This Week in Thoughtful 3: Marxism and “Sargonism”

This Week in Thoughtful 3: Marxism and “Sargonism”


Yes, I know I’m late with this video. I wanted to comment on this long ago, but
only now got around to it. This is about a bit of YouTube drama that
took place more than two months ago, when Computing Forever got pissed at Sargon of
Akkad and accused him of the cardinal sin of being a Marxist. I understand that they’ve resolved their little
spat like adults, so there’s no need to go into that again. But I do want to address the subject matter,
the charges of Marxism. The reason why I think this is important is
that the label Marxist, much like racist and misogynist, is detrimental to a healthy conversation. We’ve created a sphere that allows a dialog
between left and right to take place, but for this dialog to work, right-wingers need
to get over the tendency of labeling every leftist position as Marxism. And since our sphere is dedicated to fight
the regressive left, we all need to understand Marxism better and the role it plays in regressive
thought. I have already made one video about it, but
we need a lot more. You cannot rely on me to explain Marxism to
you, because I am far from being an expert on the subject. I am averse to all forms of dialectic thought,
and to Marxist thought in particular. Still, I thought I should add my two shekels
to the conversation, because, first of all, unlike most of you goyim I actually have shekels,
and secondly because I think I have something to contribute to our collective knowledge. I encourage people to make response videos
and educate us more. Someone who has already made a video about
it is Dr. Layman, who gave a brief overview of Marxism’s main tenets and explained why
Sargon is not a Marxist. It is a good video and I encourage you to
watch it, but I still have a problem with it. My problem is that rejecting the label of
Marxism by explaining Marxist philosophy is a little bit like defending today’s feminism
by relying on its dictionary definition. My claim is that Marxism has devolved, devolved
into something that is more like how Dave, Computing Forever, understands it. So I am actually going to defend Dave a little
bit, but then I am going to show that even by those standards it would be wrong to label
Sargon a Marxist. So let’s see what this was all about. It all began when Sargon of Akkad, whose real
name is Carl Benjamin… Or is it?! Let’s just call him Sargon. It all began when he was working on an episode
of This Week in Stupid for August 21st, an episode dedicated to the infiltration of far
left elements into the labor party. With that on his mind, he was watching a livestream
by Computing Forever and Independent Man, who were talking about the negative effects
of feminist policies on boys’ achievement in school. Dave noticed Sargon in the chat and invited
him to join the livestream, and lived to regret that decision. They spend the first half hour talking about
the subject, but at some point the conversation veers towards the corruption of the current
capitalist system, and here is where the consensus breaks. Although they all agree that capitalism today
has a problem in that the rich have too much power and wealth, they disagree on the solution
to the problem. Computing Forever and Independent Man think
that capitalism will eventually find a way to sort itself out. Sargon, on the other hand, thinks that we
must take some drastic measures to narrow the wealth disparity and slow down the shrinking
of the middle class, otherwise we will drive the masses into the hands of the Marxists
and find ourselves facing a communist revolution. And he isn’t just afraid it might happen – he
seems 100% sure that it will happen if we allow the capitalist system to continue on
its present course. They spend about an hour arguing about it,
until Sargon says he has to leave. My view on this subject is as follows. I agree that a growing disparity of wealth
between the classes creates economic and social problems. But we are moving in the direction of a global
society, which means that we have to think of the enormous wealth disparity between the
first world and the rest of the world, or we will have serious problems in the future. I think the globalizing of economy is not
just inevitable but also a necessary thing, in that it narrows this wealth disparity,
creating a fast growing middle class in the poorer countries. One day, this middle class will become rich
enough to start consuming first world products, and then we will all benefit. But that is decades in the future, and until
that day, the globalization of economy does indeed give too much power to the rich while
hurting the Western middle class. I agree that we need to find ways to reduce
their power and to deal with the social and economic strains that this puts on our societies,
but I don’t think that we’re in danger of a communist revolution. Sargon likes history and likes to draw equivalencies
from earlier times to our time, and he thinks that he identifies in our society processes
that are similar to those that led to the fall of past republics. I think that the system of today’s Western
democracies is a lot more robust than that of those ancient republics, and will require
much more to be brought down. But Sargon, in the stream, sounds quite sure
that the revolution is nigh. The problem is, he doesn’t really know what
should be done to curb crony capitalism and prevent the revolution. He does propose some measures, but doesn’t
seem to have a plan how to enforce them. As a result he is all over the place, and
at some points, particularly when he is criticizing capitalism, his arguments do sound like they
are taken out of the Marxist textbook. Plus, since he is unwilling to accept his
partners’ position that the situation isn’t that bad, he sometimes sounds like he is talking
down to them. They end the discussion amicably, but the
repercussions were soon to come. Four days later, Computing Forever uploaded
a video in which he talked about that stream. Evidently simmering with anger over what he
felt was Sargon hijacking his livestream, and on top of that also patronizing him on
his own channel, Dave is in a very ungenerous mood towards Carl, and gives his confused
position the worst possible interpretation. And here’s the conclusion he comes up with. Dave then goes on for an hour and a half to
argue against Sargon. He basically claims that Sargon thinks that
the capitalist system is unjust, and that it should be blamed for all the problems in
society. He labels this position as “Sargonism”, and
equates it to the feminist claim that the Patriarchy is the source of all the problems. And he says that they are both just forms
of Marxism. Like I said, that bit of drama between them
is now water under the bridge. But I do want to address the charges of Marxism,
and I’m going to do it by criticizing Dr. Layman’s critique, which he uploaded a week
later. Dr. Layman basically explains why Computing
Forever’s understanding of Marxism is wrong, on several counts. Let’s begin with the part that we’ve already
heard. To academic ears, what Dave says here sounds
like mumbo-jumbo. First of all, what Dave calls “feminist Marxism”,
more commonly known as “cultural Marxism”, is a really, umm, problematic term. The rationality that characterizes the SJWs,
the so-called “cultural Marxists”, is not a Marxist rationality. Secondly, it is nonsensical to talk of “economic
Marxism”, since all of Marxism is economic. Dr. Layman points these two things out, and
adds that consequently it is wrong to suggest that Marxism and feminism are similar, as
Dave does when he says “Marxism is Marxism is Marxism”. Dr. Layman is essentially right, but I am
actually going to defend Dave on this point. First, though, let’s see the rest of Dr. Layman’s
criticism. Dr. Layman points out other places where Dave
gets Marxism wrong. For instance: This is indeed a wrong reading of Marxism. To explain why, Dr. Layman provides his own
overview of the Core elements of Marxism: So Dave is right when he says there’s an oppressor
class and an oppressed class, but, Dr. Layman explains, he is wrong to say that they are
oppressing them by dint of being wealthy. The Marxist view is that the dominant class controls the means of production,
and decides how much it rewards the dominated class for the labor it does to create the
wealth. The oppression is in the fact that the laborers
get a compensation that is much lower than the wealth that they have created with their
labor. Furthermore, Dr. Layman points out that history
according to Marxism had several stages, although he doesn’t explain how we get from stage to
stage, and in every stage there was a different economic system and the oppression was of
a different type. There was a time when the relationship was
that of slavery and serfdom, but in today’s society it is a relationship of exploitation. So Dave, according to Dr. Layman, is conflating
two different stages when he claims that Marxists believe that the labor of today’s working
class is a form of enslavement or serfdom. Dave simply got Marxism wrong, and if we judge
Sargon’s position according to actual Marxist dogma, we will realize that he is not a Marxist. Now I want to criticize Dr. Layman by focusing
on his description of this element of Marxist thinking, the relationship between
the Base and the Superstructure. Let’s try to explain this. Every stage in history, according to Marxism,
has a certain economic system. This is what is here called the Base. This includes the resources used to create
products and thus wealth, as well as the relationship between the class that does the work and the
class that employs it and also enjoys most of the wealth. This is the material side of our existence,
whereas the Superstructure is the spiritual side, the thing that the human mind creates
on top of this Base, such as culture, art, politics, science and so forth. In Marxist thought, the material side is the
driving force of human progress, so it has dominance over the spiritual. The economic system determines the culture. Elsewhere in the video, Dr. Layman points
out that this is why it is wrong to characterize so-called “cultural Marxism” as Marxism, since
the cultural Marxists focus on the superstructure, and claim that it creates the Base. For instance, the feminists claim that it
is the Patriarchy, the Superstructure, that determines that women will be paid less for
their work. So cultural Marxists basically turn Marxism
on its head, and that is why Dave is wrong to compare them. What I am missing in Dr. Layman’s description
is a mention of the dialectic nature of the relationship between the Base and the Superstructure,
and how it shapes human history. This is something that I focus on in my other
video, so here I will be more succinct. As mentioned, Man’s nature according to Marx
is to live in a society where everyone is equal. However, since the wealth Man could produce
with his means of production could not sustain such a society, human society was divided
into an oppressor and oppressed class. As the means of production improve, though,
the overall wealth increases, which makes it possible to imagine a better society. And so the oppressed class eventually rebel
and create a different Superstructure, one that is more in line with the Base. This higher Superstructure then shapes human
minds that can come up with new ideas that improve the means of production, and so the
overall wealth increases and makes it possible to imagine an even better Superstructure. And so, through this dialectic process, Humanity
progresses in a deterministic direction that will inevitably lead to a point when the overall
wealth will be enough to create a communist society, where there are no more classes but
everyone shares the wealth. So I don’t think Dr. Layman is altogether
accurate when he claims it is all about the Base and how it shapes the Superstructure. The Superstructure also shapes the base, and
this idea is no less essential to Marxist thought. Still, it is true that Marx gave more importance
to the Base over the Superstructure. However, there was a point in history, around
the 1920s, when Marxists started to feel like the Base is already creating enough wealth
for a new Superstructure to emerge, and yet the Superstructure failed to materialize. The Marxist philosophers of what became known
as the Frankfurt School then shifted the focus of Marxism towards the Superstructure, and
claimed that the capitalist system is imposing a false consciousness on the people, making
them believe that they are happy in capitalism instead of striving for a better world. And this is the view that became the mainstream
of Marxism, so when Dave says that the Marxists claim that the system is the result of manipulation,
he is not altogether wrong. Let’s take hunger as an example. In the past, humanity was not generating enough
food to feed every human, so it was nobody’s fault that people were dying of hunger. The invention of the capitalist system was
a step forward according to Marx, because it is a system that generates of a lot more
food. And so, in today’s world, humanity’s means
of production have improved to a point that we create enough food to feed the entire human
race. And yet, about ten million people still die
around the world each year from malnutrition. Why is that? I would say that it is mainly because of the
cultures in the countries that have this problem, cultures that breed corruption, poverty, ignorance
and violence, all factors that contribute to malnutrition. But Marxists see it differently. Remember that Marxism believes that the nature
of humans is to share the wealth, and also that there is enough wealth now to solve this
problem. So the only possible reason for it is that
the capitalist Superstructure is actively preventing the establishment of a communist
system which would have fed everyone. That means that nowadays, capitalism is not
just an unjust system but a murderous system, which is actively responsible for the murder
of millions of people. Similarly, the fact that capitalism is outstaying
its welcome leads to the workers working more hours than they would in a communist state. Which means that capitalism is basically enslaving
us all. So when Dave says that the labor of the working
class is seen by Marxist as a form of enslavement and serfdom, he is again not altogether wrong. The working class are not slaves to their
employers, but they are slaves to an economic system that refuses to make way to a better
system that is already possible. And once the Marxists started to focus on
the Superstructure, the next logical step was pretty much inevitable. The next step was the rise of Marxist activists
who believed that all we need to do is to bring down the capitalist Superstructure,
and Utopia will prevail. Forgetting that Marxism also requires you
to come up with a new workable Superstructure, they basically devolved into a way of thinking
that maintained only two Marxist axioms: one, that the nature of humans is to live in a
Utopian state; two, that capitalism is preventing us from achieving that state and should therefore
be taken down. This development already happened in the late
1960s, and it didn’t take long before this attitude resulted in the rise of terrorist
groups, which believed that sewing chaos and fear would snap people out of their stupor
and make them realize their true nature and overthrow the system. All those leftist terrorist organizations
that became infamous at the time – the Weathermen, the Red Brigades, the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine, the Symbionese Liberation Army, Baader-Meinhof – all displayed this
shallow, dumbass quasi-Marxist ideology. Thankfully, this Marxism has been intellectually
defeated by the end of the seventies, and the terrorist groups disbanded. If you go into a Palestinian refugee camp
nowadays and ask the residents “whatever happened to the popular front?”, they’ll tell you “he’s
over there”. But it kept festering under the surface, and
lately it found a way to return to vogue by latching on to identity politics. In today’s feminism, for instance, we find
the same idea that the Superstructure is twisting our real human nature and oppressing people,
in this case women. So when Computing Forever says that feminism
and what he calls “economic Marxism” are one and the same, and that “Marxism is Marxism
is Marxism”, then yeah, he has a point. The version of Marxism that has been most
visible in the last fifty years are these shallow and stupid manifestations of it, so
I am not blaming Dave that this is what he calls Marxism. But is Sargon a Marxist according to this
definition? No, because he does not claim that human nature
is to live in an equal society. Just saying that there are injustices in today’s
capitalist system doesn’t make you a Marxist. A Marxist is someone who believes that capitalism
as a whole is unjust, because it denies us the opportunity to live in a just system according
to our nature. The Marxist, as we’ve mentioned, doesn’t
just believe that the capitalist system is unjust, but also that it is oppressive, enslaving
and murderous. This is not what Sargon is saying. Similarly, a feminist who believes that women
are treated unfairly in today’s society is not necessarily a cultural Marxist. To be a cultural Marxist, she has to believe
that we are ruled by a Patriarchy that is twisting our consciousness to go against our
nature, and consequently oppressing us. For instance, those feminists who claim that
women are oppressed because they cannot walk alone safely at night. They believe that rape is not the result of
human nature, but something that the Patriarchy is teaching men to do. So if the Patriarchy was brought down, there
would be no more rapists. This is the kind of logic that you can call
cultural Marxism. Now, Marxists will probably argue against
me: you say that we should not label people as Marxists if they aren’t, and you admit
that SJWs hold ideas that have very little to do with dialectic thought. Why then are you calling them cultural Marxists,
and associating us with these idiots? Well, I am sorry dear Marxists, but you need
to own up. I refuse to let you off the hook on this. The fingerprints of Frankfurt School Marxism
are all over this phenomenon. Granted, it is Marxism that has been flattened
out into a grotesque caricature, but it is still recognizable as a product of Marxism. Face it, this is what Marxism has devolved
into. What the SJWs represent is the return of Marxism,
as a farce.

22 thoughts on “This Week in Thoughtful 3: Marxism and “Sargonism”

  1. Great video. If you are looking for an alternative to Socialism and Capitalism you should check out the Resource-Based Economy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDhSgCsD_x8

  2. Democracy is never stable.
    If you have doubts, because Sargon uses examples of old, then take a look at how Nazis took over Germany.

    Capitalism's main problem (if we count extreme wealth inequality as problem) is created thanks to the fact that money creates more money.
    This leads to the problem that over time the wealth the rich on correlates to 100%, and what others have correlates to 0% of all existing wealth. Of course printing money slows down this effect, but it doesn't stop it.
    If wealth is in too few hands there is just to big of an incentive to abandon democracy, be it via a coup, or via citizens peacefully signing their rights away.

    There is really no reason to vote for Trump, he is probably the worst example of the liar political representative the world has the offer at the moment (if not then he has serious chance to win the competition).

    But there is every reason to vote against Hillary.
    When a politician is put in office by a few key supporters (instead of swaying the vote by his/her own merit), he/she will first and foremost follow the wishes of those who put him/her in office.
    What is even a bigger problem that this creates a precedent for disregarding voters, and it can be used as a reason to slowly elliminate voters (or voter groups) from the election process, which helps the said politician a lot, by allowing him/her to have fewer supporters who's interests need to be balanced, and making it harder for the competition to easily sway a critical number of them, since their interests can be more easily met if there are fewer of them.

  3. Excellent analysis, as usual. I thought that CF was right in some of his analysis, but was misapplying it to Sargon.

    Because Right-wing criticisms of Cultural Marxism often make it seem like it's a conspiracy, and (as you say) "Marxist!" is often used as a shallow boo term on the Right, that gives some on the Left a wedge to deny its existence altogether, or deny the lineal connection to Marxism. But the lineal connection from Marxism, via Cultural Marxism, through to modern-day Feminism is quite obvious, and indeed openly avowed among the leading lights (e.g. some of the most influential Feminist theorists of recent times, like Bell Hooks or Kimberlé Crenshaw), not to mention some of the earlier foundational theorists (like Shulamith Firestone).

    Basically it's true that the entirety of the modern SJW movement shares the same unexamined (or false-consciousness-repressed?) foundational Rousseauian premise of human blank slate purity that Marx had, and they use the same kind of analysis of human beings' behaviour being determined by their group membership, where the groups concerned are distinguished by their closeness to, or distance from, some kind of "power" (for Marxists, the means of production, for Feminists, the Patriarchy, or White Privilege).

    On a deeper level, the divisiveness is a key feature throughout the whole history of the Left, and that's where you begin to see the deeper problem, that the whole thing (despite occasionally useful analysis in intellectual terms) is tainted by a quasi-religious attitude, and indeed joins back throughout history to earlier religious versions of the same kind of dogmatic divisiveness that goes all the way back to Zoroastrianism. The profound and horrible irony is that it's all just a function of the way some memes replicate by fearmongering and social shaming, which is one of the most powerful ways that a meme can replicate, because it rides on really deep, genetically-mediated features of human nature that we share with our ape cousins and many other higher mammals.

  4. I have only one question:
    Is the Frankfrut School of thought (The Early manifestations of it, not the current e.g. Peace and Conflict studies branches) not Neo-Marxist in nature? Haven't quite a few FS Thinkers distanced themselves explicitly from certain Marxist principles?

    Other than that I'm really thankful for you pointing out that I did not include Marxist Dialectics. I did so knowingly, mainly because I think it's somewhat of a hard concept to fully understand. In my understanding, I'd first have to explain Hegelian Dialectics and then move to Marxist Dialectics and yada yada. In the end I think it comes down to a value judgemend: Is it worth it to explain Marxist Dialectics in a short timeframe, while possibly sacrificing adequate depth?

    I mean, in the end there are many things I should have been more precise about, Labor Value Theory for instance.

    I will probably make a short video response aknowledging this video, is it alright with you if I directly link and name you?

    edit: I am a huge fugtard and wrote "Post-Marxist" instead of "Neo-Marxist".

  5. 7:29 — isn't this dialectic? i think dialectic is fine for inquiry into the concise subject matter of opinions (and i'm talking about dialectic, not "hegelian dialectic"). still a useful tool. same with rhetoric…it seems to have lost favor, but i think, at some point, we all have to either convince eachother to agree on some bedrock assumptions of reality, and conclude on that (which is true, we haven't come up with a conclusive "true" model of reality, have we? will we ever?), or simply admit we don't have all the answers; by that point one is simply convincing people to believe one's rhetoric, unless this is something, in essence, that be empirically shown. sometimes propaganda is all people have to work with, when the knowledge which we seek is not yet found.

  6. i think sjws are just influenced by the marxism ideology via movies/tv/mainstream media, not the other way around(them trying to bring it about)

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