The Lunatic Fringe and the Lunatic Center
A theory of "social rights" the like of which probably never before found its way into distinct language: being nothing short of this—that it is the absolute social right of every individual, that every other individual shall act in every respect exactly as he ought; that whosoever fails thereof in the smallest particular violates my social right, and entitles me to demand from the legislature the removal of the grievance. So monstrous a principle is far more dangerous than any single interference with liberty; there is no violation of liberty which it would not justify; it acknowledges no right to any freedom whatever, except perhaps to that of holding opinions in secret, without ever disclosing them: for, the moment an opinion which I consider noxious passes any one's lips, it invades all the "social rights" attributed to me by the Alliance. —J. S. Mill
As a career college teacher, I take the very extreme view, a 1960s view, okay, that college administrations should absolutely stay out of students’ lives, okay, surveillance of their speech and of their conduct, except when something rises to the level of a crime, in which case it should be reported to the police, okay? I don’t—so all of this maneuvering and like, diversity training, and sexual harassment sensitivity training and all that stuff—this has to stop, okay, this is sick! It’s Kafkaesque. It’s something, it’s like out of a nightmare twilight zone world. How have we tolerated this?…FREEDOM is much more important, okay, than protection and safety! Okay? And that’s what young people have given up today. They want reassurance, they want the parental eye on them, okay, and they’ve given up freedom; and with personal freedom goes freedom of thought, okay, and that’s why we’re not going to get ANYTHING interesting, okay, in intellect or the arts, okay, from a generation that has been coddled and infantilized the way this generation has been! —Camille Paglia, okay?
Both sides of the political/ideological gangway, left and right, are graced with a more or less embarrassing lunatic fringe. At the extreme left there are the anarcho-communist antifa types of course, who rage with fury against fascists, supporters of the US president, law enforcement officers, random pedestrians, shop windows, parked cars, and trashcans; plus some of the Black Lives Matter types who are most inclined to howling, rioting, and yearning for the extinction of white people (which does not include all BLM activists, surely); plus, not so extreme politically, quite a few New Agers and other cultish types, and a few others like monomaniacal environmentalist extremists who chain themselves to trees, insist that fossil fuels have already killed the earth, sabotage their neighbor’s SUV, and so on. The rightist fringe features, most notoriously, neo-Nazi white supremacist types who dream of establishing a Fourth Reich, complete with jackboots, swastikas, and ethnic cleansing, along with some Klansmen and affiliates (who I assume are more Republican than Democrat in their membership nowadays, regardless of the Klan’s political origins—the KKK can be said to be very conservative at any rate) and a few Christian fundamentalist groups resembling Cromwellian roundheads or some sort of jihadists for Jesus (who, interestingly, were actually the mainstream for more than a thousand years in the west). But one of the many, many ironies regarding the new political left in the west is that the greatest, most hysterical, most concentrated, most embarrassing lunacy is derived not from the fringe, but from the very center of the movement—liberal academia. This is one of the big differences between the political divide nowadays: on the right the lunacy is mostly on the fringe, while on the left, especially the new left, it’s smack in the center of the movement.
This isn’t just funny, it’s also an important and sobering point to bear in mind. The very backbone of the new left’s ideology, along with most of the associated fanatical lunacy, has arisen on university campuses, especially within Liberal Arts departments. Neo-Marxist roots of the new leftist “progressivism” lay in the Frankfurt School, an academic movement, which migrated from Goethe University in Frankfurt to Columbia University in New York. Third wave feminism, especially in its form of intersectionality, arose primarily in academia and now flourishes in Gender Studies departments throughout the western world. And the postmodern relativism which is employed to subvert objectivity and support irrational dogmas also was invented and developed in academia (where it was exploited by critics of art and literature before hysterical feminists and others found it could be useful to justify just about anything). Plus, of course, young people being more passionate about things in general, even the extremist antifa types usually begin as college students, whipped up into a frenzy by liberal activist professors, many of whom were themselves extremists back in the days of the Hippie Vietnam War protesters and the Weather Underground.
|college commandos for social justice (notice the baseball bats)|
It is no coincidence and no wonder that most of the accounts of raging mass hysteria, thought police style surveillance and reporting of thought crimes, persecution of nonconformists, and of course propagandist indoctrination—and on websites like campusreform.org and thecollegefix.com new accounts appear every day—refer to occurrences in academia, with outrages against liberty and common sense perpetrated by students, teachers, and administrators alike. From Black Lives Matter activists taking over the library at Dartmouth University and assaulting white students there, and the now iconic hysterical black girl shrieking at a Yale staff member because he wouldn’t ban politically incorrect Halloween costumes, both way, way back in 2015, to more recent riots in protest against right-leaning speakers on campuses and even attempts to shut down and persecute campus Republican organizations as “hate groups” (on the grounds that conservatives are fascists and Nazi white supremacists), the situation in academia has become downright Kafkaesque. Add to this the standard dogmatic insistence that heterosexual white males are the oppressors and enemies of the human race, and the standardized idiocy of judging everyone, including people who lived and died centuries ago, by the warped standards of 21st century PC hysteria, etc., and the situation may be beyond Kafkaesque, edging into Orwellian. In leftist academia, freedom of thought and expression has become the enemy, even more so than straight white guys.
|the iconic shrieking black girl at Yale University|
"It is not about creating an intellectual space!!! It is not!!! Do you understand that!?!"
(rather, it's about feeling safe from politically incorrect Halloween costumes)
If most left-leaning Progressives seem relatively sane, it’s because they’ve adopted a watered down, lukewarm version of the pure form of the hysteria. They haven’t spent much time on elite college campuses, and haven’t been infected as badly as are those fully initiated into the new cult—they haven’t received the full zombie bite. Thus they enjoy the luxury of muddle-headed wishful thinking, actually believing the leftist propaganda spoon-fed to them by the mainstream media, and considering their side to be more sensible, right, true, and above all, compassionate. The fact that, as a rule, the compassion extends only to the designated ingroup of the cult seems not to occur to them. They enjoy the luxury of being lukewarm and relatively unfrenzied; but of course, if the neo-Marxists ever do gain power, the moderate, gentle, timid, passive types will not be running the show—quite a few of them may prove to be the useful fools Lenin spoke of, who help usher in the Revolution and are then lined up and shot.
But considering that the intersectional feminist, politically correct neo-Marxist movement is mainly dominated by females, maybe we can expect a kinder, gentler Marxism than the first version…like what Sweden has become, maybe? Thus far, most other western countries still have men endowed with testicles, so Marxism 2.0 in such places as the USA would probably still have to be relatively aggressive and ruthless in order to repress the opposition. True, Mr. Obama seemed almost harmless to those outside the countries he was having bombed, but he was just clearing the path, a forerunner of sorts. He was preparing the way as gently as possible for the endgame of a feminized, globalized New World Order, which is now, however, apparently hitting a few big rocks. If the new left really does gain control of someplace like the USA it will be the ideologues ramped up to full mania that will, in all probability, wield power, as was the case with Marxism 1.0 a hundred years ago. As the historian Edward Gibbon pointed out long ago with regard to an earlier hysterical cult or progressive movement (that is, Christianity in the Roman Empire), it wasn’t the reasonable sects that prospered, but rather the most fanatical and violent, who were able to seize control and cow the masses into willing submission—or unwilling submission at first, but submission nonetheless.
A few leftist academics are apparently arriving laboriously at the conclusion that maybe things have gotten out of hand, as the hysterical indoctrinated mobs of their own students have become a Frankenstein’s monster threatening to turn against them, with more and more cases of ultra-leftist students protesting against, harassing, and intimidating even far-leftist academics and representatives of leftist organizations like the ACLU, as well as against civilization itself and each other. The extremist, purest form of the new left may actually be destroying the movement, with its followers’ own hysteria, irrationality, intolerance, and vindictiveness totally discrediting it in the eyes of the public—in addition to such doctrinal liabilities as the notion that straight white men are responsible for all the evils of the world, thereby alienating what has been the most powerful group of people on the planet. But thus far, academia is still the breeding ground and training ground for leftist radicals, and the inmates are running the asylum.
|antifa in Berkeley|
It may as well be pointed out that there also appears to be much more connection and alliance between the extremist fringe on the left and the more mainstream new leftists, than there is between the extremist neo-Nazi types and the common new right anti-SJWs and Trump supporters. It wasn’t until antifa began beating up random people in the streets of Berkeley in broad daylight, in August of 2017, that the mainstream leftist propaganda outlets finally stopped declaring them heroes and officially denounced them. No doubt some neo-Nazis watch Sargon of Akkad videos, and most of them probably support Mr. Trump, but, as mentioned before, the center of the new left, the place where the ideology is found in its most concentrated form, is academia, which also is a spawning ground for antifa rioters, radicalized Black Lives Matter activists, and of course rabid SJWs of all shapes and sizes.
If academia is the center of the new left and its radical extremists, where is the ideological center of the new right? Is the heart of the movement in the White House in Washington D.C., abiding within a man with orange hair and a trophy first lady? I don’t think so. It’s also certainly not with the ruling elite of the Republican Party, as the new right is a horrible, sweat-inducing nightmare for old-school Establishment Republicans. In America it could plausibly be said that the leader of the new right, if it has one, is Steve Bannon, with the voice of the center being Breitbart and other alternative news/propaganda outlets. Bannon may really be becoming the ideological center of the new trend in right-wing politics, if he isn’t there already, and if his war against the Establishment “swamp” succeeds, and he can avoid assassination; he could be becoming a kind of kingmaker, if not king himself. Anyway, the Republican Establishment as it has existed for decades is verging on obsolescence, as is the Democratic Establishment. Aside from the possibilities of Trump, Bannon, and a few right-wing think tanks, there really is no obvious center for the new right. It appears to be mainly a grassroots movement of dispersed common sense and/or indignation, rising up as one in defiance of raging suicidal leftist hysteria.
I’ve already mentioned that Christian fundamentalism started as a cultish progressive movement, and it oppressed the western world for more than a thousand years. Let us do what we can to prevent the cult of the new left from doing likewise. Fortunately, the gospel of the new left is much weaker than the old gospel; the SJWs stand on no moral high ground as the early Christians did. Plus they have no semblance of backbone, they fear true freedom, their excesses are discrediting and endangering the movement even without considering the opposition, and they have crappy music besides. All it will take is for the new right to continue growing and gaining momentum, or even for the new left to continue derailing itself, and the new left is doomed, at least in America. (And good riddance. Maybe we’ll get better music soon.)
Appendix: Two Second-Wave Feminists on Third-Wave Insanity
Well worth watching, and only 11 minutes long. Camille is without question my favorite lesbian.