had taken over The American Mercury from Leonard E. Spivak and William Bradford Huie, and had made it just Rightist enough for Bill Buckley to tell his writers that if they wrote for the Mercury they couldn’t write for National Review, boo-hoo, because a little birdie had told Bill the Mercury had auntie-semitt tendencies.
Linc Rockwell saw the writing on the wall. Buckley was the coming thing, so he decided to move over to Bill’s house, with a big subscription scheme to build the Conservative Movement. That went nowhere. But a few years later when Linc had begun his clownish “Nazi” antics (he came from a vaudeville family, after all), Bill sent a Catholic priest over to convince him of the error of his ways. “Father Jude,” as Bill called him in a column after Linc was shot (his real name came out years later), was clearly in over his head and didn’t know what he was doing.
GLR had actually moved way beyond cocktail-and-tea-cosy Conservatism and the priest couldn’t understand him, while WFB just wouldn’t, because Pat wouldn’t approve. Linc was off in his own sphere, like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (q.v.).
As I understand it, GLR had a misplaced faith in Buckley’s good intentions. Surely he saw that Bill was intelligent and accomplished. (I’ll concur with that, though I detect a whiff of sleaze.) However, GLR didn’t realize that the guy was acting as an ideological goalie, and also made sure that discussion of Jewish misbehavior was off limits. Joseph Sobran, who got salami-sliced by Buckley in a particularly wormy way, had plenty to say about it.
As for Bill sending a priest to make a hard-boiled agnostic repent, that’s definitely a WTF moment.
Rockwell came from an unchurched family, so that was a misstep from the beginning. Buckley’s story makes me think that over a couple of g-and-t’s, a priest offered to make a visit and report.
But, see, Rockwell’s ideology was pretty much identical to what all the Buckley kids were raised with.
20 years ago, Bill’s son could still recite to me the Hilaire Belloc unpublished poem about “curly-headed men.” How the hell? I could not maintain that level of hypocrisy for three generations, and I marvel at those who do.
So Buckley knew the score all along, yet sold out from day one? What a snake!
For a number of years, I had this aphorism on my Goodreads author page:
“No matter how carefully one plans for the future, there might always be a Mule.”
I think the Mule was a masterstroke of genius on Asimov’s part. However, while he was a problem to be overcome in THAT world, in ours, I’m hoping for the blessing of a disruptive force for good.
Now back to the essay.
There have been a number of Men Against Time who threw a monkey wrench into the works. They tend to be held in very bad regard by “Good Liberal Opinion”. Anyway, here’s an interesting take, say what one will about the subject:
WAS TRUMP THE MULE? – The Burning Platform
Thank you for the reference. That was an incredible essay. I, too, thought of Trump as the Mule. The proof was in the frantic reaction to him, if anything. And I, for one, didn’t ask for perfection out of him. I thought that just one bluntly (and truthfully) stated “You’ve ruined your country” (said to Merkel) was worth a hundred pussies and Porn stars.
I was unaware of the Burning Platform, so thank you for introducing it to me. Would you believe that up until a couple of years or so ago I thought all the brainiacs on the right were at Commentary and New Criterion.
What a dope.
Indeed. As much as the MSM types loathed Bush the Younger, it was nothing compared to how they went berserk about The Donald. He wasn’t their typical conservative piñata – he was the guy who crashed their party.
LOL @ Commentary 🙂
What the right lacks is a bone-deep belief in their values. They’re sheepish and timid from a lack of righteous confidence. Until that changes, nothing will happen but yet another dialectic, moving the goalposts further out.
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