Lenin continues in the same vein as Nietzsche, that is, by reducing analysis to the very point where he has cut away all flesh and finds himself scratching at the bone. An analysis looking only at the most basic prerequisite for existence. An analysis that deals with raw power and nothing else.
We start with the observation that the progressive politician will always have an agenda that is different from the regular citizen. Basically, the political class has an interest in expanding its powers and making it difficult for outsiders to threaten their privileges. Ordinary citizens, on the other hand, are simply interested in having their country governed evenly so that they can mind their jobs and raise their families in relatively safe and ordinary societies. If it were up to them, politicians would simply make sure that basic law and order were in place, that public institutions were reliable, and that the public finances were largely balanced.
However, if the citizens were to get their wish, this would make the politician’s job the dullest in the world. It would also render politics a risky career path, as politicians would often be voted out of office when they did do what the ordinary citizen wanted them to do. It would be a throwback to societies like 18th century England, where being a politician was not a career path so much as it was simply a kind of public trust; a service one does for his society and which is primarily handled by those who already live a financially-secure existence.
In order to secure the office of politician as a viable way of life, and to extend their powers, it is therefore necessary for the political class to undertake an attack on the core of a society, namely the ordinary citizens — that is to say, those snuffy people who quietly mind their work and just want to lead a life in tune with traditional values. This is where Leninism comes in. In the period after the Russian Revolution, it was necessary to find allies for the new political class that could support the new Soviet regime in their efforts against ordinary, conservatively minded citizens — commonplace people who would rather have opted out of the collectivization of property rights and the political class’ wish to transform them into the new altruistic Soviet human being. In doing so, they found new allies by taking homosexuals, atheists, and poor people of foreign ethnicity and propping them up with political power, ordained by the system. In other words, people who hitherto had nothing, and who had stood outside the sphere of bourgeois acceptance, became the allies of the political class in the newly created political order. Not only did the political class thereby ensure unprecedented loyalty from their new henchmen; they also succeeded in offending the traditional sensibilities of the regular people.
Today, Liberals and Conservatives often talk about which societal groups are net tax beneficiaries and which groups are net tax burden bearers in the grand redistributive scheme that goes on in modern economies. This is an interesting question but, as we know, Lenin was pretty economically illiterate. Thus, the most important take-away of this analysis is not economic; it is cultural.
If we assume that there is still a core of traditionally-minded people with petty bourgeois values in modern societies, the minds of these people must be constantly cowed by the political class to prevent them from setting up the political system in accordance with what they want and not what the political class wants. Thus, political patronage must be continually offered to groups that instinctively violate the sensibilities of the common people. In the past these groups were homosexuals, atheists, and poor people of foreign ethnicities. Today, these same groups could be transsexuals, who aggressively demand to be addressed with obscure pronouns, artists who do not produce art normal people find pleasing, and people of foreign ethnicities who refuse to integrate into Western societies. The political class needs loyal supporters and these marginalized groups would have nothing without the patronage of the political class. In this way, the different peripheral groups of society have an interest in banding together and exercising structural violence against the core of society, that is, normal, traditional, petty bourgeois-minded people.
One can, of course, say that the core also exercises violence against the peripheries by not voting for politicians with great progressive visions, not buying or respecting the art of postmodern artists, and by discriminating against transsexuals and members of ethnic minorities. However, like the question of who are the net tax beneficiaries and who are net tax burden bearers in the great taxation and redistribution scheme of modern societies, we know how the core suppresses the peripheries, because we’ve all heard that analysis a million times. It is therefore far more interesting to look at how the peripheries also suppress the middle.
Some of the most interesting writings on the middle works when the political class is relatively weak, and can be found in David Hume’s analysis of the bourgeois virtues, a view that is also referenced and explored from different angles in professor Deirdre McCloskey’s book The Bourgeois Virtues. The bourgeois morality is initially skeptical and discriminatory against the new and unknown, but as time passes more and more of what originally stood outside of bourgeois morality will be accepted by ordinary people as they interact with peripheral groups and discover that the outsiders were not as bad as they thought. Thus, gays and atheists are almost completely integrated into modern societies while, however, the image is more mixed with regard to ethnic minorities.
As said, the purpose of extending patronage to marginalized groups is to create loyal henchmen for the progressive political class on the one hand, and to the cow the sensibilities of petty bourgeois people on the other. Viewed through this lens, it is interesting to note that progressives tend disown their allies as soon as these groups begin to be accepted by the petty bourgeois. For example, progressive voices have recently distanced themselves from white male homosexuals, saying that they no longer belong in the left’s alliance. As well, they openly supported discrimination against East Asian immigrants who excel in the educational system. I’ll put links to this in the video description below. This may initially seem hypocritical, but viewed through the lens of Leninism, the cause is obvious. When such groups begin to be accepted by the core of society, their loyalty to the political class is no longer guaranteed, nor can these peripheral groups be used to offend the sensitivities of traditionally-minded people. Leninism thus explains the rationale behind the American essayist Larry Auster’s first law: The worse a minority group behaves, the more valuable it will be for the progressive; conversely, the better it behaves, the less value it will have for progressives.
But why is it necessary to cow the sensitivity of normal people?, one might ask. It is a good tactic because it proclaims to ordinary people that the political domain is not theirs; that they should stay out of it. When a majority of the traditionally-minded people are frightened to speak their minds — fearing to be branded as racists who don’t like foreign people, hillbillies who are not sophisticated enough for modern art, or transphobes — this is a sign that progressives know that they are dominating the cultural narrative in society. The petty bourgeois must be afraid to say and think that modern art is unaesthetic, that certain ethnic minorities behave problematically, and that there are only two genders. They must be made to follow the orthodoxy that the political class has set before them.
This orthodoxy may not be in accordance with truth, but that just makes it even more valuable. If you are familiar with domination tactics, you will know that a good way to bully people is to make them repeat one’s nonsense. Anyone can believe in the truth, but boundless loyalty and submission will only be obtained when someone accepts the untruths you want them to. “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength,” as they say in 1984.
Thus, cowed in this way, ordinary people have internalized the judgment that their natural sentiments are loathsome and that their wishes for society are illegitimate. Intimidated and dominated, they take on the message that it is safer for them not to speak up; to simply mind their jobs and families while leaving political power, control of their tax money, and dominance over the narrative to the progressive political class. Some may even have internalized this attack against them to the point where they are no longer able to access their true emotions for fear of being called out as racists, transphobes, and the like. They have thus unwillingly become agents in their own oppression.