Regressive leftist journalists, like their social justice warrior (SJW) counterparts, use various terms interchangeably when attacking those they oppose -- racist, Nazi, fascist, reactionary, bigot, misogynist, white supremacist, etc. These attacks are typically shielded by systems of circular logic. Debate is not an option. Only confessions are accepted. Sweeping judgements -- about the past, present, and future -- are routinely made with only the flimsiest appeals to evidence. The theoretical positions of left-wing activists -- critical theory, microaggression theory, gender fluidity -- have been elevated to the position of religious truth. If left unchecked, the implications are staggering...
The question on many minds is, why is this happening, and how do we describe and classify it? The trending term for this strange combination of "anti-fascist" fervor and semantic imprecision is intersectionality. Despite sustained attention, we've only begun a systematic analysis of this emotional contagion. While some analyses focus on a diagnosis of this national movement in the present, my analysis will focus on how this national movement emerged.
The SJW phenomena represents the first-fruits of a long-term, systematic effort by the New Left to dismantle the "intellectual superstructure" -- language, culture, institutions -- of the "exploitative," capitalistic West -- cultural Marxism via the Frankfurt School and French postmodernist intellectuals. SJW irrationality, and the blatantly partisan media coverage that fuels it, can only be understood within the context of a rapid leftward shift in academia over the last decade. The New Left's reframing of historical prototypes central to a traditional understanding of the American national identity represents the most salient feature of this leftward shift, and provides the backdrop necessary for understanding what appears to be religious fervor, ignorance, and semantic imprecision by SJWs, but what is actually the expression of an alternative lexicon and historical consciousness produced by systematic textual indoctrination. Many university history departments now serve as echo chambers for the theoretical positions of the New Left, which have been uncritically applied to the nation's past, normalized in the master narrative, and thereby foisted upon analyses of the present.
To be clear, this isn't your 1960s, free love, anti-War, hippie-protestor Marxism, which appealed to the liberal tradition of free speech (as a survival tactic) and focused primarily on empirical economic arguments -- history dressed up as a hard science. Vulgar Marxism went down the tubes with the Soviet Union.
Cultural marxism, by contrast, represents an attempt at the wholesale rebranding of the American national identity as fundamentally oppressive -- racist, sexist, xenophobic, bigoted. This rebranding process has been conducted under the guise of creating a more inclusive historical narrative -- giving a voice to those previously silenced, conferring agency on the previously powerless -- workers, leftists, women, people of color, LGBTQ, immigrants, etc. Who wouldn't want to right the wrongs of the past, and support a more inclusive and compassionate narrative? Who doesn't want to be on the right side of history? However, the alluring premise of producing an inclusive narrative has allowed the New Left to fly under the radar while packaging the central tenants of cultural Marxism -- and its antipathy for traditional American culture and institutions -- into secondary and college history texts, which traditionally have played an important role in the development of the historical consciousness and national identity of American citizens. Critics of the "activist scholarship" that this new narrative is based upon have been easily marginalized as defending the oppressive structures of the past.
In this manner, the worst aspects of American history are subtly amplified and made to be holistically representative of the national character -- past and present. The New Left tells a history of the United States through the eyes of its enemies and malcontents. Is it any wonder that it's adherents see American society as an oppressive force to be overcome? To be fundamentally changed?
While I find the arguments that focus on the religious nature of the SJW movement worthwhile and intriguing, my next series of posts will focus exclusively on making the case that the New Left's consolidation of control over the production of historical texts, coupled with the progressive-oriented influence of the major grant funding foundations, has produced a situation in which traditional American values are being subverted through a top-down structure of intellectual control. The genius of this intersectional paradigm lies in the built-in assumptions that accompany the "unfurling of historical progress" -- "history" now "says" that capitalism, the patriarchy, and white supremacy are both the structures of past oppression, and the obstacles to an inclusive present. Without being challenged, this distorted image of the past will produce a fractured and self-defeating national identity. As a lonesome cowboy on the digital frontier, I believe that divisive identity politics, which the New Left historical paradigm has made such a substantial contribution to, can only be counteracted by cowboy historians willing to pull up their boot straps and tell a different story -- one that rustles the hucksters, and emphasizes the inclusive ideals that made this country exceptional.
"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." - George Orwell, 1984
- The Cowboy Historian