Ran Prieur brought up yesterday that Democrats allowed Republicans to become the party of fun. This is true, but it’s not directly obvious what has caused this transition. It seems today that Democrats are left with a list of sensibilities they can’t offend, whereas Republicans are left with a list of taboos they’re encouraged to violate. It wasn’t always this way, the right once upheld various traditions that the left would make fun of. This is how the left gained its most recent martyrs, the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, who are today too politically incorrect to be tolerated by the rest of the left. They stand in a long line of French anti-clericalism that can be traced back to the French revolution, that has today become intolerable.
To illustrate what a boring existence it must be to be a leftist these days, consider the recent cartoon that featured Serena Williams acting like a brat. The cartoon was criticized as racist and sexist, because it depicts Serena in a racially exaggerated manner, supposedly reminiscent of the depictions from America’s slavery era. The cartoonist is Australian, so he doesn’t carry that baggage with him anyway, but more importantly, the whole point of a cartoon is to depict people in an exaggerated manner. If you can’t depict black people in an exaggerated manner because people depicted them in an exaggerated manner during slavery, you can’t make cartoons that feature black people.
In practice, the fallout from being accused of racism is so big in your life, that most people will choose to steer far away from any behavior that might lead to accusations of racism. I can make a cartoon about Serena Williams and face the risk of racism accusations, or I can make a cartoon about something else that happened recently and avoid the risk of such accusations. A rational cartoonist won’t bother with the risk of depicting black people in a manner that makes people uncomfortable. It’s the same with video games and movies that don’t feature characters from certain minority groups, or people with certain forms of mental illness. The punishment for “getting it wrong” greatly exceeds the potential reward for “getting it right”.
If you wonder why modern society is so asexual, the same principle applies. The risks for men associated with sex now greatly exceed the potential reward. Ironically, it takes post-menopausal French feminist ladies to point out this problem. Every young woman who insists on bragging, sorry, raising awareness about sexual harassment in some article for a feminist magazine ensures that ten other young women won’t have the same thing happen to them. That’s what pissed a lot of atheists, including Richard Dawkins, off about an incident, where Rebecca Watson complained about how uncomfortable some guy made her feel when he asked her out for drinks in an elevator.
Guys who hear her complain about some guy who did nothing wrong, will decide that next time they attend some atheist/skeptic/neckbeard conference they won’t bother interacting with the women there. It’s not worth the risk of being publicly exposed as some sort of creep. The feminist might insist that was never her intention, but rather, the hypothetical guy at the conference should simply interact with her when conditions X, Y and Z apply. Of course that’s just not what will happen, because these guys are not experts at reading women’s minds.
So, what happens instead is that we enter a bizarre era of new sexual puritanism, in which the genders are segregated not because some guy in the heavens above would torture us forever if we do something wrong, but because young women base their sense of self-worth on guys willingness to violate social taboos and risk social ostracism to get into their pants. The only guys who are exempt from such prohibitions are guys who are too dumb to recognize they’re violating a taboo and the potential consequences this may have for their life. I think you can guess what kind of guys those generally are.
On the right side of the spectrum, liberty is meanwhile greater than ever. For those who still cling onto Christianity, the religion has evolved into a system that absolves you of responsibility for your misbehavior. You’re not supposed to sin, but if you do it nonetheless, Jesus will make sure you’re forgiven. On the secular side of the tent, if you call it “human biodiversity” or “evolutionary psychology”, you’re free to contemplate human behavior that people on the left would call racist/sexist stereotypes. If you want to eat hamburgers and stuff lard down your throat all day, you’ll find a dissenting conservative scientist who insists that modern nutrition science has been taken over by leftists.
And most importantly, if you violate a taboo, you’ll be congratulated. You can draw Muhammed and win a contest. A while ago I saw a video of a good ol’ boy who took a copy of the Quran and Obama’s birth certificate and torched them down, before urinating on the ashes. I thought to myself that this must feel like an incredibly liberating cathartic act for this man. The closest equivalent the left has consists of rolling around naked on stage with your classmates and calling it “performance art”, but that has been done to death and mostly makes people think of you as a petty attention seeker.
Because academia is seen as taken over by the left, academia doesn’t have a good reputation among conservatives and libertarians anymore either. The most successful businessmen they look up to are college dropouts, so if you feel like smoking salvia all day while leftists make sure to jump through all the proper hoops to get their women’s studies degree, you’ll still get hired as long as you’re somewhat able to code and don’t pretend to feign offense at their racist jokes.
But doesn’t the left deliver you tolerance? Doesn’t it teach you that you should love yourself and feel comfortable in your own body? That’s what they proclaim, but it’s so insincere that nobody takes it seriously. Sure, you can now dance around naked in a thong on a boat once a year in Amsterdam, but deep down you know that all the drunk heterosexuals cheering you on treat you in the same manner as they treat the lady with the beard at the freakshow. When even your own feminist icons like Amber Rose will proclaim that they don’t want to date bisexual men, you know the whole thing is a giant farce.
And sure, you can take off your clothes, take a black marker, write “beautiful” on your belly and feel proud of your overweight body. But at the end of the day, the magazines you read still feature girls on the front cover half your weight and half your age. At the end of the day, you only have obscenities yelled at you in “vibrant” neighborhoods, at the office you’re still passed over by your superiors. At the end of the day, if you could snap your fingers and choose between being half your weight, or living in a world where people accept your body the way it is, you would choose the prior.
And best of all, you can participate in Amber Rose’s slutwalk. You can walk around in fishnets with some sign and scream a bunch of slogans and proclaim you’re still not asking for it and feel really “empowered”. But you simultaneously know that ten years from now you’ll hope your husband won’t find out about it and you’ll one day ask Google to remove the images. The women who participate in a slutwalk don’t seek to convince the outside world of their point so much. They seek to convince themselves of it. We tolerate everything today, in the sense that we don’t want to throw you in jail for it, but we hate to admit that we don’t want any of it in our own lives.
So, what the left has delivered you is the privilege of having nobody openly dare to criticize you. You realize this, so you become hypersensitive to every type of criticism, as it confirms what you already suspected.
Perhaps most importantly, whereas the left upholds a loose moral standard all participants have to strictly adhere to, the right upholds a strict moral standard all participants have to loosely adhere to. For the left it’s alright if you participate in gang-bangs because yu-go-gurl-its-your-body, as long as you don’t use the N-word, at which point it’s all over and nothing can ever redeem you. On the right side of the spectrum, you can be a two times divorced pro-abortion philanderer, but it’s all water under the bridge because you called Mexicans rapists once. Even Ted Nugent gets to join their club, despite being a genuine pedophile. Who are the tolerant ones again?
The difference is that the left wants to accept a broad range of behavior and considers it normal and self-evident to expect everyone to fit within their range of behavior. The right wing maintains a narrow range of proper behavior, but considers it self-evident that most people will fail to fit within their desired range. In the right-wing ideal, you graduate college, get a good job, marry your high school sweetheart who looks like one of the blonde ladies on Fox News, have three children that she takes care of at home and live long and happily ever after. In practice, they know as a woman you’re going to have an abortion. As a guy, you’re going to get a woman drunk in college and lure her back to your apartment. This doesn’t mean permanent social ostracism, as long as you don’t insist on feeling proud of it.
In a similar manner, a right winger is allowed to have forbidden thoughts. I get angry when I see a good looking young white woman my age, wandering by herself with a caramel colored curly-haired baby in her baby carriage. I might not act on that anger in any genuine manner, but I feel it nonetheless. There’s no button in my head I can press, to stop feeling that way. If I tell a leftist this, he will never want to talk to me again. If I tell a right winger this he might not openly agree with me, but he will tolerate the way I feel, even when he’s a “libruls are the real racists” variety of conservative. Where do you think I’m going to feel genuinely tolerated? Where do you think I’m always going to feel like I’m walking on egg shells?
Finally, it has to be acknowledged that the left won. The left thinks of itself as a movement of rebels, but those rebels seized complete control over society in the 1960’s and now their ideals have become universally upheld. When you march in defense of equality, against homophobia and racism, you’re marching in defense of the values upheld by Shell, Exxon Mobil, Google and Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg told his employees to stop crossing out “black lives matter” on a wall in the Facebook office. You’re not a rebel, you’re the old lady at church who whispers in the priest’s ear after mass that he carried out a ritual wrong. When I see you stopping traffic, marching around with your banners and your slogans, I see a group of church ladies.
When I see those who want to draw Muhammed or Erdogan and get thrown in jail for doing so, or those who celebrate Trump trying to be friends with Russia, or those who insist on using ethnic slurs, or defending the freedom of speech of Alex Jones or Holocaust deniers, I see punk rockers. In the 1980’s it was common for Punk rockers to walk around with swastikas on their T-shirt. Not because they were Nazi’s (Sid Vicious had a Jewish girlfriend), but because they wanted to offend, they wanted to break down the established order.
The kind of rock stars of the left are women like Solange Knowles and Lena Dunham. A rich woman who sings songs complaining about the girls who wanted to touch her hair back in high school because they had never felt a black girl’s hair before and another rich woman born into the NYC art scene who had her uterus surgically removed. The rock stars of the right are guys like Varg Vikernes and Styxhexxenhammer666. The prior is a guy who grew up in Iraq as a kid, burned down churches as a teenager, hung out with suicidal guys who walked around with dead decomposing birds, went to jail for fourteen years and now raises seven kids with his wife on a farm in rural France. The latter is a guy who makes a living through Youtube, where he discusses current events, medieval grimoires and psychedelics. I’m sorry honey, but you’re just fucking boring.
If you dispute what I have to say here, you have to consider that modern day right-wingers tend to cite other modern day right-wingers. The heroes of modern day right-wingers are Satoshi Nakamoto, Peter Thiel, Ted Kaczynski, Julian Assange, Donald Trump and Jordan Peterson. The heroes of modern day left-wingers are people who lived in the past, when the left was still a movement in opposition to society. I like their rebels. I like H. G. Wells, I like Margaret Sanger, I like William Blake and I like Thomas Paine. Today however the left has no rebels anymore, because there’s nothing left for them to rebel against. They can merely whisper in the priest’s ear that he doesn’t display sufficient tolerance towards overweight lesbians.
People who seek novelty are today drawn to the right. I want to be where the action is, where we still see innovation. Besides being profitable -hint: you should have sold all your cryptocurrencies when people started to complain about the lack of women in crypto- this innovation is a proper exercise for my mind. If I want to read about advances in genetic understanding, I read Harpending and Cochrane. If I read leftist scientists, I get the same tired old argument from the 1960’s, that human beings are shaped by their environment, in opposition to all new scientific understanding.
If I want to read about advances in environmentalism, I shouldn’t read environmentalist authors, I should read about where Peter Thiel is putting his money. Peter Thiel is funding twenty year old college dropouts who want to make hamburgers without meat, or devices that remove plastic from the ocean. I’m a novelty seeking person and that’s where the novelty is. What the left has to offer me instead, is a political, cultural and technological orthodoxy that bores us to death and simply isn’t working.
Although I agree that identity politics has gone too far and see fascist tendencies as one of the ways people strive to be rebellious nowadays, reducing this to a left/right division is incredibly reductive. For instance, Slavoj Zizek, who you would regard as ‘left’, criticized identity politics as well.
You’re talking about novelty and mention Vikernes as an art hero, but he hasn’t really done anything noteworthy artistically since going to prison about 20 years ago. If we stick to music, I’m partial to Enter Shikari’s album A Flash Flood of Colour, and the band actually is anarcho-communist judging from the lyrics.
As an aside, I’m curious on the literature supporting your assertions with regards to genetics.
Re: genetics, you should read The 10,000 Year Explosion by Harpending & Cochran, it’s fascinating.
I completely do not recognize what you describe here, to the point I think you are making stuff up. I am far progressive revolutionary left wing myself, and break social taboos and offend people by the barrel load. I have drawn and posted mohammed-is-a-cunt cartoons myself. My heroes are Julian Assange, Elon Musk, Christopher Hitchens, Aubrey de Grey and David Pearce.
that’s because you are stuck in your leftist bubble LOL
“Finally, it has to be acknowledged that the left won. The left thinks of itself as a movement of rebels, but those rebels seized complete control over society in the 1960’s and now their ideals have become universally upheld.”
It may be true that the Left won the *culture* war, but it lost the economic war–big time. The United States has already regressed back to a second Gilded Age, with no end in sight. It’s at the very bottom of the developed world across a wide variety of social and economic well-being metrics.
This is the why the Right *needs* the culture war. By keeping the focus squarely on it, they keep the focus *off* of economic issues, like the fact that American’s can’t afford to buy a house anymore or even see a doctor, and that they are practically required to go into debt even for necessities in the “free market”.
If the debate were rather about economic issues, there is no way Americans who can’t afford basic health care or studio apartments would side with Right-wing reactionary politicians. But if you can make the debate all about cultural issues, you can get people to vote against their own interests time and time again, if only to “punish” those joyless scolds who won’t let me tell a racist joke in public.
That’s why I think the culture wars are more like a pro-wrestling match–both sides are really on the same side, and it’s all just kayfabe to keep the rivalry going so they can sell more tickets. Who’s *really* running the show, here?? I mean, Manhattan-based media writers, tenured college professors, and human resource executives are all part of the tiny sliver of economic elites that still have sky-high salaries, college educations, stock portfolios, pensions, and access to health care. They are insulated from the precariousness and hardships visited on the rest of us. No wonder they want to fan the flames of this stuff to keep their ratings high and the unwashed masses at each other’s throats (and not, for example, reaching for the torches and pitchforks).
As I once put it, the New Left was used to effectively neutralize and dismantle the Old Left.
>It may be true that the Left won the *culture* war, but it lost the economic war–big time.
I don’t think they really care. Everyone who’s not part of the top 1% is now equal. There is not much of a difference between people on welfare, the working poor and the skilled middle class, when it comes to standard of living. The only thing that might leave them upset is that the 1% still consists of some people who are simply competent, rather than adhering to their ideology and jumping through all the right hoops.