135. Revolution (IV)
It has become a cliché to liken the political left to entropy or chaos, an analogy first drawn by Nietzsche from his studies of 19th-century physics. The left, on this reading, is associated with extreme novelty—fashionability—that is instantiated in an endless competition for priestly virtue; and so the left moves from one fashionable cause to another demanding novel solutions—solutions that destroy organic functionality not evident to the casual observer. The image of a distressed female churchgoer—wringing her hands and asking, “What ever shall we do? Won’t somebody think of the children?”—encapsulates the liberal or progressive left; the limousine liberals and champagne socialists whose irresponsibility paves the way for collapse and the rise of authoritarian leftists, men like Stalin and Mao.
The left is somewhat analogous to an entropic force in a physical system, but it is not, in itself, entropy. The reason why this should be so is summed up in the old dictum: “Everybody is conservative about what they know.” Left-wing people are conservative about their causes and organisations; they reduce entropy within left-wing organisations, since they know and care for these things. The Leninist parties, for example, were strictly organised in a hierarchal fashion; indeed, the purpose of these organisations was to create “professional revolutionaries”: people who put all the enthusiasm, responsibility, and dedication of being a lawyer or a doctor into overthrowing the social system. The same is true for today’s Labour Party—even Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour—the organisations run by George Soros, and the campaigns for Bernie Sanders. These organisations pursue left-wing goals, but remain responsible, target-driven, and hierarchical as such.
Similarly, the Soviet Union and East Germany had perfectly functional militaries, secret services, and Leninist parties. The core that was required to keep the Leninists in control—the army, the KGB, and the Stasi—remained organised on, effectively, right-wing principles. Nobody doubts that the Stasi and the KGB were very good at their jobs. When the Soviet system collapsed, the Russians had to default to the army and, eventually, a man who came from the KGB, Putin, simply because these were the last reserves of competent activity in Russia.
The left maintains instruments to keep itself in power and to pursue its objectives, but it turns those instruments against functional sections of society; in this sense, it is an entropic force—it is like an army deployed against its own people, an army being a strictly organised force designed to create entropic chaos in an enemy. Thus the Soviet security apparatus spent a lot of its time, not protecting Russians from foreigners, but persecuting those Russians who could competently grow food (the kulaks). It is not enough to produce goods to feed your family and trade with your neighbours, since this leads to inequality; you must produce for an abstract ideology, for the good of an abstract collective, for “the people”.
The right often sees the left as inherently lazy, perhaps mocking the stereotypical dirty student or hippy with their naïve ideas; such people exist, but the actual core of the left is organised, disciplined, and hierarchical. Men like Britain’s Jeremy Corbyn are anything but lazy or, in a sense, selfish: young Corbyn attended dozens of meetings a week, completely for free—simply for the virtuous feeling of being an organiser; except, of course, all his hard work was directed at undermining every organic and natural form of association in Britain. Anyone who has spent time on the left will hear activists speak of “burnout”; actually, leftists often work themselves to the bone, but only for ideological objectives—for the feeling of being a “good person”, since the left canalises their religious instincts; such people, in days gone by, would be safely tucked away in a monastery. In this way, the rightist who simply wants to make money and have a family is naïve and, in an odd way, indolent; he cannot conceive that people would work with such tenacity for no benefit except moral self-aggrandisement.