James Lindsay on the Wokists and a change of mind by me about Marx

On the basis of it being recommended by David Ramsay Steele, I watched and in my turn now recommend this interview, in which James Lindsay describes and explains the Woke phenomenon.

In particular note what Lindsay says just after half an hour in, at 33m 50s. He says that the Wokists are dangerous, not because they all have a lust for violence as such, or not to start with. What they have is a passionate and unswerving belief that their principles should be installed into power. Because of the splendour of those ideas, all the world’s problems will then be solved. There’ll be no need for any violence. The world will simply be transformed into a utopian dream of perfection.

Which, of course, it will not be. That’s when the trouble cuts in. At that point, the Wokists will only have one remedy, namely violence against all those who have been pointing this fact out. The only alternative would be abject surrender, to the reality of how institutions do and do not work, and to all the millions of people whom they will by then have antagonised. At which point, the Wokists will be highly liable to follow the path previously beaten by the Stalinists and the Maoists.

This explication actually changed my mind about something of genuine importance, which is a rare experience for me. I have been in the habit of describing Karl Marx, the GrandDaddy of all these Utopian cultists, as evil, that is, as knowingly destructive and knowingly corrupt intellectually. He knew his theories were nonsense and would kill thousands if not millions, but he didn’t care. But now, following James Lindsay, I am more inclined to regard Marx as merely having been hopelessly deluded, just like the Wokists now. Marx had no great “lust for social catastrophe”, to quote a phrase I recall having used about him. No, his problem was that he didn’t think there’d be any need for a “social catastrophe”, following the historically inevitable triumph of his opinions. “Socialism” would simply proceed, smoothly and inevitably. No fuss, no muss. Unlike the Stalinists and the Maoists, Marx never had to watch all his cherished ideas result in social catastrophe, and hence to decide to resort to mass murder to shore up his otherwise impossible position, as he might have done had he lived to see the Revolution that was contrived in his name and to witness its utter failure to achieve its declared ends.

3 thoughts on “James Lindsay on the Wokists and a change of mind by me about Marx”

  1. Time for me to re-read The Communist Manifesto. It’s been a while.

    I’ll be looking for the balance between the inevitability argument, and the relish for violence. Which atmosphere dominates?

  2. Which atmosphere dominates?

    The aforementioned titillation is largely in their articles and correspondence. Sadly, many of the links I used, to the Marxists.org site, are now dead, due to a copyright claim by publisher Lawrence & Wishart, whose Marx and Engels Collected Works is where most of the relevant passages can be found.

    It’s also worth reading Thomas Sowell’s essay Marx the Man, published in the Thomas Sowell Reader, and the excellent chapter on Marx in Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals, which I strongly recommend. Once you’ve read about Marx’s appalling personal behaviour, from which one can infer quite a lot about his psychology, to say nothing of his interest in apocalyptic scenarios, the practical fallout of his fantasies doesn’t seem, shall we say, entirely surprising.

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