A couple years ago, I read an absurd blog post by Nathan Robinson, who is inexplicably considered one of the brightest young stars in the leftist firmament, in which he argued that the solution to the notorious material deprivation under communism was simply to…share goods more widely under the new “luxurious leftism.” No, really:
Consider this a call, then, for a truly luxurious leftism. One that does not deprive itself of the good things in life, but which shares them abundantly with all. When we say let them eat cake, we are serious: there must be cake, it must be good cake, and it must be had by all. The reason Marie Antoinette needed beheading was not that she wished cake on the poor, but that she never actually gave them any.
Indeed, ’tis a wonder no one ever thought of that before. At any rate, it was easy enough to sigh, roll eyes, and move on. Now, it seems the New York Times sees even dumber versions of that same idea as fit to print:
We can see the contours of something new, a society as distinct from our own as that of the 20th century from feudalism, or urban civilization from the life of the hunter-gatherer. It builds on technologies whose development has been accelerating for decades and that only now are set to undermine the key features of what we had previously taken for granted as the natural order of things.
To grasp it, however, will require a new politics. One where technological change serves people, not profit. Where the pursuit of tangible policies — rapid decarbonization, full automation and socialized care — are preferred to present fantasies. This politics, which is utopian in horizon and everyday in application, has a name: Fully Automated Luxury Communism.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
It’s impressive that all one has to do is place the word “luxury” in front of “communism” to be given a respectful hearing. I look forward to the Times likewise granting op-ed space to someone promoting a new book on “humanitarian fascism.” I mean, what are you having trouble with? It says “humanitarian” right there in the name! Why are you so hung up on the past? Real fascism has never been tried.
Nothing makes one feel more conservative than the realization that there is no such thing as an idea too stupid or destructive to be resurrected by people who should know better but refuse to.