Everything I don’t like is Marxism
Bloomberg offers a sort of zoo for opinions that, despite their irrelevance to most of anything, still manage to support the bad way things are currently. Megan McArdle, a writer that has yet to produce something that cannot be successfully juxtaposed to a dril post, writes there. Another member of the menagerie, Cass Sunstein, has produced a bit of text that would be too on the nose had it been published as satire of a certain kind of Democrat.
The article is here, and it’s worth reading, if nothing else than for the efficient articulation of an intellectual pathology common enough to get people paid for holding it. I say pathology, not because the man is in some sense ill, but because the thinking on display functions to clothe pure pathos in the garb of reasonable opinion. Change is charging in from all sides, and for someone teaching at Harvard, the substantial differences between the types of change are subsumed into a single feeling: fear.
Sunstein offers a connecting thread between a “diverse assortment of political groups” — that thread being that they are “energised and inflamed” by Russian interference in American popular thought in the medium of Facebook ads and twitter accounts. Instead of the essential contradiction between the things he’s put together being evidence against putting them together in the first place, it’s instead evidence of Russians “heightening the contradiction”, a nefarious Marxist ploy that makes Harvard professors look like they’re blaming Russia for the existence of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Putin and LGBT activists, Trump and Lenin, Black activists and Texas secessionists, are each joined through Russian interference, and contrasted to Sunstein’s “better idea: E Pluribus Unum”. What else could the vision of unity on offer be other than a rejection of any change whatsoever? Assume Sunstein is right about Russian interference: every political division in America is inflamed by Russian Facebook ads, ads bought for the purpose of sowing division and bringing about Trump. Did Russians vote for Trump? Is it Russian police gunning down innocents on American streets? Would removing Russia alter in any way the fundamental injustices of the United States of America?
The answer is very clearly no, but removing everything that seeks to change the world would make one Harvard professor sleep a little more comfortably, so he gets paid to write about it.