Wesley Yang and Christopher Rufo have each tried to make sense of what we Americans have undergone since about 2016, pulling all the different strands together in an attempt to understand them as a single “one.” Yang does this with his discussion of the “Successor Ideology.” Rufo—who has played an outsized individual role in current history—has contributed especially by laying bare what has really been going on in institution after institution of our country. I too have tried to make sense of this for myself. Recently, this led me to look again at the tragedy “Bacchae” of Socrates’ close friend, the poet Euripides.
“Bacchae,” Euripides’ last play, portrays the sudden death of a great city right before the noses of the gaping theatergoers. The means by which Thebes is razed may be unearthly, but at the same time these means somehow seem to be natural and man-created, and the audience leaves the theater super-alert for subtle warnings of anything similar.
As the play opens, the god Dionysus stands alone on the stage. He has come to Thebes in Greece from Phrygia and his other Asian possessions, in order to enforce his ecstatic worship in the city of his miraculous, bloody birth. Thebes has mocked his mother and refuses to recognize him as a god. He has come to teach Thebes, whether it likes it or not, that it still requires initiation into his Bacchic rites. (The reader is encouraged to read it for himself, as in Anne Carson’s new 85-page translation).
He has driven his disbelieving aunts insane along with the other women of Thebes. They have all run off to the mountains to worship him,
Sitting beneath pine trees
Staring at their own green hands.
Pentheus, the Theban king, sends men to arrest the women in the mountains, although they fail to find his mother Agave. Meanwhile, Dionysus himself has come to town disguised as a mortal, and Pentheus arrests him as well. After interviewing him scornfully, he tries to chain and imprison Dionysus, but the androgynous god and his female followers miraculously escape.
In the middle of a second hostile interrogation, Pentheus suddenly confesses his desire to hide in the hills and observe the women’s strange rites. He agrees to Dionysus’ suggestion that he should first disguise himself as a woman, and the god leads him out of town in drag.
Dionysus hides Pentheus high in a pine-tree, but then reveals him to the women, who uproot the tree with their bare hands. They dismember Pentheus limb from limb and tear off his flesh, imagining him to be a wild animal. His own mother Agave leads them on, and tearing off his head, carries it back to Thebes believing it the trophy head of a lion.
There Agave’s father Cadmus manages to bring her back to sanity and show her what she has done. But now Dionysus appears once more to the prostrate relatives, saying:
I am the god triumphant.
You squandered all your chance to worship me.
That was unwise.
The family is exiled. Cadmus will turn into a serpent, and his wife into a savage snake.
Agave says to her father:
It is decided, old man. Alas!
We go into exile. Into despair.
Why then delay?
In 2020, the year of America’s racial reckoning, our country was swept coast-to-coast by the biggest riots of our quarter-millennial history. Although these riots targeted oppression of blacks, most of the rioters seem to have been white. At the same time, reverse racism, or anti-white racism, moved out from university admissions to become institutionalized throughout the corporate world and then the Federal government. Meanwhile, by 2022, tens of thousands of small businesses had been destroyed by the riots and by Covid shutdowns, even as racial restrictions were placed in Covid relief programs.
As Yang writes, “The installation of these policies, and the sea-change in elite consensus that they enact, happened with little public deliberation or debate. Instead, we saw the policing of contrary views out of circulation, first by administrative authorities at universities, and later through broader campaigns to stigmatize the common moral intuitions of a supermajority of the American public.”
Meanwhile a new sexual revolution is converging on nationwide enforcement of the “polymorphous perverse” ideal of erstwhile New Left guru Herbert Marcuse of the CIA. It was Obama who first began to involve the Federal government, with his order that public schools must allow students to use the bathroom associated with their self-imagined “gender.” (At that time, the order died in the courts.) For Biden, the importance of this revolution outweighs the usual aims of government, as he proves with his highly-publicized “transsexual” appointments, and his willingness to weaken our military through “gender” policies even while he threatens Russia and China.
What does it say about our moral susceptibility when so many parents will acquiesce to chemical and even physical castration of their male children, or to removal of girls’ breasts—when these crimes are decreed by public schools and associated agencies?
And as killer narcotics and millions of foreign paupers are brought in by the drug cartels which control our southern borders, and as police departments are attacked and defunded, and prosecutors refuse to prosecute—the streets of our cities are being taken over by the mentally ill and drug-addicted homeless, as President Trump has recently pointed out.
Putting all this together, Yang writes, “What makes the ideological succession distinctive is the belief that the different matrices of oppression are unitary and must be resisted all at once—abolish prisons, police, standardized testing, the gender binary, whiteness, [and] nuclear families, conceived as a single project.”
He calls it an “inversion of the moral order—in which it is criminal justice rather than crime that is the greatest menace to communities afflicted by crime, and where it is the stable middle class family that is the true seedbed of the structural violence that menaces America…”
Indeed. This is “Operation Bacchae.” What was done to Thebes then, is being done to us. Can anyone doubt that this operation is destroying America just as thoroughly, and just as intentionally as if an enemy struck us with thermonuclear weapons?
“Immortal” Families of the Oligarchy
Who is doing it? Behind the activists are the foundations, the universities, and the NGOs and nonprofits. But NGOs and nonprofits are only pass-through agencies for the foundations, and our major universities are fronts for billion-dollar endowments, which are themselves just another sort of foundation.
But what are the foundations? They are the quasi-immortal embodiment of the ruling families of the oligarchy, as Lyndon LaRouche explained very fully in this 1992 address under the heading, “How Oligarchism Really Works.”
To themselves and their retainers, these families are like the Olympian gods.
Ever since we won our Revolution against them almost 250 years ago, these families of the London-centered financier oligarchy have sought an end to our nation. We had to defeat them a second time in our Civil War. During the Twentieth-Century Cold War against the Soviet Union, they reluctantly acquiesced to some degree of American scientific-industrial power to counterbalance the Soviets, but with the end of the Soviet empire around 1990, they set fully back to work dismantling the United States yet again. From that moment until President Trump took office, every new US policy was worse than the policies it replaced. Every successive administration pursued the disastrous course of monetarism, globalization, deregulation, and needless foreign wars which gutted out the country.
No sooner was President Trump first elected in 2016, than those families pulled the pin from that grenade and threw “Operation Bacchae” in among us. Not only to destroy President Trump, but the United States with him—to bury President Trump beneath the rubble of the United States. The reasoning is that if a USA as far-gone as we were in 2016, could still call forth the patriotic MAGA response that we have—then who knows what dangers we might pose to oligarchy in the future? Better to finish us off at once and forever.
Winning the fight to save the nation requires a clear understanding of the nature and intent of our adversary, which I have attempted to further here. Simple counterreactions to them have already been factored into their analysis of us. Just as they did not anticipate that 2016 could happen, so too have they failed to anticipate that patriots in these next two years will arm themselves with the principled ideas, creativity, and strategy by which to hold them accountable, while creating a future in which they play absolutely no role. That’s the challenge before us.