Previously, in part one of this interview with James Lindsay, founder of New Discourses and author of “Race Marxism,” we discussed Herbert Marcuse’s “Repressive Tolerance” and the rise of a new Marxism based not on class, but identity and race.
If you missed part one of this interview with James Lindsay, you can find it here.
Part one review
Jan Jekielek: Previously on American Thought Leaders.
James Lindsay: This is the exact cultural revolution roadmap that Mao Zedong laid out.
Mr. Jekielek: In part one of my interview with James Lindsay, founder of New Discourses and author of “Race Marxism,” we discussed Herbert Marcuse’s repressive tolerance and the rise of a new Marxism based not on class but identity and race. Now in part two-
Mr. Lindsay: And what we’ll have with all of Marx’s theory is an inversion of reality. The theory comes first, so everything that you see in reality has to be made to reflect theory.
Mr. Jekielek: We discussed how powerful elites have co-opted woke ideology, the rise of a social credit scoring system in America and the strange growing fusion of fascism and communism.
Mr. Lindsay: All you have to do is keep saying no. They require our compliance or they have to force us. And if they force us, they show their hand.
Part two transcript
Jan Jekielek: According to your learning, is there a way for these identitarian ideologies or wokeism … Why is it so inherently divisive and is there a way for it not to be?
James Lindsay: It’s really interesting. The reason that I think it’s so inherently divisive, I very strangely, to be completely honest, wrote a book with my colleague, Peter Boghossian in 2000, I think it came out ’18 or ’19. I’d have to look again, called “How to Have Impossible Conversations.”
Mr. Jekielek: Excellent book by the way. I’ve applied lessons from that book, so many and they work sometimes.
Mr. Lindsay: They work sometimes. Peter’s very good at them. They work for Peter more than sometimes, but what I will say is that when I was doing a lot of the background research and communication, negotiations, etcetera wasn’t exactly my area. I was reading a large amount of material from what’s called the Harvard Negotiations Project.
And there’s actually a pretty good body of literature there that discusses the idea, the conversations are constantly happening on three levels, and on the surface, there’s what’s happening. And that’s what people think they’re talking about all the time, but then underneath that, there’s an entire like an ocean current of emotion. And then underneath that, there’s an even deeper current that’s identity.
And so people fool themselves and a lot of conversations go off the rails or negotiations go off the rails, they say, because people think they’re talking about what’s happening. So you can imagine they give the example of a husband and wife arguing over something or another and there, “You said this and you said that, da, da, da.” But the real thing is that one or the other got their feelings hurt and so everything the other one says is wrong until they address the, “Oh, I didn’t realize I hurt your feelings. How can we make that up first?” And then the surface level details turn out to be easy.
They’re low consequence really even if they’re important compared with the feeling the way that we are psychologically, but then again, identity factors are even lower down the chain than that. Identity factors have … If somebody feels like their sense of being a good person in particular has been threatened or their sense of being a credible witness has been threatened, then they have no recourse, whatsoever. That’s incredibly core to who we think we are as people and so it’s perceived as incredibly psychologically threatening when something’s taking place at that level.
So the division there becomes almost absolute. And if you introduce concepts like, “Because of structural racism, you’ve had access to privilege, and therefore, you’ve been conditioned to understand the world in one particular way that is to your own benefit and maintains your benefit, whereas we have been conditioned to think about the world in a different way while we’ve been oppressed by you.” And that’s as Kimberle Crenshaw puts it in “Mapping the Margins,” her most influential paper from 1991. She said that your racial identity, she says, “I am black,” as a sentence as opposed to, “I’m a person who happens to be black.” She says, “I am black becomes an anchor for subjectivity.”
Of course, after what I just said about Marx, you can see how that’s race Marxism. It’s who you know yourself as a subject which then has to be expanded because the social relations are limiting the range of your subjectivity. But who you are as being your race, politically active, becomes an anchor for who you are as a subject in the world.
And so when your politics tie to who you are according to this idea from Harvard Negotiation, there’s no resolution if you create a division at that level. You can’t even start to solve problems at the superficial level. You can’t talk about immigration if it’s all seen in terms of how one another perceives identity factors and what identity means in reality. So it’s almost this perfect weapon for division.
Then that’s just the race aspect. The sex, gender, sexuality, queer theory aspect is another matter altogether. For example, Hannah Dyer, an award-winning theorist wrote a paper recently, 2019 I think, where she said the point of queer theory is not to produce stable LGBTQ identities, but rather to keep identity fluid to make sure that the identity is never made stable. The people never come to know themselves. So then you have this idea that is destabilizing. I read that and I think back to Marcuse’s essay from 1969, essay on liberation. First of the full chapters is called “A Biological Foundation for Socialism?” with a question mark.
And what does he say? He says, “Well, I don’t mean biology in the literal sense. I mean all of the vital factors in terms of how you get through your day-to-day processes.” So in other words, if you read the definition of a mental pathology or psychopathology, it’s some set of psychological quirks that have become so severe that they impinge upon your ability to live day-to-day life. And I’m like, “Wow, critical theory is designed to induce psychopathologies and what better way than by tweaking people at the level of identity which is even below emotional issues in terms of having to reach deep, deep down and to try to resolve them.”
So it turns out, well before COVID, this book being written in 2017 and ’18, I think published in ’19, the example that I gave for an identity issue, because I didn’t want to get into things like race or other so-called immutable characteristics, was anti-vaxxer. And I said that the identity issue at cause was, “Are you a good parent?” And people’s burning need to see themselves as an identity is a good mother or a good father. Was that the heart of the reason why all of the discussions about vaccines and vaccine safety and vaccine efficacy would go off the rails? We see this, of course, now reproduce in mass. If you’re hesitant or unwilling to get the COVID 19 vaccine, you’re an anti-vaxxer, the exact same language. And what’s the drive?
Well, you want to be seen as somebody who’s contributing to society. In the airport yesterday on my flight in here, I heard over the loudspeaker, “Remember, wear your mask. We are all in this together.” And I’ve muttered something we shouldn’t repeat on camera under my breath about all being in it together, but this is the message. The people who do the vaccine are good members of society. They care about one another’s health. They’re not being selfish in their freedom, who don’t care about other people’s health. And so they’ve managed to yank this down into the level of identity—who you are as a good or bad person.
And we could go on and on. There are other techniques, moral authority, intellectual authority and psychological authority are the three pillars, and Marxists throughout all of history have attacked these. They just use different means. It’s identity and racism now. It used to be right wing or rich in the past, but they try to convince you or others around you that you’re evil, so you doubt yourself or others doubt you.
They try to convince you that you don’t understand the true nature of the scientific study of history or the structural realities of racism, so your intellectual authority is undermined. So you either doubt yourself and censor or other people doubt you and don’t listen or they try to convince you that you’re crazy.
We’re not really teaching critical race theory. Critical race theory is not in schools. Of course, it’s not. This culturally responsive teaching, CRT means something completely different. You don’t even know. We just want to teach honest history and gaslight people and they diminish your psychological authority or … So either you doubt yourself or other people will doubt you.
And these are the actual manipulations that are being done again and again and again and again and now you can understand why. They’re being done at the level of identity because it’s the deepest psychological layer that does not resolve and stays divisive. You keep people fighting about identity, there’s no resolution there.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, and so this also somewhat explains why there’s this push to do CRT, not necessarily education, but now to get to that word praxis.
Mr. Lindsay: Praxis.
Mr. Jekielek: Right? As early as possible …
Mr. Lindsay: Yes.
Mr. Jekielek: … in schools because I guess the idea is that, if you can embed that as part of someone’s identity, you’ve got them.
Mr. Lindsay: Yeah, exactly. That’s exactly right. The idea, people are all the time saying, “They’re indoctrinating the kids.” No, they are not. They’re programming the kids and it’s very important to realize that those are very different projects. The rebuttal is, “We want to teach kids how to think, not what to think.” And it sounds great, they are teaching the kids how to think wrongly about everything.
They’re teaching them to respond to everything through identity politics or through Marxist conflict theory where the different strata of society are in conflict. To believe that there is this conspiratorial ideological drive for the people who have success in society to keep it and to keep other people out the so-called, “Climb the ladder of success, pull it up behind you.”
They’re teaching people how to think and so this is the praxis. Praxis is the putting of theory into practice. And so it’s a dialectical word. I know I keep saying dialectical. The idea with dialectical is that you have two things that are seeming in opposition or there are tradeoffs to one another and you imagine that there’s literally a synthetic resolution that combines the two in some way. Keep certain essential qualities of both while getting rid of the parts that are actually contradictory to it, bringing it up to a higher level. So that’s the idea of this dialectical relationship.
So theory and practice are said actually to be dialectical concepts. This actually goes all the way back before Marx to Hegel’s Systematic Philosophy. He said that the last thing that will happen before the idea perfects itself, before the absolute realizes itself is that the theoretical idea and the practical idea will be brought back into dialectical unity. The theory and the practice have to be brought into communion. And Marx says explicitly that with the division of labor, theory and practice were separated. So there’s activity, there’s practice, but there’s no theory behind it because if there is, there would be no exploitation.
And so what you actually have is people, say yourself, employing people and you are putting other people to work and so you have something like a theory in your head of what they’re going to do and they’re doing practice for you, not for themselves as subjects. And so for him, the division of labor creates a division of theory and practice.
So the idea of doing the work as it were, whether that’s productive labor or the hammer or sickle or whether that’s this kind of psychosocial work that you do with critical race theory, the idea there is actually that you have theory, critical race theory, for example, and it informs what you’re going to do in practice. It’s going to tell you how you’re going to be an activist.
Then the third step to it is reflection. You’re going to reflect upon what happened, not say, “Oh, it happened. How do we make it work better?” in a very pragmatist way, but rather, “How do we make it accord with theory more accurately?” Theory actually becomes the mirror into which you’re going to reflect upon what you did.
So the goal is, again, that there’ll be no difference between theory and practice. Theory and practice are going to be put together. And so what is this defined as? If we look on marxist.org, they have a very helpful resource there. They are true to their word. They put out obscene amounts of material for free. The Marxists are good about that. They want everybody to read their theory.
Now they have this huge encyclopedia of terms. Everybody should go look at this and they should look up the word for truth, for example, or the word practice or practical, one of the other practices, I think. Practice and theory is one of the entries. And they tell you very explicitly that practice and theory are not to be separated. They have to be considered together. They have to be brought back together. The division of labor is what separated them.
But when you read the definition for truth, they said there are different theories of truth. Rationalists think it’s in reason. Empiricists and scientists think that it’s in evidence. Pragmatists thinks that it’s in what works.
But for the Marxist, they understand that what works must be what works to bring about the fruits of theory. In other words, for Marxism, their pragmatism is what makes something more communist. That which leads you to the revolution or that which makes things more communist on the other side of the revolution is the only authentic form of practice. That’s praxis. Praxis is doing the work to make communism. That’s all it means—theory-informed practice where the theory is Marxist theory.
If you aren’t doing that, your practice isn’t even practice. It is in fact just activity, the same thing that animals do, according to the way that Marx broke down ideas like work, activity, labor.
Mr. Jekielek: This is absolutely fascinating because it’s not … You might expect, a sort of typical person might expect that you would adapt your theory to reality to what you observe, this like scientific method actually, how it works. But what you’re talking about actually works in the exact opposite direction …
Mr. Lindsay: That’s right.
Mr. Jekielek: … which explains a lot about why all sorts of things when this is applied just don’t work.
Mr. Lindsay: Yes. Well, this is the intellectual swindle of all of Marxism, including critical race theory, is that the theory comes first. So everything that you see in reality, literally it has to be made to reflect theory. Theory, Marx had, was the scientific, the not a, the scientific study of history and its causes; everything that history was supposed to be the actual scientific study of history, which he called wissenschaftlicher sozialismus which is scientific socialism is when he called this. And so this is the scientific study. That’s the swindle. It’s not science. It puts theory first.
Why? Because Marx, he used to hold subject and object in dialectical opposition. They’re pairs, they’re opposed to one another, but they’re somehow unified and there’s this higher level understanding that contains both of them.
That’s him doing Hegel’s dialectical method for himself. But again, for him, what separates man from the animal, his theory of human nature, begins with the idea that we have a vision in our mind. We start as subjects and then we produce the objective world that we see. That’s the key. We start as subjects. We are not subjects responding to the world. We are subjects creating the world. And so this is a complete inversion of reality.
And again, if you read the myths, and I don’t mean to offend anybody saying that, but of the Bible, just want to be true to where I am, so I don’t step on anything, this is the Genesis myth. This is of the snake. This is the idea that we are the creators of reality, not that reality was created and we respond to it. It is the centering of man as that which creates everything.
For Marx, that’s what it was all about, was how do we get rid of God, how do we get rid of the idea that even of parents. He says in the 1844 manuscript is, what’s it called, Paris manuscript. He says that … It’s “The Economic and Philosophical Manuscript of 1844.” That’s the technical name for it.
He says, “Well, you had parents and your parents had parents and your parents’ parents had parents and you go back and grandparents and grandparents and grandparents.” Eventually we have to get back to the infinite regress. We have to say, “Well, who was the first parent?” And you get into this whole Adam and Eve thing.
And he says, “I say that you’re abstracting both upon man and upon nature. And if you give up your abstraction, you’ll give up your question.” Then he says, “Don’t ask me any questions.” That’s what he says. He knows he’s doing an intellectual swindle. And he says, “What we actually know,” and you will see this occasionally in their literature and I wish I could pull up something that I did see an example recently, but I can’t recollect where, but you will occasionally see, “We exist now. That’s enough. That’s a starting place. Who cares how we got here? Who cares where we came from. Now we’re going to use the scientific study of what we know of history to predict and project where history’s going to go.”
The only difference between Marx and what’s going on now is that Marx saw one trajectory of history which ends in the communist utopia, one way or another. The capitalist masses would awaken. They would seize the means of production. Socialism would come. Contradictions would work out and we’d get to communism. Heaven would arrive.
And the Neo-Marxist a critical Marxist like Marcuse recognized, “No, there’s fascism. We might try a revolution and the fascist might stomp us down. Hitler might arise.” And so not as there is a trajectory just toward heaven, there is a trajectory toward heaven or a trajectory toward hell, but capitalism is still going to dissolve anyway because it must, because [of] Marxism. And so we have to pick. Do we want to head toward fascism or do we want to head toward communism?
And of course, being dialecticians, our overlords, if you will today, have chosen both in dialectical tension.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, I’m going to get you to explain that to me because I’ve seen some of your writing on this and I think it’s just very fascinating, I guess let’s call it theory. Before I go there, just this idea that the reality must be shoehorned into theory, this is something that really struck me, this juxtaposition.
When it comes to feelings, you’ll hear people that subscribe to wokeism say, “It’s the impact that matters,” right? So it doesn’t matter what your intention is, it’s the impact that matters, right? But then when it comes to policy, it’s only the intention that matters. The impact is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how bad it feels. You go back to those good intentions. This to me, this trying to shoehorn everything into theory explains this to me because I’ve been so puzzled by this, this juxtaposition.
Mr. Lindsay: It’s … Theory can’t fail, people just fail theory. That’s at the end of the day what it is.
Mr. Jekielek: It doesn’t matter how [many] times you fail. You just keep hammering away at it, which is going to be every time.
Mr. Lindsay: Because every time you fail, all you’ve done is exposed. According to their theory, this is their theodicy. This is their theory of evil. Every time you fail and a calamity of results and millions of people die or whatever it happens to be, we didn’t know all the contradictions that were actually involved, so we’ve exposed a new contradiction that’s going to require us to apply theory to it. This is where Lenin said something along the lines of a thousand pages of theory for everything that exists or something like that. It’s what they’re looking for is some massive amount of rationalization for why their things didn’t work.
But Marx truly believed that he had, well to the degree that he was serious in his own ideas, if we take him at his word at least. He truly believed that he had the only scientific study of history and the causes of history and the unfolding of the human experience as it would be.
And so of course, if it’s scientific, then that’s it, but where did he get this idea? Well, we can go backwards another step with the very beginning or talk about Hegel, “Phenomenology of Spirit,” 1807. We’re at the very beginning of the enlightenment in earnest where we got Kant has just written recently “The Critique of Pure Reason.” It’s like nobody’s quite sure what the role of rationalism or empiricism is.
Hegel goes on this railing anger, this rant against Isaac Newton. Marx repeats it. Woodrow Wilson weirdly also repeats it later. They’re not big fans of Isaac Newton, but it’s because they don’t like objective reality. They want theory to lead because what does Hegel do with his Phenomenology, with his systematic philosophy that he comes up with, this so-called speculative idealism, that he’s systematically laying out. He says, “Well, there are actually wissenschaft,” science in German, “actually is two levels.”
He says there’s a lower level called verstand. That’s where we understand things. That’s where you have empiricism. That’s where you’re reflecting off, but there’s a higher level which is vernunft. Vernunft is translated usually as reason. But I think the correct translation, even though the German word theory is theorie, I think the correct translation would be theory or systematic theory. And so he holds out that his systematic philosophy is the higher level understanding of everything. And then actual empirical reflection off of reality is a lower level understanding.
So, this is where you have that inversion of reality, that theory should lead. And I don’t want to apologize and pull the whole game like, “He’s a man of his time,” but it was 1807. People weren’t sure. With theology, very frequently, the theology leads and reality is supposed to come second. This was a typical way of thinking. Marx, I think, rightly calls Hegel a theologian. He says that Hegel’s laying out a theology, not a systematic philosophy but a systematic theology and I think that’s probably right to be honest with you.
Mr. Jekielek: But then he says, “But I’m telling. Now I’m laying out the real science here.”
Mr. Lindsay: Correct. He says that he, in fact, is free … This is an exact or close to an exact quote by Marx, that he’s freeing Hegel from his mystical shell, the rational kernel, he says, “We have to free the rational kernel from the mystical shell.” And so he’s going to throw out theology and create this thing. How? By making it wholly materialist. Materialist in the physical materialist evolution, etcetera sense and also economically materialist in the sense that economic conditions are determinant.
Mr. Jekielek: And this is also why you keep hearing people say every time the next iteration of communism fails in horrific ways. They say, “Well, that wasn’t real communism.”
Mr. Lindsay: Right, yeah. It got co-opted. It turned into state capitalism, something, something, but in general, the explanation is there were contradictions that the theory had not yet incorporated. For example, Max Horkheimer points out in his development of the critical theory, he says, “Well, Marx failed to realize. Marx thought we could live in a perfectly just society where we have perfect freedom. He didn’t realize that freedom and justice were dialectical concepts, that they’re in opposition.” And he explicitly says, “So the more freedom you have, the less justice you have. The more justice, the less freedom.”
Mr. Jekielek: Wait a sec, justice and freedom, dialectical opposites. Okay so now we’re seeing perhaps some of the language that we’re hearing like literally in this particular socio political cultural moment.
Mr. Lindsay: Yes. That’s hearkening back to Marxist thought from the late 1930s. That’s exactly where it comes from. And what you’re actually seeing is Marxists reckoning with the fact that there are tradeoffs, but they don’t like the idea of tradeoffs, that sometimes you do actually have … If people are totally free to do whatever they want, they’re going to make decisions that are unjust or whatever. So there is this tension between freedom and justice, if you will.
But rather than saying, “Well, there’s this tradeoff between this, but we value both of these. So what are we going to do?” “Well, we’re going to give people maximum amounts of freedom. We’re going to secure their freedoms and then we’re going to give them a pathway to recourse if they need it through a justice system. We’re going to try to of come up with a workable solution to this kind of problem.
Rather than doing that, they say, “No, there must be some higher order, synthetic third path. There must be a synthesis of freedom and justice where they actually become one concept.” It’s just made up. It’s actually not. Paulo Freire, the Marxist education guru is really good about it because every time he runs into a dialectic, he just puts the two words with a hyphen between them. So he’s talking in education, you’re going to have teachers and students, you have to have student-teachers and teacher-students. He just puts a hyphen between them. That’s the dialectical combination.
So we have to have freedom-justice. So that’s where they say things that sound very much like George Orwell that we will have freedom when we have justice or we will have freedom when everybody follows all the rules, which is the exact opposite of freedom.
Say, for example, with vaccine mandates, if we all have a mandated vaccine and everybody actually does the thing and we all get the passport and you have to show your papers everywhere you go, literally the opposite of freedom, then we can be free. And that’s exactly, for example, what Justin Trudeau is saying. What did he say with the mandates, is that we have to have the mandates so that we can have fewer restrictions or something like this.
It’s just absolute double speak. And the reason it’s double speak is because they’re trying to synthesize two ideas that there is a degree of tradeoff to, but that there are other solutions to.
Mr. Jekielek: The vast majority of people that appear to be, let’s say, practicing this ideology doesn’t strike me. They don’t understand what they’re doing. Is that-
Mr. Lindsay: I think that’s correct. I don’t think the vast majority know that they are participating in a very illogical form that puts the idea ahead of reality. I think that they have had their empathy primarily and their compassion turned into a tool. They’d say, “Well, you have to care about whatever it happens to be.”
Of course, Marx called his philosophy humanistic because it centers humanity rather than God. The goal is to make things more and more humanized. In fact, it was to humanize the world. And so if we have racism that dehumanizes people and they say that it dehumanizes the victim which is true, and it dehumanizes the perpetrators which is also true. So there’s this dehumanization. So we want to rehumanize it.
That’s a very compelling concept, but the problem is that the analysis, the structural analysis is based in nonsense. It’s based in an inversion of reality, in fact a war on reality. And so it’s very easy to weaponize or to co-opt some of these feelings into a program based on unreality if that unreality is sufficiently seductive.
And what we have with all of Marx’s theory is an inversion of reality. You have, for example, the people who are accused of being the most racist are the people who are working the hardest to not be racist, by rule. Why? Because in reality, because they’re soft targets is why, because they can be reliably expected. These guys just say, “Well, I don’t want to offend anybody.” Well, then it’s very easy to manipulate that person’s behavior to say, “Oh, well, this offends me. That offends me too. Everything offends me.
Mr. Jekielek: I want to jump in because what strikes me about everything we’ve been talking about now is how easy it would be by bad actors to manipulate people that subscribe to this. And frankly, I see a lot of this going on. What do you think?
Mr. Lindsay: I’ve been saying for at least three years since I started to actually read their literature in earnest that this is the most manipulable ideology I’ve ever seen in my life. And the main reason is because it’s located in the main two reasons or it’s located in the subjective experience which is extremely manipulable, and then secondly, because it has this, “We’re all in this together,” voice behind it, where if we all don’t participate as a society, you can picture George Costanza from Seinfeld, “We live in a society,” freaking out when something’s not going his way, everybody else is supposed to conform to what George needs. You can use these two tools to actually fill the entire room, if you will, with grifters, with people who say, “Oh, I’m offended by everything.” All you have to do is pretend you’re offended.
Mr. Jekielek: What are the two tools really quickly?
Mr. Lindsay: So the two tools were that it’s subjective. If I claim that I’ve been offended via the right magic words, racism, sexism, something ism and there’s a power dynamic that exist, this, I don’t know, pagan, deity of structural forms that I can appeal to to say, “This is what’s happening, then my voice is authoritative.
If I happen to be, say, a sexual minority or racial minority and I say, “That offends me because X, Y, Z and this is a microaggression and it feeds into the system of racism or sexism or heterophobia or homophobia, I should say, that I experience constantly, blah, blah, blah,” then that’s just to be taken as authoritative because it’s the impact again.
Mr. Jekielek: Yes, right.
Mr. Lindsay: So that’s absolutely subjective. So literally a bad actor can come in and pretend totally not offended by anything and say, “Oh, that offends me.” Why? Because they want to be able to manipulate that situation. They want to be able to gain the upper hand in that situation. It could be done even not really just because of incentive structures without really realizing it.
We could be in a negotiation, say that you have this. And you’re like, “Well, as an immigrant woman of color, it’s just really hard sometimes to do these meetings,” and all of a sudden the dynamic changes and all of a sudden the other person wants to soften up to the immigrant woman of color or whatever else.
And then you can actually lead yourself down this path where you don’t even believe any of the theory and you even would say you don’t like the theory, but it confers an advantage on you to invoke the structure of the theory in order to do things. And I’ve actually spoken with people who’ve gone down that road and then caught themselves eventually horrified. I’ve been using this because it works, but I didn’t realize what I was actually selling myself out to do, so it’s very deceptive. So subjectivity is the biggest tool that allows for grifters and bad actors.
So the second tool that allows for grifters and bad actors is putting theory ahead of practice or reality, really. Why? Well, because people can appoint themselves. This is where you get your party. This is where your Leninism comes in. People appoint themselves as the priests, if you will, or the prophets of the theory,” I understand it, you don’t understand it, so you have to listen to me.
And maybe it doesn’t make any sense. Well, don’t worry. I can tell you what the right answer is in every given context. Or maybe that’s self-contradictory. Don’t worry, I’ll resolve the contradiction for you, but you’re going to have to come back to me to get the resolution.”
And you read, for example, Paulo Freire, this education Marxism that I keep coming back to and he says, “Ah, you can’t take my stuff as a blueprint. It has to work differently in every single possible context. It has to work according to the exact context that you’re in.”
So what does this turn him into? Your perfect consultant, right? He’s the one you have to hire every time you want to implement this, so he can come in and guide you in the exact way, in the exact circumstance that you’re in. And so the people who claim that they understand the theory better than everybody else and then can call somebody out for getting some detail of it wrong or speaking the wrong way about it, those people become literally like priests and prophets who get to speak this theory.
And again, this is where grifters and bad actors can very easily step in and not only to pull out Lenin yet again, but not only can they say, “I understand it better than you, so be quiet. They can accuse you of being a traitor to the cause or a false prophet or something of this nature and actually torpedo you if you are a potential rival.” So subjectivity and theory first, this has become the single most griftable ideology that I’ve ever encountered.
Mr. Jekielek: It seems to me, okay, and certainly a number of guests I’ve had on the show have pointed this out that globalists, for lack of a better term to group people who believe there should be some sort of global governance or at least this kind of direction, deal with the big problems of the age, perhaps the people at the World Economic Forum that you described, collaborating around the grand problems of humanity and then people who subscribe to woke ideology, that they have a lot in common in the working and concert, right?
This is something that I observed, but more recently, I’ve been thinking to myself, it strikes me, I’m not exactly sure about that because again the woke ideology, as I’ve learned more from people like yourself and many others in my own reading, just the internal contradictions are so many that it’s just simply not going to work for a heck of a lot of people, partially because of what we just described, because of it’s sort of strong juxtaposition to reality, the almost enmity to reality, right?
And meanwhile, these other folks, the globalists for again, lack of a better term, these are people who very often actually do have very real power and actually have a very specific vision for the world, again if we’re talking about the people meeting, as you mentioned, for example, at the World Economic Forum since the 1970s and so forth and the youth movements. Perhaps because this ideology is so manipulable, maybe they’re using it.
Mr. Lindsay: I think they are using it. You don’t see a whole lot of the pure theorists sitting at the table at the World Economic Forum, for example. So you have to ask why. You see with the things coming out of the World Economic Forum, and particularly, we’ll just go straight to the tool, their favorite term for a number of years now, but it’s really hit the public consciousness just recently which has ESG, Environmental, Social And Governance scores.
You see that these appear to be somewhat arbitrary, that seems like within the Environmental scores in particular, everybody points out that they all fly to these meetings in private jets. They have their gigantic yachts that they do their parties on and so on. They force you to wear masks for COVID and whatever umpteen billion masks end up in the ocean, choking turtles or whatever it is, these terrible things that they’re doing, but don’t worry, you drink your Starbucks out of a paper straw stuck into a plastic cup.
It’s all very arbitrary, right? And there’s this sense that a lot of it’s very arbitrary in terms of they get to decide in any given moment what good environmental policy looks like. Another one, they’re so worried about reducing carbon output, but nuclear power somehow is really bad and maybe it gets classified literally with the carbon-producing power generation.
So they’re taking coal, gas and nuclear power plants offline everywhere. They’re trying to force windmills and solar and things that even if they do work, they don’t work yet into the center of our energy production. Then there are various challenges that might change that, but currently it’s not, it doesn’t work and so why are they doing this? Well, it’s arbitrary because it’s really about power for them. So the same thing is going to happen within social theory.
So we go from the E, Environmental, to the S, Social. Governance is its own thing. They want to have their corporate governance thing. That’s very easy to see how that becomes dictatorial, but within social, they can say equity and everybody’s happy. And all the social theorists and all the leftists are like, “Yes, equity. We’re going to redistribute. We’re going to redistribute north to south. We’re going to have them make the rich nations pay for the damages of climate change.”
That’s called climate justice or climate equity or environmental justice or it depends on the circumstances which one they’re invoking. “We’re going to make sure that they’re going to be certain numbers of women and racial minorities and sexual minorities and so on on corporate boards. We’re going to create equity. We’re going to do all these.
And what you’re actually doing is two things. One, you are placating the left who would be your natural enemies as a gigantic oligarchical technocratic structure. And then two, you’re actually creating conditions that say, “Under your Governance score, you can start to control what’s going to happen.”
If you believe in this structural voice of color that we referred to earlier from Ayanna Presley, for example, and it is in critical race theory, literally explicitly in their own books called the “Unique Voice of Color” that comes out of structural determinism. If you believe in this, then what does that mean? Well, that means that you have party operatives who are the formally trained experts in racism.
And so your party operative selected by other experts is the person who’s going to have to be installed as a DEI or ESG or whatever officer in your corporation. So what it gives them is an arbitrary tool. “Well, we need equity. That sounds good. How do we do it?” “Well, we hire an expert on equity.” “Well, who are they?” “Well, we’ll pick them. Don’t worry. And now you have to hire one at $300,000 a year in your company or else your score, your ESG score will be low and we can’t invest in your company. We can’t manage your assets. We’re going to cut off your accounts or whatever else. We’ll blacklist you from ETFs and so on.”
And so what it becomes is a tool by which they use the brand name of these woke social theories and they’ll do some of it, but mostly what it is that it is so stupid and so arbitrary that they’re going to be able to install people who are going to act the way they want action to go.
That is an excuse to create a commissariat. Commissars are why that S score is there and why they’re using this idiotic social theory. The woke are going to get co-opted in the end, the ones who are actually pure woke theorists, who actually care way too much and in the wrong ways about inequalities and unfairness and injustice are actually being co-opted.
And the more ruthless political bureaucratic types are going to get installed as officers to implement things under the guise of this stuff. So they are getting used as theorists. This is where we come back to that kind of nouveau riche but in the realm of power instead of money, but it’s really both the problem.
These people finally are getting taken seriously, instead of being at the margins. They’re getting lots of credit. They’re getting massive influxes of cash into their organizations. They can feel like they can do the work to change society, permanent, sustainable change, whatever they want to call it.
And they go along because they’re finally getting the recognition that they feel like they’ve been excluded from for so long because of their simultaneous like paranoid complex that everybody hates them for the wrong reasons, instead for the fact that they’re pushing bad social theory. Then also their entitlement complex that they believe that they should be listened to, that they’re the unique authorities on these things.
And so there’s this weird set of incentives that allow very bad people to install what amounts to commissars under new names, DEI, ESG, SDG, sustainable development goals officers into these different corporations and positions within government and bureaucracies and so on. Again, it’s a Department of Equity or whatever could be made. A Department of Antiracism could be made from the U.S. government, for example, cabinet level position. That’s what allegedly the squad here in Congress is working on right now. Why? So they can install these commissars who have the right ideology.
And then how are they going to apply it arbitrarily? Just like with the environmental stuff, they’re going to pick, “Oh, this is a good cause. This is what gives us more power really. So that’s the way that we’re going to interpret this now. And if you don’t like it, we’ll just lower your social credit score down to zero, so you’re not going to have any way to complain about it anyway.”
You can see how it works as a power grab. So I think they are. I think that these big globalists use that term, are using the social theory somewhat disingenuously, but they also are using it somewhat genuously, if that’s a word. Anyway, they’re using it honestly to a degree that they want a perfectly sustainable future system where there is no disruption.
So they see inequity as relative privation, as a source of potential conflict. And they don’t want any conflicts or disruptions to their system. There’s going to be them at the top and the undifferentiated masses underneath and that has to stay totally stable. So if they can artificially make it as equitable as possible, that should lower the probability that there are flare ups of that kind outside of the social control mechanism. So it serves a lot of purposes for them.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, so there’s two quick thoughts, okay? The first one is, ESG scores typically refer to corporations. You’re suggesting that they’re suddenly starting to apply to individuals as a social credit score. This is a prediction you’re making?
Mr. Lindsay: Well, I mean I wish I could say… I would say it’s a prediction if we’d interviewed a week ago, but I actually saw an article in an investment magazine a couple of days ago talking about how the shift to personal ESG scores is something that’s now on the table, but it is a corporate social credit score at the moment that doesn’t apply yet to individuals. But that is the model.
The model will be that you’ll need an Environmental, Social, I don’t know how the G will apply, probably like in China where, “Whatever the government says, you do that and don’t violate the rules and you’re a good citizen.” Good Citizen score or whatever is probably how it’ll work. But there is already writing about a shift toward personal ESG scores from the corporate model.
Mr. Jekielek: So you also mentioned something, which I feel is a bit of a leap, but it actually reminds me of something else you mentioned earlier. You were talking about “globalists” imagining themselves across the top and with this undifferentiated mass that they govern or shepherd or something like this. So I remember this was the other thing that I wanted to ask you about, is your grand theory of dialectical synthesis or something like this because these two things are related. Well, for starters, why are you so sure that this is the outcome that these folks want?
Mr. Lindsay: So this is a bit theoretically reaching for me, but after having read lots and lots and lots of this dialectical faith of leftism, if I were going to write another big book, I think that’d be the title by the way, Dialectical Faith of Leftism, after reading how they think, and it was in particular while I was doing the research for part of … Well, I was doing the research for W.E.B. Du Bois for race Marxism and I realized the way that they are using this idea that he had called double consciousness. And so what they’re trying to awaken with critical race theory is in racial minorities is a double consciousness that they are a person, but they are first actually their race. They’re trying to awaken a racial consciousness.
What they’re saying is that, however, in white people is that white people don’t have any racial consciousness, whereas black people have this or racial minorities have an intrinsic racial consciousness imposed upon them. So what they want to do is politically activate that. And in white people, they want to awaken their racial consciousness, white awareness. This title of a book by Judith Katz in 1978, white fragility is its more famous extension is what happens. White fragility is the explanation of what happens when you try to bring white awareness to white people according to Robin DiAngelo, is that they exhibit white fragility.
So the goal there is to awaken an inverted racial consciousness, not where your race becomes an anchor for subjectivity, but rather it becomes your justification for allyship. And so you have two inverted double consciousnesses, racial minorities on the one hand and white people on the other hand, and those two are then placed next to one another. In the exact words in the book, “Critical Race Theory Introduction,” when they’re talking about the way that the identity politics moves from one group to another smaller and smaller factions, he says, “And so the dialectic progresses.”
And so the hint is that this dialectical mindset is present there. And then I thought, well, what is … This is white-black for example is one racial dialectic, the color line. Well, what’s going on over here in this global politics? The question was, how on Earth really is this wokeness which is very blatantly Marxism, so deeply embedded with corporate stuff which is seemingly its natural enemy? How on earth do we have corporate Marxism? What in the world is this? And then I realized, well, what’s going on in China, Deng Xiaoping’s model, which was formulated in part by Henry Kissinger who went over there and helped them figure out how to open a market was trying to solve the production problem that Marcuse laid out in his 1960s essays.
He said, “Well, the Soviet, they have the right ideology. The capitalists don’t have the right ideology. The Soviets can’t get to production levels high enough to make a society work.” Part of that is technological, but part of that is something to do with the way that the socialist market works. And then over here … Because there is no market. And then on the other hand, we’ve got this in the west. We have production. We have in fact too much production, unsustainable production, but we don’t have any ideology. He said, “How do we solve these problems? Well, we’ve got to figure out how to get the Soviets to get their production levels up.”
And so Kissinger likely to be well versed in having at least read these things, I’m not claiming he was a Marxist per se, went to China and helped them open up a market contained within their communist structure, and of course, it’s state capitalism. There are lots of corporations in China, but they all serve at the pleasure of the CCP. And so the CCP is an umbrella corporation over all the corporations in China. And what that means is you have a communist model on the outside with a fascism operating on the inside.
I was like, “Wow, if those are considered to be Marcuse’s dialectical opposites, communism and fascism, and you have them in a double consciousness position over here, what are we doing in the west?” “Well, the corporate side is leading to get around things like the pesky constitution and we’re going to use big business to bring in this model.”
And I was like, “Wow, they’re building, what does Klaus Schwab call it at the World Economic Forum, he calls it a public-private partnership,” which to my ear is exactly what Mussolini was describing when he described fascism. So we’re building an external fascistic structure, but then what is the main tool within it? Social justice, climate justice, equity. That’s a communist model.
Everything I know about equity is equity is just a new brand name for socialism. This is the redistribution of shares so that people are made equal, and by definition it’s socialism. And so you now have a fascistic corporate public-private partnership employing communism.
And so I was like, “Oh, my gosh, I don’t know that this is what’s happening, but I know that if I were a big world scale dialectical thinker that thinks that this is how you resolve the contradictions of reality and achieve a one foot in global government that what you would do is you would take a commune-fascist China and put its inversion a fascio-communist west next to it and let the dialectic work out.
So what you find out then is that the goal isn’t to create a west that is at war with Xi’s China or whoever inherits it from Xi later, the CCP’s China, but rather they’re more like frenemies trying to achieve a dialectical union that will be some kind of a model where a global technocracy run through like the UN or whatever the organization might end up being.
One global governance is going to create an overall vanguard and then everything else will be equal and run on the same playing field. And then you started thinking, “Wow, well that means we’ve got East Asia and now we have to build Oceania over here, to get very kind of George Orwell to always be at war with it,” but the war is just like as hinted in 1984 in pastiche. It’s more of a frenemies kind of program. The dialectic is actually going to have to work out across these.
The goal of critical race theory given charitably is not to create a race war between white people and black people. It’s in fact to awaken double consciousness in both, so that when you put them next to each other, that we eventually create the justification for an administered state, racial equity, that eventually becomes spontaneous in racial justice says the contradictions worked themselves out first by interjecting them through an administered dictator and then later when they become spontaneous. Because this is the dialectical theory, is how it’s supposed to work. You apply it and eventually the contradictions work out and people just live it.
So I see that as the global model as well. Communism and fascism are understood now not to be oppositional forms, but rather to be two sides of the same coin, which every outsider actually sees. They’re dialectical opposite, so there’s a higher level synthesis, which is a communism that solves a production problem is what it actually boils down to. So the goal is to create a global communism that can solve the production problem and they think that they have the technology to do it now to solve both distribution and production issues that have not yet been possible.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, so it’s just that in the process of trying to shoehorn reality into this theory as has happened every other time, the corollary to me is that you would unleash a hell like you’ve never seen.
Mr. Lindsay: That’s exactly what I suspect will happen. Yes. You can’t shoehorn reality into theory. There are two old sayings and I love both of them, so I have to say them both. One is that reality bats last. It’s a very baseball analogy. Reality gets the last at bat and so you have to deal with it. The other one is a little more blunt, which is reality is the thing you run into when your ideas are wrong.
So it’s the thing you’re going to run into eventually. You cannot shoehorn reality into theory. There are any number of reasons why this dialectical control mechanism that they want to install is not going to work and is going to require the absolute totalitarian destruction of humanity, the moralization level, the morale level. They have to absolutely subjugate people in order to force it to work and that’s going to become more and more manifest.
And the last refuge that they’ll have is to increasingly apply coercion and force, or if they get their way, even worse, which is that they will apply things like algorithms and who knows what to condition people’s thinking. The goal is actually to prevent you from ever thinking the wrong thought or the wrong thought might upset their apple cart.
Mr. Jekielek: And there’s this other piece that just keeps dawning on me again and again, as we’re discussing here. This is why inevitably the working class, let’s say or the people that actually work in reality are the people that are going to have to be thrown under the bus because there’s no way that people that work in reality are going to subscribe to this stuff.
Mr. Lindsay: Right, because at the end of the day something has to get [inaudible 00:52:34]. It’s a very luxurious thing to be able to sit around and pontificate about the real nature of your identity crisis all the time to navel gaze and complain or to dream up some … I think of how much just unproductive effort it really boils down to sit there and narrow out like every possible sexual feeling that you have to create some new 18-syllable term for your sexuality and draw a flag for it. This is absolutely preposterous to say, “Well, I’m sexually attracted to this kind of person under this condition, but not that kind of person under this …”
This is something that the working class, the people who actually do things in the world, who build buildings that we’re going to be in or bridges that we’re going to cross or planes we’re going to fly. Nobody has time for this crap. This is something that is very luxurious and that only people who really don’t have any other things to do can possibly luxuriate in.
And so you are correct. The working class is not going to accept this, and of course, therefore, they’re going to have to be beaten down, and thus, we see the revolt in Canada from the truckers. And thus, we see the reaction from the regime to the so-called truckers revolt. The people who do the work, who actually move the things in society so that people can eat, so that goods are on the shelves so that people can buy them. The people who move that which makes society work don’t want to be told how to live their lives. They don’t want to be corralled into some very artificial, fancy land where nothing’s actually getting done and people are luxuriating about their gender identity.
They want to do the job, they want to feel proud of doing the job, they want to participate in all of this and so they have to be smashed. They’re also the people who are going to be displaced the most by automation and so they have to be put under control before that happens. And so the working class has become the enemy of Marxists as funny as that sounds.
Mr. Jekielek: James, I feel like I could talk to you for another several hours. That’s not the format of this show. Any final thought?
Mr. Lindsay: The key final thought is people always look at this behemoth and think, “There’s nothing we can do,” but it’s not true. It turns out, in fact, it’s pretty easy to defeat. You have to anticipate what they want you to do and not do it; just to make it difficult for them to implement these things.
If they really, really want you to take a vaccine, if they want you to have to show your papers, refuse to participate in that, even if it’s to your own detriment. I went recently to a city with a vaccine mandate, Chicago. I didn’t tell a single person while I was there, whether I was vaccinated or not. I said, “I’m not going to tell you. I’m not going to show you any papers. It’s none of your business what my medical records are.”
They said, “Well, we’ll have to treat you as if you’re unvaccinated.” And I said, “That’s fine. The correct word for that is a person, so I hope you remember that, as a person who doesn’t have the vaccine. I’m still a person. I am, in fact, first a person,” to paraphrase Kimberle Crenshaw, but you have to anticipate what they want you to do and not participate in it. The things that they’re very bent on getting are digital currencies that they control. So we have to figure out ways to … That one is going to require us to write lawmakers and things and start to protect us from social credit scores being tied to banking, for example, and so on.
We’re going to have to … That they won’t control the children. So we have to take our children out of harm’s way. We have to take them out of the schools if necessary. We have to fight for curriculum transparency. We have to fight for positions in school boards. We have to oust the petty tyrants and superintendent positions and so on that are implementing these ideologies, this Maoism in our schools. Basically, all you have to do is keep saying no. They require our compliance or they have to force us. And if they force us, they show their hand. And if they show their hand, as we’re seeing in Canada, people don’t like it and you’re finding it …
I think we just saw also in New Zealand, if we’re not mistaken, that they tried to call in the military and the military said, “It’s not our problem.” It’s exactly what the Canadian military said, “No, Canadian law can handle this. It isn’t us.” So they called in the tow trucks and the tow truck drivers are, “Oh, we all have COVID. Sorry, we can’t tow anything.” And so what you’re actually seeing then is they are flummoxed if we just don’t participate. If we just say no and actually put our foot down and don’t comply with these things, then they can’t make them happen. And that’s the path that we have to take.
The final-final thought is though, this is the thing, this is the fight of not just our generation but of our lives and we have to win. I hate to put it so starkly, but the very peaceful resistance model of the civil rights movement, sit-ins, that’s what the truckers are doing, they’re doing is sit-in, a massive sit-in. “You want us to move our trucks? Give us what we want and we’ll go away.” Same thing as the civil rights movement, “You want us to leave the restaurant? Serve us. We’ll eat and we’ll leave. That’s all you have to do. Otherwise, we’re going to sit here and be a big pain in your butt.”
This peaceful civil disobedience really throws a monkey wrench into their entire program and we can win and we must win.
Mr. Jekielek: Well, James Lindsay, it’s such a pleasure to have you on again.
Mr. Lindsay: Thank you, Jan.
Mr. Jekielek: We live in an age of censorship and disinformation where some of the most prominent voices, most important voices aren’t actually being heard because they’re being suppressed. I invite some of these people onto the show, onto American Thought Leaders. So to stay up to date on the most recent episodes and our exclusive content, you can actually sign up for our newsletter at TheEpochTimes.com/Newsletter. Just hit the check box for American Thought Leaders.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
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