Why Must I Be a Marxist to Be an Artist?

Column by Alex R. Knight III.

Exclusive to STR

Have you ever taken notice of the fact that almost the entire artistic community – and I don’t mean just Hollywood culture here, but also the literary world, the music industry, the visual arts – seem to have a kind of unspoken agreement amongst themselves that in order to be one of the “in” crowd, in order to be accepted into the fold and be considered worthy of both admiration and success, your politics and overall philosophical sensibilities must be those of a quasi-Marxist?

Of course, the very first predictable reaction to that from a member of the general public is that I’m simply bitching about my own (so far) lack of financial success as a writer – I’m not earning the same multi-million dollar figures as Stephen King, replete with foreign-language rights and major movie deals, therefore I’m just a bitter mud-slinger, out to cast blame on everyone but myself for my lack of mass appeal, because of my advocacy of what is considered a fringe belief system, unlike the Leftists Who Live Large.

First off, I understand that Voluntaryism is, for this part of time, at least, still a mostly unknown and not very well understood philosophy. I also recognize that – while none of them are or ever were, to the best of my knowledge, Voluntaryists – there exist exceptions to this axiom. People like Mel Gibson and the late Tom Clancy come to mind. Then there’s “tax-defier” Wesley Snipes.

But this still doesn’t account for the overall observable bias, nor, more importantly, its basis. Why are so many creative people, especially those who at least pay lip service to individualism – and many of whom have become wildly affluent plying their craft -- of such a socialistic, collectivist bent?

One possibility that immediately comes to mind is that people with significant creative talents tend to be deeper feeling, and more empathetic than those whose sensibilities are more scientific, technical, or mathematical. While there are undoubtedly exceptions to this paradigm, I would be willing to bet that unbiased psychological studies bear this out. Here, however, we immediately run into a major disconnect: How can such supposedly empathetic concern for others translate into the advocacy of raw government force inherent to all Marxist philosophy? How is it that such people can apparently reconcile (or outright ignore) the violence of the State in order to allegedly provide assurance of “compassion” . . . when all the empirical evidence shows this mindset up as a farce? Don’t they see the hypocrisy, and the paradox? Or, again, do they simply choose to ignore it?

This part may have no easy, readily identifiable answer. Other than that perhaps once groupthink gets started, once it’s considered culturally necessary to reflect the attitudes of the fold, as it were, in order to achieve and maintain social acceptance, it’s just much easier to go along to get along. Easier to not ruffle too many feathers in order to ensure that next record or book contract, that next starring movie role, that next Grammy award or Oscar. Keep the boat steady instead of rocking it, stay part of the clique, and you’ll keep getting invited to all the key dinner parties, you’ll stay in strong with all the right people, those connections will get tighter, and the money will keep flowing. Indeed, I remember the late, great Don Galloway telling me that Hollywood virtually ran on nepotism. It was one of the reasons, in fact, that he got out of the acting business after so many years. He was a libertarian, too, of course.

Right around the time that Don got involved in acting – first in New York, later in California – was the changing of the guard. The 1960s saw the end of the older McCarthyistic Hollywood, with its communist witch-hunts, but that fearful and paranoid mentality was simply replaced with something equally as insidious. A legion of ideologically frozen pseudo-socialists, mired in the tar pits of a bygone era when young hippies, anti-war protests, and civil rights marches changed the landscape. While much of that was both noble and productive, an insulated culture that refuses to admit its grossest failures – all the while growing fat from what remains of the very socioeconomic construct it seeks to at least hobble, if not eradicate outright, namely capitalism – is not only flagrant hypocrisy, but also total moral and intellectual dishonesty . . . and all in the name of maintaining some kind of false hipster social facade. I can think of little that I find more disgusting.

Other than, perhaps, lowering myself to become a part of it.

If I am to succeed, I’ll do so without sucking up to a phony culture based on discredited economic theories and an obscenely distorted concept of charity, thanks so much just the same. We’re in the 21st Century now. Technology has made writers like myself much more independent, freer. And better things still are on the near horizon.

I can’t wait to get there.

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Alex R. Knight III's picture
Columns on STR: 136

Alex R. Knight III is the author of numerous horror, science-fiction, and fantasy tales.  He has also written and published poetry, non-fiction articles, reviews, and essays for a variety of venues.  He currently lives and writes in rural southern Vermont where he holds a B.A. in Literature & Writing from Union Institute & University.  Alex's Amazon page can be found here, and his work may also be found at both Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.  His Facebook page can be found here.  Receive Alex's occasional Tweets here.

Comments

Paul's picture

Alex, you are giving the people in question far too much credit. Some of them may well have a lot of talent for acting, painting, etc. It does not follow that they understand economics, any more than (for example) a garbage man might. And then some of them may actually have a brain, but be lacking in experience. Hollywood after all has little to do with the real world.

Glock27's picture

Reflected mostly by the inane comments the make in public. Few Hollywood personages like John Voigt, as oppose to those who keep their mouths shut. How is it possible that we can sit idly by while the House Boy prepares for the mass destruction of Israel and our Nation. The house boy is not stupid, he knows exactly what he is doing. Although engaging government is not a perfered activity of STR members, I find it behooving that the engagement occur if for not other reason that to keep the nuclear bomb out of Iran's hands. There is an art to this, and the art of the skillful voices here could be influential and possibly advance the cause of ,in the least , of beginning to bring light the a possible shrinkage of government. I may be off center about this, but I do hope you see what I am trying to get at!

Glock27's picture

Reflected mostly by the inane comments the make in public. Few Hollywood personages like John Voigt, as oppose to those who keep their mouths shut. How is it possible that we can sit idly by while the House Boy prepares for the mass destruction of Israel and our Nation. The house boy is not stupid, he knows exactly what he is doing. Although engaging government is not a perfered activity of STR members, I find it behooving that the engagement occur if for not other reason that to keep the nuclear bomb out of Iran's hands. There is an art to this, and the art of the skillful voices here could be influential and possibly advance the cause of ,in the least , of beginning to bring light the a possible shrinkage of government. I may be off center about this, but I do hope you see what I am trying to get at!

Glock27's picture

Reflected mostly by the inane comments the make in public. Few Hollywood personages like John Voigt, as oppose to those who keep their mouths shut. How is it possible that we can sit idly by while the House Boy prepares for the mass destruction of Israel and our Nation. The house boy is not stupid, he knows exactly what he is doing. Although engaging government is not a perfered activity of STR members, I find it behooving that the engagement occur if for not other reason that to keep the nuclear bomb out of Iran's hands. There is an art to this, and the art of the skillful voices here could be influential and possibly advance the cause of ,in the least , of beginning to bring light the a possible shrinkage of government. I may be off center about this, but I do hope you see what I am trying to get at!

Glock27's picture

Reflected mostly by the inane comments the make in public. Few Hollywood personages like John Voigt, as oppose to those who keep their mouths shut. How is it possible that we can sit idly by while the House Boy prepares for the mass destruction of Israel and our Nation. The house boy is not stupid, he knows exactly what he is doing. Although engaging government is not a perfered activity of STR members, I find it behooving that the engagement occur if for not other reason that to keep the nuclear bomb out of Iran's hands. There is an art to this, and the art of the skillful voices here could be influential and possibly advance the cause of ,in the least , of beginning to bring light the a possible shrinkage of government. I may be off center about this, but I do hope you see what I am trying to get at!

Glock27's picture

Reflected mostly by the inane comments the make in public. Few Hollywood personages like John Voigt, as oppose to those who keep their mouths shut. How is it possible that we can sit idly by while the House Boy prepares for the mass destruction of Israel and our Nation. The house boy is not stupid, he knows exactly what he is doing. Although engaging government is not a perfered activity of STR members, I find it behooving that the engagement occur if for not other reason that to keep the nuclear bomb out of Iran's hands. There is an art to this, and the art of the skillful voices here could be influential and possibly advance the cause of ,in the least , of beginning to bring light the a possible shrinkage of government. I may be off center about this, but I do hope you see what I am trying to get at!

Glock27's picture

Reflected mostly by the inane comments the make in public. Few Hollywood personages like John Voigt, as oppose to those who keep their mouths shut. How is it possible that we can sit idly by while the House Boy prepares for the mass destruction of Israel and our Nation. The house boy is not stupid, he knows exactly what he is doing. Although engaging government is not a perfered activity of STR members, I find it behooving that the engagement occur if for not other reason that to keep the nuclear bomb out of Iran's hands. There is an art to this, and the art of the skillful voices here could be influential and possibly advance the cause of ,in the least , of beginning to bring light the a possible shrinkage of government. I may be off center about this, but I do hope you see what I am trying to get at!

Glock27's picture

Reflected mostly by the inane comments the make in public. Few Hollywood personages like John Voigt, as oppose to those who keep their mouths shut. How is it possible that we can sit idly by while the House Boy prepares for the mass destruction of Israel and our Nation. The house boy is not stupid, he knows exactly what he is doing. Although engaging government is not a perfered activity of STR members, I find it behooving that the engagement occur if for not other reason that to keep the nuclear bomb out of Iran's hands. There is an art to this, and the art of the skillful voices here could be influential and possibly advance the cause of ,in the least , of beginning to bring light the a possible shrinkage of government. I may be off center about this, but I do hope you see what I am trying to get at!

Glock27's picture

Reflected mostly by the inane comments the make in public. Few Hollywood personages like John Voigt, as oppose to those who keep their mouths shut. How is it possible that we can sit idly by while the House Boy prepares for the mass destruction of Israel and our Nation. The house boy is not stupid, he knows exactly what he is doing. Although engaging government is not a perfered activity of STR members, I find it behooving that the engagement occur if for not other reason that to keep the nuclear bomb out of Iran's hands. There is an art to this, and the art of the skillful voices here could be influential and possibly advance the cause of ,in the least , of beginning to bring light the a possible shrinkage of government. I may be off center about this, but I do hope you see what I am trying to get at!

Glock27's picture

Reflected mostly by the inane comments the make in public. Few Hollywood personages like John Voigt, as oppose to those who keep their mouths shut. How is it possible that we can sit idly by while the House Boy prepares for the mass destruction of Israel and our Nation. The house boy is not stupid, he knows exactly what he is doing. Although engaging government is not a perfered activity of STR members, I find it behooving that the engagement occur if for not other reason that to keep the nuclear bomb out of Iran's hands. There is an art to this, and the art of the skillful voices here could be influential and possibly advance the cause of ,in the least , of beginning to bring light the a possible shrinkage of government. I may be off center about this, but I do hope you see what I am trying to get at!

Alex R. Knight III's picture

Point well-taken, Paul.  But you would think, after wielding that kind of wealth for any measureable amount of time, they might learn a thing or two, even if by no other means than sheer osmosis.  It appears that many of them understand how to turn their talents into lucrative enterprises, and keep the money-magnet pulling wealth their way, without ever examining the further dynamics of it all.  It almost seems to defy possibility -- that they could remain that philosophically sheltered, yet it appears to be the most common outcome.

Samarami's picture

To become "prominent" one must gravitate to collectivism. Individualism is the absence of prominence. I think.

I've perused many "libertarian" and "anarchist" (quotes intentional) writers. Many write exceedingly good stuff. For collectivist-leaning readers. Many have a "plan-for-freedom" (voluntarism is one example -- why would one find the need to plant an "ism" in the middle of doing and thinking voluntarily?).

I stumbled upon one writer rather by accident. I read the only major essay I could find that he wrote before he up and died. It received no acclamation. Certainly not among the "libertarian community" it didn't. And won't.

I skimmed parts of his article, laid it down; picked it up later, read more, then laid it down (in disgust). I couldn't "just leave it lie", so I tried again to read it to completion. I even went so far as to go through it and "correct" grammar, sentence structure, syntax, etc. Later concluded his was the best phraseology -- he knew what he was saying. I think Marc Stevens went through the same process.

England had knocked me over the head with my own icons. And that's why his article had initially rubbed me the wrong way. It was dead on. It challenged me to become free -- not just talk about being free (or whine about not being free).

His name was Delmar England. The essay, "Insanity As the Social Norm". Don't try to read it. You won't like it. Trust me.

Per Bylund knew the man. He told me in an email that England's family had preserved other of his writings, and were going to try to have some or all published. I've seen nothing of that. I suspect that I never will.

I googled "Delmar England". Came up with only obscure stuff. No actual biography. I don't know whether he was a PhD or a high school dropout. It really does not matter. What matters is what he wrote.

The market for freedom is not good, my friends. Few want to really be free, I perceive. Many want to make a buck or two trying to show you how to be free. But only a remnant have a desire to be genuinely free.

I suspect.

Sam

Paul's picture

No Sam, I don't buy it. Freedom is very popular, and seems to be getting even more so. The problem is not that people do not desire it, but that they are inconsistent, and don't understand the implications of freedom.

Example: taxes. I've never met anybody who really wanted to pay more taxes; clearly anybody who *claimed* to be that way does not need to lobby for it. He just needs to write a check. What really is going on is that everybody wants lower taxes, but at the same time (most) people want OTHERS to pay higher taxes. See what I mean? Inconsistent.

Alex R. Knight III's picture

I don't know, Paul:  Within very recent memory there was press coverage about a cadre of well-to-do Vermont residents who openly begged the governor, Pete Shumlin, to charge them higher taxes.  Which, indeed, as your statement suggests, begs the question, why not just send a check?
 
But they didn't do that.  They seemed to only want to pay once there was a gun to their head.
 
It's a total whipped-dog mentality, and I really don't know how to explain it.  It goes further -- much further -- than just collectivist (essentially Marxist) ideology.

Paul's picture

I suppose there are different ways to take it. Yes, it looks somewhat like whipped dog, but I think it's actually something different going on.

In scenario A, they write a check. That means they pay, but nobody else does.
In scenario B, they pay higher taxes, and so does everybody else.

What is the difference between these two scenarios? Not in what they do, but in what everybody else is forced to do. The reason they select scenario B is because they want everybody else to pay. That's what they are really looking for. If they wanted only themselves to pay, they'd pick scenario A, which is much easier because it requires no lobbying or advocacy.

In other words, they are lying.

As support for my view, I'd like to remind you WHO it is who makes such claims. In every case I could figure out, it was activists. For example, teachers looking to pass a levy so they will get a raise.

That's not to say that it is impossible to find a whipped dog here or there who mindlessly repeats such propaganda. But I think that's relatively unimportant. If you hear anyone who makes such a claim, it's a pretty sure bet he is looking for a payoff somewhere.

Samarami's picture

Payoff is the key.

Why am I here on STR? What is my "payoff"? Am I attempting to proselytize my point of view? If so, why?

Those are questions I have to ask myself frequently. Of course I'm old, retired for the most part, and have time on my hands. I can engage in web communication. Interchanging with individuals who are more-or-less in tune with my points of view is less discomforting than participating with, say neo-con or their nemesis, liberal forums. I've done both, and decided it's fruitless to pull out what few hairs I have left trying to turn people around who have no intention of being "informed" (keeping in mind my belly-button thesis: what I have is information, what you have could be bullshit). Mama taught me to avoid pissin' matches with skunks.

Facebook and those venues seem to be seed-beds for mainly ignorant one-liner insults.

A huge plurality of the hoi polloi seem addicted to an "activist mentality". Only a small percentage being actual activists, the larger percentage being followers and activist enthusiasts. But your phrase "...in what everybody else is forced to do..." points to the crux.

If you are a true anarchist (or libertarian -- I've yet to see a clear definition of the difference) your main attitude will obviously be to NOT force others into or out of anything that is not directly detrimental to you and/or those you love. But try putting that into text and on the market. You might elicit a crumb or two from well-to-do anarchists in the form of a "donation", but that's about it.

Unless you're a Rand or a Ron Paul, of course --and know how to conduct a "moneybomb".

But keep in mind the Paulians push for political action -- force. There is no "good" political action.

Sam

Glock27's picture

Paul. I as a teacher (now retired with 35 years of teaching in special education) why shouldn't I get a raise. People in private business and corporate business get raises and I have no doubt that during your career you received raised? Oh! It comes from collected locally school tax. That's the reason. As a special educator I had shit thrown at me (not taught in college classes how to dodge shit), pissed at, stabbed with pencils and other sharp objects, attacked by more than one student at a time in the classroom, had false charges filed against me regarding various allegations. Having to deal with this exactly why should I not receive some form of compensation. I am retired now and I draw only 42% of my last 5 years of gross income, 42%. Despite this I contributed 3% of my gross income into a Member Investment Plan to help out, HA! A lot of good that has done with the House Boy destroying the nation.
It seems teachers catch all the flack in every state, but no one pays any attention to the principal's, administrators and superintendents whos incomes zoom, zoom ahead of that of teachers. Where do you suppose they get their income? Some superintendents make enough to support hiring 4 new teachers, 6 janators, 5 secretarial staff. Sometimes I think specific groups are selected out as an example without looking at the whole picture of individuals involved in the collective of payement. When teachers negotiate a contract, who do you think gives in and gives the increase presented at the barganing table. Its the administration. they agree to the terms. Why? It puts them in a position to gain a higher income for themselves and so on.
Now, at the board meetings the Superintendent presents the fact that they have reached the best possible agreement and the board, filled with civilian members who don't get the facts and they just vote. They trust the Superintendent they hired. Ha!
Blast me Paul. I want to understand exactly why I as a teacher should not receive a pay increase? Why should I stay at one pay level for all my years? Does not the STR philosophy permit barganing for a fair compensation for my product/skill. Whether one individual agrees to the wage presented or not is up to the individual. Now a board is a collective of people trying their best to understand all the complications of the issue of which they are not fully capable of. Communities need schools because not everyone can home school given our current world economic crisis. If we eliminate Public Education, then the illiteracy rate will increace more than it currently is given to poor performance of public schools, but who is at fault here? Certainly not the community, but the government.
Ahrg! Show me where I am wrong. If Sam reads this I would be very happy to hear his words as well!!

Glock27's picture

Sam: Political action is good! For Some. Especially those who have the ultimate need for power. I watched the debates, the first one. It seemed as if it were a circus to me, but I still want to build a great wall across all faces of our boarders based on the murder rates ocuring in Sanction Cities, the drunk illegal immigrant, the raping illegal immigrant, and all other illegal immigrants. I have not achieved the Brownian ideology you passed on to me. The ideologies expressed here are never going to work and never will work because those in power are not going to permit it to work. Anyway, an open boarder only invites massive crime wave upon the ignorant, unwashed masses, and I really don't desire to see that slaughter begin to happen. We have had one slaughter years back and in some stupid manner as this American Federal Egoistical, Self-aggrandizing, greedy bastards have done is to restrict and eliminate more and more of the freedoms we once possessed.
I love you Sam. You are a brilliant mind and your words carry weight. But if it is only here, what is your payout, self-satisfaction with a collection of like minded persons.
My body is wearing out, but I keep hammeing at the assholes in washington, futility, for self satisfaction of at least giving them my piece of mind. I once said, if I can accomplish causing one Senator staff, or Representative Staff to see the light then I have changed one person, and he might go out and change one person. I fight for my gun rights, I fight for my border protection. I want a great wall of China here and booby traps placed underground to blow up every illegal trying to flood this nation with murders, rapists, robbers, drugs, whores, and etc. We ourselves are in a messy situation now with youth rotting their brains on you tube, facebook, twitter and etc. Rudeness grows at leaps and bounds as well as American illiteracy. stupidity flows out of Hollywood, and off T,V, sets, replacing moral and ethical conduct with vile, despicable conduct. Nearly all youth want you to give them everything they desire and have no work ethic.
Whats your pay out. Attention here.
Guess I will catch a flaming for this?!