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?

Send to Kindle

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article

More Articles From Robert Stacy McCain