Sunday, 27 September 2020

Why Centrists Can't Win The Woke Wars


In the war of woke there's a particular brand of dissent which seems at times to be almost as overwhelming as the wokies themselves, whether the YouTube algorithm or Sky news the system endorses a brand of centrism as the chosen anti-dote to the excesses of the Social Justice left. This is nothing new to people in my circles but I often find that criticism of these so-called ''Gatekeepers'' descends into simply calling this or that group or individual who promotes these ideas as a gatekeeper or shill. 

 Most of the people watching this video will be aware of who I mean because their content is usually promoted heavily here on YouTube, but over the last year or so the faction within this centrist set that I've paid most attention to, and the one which I think is now dominating, is Spiked Online. 

Spiked's wikipedia page makes for interesting reading, they started out as a full-blown Marxist outfit then gravitated toward libertarianism and now, tend to side with the populist right. This means I can browse one article or podcast and find myself nodding in agreement and then the next reaching for the close tab option or dislike button. But then again this is also the case with all of the Classic Liberal commentariat emerging to fill the market of allowable political dissent in Britain. 

In this video I'd like to lay out all the problems I have with this increasingly bloated cultural clique in Britain, starting with:

1. Identity politics

The most common complaint made by the new centrists against, pretty much everyone else, except one group, is that too many people are playing at identity politics and eschewing individualism. We've all seen these arguments a million times and usually end with somebody pointing out the obvious flaw in acting as an individual in the face of energized collective groups. But it's also worth considering the target audience here, which will mainly be middle class people of European background, that is to say the most atomized and individualistic group on earth today. The fact is the most cohesive and determined groups aren't reading or watching this material and even if they did they'd find it baffling and alien.

 But it begs a deeper question, if all people regardless of background are to turn away from their tribal, ethnic or religious identity then what, as mere individuals, is supposed to give them meaning in their lives? The answer would be something like, freedom and liberty, but that just begs the question, to do what and why?

In the end to be an individualist, to form your identity on that in the 21st century west is to play video games and adopt an identity based around Globalist consumer products, which they're designed to do. But even then anyone can take what they want from the system while also pushing for a group interest so there's no real advantage to anyone in giving up the power that group solidarity has to offer. 

 Once again we see that in order for true ''Civic Nationalism'' to come into being we'd require brutal methods to effectively strip groups of their identity. They'd scoff at this of course because they're the sane guys in the room, they aren't like the communists or the fascists, yet the original terror state in Europe appeared during the French Revolution and it based its terror squarely on Enlightenment ideals. The new secular state had no place for Catholics and the guillotine and fire would be used to ensure they became nothing but citizen individualists too.

 This isn't to suggest that Brendan O'Neil and Spiked want to deploy such methods, but it is to say that is what it takes to get what they want, because what they want is a vision of man which doesn't exist, one which presupposes a blank slate individuality which is entirely mythological and superstitious and not based on rationalism at all.

2. Free Speech

After years of reading Spiked I have to grant them one thing which they're been consistent on, defending free speech. And God knows we need somebody defending free speech in this day and age. Spiked are as close as you can get to free speech absolutists and have spent years defending most, but by no means all, of the increasing amount of people persecuted by the state. Again, I can think of one or two figures they didn't though. Horseshoe theory dictates that neither the far left or far right have any real investment in free speech, the reason for this is that both have ideals and visions which transcend Classic Liberal ideals, whether ethnic interests, religious convictions or simply ideology. 

 But this leaves centrists in a weird situation because they're expected to defend the right to free speech of people who don't care a great deal about the concept, who view it as simply a means to an end. For liberals free speech is that end. Or to put it another way, the market place of ideas is that end. Given access to all ideas and concepts the people will naturally gravitate toward the most rational and honest position. The implication being that that will always be liberal, but again, it serves no higher purpose than to perpetuate the debates and arguments. 

But the question is to what end? On closer inspection we find that the market place is itself rigged and what gets passed off as the public will is simply whatever the elites want, except liberalism disguises it as the will of the people. In fact almost nothing about the current state of Britain is a result of the will of British people. If it was Britain would be a deeply Christian, conservative country with a homogeneous population who hanged serious criminals. 

Liberalism sits comfortably in the centre granting free speech to the extremes and by doing so ensures its own dominance. You can argue and squabble all you want, liberalism remains, or at least it did.

The question now is what happens when liberals find themselves dislodged and replaced at the centre,what happens when they no longer have a political or cultural hegemony and instead we find that classic liberalism is itself a dissident position? 

If the far right now, or in the 60's the left, made appeals to liberalism based on free speech then who do the liberals appeal to when they find themselves beyond the pale?

What is a centrist who has no centre ground?

3. Universities

In a healthy, functioning western liberal state the universities should be the epicentre of the market place of ideas and Neo-Centrists quite rightly spend enormous amounts of time and energy fighting on that battlefield, from Jordan Peterson to Spiked to Douglas Murray the university system must be taken back. The problem is what does ''back'' actually mean? Presumably back to the market place of ideas where everybody gets to have their say. But as we saw already, this presupposes a system in which nothing much ever changes and broad liberalism remains dominant, I'd say stagnant, forever. What if the exchange of ideas on campus begins to undermine and refute liberalism itself? 

 This, of course, is what the postmodern left have been doing for decades. And what's worse, the free speech absolutism left liberalism utterly helpless in the face of this onslaught. They platformed, as a matter of principle, the very people who'd arrived to deconstruct and abolish their own ideals.

The dirty little secret was out of the bag, what the Enlightenment did to Christianity postmodernism will do to the Enlightenment, which, as we've seen, had sneakily proclaimed itself as a moral arbiter and omnipresent force for good. 

In a recent interview with Brett Weinstein Brendan O'Neil lamented the lack of intellectual curiosity in universities, the problem is when you look at the standard stuff, say a wiki entry on Judith Butler and her early life, you can see a pattern. Intellectualism certainly had happened, you could say too much, and it is insane and it might be the end of western civilization, but the point here is that the result of that intellectualism was to deconstruct the enlightenment and liberals had no way to prevent it because the left were operating outside of their moral framework. 

 The intellectualism has happened, and the results of it were to deplatform and replace the previous political philosophy. 

It's at this point the left will inevitably be called out as hypocrites playing a Machiavellian power game. But an unwillingness to meet them on those terms is only ever going to result in failure, no matter how many times you go on Sky News shaking your head or how many YouTube podcasts you moan on.

4. The problem of universal liberalism

The primary attack vector for social justice activists today, within identity politics is to point out endlessly how oppressive the western world is to minorities. The argument goes that capitalism and liberalism, the philosophy behind it, are all products of whiteness and do not belong to the ''lived experience'' of certain minorities, some more than others it would appear. Brendan O'Neil replied to Weinstein that these subjective experiences are irrelevant and people should simply enjoy the fruits of liberalism which is the greatest ideal ever. 

 But here once again we run into trouble, the response is essentially to cast western liberalism as a universal norm unbound by place, time or history, and then further to seek to impose that everyone, though they disagree with coercion so even that goes unanswered as we saw earlier. If I as an Englishman read Treasure Island I do in fact have a different reading than somebody from Mongolia because I'm front and centre of the narrative. The difference is I don't believe in universalism and so when somebody complained I was ''privileged'' I'd simply show them a map of the world and explain where their part on it was.

The social justice left's approach to this is to break down western civilization so it caters to everyone, the centrist approach is to claim that they're not white supremacists, it's just that Europeans invented the greatest set of ideals in all of history and that they're so perfect everybody should live by them. 

You can see here how easily centrism slides into the much more malignant Neo-Conservatism, if western liberalism is the greatest then shouldn't it be a human right, and if it's a human right (also a western liberal idea) why don't we depose governments and bomb people into enjoying these rights?

The problem comes down to the fact they won't, or can't, make separatist arguments. instead they insist to be western is to be liberal, which is an invention of white people, then demand everyone else adheres to that, thereby proving the leftists correct that it's a system of white supremacy, and the centrists can't and won't get out of it by advising people to leave the west because that's what the far right does. So once again they've been tied in knots.


5. Back to the 80's

 In my opinion all centrism across the west today is driven by nostalgia, nostalgia for what though? if the Alt-Right feel nostalgia for the 1950's and the Neo-Reactionaries feel nostalgic for the 1550's then what do centrists feel nostalgia for? well....

Remember how great it was before Hollywood went woke? remember the original Ghostbusters when we hardly noticed the black guy. Remember Aliens, how we could have a kick ass woman who could fly space ships and operate machinery but still express her maternal side, we never needed feminism. 

Remember how it used to be before politics entered our movies? remember how Rocky 4 depicted the rich multicultural tapestry of Reaganite America standing strong against blond communists, if only we could go back to a time before politics drowned out everything.

Modern identity politics began in America in the 1960's, Classic Liberals disavow the era that came before it. After the chaos of the 60's and the gloom and paranoia of the 70's the 1980's saw America take a more idealistic turn. Just like in Rambo 2, somebody had sold the country out and now the time had arrived to love America once again and the whole era is infused with flag waving patriotism. 

 This era, in my view, is the best example of civic nationalism at its peak, the problem it was entirely a creation of Hollywood and the American deep state. In other words, the same institutions and cultural centres who today promote the woke left were a few decades ago promoting the gentle patriotism of the 80's which so many centrists look back on with such fondness. 

The point here is not to look back on foundational texts by Locke or John Stuart Mill because what really influences people especially the bloated group we call ''Classic Liberals'' is pop culture and you can see it in their talking points. In the 18th Century racism was normal, now it isn't, in this context, almost everybody would be a devout Christian, now they aren't.

In other words what people think of as Classic Liberalism is simply progressivism from 30 years ago, the Enlightenment stuff seems to have slipped in as afterthought. An Alt-Right Trad poster on Twitter may be naive for dreaming of 1950's domestic bliss but in theory, and using a lot of force and purging the deep state, it could have been possible for preventing the cultural revolution from every happening.

The so called Classic Liberal either is happy with today except the SJW's or wants to go all the way back to when Ferris Beuler's Day Off appeared in cinemas.

Back in the 50's when Joseph McCarthy tried purging Hollywood of subversive elements those subversive elements made appeals to centrist liberalism for protection. In actual fact throughout the history of the so-called ''long march through the institutions'' at every step of that march centrist liberal ideals ran cover for the new left, not only did they not try to get rid of them, their core values protected them and shielded them from more reactionary forces on the right.


6. Throughout all of this we see emerging a trend, the bloated classic liberal commentariat have at their core a vacuum, it's like a crab shell with no creature inside, it's just an empty shell. So the question is what happened to the ghost in the shell? They purged it themselves, and once again we don't need to go back to the Enlightenment because Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and entire YouTube careers have been formed around classic liberals attacking and undermining Christianity which had, for centuries, done all of the heavy lifting for their own world view.

 Richard Dawkins shilling his new book recently quipped that things were looking up because fewer people than ever were attending churches in America, rationalism had finally made some gains and the sunny uplands of scientific reason were just up ahead. And while he said this America was up in flames and the new, fundamental wokeism was waging a world wide campaign against white people and western civilization. And while politicians kneel before the new irrationality we're supposed to be celebrating that the founding religion of the west is one step closer to death. 

And remember, these are the sane guys in the room, these are the moderates, these are enlightened ones bringing common sense to the discourse. 

7. To round off this video I'd like to finally touch on the pretension that these so-called gatekeepers are some how morally or ethically just. Almost every week in Spiked  there's a warning to the SJW's about how they're provoking a ''far right backlash''. Given what we know about the realities of present day Britain, the attacks on natives and mass rapes, frequent terror attacks and then the media ideologically weaponizing everyone against the average Brit, is it morally sound to hold positions based on principles which can't in any way prevent the brutality, pain and misery being inflicted on a people?

Let us assume an authoritarian right wing emerged that would cut through swathes of personal liberties and rights but the misery was brought to an end, one way or another? In actual fact they've already made their choice, no amount of ethnic displacement, grooming, brainwashing or what will become outright persecution will ever trump these principles. To contravene liberal ideals is itself worse than anything else that could possibly happen.

 As Michael Gove said to Jonathon Bowden:

''Yes, what's happening is awful, but to do anything about it would be ''un-british''

And so like a slave on a galley we're shackled to liberal principles until the bitter end. 

The irony is that the centrist punditry are possibly the most fervent ideologues of everyone, and while it may make them a good living, they don't exactly deserve to be respected for it.

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