If you spend any time on Twitter, as I do, it’s probably not a surprise to see that the culture wars are on again. What is a surprise, however, are the hatred and bitterness of this latest version. What used to be causes célèbres from the sixties and seventies–war, racism, sexism–have morphed into violent, ideological campaigns.
Twitter is littered with this kind of thing. I’ve read tweets advocating the elimination of white people and anything that can be traced back to colonialism and slavery. You can also find this thinking in “post-colonial” courses at any university in North America. You may not have to limit yourself to the History, Philosophy, or Gender Studies departments, either. Differential equations can now be taught from a post-colonial perspective.
The extremists won’t be happy until Western civilization (i.e., Judeo-Christian ethics, Greek philosophical tradition, Roman jurisprudence) is destroyed. The irony is that many who advocate this are white. This is why there is now an effort to distinguish between “whiteness” and white people. White people who disassociate themselves from their past can stand in solidarity with others to proclaim “death to whiteness” and “f**k whiteness.” Michael Moore legitimized this self-destruction back in 2001 when he accused “stupid white men” of being responsible for all the ills of society.
One suspects that feelings of superiority lie behind this, for only those who are enlightened beyond the norm can discern their moral foibles. And admit them. It certainly makes them superior to recalcitrant whites.
Jordan Peterson, no stranger to controversy, has attributed this development to the marriage of postmodernism with Marxism. This is a blend of nihilism (life is meaningless, don’t have children) with forced egalitarianism (state control, gender ideology) in which whites will have to atone for past racism and their genetic disposition to make war. This is praised in certain circles, since it feeds into self-loathing and guilt, the persistence of which has stumped even the Dalai Lama.
But the problem may be worse, involving not the marriage of postmodernism with Marxism, but postmodernism with National Socialism. Where Marxism saw oppression in terms of property, capital, and class, the Nazis saw it in race. Their ideology was based on a hierarchy of racial purity from Nordic Aryans at the top to “subhuman” people like the Slavs, Romani, and Jews at the bottom.
For Marx, the oppressor class of capitalists had to be eliminated; for Hitler, it was the Jews. But Marx did not shy away from calling for the extermination of the Basques, Serbs, and Scots, whom he believed were too backward to take advantage of his planned utopia. You’ve got to break a few eggs to make a workers’ omelette.
It’s hard to ignore people who hate you and are driven by racial animosity, especially when they have a voice in social media. And those who call for the censorship of “unfettered speech” do not intend the silencing of these voices, for they are these voices. Some of them are the masked, Antifa fascists you see in the news using Brownshirt tactics in the cause of tolerance, as incredibly Orwellian as that may sound.
What they refer to as unfettered speech (note the association with “unfettered capitalism”) is any speech they do not agree with despite our liberal democratic tradition. Besides, they regard the Constitution as an expression of male whiteness and, therefore, inherently oppressive. In this, they reveal their feelings of superiority once again.
In reality, this war is not about the intellectual trappings of a patriarchal system. It is about what it has always been about–power and control. Were the oppressed to take over tomorrow, they would prove no more virtuous than their oppressors and, quite possibly, less so. The lessons of history bear this out, the Jacobins of the French Revolution providing a glaring example.
It’s possible that I am overreacting, but, sadly, the evidence suggests otherwise. Everyone from the president to Linda Sarsour is either posting outrageous things, or spewing venom that no civil society can long endure. This isn’t a racial war. And it’s not about whiteness, blackness, brownness, or any other color.
It is a war between the truth and lies.
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