by Sean Parker
[OK: There is a video at the bottom. This website does not discriminate against people with short attention spans.]
The New Religion of Identitarianism
The Identitarian movement or Identitarianism is a pan-European, ethno–nationalist, far-right political ideology asserting the right of European ethnic groups and white peoples to Western culture and territories claimed to belong exclusively to them. Originating in France as Les Identitaires (“The Identitarians”), with its youth wing Generation Identity, the movement expanded to other European countries during the early 21st century. Its ideology was formulated from the 1960s onward by essayists such as Alain de Benoist, Dominique Venner, Guillaume Faye and Renaud Camus, who are considered the main ideological sources of the movement. [ED: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identitarian_movement]
So much of progressive politics is a child’s idea of what the world should be. Environmental issues reduced to good vs evil narratives, interpersonal ones reduced to good women vs bad men, cultural problems reduced to All Religion Is Bad. People, and what goes on between them on micro and macro levels, are much more complicated than that.
Historically artists would have been relied upon to reflect and comment on this, but art and mental health have also been put into a co-morbid box where any deviance from art as therapy is met with imprecations to ‘be kind’. Hot young women (HYW) vs broken old men (BOM) define the cultural sphere, where attractiveness bias is still very prevalent, the HYW led to believe anything they want is possible and the BOM correctly working out they’ve been utterly marginalized.
This new kind of victimology is an offshoot of the identitarian corruption increasingly prevalent in social media. Being any sort of victim is prized, along with a sort of ‘stigma-phobia’ encouraged within the new puritan classes. This is facilitated by a compliant news media, dependant on clicks and hits, exaggeration and omission its main currency. Outright lies are unnecessary and legally risky; it’s easier for a half-competent hack to leave out unhelpful details or blow up the salacious details in any story.
Swallowing the progressive Kool-Aid is seen as a virtuous thing to do, and any cognizance of counter-narrative is seen as some sort of capitulation. Social media has presented false memories, revisionism and presentism as relevant and agreed academic theories, since their malleable subjectivity is attractive to wear. Any sense of Englishness and/or the importance of hidden nuance is forgotten as traditional, gammon-ish, out of date – as opposed to the fair, decent, long-termism of yore.
Safety-ism and the damage done by litigation and apology-averse health and safety culture have extended deep roots into a what is otherwise a shallow, postmodern cultural surface. The individual and the nation state are as at-odds as ever, but the financial interests of the traditional left have been ignored in favour of this more lively identitarianism.
This ignorist ambivalence towards relatively recent political history follows a ‘move fast and break things’ ethos contained within Mark Zuckerburg and Elon Musk’s Silicon Valley principles; itself an extension of futurist, rock n’ roll and punk movements of the twentieth century. Alongside this revolutionary zeal, problematic terms such as transphobic, cis, hate speech etc. are smuggled into the media-youth lexicon, its verity established by left-leaning gender studies academics in higher education. 95% of these positions are occupied by the left-leaning, indicating the long march into the educational institutions: get ’em while they’re young.
Hiroshima and Dolly the Sheep are two examples of technological progress that have not gone further in the public realm. Neither scientists nor the public want clones or nuclear war, so the ‘progress’ stopped there. Will that be the case for AI? Even virtual reality can’t seem to get off the ground, on its fiftieth attempts. [ED: and embryotic stem cell research]
The Affirmations Comedown
Meghan Markle, Michelle Mone are two examples of the ‘affirmations’ comedown, as (mostly) women attempt to imagine themselves into a ‘better future’ – but better for whom exactly? Where do alleged governmental corruption, civic honours and identity political machinations become mandated by the public? Never, but social media creates the perception of a mandate, and that’ll do for a generation that doesn’t care much beyond what things ‘look like’.
The age of performative anonymity means that others’ sympathy has become valued currency in place of the conventional ‘success’ narratives of the past. If you want to face the world as yourself, fine, but whistle blowing for the new morality is safer. Snitch culture is celebrated by these new puritans, while loyalty to friendship or traditions is seen as retrogressive or even immoral.
Social media messaging as performative art has replaced the conventional purpose of art as conduit and reflector for the multitude of humanity with an entrenched, stance-taking obstinacy. The sophisticated argument is put aside in favour of who can get their allegation in first, and who can set the narrative as what is good and what is bad.
Woke identitarianism is essentially religious in its ambivalent atheism/agnosticism. With belief in Christianity ever-diminishing, but the power of Islamism increasing, it’s not Christianity that humanist rationalism need worry about so much any more. ‘Belief’ as opposed to the scientific method as the backstop to any debate is the problem. The ego-displacing route to this is the answer ‘I don’t know’, which is the key sign of dialectic maturity. Identitarianism still sees ‘I don’t know’ as a sign of weakness and ‘belief’ as a strength – for now.