“Walking Dead” and the rest of television and movie entertainment shows that the left still have not learned the lessons of the the colony the Mayflower founded.
In the “Walking Dead” the world is overrun by zombies – and the remaining humans are either brutal raiders and exploiters, or living in communes where people work together to produce food and so on for the common good. There is no large scale private ownership of anything and no large scale private employment – and it is NOT really because the zombie plague had destroyed the world, it is because the entertainment industry people (and the education system) hate large scale private ownership of the means of production and hate large scale private employment. The moral ideal of both the education system and the media (especially the entertainment media) is the caring-sharing community where everyone loves each other and works for the common good.
This view of humanity is not confined to the “Walking Dead” – it is basically the view offered in all popular entertainment. Either people are working together in little communal “communities” or they are being exploited by evil “capitalists” (“Big Business” – boo-hiss). To the left (i.e. the education system and the media – especially the entertainment media) a “capitalist” is not someone who invests and thus helps produce goods and services, a capitalist is a vicious sadist (such as Negan in “Walking Dead” or a million other “exploiter” examples in literature, television, film and school “history” books) who “exploits” people partly for loot (taking the “product of their labour” – Labour Theory of Value) and partly simply out of sadism, cruelty – the desire to inflict suffering for the pleasure of inflicting suffering.
To the left, the education system and media, a company is a “psychopath” because businessmen seek to maximise profits, and profit (in the minds of the education system and the media) means loot, the exploitation of the workers and consumers. That many media companies are, well, companies does not change this – even many high ranking business executives subscribe to the world view that business is evil as they have never been taught any other world view. Even if they went to a private school and university they were, mostly likely, taught that private property is evil (“selfish”) and that the highest good is a caring-sharing local commune – as we see in “Walking Dead” and a thousand other shows. In their own business dealings they are often indeed very treacherous and seek to cheat both employees and customers – as they have been taught that is what “capitalists” are like, and like the late Robert Maxwell they regard their own immoral conduct as proof that “capitalism” is evil. The obsessive, and dishonest, greed of many on “Wall Street” and their leftist politics are not in contradiction – they are mutually reinforcing.
Even science fiction shows such as “Star Trek” (and the spin off shows) show a group of people working for the common good under wise leadership (enlightened leaders, such as Rousseau’s “Lawgiver”, being good – businessmen are evil). Technology and complexity do not make private ownership and trade more necessary (as they do in the real world) – they make private enterprise (and money) unnecessary. All needs are catered for by the magic machines of the “Federation” and economic problems (in the words of Captain Picard of “Star Trek: New Generation”) “no longer exist”. The dream of Harvard, Yale and Princeton (Woodrow Wilson) is achieved – “greedy capitalists” are exposed as useless, indeed evil. Even physically repulsive – see “the Ferengi”.
It is not just Karl Marx. After all Rousseau did not need Karl Marx or “What Is Wrong With Kansas?” to tell him that private employment is evil – working for someone else is slavery (it is like being the victim of Negan and his “Saviours”), and communalism is good. For when someone is working for the collective they are “free” as they are part of the collective. The left refuse to see that a private employer (say Jon Huntsman senior of Huntsman Chemical) is nothing like Negan – that the private employer is NOT a slave master. To the left rich and poor (employer and employees) have opposed long term interests – and if poor people (such as me) deny this, it is because we are either lying “henchmen of the Kulaks”, or because we are suffering from “false consciousness” (what Rousseau called “the will of all” – rather than the true “General Will), leading us to “vote against our interests” and so on.
Nor did the Frankfurt School first bring this view to America in the 1930s – although they did massively magnify the collectivist ideas that were already present. As one can trace back this dream of the caring-sharing community (where everyone knows, and loves, each other – and all work for the common good) right back to the Mayflower and the Plymouth colony in 1620 – and to dreams of communal life in both religious and secular thought going all the way back to Plato (and, no doubt, before Plato).
The Mayflower “Pilgrims” tried to establish a communal way of life in the New World – it failed utterly leading to starvation. And Governor Bradford was forced to allow private property (especially in land) and private trade and employment – a market economy. The town of Plymouth was saved – and Plymouth Massachusetts was saved, and exists to this day.
This is, of course, not what American children are taught – they are taught that the town was saved by caring-sharing “Native Americans” (members of a local Indian tribe – shown as a caring-sharing group) who shared their food with the “Pilgrims”. Nor is this an solely Protestant vision – there has always been a faction in Roman Catholic thought also that goes from “fair” wages and prices (“fair” to be decided by “the community” NOT by supply and demand) to full communalism, see the monastic movement, or rather to those thinkers who thought that society at large could be “organised” on a caring-sharing basis. Many Jewish thinkers also fell into this form of thought (this throw back to the hunter gatherer pack that the late F.A. Hayek taught that civilisation evolved OUT of) – hence the high prestige awarded to communal living at the start of modern Israel, although never more than 5% of Jews choose to live this way, and these communes now reject such things as bringing up children in common. In real life the way of life of Plato’s Guardians (such as communal bringing up of children) does not work – not economically, and not morally either.
Liberalism? It is not true that American students are just taught collectivist thinkers such as (openly or second or third hand) the opinions of Rousseau and Karl Marx. The are also taught “liberalism” – but it is the liberalism of Thomas Paine and J.S. Mill and their modern day followers.
Large scale private landownership is evil (according to this view) – to be got rid of gradually by taxation (“Tom” Paine and then the Westminster Review crowd of Mr Mill and his associates, thought of this long before Henry George did). Lots of nice things (education, healthcare, old age provision…. )should be paid for by the collective, and for “humanity to progress” as Mr Mill put it (“progress” to what – the savage hunter-gatherer pack of the old stone age?) large scale private capitalists should be replaced by caring-sharing cooperatives – much like the good communities in the “Walking Dead”.
So whether American (and other Western) students follow Marxism or “liberalism” they arrive in much the same place – “capitalists” are evil (even the capitalists themselves are taught this), and the caring-sharing community is the ideal. Even if they become executives of large business enterprises this is the only moral vision they have been taught. Which may explain why even people who create large scale business enterprises (such as Microsoft, or Facebook) feel morally directed to donate money and support to the leftist, collectivist caring-sharing, political cause. They can only, partly, justify their wealth by supporting the political enemies of private wealth – George Soros is just an extreme example of something that is (in milder forms) rather common.
Where does it all lead?
It leads, eventually, to the “Walking Dead” – but not really to the caring-sharing communities. It leads to the herds of zombies (but with human cunning) eating the people they come upon. The dream of Heaven on Earth always, in the end, leads to Hell on Earth.
Can it be defeated? Yes I think it can – but not just by pointing out that it does not work in practice. It must be defeated in the realm of moral objectives. And that can only be done in relation to the education system (schools and universities) and the media – especially the entertainment media. A different moral vision, one that supports large scale private property and rejects material equality, must be presented and defended. And not just on “practical” grounds – on moral grounds, as a moral principle.