The Spectacle Blog

Gramsci Never Warned Them About This

By on 5.10.10 | 9:53AM

Marxist theoretician Antonio Gramsci famously urged the Left to overthrow bourgeois hegemony by infiltrating and subverting the major institutions of society. The remarkable success of so-called "cultural Marxism" has, however, encountered an unexpected obstacle. Many Americans have stopped passively cooperating, and this annoys Mark Lilla to no end:

[W]e need to see [the Tea Party movement] as a manifestation of deeper social and even psychological changes that the country has undergone in the past half-century. . . . [I]t has given us a new political type: the antipolitical Jacobin. The new Jacobins have two classic American traits that have grown much more pronounced in recent decades: blanket distrust of institutions and an astonishing-and unwarranted-confidence in the self. . . .
A million and a half students in the United States are now being taught by their parents at home, nearly double the number a decade ago, and representing about fifteen students for every public school in the country. . . .
We are experiencing just one more aftershock from the libertarian eruption that we all, whatever our partisan leanings, have willed into being. For half a century now Americans have been rebelling in the name of individual freedom. . . .
They don’t want the rule of the people, though that’s what they say. They want to be people without rules . . .

Lilla's remarkable tantrum prompted me to remark:

What was the point of the Left's "long march through the institutions" if, having captured those institutions, they can't use them to tell everybody else what to do?

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