Trotsky the professional and Stalin the craftsman
Faye is incorrect in this statement, but it’s a common position on the right—in short, the right is masculine and it projects what a man would do onto the left and so misunderstands what motivates the left. This sometimes leads the right to say “it’s torture, it’s deliberate, it’s to mock us”—but it isn’t so. To understand what is at hand, we need to consider the divide between Trotsky and Stalin—not the political divide but the divide in their work method, between the professional and the craftsman.
A professional is someone who can introspect and then generalise about their activity—the professional formulates a theory as regards his actions and then tests the theory in an empirical fashion; and that theory is then formulated into laws—the model is scientific. A craftsman works in an iterative fashion—he hammers a little there, examines the result, and perhaps hammers a little more (or not); rather than a “law” he creates a rule of thumb—a heuristic.
Craftsmen tend to the right because their method is particularistic—the rule of thumb or heuristic is not a generalisable law, hence it cannot be universal (a professional can be a professional in Bogotá or London, and may belong to the same professional association—which holds annual conferences in Las Vegas or Frankfurt); by contrast, the craftsman may never leave his town or village and is a member of a guild which is local to him and not international (it might be for that town only, not even the entire country).
The craftsman is often apprenticed to a master, whereas a professional receives a liberal education where they are not bound to a master but can remain “at liberty”, at university (universal). The craftsman is in a quasi-aristocratic and initiatory relationship, the professional is an individual who is not “bound” to his professor—the relationship is collegiate (college).
Further, the craftsman has an interest in quality—the quality Italian leather belt (etc), whereas the professional produces a mass product, as associated with techno-science; and he works to an ISO, an agreed international standard—his credential is recognised anywhere. Each master, by contrast, has his own way of working—although all work in the same idiom, there are considerable personal differences between each master and his product (yet a trained engineer in Rio should be the same as a trained engineer in Paris—interoperable, as the professional jargon says).
You can even see this today with YouTube streamers—to be a YouTube streamer is a craft, the streamer develops their channel through an iterative relationship with their audience. What is consumed is that channel’s quality, its soul—its particularity which cannot be faked by a professional media company (through focus groups and surveys to determine what a particular demographic wants).
Just as cobblers and carpenters were associated with populism and fascism in the 20th century, so too the YouTube streamer is a neo-populist; and that’s because he’s a craftsman. Meanwhile, the professional media tends to the left—because the professional is universal and democratic.
Trotsky was a professional, a professional intellectual. Stalin was a craftsman—his craft was bureaucratic manipulation. Hence Stalin was, in relative terms, to the right of Trotsky—and that was because he was not, even by his own admission, a theoretician. Stalin produced “theoretical works” in Marxism, but even he was bashful about these (rightly, his ideas were crude and unsophisticated)—he knew where his strength lay. He believed in Marxism, but he was more practical and realistic than Trotsky—and that’s why he was, in relative terms, to Trotsky’s right.
If Trotsky had taken power in the Soviet Union, the result would have been a massacre similar to Pol Pot’s Cambodia (where 1/3 of the population perished). Pol Pot was a theoretician like Trotsky, trained in France—home of “theory”—as a radio engineer. He was a total believer in Communism—as influenced by the French Revolution, more appropriate for his peasant society.
So, for Pol Pot, it was consistent (logical, universal) to kill people who wore glasses—people who wore glasses were intellectuals, intellectuals read books, people who read books are in an unequal relation to peasants, and peasants are good (hence those who wear glasses must die, for equality is good and the peasants are good—QED).
Trotsky thought like Pol Pot—he thought in theoretical terms. So he was the brains behind “War Communism”—a literal application of Communism during the Russian Civil War similar to Pol Pot’s “people who wear glasses must die” philosophy. So, for Trotsky, if the state needed some grain it just took it at bayonet point and redistributed it—raw, immediate equality. The policy was abandoned because it destroyed the Soviet state’s legitimacy and efficiency.
Pol Pot had no pressures, as existed within the Bolsheviks, to hold him back—so his state collapsed beneath him within years. The same would have happened with Trotsky if he had defeated Stalin and come to lead the USSR—he would have proceeded along “theoretical” lines until the USSR collapsed, possibly in the early 1930s (he was not as extreme as Pol Pot).
Stalin snookered Trotsky because he was a craftsman. He still believed in and implemented Marxist ideas, even when these weakened the state and imperilled his own rule (collectivisation), yet he was not a professional believer—he did not “profess” the faith—like Trotsky, so he knew when to let up (hence he died in his bed).
He also knew how to play people off against each other—because to manage people is a craft; or, in fact, an art—a fine art being a craft refined to the highest degree so that it is quality in its universal aspect. To govern a state is, in the final synthesis, an art—and the more “theory” that goes into state management, the more it will be run like “War Communism” or Pol Pot’s Cambodia.
So the ideal state is run on aristocratic lines (i.e. as a fine art, the aristocrat is more than a craftsman) where the only considerations are immediate practical ones, as if you adjusted the sails on a ship. The more a state is run on “theoretical” lines, the more it is to the left—because it is based on the false premise that you can run a human organisation like a scientific project, whereas statecraft is too complicated for that and requires instead “the human touch” from quality people who can respond to the nuances in reality.
To play “divide and rule” is what aristocrats do—as the English aristocrats did in India. You put Gurkhas over Indians, so that the two groups hate each other but not the English. That is state-craft, it’s Machiavellian—Stalin might consider a policy like that (though perhaps it is too Machiavellian for him).
The right tends to project onto the left—so it is assumed that when the left wants diversity quotas in, say, the military that it wants to play “divide and rule” (put a black officer over a white officer, the minority over the majority, so they’ll squabble with each other—the “real rulers” sit back and remain “innocent”).
In the same way, in the above quote, Faye thinks that Europe’s “diversity” is a clever US geostrategic manoeuvre to weaken Europe through Islamisation. This would be bad Machiavellianism, even if it were Machiavellianism in action (with US military bases scattered around Europe, why destroy it with an “Islamic invasion”?—she is neutralised as a threat already, even as an economic threat since you can manipulate her economy as you wish, because your armies are scattered about her).
Immigration happens like collectivisation—because decadent European elites believe in it, because they suffer from the narcissistic delusion that all people everywhere are the same; and professionals, who work in universal ISO standards and work with other professionals from many different races trained in the same way, come to believe everyone is like them or can be made to be like them.
Indeed, the “theoretical” thought mode excludes quality considerations in order to operate—since these are subjective and unmeasurable (think about how many apps are about quantification of your sleep, workouts etc). Hence the professional cannot see the problem—since the problem is detected via perception and intuition. If you show them French migrant youths in a riot, they’ll point to how this event has no statistical significance or how immigration aids GDP—for the professional, the “social fabric” does not exist (because it is not measurable). Hence Macron, “the great technocrat”, trained at Sciences Po, literally cannot see the problem.
The left is composed from professional believers, professional theoreticians. When the left puts forward a policy, like collectivisation or affirmative action, it believes that these actions will improve society—such actions are “scientific” and “rational”. (It’s obvious that peasant smallholdings should be folded into large farms with tractors and combine harvesters—it’s economies of scale, it’s the same as the American Great Plains; soon, Russia will be a breadbasket—it’s “so obvious”, why hold back progress?).
This is the theoretical delusion—the theoretical delusion in diversity being ideas like “with multiple perspectives on a problem, we’ll develop novel solutions” or “our organisation now speaks a range of languages, and that will make us more dynamic in today’s global economy”. These are not insincere or Machiavellian feints—these are thought to be rational and objective but happen to be believed with the same force as a moral doctrine.
That’s because, contrary to the professional illusion, you cannot think in a scientific way about human society—since there is no “control”, no replicable experiment (no “two Britains” I can run side by side with different policies), and also because societies involve values; and so the left expresses values through an “objective” professional and scientific idiom and loses sight of the fact that they have asserted values.
The problem is that contemporary leaders are not aristocratic enough, not Machiavellian enough. Stalin was a better leader than Trotsky because he was more realistic—if he had been totally realistic he wouldn’t have pursued collectivisation (it undermined his rule); yet he believed enough, was theoretician enough, to do that. Of course, a man who is totally non-theoretical and just deals with problems as and when such problems develop in an iterative way could never be a Marxist—which is, in the end, a grand theory.
“I’m a Cultural Theorist.” So that person is on the left. “I’m a YouTube streamer.” So that person is on the right—being a “cultural practitioner” who doesn’t sit in a library and attempt, from books, to work out “the laws of culture” but actually deals with the culture as is.
A parallel can be drawn to religion—pagan aristocratic religions focus on rites and rituals aimed to achieve specific ends, whereas Semitic democratic religions, like Islam and Christianity, present elaborate theories of salvation that must be believed by all with moral force (Christianity is a theory of salvation, just like Marxism is a theory of equality). “God has a plan for you”, “The Party has a Five-Year Plan”—versus “the crops look dicey, I’ll make a sacrifice” (practical, iterative, results-based).
And what do we have today instead of priests? Professionals. Under the Romans, the aristocrats also did priestly duties—under Christianity the priests became a separate power base; eventually, they founded universities to develop their theological theories—and, in the end, those universities produced the modern professional; and, today, about 1/3 of the population have degrees and believe themselves to be “young urban professionals” (priests). Of course, Jesus was a carpenter, a craftsman, who confronted the theoretical Pharisees—but his followers turned into hardened pros in the end (whores, in other words).
Indeed, the complaint against a man like Trump boils down to the fact he behaves in a non-professional way, he is too idiosyncratic and particular—and that might cause offence to other professionals at an international convention (you’ll never get interoperability if you carry on like that).
Final point: Stalin’s father was a shoemaker—so he came from a craftsman background. Trotsky, by contrast, came from a family of wealthy landowners and briefly attended university to study mathematics (totally theoretical—War Communism was nothing but logical, after all). The racial divide in this case is not relevant, except insofar as the Jews have high intelligence and so will end up as professionals more often than not—yet anyone who is “professional” is susceptible to this thought mode, itself tied up to techno-science (which is not reality—because it excludes quality).
So you’re saying craftsmen and aristocrats are stupid? I’m saying that intelligence is the ability to solve problems—quantified today as abstract problems, via IQ—but that life is not a problem to be solved but rather a mystery to be lived. Craftsmen and aristocrats live the mystery, professionals want to solve it.
Typical rightist cry down the decades, “It sounds good in theory, but does it work in practice?”. The professional has his theory, the craftsman has his experience—will you trust your experience or the theoretical abstraction from the priest-professional?