I cannot but help to reflect on the current situation in which not only western society finds itself, led by the U.S. A. and the NATO alliance, but the entire planet, which is currently, in one way, shape, or form, locked in a diametrically-opposed ideological struggle between what have become known as the ‘alt left’ and ‘alt right’ groups of special interests which are currently engaged in a ‘knock ’em down, drag ’em out’ struggle which has become known in American pop-cultural, political and media circles as the ‘culture wars.’
Generally speaking, the alt left group interests are represented mostly and predominantly by three very militant secular, so-called ‘progressive’ groups of special interests, which have, for the most part, coalesced around the # Me Too fourth wave feminist movement, the LGBTQ2S movement, and the environmental movement, all three of which are heavily, and sometimes predominantly, if not exclusively dominated by secular, socialist/communist, Marxist-inspired (either evolutionary Marxist, or revolutionary/radical Marxist), often atheist people, who have been heavily influenced by such writers and thinkers as Karl Marx, existential philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre, as well as theorists and intellectuals such as Paulo Friere and Foucault.
Although a small number of women’s organizations, such as ‘REAL women’ claim to stand for traditional Christian family values, and that the existence of faith based peace-building organizations such as Project Ploughshares in Canada are a reality within the public realm, the bulk of these people’s thinking and their beliefs and ways of doing, or ‘praxis’, as it is known, is highly ‘radical’, as we say in Social Work, meaning, like the word ‘radical’ implies etymologically, these people are attempting to change society, not by trying to improve the status quo by reforming the existing structures of society to make them work better, but rather, they believe that society’s existing structures are inherently flawed and oppressive, and that they are attempting to change society at the very ‘root’ of what they believe to be the fundamental problems facing society, which, according to Marxian analysis, is predicated upon the notion of the ‘conflict theory’ of change, which states that change can only come in society to redress what it states to be the inherent structural imbalance of power or ‘power differential’ between white, male heterosexual middle class Judeo-Christians, by forcing these people to cede, by violent force or repressive legislative coercion if necessary, a certain measure of their power and money to those who have less of the same, so as to achieve greater ‘equality.’ Essentially, the alt-left proposes nothing short of totally deconstructing, if not destroying the existing social order, and producing what they describe as ‘transformative change’, wherein society will be transformed into a new entity wherein there will essentially be no oppression, there will be a level, horizontal playing field, somewhat resembling a ‘puddle’ of a non-hierarchical nature where all persons would essentially be in ‘the same boat’, where nobody would wield power or domination over anybody so that there would be no oppression, and the competitive nature of liberal democratic capitalist society would be abolished in favour of a cooperative society wherein all persons would receive according to their needs, not necessarily the same outcome, but according to their differential needs within the horizontal ‘puddle.’
Essentially, their notion or ideology is based on the notion of leveling the playing field in society and that there should be no disparities of opportunity or of advantage proffered to any class of persons to the detriment of any others. So in essence, the alt left are anti-hierarchical, hierarchy being a word which means ‘priests first’ which comes from Roman antiquity, when the Roman Catholic Church based their diocesan structure of priests and bishops upon the structure of the Roman Army, with Ceasar as God and highest leader, with Centurions, and decurions in charge of one hundred and ten soldiers each.
The alt left is therefore anti-clerical, because it is precisely anti-hierarchical, so they are ferociously opposed to organized religion such as the Roman Catholic Church and other mainstream forms of Christianity, also, because, being Marxists for the most part, and Marx having been an Atheist Jew who called religion ‘the opium of the masses’, they are, for the most part, opposed to most forms of organized Christianity. This is all the more telling, because the alt left is also anti-patriarchal, which means that they are in favour of deconstructing and disestablishing male dominance and male privilege in society, and establishing what they call ‘equality’, through the ’empowerment’ of persons such as women, women of colour, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, queer people and two-spirited people, which is an Indigenous term for persons who present with elements of both male and female gender and same sex as well as opposite sex attraction.
The alt left also is in favour of empowering indigenous persons, especially Indigenous women, persons with mental health conditions, and to combat what they describe as ‘Islamophobia’, which in their estimation, despite being opposed to Christianity, they are in favour of empowering the linguisto-cultural, socio-cultural, socio-economic, and even socio-religious ascendancy of the arabo-muslim constituency in the western world, ostensibly because it is overtly ‘marginalized’, or ‘persecuted’, or ‘colonized’ or ‘oppressed’ by the white english-speaking Judeo-Christian dominated patriarchy of the west.
Generally, the alt left has arrogated to itself the self-appointed and self-important position of deigning to speak for all those it claims to be or to have been ‘oppressed’, ‘repressed’, ‘colonized’, ‘neo-colonized’, ‘abused’, or otherwise mistreated by the supposedly random vagaries, or worse yet, the structurally entrenched dominant hegemonic and monolithically violent and aggressive white male, anglo-saxon, Judeo-Christian, patriarchal, plutocratic, oligarchical, oligopolistic, neo-feudalistic, post-modern, post industrial elite who just don’t seem to ‘get it’, and who are willfully and stubbornly hanging onto the last vestiges of their ‘unearned’, and therefore ‘unwarranted’, and ‘unmerited’, illegitimate power inside the walls of the inner sanctum of male-dominated anglo-centric hetero-normative, hetero-patriarchal, white privilege and power, backed by the egregiously indefensible power of the global military industrial complex and the global financial community, and its brethren within the hallowed halls of the secret societies of the world’s nations and their institutions of world domination such as the Free Masons, Skull and Bones, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberger Group, the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO, among others.
The alt left have essentially convinced and persuaded their members that for ‘equality’ to reign, that they, especially women, must penetrate, if not bash down the doors of the inner sanctum of these institutions, by force if necessary, and evince the coterie of men within them and to replace a significant number of them with women, who are ‘equally’ powerful in the temporal realm as the men are, so as to putatively reduce the injustices and structural inequities which have plagued society since time immemorial.
I can think of at least a few problems with this scenario. ‘Equality’, in my mind does not necessarily equate with being ‘equally equal’ within the realm of male-centric temporal power and privilege. If women seek to penetrate the inner sanctum and play with the ‘big boys’ and make a ‘big noise’ sitting in the ‘big chair’, then, in essence, they are condemning themselves to playing by the rules established and reinforced by male authority, power and privilege since time immemorial. They become ‘one of the boys’, and as such must abide by the rules of the ‘old boys club’ of power, privilege, and the code of silence which reigns within the inner sanctum of the ‘band of brothers’, both for good and for ill. They become men with vaginas and breasts no less. End of story.
Whereas if women and other people of the alt left want to effectuate true change within society, I would suggest creating our own infrastructures and creating our own boys and girls clubs and men’s and women’s clubs, and creating our own power structures, independent of the establishment, and to grow them until they become a force to be reckoned with by the establishment, so that, from a position of power, we may be able to negotiate one on one with the elite within a context of what we call in French a ‘rapport de force’, or a ‘relationship of power’, or power differential which has been made more equal in nature, as opposed to trying to curry favour with the establishment and constantly being in danger of being ‘bought out’ or being ‘co-opted’ by them and thereby having our power neutralized within the larger structure.
The alt right, on the other hand, is diametrically opposed to the alt left, and are represented by a very distinct group of interests in their turn. The alt right is heavily represented in the western world by mostly two separate yet heavily intertwined constituencies: corporate American interests, especially such sectors as the petroleum extraction and refining industry (for example the Koch brothers who control the bulk of the petroleum refineries in the U.S.A.), the military-industrial complex, including the aerospace industry, the automobile industry, the agro-industrial complex, big pharma, the corporate media giants such as Disney, Time/Warner, AT&T, and corporate power in general, with few exceptions, errs on the side of being more conservative and being in favour of smaller government, lower taxes, fewer regulations, and a lesser role for government in health care, education, and social services, except when government intervention accentuates the ability of ‘free enterprise’ to ‘create wealth’ by increasing sales and profits, which, ostensibly, according to the ‘Adam Smith/Wealth of nations’ dogma and doctrine which the alt right have essentially instrumentalized and captured, not to mention corrupted and rendered obscene in its perversion from its original pre-industrial critique of mercantilist excess, is supposed to benefit everybody and is supposed to ‘increase the wealth of nations’ somehow magically for the benefit of all by somehow allowing elite plutocratic corporate neo-fascist oligarchs the unfettered ability to play the shell game of moving assets around the globe to wherever governments, who are desperate for investment, are willing to bend over backwards to dole out all sorts of goodies, tax breaks, job training allowances, cheap hydro, low interest or no interest loans or outright cash grants, to lure mega corporations to re-locate their production facilities to their jurisdictions, only to pack up and sell off the facility, sometimes before production even begins (witness the new GE facility in Niagara ON being sold off to another company after receiving tremendous amounts of government assistance, with no guarantees that the jobs created will stay there), who then eventually pack up and move out within 10-20 years when all the goodies run out, and there is ostensibly no more ‘wealth to create’ there anymore.
Adam Smith essentially warned the world against this current neo-liberal and neo-conservative paradigm. Smith, in his Magnus Opus ‘The Wealth of nations’ in the late 1700s was not so much presenting a case for a rallying cry for the corporate capitalist domination of the political and economic agenda, such as the neo-liberal and neo-conservative Reaganomics and Milton Freidman elements within American society have essentially done with their instrumentalization and co-opting of Smith’s concepts of ‘limited government’ (which actually was ‘limited but strong government’), ‘low taxes’, ‘freedom’, and so on to essentially justify, with arguments from the Scottish Enlightenment, the full frontal assault on the post-WWII welfare state and the dismantlement to benefit entitlement for millions of people in western countries for income support, public services such as medical care, publically-funded education, social services, and private and public pensions, as well as launching a full frontal attack on the working people in the blue collar and middle income constituencies of the western world by openly attacking organized labour, offshoring, and nearshoring, millions of manufacturing jobs, restricting working people’s rights to free association and freedom of peaceful assembly through restrictive ‘right to work’ legislation in various jurisdictions of the U.S.A., which are a thinly-veiled anti-labour attempt to thwart labour unions from organizing workers into collective bargaining units which would not only increase the cost of labour, but also vastly improve the average person and family’s standard of living and stabilize the social fabric by injecting billions of dollars of purchasing power into the economy to allow individuals and families to engage in sustained and sustainable levels of consumption so as to reproduce the social fabric both physically and metaphysically.
Adam Smith was definitely not so much promoting such a “projet de société” from being used as a weapon of hegemony and domination in society, quite the opposite. It was precisely the exact same scenario, ironically enough which had occurred in Smith’s time, with the Mercantilist/Commercial capitalist monopoly capitalists ‘capturing’ of the state and of the dominant hegemonic discourse in society and its ability to get the British Crown, through its Army and Navy, to fight its overseas wars to promote its expansion of its markets abroad, which Smith was bemoaning as a moral pox on the loins of society.
Essentially, Smith’s dire prophecy of capitalism’s ‘capturing’ of the state in pre-industrial times by the Mercantilist monopoly capitalist elite of its day, has essentially been borne out one for one in postmodern, post-industrial, and post-Christian times by the neo-liberal and neo-conservative plutocracy’s ‘capturing’ of the secular state in both the USA, Canada, the UK, France, and around the world, in effect setting the stage for the current diametrically oppositional paradigm of the culture wars, which are all the more virulent and brutal, with the bombastic and hateful rhetoric being spewed out by both sides against each other, and by increasingly violent acts of aggression being committed by both sides against human elements and private and public property of the other side which they perceive as being tantamount to being ‘the enemy’, and ‘deserving of death’ through willfully pre-planned and premeditated acts of murderous aggression, usually involving a mass shooting of a video games style nature, a bombing, or some sort of murder/suicide, usually committed by some sort of late teens/early twenties, usually male, usually white or Muslim, socio-economically, socio-emotionally, socio-religiously, and socio-culturally radicalized and marginalized young person, who becomes the proverbial ‘wild-eyed pistol-waver, who ain’t afraid to die’, as Don Henley described them in his 1980s song ‘all she wants to do is dance.’
Or, in the case of the alt-Left’s violent acts of aggression, they are usually committed by very well-organized cells of lefist-style Marxist-inspired either Feminist and/or LGBTQ2S affiliated or related to these two constituencies in some way through some sort of campus-style of leftist radicalism on North American and British/French/Australian/German College and University campuses of a secular nature, which enables these people to freely organize either in secret or out in the open on College or University property, often using public monies, to organize disruptive sometimes violent acts of aggressive social action protests against what they perceive to be the source of global ‘oppression’, that being patriarchy, hetero-patriarchy, hetero-normativity, colonialism, capitalism, etc, and essentially justify their recourse to violence by virtue of the fact that the existing social order is exercising ‘structural violence’ against them, therefore they are justified in utilizing violence to attempt to overthrow an inherently violent system, such as was the rationale of people like Malcolm X, who himself died by violence, in large part because he advocated and participated in violent acts of aggression to attempt to overthrow a reputedly ‘violent’ social order. As the old saying goes: ‘if you live by the sword, ye shall die by the sword.’
The second constituency within the alt right movement, closely-related to the first, is the Judeo-Christian caucasian religious elite who are often leaders of some of the top right wing Judeo-Christian religious organizations in the western world, whether they are Zionist, or white, anglo-saxon Protestant or Roman Catholic. These organizations, which include such groups as the Moral Majority, the Free Masons, Skull and Bones, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Knights of Columbus, the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization (WTO), The Fraser Institute, the C.D. Howe Institute, the Canadian Petroleum Producers Association, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, the Canadian Bankers Association, the Canadian Club, the Canadian Manufacturer’s Association, and a whole host of what are known ‘right wing think tanks’, many of which are funded by wealthy Evangelical Christian groups and/or the petroleum industry, have a tremendous amount of clout not only in the USA, but also in places like Canada, where such organizations previously-mentioned have a tremendous and disproportionate amount of power in relation to their percentage of the population as it relates to the shaping of government policy and are invariably in favour of cutting government income benefit entitlements as well as education and social service support to individuals and families who are the least able to afford to pay for such things out of pocket, all ostensibly because ‘we can’t afford it’ and they are programs which are purportedly ‘too expensive’, but are conversely the first in line to receive the benefit entitlements to government largesse in the forms of tax breaks, low interest or zero interest loans, job training allowances, outright cash grants, cheap hydro subsidized by the government, and other things like favourable tarif-free status for their goods and services being exported abroad.
Essentially, corporate power is all in favour of welfare for itself but not for individual citizens or families, which is patently hypocritical, even obscene, vulgar, and amoral. Adam Smith never envisioned the emergence of the corporate industrial and financial capitalist plutocracy and its oligarchical and oligopolisitic domination and capturing of the dominant hegemonic discourse of the emerging pre-industrial society of his day. He did warn us however, of the ills caused by just such a world created by the denizens of mercantilist capitalist plutocracy and the egregious structural and pernicious ills that it wrought in the Georgian and pre-Victorian eras of his day. Such is the dialectical drift or the ‘state of the union’ in which we now find ourselves mired within today’s postmodern paradigmical paradox of a structurally-stalled and core-peripherally maxed out alt right and alt left diamettrically opposed and dichotomous culture war writ large, which on the one hand, the alt left seeks to iconoclastically break the iron grip of patriarchy and hetero-normativity and hetero-patriarchy and heterosexualism and to empower women and women of colour, indigenous persons, differently-abled persons, Muslims, and all of the ‘rainbow coalition’ of persons within the eclectic mish-mash of alt-left ideation and praxis, despite its own structurally limited constraints concerning ‘equality’ and the ability of women to achieve ‘equality’ and to redress the power differential within the context of deconstructing and disentitling those within the patriarchy, by simultaneously striving to emulate the trappings of the patriarchy’s temporal power; while on the other hand the alt right seeks to preserve and reinforce the aforementioned hetero-normative and hetero-patriarchal and heterosexualist structures within the context of an increasingly bogged down and stressed out, frayed and torn social fabric of a ‘nuclear family’ which has, for all intents and purposes, been ‘exploded’ in a huge mushroom cloud of gender-bending and politicized culture kampf, which has only served to render the current situation in society all the more conflicted and tenuous, as people struggle more and more to cope with even tighter ‘productivity’, ‘efficiency’ and ‘cost effectiveness’ initiatives at their workplace.
Furthermore, working people in the typical working family, as well as individuals are being subjected to an increasingly aggressive and violently exhortative level of LGBTQ+ gender ideation and ideology in schools, of #Me Too 4th wave feminist ideation and praxis in our workplaces as well as our schools and places of worship, and an increasingly invasive and pervasively pernicious and intrusive presence of info-cyber technological surveillance in their lives at home, in their workplaces, at school, everywhere. It is no wonder that the level of violence is ratcheting up in society and that not a day goes by that we do not hear of yet another shooting or mass killing of some sort, or some sort of egregious sex scandal or perverse form of sexual accusation of misconduct being leveled at some rich and powerful person, usually a white man, in the ongoing culture war, which, in my humble estimation, is a zero sum game which, within the current rules of engagement and current state of each party’s stated goals, is doomed to only escalate into further violence and conflict, unless one, the other, or both sides decides to ‘blink first’, or ‘lay down their weapons of mass destruction’, so to speak, of ad hominem character assassination and to sit down and speak to each other reasonably for the benefit of all.
Otherwise, the ‘tragic flaws’ mentioned herein concerning the diametrically opposed and conflicting forms of ideation and praxis which both camps espouse and openly are ‘gunning hard’ to impose on each other and implement in the face of patently mutually antithetical odds, will inevitably destroy the very civilization which we have spent several millennia to edify and that the current proto apocalyptic and proto-eschatological conjunctural moment in which we find ourselves will lead this planet down the garden path to self-willed, sel-centred, self-seeking, and self-fulfilling oblivion, the likes of which are unparalleled in the annals of human history.
It belongs to us, therefore, the citizens of Canada, ‘Kanata’ the Great Village, the microcosm of the Global Village writ large, and of this world within this universe, to seize this wonderful opportunity which is imbedded within the dire predicament of postmodernity, to re-sancitfy, re-sacralize, re-invigorate, and, as Sting said when he was with the Police, off the Ghost in the Machine album, to ‘re-humanize ourselves’, and all that is good and sacred in humanity, and to not shrink from the task of ‘taking the bull by the horns’ and to get involved both locally and internationally to make this world a better place, a place where life is truly worth living, where our Father the Creator and our Mother the Creation, in their heavenly marriage, have created creatures such as humans, who are people of the earth, who communicate, or share a message of experience, strength and hope to have faith, hope and love to be able to get off the Crazy Train we are on and back on the Long Train Running, the Love Train, which is picking up passengers from coast to coast. And all you need is faith, to hear the Diesels hummin’, you don’t need no ticket, you just get board to our heavenly reward. For verrily I tell thee my dear friends, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, upon his recovery from the scourge of addiction, said in a video, ‘the light at the end of the tunnel is you.’ I could not agree more. David Lee Roth of Van Halen, from his third solo effort, entitled ‘Skyscaper’ from 1988, said, ‘the light at the end of the tunnel is the front of an oncoming train.’ I would wholeheartedly disagree with Diamond Dave’s assertion, but would rather support Tyler’s positionality that the light we see in the distance is not the light of the campfires of the enemy burning on distant hills, but rather an external manifestation of the light which dwells within all of us. We are children of the light and not of darkness. We were born of the light and born to bear witness to the light. And whomsoever hath a light, doth not hide it under a bushel basket, but rather puts it up on the lamp stand so that all may see the light shine down upon them with magnificent grace. For as Collective Soul sang so eloquently ‘Heaven let your light shine down on me.’ Elsewhere, it is also written and sung that ‘they say in heaven, love comes first, ooh heaven is a place on earth.’ Meaning, that we should endeavour to the best of our ability to bring a little bit of heaven to this earth in everything we do and say, and with everybody that we meet. The God consciousness is one which dwells within us all, like a light shining bright like a beacon of faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. This God consciousness speaks to us and wells up within us and seeks to make itself manifest in moments of quiet communion with the spirit of the Almighty, when we turn off all the chatterboxes which tend to govern and tyrannize our postmodern, post Christian and post industrial lives: the ‘smart phone’, which oddly enough keeps endeavouring to make us more and more ‘dumb’ and to take away more and more of our independence of decision-making and autonomy as humans the more we enable it to be more and more ‘smart’ in our stead and essentially forfeit our human agency of personal freedom and liberty by unconsciously (or not) delegating more and more of our day to day agency over our own lives to the putatively ‘smart’ emerging chimera of artificial intelligence. Also the television, which Frank Zappa, God love him and may God rest his immortal soul, qualified as ‘slime’, and ‘a tool of the government, and industry too, for I was born to rule, and regulate you. I may be vile and pernicious, I make you think that I’m delicious, I’m the best you can get, have you guessed me yet? I’m the slime oozing out from your TV set!’ Or radio (not quite as bad), but still, just like TV, essentially a tool of corporate hegemony, aided and abetted by liberal-democratic government of advertizing interspersed with programs, all designed to maximize production and consumption of goods and services to ‘consumers’, not humans with immortal souls.
It is when we shut all this off, and dwell in the presence of the Spirit, that it rises up and speaks to us, in what Simon and Garfunkel called ‘hello darkness my old friend’, and the ‘sounds of silence.’ Or as Scorpions sang ‘silence becomes your friend, your life slows down and down. Like the river’s getting wide, the words have lost their voice.’ In other words, secular communication is like words going out into the void of the ocean from the river, it gets swallowed up into the void of the cacaphony of ‘too much information, running through my brain, too much information, driving me insane’, as Sting sang when he was with the Police. Or as King Crimson sang ‘I talk to the wind, my words are all carried away, I talk to the wind, the wind does not hear, the wind cannot hear. Said the straight man, to the late man, where have you been, I’ve been here and, I’ve been there and, I’ve been in between.’ In other words, when we are trying to do all the talking, we may as well be talking to the wind or a brick wall, the message is not received and understood. Whereas, if a person stops and turns everything off which is external to him or herself, then they have a better chance of tuning into the inner dialogue of their consciousness, which can, if we let it, open a channel to the spirit of the universe and its Creator, and tap into that great wellspring of knowledge and wisdom which comes from having a relationship with a Power which is greater than ourselves. We just need to admit and accept that that power is there and that it is there for the taking and for the greater good of all, including ourselves personally, through our interactions with our fellow brothers and sisters in the spirit so that we may one day all achieve our heavenly reward.
God bless you.