At the end of the nineteenth and almost throughout the whole of the twentieth centuries, it was the working class that was adored by them. Everything was done for this class, through this class, for the sake of this class, in the name of this class. They all devoted their lives to the liberation of the working class, which was ruthlessly exploited by the capitalists (see cartoon by Robert Minor, right). Who were those working class liberators, those do-gooders? Sons and daughters of intellectuals (and intellectuals themselves), sons and daughters of civil servants, of the déclassé or landed gentry, and last but not least, sons and daughters of… capitalists. Although they themselves either never did menial jobs or did them but for a moment to “prove themselves”, and although they hardly ever mingled with the working class people, they idolised them nonetheless.
Truth be told, on closer acquaintance with the working class members, the intellectual do-gooders very soon grew deeply disappointed with them, with their way of life, jokes, likes and dislikes, mentality and customs, and as a result they secretly despised them. In the countries where the do-gooders eventually established their political systems – which were known by the name of socialist or communist countries – they had as little to do with the working class as possible, living in luxurious houses or separate city quarters.
Those days are long gone. In western developed countries, the working class turned a deaf ear to the clarion call of the leftist intellectuals, so the latter started looking about for a replacement. And, soon enough, they found it. They found it in the people of colour who, so the story goes, have always been and still are exploited, spurned, looked down on by racist whites. These are the new victims, these are the new idols. Now the white sons and daughters of another generation of white intellectuals and well-to-do white people have become ardent defenders of the rights of the people from the Third World.
It was their idol-cum-prophet, Karl Marx, who is reputed to have said that in history an event occurs first as a tragedy and then as a farce. His ardent disciples are now reenacting a farce: though advocating for the interests of the Third World arrivals, in reality they have nothing or very little to do with them. The aliens that they serve are merely products of their prolific imagination. On closer inspection, the do-gooders fear them, despise them, and certainly do not mingle with them. But continue to fight for the newcomers’ inalienable “rights”.
Do you remember those 18th century bored French aristocrats who were so fond of playing at poor shepherds and shepherdesses (pictured)? That’s precisely the pattern that keeps re-occurring.
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