In light of what’s happening in Italy (and not only)

“(Obama) had read a column asserting that liberals had forgotten how important identity was to people and had promoted an empty cosmopolitan globalism that made many feel left behind. “Maybe we pushed too far,” Mr. Obama said. “Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.” (The New York Times, May 31,2018)

(The above excerpt from the NY Times appeared one day after I wrote the following.)

In light of what’s happening in Italy (and not only)
or The power of instinct vs intellect

As I write this, the world markets are in turmoil. The Euro has plummeted. There is speculation whether the political upheaval in Italy – the EU’s third largest economy – will result in its abandoning the Euro and reverting to the Lira, and the possibility, however remote, of its abandoning the EU altogether.

What is happening in Italy is only the latest, and greatest, salco of a western trend that saw the election of Donald Trump in the US, the landslide victory of Viktor Orban in Hungary, the shift to the right in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria, and growing currents of neo-nationalism and Euro dissent in France, Holland and, yes, even Germany.

The hand-wringing on the part of American (and not only American) professors, pundits and talking heads and, of course, the leaders of the EU and its bloated galaxy of Brussels-based bureaucrats is reaching the point of hysteria. For good reason. The American voters have made their decision to reverse course. With an ever-diminishing voter base of liberal progressives (Evangelicals make babies, liberals don’t) the 2016 election will not have been an aberration. And the handwriting is on the wall for the EU as evidenced by the political shifts in the Visegrad Group, Italy and Greece and the rightward trending that is eating away at the underpinnings of the EU.

Indeed, it is only a question of time before the EU is either forced to dismantle, or to reform itself into a shadow of its current self. And should neither of these happen, then likely it will, sooner rather than later, destroy itself from within as a result of its German-dictated policy of importing an exponentially growing, utterly unassimilable population of non-Europeans who have neither the interest nor the inclination to become Europeans in any normative cultural sense.

With few (and mostly minor) exceptions, the media (because no one thinks of FOX News as serious media), the academy and the chattering class are united in their support of a liberal-progressive trajectory as exemplified by the rapidly growing Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party and in Europe by the EU. These self-designated public intellectuals have outright contempt for what they see as an unwashed, illiterate, retrograde mob that refuses to buy into a post-national, multi-culti, humanity-embracing philosophy that foresees a virtually messianic era in which geographic borders and ethnic differences will cease to exist in any meaningful way. And what galls them especially, is that the ostensible beneficiaries of their vision are the very people – the unwashed underbelly – that opposes them. How dare they.

This utopian vision is fueled by an ever-simmering and increasingly transparent undercurrent of Marxism which has, since its very beginnings always appealed to individuals with more brains than money, with more learning than pedigree, with more access to the bully pulpit of the academy or the fourth estate than to the private precincts of old money and long-established social, financial and industrial exclusivity.

To their thinking it has always been, ‘if we can’t join them let us beat them’. Why accept, and work within, ancient ethnic and geographic definitions that had, for better or worse, worked for centuries and which built western civilization, if these did not offer an express track into the most private clubs, and never would. Instead they would work mightily to destroy all the prevailing models and create a post-national, egalitarian reality; damn the casualties en route.

That this was the story of Communism is obvious. And that this was the reason so many former Jews were active in the Communist revolutions is no less obvious. If they couldn’t join ‘em they might as well beat ‘em and destroy everything along the way. If national identity did not include ‘us’, let us destroy national identity everywhere.

Tragically, no one benefitted from Communism, least of all the Jews, especially those Jews who were on the barricades of the Communist revolution. In Russia they ended up being shot in the Lubyanka or frozen in Siberia. In America they took their seat on the electric chair. Their legacy is zero, unless one thinks of a terminal crank, endorser of Holocaust deniers, and diehard fan of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez like Noam Chomsky as a legacy rather than a curio.

Today’s progressivism is nothing other than the old Marxism in a new bottle. Because make no mistake, it was not the economic prospects of Communism that fired up so many brilliant but disenfranchised Jews as much as it was the expectation of limitless social and political mobility. Indeed universalism – and every universalist project from Marxism to socialism to Esperanto – was generated by turncoat Jews dying to be loved by alle menschen.

Much has changed since the turn of the last century when Communism first gained traction.   Back then, in Russia, the brains of intellectually gifted anti-establishmentarians were able to forge an unnatural alliance with the brawn of a peasant class in order to wreak the upheaval necessary to bring an old order to its knees.

The seeming initial success of the Russian Revolution sparked visions of a similar takeover in a United States that had become home to so many religiously disenfranchised, working class Jews who, themselves, embodied in a weird way both the brains and the brawn needed to make a revolution happen. These were the rare example of a critical mass of working people who could read, write and think even as they operated sewing machines and printing presses. It was hardly surprising, therefore, that so many became Communists and fellow travelers.

The hunger for higher education among this cohort was intense. Even before the halls of the academy were thrown wide open after world War II, young, secular, left-leaning Jews swarmed into public colleges and began making their way into the fields of education, media and entertainment where they could influence audiences small and large with their radical utopian ideas.

After World War II – in no small measure thanks to their efforts – access to higher education began to increase dramatically. By the late ‘60s in the United States a college degree had become a virtual birthright. And, in an academic environment that was gradually being overtaken by left-leaning scholars, young minds would eventually find themselves subjected to four years of relentless exposure to the sort of thinking that has, by now, become mainstream – post-national, multi cultural, borderless. Because, as always, those who can, do, and those who cannot teach. And there is nothing more toxic than the green envy of an army of impoverished, never to be tenured adjunct lecturers observing the meteoric material success of their classmates who opted not to major in gender studies.

Today, any college student majoring in liberal arts or social sciences has virtually zero opportunity for exposure to a point of view that is not in lockstep with radical progressive thinking. What’s more, in today’s totally ‘democratized’ and therefore degraded academic environment, rigorous thought has been largely replaced by the groupthink of slogans, censorship, verbal vituperation, outright campus violence, and hatred of anything that smacks of sectarian identity. The exception being the sectarian identity of those groups that have self-designated themselves as ‘oppressed’. Such groups are often comprised of the very students who do not belong in a university in the first place, along with professors who themselves are hardly paragons of scholastic rigor and serve more as bully cheer leaders in this pursuit of anarchy.

In America, nothing symbolizes this more than the almost overnight emergence, and wild success, of that entirely new, faux academic, anything-goes, major known as “gender studies” and its cohort “conflict resolution”. These are the academic equivalents of basket weaving. Here grievances real or imagined become an accepted means of earning college credits, and a virtual guaranty that society will be stuck with millions of entitled college graduates who possess absolutely zero marketable skills, and hence nothing but time and bile with which to foment change of the anarchic, directionless variety – such as the pussy hat parade in Washington last year.

In Europe the academic scene is not quite as absurd as it is in America, although it is catching up. Perhaps this is because European high schools still maintain a semblance of educational rigor, and are able to track children with little academic promise into more meaningful and remunerative vocational pursuits. One can still encounter young European literature majors who are required to do more than read illustrated novels and instruction manuals for video games.

In America, if one were to get all their information from the mainstream media it would be easy to conclude that the entire country has shifted radically to the left, wishing to obliterate border controls, and to provide cradle-to-grave social welfare regardless of ones circumstances. But, of course, this is a reality only for those East and West coast liberals who insist on living in an echo chamber within a bubble and who, by socially ostracizing anyone who does not march in lockstep with their groupthink, can then convince themselves that any dissenting POV simply does not exist. Their smug, entitled, patronizing arrogance reinforces a reflexive contempt for so called blue states, and for just about anyone living between the west bank of the Hudson River and the eastern edge of the San Fernando Valley; anyone, that is, other than a transplanted New Yorker or San Franciscan teaching gender studies at one of the myriad state universities unfortunately located in this vast wasteland.

And yet, and yet Donald Trump did get himself elected President of the United States. The nerve. The unmitigated gall. The chutzpah. Why, didn’t these people read the endless New York Time editorials and op-eds telling them how to vote and for whom? Didn’t the non-stop Democratic spin on CNN show them the way? Don’t these people read the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Huffington Post, and TIME magazine?

How did it come to pass that with nary a single pundit, professor, agitator, talking head, or member of the greater chattering class in his corner, a buffoon, cartoon character and confessed pussy grabber like Donald Trump managed to trounce Hillary Clinton who, together with her beloved soul mate, represents every conceivable virtue from political integrity to fiscal propriety to conjugal fidelity? WEREN’T AMERICANS LISTENING WHEN THE GREATEST MINDS IN THE LAND WERE TELLING THEM WHAT TO DO?

The same thing seems to be happening in Europe. OK, it’s one thing if Poland, Hungary, Czech and Slovakia are backsliding. After all they hardly count. Besides (in America at least) nobody ever heard of them and could never find them on a map. But Italy? ITALY??? The third prop of the EU tripod? Yes, we know the Italianss are more emotional than the Germans and not as easily prostituted as the French, but still how could they? How dare they? And once Italy has fallen, can Holland be so far behind? Yes, I know, the attempts to plug the Dutch dykes lest information spread that more and more voters are getting fed up with the EU and its high handedness are almost successful, but not quite.

What then is it that is prompting more and more European to question EU policies? Is it just racism pure and simple, a desire to not extend a welcoming hand to millions of invading, military aged, single Muslim males after seeing what is happening in France, Belgium and, of course, Deutschalnd uber alles? And, mirabile dictu, these rightward countries, and rightwing European arrivistes are for the most part pro-Israel, while those who count themselves among the rose-tinted lens wearers and espousers of universal brotherhood are increasingly vocal in their contempt and hatred for the Jewish state.

So what gives?

What gives is the difference between the instinct of the masses and the intellect of the people holding the pens and microphones.

The main difference between instinct and intellect is that the former is rarely wrong and the latter is rarely right. Intellect is inseparable from ego. And an egotist will almost never change his mind because there is too much at stake emotionally. For an intellectual to admit that he is wrong, especially a liberal intellectual, is well nigh impossible.

By contrast, instinct has no ego. It preceded intellect by millions of years, is hard wired into our systems and, except for urban intellectuals who are totally divorced from nature (including their own) it always knows where things are heading. (If you find yourself lost in a natural disaster, who will you choose to follow the crude bumpkin or the snooty feinschmecker? In fact who would the snooty feinschmecker choose to follow in the hopes of surviving?)

The trouble with the instinct class (in America it is perhaps the majority – certainly will be the majority within a few decades) is that it owns no newspapers or TV stations, has no Hollywood studios to its name, rarely has more than a college degree in something totally useless from a chattering class standpoint, like animal husbandry or agriculture, and no way of making itself heard except at the polling booth. And when it does make itself heard at the polling booth the liberal punditry is shocked, SHOCKED!

The “instinct” class in America finds itself recoiling from liberal orthodoxies. It senses that America under the stewardship of people like the Obamas or Clintons is heading toward disaster. It’s gut tells it that LGBTQ are not valid replacements for binary sexuality. After all they have the horses, pigs and cows to show them. They sense that good fences do make good neighbors, and that breaking through one’s fence is, for lack of better words, a criminal invasion with intent to steal if not to kill. Their instinct tells them that voluntary charity is good, while legislated welfare is bad both because welfare is one party taking money from another party to feed a third party, and because it destroys the, yes, instinctive desire to do genuine charity and acts of loving-kindness.

And so, dumb as beasts and blessed with an unerring azimuth they head to the polls and vote in a Donald Trump despite his hairdo, despite his boorishness, despite his penchant for prankish behavior. Why? because their instinct tells them to. Their instinct tells them that Trump – as a fellow instinct-driven creature – is more likely to make the sort of decisions that insure survival. It’s as simple as ‘survival of the fittest’.

If intellect-driven liberals are marrying later or never, and having too few children to even replace themselves, while instinct-driven boors are demonstrating their faith in the future by marrying young and making babies we know damned well who will be around tomorrow, and hence they are by definition the fittest. One would do well to read the novels of E.M Foster to appreciate the social Darwinism at play here.

In Europe it is all this and much more. Whatever one can say about Europeans – and we Jews have a lot of legitimate grievance – they have been in their tribal locations and ancestral lands for a very, very, very long time. And while the zeitgeist may seemingly be driven from the major metropolises, most people do not live in Paris, Berlin, London or Amsterdam. They live where their families and tribes have lived for centuries if not millennia. They are partial to their languages, customs, religions, folk music and dances, and foods. And they know, instinctively of course, that the only way to protect yourself is … yes… by protecting yourself. The willingness to protect one’s family, one’s town, village, region and state is inextricably bound up with loyalty to tribe and nation and the willingness, if necessary, to lay down one’s life if this is what it takes for the society to continue. (And parenthetically, they see Israel as exemplifying this, and they admire Israel for it.)

And so they know, by instinct, that the EU is none of this. That the EU is seeking to destroy their identity in order to create an impossible homogeneity and thereby render them vulnerable to outside forces that come with every intention but good ones. They sense that Europe is woefully underequipped and undermanned to wage war if necessary. They find no compelling motive to rally around the meaningless flag of the European Union. They see Brussels as a relentless attempt to re-jigger their preferred way of life and substitute it with something that has no flavor or scent that is either meaningful or appealing in any way.

But there’s more. Because instinct makes them aware that the EU is nothing more than Germany’s third attempt in a century to gain dominance and control over all of Europe. This happened in World War I under the Kaiser. It happened in World War II under the Nazis. And it is happening right now under a German-dominated European Union. German arrogance and sense of superiority is such that it believes it has some divine right to decide what is right and good for everyone else. For make no mistake, the EU is nothing more than Germany’s third attempt to dominate Europe and, by extension the world. It is Deutschland uber alles redux, camouflaged by the blue and white flag and faceless bureaucracy of the EU.   And the peasants in the Visegrad Group, and the less than crisp Italians, and the dairy farmers and flower growers of the Netherlands understand this – not so much with their minds as with their guts.   Because they know how German arrogance nearly destroyed them twice already. And this time they see the handwriting on the wall as Germany attempts to not only erase their national identities and allegiances, but to force them to welcome the barbarians at the gate so that the destruction, this time will occur from within thereby making it absolutely fatal and irreversible EVEN if America once again comes to bail them out.

So yes, the intellectual classes are beside themselves with contempt for those who dare to stand up in their own brutish, inarticulate, unfashionable, callous-handed way and declare that they will not follow the diktats of Berlin via Brussels.

Now, it may already be too late – too late for America and too late for Europe. But then again it may not be too late. At least for the moment there is reason to be hopeful that things can be turned around. Because the pull of the ox can be a whole lot stronger than the push of paper.

About the Author
J.J Gross is a veteran creative director and copywriter, who made aliyah in 2007 from New York. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a lifelong student of Bible and Talmud. He is also the son of Holocaust survivors from Hungary and Slovakia.
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