Thursday, 4 June 2020

Critical Theory - the Unlikely Conservatism

If "critical theory" is to be a useful and good thing, it needs to punch up, not down. This is a crux of social justice thinking. Most critical theorists would not dispute this.

So when "white fragility" being displayed by your average nobody on social media or "incels" - men who can't get laid come in for criticism from "progressives" while Wall Street, corporate lobbyists, the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and the State Department are ignored, one really has to wonder. Just whose side are they on?

Incels and the all lives matter types are (for the most part) marginalized and deeply insecure. If they had access to education, good jobs or connections within institutions, they'd be secure and have intimate partner relationships, wouldn't they? Or at least they'd be much more likely to.

Unlike feminists and BLM types, they have no advocates in the political sphere or the popular culture. This isn't to say life is a picnic for women and ethnic minorities as a whole either, and I don't often agree with reactionary world views, but understand that more white males than women and people of color believe reactionary things because they have no critical theory of their own and can't access media and academic resources. The SJWs can, and they're not too interested in helping out their down and out white male counterparts. They have "privilege", remember? And then they act surprised when poor white men become tea baggers and Trump supporters.

It's bad enough when conservatives tap into the resentments of otherwise ignored and marginalized segments of the dispossessed white male underclass to farm them for votes only to ignore them once in power. It's that much worse when the so called progressives exploit critical theory to essentially the same ends vis-a-vis those women and people of color who've lucked out and gotten into the middle class - use them to elect "liberal" democrats on woke social issues who otherwise march to the beat of the big donors and corporate lobbyists once in office. The progressives should know better.

When the concept of privilege is used to scapegoat a voiceless segment of the population, something has gone terribly wrong. They've made a Faustian bargain with big media and big academia: ignore the real issues plaguing minority underclasses (because with some exceptions they're the same issues that plague poor whites and poor men) and instead demonize the poor white man, and the professional "activist" class will remain comfortably ensconced. As an additional kicker, this serves to drive poor white men to embrace conservatism. The right won't help them in any significant material sense, but will at least put up a pretense of representing them in the cultural sphere. The woke power structure can then hold up white male reactionaries as evidence of how truly deplorable they are.

The wokies in media, academia, state and corporate bureaucracies got theirs, and they're pulling the ladder up behind them. They're the postmodern equivalent to the aristocracies of labor who got gold plated contracts for themselves, so screw everyone else. That's no way to a just, socialist society. Sooner or later, they get co-opted by the people with real power, and betrayed and dispensed with when they're no longer useful.

This is one of my major gripes with the social justice warrior types. They punch down. Imagine if they used their clout in academia and the media to push for meaningful reforms in police training and procedure, for universal health care, for a revitalization of the trade unions, for getting money out of politics, for major infrastructure reinvestment, for a new new deal, a sovereign wealth fund, a guaranteed income ... imagine how much better the lives of the marginalized would be?

Imagine how many black lives could be saved? Black lives matter, don't they? I say they do, and I think the SJWs need to start taking that a bit more seriously. White/male fragility, incels, microagressions and people posting all lives matter on social media aren't the instruments of oppression in America. Capital controlling the levers of government is.

But then, were the 21st century "social justice" crowd were to start saying that, they'd lose their privileged access to academia and mass media. So their actions stand to reason, don't they?

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Wednesday, 3 June 2020

To Riot or Not to Riot

According to a 2015 article in the Intelligencer: A New Study Shows Riots Make America Conservative, author Johnathan Chait suggests that, well, riots make America more conservative. Five years on, it's not exactly a new study.

Who Voted for This?
But that's part of the broader problem, isn't it? This could have been written yesterday, or in 1973, and it would ring just as true. That the antics of the weathermen and the days of rage in the late 1960s contributed to Nixon's 1972 defeat of the liberal Hubert Humphrey is generally accepted and in line with common knowledge. I have a distinct feeling, and we can treat this as a prediction if we'd like, that the 2020 Democratic Party Convention will be a repeat of its 1968 counterpart, assuming it's not cancelled due to Covid 19.

Today, Trump supporters hype violent groups like Antifa or the more unruly segments of Black Lives Matter as evidence of the nihilism that they claim, rightly or wrongly, underlies spikes in left wing activism. While I hate to admit it, they're not entirely wrong. People have many good reasons for not liking rioting and looting. Among other reasons for being leary of the ongoing rampages on American streets today are the deaths of David Dorn, David McAtee, David Patrick Underwood and Chris Beaty. All of whom were black. Did their lives matter?

If the right can ride this conservative shift into power, we'll see nothing change as regards the underlying causes of unrest on the left. Conservatives do what they've always done: entrench corporate power under the auspices of protecting liberty and "American" values and traditions. Nixon did it. Reagan did it. Both Bushes did it. Trump is doing it. George W. Bush can "step into the right side of history" and condemn George Floyd's death and call for change all he wants. He had eight years as president to fix this. When he had the power to do it, he did absolutely nothing to aid the plight of poor and minority communities and in fact did much to exacerbate them.

Conservative governments cracking down, as Trump has vowed to do, bring to mind the oft quoted  definition of insanity. If militarizing law enforcement was going to fix this, I think it would have by now. It's basic common sense that if militarized cops with a "warrior" mentality who view the citizenry as the enemy end up killing citizens, as the evidence suggests they'll do in greater numbers, then we can expect more riots and looting, not less.

And then, of course, more conservative governments leads to more crack downs, more erosion of civil liberties and a more adversarial relationship between the people and the state. If that's the tack we take, don't come crying to me the day self styled revolutionaries burn your neighborhood to the ground.

Conservatism is all about breaking down the relationship between the citizen and the state. Conservatives profess a deep distrust of the state, which is sustained by taxation, a form of transaction they view as innately corrupt. Government is the problem, not the solution, right? Well, witnessing police violence one can certainly sympathize, in principle. Conservatives, at least in theory, emphasize tradition and organic relationships among people, and don't believe that the relationship between the citizen and the state can be positive.

Except when it can be. With enough money, the correct donors and lobbyists can expect first class service from otherwise maligned big government. Electorates swinging right in response to leftist rioting is rooted in the belief that conservatives truly cherish social stability and rule of law. This is a belief that we should all know by now to be misguided, at least among prominent movers and shakers in US conservatism.

Stripped of all pretense, the conservative establishment in America cares about entrenching the power of wealth. Slashing taxes and deregulating finance and industry. Simple as that. At best, they'll take such steps as are necessary to protect the homes of the rich and powerful from the impact of rioting. If you're working and middle class, well, you're on your own. Conservatives have always been quite explicit about this in other contexts. Why would they change their spots now?

Once people wake up to the fact that conservatism in America is all about enriching the already most wealthy and nothing else, they turn to the liberals. The Democrats. The so called progressives, am I right?

Bill Clinton carried on the most reactionary elements of the Reagan-Bush years and in fact doubled down on them, enacting the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act in a vain attempt to reach to the center and gain the approval of conservatives. Who still branded him a radical leftist and crushed him in the 1994 midterms.

One would expect that America's first black president, Barack Obama and his black female Attorney General Loretta Lynch would have taken the issue seriously? As the 2010s progressed, more and more African Americans ascended to Mayorships and Chiefdoms over major police departments across the country. Surely they would have gotten a handle on things? Right?

If I hear you laughing, know that I laugh with you.

Between 2013 and 2019 - an even split between the time of liberal democrat Barack Obama and conservative republican Donald Trump, 7,666 people in the U.S have been slain by police. Not all of them black, of course. And I'm sure some of these were non preventable and legitimate acts of self defense on behalf of law enforcement personnel. But still, that's a damn high number, and it suggests to me a very deep problem in the American body politic.

A problem we're not voting our way out of. At least not now, as things stand.

Which brings us back to the rioting. Sure, it's bad. But it's got us talking seriously about this, hasn't it? We're hearing, in drips and drabs, about concrete measures that can, and in some cases have, been taken to actually deal with this issue. It's complicated, and good results won't be immediate even if the broadest suite of proposals were implemented immediately. It goes beyond even reform of the police, into a complete reappraisal of the role of the state in America and its relationship with its citizens.

While rioters and looters are hard to sympathize with, I'd suggest that political leadership in America can deal effectively and proactively with its social problems if less rioting is what they'd like to see. Perhaps a political system that's open, transparent and genuinely democratic instead of simply a tool of the rich elites to maintain control would be a good place to start. At the very least, can we not wait until our cities are burning down before we actually start addressing serious problems?

Getting such leadership and such a system requires that we citizens will have to grasp the fact that the complacency we've become accustomed to over the last few decades won't cut it any more. Politicians won't just do their jobs the way we're all expected to and do the right things for the nation the way we're expected to do our jobs correctly. Keep thinking that you can just go to and from your job and otherwise shut off, and sooner or later the riot will be on your doorstep. The political class needs ongoing pushing and pressure.

Voting conservative and hoping that normalcy, law and order will thus prevail would now be a case of doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting different results.

I believe there's a word for that.

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Monday, 1 June 2020

The Smash-Grab is What America is All About

The year 2020 seems to be a reckoning. But a reckoning for what? A whole lot of chickens are coming home to roost.

Looking at scenes of rioting and looting playing out across America following the murder of black man George Floyd at the hands of rogue police officer Derek Chauvin, it's easy to think that while anger and protest are justified, rioting and looting are stupid and misguided. Easy and correct, of course. Opportunistic criminals, who are by differing accounts white supremacists, anarchist agitators or even the cops themselves using the social unrest as a pretext for stoking people into rampaging mobs warrant our condemnation just as much as rogue and murdering police officers do.

Yet the sight of mobs breaking into stores, tipping over shelves of merchandise and making off with whatever they can get their hands prompts a deeper, more troubling question. That being: who are you to condemn this, America? This is what you're all about.

I distinctly recall the halcyon days of the neoliberal euphoria back in the mid 1990s. Soviet communism had fallen, Chinese communism was embracing the free market with vigor and social democracy and new deal liberalism were in distinct retreat across the western world. What was the mood of the nation then? Survival of the fittest, take what you can get and every man for himself was not playing out in the streets amidst burning buildings in those days. Rather, it was the ethos being praised in the editorial pages of virtually every major media outlet across the western world, and the policy being taken by governments and universally cheered by their electorates.

Ain't that America - Something to See
No need to ask what would become of the losers in this then newly made culture of the hustle. As John Mellencamp suggested (possibly ironically) in his Reagan era hit Pink Houses, they ain't no big deal. We didn't need no namby pamby social safety nets and regulatory protections such as the Glass-Steagall act. Get ready to compete on the free market like a real man, and if you lost that was your own fault and your defeat was to the betterment of society as a whole. The glorification of the smash-grab did not begin with blue checkmark twitter after Floyd's ugly demise, but in the board rooms of the corporations who owned the media back in that seemingly more innocent time.

We've all seen the results of this by now.

Following the market crash of 2008, the store whose windows was being smashed was the federal government - that same government who had no business in the provision of social welfare to its citizens - and the looters were those corporate outfits deemed too big to fail.

Since then, social media has revealed in real time the real effects that this social darwinism 2.0 has had in the real world. Communities torn apart and ravaged by corporate maleficence and government apathy. Manufacturers gone in search of lower wages and worse working conditions, infrastructure neglected in favor of tax cutting and expenditure on foreign warfare, low wage service jobs in big box retailers with no connection to the communities they locate in. Hopelessness, drug addiction, suicide, wholesale relationship and social breakdown and anti social behaviors abound and prison populations have swollen. Statistically significant portions of the population have zero prospects at things like a half decent job or a relationship with a significant other, things once thought the hallmark of the American dream. Social dysfunction that could once have been dismissed as being isolated to ghettos of poor and discriminated against minorities - itself a travesty - has now crept into demographics once thought the stable middle class.

And now, a major pandemic has hit the world compelling many states to go into lock down mode, restricting people's economic and social activities. This has led to depression levels of unemployment and increased pressure on social welfare and health care systems. Which in America have either been gutted or exist only for private profit.

Suffice it to say, people are mad as hell about it.

So where is the political left in all of this? Surely a radical socialist movement could easily capitalize on all of this. Surely there is enormous potential to put huge pressures on big business and big government of a kind not seen since the 1930s? Yet even here, the malignant selfishness that has swept the nation in recent decades has firmly taken hold.

Most so called progressive activism has about it the same kind of take-what-you-can-get ethos we've come to expect everywhere. Most radicals have had the good fortune to come from the social strata privileged enough to be radicalized in the nation's colleges and universities. As you might expect, what they've received is an indoctrination into a radical egocentrism. I only care about my race, my gender, my sexual orientation and I don't have to reason with or have any kind of real dialogue with anybody because of my exalted marginalized status. While they raise some legitimate issues, can we really expect social justice from these so called social justice warriors who have no real comprehensive vision of what a just and fair society might look like, and invest their activist vigor instead into a toxic call-out cancel culture?

If anything, the so called left of today - a today with more class consciousness among the majority than ever before - is the one and only thing keeping the reactionaries going. When the moral bankruptcy of the neoliberal smash-grab has been rendered obvious for all to see, the far right winger can still point to the anarchist rioters and proclaim, "here is your political left! Here are your socialists! Is this what you want?

The answer is obvious. Yet I find these anarchist rioters strangely difficult to fully condemn, despite the obvious harm they're doing. I think it was Peter Gowan, in a May 28, 2020 article in Jacobin Magazine who perhaps put it best:
If you care about looting, turn your eyes to the militaries, the police, the pharmaceutical companies, the private equity ghouls, the landlords, the real estate speculators, and the billionaires. And demand that a world once looted from the vast majority be now returned to them.
Rioters and looters should not be given a free pass, of course, and too many people in the Jacobin crowd would seem to do this. They destroy the neighborhoods of the very poor minorities that the protesters are championing. But I would ask: just who is the rest of the western world and America especially to condemn them? The looters are just doing what they've been told to by the society they live in, after all. Turn a crisis into an opportunity and take what you can get. Their methods are simply the methods that people without the capital or opportunity necessary to riot and loot legally on the trading floors of Wall Street must then turn to.

Little Grey Jail Cells for You and Me
Sorry to have to tell you this John Mellencamp, but the losers ARE a big deal. The people warning us to that effect were also no big deal back in the 1980s and 90s because surely we were all going to get rich and prosper in the dawning free market utopia taking shape back then. Perhaps they'll be a big deal now that our cities are burning to the ground due to deep and systemic injustices and antisocial political elements that our media and educational system created, and a pandemic ravaging our population that could have been much more easily contained by a viable national health care system.

I guess the smash-grab, I guess survival of the fittest and every man for himself weren't such good ideas after all. Who'd ever have guessed.

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Sunday, 26 April 2020

Nazis: To Punch or Not to Punch?

So here are some questions for you to ponder, to pass time while in social isolation:
Tired of sharing the planet with Nazis? Thinking about punching one? I hope you will ultimately come to understand how completely disgusting "punch a Nazi" is. Here are some questions for you to consider: 
1) What happens when you "punch a Nazi" and his views and behavior somehow remain unchanged. Do you hit him again? If that doesn't work, do you use a baseball bat? 
2) Suppose you are recorded "punching a Nazi". Can he use that footage as a recruitment tool, to energize his followers and elicit sympathy from outsiders? 
3) Do you have a special, extra sneaky, tactic you use when punching a Nazi carrying a concealed firearm? If "punching a Nazi" becomes even a little bit common, you can be sure "Nazis" won't leave the house without a gun. 
4) If this tactic works, however it is that you define "works", why stop with Nazis? Why on Earth wouldn't you punch pedophiles and rapists? Murderers? Those Westboro Baptist Church folks? 
If he can do it ...
Suppose you have some idiot going about in a Nazi uniform, displaying the swastika, heiling Hitler etc, and said idiot ends up getting clocked in the face by someone, perhaps of Jewish descent or some other European ethnicity that really took a beating in WW2? Well, I'm not going to be terribly sympathetic towards said idiot. Play stupid games ...

My grandparent's generation didn't punch Nazis. They shot, bombed and shelled them. This didn't cause bloody noses, this killed or maimed them. Hell, among my fondest childhood memories was me as a young whipper-snapper asking my grandfather how he'd injured an obviously mangled and deformed finger of his. While it turned out he'd done it in the rollers of one of those old fashioned washing machines when he himself was just a kid, he so loved to tell myself and my young cousins how he'd been injured taking on Hitler's chief aid while storming the bunker at the tail end of the war. Either myself or one of my cousins would be listening to this wide eyed while our aunts, uncles and parents were in the background laughing their asses off. Yes, my grandfather did serve and good for him, but not with quite that much distinction, sadly.

It didn't occur to anyone at the time to question the ethics of punching Nazis.

We usually don't when Veteran's Day or its equivalent among the other allied nations rolls around. While I think WW2 in the west can be overly valorized and romanticized at times, the poor bloody Nazis aren't a big concern of mine. They lost, they lost hard and for that I'm glad.

Of course, that was a state of war. Things were different then.


A better question is how we define "Nazi" and how and when is political violence justified?

I recall when Antifa and allies rioted on Berkeley campus in protest against Milo Yiannopolous giving a talk there. A man, keep in mind, who was flamboyantly homosexual and allegedly married to a black man. Things that would have gotten you a one way ticket to Dachau in the Third Reich. And also a man with whom I'd disagree on many things, has done some things on social media I think were, to put it mildly, uncalled for, and who I would not regard as a political ally in any sense, except perhaps in our shared belief in free expression.

Yet that antifa riot was a public relations disaster for the cause of anti-fascism and for the left in America more generally. For all that Milo's political opponents rightly call him a troll, they couldn't have exemplified better how not to fall for a troll's bait. I think he even called himself a provocateur. How could antifa and the left at Berkeley have been so stupid?

That's just one example. There are others - punching Richard Spencer, assaults on Andy Ngo and so on. Doubtless Spencer and Ngo's assailants felt quite pleased with themselves. Almost makes you wonder who they really did it for?

Look, I don't doubt there's a time when fighting fascists with violence is called for. Hell, history makes a pretty damn convincing case after all. But doing so is a question of timing, strategy and context. Organizing an Antifa type group to fight back against skinheads who are attacking minorities and leftists is one thing. Perfectly reasonable. We called the groups S.H.A.R.Ps - Skinheads against racial prejudice - in my time. Was involved with a few tense standoffs with racist skinheads myself back then, though I lacked the close cropped haircut that gave the Sharps their names.

But suppressing public discussion of crucial issues like immigration by means of violence or at least intimidation under the aegis of being anti-racist or anti-fascist is quite another thing all together. This we must condemn in no uncertain terms.

And there's no excuse for slandering as Nazis men and women who simply are not Nazis. Period. Disagree with Sargon of Akkad or Jordan Peterson all you want, my fellow leftists. That doesn't make them Nazis. There's plenty to disagree with conservatives and libertarians on too. But those disagreements are better settled through the presentation of better ideas rather than fisticuffs. We have no business promoting the use of force as a first measure in the settling of political disputes. Keep in mind that the mainstream left of that time was also wrapped up in concerns over "toxic masculinity." That kind of punch first, ask questions later mentality completely undermines the anti-macho posturing of the social media era mainstream left.

People are right to take exception to antifa taking it upon themselves to deplatform not merely actual fascists and racists, but even more mainstream conservatives. Those who say that this makes antifa the "real fascists" are mistaken - fascism is much more complicated than that. But fascism also isn't the only form of ideological authoritarianism either, and antifa all too often comes across as being the other kind of totalitarian barbarism that soaked the 20th century in blood. They don't exactly try to hide it either. Hammer and sickle symbols abound in their protests.

Fascism and Nazism must, of course be resisted, and occasionally this must be done with force. Were I younger, in better shape and knew how to fight, I'd join an antifa action if it was being carried out against people actually brandishing swastikas, S.S insignia and so on. On the other hand, I just might line up against them if they were trying to shut down someone whose worst offense was daring to criticize feminist dogmatism or open door immigration or the like. But the use of force mustn't be something to glamorize. It must be but one part of a much larger overall strategy.

The most important means of doing so is to recognize what helped give rise to fascism. Widespread discontent and disillusionment with both the mainstream powers that be as well as with the leftist opposition was crucial to the success of Hitler, Mussolini, et al. Thus both the mainstream and the left of our day should consider how they might be failing the working classes if they so fear the possibility of a fascist uprising.

It's crucial to study what real existing fascism was. The right is very fond of reminding the center and the left of the failures of socialism and communism. We should do the same with fascism. It simply failed. Fascists placed great value on the manly art of war, but when bang came to crunch it wasn't the western allies and the Soviets signing surrender papers in May of 1945. Thirteen years of German Nazism and 21 years of Italian Fascism (23 years if you count the rump Italian Social Republic of '43 to '45) resulted in devastated nations and populations. Motivated by ideology, they began wars that they ultimately could not win, and Nazi/fascist ideology drove some of the worst military blunders made by the European Axis powers during the war. Ask your young tough guy who might be giving some thought to fascism just how cool he thinks that is?

As Jello Biafra, former lead singer of the leftist punk rock band the Dead Kennedys and one of my earliest political role models once sang: "You still think swastikas look cool, the real Nazis run your schools. They're coaches, businessmen and cops. In a real fourth reich you'd be the first to go!"

Indeed. The stormtrooper thugs - the Sturmabteilung, or S.A brown shirts were purged early on in the Third Reich, and replaced by the much more militarily professional blackshirted Schutzstaffel, or the S.S. Regrettably, unlike other storm trooper regiments you might be familiar with, the S.S very much did shoot straight. If you're a Nazi skinhead or something of that sort today, you've more in common with the S.A, sorry to say. But even if you were S.S, your fate wasn't admirable. Many were killed, mostly on the eastern front. Others were brought up on war crimes charges. Today they're a disgrace to history and the world, synonymous with the worst crimes against humanity ever perpetrated. That is what you're really aspiring to if you think /pol/ silliness is somehow edgy and subversive. Not so cool, isn't it?

Life as a neo-Nazi is hard. You lose friends and family and become a pariah in your community. And rightly so. Jail is a very real and common destination. Good luck getting a job with your swastika and S.S tattoos. Now you're just like the layabouts and parasites that you want to purge society of. How ironic. Does anyone really want that, provided they haven't already been pushed to that point in the first place?

And therein lies the rub. Perhaps we should be careful not to alienate too many of our already precarious young men. Perhaps they need a place in our society, positive role models and hopes they can aspire to, rather than scorn from both right and left. From the right for being poor layabouts abandoning good old fashioned morals and values,  and from the left for daring to be ... white and male! Oh no! Call the police! Call the army! Call the National Guard! In taking so casual an attitude towards the fate of our young men, we've forgotten one of the most important lessons the fascist era has to teach us, and so undermine our own credibility when we preach about the evils of fascism.

In suggesting that mainstream society are the real Nazis, perhaps Mr. Biafra was righter than he thought, though not in a strict, political science sort of way.  Listen to the Dead Kennedy's "Nazi Punks F**k Off" here. Some nice easy listening for ya! A favorite of mine all the way back to the late 1980s.

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Saturday, 8 February 2020

Why do Right Wingers Keep Doing That S**t? Why?

A question, from a progressive to conservatives:
My question is, when you see Trump/the GOP working double time to roll back or reverse measures that strip women and LGBQT people of rights, or take away environmental regulations, or actively remove restrictions that keep billion dollar corporations from running wild, how do you think that is okay? 
I get fiscal conservatism. I think a smaller government would be great. But I also don't see why it's bad thing to want to try and help people through social programs or make sure we fight any sort of withholding of rights. 
Do you-- 
A. Think this is okay?
B. Think it doesn't matter cause the other side will just even it out?
C. Think that everything I said isn't happening and it's all just liberal propaganda? 
Or, so I don't seem like I am being reductive, is there a D Option I am unaware of?
Any other time I ask something like this I never get a straight answer-- I always get Deflection 101-- "Dems did it first! Who will pay for it!?"
I'm not a conservative now, but have in the past sympathized with paleolibertarian and even neoreactionary thought. To a small extent, neoreaction still animates my thought. So I have some understanding of the right wing mind. I will try to answer as best I can.

The answer is that there are many answers. That's part of the problem. It's also compounded by the direction that political discourse online and in social media has taken over the last dozen or so years. Straight answers are not in vogue. Team red and team blue are more like ideological tribes than political parties. They're clubs, and if you don't "get it" then you're not in. If you're not in, you're a fair target for ridicule. Team blue smears you as a nazi, bigot, racist, incel, knuckle dragging rube, idiot who believes in 3000 year old books about sky daddies and the like. Team red smears you as a soyboy, a cuck, commie, SJW, too weak or stupid to make your own way through life, a spoiled child who feels entitled to everyone else's money, etc. This is a crap state of affairs, but it's what we have to deal with.

There are a lot of different reasons why team red might want to roll back women's rights, LGBQT rights, environmental regulations and the like.

First off, some are less perturbed that the rights exist, it's how the rights have came about that's the problem. Court rulings, executive branches of government overriding legislative jurisdiction, federal government overriding state's rights and so on. Strict constitutionalism, if we can call it anything. This can come across as a hollow rationalization at times. Sometimes it is, but I think it's more sincerely held than a lot of progressives give them credit for.

Secondly, and let's get this one out of the way right now: genuine bigotry. I don't think this is the biggest reason. I don't think it's even the reason any more than a minority of the time. Certainly not in the case of G.O.P establishment movement conservatives. You won't find genuine bigotry at the Hoover Institute, the American Enterprise institute, or the like. They may (or may not) understate the extent of bigotry out there and the extent to which government programs may be needed to combat it, but they far from actively perpetuate it. Never the less, it is there.

Thirdly, more traditionalist and authoritarian strands of rightist thought genuinely fear social change and the intrusion of what are seen as outside thoughts or influences on the body politic. They see society as a precarious thing. Too much sexual liberation, for example, and birth rates start falling and you start seeing more out of wedlock births. The former result in a dangerous depopulation while the later creates a burden for the taxpayers. Too much immigration and you unbalance the social and cultural structure, resulting in unforeseeable and more often than not negative consequences.

It's not so much that they "hate" anyone, though they can and sometimes do, it's that they fear the destabilizing effects of social change. They fear what will happen when whites become a minority or when most of the commanding heights of industry and government are held by a more highly educated and hypergamous female gender.

Fourthly, and by far the most prevalent reason among the younger right leaning baby boomers and gen-Xers, is an outlook that can be summed up in the phrase "there's no such thing as society, only individuals and their families." It was Margaret Thatcher who said that, and its influence on her ideology and policy direction should be obvious.

As a corollary to this, they tend to think that good outcomes in life are the result of good and smart people doing good and smart things. Misfortune is seen as the result of bad decision making on part of the individual to whom it happens, and they therefore have a responsibility to clean up their own messes. This lends itself to a much more libertarian world view. They don't hate women, minorities or LGBT people, and may in fact be quite progressive socially in their own ways. To them, discrimination and bigotry are the result of collective, identity based thinking and the antidote to it is a doubling down on their very individualistic outlook.

What they don't accept are the more abstract notions of power and privilege, and they are resistant to the notion that collective action problems can result in perverse incentives for even good and smart individuals outside of the government's sphere. In their view, any kind of redistribution upsets the natural order wherein good things happen to good people and vice versa. Redistribution punishes success and rewards failure. Billionaires and billion dollar corporations got to where they are by selling people products and services that they're willing to buy, so they must be good. They may accept the idea that pollution or climate change are bad, but believe the market will lead to the best outcomes.

I my view, this kind of thinking underlies a sizable majority of right wing thought.

Fifthly, and as a corollary to the above is the sovereignty of private property, an idea that's widespread among more reactionary libertarian types. They believe the government simply doesn't have the right to levy taxes or regulate what are seen as voluntary transactions.

Sixth, conspiracy theories. I think this is more a corollary to some of the above reasons rather than a truly independent reason, but it's worth mentioning. After all, if we don't acknowledge the power of more abstract social forces and instead attribute the march of history to the works of individuals, then the most compelling reasons why social and cultural change isn't happening in the way that the right wing like is due to bad people doing bad things. This is why they tend to demonize the persons of democrat party politicians to the extent that they do. Further out, you see more bizarre and elaborate conspiracies and, of course (((them))). Among the few legitimate purposes of government is to roll back changes enacted by previous administrations that were headed by bad people.

Seventh is religious belief. Thankfully, it's not 2006 any more and the internet is not inundated by know-it-alls who attribute all of the evils of the world to too much church attendance on part of red state America. The new f**king atheism, man. Just what we needed. Another catch all deterministic answer to everything being pushed by smug pricks on the internet.

But atavistic religious belief is a factor. The bible does say that women should keep silence in the churches and obey their husbands, that men shall not lie with men as they would lie with women, and that man has dominion over all of the earth and its animals. And these types of views are advanced by people who still have influence and deep pockets, and a lot of everyday people out there profess to believe in the bible, however ignorant they may be of its actual contents. Regressive religion remains a big business, and these folks have a lot of money and can deliver a lot of votes for the tribe red cause.

Eighth, outright personal self interest. Though this will rarely be stated openly. This is especially true in the economic realm, where a more laissez faire policy environment will no doubt allow the largest and strongest players to profit enormously. But it no doubt applies in the social sphere as well. We all like to have someone to look down on, and if unpopular minorities improve their station, some people may be threatened by that. I don't think that's the case all or even most of the time, but it is a factor.

I've no doubt missed some. Underlying a lot of this is the fact that most people's prospects have deteriorated over the last few decades, and there's an anger surrounding that. That anger is easily misdirected into reactionary causes. Plus, the value of peer pressure can't be ignored. People tend to believe what their family, friends, coworkers etc believe, even if they're not exactly the party faithful.

The weakness of progressivism is that they focus almost entirely on bigotry and naked self interest as reasons. If they ignore the other reasons why right leaning people believe as they do, they'll be limited in their capacity to formulate counter arguments. We've seen this play out especially in the last few years, where the Clinton campaign's attack on "deplorables" ended up backfiring considerably.

It doesn't look like they've learned their lesson. Classical conservative, fundamentalist, paranoid, libertarian and even neoreactionary arguments are not always, and probably not even usually mere rationalizations. These people really believe this stuff, however far fetched or easily refutable a lot of it may seem from a comfortable academic coastal progressive vantage point. That's why it's not enough to simply cry "bigotry" or "hatred!" Progressives need effective responses to various kinds of right wing framing techniques, or they will keep on losing.

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Friday, 17 January 2020

Nutpicking Left and Right

The Left, the Right and the Milkshake
Recently, there occurred an interesting conversation between one Stephen Woodford, better known as Rationality Rules - the title of his YouTube channel, and Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad. It delves into the nature of belief systems and how they're defined and represented.

The crux of the conversation comes down to a video wherein Woodford defines Sargon's overall method as being:

1 - Find a nut.
2 - Ridicule and expose that nut.
3 - Conflate that nut with the entire group to which they belong
4 - Profit

And a response made by Sargon here.

Examples presented by Woodford show Sargon highlighting celebrity leftists and progressive politicians expressing extremist positions on a variety of issues: Michael Moore claiming that white people should be feared, Lily Allen and Jess Philips making similar claims about men, and so on. Woodford charges Sargon with "nutpicking" - which is defined as selecting and presenting a weak member of a particular set as a representative member of that particular set.

Is it really true that "the left" as a whole engages in the wholesale demonization of men and white people? Does it truly hold that all whites are racist, or that all men are rapists, etc? These contentions, among others, are the subject of a cordial discussion had between the two, What's Left?

In this conversation, a resurgent religious right is presented as a possible right wing counterpart to the hardline social justice crowd that Sargon so often likes to attack, at least in the United States. Are anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage fanatics a kind of right wing counterpart to the militant SJWs? Woodford's channel, Rationality Rules (comes with my recommendation, btw) might suggest they are, though I haven't surveyed his material exhaustively so can't say precisely one way or another. But his channel is devoted to promoting atheism, agnosticism, skepticism and criticism of religious claims, with a special focus on the logical fallacies that religious and ideologically dogmatic groups tend to make, so I would be surprised if he took a generous stance towards the religious right. Were I in his shoes, I sure wouldn't.

Is there a meaningful comparison to be had between both the character and influence of the two groups? Are the most strident progressives and Christians representative of the whole?

I'm going to suggest that's perhaps the wrong question to ask. What's more important is this: are the "extreme" positions taken within a particular religious or ideological camp consonant with the broader ideological thrust of that particular religious or ideological camp as a whole?

What do I mean by this?

Suppose one were to claim, based on biblical scripture, that adulterers and homosexuals should be executed for their behaviors. Surely this would be an extreme view, right? One not endorsed by any mainstream or significant Christian denomination and believed by only a small handful of self identifying Christians. This would be true. But now lets suppose a preacher were to come along and call for precisely that - the execution of adulterers and homosexuals. It would surely be wrong to condemn this preacher's views as being in line with Christian thought, right? To hold such a preacher up as exemplary of Christian thought would surely be "nutpicking", right?

To answer this, we'd need to look at and define precisely what Christian thought is. If one definition of Christian thought would be to regard the bible as the irrefutable word of God, than the claims that our violently fanatical Christian preacher do not, in fact, accurately reflect Christian thought fall apart. The bible is actually quite clear in its calling for the execution of adulterers and homosexuals:

Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death.”

Leviticus 20:10: “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife— with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.”

Now one can counter argue that these passages have to be interpreted in a specific context or the like, or one could cite other passages that might call for a more lenient stance: Christ's admonition in John 8:7 that "he who is without sin cast the first stone" or something similar. Or one could even deemphasize scripture all together and hold up "the life of Christ" or some similar concept as the yard stick of Christian thought and action. Any of these are entirely possible and doable.

But one cannot argue, based on the above passages from the Book of Leviticus, that it is not a sound and viable interpretation of Christian doctrine that homosexuals and adulterers actually be put to death, if one takes a view of the bible as the inerrant word of God. And that most certainly is a plausible means of defining what is and is not Christian thought. This matter is obviously quite controversial in Christian clerical circles, and it's also quite obvious that Christians in the west have had to reconcile their doctrine with prevailing attitudes on these matters and soften their stances accordingly. That's all true, and also a bit beside the point.

What matters is that it is consonant within the ideological thrust of the Christian belief system that adulterers and homosexuals be executed for their actions. Their scripture is rather unambiguous in calling for it. That is not the only valid interpretation of Christian doctrine, but it is a valid interpretation of Christian doctrine. That's what really matters here. That such a view is "extreme" or not representative of the typical Christian is ultimately beside the point, even if true in the west in the current year. This is the real reason why one does see evangelical ministers taking such positions from time to time. They're actually valid positions within the belief system they profess, whether the rest of us like it or not.

Along similar lines, let's look at the apparent fringes of Social Justice ideology. Are claims calling whites and males dangerous or at least potential, if not actual rapists something that can fit within their broader ideological framework?

In this, I'm reminded of what is often cited as the most ludicrous straw man position held by feminist theorists: the equation of heterosex with rape. Or at the very least to suggest that heterosexuality itself is structured so as to benefit men at women's expense. To support such a claim, one like Sargon could point to feminist theorists who've supposedly made this claim. Theorists and activists such as the late Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon, for instance. They're the usual suspects here.

Of course, these figures and their supporters would answer that they've truly made no such claim and that their statements are being taken out of context. Defenders of feminism would claim that these activists don't represent the whole, that their views are controversial even within feminist circles, and that they're just two out of innumerable feminist advocates and that it's disingenuous to cite them as being exemplary of feminist thought. Then again, Dworkin and MacKinnon could well constitute the no-nonsense 'Leviticus' strand of feminist thought, and be the heterophobic counterparts to homophobic preachers like Steven Anderson and the late Fred Phelps.

Either are possible. And quite beside the point. What we should be considering isn't whether Dworkin or MacKinnon held views that equated heterosex with rape, or at least was part and parcel of male dominance over women. What matters is whether such views are possible under a sound understanding of feminist theory.

I'd suggest that they are, and all that's really necessary to come to such conclusions is a willingness to take core principles of feminist theory to deterministic extremes. If we truly live in a patriarchal society, one wherein institutions and relationships are structured for the benefit of men at the expense of women, then the idea that the most intimate of those relationships should reflect this privileging of the male over the female should follow quite logically. Indeed, to exclude heteroromanticism and heterosexuality from a feminist deconstruction that casts them as, if not inherently misogynistic, at least corrupted in a misogynistic manner by the patriarchal societies in which they are normalized, would actually be the out-of-step stance to take.

Of course, in the real world, many women who identify as feminists would identify as heterosexual and are in romantic and erotic relationships with men and enjoy the benefits thereof. This was even true of Dworkin(!) and MacKinnon at some points in time. Plus there are very real questions that one might raise about the societal consequences of a wholesale condemnation of heterosex along feminist lines. Fair enough. Consequences I wished mainstream media pursued a lot further instead of simply taking feminist propositions entirely at face value, but I digress. Feminists would no doubt appeal to a "my body, my choice" line of reasoning when it comes to defending their own heterosexual choices and proclivities, when and where these proclivities exist. Again, fair enough.

The point, however, is that it's not inconceivable under feminist theory to regard any kind of heterosexual relationship as something that oppresses women for the benefit of men. Why exempt personal relationships from the overarching social critique, especially when the personal is the political, after all?

I would go as far as to suggest that to exempt heterosexuality from the inevitable conclusions of feminist theory would be like to exempt homosexuality from condemnation under Christian theology. While it may make the doctrine more socially palatable, it also amounts to a form of cherry picking. So anti-homosex Christians and anti-heterosex feminists alike, far from being "nuts" may in fact be the most consistent in their views. They're willing to follow the logic of their core ideologies to their inevitable end conclusions, even when those conclusions would be quite understandably unpopular.

This isn't to say that their more moderate and liberal takes are "wrong." Sometimes, such as in the case of postwar social democracy vis à vis Marxism, the more moderate and watered down variant of the ideology actually also produces vastly superior results when put into practice. I strongly suspect this would be true of feminism also, and even Christianity were one to define it so loosely as a mere adherence to the golden rule, for instance. But in either case, we have to accept the fact that the more extreme views are not untenable given the core belief systems, and actually tend to hew more faithfully to the underlying axioms of those belief systems.

This goes a good ways towards answering the question of why the "nuts" end up in charge of movements like the religious right and the progressive feminist left. Plus, both belief systems are quite manichean, which is to say they both see things in very black and white terms. It is a valid interpretation of either to claim that you're with Jesus or you're with Satan. You're a feminist or you're a misogynist. Such ideological systems don't easily lend themselves to moderation or accommodation with rival belief systems in their core areas of concern.

They can and do moderate so as to accommodate themselves to the realities of the world they operate in. But this moderation inevitably arises from a begrudging acceptance of the need to work within the realities of the world in exchange for at least a shot at changing the world to at least a little bit better reflect their aims, rather than true compromise on principle. As such, both are susceptible to "revivals" and "reformations" wherein corruption by worldly/patriarchal thought must be excised and the movement returned to an initial pure state. The radical feminists of the 1970s, the SJWs of the 2010s and the religious right of the 1980s and 90s are all examples of this, or at least featured these kinds of revivalist currents within their broader movements.

Suffice it to say, questioning core doctrines in movements with these kinds of ideological systems is not the done thing, to put it mildly. If the bible really is the inerrant word of God, what does it say about you if you question it, or try to interpret it in a way to better reflect a preferred stance or doctrine? In the case of the progressives, it's a bit more nuanced. A bit. But questioning feminist, queer and critical race theorists and activists is frowned on as showing a glaring lack of empathy and commitment to equality at best, especially if done by a white male. At worst, it's outright collusion with the oppressor, just as questioning Marxist Leninist dogma back in the USSR was seen as aligning oneself with capitalists and imperialists and could entail a one way train ride to Siberia.

This is why Sargon can have this conversation with Rationality Rules but not Anita Sarkeesian, and why Rationality Rules couldn't have this conversation with Steven Anderson. When one sees the world in stark good vs evil terms, one does not negotiate with the forces of evil if one is to remain pure on the side of good.

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Monday, 16 December 2019

Right Wing Purity Culture

In a recent conversation I had with him, Carl Benjamin says:
I am honestly of the opinion that the right doesn't have this kind of purity culture, and that's definitely to their advantage. I'm not saying it doesn't ever exist or anything, but as a general rule, the right is less puritanical in this regard. 
This is in reference to the proclivity towards a highly doctrinaire and manichean world view that one often encounters in hard left circles, both in current year and throughout its history. Indeed, the decision of myself and my fellow Facebook page moderators to even have a conversation at all with the dreaded Sargon of Akkad would no doubt face heavy denouncement in typical left wing circles. And not "I disagree with Sargon on the following issues ... " but rather a "How dare you even think of speaking to so someone so racist, fascist, ignorant, stupid etc" kind of response.

Were they to discover that I found Mr. Benjamin to be a reasonable and cordial fellow with whom I would have some ideological disagreements as well as some areas of overlapping concern, that'd be treated as nothing short of blasphemy. And this includes many of the sorts of leftists who advocate a retreat from identity politics in favor of more class struggle. Get the pitchforks and light the burning pyre. We have a witch here. Conversing directly with demons, no less.

I was a youthful target of the Satanic Panic in the late 1980s, so it wouldn't be the first time.

While I realize that Sargon has his detractors and those who've claimed to have had bad experiences with him, that doesn't involve myself and my fellows who took part in the discussion. I felt I'd get that out of the way, because I know what the comments are going to say where ever I post this. You have a problem with Sargon, take it up with him. I'm no one's attack dog, and I'm not getting involved in YouTube drama.

With that all said, I did not follow up with Sargon on this idea of there being far less of a purity culture on the right, but upon reflection, I don't really agree. I suspect it looks that way because the purity culture on the right manifests itself differently from the one on the left. But that doesn't mean it's not there. It comes down to this:

The left's main concerns are with oppression, exploitation and discrimination. And that's perfectly reasonable. But progressives are vulnerable to the idea that any deviation from the established party line on any given issue will inevitably open the door to and enable, if not outrightly perpetuate, oppressive treatment of marginalized peoples. As such, rather like a religious fundamentalist who fears that the edifice of his religion will collapse if any element of the canon is called into question, unquestioning obedience to established orthodoxies is demanded on much of the left wing. Marxist Leninism, feminist theory, critical race theory and queer theory are almost unequivocal on this. These doctrines are the maps and blueprints that one must follow - to the letter - if a just society is to be achieved.

The right's main concerns are with degradation and loss of cultural and economic vitality, and that this would be bad because those things contribute to the strength and health of the polity. Again, well and good. But this likewise lends itself to conservatives fearing that any attempt to reform culture, politics or economy in a way to make them more inclusive or to provide a safety net for those in need will end up enabling behaviors and activities that cause a dilution of both personal morality and relationships that uphold the integrity of society. Right wing theories: neoreaction, libertarianism, white nationalism and religious fundamentalism are all underwritten by this kind of fear. A "camel's nose, once in the tent, the body is sure to follow" kind of mindset prevails in any discussion of either regulating the free market economy, or becoming more permissive regarding social norms and mores. Integrating between the races will dilute the purity of whichever race is superior. Allowing religious pluralism will cause the one true faith revealed by God to be diluted or lost, etc. You get the picture.

The contrasting concerns of social justice and social protectionism result in the respective purity cults of the left and right manifesting in different ways. The purity cult of the left is decidedly ostentatious and demonstrative, in keeping with the nature of the leftist narrative as themselves as some kind of last ditched resistance effort against an encroaching fascist tyranny. Convinced of the powerlessness of the purported targets of this tyranny, stark raving terror actually becomes a "reasonable" result. It's more visible because protest and civil disobedience are much more front and center in leftist theory.

The cringe factor here comes from the fact that Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, while having politics vastly different than mine, are not quite what the hysterical left echo chambers make them out to be. Accusing these men of wanting to "erase" marginalized peoples or believing that women, people of color, LGBTQ people and others "should not exist" actually pushes them beyond being "literally Hitler" and makes them out to be something out of the darkest of speculative fiction, like the wicked Emperor Palpatine or the Dark Lord Sauron. It need not be said that this is hyperbole, not reality.

The purity cult on the right is harder to see because it's less ostentatious. For one thing, the individualism espoused by the right makes them far less likely to organize and protest, and when they do, their predilection for order and personal discipline makes these protests far less rowdy and prone to acts of hysteria. But they do happen, as Tea Party protests against Obama's attempts to bring in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act demonstrate.

More significantly, however, the right's belief in the underlying unity of strength and virtue lends itself to the right wing purity cult expressing itself in displays of strength, not weakness. Thus, rightist denounciation of leftists has about it a definite macho swagger. Hence its denunciations of leftists as snowflakes, cucks, degenerates, too stupid to learn about economics, etc. While the right attacks communism in some of the same terms that the left attacks fascism: condemning its historical brutality and totalitarianism, and the same kind of cringy comparisons of leftist figures like Bernie Sanders with historical tyrants like Josef Stalin as exist on the left comparing Trump to Hitler etc, the right tends to express contempt at the notion that such manly men as themselves would ever need a social safety net or protection from being exploited as a worker, consumer or investor. A crucial difference, perhaps the definitive difference, between left and right.

For the right, the answer is always very simple. Find another job. Start your own business. Don't do stupid stuff. Don't get sick or injured. Be Superman. Predict the future with pure accuracy. Were you as manly as themselves, you wouldn't need no namby-pamby social safety net, union representation or government regulations to protect you from hardship and exploitation. Well, too bad for them that actual human beings in the real world are not made of such stern stuff.

This isn't to say there isn't a place for conservative or libertarian questioning of leftist policy proposals. Sometimes they really are untenable. But the problems arise when pressed for specifics, the rightists resort to their own brand of emotionalism as opposed to reasoned argument. You're too degenerate, cucked, stupid to understand economics, etc. And then they'll go on to sneer the ironically labeled "tolerant" left. Such self awareness.

Much of the US right's entire ideological shtick lies in a constant onslaught of propaganda saying that any government interference in the economy at all is basically tantamount to socialism. Distinction is not made between the light interventions of neoliberals a-la Tony Blair or Bill Clinton, the more heavy interventions advocated by Keynesians, welfare liberals, new dealers and social democrats - think Roosevelt or Attlee, the far reaching but incomplete control advocated by democratic socialists or regimes like Allende's Chile or Chavez's Venezuela and the total control practiced by Stalin and Mao. And where would they stand on small government or even stateless models advanced by some kinds of leftists: anarcho communism/syndicalism, mutualism or the like? These are obviously enormous theoretical differences and yield very different outcomes, but you'd never guess that by reading conservative sources or the responses that right leaning people make in any kind of social media platform, in their own attempts to deplatform their political opponents by implying that they are weak, stupid or degenerate.

Well, you know what? If your precious free market is so fragile that it will collapse if any attempt is made to tinker with it, perhaps it's not that strong either, and maybe libertarians descend into being their own brand of hysterical SJWs for claiming taxation is theft or that regulations stopping them from dumping their pollution into the water or the air as they please constitute a lighter, softer form of the boot of socialism. A sort of economic microaggression, if you will. And notice how triggered they get when you tell them there are sound economic, political and social reasons for taxation and public spending. It's like you're "Marxsplaining" or "Keynesplaining" their oppression to them.

Poor guys.

If you can slow down anything recorded by Ben Shapiro to a pace at which it becomes intelligible, the whole idea being advanced is pretty straight forward. And it's the same with Turning Point and a host of other conservative ideological sources. Bernie Sanders = Joseph Stalin. Obama's America = Hugo Chavez's Venezuela.  Obamacare = Stalinist collectivization. Keynesianism and Marxism are described as being one in the same. Despite the fact that demand management policies have been part and parcel of how all of the world's most successful economies have operated at least as far back as the second world war.

Such hysterical and stupid phrases are not being shrieked aloud for all to hear by outraged women and college students taking to the streets, but they are no less hysterical and stupid for that difference. Any government intervention in the economy, any provision of social welfare, any protection of workers rights reveals a "lack of understanding of economics" and surely won't work despite the fact they have been working for decades now across the developed world. All presented by some wannabe tough guy whose macho swagger implying that he can beat you up so that makes his views correct. This looks different than the SJW's displays of emotional hysteria and terror at even the most tepid step away from his ancap or intersectioal feminist dogmas, but does not alter the fact that, at heart, it's the same thing.

An ideological purity cult.

Besides, there's plenty of precedent for very real and dangerous ideological purity regimens on the right: the various red scares, McCarthyism, the Satanic Panic, to name a few. If the right wing has done it before, why should I think they won't do it again? There's enough love for the likes of Augusto Pinochet among hard line libertarians and reactionaries these days for them to most certainly not have my trust. Perhaps they'd be amenable to a deal, wherein I won't send them to a gulag if they don't throw me out of a helicopter, assuming either of us ever had the chance. But I'm not holding my breath.

Not all right wingers are Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer Warriors or the like, some of you might say. Fine. Some of you are no doubt thinking "straw man" to everything I've said here. Fair enough. Some more conservative leaning people are reasonable, as my discussion with Sargon exemplified. But not all leftists are Antifa either. Rightists get annoyed whenever they're hysterically tarred as racists, nazis, misogynists and the like by the left. Okay, fair enough. Then don't tar the whole of the left as either violent ancom or tankie nutjobs or hysterical feminists with obvious mental health issues either. The right warns the left that its irrationality will drive more people to the right. Fair warning, but that's a two way street. At some point, after being called a cuck and offered enough helicopter rides, more people might start wondering if there's maybe something in Karl Marx's library that these right wingers and their paranoid cries of "cultural Marxism" don't want them to know, and the Streisand Effect takes hold from there.

Listen to myself and my fellow alt-left mods converse with Sargon of Akkad and the Secretary of Akkad here.

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Critical Theory - the Unlikely Conservatism

If "critical theory" is to be a useful and good thing, it needs to punch up, not down. This is a crux of social justice thinking. ...