Tag: Antonio Gramsci

The Best Articles I Read in 2020

 

Here at the end of 2020, I’m trying to close up a number of tabs I have open on my browser. Many of them are articles, and of that number I’m certain several were suggested or linked to by fellow Ricochet members, mentioned in podcasts, or discovered through searches prompted by Ricochet discussions. I was originally going to say “The 10 Best Articles…”, but the list is more than ten articles and I’m sure I’m forgetting some additional ones that I read months ago…it’s been a long year.

For this post I loosely define “the best” articles as those that challenged my thinking on an issue, were educational, were unexpected or deservedly scandalous, courageously broke with prevailing current narratives, or discussed an important topic otherwise ignored or forgotten. I’m not going to say which characteristic applies to which article as I’m trying to keep this post relatively brief, and each article could form the foundation of a post and become fertile ground for discussion. Some of the articles were written in years prior to 2020, but I just got around to reading them this year and they were either prophetic or remain pertinent to current events. Grouped with some of the articles I have read, I’m also listing what I’m going to read next in regard to that topic. These will have “to be read” in parentheses next to them.

Member Post

 

If you are looking around the world and seeing conflict and strife, know that not everyone sees this as bad.The dream of socialism was for rich and poor to emphasize what separates them: “heighten the contradictions” to “raise class consciousness” to generate “class conflict” and hasten the revolution. Since Gramsci in the 20s, the conflict […]

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Is the Culture War Worth Fighting? A Skeptical View

 

imageObviously, I understand the approved answer: “Yes. We must fight because our cause is just and the thought of surrender unbearable. We must fight because our adversary’s mask has slipped off and we have seen his true face. We now know what we have long suspected: the other side is not interested in tweaking this policy or nudging that one. They are not interested in compromise, accommodation, or a negotiated peace. They mean to wipe us out. Upon this fight depends the survival of our civilization, our institutions, and our way of life. We must fight for these things, not only because they belong to us, but because — as conservatives — we know from the long, tragic history of human events that they are the best that can be built from humanity’s crooked timber, and the alternative is a chimera. Therefore, we must fight on the beaches and on the landing grounds, in print and in think tanks, in academia, on the airwaves and on Twitter. If we fail, then the whole world, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age.” (I am misquoting and misappropriating the patron saint of fighting against impossible odds.)

Another answer is that we must fight because the other side fights, so we have no choice. Culture has been the left’s main theater of operations since Antonio Gramsci identified it as such in the 1920s. As a result, his ideological descendants now control or dominate elite academia (the gateway to political and economic power), the education establishment (the mechanism of transmission for their worldview), Hollywood and pop culture, the prestige media, the legal bar and bench, and the state and federal administrative bureaucracies. Since Gramsci’s ideological spawn succeeded in taking over most of the institutions that matter, it seems hard to argue that his strategy of cultural hegemony has not been spectacularly successful.

Gramsci understood Mark Steyn’s point: culture is prior to politics, and therefore more important. In fact, Steyn’s basic insight is borrowed from Gramsci; i.e., conservative politics cannot exist in a liberal culture. Politics is merely an epiphenomenon of deeper complicated things happening below society’s surface. By focusing on politics, conservatives are merely chasing shadows projected on the cave wall. Culture is the main battleground.