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January 21, 2022


I have the general impression that it is easier to produce fully synthetic rightwing propaganda than 'appealing' leftwing stuff (as opposed to the dull and soporific stuff of party functionaries in communist states* that always was 100% synthetic to begin with).
I guess the main point is that to be on the left side requires nuance that the far right has to avoid at all costs.
It does imo not depend on the merit or lack thereof necessarily. 'Left' seems to be more complicated than 'Right' by nature, whether it's demagoguery or not.

*the first talking bots

I think it's not so much that the left is more nuanced. It's that the nuanced right has been overwhelmed by the far right -- which, as you say, avoids nuance at all costs.

The far left has exactly the same aversion to nuance. It's just that, currently, they are not the dominant voice from the left. Perhaps, with serious bad luck, a left-wing Murdoch will come along and create a far left Fox News equivalent. But so far, we've escaped that.

'Nuance' may not have the exact meaning I have in mind (at least outside the non-extreme regions).
I'd say that leftist extremism, however un-nuanced it may be in reality, is still based on a complex foundation without which it could not exist in that form*. Rightwing extremism is essentially feral, appealing to base instincts with any complexity a thin veneer on top.

Completely oversimplified: it's barbarism grafted onto philosophy vs. philosophy grafted onto barbarism.

*of course there are extremist leftist zombies too but those were fed with vulgarized philosophy. No real need for that to create rightwing zombies.

wj, I've often wondered what experiences you had that has you always invoke the far left. I recall you mentioning things about college, maybe UCBerkeley? Having been a callow college youth once, I'm pretty aware that the things you do as a 22 year old shouldn't really define you and with little real world experience, it is far too easy to get caught up in thinking that the world is black and white.

The far left has never been a dominant voice on the left in any country that has developed a middle class and at any rate, the left always splinters into smaller and smaller fragments. It should tell you something that the kind of overwhelming domination by the left has only taken hold in places which basically went from feudal to the modernity.

lj, yes UC Berkerey in the late 1960s. Although it wasn't nearly as far left on the ground as its reputation was. (And this was, after all, at the time when Ronald Reagan was getting elected Governor of California.)

On the other hand, I did encounter a few folks who were quite determined to overthrow the government and replace it with what they called a socialist dictatorship. They were the guys who organized (but, of course, never participated in) the riots that occurred. Not a stereotypical long haired hippy among them; indeed they all had shorter hair than I did . . . and I was in ROTC. I think it's fair to characterize them as far left. They were a tiny minority, but influenced the overall behavior of the left far more than their numbers would suggest.

Also rather more folks who were enthusiastic admirers of Ho Chi Minh** (at least their inaccurate image of him), Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot. Still pretty far left IMHO. As you say, college students are a far cry from the
adult population. But there were also some few faculty members (albeit distinct minority) who were cheering them on.

So yeah, that doubtless colors my thinking. On the other hand, it also makes me think that folks like, for example, AOC aren't particularly close to what I would consider "far left."

** Ho, it should be noted, wasn't that much of a flaming socialist. The Communist Party was far more of an organizing vehicle for nationalism for him than a serious ideology. Which is why he tried (unsuccessfully, obviously) to get American rather than Chinese support for his efforts to overthrow the French colonial regime. But such details were lost on college students in the West.

It interests me to speculate on what a "far left Fox News equivalent" would look and sound like.

Never mind that the Murdoch Empire claims we already have one in the guise of MSNBC, or CNN, or even NPR. What do sane people think?

I am impolitic, immature, and not remotely a billionaire, so my opinion doesn't count for much either. I would not expect the "far left" to accept my notion of what a "far left Fox News equivalent" should report or advocate.

So I leave it to you, gentle reader, to speculate.


It's important to order it correctly. Ho tried to get American support (the Vietnamese Declaration of Independence was obviously influenced by the US one


and when the US turned the country back over to the French, they went the way they did. In fact, because of a lack of French forces in Vietnam post WWII, the Allies rearmed the Japanese in order to maintain order.

Those are the kind of details often lost on Americans who want to call the Vietnamese Communist.

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