The terms always pointed out in Marxist circles about ‘actually existing” Marxism was that it was Stalinism and Maoism in actually winning revolutions, but let’s do something rarely done: What are eternal contradictions of actually existing American liberalism? By liberalism I do not mean an attitude towards life, but rather an intellectual tradition coming out of the early modern European Enlightenment. This is the intellectual tradition that supposedly the U.S. constitution is one manifestation and the French Revolution is the shadow-self, therefore all the left traditions being sort of a dark lingering of the “liberal” shadow self given that they too emerge from the French revolution (modern anarchism, Marxism, Liberalism, and conservatism as intellectual traditions are all born out of these specific events.)
This is the narrative of that liberal mythology has generated for itself. It’s the way most Americans are taught to view the twin revolutions of the 18th century. Furthermore, if we are honest with ourselves, in means all dominant politics in our era, even those outside of “the West,” are defined in no small part by these two events.
Yet one must wonder what the contradictions are actually about. This brings me to Dan Carlin. Carlin does an independent news analysis of the “center-whig” bent. He, essentially, believes in the constitution and the Enlightenment, although I do not know that he would admit outright or frame it in those terms. Yet Carlin is constantly frustrated with the Forth Estate’s failures to meet its duty to interrogate the figures of power, but his narrative is one of decline. Santorum‘s advocacy of dragging America in the war and the presses failure to call a presidential candidate on that is vital as ever, and yet it also points out something key. Other than reasons of access Carlin can’t seem to explain the system, yet to the vulgar Marxist this shift seems to make sense. Most journalists are in a class similar to that of politicians and benefit from the systemic gains by that, they have no incentive to ask those questions because they identify with political leaders and indeed seem themselves as part of the political and economic class represented by those leaders. The political leaders themselves identify with the billionaires who sign their campaign fund checks.
Furthermore, for all of the quoting of George Washington, it wasn’t recently that the mandates of American interference with other countries began nor is it a unique product of the events of World War 1 and World War 2. It was a manifestation of the same drive that led to the expansion of the nation itself. The sedition act was past under the congress of the second president, and the states were not held to the supposedly universal dictum of the Bill of Rights until after the civil war, never mind the contradictions of not including race and gender in that picture.
Liberalism has never lived up to its demands and actually has a body count, just not a body count one can see. Modern American liberals–bastard children of this liberalism and the left that they are–as well as people who truly believe in the Utopian ideas of the constitution do not seem to know how to act or how to explain what is happening. They end up retreating, often, to conspiracy theories or quietism.
Everything Carlin says about the contradictions of Neo-conservatives are true, but he still doesn’t see that this was implied in the contradictions of the constitution itself. Contradictions that are becoming realized as something increasingly like a mixture of the dystopic visions of Orwell, Huxley, and London all at once. If they could see it in our political set up, it was because it was always there.