George Carlin – Bourgeois Reactionary

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I was recently asked what I thought of US comic George Carlin (1937-2008), and whether he was leftwing, a Marxist, Socialist or Communist, etc. In many ways, due to the refined climate of US anti-intellectualism, the many hours of recorded George Carlin material, certainly provides some sound-bites that on the surface would make him appear leftwing, but these utterances when taken in isolation, lack an over-all narrative context. In many ways, George Carlin reminds me of that other US intellectual (and academic) Howard Zinn (1922-2010), who was a confirmed ‘Trotskyite’. Trotskyism, of course, is a type of rightwing reactionary, pseudo-Socialism that fully co-operates with capitalism and all aspects of the Bourgeois State. Trotskyism has historically defined itself around a (false) agenda of sullying the reputation of Marxist-Leninism, and the history of the Soviet Union. Quite often Trotskyites make use of a limited (and misconstrued) Marxist critique of society, whilst not taking any real ‘Revolutionary’ action to empower the working class. George Carlin’s approach to social and cultural commentary in his act certainly has the feel of a Trotskyite paradigm in operation. His take on ‘class’ within a capitalist society is ‘flawed’ and ‘non-Marxist’. Carlin states that the ‘upper’ class earns the most money but pays the least tax (?), whilst the ‘middle’ class does all the work and pays most of the taxes (?). Finally, Carlin says the ‘poor’ (constituting the ‘lower’ class) keep the entire system ticking-over. This is nonsense. The ‘upper’ class is the ‘aristocracy’, which today is kept in a life of luxury through government hand-outs. The ‘middle’ class is the ‘bourgeoise’ that possesses all the political power, does very little work, pays the minimum of tax, but appropriates most of the money (which it steals from the working class). The lowest class is the working class, the members of which make-up the majority within any capitalist society, and who do all the work, pay the most taxes, and receive the lowest wages and the least share of political power. As the middle class owns the means of production, and has accumulated all the political, legal, social and cultural power within society, it ruthlessly exploits the workers – stealing their income, their health and their leisure time. George Carlin has nothing to say about this Marxist analysis of capitalist society and appears completely unaware of its existence. More to the point, in the video shared below, George Carlin is featured being openly ‘racist’ and expressing a typical rightwing narrative that Europe has been over-run with Muslims, and that as a consequence the ‘White race’ is finished because it cannot reproduce at the rate of the ‘uncaring’ Muslims, etc. All this diatribe is rightwing mythology that falsely presents the White race as being a victim of its own historical racism and criminality. I suspect that George Carlin felt very relaxed in this interview and forgot to ‘check’ his more rightwing viewpoints. In effect he deviated from his own script, which generally applies a broad leftist critique to US politics and culture. Like a Trotskyite – Carlin uses the idea that White America is ‘racist’, but when viewed in the light of his support for ‘Governor Bush’ after the 911 terrorist attacks in New York, and his inability to ‘see through’ the collective cultural hysteria of the moment, it is obvious that what George Carlin produced was merely an ‘act’. He was not a Marxist, he was not a Marxist-Leninist, he was not a Socialist, and he certainly was not a Communist. He may have been a Trotskyite utilising the usual ‘opportunism’ (or ‘entryism’) familiar with that mode of expression, but I suspect that he was a rightwing anarchist, acting in complete agreement with the historical bourgeois project of spreading a virulent ‘individualism’ around the world. The hidden motive behind his ‘humour’ and distinct brand of ‘intellectualism’ seems to be the continuous criticism of any form of ‘collectivity’, be it bourgeois or leftist. George Carlin was not a working class intellectual, but rather an intellectual in the service of the Bourgeois State.

3 comments

  1. He wasn’t a comrade, he was a cynic. He made a fortune commenting on the fucked up state of the world with no intention of improving it. He was a vulture, feasting on carcasses.
    Here’s an excerpt from the preface of his book, Brain Droppings:
    The decay and disintegration of this culture is astonishingly amusing if you are emotionally detached from it. I have always viewed it from a safe distance, knowing I don’t belong; it doesn’t include me, it never has. Now matter how you care to define it, I do not identify with the local group. Planet, species, race, nation, state, religion, party, union, club, association, neighborhood improvement committee; I have no interest in any of it. I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.
    So, if you read something in this book that sounds like advocacy of a particular political point of view, please reject the notion. My interest in “issues” is merely to point out how badly we’re doing, not to suggest a way we might do better. Don’t confuse me with those who cling to hope. I enjoy describing how things are, I have no interest how they “ought to be.” And I certainly have no interest in fixing them. I sincerely believe that if you think there’s a solution, you’re part of the problem. My motto: Fuck Hope!

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  2. Yeah, George Carlin was definitely not Right Wing, and I definitely see a lot of trotskyism in him, altho he could be a type of anarchist as well, since anarchy is not just one set of principles, there are many different types of anarchists, and i don’t think george carlin was all about individualism, as much as he was about personal freedoms that are connected to being an individual. He believed more in liberty than freedom to oppress others, so he definitely believed at least partially in community. He believed that no one had the right to oppress other people to express their own freedoms, and he was extremely against religion and government abusing citizens. he supported the working class and sexual and verbal liberty over corporations and rich assholes. he was from jersey, and went back to jersey in at least one special. I’m a social anarchist and i believe in most of what carlin says, the only thing i really dislike is the anti-voting sentiment. Some anarchists believe that, but not many. Most anarchists would believe in a true democracy, which means that everyone would be voting and no politicians.

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