Resisting the Great Awokening ... from the left
On sticking to your principles and caring less about the crowd
Glossary of idiosyncratic terms:
The left. Focused on economic outcomes and material conditions.
Leftists. People on the left, interested primarily in economic and material outcomes.
The leftish. Focused on identity and deconstruction in the name of social progress.
Leftishists. People who think they're on the left but are part of the leftish.
Leftishism. An ideology often confused as left-wing under which, as long as everyone is sufficiently concerned about people’s sensitivities and being nice, corporations will be able to exploit new marketing opportunities.
Wokeism. A slang term for leftishism. Considered insulting by some, but they love it really because it’s actually convenient when leftishism isn’t exposed by a clear definition.
America, please stop
When Elon Musk appropriated evolutionary biologist Colin Wright's classic meme it sparked one of the most significant cultural conversations since the Great Awokening began.
Like everything in current politics it served to confuse as much as enlighten.
The source of this confusion is the difference between American conceptions of what it is to be 'left wing' and European/British left-coding.
Many people on this side of the Atlantic, who unquestioningly go along with the Americanisation of politics, seem unaware that they've been distracted from the point of the left.
I recognise their predicament because I was distracted for a while too.
Until I examined it, the abandonment of pursuing material reform to untrammelled market capitalism in favour of identity-focused atomisation into categories of people who deserve special treatment had happened without me really noticing.
In my case it was being on Twitter a lot that caused me to adopt all the new markers of leftishism for a while. But it was also being on Twitter a lot that made me see how convenient this new religion of identity-oriented morally-weighted hierarchies was to The Man.
Watching corporations adopt your principles ought to be somewhat confusing, when you think you're a lefty.
And yet many of my online and offline peers didn't seem to notice what was afoot.
How did all this start?
You don't know what you don't know, so I set out to figure it out.
A couple of years' background reading secured a basic understanding of what had happened.
In brutally simplified form, it was this;
Some European left-wing intellectuals in the 1960s decided that the material emancipation of the working class, by improving their living conditions, had run into the sand, so they would have to be socially emancipated instead by turning them into better people.
These workers of the world would unite to ignore their myriad differences and the utopian ideal of a brotherhood of Man could begin.
Their plan was to begin a 'long march through the institutions', beginning with academia (where they already were) and on into every bureaucratic apparatus, culminating in the takeover of corporations.
You can see how successful they were by the fact that Pride Week is now celebrated by arms manufacturers and $7.5 billion was spent on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion by companies in 2020, most of whom pay workers as little as they can get away with.
Although the intellectual roots of these ideas originated in Europe, they were operationalised in the US, where the conservative obsession with money-making abandoned academia to a single strain of thought. The intellectual left became the hegemonic pseudo-intellectual leftish.
The final piece in the puzzle was social media and America's outsize influence on conversation in the anglophone world.
A firehose of postmodern leftishist theorising, boiled down to essential slogans that can be easily memed, proved irresistible to those of us addled by our little black mirrors.
It's a far cry from the left that I signed up to when Margaret Thatcher was destroying the fabric of British working class culture in the pursuit of capital generation elsewhere in society.
But it took some serious stepping back and caring less about what 'the crowd' thinks before I could see it.
That was my personal awakening. To blink and then see clearly what the Great Awokening really was.
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