I had started a speech on the collapse of the left in the West, and then I forgot to bring it forward. Well, I decided to post the second chapter today, where I describe another phase of their collapse, which has a name: Orthodoxy.
Orthodoxy is a phenomenon that crosses all political movements, that is all the groups that are born around a purely aesthetic concept, devoid of substance or whose substance is unattainable (as happens for religions). What happens to these movements is that they are inevitably subject to the phenomenon of fashion, and fashions are fleeting.
What happens is that the aesthetics that had gone well up to that point no longer find support, and the movement is asked to radically change its aesthetics, or it will meet the political collapse.
Political collapse can present itself as a schism, as happened with Luther, who rebelled against Christian-Gothic aesthetics, due to some of its terrifying aspects.
When the aesthetics of a movement ends in pleasure, in addition to the schism a renewal can begin, the movement can react by modifying its own aesthetics, even its own language:
Or it will collapse and end up in the closet with clothes that we don't wear anymore, and that we're basically ashamed to have ever put on. In the case of the Lutheran schism the request came from a group that broke away from the old Gothic aesthetic to embrace a more friendly one, or at least a less terrifying one.
I did not love the just God who punishes sinners, indeed, I hated him; although in fact living a life of irreproachable monk, before God I felt myself a sinner with a conscience always restless, and I could not trust that my reparation could placate him. M. Luther (pp. 167-168)
When there is a collapse of consensus, a political movement is always asked for a radical change in its aesthetics.
If this change succeeds the political movement can hope to survive time, otherwise it is condemned to schism and finally to disappearance.
We cannot say that the left has not changed: if you think about the period in which they were pro-Soviet and (thread) communist, to get to the present moment of changes they have made, and more than once they have distorted their own aesthetics, that is the political proposal ( politics has no content by definition, being aesthetic thinking ).
But in this period also the ideals of economic liberalism, which the new aesthetics of the left seemed to embrace, no longer like. If it is true that the old communist aesthetic no longer appeals to the masses, even the latest fashions of American radicalism and the bourgeoise left do not like them anymore. Even the aesthetics of liberalism don't like it anymore, it doesn't find support.
To the modern left, left without an attractive aesthetic, all that remains is to change aesthetics once again. But political movements often fail to do so, because the senile illness of political movements comes into play, the most dangerous of them, that is orthodoxy.
Orthodoxy is a sub-branch of aesthetic thought, which defines beauty as "pure", and associates the attraction of beauty with the search for purity. When a political movement chooses this aesthetic, that is this political program, it does so in different ways.
- The myth of origins. It happens that you choose a moment (more or less mythological) of the story and decide that all the truths of the movement have been written at that time, once and forever. Only those who adhere to the ideas of "the beginnings" are pure, and as such are authoritative and worthy.
- The myth of scholasticism. In this version we choose the aesthetics of the intellectual as a winning aesthetic, and therefore we decide that when a leader is more involved in the scholastic of ideas, he knows dates and names, he cites authors of the past and seems almost one of them in the presence physics, then it is a pure, purified by the effort of studies, and as such it is authoritative and worthy.
- The myth of the hero. In this version of aesthetics it is decided that he who has given much, often at a high price, for the party is beautiful. And then if you were in the square at a given historical moment, be it the lions of Nero or Woodstock, you are "pure" who lived "the great battles" on their skin. This vision obviously draws on the epic of the party, therefore it rewards a certain number of "heroes of the cause" calling them authoritative and worthy.
- The myth of the martyr. It is a subset of the hero's aesthetic, but instead of relying on the epic of the struggling hero, it is based on the tragedy of the persecuted who dies. In this perspective, those who have been imprisoned for ideals (or torn apart by lions, it does not matter) or have suffered discrimination and persecution are the most authoritative and worthy.
- The myth of the modern. In this aesthetic (modernity) the future is automatically in conflict with tradition, and therefore those who are more in conflict with tradition explaining the "true" and "current" concept that has been hidden by the patina of traditions , is the most authoritative and worthy.
- The myth of correctness. In this aesthetic only an absolutely correct language and an inflexible and severe grammar can represent ideas well. A language police is immediately established which deals with devastating the debate by correcting the commas, form and style: those who correct the grammatical errors of others are the most authoritative and worthy.
All these errors inevitably lead to orthodoxy. In reality a party is made by a person, and the aesthetics of the party is nothing more than the choice of its own ruling class: the only change of aesthetics that succeeds is the complete replacement of the ruling class. But orthodoxy is normally used to get the old ruling class in its place.
All the solutions I listed above are bound to fail.
- The myth of the origins fails when someone, to overcome a competitor or to pull "the origins" on his side, really goes to check "the origins" with a minimum of historical investigation. And then he discovers that "the first Christians" were a pile of hippies with the same sexual habits as a bonobo in acid, that the first communists were a pile of cazzari lovers of luxury, et cetera. The first moments of any party are always chaotic, cacophonous and very often orgiastic, both ideally and practically, and even a fight against glo-Czar in 2019 is more pathetic than ridiculous.
- The myth of scholasticism fails when the "intellectual" is asked for information about what to do, or when decisions are asked about practical matters. Scholastics are generally incapable of making decisions, other than giving a vote to someone else, but when asked to make practical decisions they show themselves for what they are, that is an illustrious pile of idiots.
- The myth of the hero. Using the heroes of the fight as leaders is a choice that fails when the base understands that the soldier's life is a life of shit, that a hard fight without fear is fine but on the couch at home it is better, and ( even worse) someone starts to sense that a fight can also be lost, and when this happens the "heroes" don't know what to do. Also because often the heroes died in the last defeat.
- The martyr's myth becomes difficult to sustain when martyrs compete with each other. If you go from being a martyr because the hairdresser told you that as a bald man you can't have blond curls, to be martyrs because they tore your eyes away like Santa Lucia, all martyrdom loses much of its charm. Martyrdom has the small problem that sometimes it does very badly , and then you are also dead. A competition for who is the most martyr is a game that usually ends badly for the players.
- The myth of the modern succeeds quite well, but it is exhausted as soon as someone notices that you are dressed, you are like a 20-year-old, but you are dressed as a twenty – year – old 40 years ago , and as if this were not enough for your age you are ridiculous. What's more, there are also real young people in your party, and they don't know what a DeLorean is because they weren't even born when it was taken off the market. Any reference to ex-boy scouts who really existed is purely intended.
- The myth of correctness. Trimming bacchettate on the hands for a wrong subjunctive could work in the Gentile elementary school, but it is not recommended by any policy manual. The idea that a language police brings sympathy or consensus, raises terror and dislike, is more a mental illness than a logical error.
In this historical period, all European lefts instead of changing their aesthetics (ie their entire ruling class) are trying to dust some kind of orthodoxy in the spasmodic search for lost consents.
The problem of orthodoxy is that it always and in any case reaches only one result: that of transforming a political movement into a sect of fanatics.
Before I note that all the parties of the western left have adopted some kind of orthodoxy, I have to make one thing clear. A political party is above all an aesthetic entity.
Aesthetic means that you cannot know the thing, but you can only know the way the thing appears. Since you cannot know all the background and all the members of a party, if the party is "the thing", you cannot say that you know the thing, but you can only know how the thing appears to you.
Since what appears to be part of the party is the ruling class (most often the leader) the only way a party can change its aesthetic is to completely change its ruling class. Anything else will be seen as a mere cosmetic.
Returning to the subject, no European party is completely changing its ruling class. The maximum that is happening is that the new leader is unknown, but it is almost never new since he was in the party for decades, as a dark bureaucrat. There are no real changes in the leadeship because the parties are structured so as to allow leaders to stop the "aspirants to the throne".
All the parties of the European left find themselves solicited by a world that is caught up in a dizzying change, and their aesthetics are no longer attractive today, but their reaction was the wrong one: they chose to adopt a line made of orthodoxy, which has already condemned them to become sects of fanatics, minority and liturgical.
A chanting procession of cretins, all of them repeating words that no one understands, to cite facts that nobody remembers, raising symbols that nobody recognizes.
And woe to those who make mistakes.