The long wave of ideology: from the Wall to Black Lives Matter, passing through Durban, the totalitarian mentality never dies

American cities on fire. A mayor humiliated and driven out of a demonstration he had helped organize. The statues of Churchill and Lincoln desecrated. British police on the run in front of the angry crowd. The indiscriminate criminalization of the white man. Politicians and law enforcement officers on their knees in front of the violent. A cultural revolution in sixteenth on the streets of the democratic West. What is happening? These are the fruits of a poisoned twenty-year period, which officially began in Durban three days before the attacks of 11 September 2001 and announced by the urban anti-globalization guerrilla of Genoa in July of that same fateful year. What was staged in the South African city on the occasion of the World Conference against Racism (organized by the UN) was little told, thanks to the massacre of the Towers that monopolized the media attention, yet it was a fundamental step in understanding the progressive erosion of the principles liberal democrats in our societies. Although the final declaration was mitigated after the withdrawal of the American and Israeli delegations, the whole preparatory process of what should have been an occasion for recognition of the rights of all oppressed minorities turned into a summary trial in Israel for the treatment " inflicted on Palestinians ", during which Zionism and racism were explicitly equated, there was talk of " ethnic cleansing of the Arab population " and " new apartheid ". The " anti-imperialist " majority, dominated by Arab and Third World propaganda, managed to push an agenda in which the only accomplished democracy in the Middle East and the largest democracy in the world, the United States – believed to be the only historical perpetrators of slavery – they were placed on the defendants' bench with an already written sentence: the irony of history, the Conference against Racism turned into a theater of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism, where illiberal regimes sentenced open societies for their " historical faults ".

An orgy of victimhood that, a few days later, found its most spectacular realization in the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, in which the political, economic and ideal heart of that West was hit, which finally paid for its abuses. Indignation was not long in giving way to the usual reversal of reality: the victims had sought it out.

The al-Aqsa intifada, the wave of attacks against Israel launched a year earlier under the pretext of Sharon's walk to the Temple Mount, was at that moment in its hottest phase. Again, complicit in broad ranges of Western public opinion, instead of facing a common front against a fanaticism that used the same subjects in whose name he said he acted like cannon fodder in his strategy of terror, instead of producing antibodies in defense, our societies squandered the moral capital gained after the collapse of communism in a dramatic self-flagellation: if we created the most prosperous and free society in history it must necessarily be at the expense of someone else, who is now taking revenge.

The long wave of ideology defeated in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, orphan of its historical references, changed skin but maintained substance and passwords. In Genoa, remembered today only for the police violence, another tragic representation of how the totalitarian ashes still smoked under the rubble of that historical disaster was staged: the physical destruction of the city was again justified as the " revolt of the oppressed ", The slogans and symbols of death of communism presented as instances of liberation, the demands of social justice revealed in the eyes of anyone who wanted to see their true nature: the frontal attack on liberal democracy, in its political and economic declinations, the real enemy of fundamentalists of every age, color and origin.

Twenty years later we are facing a mutation of the same phenomenon, the eternal return of ideology, technologically perfected, socially multifaceted in apparently multipurpose battles but all characterized by the same common denominator, at times more subtle in its manifestations but perfectly recognizable in the outcomes and objectives. An easier phenomenon to identify when it reveals all its potential for material destruction (the riots in American cities and the clashes in European ones), but even more insidious when it limits itself to manipulating principles, concepts and language using the tools that precisely the liberal political system, which claims to transform, makes it available. An explosive combination of political radicalism, populist and anti-capitalist rhetoric, of identity sectarianism, cloaked in the hypocrite veil of the politically correct , that is, the sort of unique (or only respectable) thought that invaded the Western mentality after 11 September 2001 (but perhaps even earlier), to become a constitutive element of its involution. A degenerate son of liberal democracy which the latter not only did not have the courage to repudiate, but which it fed and spoiled, ending up being devoured by it.

Where the Black Lives Matter is welded with the so-called militant anti-fascism, the cities burn and the statues are demolished, even those of the anti-slavers, even those of those who have really fought fascism, mistaken for reactionaries by an uneducated but conveniently trained people. Before it was called collectivism, now it is called identity politics, but the aim is always the same: to assimilate the individual to a group, to de-responsibilize him, to endow him with an ideology and an enemy to attack, avoid independent thinking, cancel criticism , homologate.

The New York Times forces James Bennet to resign – guilty of having published the controversial opinion of a republican senator on street protests – as if he were any Pravda , and the intelligentsia liberal not only does not arise but adapts to the triumph of sectarianism: Bennet if you are looking for it. In London they smear the monument to Churchill, label it as a racist, and in Italy there are immediately those who, from its progressive keyboard, hear the call of the herd and scramble to explain that the ex prime minister basically has a saint's shin it was not. In Richmond (Virginia), following the wave of demonstrations for the assassination of Floyd, the governor decides to remove the statue of Confederate General Lee, although his positions on slavery were notoriously very distant from the cliché that we would expect from a southerner military. But more than with reality, the cultural revolution in sixteenth has to do with the imposition of its own vision of history and social relations. The iconoclastic fury that leads to the breaking down of symbols considered oppressive, reactionary or simply bourgeois aims to repudiate the past in the name of a new beginning, of a humanity freed from the sin of previous generations. In an attempt to erase history not aligned with the spirit of the time, the eternal ambition of the new man is hidden, opposed to the " former people ". There is no utopia with a tragic ending that has not been inspired by this fundamentalist conception of the human story. One day the statues will end and the politically correct will have to find other idols to be torn down to meet the needs of other minorities who will feel discriminated against, no matter whether rightly or wrongly.

After the end of real socialism, the left had to rethink its strategy: with the now discredited class struggle, the transition to identity politics was almost natural, and the defense of large collectives of the "exploited" left room for that of increasingly specific and numerically reduced groups. He observes Fukuyama in his essay "Identity" that in this apparent transition the left soon passed from the need for equal recognition to that of the superiority of determined groups, considered carriers of instances more worthy of consideration than others until then commonly accepted. From here to revisionism, to selective memory, to abuse, to the refusal of everything that does not agree with the new orthodoxy, the step is short. If the liberal conception sees in the affirmation of individual rights the realization of human dignity, its politically correct caricature makes collective recognition the raison d'etre of its action. In this pendulum movement, made up of courses and appeals, which is nothing more than the repetition of the same ideological contention as always with other means, maximalism is welded with the height of populism, erroneously considered in Europe exclusively as a right-wing thing. In reality, like national-populism, return social-communism uses its own tools in its attack on liberal democracy, with the essential difference that, unlike its apparent antagonist, enjoys generalized social approval and almost absolute impunity. It's in the people vs. rhetoric elites that identity policies find their sublimation: pars pro toto , only a few are really " Volk " and opponents of all sorts automatically become " enemies of the people ", not legitimate interlocutors but obstacles to be removed.

In an incomprehensible passage if the ideological premises are not analyzed, the logical indignation for the assassination of George Floyd first turns into a revolt with clear political connotations against the White House, and then also turns against sympathetic leaders of the movement, such as the Mayor of Minneapolis forced to head away amid the insults of the protesters who ordered him to dismantle the city police force. In revolutions, or presumed such, someone always comes purer who purges you in the name of the "people" . In line with the dogmas of politically correct single thought (or the dress with which authoritarianism presents itself in society), populism also uses the language of democracy to corrupt and degrade it. His action is especially subtle because it is difficult to refute prima facie : who can oppose the condemnation of racism, social injustice or domestic violence? Who can reasonably fail to declare themselves "anti-fascist" apart from the fascists? The trap lies in the fact that populism aspires to a definitive closure, to the formulation of a final question for which there is only one answer. This is why in non-democracies " we, the people " are an instance of liberation, while in democracy it turns into its exact opposite. In Spain the slogans of anti-Westernism rule in Podemos ' populist and guerracivilist rhetoric: " The right will no longer rule in this country ". It is the drift that in Venezuela has led Chavismo to occupy power by electoral channels so as not to leave it anymore. Elective affinities don't lie: Black Lives Matter's co-founder never hid her admiration for Maduro and her pauperist regime.

Just like in Durban, this anti-racism in the streets is rather racist, so that the murder of Floyd becomes an opportunity to demand from the whole white "race" an act of contrition and generalized repentance. It is significant that practically none of the protests had as its object the criminal conduct of the policeman, who also risks forty years in prison, but his belonging to a group, that of the "whites" , as such oppressors. Once again, we are facing the collectivization of individual behaviors, even criminal ones, in an ideological climax in which even the principle of personal criminal responsibility disappears : Chauvin's knee is that of all the "whites" , Floyd's neck that of all "blacks" . The problems of this characterization are many but some stand out immediately. The first is that it is assumed that the alleged murderer's conduct is determined by racial motives. The second is that certain deaths only provoke indignation if the culprits belong to a certain group: they do not burn cities when an African American kills a white man or another African American. The third is that the fact in itself does not matter, what matters is the symbol, in this case the category of the victim and the executioner who are the fruit, in the neo-totalitarian narrative that does not allow replicas, of a deeply rooted social superstructure unjust, discriminatory and as such to overthrow. The fourth, the most serious, is that this representation, founded on group identity, which preaches copyright criminal law, where what matters is not how one acts but in the name of what one does, it becomes the only acceptable version of the reality that surrounds us if we do not want to be accused of racism, male chauvinism, fascism and so on. In that kneeling of simple citizens, of policemen, of politicians there is not the respect due to a victim but a cultural and moral surrender, an act of humiliation to the permanent ideological blackmail which is historically the step that precedes submission. " I do not kneel, precisely because I reject racism ", we should have listened to political classes worthy of the name. Instead we saw Trudeau with his head bowed, in a car from fé whose flames will be slow to extinguish.

A cult in progress, in a nutshell, but with deep roots in the totalitarian experiences of the short century, with its followers, its avant-gardes, its rituals of hatred and denunciation, its claim to "re-educate" , its indisputable precepts and above all the legitimization of revolutionary violence as catharsis, not only forgivable but desirable as it is exercised for the supreme good of the transformation of society. Everything has already been invented in politics, just study. A cult exercised in the name of an anti-fascism which has long since been completely emptied of content. The self-styled anti-fascists, where oppression is real, are never seen, on the streets of Hong Kong, around the Xinjiang camps, in the prisons of Tehran, in the torture centers of the Chavista police. Democracies are their battleground. We must be clear to the end: defining ourselves anti-fascists today means absolutely nothing. Antifascism makes sense only in the general category of anti-totalitarianism, as a theoretical concept, as a democratic and liberal ideal to defend. But while communism is still a system in some state systems, fascism as a historical phenomenon has not been so for some time. The problem with current anti-fascism is not that it proposes to fight fascism (which does not exist) but that it attacks everything that in its unquestionable judgment identifies with fascism, that is to say practically anything that is not (extreme) left.

Against the long wave of ideology, against the eternal return of the equal that today takes the forms of identity regression, the only antidotes remain the rule of law and the defense of individual freedoms and opportunities, and the ideals of liberal democracy the only truly revolutionary instance that is worth pursuing, without kneeling. Just like that drunkard, racist and misogynist of Sir Winston Churchill did.

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This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Atlantico Quotidiano at the URL on Thu, 11 Jun 2020 04:09:00 +0000.