“We are five days from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

— Barack Obama, October 30, 2008

From The Politics of Bad Faith: The Radical assault on America’s Future

by David Horowitz ©1998

pp. 29-30

“Critical theory” – the coy self-description of the ideological Left – self-consciously describes itself by the totality of its rejection of the existing social order, in identical fashion to old-style Marxists (Marx himself was a “critical theorist”). The explicit agenda of critical theory is to undermine the credibility and authority of the status quo in order to prepare its annihilation. The task of undermining communal assumptions and stabilizing faiths is not incidental to the radical critique, but is its corrosive essence. It is what the theory intends. Yet, like the Marxist-Leninists of the past, critical theorists never confront the moral issue posed by their destructive agendas: What can be the rationale for weakening and ultimately destroying a system as liberal as the existing one, if no better has been devised?

Without its adherents noticing, the theoretical argument of the Left has been emptied of content by the failures of socialism. For what is the practical meaning of a socialist critique in the absence of a workable socialist model? In fact, there is none. By adopting an impossible standard, it is easy to find fault with any institution or social system under scrutiny. The ideal of socialist equality, for example, may or may not be admirable. But if social equality cannot be realized in practice, or if the attempt to realize it necessarily creates a totalitarian state, then the idea of such equality can have no significance except as an incitement to destructive agendas.

To raise the socialist ideal to a critical standard imposes a burden of responsibility on its advocates that critical theorists refuse to shoulder. If one sets out to destroy a lifeboat because it fails to meet the standards of a luxury yacht, the act of criticism may be perfectly “just”, but the passengers will drown all the same. Similarly, if socialist principles can only be realized in a socialist gulag, even the presumed inequalities of the capitalist market are worth the price. If socialist poverty and socialist police states are the practical alternative to capitalist inequality, what justice can there be in destroying capitalist freedoms and the benefits they provide? Without a practical alternative to offer, radical idealism is radical nihilism – a war of destruction with no objective other than war.

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Additional Comments

by Michael Dennin

In the passage above, David Horowitz observes that the radical nihilism of the socialist Left is “a war of destruction with no objective other than war.” To this could be added that the objective of this war of destruction is destruction itself. Horowitz alludes to this in his observation that “the explicit agenda of critical theory is to undermine the credibility and authority of the status quo in order to prepare its annihilation.” This theme is also explored at length in Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel Demons, which was published in 1871-72. In this novel, Dostoevsky tells the story of a group of Russian Nihilists who actively attempt to undermine the credibility and authority of the status quo in order to destroy it. Like modern day socialists who have no working alternative to offer society, Dostoevsky’s Nihilists neglect to provide one themselves. They are only interested in destruction for destruction’s sake.

This brings us to Barack Obama’s shockingly candid admission that his agenda is to fundamentally transform the United States of America. This is not the pragmatic agenda of a moderate who wants to improve his country – it is the radical project of a nihilist who wants to destroy his country without providing a viable alternative to what has produced the freest, strongest and most prosperous nation on earth. Once again, it is an agenda of destruction for destruction’s sake. However, this does not mean that Obama and his neo-socialist co-travelers are not interested in waging war for war’s sake. They have made it clear that they are not interested in cooperation and compromise and are notorious for demonizing their “enemies” in the most slanderous terms (“terrorists”, “arsonists”,”anarchists”, etc.). The raw, naked hatred at the black heart of their nihilism has poisoned our body politic, debased our public discourse and created an unprecedented level of divisiveness in this country. Thus, their greatest legacy will not be the harm their destructive policies have inflicted on America. It will be the harm their nihilism has inflicted on America’s soul.


Posted February 25, 2014 by Candidus in Politics, The Left

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