Victor Hugo once said there was nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come. His fellow bearded mystic Joel McDurmon is in staunch agreement. In his latest spiel, ‘Racism in the libertarian world? And more. . . .’ , the good doctor finally sheds whatever vestiges of his supposed Christian worldview remain and proclaims himself a proud disciple of (((Leon Trotsky)))/Lev Bronstein. Whatever theological underpinnings remain in his writings increasingly appear to be influenced by Karl Barth – who, being considerably more well-known than, say, Dabney, is more to McDurmon’s preference anyway.
I can just hear the Reformed Geek chorus now: ‘Malsbury, once again you are resorting to shameful ad hominem attacks. Dr. McDurmon has long been in the vanguard of the Christian libertarian reconstructionist movement! He’s the protégé, not to mention son-in-law, of the exalted Gary North, through whom all wisdom must necessarily flow! A Marxist, indeed! Of all the ludicrousness routinely doled out by kinists, this really takes the cake!’ Their charm knows no bounds.
Alas, to those of us who still refuse to be compartmentalized into a box marked ‘Theology!’ entirely sequestered from the other disciplines of the world, due to our recognition that all disciplines ultimately are theological in nature, we can only draw two possible conclusions. Either McDurmon’s soul has been poisoned by a virulent, albeit non-orthodox, strain of Marxist thought, or in his narcissism McDurmon is on a campaign to pillory every pundit on the anti-neocon right and establish himself as the Church’s premier strategist. Or both. The two choices certainly aren’t mutually exclusive, and what communist regime has ever flourished without a vibrant cult of personality behind it?
The impetus for this piece appears to be Lew Rockwell’s rejection of the received libertarian wisdom regarding the macroeconomic benevolence of open borders. Pope McDurmon obviously cannot allow such base calumny against the one race, the human race, to stand. He condemns poor Lew as a racist, uses his god-like powers of heart-knowing to revoke Lew of his own humanity (“Lew completely abandons every principle he stands for when it comes to the issue of immigration”), and condemns him to the nether reaches of Gehenna with the grim anathema, “Prejudice is the mother of inconsistency.” One suspects he would have also shrieked in all-caps, ‘I NEVER KNEW YE, DEPART FROM ME, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY!!!’, except that such Christ-usurpation might not have played too well to American Vision’s subscribers, and that outfit is in enough financial trouble as it is.
Of course, McDurmon’s demeanour here is not only redolent of popery. Such top-down proclamations of ‘heretic!’ are also endemic to ideologies across the Marxist spectrum, and it matters little if they emanate from one ‘strong man’ or a gaggle of technocrats fancying itself the dictatorship of the proletariat. McDurmon clearly sees himself as the former, yet cloaks his ambition in the protection of the latter, given that the entire Reformed world is also solidly on his side. Such assurance allows him to demand that his followers ‘educate’ themselves, in a paragraph that could have been taken from the minutes of a plenary session of the Fourth International:
To think that anti-black and white supremacy sentiments could be so prevalent in society as to lead to lynchings and burnings of blacks as late as the 1960s—barely over a generation ago—is difficult for many to comprehend today. But not only do you need to comprehend it, you need to realize that the mobs of people who harbored such widespread racism and hatred did not just disappear once the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law. They may have been dissuaded from certain actions and expressions under threat of criminal punishment and decreasing social acceptability, but they learned to hide their true meanings under various guises: opposition to things like “communism,” “multiculturalism,” “cultural Marxism,” or “the New World Order.” The latest euphemism seems to be “Human Biodiversity.”
Translation: be on the lookout for the counter-revolutionary saboteurs who walk among us! They are chameleons, attempting to infiltrate our ranks with mealy-mouthed platitudes of comradeship, but those in no way conceal their bourgeoisie empiricism! Root them out! But worry not – McDurmon is an optimistic Marxist. Kolyma is not the fate of these wreckers. Instead, he wants them to confess to their transgressions and to comprehend the severe nature of their willful ignorance. In that way, they can become good anti-revisionists and a credit to the Struggle. And hey…if that doesn’t work out either, there’s always Kolyma.
Obviously, then, such magnanimity could hardly be classified as Stalinist. Nor could McDurmon’s entire stance regarding unlimited immigration, period. His vision is too important to be consigned to one small portion of the globe. The doctrine of socialism in one country is stifling and aberrant to the tenets of pure Marxism. Rather, an efficacious revolution must also be a worldwide one, and what better way to foment that than to actively promote the masses of the world to colonize the West? Bearing this in mind, the reconstructionist creed of McDurmon comes to strongly resemble the permanent revolution that acts as a central component of Trotskyism.
Of course, any Bolshevik worthy of the name recognizes that there are times when subterfuge is necessary, and it just wouldn’t do for McDurmon to appear at Gary DeMar’s house wearing a Che t-shirt. Thus, he not only must pretend to be a conservative, but must also maintain that the current strain of Trotskyism doesn’t even exist except in the minds of right-wing conspiracy nuts. Hence, his astonishing nullification of cultural Marxism, made extra-palatable by his obvious delight in his own powers of perception:
What Lind doesn’t tell you, however, is that there is no such thing as “Cultural Marxism,” because it is an oxymoron. Gary North, again, has written a detailed article on this, so I won’t retread that ground. The term is absolute nonsense to anyone who understands what Marxism is. The bottom line is that by continually harping about “cultural Marxism,” such conservatives only accomplish two things: 1) they announce themselves to the world as ignorant (which serves as confirmation to most of the world, which already thinks they’re ignorant), and 2) they tip their hand that they may be motivated by racial prejudices (which serves as confirmation to most of the world, which already thinks they’re racists).
This could have been (and probably was) ripped straight from the playbook of Bojidar Marinov, no stranger to ideological sleight-of-hand himself. The fact that Bo could not get appointed to the ministry of Stalinist Todor Zhivkov does not automatically make him the spokesman for Christian liberty. Not coincidentally, McDurmon sees fit to paste a link to this Lew-bashing piece from Bo within his article. Solidarity among socialist brethren! Music cue!
What constitutes true Marxism in McDurmon’s view, then? The aforementioned article by Gary North explains:
The heart, mind, and soul of orthodox Marxian socialism is this: the concept of economic determinism. Marx argued that socialism is historically inevitable because of the inevitable transformation of the mode of production. He argued that the mode of production is the substructure of society, and culture in general is the superstructure. He argued that people hold a particular view of society’s laws, ethics, and politics because of their commitment to a particular mode of production. The dominant mode of production in 1850 was capitalism. Marx named this mode of production. The name has stuck, even though original Marxism is culturally dead.
Marx gained support for his position precisely because it was purely economic/materialist. It abandoned all traces of historical explanation that were based on the idea that ideas are fundamental to the transformation of society. Marx believed that the deciding arena of class warfare is the mode of production, not the arena of ideas. He saw ideas as secondary outgrowths of the mode of production. His view was this: ideas do not have significant consequences. Take this idea out of Marxism, and it is no longer Marxism.
Hence, Marxism is nothing more than an impartial long-term experiment in pure rationalism, albeit with an erroneous presupposition, according to North. Nothing more. Golly, that’s likely to get the revolutionary ardour all a-bubble, isn’t it? Using such nonsensical semantic gymnastics, one could easily argue that pure Marxism has never been put into practice, as many Marxists indeed do. Who cares? The mutations that have sprung up in the ideal’s name have been ghastly enough. North’s cool, detached analysis might win polite applause from a London School of Economics symposium, but they’re hardly germane to the fight we face today.
So no, McDurmon is hardly an ‘orthodox’ Marxist. There were no Trotskyite aberrations within the Comintern. One cannot imagine Molotov lifting a toast in honour to Herbert Marcuse. That hardly matters. McDurmon’s insurrectionary credentials are still impeccable. His crusade against the dark forces of racism (which term, of course, was coined by his Jedi master ol’ Leon himself) has proven to be every bit as destructive to the institutions of the old Church as anything propagated by the original Bolsheviks, and Trotsky was an orthodox enough Marxist to still believe religion was a dangerous opiate to the masses. (“Religions are illogical primitive ignorance. There is nothing as ridiculous and tragic as a religious government.”) His refusal to recognize his softer, kinder ‘theonomy’ as cultural Marxism comports to the well-known tactic of communist parties and states to never refer to themselves as ‘communist’, but rather ‘socialist’. Tellingly, in North’s article, he maintains that cultural Marxists should more properly be described as ‘progressives’ or ‘socialists’. You gotta love it when the erudite trip over their own eloquence.
Don’t be fooled by McDurmon’s giddy defence of rampant capitalism, either. Contrary to popular belief, that has never disqualified anyone from being a Marxist. As believers in deterministic materialism, Marxists of all stripes are required only to maintain that the process of history from capitalism to chaos to proletarian dictatorship to ‘pure’ socialism (whatever that may mean) is a scientific and, hence, inevitable process. And contrary to North’s claims, Marx never said anything about what happens if a person becomes enamoured of any one step in this process, which is precisely what has happened with almost every single revolutionary at one point or another. McDurmon simply fell in love with the initial phase of the process, while most other Marxists grow fond of stages two or three. Perhaps a part of him even regrets, if ever so slightly, the change that absolutely must follow, but he’ll soldier on nonetheless, manfully puffing on his cigar to conceal the ever-so-slight tremor in his upper lip. Shoot, Karl Marx himself admired the benefits that capitalism had wrought, particularly in Britain. And Trotsky himself was not adverse to its allures: he once told the Judeo-Bolshevik oil mogul Armand Hammer, “Capital was really safer in Russia than anywhere else…no true Marxist would allow sentiment to interfere with business.”1
It might surprise McDurmon to realize that there is such a beast as libertarian Marxism, and the term fits him like a glove. As it derived from a mid-century breach with the Trotskyite Fourth International, it can be seen as an aberration of a Marxist aberration. The apple does not fall far from the tree, however. In the attached Wiki article, one of the high points of the LM movement occurred in Paris and Berlin in 1968, when devotees of the Jewish free love proponent Wilhelm Reich threw copies of his tome The Mass Psychology of Fascism at police. One can very easily see McDurmon resorting to such juvenile tactics, especially in light of his September 21st FB post: “In every case I know when a person literally threw a book, angry because of it, they ended up agreeing with it in the end.” He presumably believes this also applies when one is angry in solidarity with a book, as well.
American Vision, behold your king: an anarcho-Trotskyite with the faintest of Christian tendencies. Soooooo much unbelievable edge. Perhaps McDurmon fancies himself the Vaclav Havel of the Reformed world: one egghead standing up against the overwhelming monolith of statism and triumphing majestically in the end. Hey, I have no problem with that analogy either, considering that Havel was a playwright writing within the Dadaist genre of the Theatre of the Absurd…and Dadaism’s anti-fascist bent was heavily influenced by Trotskyism. Indeed, Andre Breton, the founder of Surrealism, would co-author a manifesto with Trotsky calling for complete and untrammeled freedom of expression in the arts. Give McDurmon license to haul all racists, sexists, and genderists before a star chamber, and no doubt he could find a way to get on board with this licentiousness as well.
User ‘gcdugas’ summed up the merit of McDurmon’s article perfectly in the comments section: ‘Hey Joel, is gangsta rap on a cultural par with Handel’s Messiah? If you don’t say “yes” you are a racist.’ Never cease in your heroic struggle against the Stalinist betrayers, Comrade Joel! Vashe zdorovye!
- Armand Hammer and Neil Lyndon, Hammer: Witness to History. Hodder & Stoughton, 1988, pg. 160 ↩