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The kidulthood of the cosmopolitan left
By Dr. Gregory Slysz
What was meant to have liberated societies from the torpors of ignorance and servitude, mass education has instead reduced much of a generation to a permanent state of kidulthood, unable to reason and limited to sloganizing and virtue-signalling stunts.
As academic curricula were dumbed-down, university campuses, many of them converted from erstwhile lesser institutions, began to swell with ever-increasing student numbers, who had been convinced by an unholy alliance of state bureaucracies and student representatives, that university was the place where they ought to be. To cater for this deluge of interest, a plethora of ’ologies and studies were invented on a broad spectrum of victim groups, allegedly browbeaten by capitalist-conservative values. What amounted to little more than Frankfurt School indoctrination programmes, these new disciplines produced legions of West-hating activists, conditioned in politically correct-thinking and willing to subvert Western civilisation through an elaborate institutional entryist plan devised decades earlier by communists like Antonio Gramsci and Herbert Marcuse for whom capitalist societies were simply too stable to entertain direct revolutions of the kind seen in peasant Russia or China. Conservatives could only watch in horror as one by one Western institutions, including many conservative ones, either too weak or cowardly to resist leftist bully-boy pressures, surrendered to the entryist onslaught. No aspect of public (and increasingly private) life has remained untouched by its actions, and is marked by dumbed-down academic curricula, affirmative action, uncontrolled immigration, group-think echo chambers, safe spaces, the feminisation of men and de-feminisation of women, epidemic levels of family breakdowns, mass abortion, sexual depravity and widespread substance abuse.
Until fairly recently, however, the most radical proponents of such revolution were largely denied access to leading positions within mainstream political parties of both the right and left, which feared electoral repercussions of explicit patronage of such a risible ideology. As such, leftist activists were generally confined to political fringes, emerging occasionally to disrupt lawful activity on university campuses and elsewhere where their ideological opponents convened to denounce them. But as mainstream parties became increasingly attuned to the new ideological climate, as their intake of graduate ‘talent’ from the said academic programmes began to filter through into their ranks, they gradually co-opted their ideas that would eventually form broad politically correct platforms.
Despite the predictably disastrous electoral consequences of this, as demonstrated by the populist backlashes across much of the Western world, the hubris of the radicals spurred them on to make ever more outrageous statements. Lacing them with good doses of liberal sentimentalism, they managed to dupe the gullible among electorates, the huggers, blubberers and safe spacers, schooled as they were from the cradle in ideological relativism. Although radical leftist programmes took root in conservative organisations too, they found the most fertile ground in established socialist groupings with receptive pre-existing ideological foundations, the former being ultimately too difficult to subvert completely.
The social impact of this revolution by stealth has been catastrophic, as noted. In the place of centuries-old social bonds, sound judgement and virtue, came ill-conceived notions of ‘tolerance’ and non-judgementalism to assuage the baseless cries of discrimination from the pedlars of ever-increasing social ‘diversity’, served by tsunamis of immigration and a fashion for victimhood. Little wonder that political activists are getting younger and younger as their un-formed minds fall prey to logic defying stunts and intellectually sloppy thought of their leftist political mentors. There was something quite disturbing about the ‘schoolchildren’s climate strike’ that took to the streets in many of the world’s capitals in February. London’s afternoon peace, for instance, was disturbed by throngs of children, converging in the city, with the now ubiquitous Socialist Worker Party placards in hand exhibiting causes beyond the understanding of those who were persuaded into carrying them. Though organised, so we are told by young climate radicals like Sweden’s sixteen year-old truant-in-chief, Greta Thunberg, for whom study is pointless, every Friday at least, in the face of global climatic annihilation, the event attracted many Marxist grown-ups. Their presence might just explain the monotonous high-pitched chants of ‘F…k Theresa May’ wafting through the air and of seasoned placard slogans urging ‘to change the system, not the climate’.
But the day, after all, was all about climate so environmental activists also tried to be heard among the cacophony of revolutionary cries to overthrow a conservative Prime Minister. ‘It’s scary as heck to think’, lamented one sixteen year-old ‘striker’ , ‘that we apparently have 12 years to cut down CO2 by over 50 per cent to avoid catastrophe’. What’s scarier is that she actually took as gospel the recent unintelligible rant of the ‘rising star’ of the Democrat Party, the 28-year old freshman congresswoman, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, which foretold of apocalypse in twelve years unless radical climate action is invoked, hers of course (more of that below). Music to the ears of another sixteen year-old, a ‘Geography student’ who just knew he had to attend the strike because he ‘learns all about the impacts of global warming, climate change, and the effects it has on our planet.’ I’m sure he does. That’s the worrying thing. It seems that the dogma taught in schools on anthropogenic climate change is having the impact any propaganda is designed to have. Has no one told Geography teachers that Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, of 2009 which prophesied the melting of the ice caps by 2014 was a little wayward? Clearly not. Nor a mother who lamented over her seventeen-year old daughter’s preference for studying for her summer exams rather than for playing truant from school. ‘She’ll end up with three fabulous As under 30ft of flood water,’ she opined with a remark more befitting a conceited teenager than a responsible parent. Is this the kind of stuff that should earn the approval of Conservative Party energy ministers? I suppose one can expect anything from the modern conservative Party nowadays.
Perhaps alarmist prophecies are not fully what they claim to be? One doesn’t need to listen to views of the much maligned target of the cosmopolitan left Paleogeophysicist Professor Nils Axel Mӧrner, for whom sea levels are determined by solar activity rather than by CO2 and for whom the climate science of the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), the UN’s main climate research body, in part is ‘anti-scientific nonsense’. Doubt on the climate debate is surely invited by the work of ‘respected’ climate scientists themselves, whose conclusions about the impact of climate change are constantly changing and fly in the face of the dogmatic claims of climate alarmists who assert that the science of climate is ‘settled’. Isn’t the idea of ‘settled science’ itself unscientific anyway?
Taking political absurdity to new heights, however, have been the offerings from the said Ms Ocasio-Cortez, until very recently, a bar tender and now self-proclaimed expert in economics and environmental science. Young, pretty, articulate, just the right blend to attract vacuous sentimentalists in an age in which image rather than substance is king. ‘Anything is possible’, she tweeted to her three million devoted followers, ‘today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbours defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.’ Her point of reference? Amazon’s decision to cancel plans to establish a new Headquarters in the face of activist opposition, much of which emanating from recently elected Democrat City representatives, who expressed not the least bit concern for the loss of much needed investment, and the thousands of jobs that this would have brought to an area where unemployment is running high, especially among Black and Hispanic communities. Is the juvenile hubris of this new cosmopolitan Left such that it cares not a jot for the opinion of its own constituents, given that 71% of blacks and 81% of Hispanics approved of the proposed Amazon deal? It is interesting that least supportive was the Manhattan-based elite White population, for whom ethnic diversity is the highest form of virtue, though even here 51% thought the deal economically advantageous. Not so Ms Ocasio-Cortez who expressed elation that $3 billion dollars would now be freed-up to fix New York’s crumbling sub-ways and to hire teachers.
The Democrats know that they are in trouble when an ultra-liberal like the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, reprimands the Party’s current leading high-flyer for not understanding that the money which so excited her would have only been generated had Amazon established its base in the City or when liberal commentators like Donny Deutsch warn of a second Trump presidency ‘If people in the party don't start to speak up against people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is young and dynamic but does not know what she's talking about.’
The New Left’s young Turks, however, remain unfazed, gravitating instead around Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s recently launched ‘Green New Deal’, a sort of 10-year plan to save America and the planet (a Five Year plan would just have been too unoriginal). Among its initiatives were a total shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy, the phasing out of nuclear energy, the upgrading of every existing building in the country to meet the new energy standards, a guarantee of welfare, housing and jobs for all, even those who don’t want to work (though there was some confusion during the launch as to the authenticity of this latter point – I bet there was), unprecedented tax hikes and the particular promotion of ‘victim’ groups. What the ‘Deal’ was devoid of, however, was even the most rudimentary substance, the source of its success lying in little more than good-will, fresh air and trillions of dollars taken from hard working tax-payers. Although a few seasoned Democrats expressed reservations about its claims, those who did had to do so with caution, including the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, given Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s popularity among America’s Democrat voting kidults as well as its endorsement by several Democrat presidential candidates notably Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, and the gushing commendations from much of the liberal media reminiscent of leftist praise of Stalin’s Five Year Plans in the thirties.
The infighting within Leftist quarters over the limits of the future course of Political Correctness is rather appealing; being hoisted by your own petard comes to mind. But as the Left gets more extreme and juvenile sensible people need to be ever more vigilant that its absurdities do not actually get implemented in the real world. Hopefully, the increasingly outlandish behaviour of its protagonists will convince sufficient numbers to stay well clear.
The American mainstream Left currently assumes prized position in the kidult stakes. Notwithstanding the ‘The Green New Deal’, the inane Congressional rebellions of Ilhan Omar and Cory Booker, Maxine Waters’ incitements to disrupt the restaurant dinners of opponents and Elizabeth Warren’s long-standing role play as a native American Indian are just a few more examples of this extraordinary trend sweeping the Democrat Party. But such antics of leftist grown-ups who should know better, manifest themselves elsewhere too. Take for example the studio tantrums of the British journalist Owen Jones and his schoolboy political analyses or the car crash interviews of Britain’s Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbot. There is of course something sinister at the heart of the modern cosmopolitan Left which must not be overlooked amongst the bewildering antics of its protagonists. A vile anti-Semitism and support for Islamic terrorism, which was once expressed in rants by leftist extremists, is now being peddled in national assemblies by elected representatives of mainstream leftist parties who face few or no repercussions for their actions. A similar casualness drives leftist support for abortion up until birth and even after which is publicly expressed with chilling nonchalance.
It is normal for the youth to rebel; it’s in their DNA. Young people rebel against their teachers for making them work, against their parents for forcing teatime on to them when all they want to do is to play with their toys in their yard, and occasionally against policemen for telling them to behave. But seldom does any of this behaviour amount to anything meaningful that outlasts immediate passions and yearning for some kind of change which their restless minds conjure up on a whim or during some emotionally charged gathering conducted by agitators and provocateurs. What is not normal is for adults to adopt the ways of children; and present this as progress. Alexander earned his sobriquet ‘Great’ for a reason, but he was an exception. Pitt the Younger also has a legacy, deservedly so. There is even something to be said about King Edward VI. But precocity is rare and certainly it is not present in the Leftist class of 2019 plus. Instead, what marks out the contemporary cosmopolitan left are juvenile antics, economic illiteracy, violent tantrums and subjective political narrative skewed toward Marxist interpretations. How ironic that child activist Greta Thunberg told the UN’s climate summit in Katowice, Poland, last December, that politicians are ‘behaving like children’. Kidults perhaps?
Dr. Gregory Slysz writes on History and current affairs, specialising in Eastern Europe, Russia and Early Modern England. He is a graduate of Oxford and London universities where he read History and Politics.