The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Exploring ‘Explaining Postmodernism’ By Stephen Hicks 5: Aerial Bacon

Posted on | November 30, 2011 | 1 Comment

by Smitty

Awaiting The Winged Pig

The last episode ended in the mid-20th century with the Left seeking a new prophet to replace Marx for the cult of Postmodernism after certain difficulties arose around the Soviet Union. Rousseau was not alive enough to decline the dishonor.

To review, Marxisism is a class analysis with three predictions:

  1. The proletariat over time increases and is increasingly impoverished over time.
  2. The middle class decreases over time.
  3. The upper class also decreases, and becomes richer.

Other than being wrong, class warfare is a great tool to perturb the situation.

“For both the prescribed remedies and the initiation of measures to enact them, strong leadership by an elite was essential. (Hicks, 139)”

In other words, the cure for the Enlightenment is a return to aristocracy.

Not only were Marxist politics wrong. . .
Furthermore, the shining example on the hill, the USSR, beat the Nazi body count hands down, hands chopped, hands located only Jimmy Hoffa knows where.

Socialist have generally been willing to grant that possibly, just possibly, capitalist economic production would outstrip socialist production. But no socialist has ever been willing to grant that capitalism can hold a candle to socialism morally. Socialism is driven more than anything else by an ethic of altruism, by a conviction that morality is about selflessness, being willing to put others’ needs before one’s own, and, when necessary, being willing to sacrifice oneself for others, especially those others who are weaker and needier. (Hicks 145-6)

I’m a firm believer in credit where due. This is beautiful. This socialist ‘morality’ (again, I don’t believe morality pertains outside of a religious context) works well as an ethical statement. It would go too far to say that socialists have cribbed the Sermon on the Mount. Certainly, these ethical conclusions have multiple avenues of approach.
Nevertheless, I submit that any Christian should recognize this as “the Kingdom of God, hold the God”. Truly a fantastic party, but a vital turn has been left out of the directions. Specifically, I defy anyone to come up with worked examples of the socialist ideal that have proven sustainable over a substantial length of time. Even the success of Europe only counts as success if you ignore the debt and the fact that the U.S. has underwritten the defense of Europe for decades.
In 1956, the early Khrushchev denunciation of Stalin, and later suppression of Hungary helped to trigger the crisis of socialism, undermining the smarmy morality claims.

Bring on the class warfare

A new ethical standard was therefore necessary. With great fanfare, then, much of the Left changed its official ethical standard from need to equality. No longer was the primary criticism of capitalism to be that it failed to satisfy people’s needs. The primary criticism was to be that its people did not get an equal share. (Hicks, 151)

Moving from equality of opportunity, toward equality of condition. That’s the ticket. “If I can’t have it, you can’t have it.” Of course, this always ends up being the message for the little people. The nomenklatura remain tantamount to aristocracy.

A second strategic change in Left strategy involved a more audacious change of ethical standards. Traditionally, Marxist socialism had supposed that providing adequately for human needs was a basic est of a social system’s morality. The achievement of wealth, accordingly, was a good thing since wealth brought with it better nutrition, housing, healthcare, and leisure time. And so capitalism was held to be evil becuase Marxists believed that it denied most of its population the ability to enjoy the fruits of wealth.
But as it became clearer that capitalism is very good at producing the wealth and delivering the fruits–and that socialism is very bad at it–two new variations on the Left thought turned the argument on its head and began to condemn capitalism precisley for being so good at providing wealth.

One is Marcusianism, the other the environmental movement. So, “If I can’t have it, you can’t have it” beccomes, “You have, therefore you’ve stolen, from others and Gaia.”

Series concludes this afternoon!


  1. Introduction
  2. Counter-Enlightenment
  3. Reason Is Over-rated
  4. Poisoned Enlightenment


One Response to “Exploring ‘Explaining Postmodernism’ By Stephen Hicks 5: Aerial Bacon”

  1. Anonymous
    November 30th, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    Apparently no longer satisfied merely to insure Europe’s freedom we will now backstop the Euro via the Fed’s printing presses. Now we know how civilization ends. It may take awhile but this is absolutely a step onto the wrong side of the fulcrum.