The Road to Spiritual Plague: The History of the Evolution of the White Left
Fantasy Lover Mr. Liu (幻想狂劉先生 Huànxiangkuáng Liú xiānsheng)’s piece on the white left has become a key text for the anti-white left. I have translated the essay below.
It’s fairly standard far left rhetoric with added attacks on identity politics. He criticizes the fact that many on the left were not sufficiently anti-capitalist but thanks them for their critiques of capitalism, even if they weren’t willing to take the next step. The writer recognizes that sexism and racism are deep problems. The point about Trump… is provocation, mostly, and a little bit of accelerationist rhetoric.
A few notes on the translation:
- The essay contains references to philosophers that are mostly forgotten outside of academia but continue to loom large in contemporary Chinese thought and appear in even everyday political theory-type discussions. I rarely see Maupassant and Hegel referenced in English.
- I have translated it in a style that I hope preserves it’s overblown tone. I want you to remember it was written by a man really into swords, symbols of fascism, and whose relationship status is single. Also, I busted it out pretty quick.
- I tracked down the sources of the quotations in the text in other sources. They often differed from the Chinese translation but not significantly enough for me to care.
Update 7/10/17: I wrote a piece about this for Sixth Tone. ‘White Left’: The Internet Insult the West Has Gotten Wrong which sorta covers the attack from the left angle. But, seriously, just read the original essay and draw your own conclusions.
Here it is.
The Road to Spiritual Plague: The History of the Evolution of the White Left
Trump’s victory is only a small stone flung from humanity’s sling against the giant we face — the spiritual plague. The road to redemption for Western Civilization is still a long one. In this chaotic world, some things remain true. The poor are still poor. And if you go around like a slut, you’re going to get a dick in the ass.
1. Voltaire and Rousseau — the white left in its ideological infancy
It’s smeared all over CNN: Stop all wars! Halt globalization! Impeach Trump! Hug an illegal immigrant! But do any of them — does a single goddamn one of them know where all those ideas came from? Let me take you back to the 18th century for a moment. Let us look in on the idle classes of France, jerking themselves off to the writing of two men: Voltaire and Rousseau. In those dull fat years of the Republic, those two men were being read by all the complacent literati, who were enamored of their theories of equality and universal love.
Now, I implore you — please! — don’t put all the blame on those two. They saw what way the wind was blowing. They’re the rusty weather vane up on the barn. The same wind was blowing through all of Europe, at that point. The ideas of the Englightenment were just one of the many plagues that swept through Europe. At the time, reading Voltaire was a fad just like intentionally getting tuberculosis — it was an incurable illness at the time! — was a fad. The French aristocracy flocked to the thinkers of the Enlightenment and bowed in disgusting supplication. Even the Tsarina of the Northern Wastes was proud of her letters from Voltaire.
Europe loved Voltaire and the enlightenment thinkers with as much passion as Voltaire and his gang hated Europe.
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Voltaire and his followers were learned men — that’s undeniable! Compared to the dope smoking liberals that came after them, these guys were princes. Their ideas were a breath of fresh air in the suffocating atmosphere of Europe under feudalism. They attempted to strike a blow against the social contradictions and horrifying conditions of feudalism. But they went about it the wrong way.
Voltaire’s writing was full of dark satire but he had the barrel pointed at the wrong targets. In his Essay on the Customs and the Spirit of the Nations, he praises China to the point of absurdity. You can barely read this drivel with a straight face. He describes China as almost perfectly governed by a bureaucrats that rise through the ranks according to their performance on rigorous standardized tests. He said that no country could compare to the Chinese Empire, when it came to protecting the rights, property and reputation of its citizens. Although the monarch could abuse his authority to harm the people closest to him, he was insulated from the vast majority of his subjects and there were legal measures to prevent abuse of authority.
When Voltaire wrote the above words, he was completely ignorant of the Manchu Empire’s brutal oppression of Chinese colonies under the chieftains of the Emperor Qianlong. When Lord Macartney, who grew up reading Voltaire, arrived in the Qing empire a few decades later, he must have been as shocked as Europe’s idealistic communists were, when they arrived in the Soviet Union.
2. From tuberculosis to syphilis: the self-exile of the white left
The second generation of the white left appeared in new intellectual fervor of an increasingly open France. The old guard of German philosophers were belittled as ascetic conservatives (Kant and Schopenhauer never married). The second ancestors of the White Left appeared in the wake of Hegel’s death. These men came to be known as “Young Hegelians” and the “Left Hegelians” but this didn’t stop them from fiercely criticizing Hegel himself and the utopian ideas of the “Old Hegelians.” They give us an important ideological hint to the White Left in their absolute idealism: “absolute liberalism, socialism, communism, anarchism and egoism.” The ideas of Voltaire, with their inclusiveness and love as the solution to chaos and materialism look different than those of the Young Hegelians, but they’re all a day dream. These philosophies are pure fantasy.
In 19th century Germany, as the Young Hegelians gathered at the Doctor’s Club in Berlin to talk shit, Hegel’s dialectics changed into something else entirely. The ideas of the Young Hegelians and the ideas of the philosophers that propped up the 19th century’s imperialist hegemonies were sometimes in collusion and sometimes in struggle. One side calls over: “How ‘bout I come over there and knock Hegel’s dick out your mouth?” They call back: “You gotta get Fichte’s balls outta your cheek first.” Sometimes they get together to fuck somebody else over. Anyways, through all of that, they ended up coming up with some important ideas for the time.
But out of that revolting scene emerged one man . Let me tell you about him: he was sick of the endless daydreaming, sick of the lies of love and tolerance; he was tired of the Young Hegelians and their bar room bullshitting; and he was ready to write a profound and powerful refutation of all of that! That young man’s name: Karl Marx.
Marx parted company with the second generation white left the day he set pen to paper and wrote Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy. This motherfucker of a book got carved up by translators just like the Lotus Sutra. If you ran read it in the original German, though, it’s pretty easy to see the power of the book. Let me sum up the message of the book for you: “I’m not trying to take anyone down with this shit. All I’m saying is all of you are pieces of shit under my boot.”
Marx stepped away from the Young Hegelians and their daydreams. He walked away from the white left over to the true revolutionary left. One of the finest comrades to join Marx’s clan summed it up like this: “Marxism comprises many principles, but in the final analysis they can all be brought back to a single sentence: it is right to rebel.”
The Young Hegelians never got up from the bar. They were joined by more daydreamers. They watched the world go to war twice and took a break from their daydreams about peace and love to kill their brothers. Meanwhile, the genuine left, led by Comrade Lenin used the momentum of the imperialist machine and the cover provided by the battle between Deutsche Mark and Japanese Yen to establish the first socialist nation in the Soviet Union.
When the white left of the Second International came calling at the door, like poor relatives knocking at a rich uncle’s gate, they got tossed out on their asses. If they stuck around to try to give some pointers, they ended up in the gulag. The true Marxist always keeps their distance from the white left.
While the German white left was busy bullshitting new theories in politics, the French white left stayed in the game, too — but they turned their attention to art and literature. We can see their level of achievement in this short exclamation from Maupassant:
I’ve got the pox! at last! the real thing! not the contemptible clap, not the ecclesiastical crystalline, not the bourgeois coxcombs or the leguminous cauliflowers — no — no, the great pox, the one which Francis I died of. The majestic pox, pure and simple; the elegant syphilis …. I’ve got the pox … and I am proud of it, by thunder, and to hell with the bourgeoisie.
Charles Baudelaire says it this way: “We have all of us got the spirit of republicanism in our veins, as we have the pox in our bones; we are democratized and syphilized.” It’s no wonder that the Germans called syphilis the French disease.
France’s second generation of the white left took the German white left’s Freudian ideas and white left version of liberalism to push a vision of free love. This is the reason that syphilis spread so widely in the white left camp. We know Maupassant had the disease, but so did Van Gogh, and Gauguin, too, and let’s not forget Oscar Wilde. When their fans went to the whorehouse, they turned up their noses at the whores that didn’t have syphilis — they wanted to go mad from the disease, just like their idols.
From the third generation of the white left, the idea of sickness as a badge gains credibility. Illness shows ideological devotion. Morbidity is the main feature of the second generation of the French white left. As important as their achievements in art and literature, in the ideological arena, they only managed to borrow from and degrade the philosophy of earlier times.
To sum up, Germany’s second generation white left provided the theoretical basis for the next generation and the French turned to art and literature. They created a spiritual plague. This is an important term to define:
The white left flaunts ideals, which may or may not be false, and turn their sickness into a morbid badge — this is how they get people to notice them and self-satisfaction.
That is all you need to know. If you understand what I have just written, you will understand why the women of the contemporary white left sweep into Middle East refugee camps with their messages of love.
The second generation of white left is the most important generation in the history of the evolution of this philosophy. They have combined this philosophy with fashion and psychology and created an “infectious ideology” that has spread as fast as syphilis.
Another feature of the white left is their ability to infiltrate institutions. When the National Socialists took power in Europe, the white left picked up and fled to America, where they began occupying college campuses.
3. From Horkheimer to Foucault: the third generation of the white left deconstructs themselves
The third generation of the white left and the Chinese white left are the closest left, following the same idols and philosophical leaders: Horkheimer and Adorno, Marcuse and Habermas, Derrida and Sartre, Foucault…. These are the fathers of the new white left.
The white liberal elite and the lying media that popped up to oppose Trump’s election once slept in the campsites of the anti-Vietnam protesters, passed out from dope smoking.
The elite of the third generation of the white left have something in common: they come from the academic and artistic elite. The same can be said for the second generation, the followers of the Frankfurt school and the liberal elite that occupied American and European universities. One thing can be said of both generations: they rarely had to worry about where their next meal was coming from — they were financially protected from the realities of society. This leads me to an important question.
How can those with stable incomes and a high standard of living be put in charge of deciding the liberty and welfare of those at the lowest level of society?
Even when they confront the realities of the lowest levels of society, they still cannot see the truth. It brings to mind a story that white left philosopher Bertrand Russell related about his trip to China: he went out on a sedan chair on a blazing hot day and was surprised to see his bearers smiling, when it came time to take a break, even though they were nearly dead from heat and exertion. He came to his conclusion: the Chinese are optimistic and decent people. (Then get down from the sedan and take a fucking walk!)
Mr. Lu Xun hit the nail on the head, when he commented on Bertrand Russell remarking that some Chinese sedan chair bearers smiled at him at West Lake: “…if chair bearers did not smile, China would long since have stopped being the China she is. The hierarchy handed down since ancient times has estranged men from each other, they cannot feel each other’s pain….”
Mr. Lu Xun’s attacks on the white left were prophetic. When Russell went to the Soviet Union and was brought to a collective farm, the fucker damn near pissed himself. When Russell came to the New China in 1959 to meet the Great Helmsman himself, he offered as a gift his work, Wisdom of the West, with a flattering inscription on the flyleaf. The Chairman gave him an arrogant smirk that was meant to say: you can fuck off now.
True Marxists, from Stalin to Chairman Mao were able to see through the hypocrisy and cowardice of the white left in an instant.
In criticizing the white left now, we must not forget that all generations of the white left have provided searing critiques of feudalism and capitalism. I would like to especially highlight the contributions of the third generation of the white left, including Horkheimer and Adorno. Their critiques were penetrating and profound. They are truly great philosophers, even if they belong to the white left. Nobody should seek to downplay their contributions, even if they went down the wrong road.
The white left, it must be remembered, witnessed great hardship, including the world at war twice. When the Nazis came to power, they were forced to run for their very lives. Those that sought refuge in the Soviet Union were often crushed under the iron first of the Soviet dictatorship. This is why so many of the white left have a pessimistic vision. They cannot conceive of any real alternative to capitalism but consciously or unconsciously, they sought to deconstruct Western Civilization. That brings me to another important point:
This is a group of people that are part of Western Civilization but completely alienated from Western Civilization. They cannot separate the problems and by-products of Western Civilization from Western Civilization itself.
Exploitation, social polarization, sexism, racism, the decimation of the culture industry are all important problems. But they are also products of capitalism and by-products of Western Civilization. Eliminating one or all of those problems is nearly impossible, if you take those problems as simply an aspect of capitalism or Western Civilization that can be patched up.
The most representative figure of the third generation of the white left is Michel Foucault. He coasted past the ideas of Horkheimer and threw himself into one political struggle after another. Even Sartre stood up and called him a left wing nut.
Starting in 1969, Foucault was very active politically and in 1971, following the murder of an Algerian youth in Paris formed the Djellali Committee. This group later became the Committee on the Protection of Immigration Rights, which has had a major influence on immigration policy in Europe. Foucault took part in many movements that later had a great influence, including agitating for feminist and gay causes, and protests against drug prohibition. He became the model for later thinkers and activists of the white left.
Foucault was in contact with French Maoists and was introduced to the French Communist Party by Althusser, a veteran of the white left. But Foucault’s chaotic lifestyle made it difficult for him to commit. He was a drug addict, homosexual, and sado-masochist. He once said that unless gay marriage was legal, civilization was dead. These have become words that homosexuals and the white left live by. He was unable to live by the rules of the Communist Party, preferring his life of promiscuity and freedom.
Much like the second generation of the white left and syphilis, Foucault wanted sickness as a badge. He died in 1984 of AIDS, a disease that very few people understood at the time.
To the contemporary white left, Foucault is the standard. He is a martyr for the cause. It was his drive to self-extinction that opened a door to the next generation of the white left.
4. Homosexuals and refugees — the self-extinction of the white left
The strategy of the second and third generation of the white left was broadly successful. When the latest generation entered the classrooms of the universities, they found that the students that had occupied those halls in the 1960s had never left. The old guard of academia that they booted out were the last true believers in conservatism and classical liberalism. Those ideas were now widely discredited. The professors of the white left led their students out into the street. The last neoliberal professor in the school was left with an empty lecture hall.
In the United States and Europe, the number of students in the universities increased in the age of prosperity that followed the Second World War. The professors of the white left had plenty of fresh recruits, especially among arts students. They were led out on demonstrations and protests and signature-gathering. They never received the same grounding in the ideas of conservatism and classical liberalism as earlier generations and scorned Kant and Hegel. Their new idols were Sartre and Foucault. You think you can understand Sartre and Foucault without reading some goddamn Kant and Hegel? You gotta be kidding me.
An important feature of the white left is a shallow and fanatical devotion. Shallow due to lack of classical learning and research — and fanatical for the same reason: they do not come across many opinions that differ from their own and react negatively when they do. We can sum up the white left like this:
No logic, only personal judgement; no scientific approach, only shouting.
Due to the shallowness of white left education, they are unable to debate those on the right, whether conservatives or proponents of classical liberalism. This only exacerbates their fear, anger and isolation. If you don’t believe me, take a look at a comments section. If it’s a liberal site, the comments are closed! Conservative sites don’t give a fuck.
The new white left has turned from the trail blazed by earlier generations of the white left. Rather than philosophy, they have turned every aspect of life into a street protest. They are actors rather than thinkers. The refugees and blacks and gays get dragged along as symbols of the movement. They are violent but their targets have been mixed up. It’s like the Chinese left that dresses up as the white left and jumps onto a highway to stop a poor truck driver hauling a load of dogs bound for the slaughterhouse.
Intellectual shallowness, isolation, and violence constitute the main features of the modern white left. They created a hive mind in academia, which allowed them to spread through Western society. The riots and protests that followed the election of Trump are the best evidence of this.
Trump’s victory is only a small stone flung from humanity’s sling against the giant we face — the spiritual plague. The road to redemption for Western Civilization is still a long one.