The Green New Deal, ‘Catholic’ Marxists, and ‘Those Unwilling to Work’
If Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not exist, it would be necessary to invent her. What Richard Spencer does for the racist right, she does for the (much larger) socialist left. She leeches out hidden poisons and exposes them to the light. She’s a walking, talking, giggling, dancing reductio ad absurdum.
As you might already know, Rep. Cortez now pretends that the FAQ she proudly posted on her website and sent to National Public Radio was only a botched early draft. That’s why she took it down. Why her aides claimed it was a fraud when sane people started mocking it. So she won’t take responsibility for all the beans that it spilled. Would we buy that from a white male Republican congressman whose office posted a document calling for sterilizing members of some ethnic group? No, of course not. Isn’t it condescending and even … racist to hold Latina congresswomen to lower standards? As if Rep. Ocasio-Cortez had won not a real election, but some kind of participation trophy?
No, we should hold Cortez and every Democrat who backed the Green New Deal responsible for every last word that she published, and they endorsed. In campaign commercials in 2020, for instance. I look forward to ads that tote up the impact of:
- Killing off all the cows.
- Eliminating air travel.
- Criss-crossing the U.S. with bullet trains.
- Eliminating all fossil fuels and nuclear plants. And
- Renovating every building in the USA to make it “green” and energy efficient.
Won’t You Please Help the Undeserving Poor?
But my favorite plank in the Democrats’ new platform, to which we must hold them relentlessly, is this one. Keep in mind that this wording isn’t mine, but Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s. She promises to offer “economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work.”
That line provoked guffaws across the country. And a fun parody website you ought to check out. To me, it recalled a famous exchange from the movie My Fair Lady. In one scene, Eliza Doolittle’s layabout scoundrel father demands that Henry Higgins pay him fifty pounds as the sale price for Eliza. With refreshing candor, Alfred P. Doolittle admits why he needs the money. It’s not that he’s one of the “deserving poor.” No, quite the contrary. His situation is grimmer. As he explains:
I’m one of the undeserving poor, that’s what I am. Now think what that means to a man. It means that he’s up against middle-class morality for all of time. If there’s anything going, and I puts in for a bit of it, it’s always the same story: “you’re undeserving, so you can’t have it.”
But my needs is as great as the most deserving widows that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same ‘usband. I don’t need less than a deserving man, I need more! I don’t eat less ‘earty than ‘e does, and I drink, oh, a lot more. I’m playin’ straight with you. I ain’t pretendin’ to be deserving. No, I’m undeserving. And I mean to go on being undeserving. I like it and that’s the truth.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez should be applauded for being the first member of Congress to openly advocate this overlooked minority group. Every Democrat who acclaimed the Green New Deal should be reminded of what he endorsed, down to every last jot and tittle.
Catholic Marxist Slackers
When I read her appeal for the Undeserving Poor — at least once I’d checked and discovered it wasn’t a parody by some misanthrope like me — alarm bells went off in my head. I’d seen this idea championed once before. In the Tradinista Manifesto, a ransom note written by self-proclaimed Catholic revolutionaries — whom a number of so-called conservatives inexplicably treated with grave respect. Or did, at least, until we at The Stream relentlessly pounded its nonsense into the ground with a series of scathing responses — culminating with the last essay ever published by the late Michael Novak.
Then its website went down for more than a year. The movement apparently fell into the same Memory Hole as Ocasio-Cortez’s repudiated FAQ.
Here is the section in the Tradinista Manifesto (online again, hooray!) that promises to cheer for the Undeserving Poor:
The foundational relation of capitalist society is between those who are compelled to sell their labor-power on pain of destitution and those who, by their ownership of capital, are enabled to exploit the former. Since it is premised on workers’ lack of economic freedom, this structurally-unjust relation must be eliminated; and in doing so, the capitalist class – which serves its own ends, detrimental to the common good of society – will also be done away with.
Markets are not unjust in themselves, but they become vehicles of exploitation when people must sell their labor-power on the market in order to survive. So, while citizens should be free to engage in market exchange, the polity should ensure that no basic needs – food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, etc. – go unmet, guaranteeing a livelihood independent of the market.
I translated this out of garbled Marxoid Newspeak back in 2016:
In other words, It really sucks that we have to go out and get jobs serving other people’s needs — such as “fries with that” — instead of pursuing our hobbies and academic interests. Someone should change the government and redistribute other people’s wealth, so we don’t have to do that anymore.
A Zombie Ideology
Is it a mere coincidence that Ocasio-Cortez, who still fancies herself a Catholic, echoed the Tradinista call for people to get “food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, etc.” from the government? Even if they aren’t willing to “sell their labor power,” that is, to work?
In a piece on Liberation Theology, I noted that even as Marxism failed by every rational standard, some of its diehard partisans revived it by magical thinking. As Marxism became a joke in its own area of specialty — economics — they made a Voodoo syncretism of Catholicism and Communism. That got the zombie moving again. Likewise, the Green New Deal is so unhinged from any economic or political reality, we ought to see it as a religious document — a prophetic, Utopian call to free oneself from this fallen world, and live instead in a gnostic, end-times fantasy.
But I’ve a more direct piece of evidence. Check out this reply to a Tweet by Mickey Kaus:
The entire point of the “unwilling or unable to work” language in the FAQ was actually an intra-left sop from the JG crowd to the UBI folks to head of criticism by Matt Bruenig that JG is workfare. But both factions agree on universal welfare benefits so weird this blew up.
— Amanasleep (@ticketdust) February 11, 2019
You might not recognize the name “Matt Bruenig.” He’s a high-powered, far left blogger. His wife is self-styled “Catholic Marxist” Elizabeth Bruenig of The Washington Post.
In the real, fallen world we’re bound to observable facts, proven principles, and biblical injunctions. Such as this one from St. Paul: “Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” (2 Thess. 3:10)
The Bronies of Marx’s Magical Realm, Equestria
But in the magical realm, where Envy mounts Sloth to father Wrath, the rules are different. Marx promised that in his Utopia, no one would really have to work. The division of labor (which let us crawl out of the caves, and subdue the earth) will disappear. We will all be easy-going dilettantes, working or not, as it suits us.
Don’t take it from me. The dutiful Marxists at Marxists.org put it this way:
Their dream – the Communist Society – was a free association of completely free men, where no separation between ‘private and common interest’ existed: a society where ‘everyone could give himself a complete education in whatever domain he fancied’. For ‘man’s activity becomes an adverse force which subjugates him, instead of his being its master’ when there is ‘a division of labour’; everyone must then have a profession, that is a ‘determined, exclusive sphere of activity’ he has not chosen and in which ‘he is forced to remain if he does not want to lose his means of existence’. In their Communist Society, on the contrary, a man would be given ‘the possibility to do this today and that tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to go fishing in the afternoon, to do cattle breeding in the evening, to criticise after dinner’, as he chose (‘The German Ideology’, MEGA, 1/5).
A magical world, indeed. One conjured by intellectual sleight of hand into existence, then yanked off the Web when it wilts in the light of day. Take comfort, though! In the real world, when Marxists in power encounter a citizen who is “unwilling to work,” they label him as a “wrecker” and put a bullet in the back of his head.
They’re dreamers, but they’re not fools.