The objection to a Communist always resolves itself into the fact that he is not a gentleman. It is not possible to engage in controversy with him as one engages in controversy with other men. He invariably hits below the belt if he can; indeed, his resentment is not so much against the economic structure of society as against its decorums. These decorums are mainly very ancient, and some of them are found even among savages. But the Communist always violates them. H.L. Mencken
That's a passage from HLM's notebooks. I couldn't discern when it was written, but probably in the 1920s.
I get the impression that Communists in the 1920s were kind of like Libertarians today: not numerous enough to pose a serious threat to the political status quo, but numerous enough to get your attention and to annoy the hell out of you.
They definitely annoyed the hell out of Mencken.
Mencken's account of his quotidian interaction with these men is significant:
[H]is resentment is not so much against the economic structure of society as against its decorums. These decorums are mainly very ancient, and some of them are found even among savages. But the Communist always violates them
It's why everything to the gnostic Left is political. It's why ESPN can't simply talk about sports. It's why drag queens show up at story hour. It's why Hollywood slashed its own wrists with a woke razor.
The Gnostic Leftist: Everything Sucks
The Communist believes all of society (the "superstructure") emanates from the economic base (the "substructure"). Because America's economic base is still (more or less) capitalistic, everything in society is capitalistic. Put another way:
The economic system sucks, so everything else sucks.
It's that simple.
If everything sucks, then everything is beneath contempt, including traditions, decencies, customs, manners, and social norms, no matter how small or commonplace.
Mencken points out that most "decorums" are "very ancient." The Marxist disagrees: those decorums, says the Marxist, arose out of the capitalist system, which had come around about five hundred years earlier, when it replaced serfdom and the guild system.(1)
And now, since the capitalist phase is over, all such decorums are obsolete and, indeed, a hindrance to the worker movement and the Communist phase that is inevitably coming.
To the Communists in Mencken's era, the man who shakes hands is an enemy of the worker movement.
In the USSR, such a man became an enemy of the people.
Recall the joke among Gulag prisoners ("zeks"):
A veteran zek (Gulag inmate) asked a new zek how long his sentence is.
“Ten years,” the new zek said.
“What did you do?”
“Nothing,” replied the new zek.
“That’s impossible,” said the veteran. “For nothing, you only get eight years.”
But the zek probably didn't do nothing. He probably did something that, somehow, showed a vestige of the capitalist phase . . . and that made him an enemy of the proletariat.
If Everything Sucks, then Everything Can be Attacked: Everything becomes Political
Now you can see why you can't watch a football game without a woke commemoration, why every Hollywood production must contain gay characters, why drag queens need to be in kindergarten classes.
It's the gnostic Left taking the battle into the superstructure.
Everything in the superstructure (to wit, everything in society) is, to the gnostic Left, a symbol of capitalism (the evil structure) and, therefore, deserves no respect and cannot continue to exist. White people, heterosexuals, monogamy: all products of capitalism.
How do they know they're all products of capitalism?
Because capitalism has been the dominant economic phase for the past 500 or so years. Everything else that has been dominant is just a part of that phase.
White people have been dominant, so they suck.
Heterosexuals have been dominant, so they suck.
Monogamy has been dominant, so it sucks.
It's all part of the superstructure formed by the capitalist substructure.
Tear it down. The structure sucks.
Add a Little Postmodernism, and You Have a Great Recipe for Destruction
The above analysis isn't quite complete. Postmodernist criticism adds to it, but it's merely a tool of the Marxist.
The postmodernist, relying on the structuralist theories of de Saussure and Levi-Strauss, adds the concept of "binaries" to the mix and, without necessarily taking sides on the economic issue, says that the favored binaries ("white," "heterosexual," "married") are merely constructs of one's culture, with no substantive truth or validity.
The Marxist says, "Yeah, okay. And those constructs are part of an economic substructure, which produces that cultural superstructure, so all those favored poles of the binaries suck."
You ever wonder why the gnostic Left is fine with Islam, even though it subjugates women and throws homosexuals from rooftops?
It's because Islam is on the disfavored half of this binary:
Christianity ----- Islam.
Therefore, Islam is good. It's a natural ally of the homosexual, even if the Muslim would rather kill the homosexual than let him live peacefully next door.
Everything on the favored half of the binary is favored because of the outdated and increasingly corrupt and diseased economic substructure of capitalism. Therefore, everything on the favored half of the binary must be destroyed
Such is the worldview of the gnostic Leftist.
If you're on the favored half of the binary and you're siding with the gnostic Leftist, I'm afraid you're simply a fool that's asking to get kicked in the groin . . . or worse.
(1) "The prelude of the revolution that laid the foundation of the capitalistic mode of production was played in the last third of the fifteenth and the first decade of the sixteenth century." Capital, Chp. XXVII