The Caravan Has Moved On

At Areo Helen Pluckrose is complaining that she’s being accused of being right-wing when she thinks she’s actually on the left:

We are now in a situation in which the three parts of the left—radical, liberal and identitarian—are locked in an unproductive deadlock. The radicals oppose the identitarians whom they see as bourgeois elitists rooted in the academy who have completely abandoned the working class and the meaning of leftism. They remain at odds with the liberals for their lack of support for socialism. The liberals oppose the identitarians whom they regard as profoundly illiberal and threatening to undo decades of progress towards individual freedom and equality of opportunity regardless of race, gender and sexuality. They find the radicals of little help in supporting liberalism. The identitarians largely ignore the radicals except in the form of radical feminist rejection of trans identity which they condemn as transmisogynistic hatred but pay some confused lip-service to anti-capitalism (which does not mollify the radicals). They reserve most of their ire for the liberals who are addressing the same social and ethical issues that they are.

Liberal lefties receive most of the identitarian rage because we cannot support the postmodern rejection of an objective truth nor their science-denying cultural constructivism. More than this, however, we cannot support the idea that it is virtuous to see people as members of collectives arranged within a hierarchy that determines who may speak about what in some kind of grotesque recreation of a caste system or medieval feudalism. We cannot accept that the liberalism which has produced so much social progress for previously marginalized groups in society is part of a white, western, patriarchal, cis/heteronormative system of oppression due to its principle that we don’t evaluate people by race, gender or sexuality. We tend to be rather skeptical that we live in a white-supremacist, homophobic patriarchy at all and this is understood (somehow) to be an endorsement of it, although we nearly always accept that racism, sexism and homophobia still exist and have the principles and the will to counter them. For this, we are seen as right wing.

I’m so old I remember when the U. S. senator with the farthest left voting record opposed gay marriage. That was 2008 and the senator was Barack Obama.

Ms. Pluckrose, the caravan has moved on. Everybody hates the center. To those on the right you’re the left and to those on the left you’re the right.

8 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    I don’t have a feel for what the percentages are for each of these factions. My bias is that I just don’t see people who fit the identitarian and radical factions in any real numbers. I think they occur frequently at liberal arts colleges in the humanities sections. Probably fairly frequent in San Francisco, parts of NYC and few other big cities. Not so much anywhere else.


  • But that they are geographically concentrated convinces them they are much more numerous than they actually are. There’s the additional complication that so many of those coastal factions believe that “Democrat” is synonymous with “progressive”. I suspect they would be shocked to learn that the most reliable members of the Democratic constituency are actually pretty conservative.

  • walt moffett Link

    The factions also have their own online watering holes where group think rules. They would probably quite shocked to learn how many churches in D strongholds are fundamentalist.

    However, maybe she will learn that identity is defined by what you think you are instead of what others want. Means a smaller social circle but peace of mind is precious.

  • Modulo Myself Link

    They’ve been playing McCain highlights all week, so I’m not sure who hates the center. My guess is that when the center became John McCain defending Obama to a racist old woman, a lot of centrists thought they were abandoned, because we didn’t get both sides.

    I have no idea what the breakdown of groups is, but I suspect that there’s a solid being drawn between centrists and conservatives. You can respect John McCain and coming together and read Ta-Nehisi Coates, but Trumpism will be appalling. You can’t make people care about gender pronouns, but that works to the favor of people who are trans, not the nutjobs who are screaming about their bathroom experiences at Target being ruined.

  • Andy Link

    Definitely lots of hypocrisy on both sides. I’m kind of immune to it now – the only time I get surprised is when someone actually acts on principles.


    It doesn’t matter what the broad electorate wants, our choices will be determined by relatively small numbers of party activists. I think the Florida governor’s race is the future – here is one of the purplest states in the nation and we have a choice between a (probably) racist Trumpkin and a (probably) corrupt Berniebro.

    That’s why the center is dead – because it has no power in primaries anymore.

    People laud McCain because he is dead (and therefore it is the polite thing to do) but also because everyone realizes that he was the product of a party system that doesn’t exist anymore.

  • Modulo Myself Link

    He was the product of the New Deal’s success in turning America into a place where solidarity alongside capitalism and racism. The reaction to 9/11, the 2008 crash, and the basic fanatical stupidity of white conservatives terminated the entire project.

  • Andy Link

    Even if I subscribed to an identitarian worldview (which I don’t), “white” and “conservative” are sufficiently vague and broad as to be meaningless in terms of assigning cause and effect.

  • Andy Link

    But that’s not the point.

    To me, the problem is that increasingly and too often the candidates we have to choose from are no longer representative of anything except minority factions. The Florida governors race illustrates that pretty clearly, particularly when contrasted with how the two parties used to organize themselves and select candidates.

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