I have been wondering out loud a great deal recently about the effect of the mass proliferation of new terminology that seem to arise from the back and forth of the culture wars. Some of it seems more organic, the naming of an emergent phenomenon or interest group, some less so, like the attempt to create a desired phenomenon by naming it into existence. Very often, these terms are pejorative; one of the more effective strategies in recent years in the necessary pushback against retrograde identity politics (primarily but not exclusively from the left) has been to identify and name their tactics and patterns of delusional behaviour. Of course, the identitarian left fired the opening vernacular salvo with their attempt to being terms like “micro-aggression”, “whiteness”, “cultural appropriation” and “trigger warning” among others into common parlance, thus attempting to make the non-existent or absurd more tangible. They have certainly entered the public square but I am hoping in a context that will remain of a moment – historical terms associated with a stalled and misguided social movement. Read More…
This brilliant piece by Robin Gilbert-Jones touched on one of the seminal issues of our time: political difference and how to tolerate it. Too often, a mere divergence of opinion is characterized as “violence” by moral absolutists who seek to shut down discussion and avoid opposition.
Quote: “In subsequent years we have seen this word often stretched so etymologically thin as to be stripped of all meaning. It is quite a feat to achieve that with a word as concretely rooted in physical action, cause and effect as “violence”. This is often achieved by prefixing it with some silly adjective like “socioeconomic” or “rhetorical”. The reason this is inherently dangerous is that if you can redefine anything you don’t like as being a form of violence, it justifies pretty much any disproportionate response. Violence is usually considered the last straw, the point at which all bets are off and any means necessary can be justified in defence. It also risks stripping real violence of any intrinsic meaning and blurring the usually very distinct line between violent and non-violent actions.” Read More…
Candice Holdsworth speaks with Manick Govinda, a Londoner, Libertarian, writer and producer of fine art. They discuss the politicization of the art scene and how contemporary art has been consumed by an obsession with race, sexuality and gender.
Earlier this week a deeply unpleasant video emerged, which showed a group of white nationalists praising Donald Trump whilst throwing nazi salutes.
It serves as an ugly reminder of just how awful racialised politics is. We live in an era in which identity politics is ascendant. It dominates public discourse. From both ends of the political spectrum we get victimhood narratives and identity obsession, with one side fuelling the other.
It is very important that we move beyond the divisive and damaging politics of polarization.
When you try to play the game of identity politics, no one wins. You just leave a toxic legacy for future generations to have to deal with.
For those of us who are opposed to political correctness, language policing and identity politics, we cannot – in the words of Christopher Hitchens – allow the extremist tail to wag the whole dog.
The solution to poisonous identity politics is not more identity politics.
Let’s hope, instead, for an outbreak of common sense.
In this week’s Imagine Athena podcast Candice Holdsworth spoke to Robin Gilbert-Jones, contributing editor to Imagine Athena, about the identity politics of the Regressive Left in the time of Donald Trump, and she also reflects on the identity politics of the far right.
In the Imagine Athena podcast we interview the well-known American political journalist Cathy Young. We discuss antisemitic memes and how the political correctness, intolerance and identity politics of the regressive Left is giving rise to the new identity politics of the Right. We also talk about the US election and Young argues that now more than ever we need to stand up for free expression and individual liberty.
If a case study were needed to showcase the rot in the modern left’s moral compass, the deterioration of the Southern Poverty Law Centre into a megaphone for regressive shills and fascist extremists provides such an instructive example.
As many will know from the mercifully vocal backlash, the SPLC recently published a “Field Guide to anti-Muslim Extremists” which included, among others, Muslim reformer and anti-extremist activist, Maajid Nawaz. This is not the first time I have had to defend Nawaz in print against the degradations of deformed self-righteous leftism, so I shan’t repeat myself at too much length as to his history and importance as a voice of reason in this most divisive issue of religious extremism. Suffice it to say that an organisation that once stood firm against the scourge of racism in the American South, now sees fit to smear as an “anti-Muslim extremist”, an anti-extremism activist who publically defends democratic, secular and liberal values at great cost to his own personal safety from both Jihadi fascists and white racist thugs (with whom he has a history of violent run-ins since childhood). The snake is no longer eating itself, it has concluded its meal, vanished down its own oesophagus and is now moving onto the cheese and brandy course. Read More…
I didn’t go to university to have my preconceptions challenged, or to open myself to weird knowledge and dangerous ideas. I wasn’t seeking to push my personal boundaries or take intellectual risks. It’s not that I don’t think those are valuable experiences, it’s just that such things can be done by anyone, anywhere, without the empty validation of a reading list and a final exam.
University life wasn’t that far removed from not-university life anyway—sure, there were a few misanthropic left-radicals who were angry and judgmental, but they were an avoidable fringe. Not many people were trying to force your worldview, show off about correcting social justice or, even worse, blame you for social injustice. If there were people like that, they were easily ignored from the depths of the SU bar.
Which is why the current state of politically correct academic culture is so troubling. Ideological fanatics, with the backing of fully complicit college authorities, are fostering a campus environment that looks far removed from the norms of everyday life. In this sealed-off, Lord of the Flies echo chamber irrational ideas are being allowed to exert control, and it’s all been officially signed off at the top. Read More…
I was hesitant to write anything about the horrifying events in Orlando as Jihadist mass murders are almost becoming commonplace at this point, at least in Europe and I have very little to say about the trend more broadly that wouldn’t be a reiteration. But a number of trends in the aftermath of the massacre warrant some reflection.
It was probably only a matter of time before the LGBT community was targeted en-masse; a population group almost as hated by Jihadists as Jews. Unlike the Jews, however, the LGBT community is embraced by the liberal mainstream. Unlike the Jews, gay people are not frequently accused of being the cause of their own suffering by the oh-so-tolerant and loving liberal media elite. Read More…
Candice Holdsworth and Robin Gilbert-Jones discuss how the lines between the digital and non-digital world have become steadily blurred over the years which has led to the creation of online echo chambers where people are not adequately exposed to ideas and opinions that challenge them. When they do encounter a critical voice it can be a terrible shock, and may even be perceived as “violence”.
With each new incidence of the now regular sadistic assaults on Western civilisation, disturbing new realisations come to the surface. The only hope is that we can learn from them and face up to this enemy; the defeat of which is essential to the survival, both individually, as civilians and citizens of free societies, and as a way of life. One of the most important lessons to learn, I believe, is that anyone who read that previous sentence and found it to be sensationalist or hyperbolic, is delusional, masochistic or some abject combination of the two. Read More…