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 Liberalism’s greatest causes célèbres from the sixties and seventies–war, racism, sexism–have morphed into violent, ideological campaigns against “whiteness” and the y chromosome.
Twitter is littered with this toxic waste. I’ve read posts and links advocating the elimination of white people, anyone with a penis, and anything that can be traced back to colonialism and slavery, which is Marxist rhetoric for Western culture. You can also find this kind of thinking in “post-colonial” courses at just about 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 on the Left won’t be happy until Western civilization (i.e., Judeo-Christian ethics, Greek philosophical tradition, and Roman jurisprudence) is destroyed and burnt in a holocaust offering to oppressed people everywhere. 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, well, everything.
Jordan Peterson of the University of Toronto has attributed these developments to the marriage of postmodernism with Marxism. This amounts to a blend of nihilism (life is meaningless, don’t have children, better to kill yourself) with enforced egalitarianism (state control, gender ideology) in which whites will have to spend time at the back of the bus to make up for past racism and their genetic disposition to produce weapons and go to war. This is laudable in certain quarters, since it feeds into white 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. Then again, 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. Apparently, 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 (Sturmabteilung) tactics in the cause of tolerance, as incredibly Orwellian as that may sound.
What the censors of the Left are referring to as unfettered speech (note the association with “unfettered capitalism”) is any speech they do not agree with regardless of what the Constitution says about liberty. Besides, the Constitution is an expression of male whiteness and, therefore, inherently oppressive, so how could it possibly be relevant today?
In reality, this war is not about the intellectual trappings of a patriarchal system inherited from dead Greeks. 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 being a glaring example.
While it’s possible that I spend too much time on Twitter and am overreacting, sadly, the evidence suggests otherwise. Everyone from the president to Linda Sarsour is either posting outrageous things, or spewing venom that no civil society could 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.