Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hope springs eternal

With both banks and markets the world over teetering on the verge of catastrophe, there are not a few souls who fear for the future, and most justly so.

But the financial crisis is not doom and gloom for everybody; the socialists are giddy with excitement, for just as orthodox Jews look for signs presaging the coming of the Messiah and as the Mahometans (the Shi’i at least) look for prodigies announcing the nearness of the Mahdi, so too the socialists are always on the lookout for signs that the fall of capitalism is nigh, a fall which according to marxist dogma must take place come what may, and which is always—just there!—on the horizon.

So grave is the current crisis threatening the global economy that the socialists are sure the promised fall is finally about to take place. Whereafter, of course, they shall step up and usher in the socialist order.

This poster (once again unfortunately cut off since the socialist A3 sheet was too large for my bourgeois scanner to cope with) has appeared on the university noticeboards of late. Just take a look at all those jolly fellows in the foreground. One is not quite sure what’s going on in the picture, but the man nearest the viewer with his hand on his forehead looks like a lost soul, so he may be a defeated and bankrupt capitalist. The others, however, do not look anywhere near as sad. These must be the victors. With a defiant mien, they have their fists raised in the air—a gesture which identifies a socialist as clearly as a funny handshake identifies a freemason.

Melancholicus thinks they are dreaming if they believe the current economic turbulence will yield a socialist paradise, where orthodox marxism reigns supreme, but imagine for the sake of argument what would happen if they actually got their way. After the orgy of bloodletting, imprisonments and deportations that must always take place wherever socialists seize complete control, we would be left with a dreary world dominated by a tyrannical and super-intrusive state, a lifeless society devoid of mutual love or trust, or the incentive to do anything of any real value, a world in which anyone’s personal initiative in whatever field would most likely land him in a concentration camp, if he were lucky enough to avoid being shot. At its kindest, such a future might be like East Germany as portrayed in Das Leben der Anderen; in its less gentle incarnations it might more resemble Oceania in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Such a situation could not prevail in the Islamic world, however, for Melancholicus does not believe that the socialists’ cherished revolution would have even the remotest possibility of succeeding in areas dominated by a resurgent and self-confident militant Islam. In his more bloody-minded moments, Melancholicus would like to see the socialists and the Mahometan go head-to-head. Who would win? Melancholicus is of the view that the Mahometan would wipe the floor with the skins of the socialists, but given the leftist facility for causing death on a scale never matched by any other power (even the Third Reich), perhaps the outcome of our hypothetical fight may not be as predictable as at first sight.

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