I think I may be getting to the point of a more peaceful and matter of fact reconciliation with my own politics, such as it is. I’ve mentioned before just how monumentally dumb my generation could be in our baby boomer sense of righteousness and mission, a sense which we unfortunately manged to pass on to parts of succeeding generations. I must admit it was a long road from the depths of post 70s agitprop to here, travelling through a lot of seemingly heretical questioning, anger at being fooled, brainwashed and bamboozled, to the slow public recanting of bullshit, to now, when I more than ever do not give a fuck about the righteous rage and certainty of the massed harpies, the walking wounded, the twitter storm troopers, and all the other rainbow cadres of the brave new world. I am not, and actually never really was, on the “side of the angels”, just more on the side of underdogs wanting to live their lives.
Becoming a Satanist has again been a very good thing for me here. In general with Satanists so far, there is little expectation to agree with people’s politics, as there is a lack of the tribalism or fractious insecurity found in large parts of Paganism or the online gay community, where there tended to be too high a premium placed upon agreement or proselytizing for required political positions or identities. With Satanism, people in general seem to assume you may have your own political perceptions or preferences, and they may or may not fit into a particular description, but it’s your business, and it’s meant to be your business. I find that far more mature.
But still I see the results of that old world of reconditioned, sanitized, Orwellian certainty, running free in twitter hordes, out to punish the next transgressor of the New Order, and all with the relish of people whose righteousness far outweighs any sense of responsibility or perspective. Still you get that howl of entitlement, magnified louder than ever, rearing on its hind legs. How could you not agree with the program? How could you not be a “feminist”, a queer theorist, a leftist, a something? What are you? A rape apologist? A fascist? An abuser?* That monster we chase when sighted? The unreconstructed human being? Tally ho and off they go! Fox hunting “the patriarchy” or whatever. Who’s actually some guy or woman who just doesn’t agree. Who hasn’t learned to mouth the “truth”.
The same way plastic breaks down into smaller and smaller particles of equally toxic plastic; authoritarian, collectivist politics has broken down into identity politics. The political internet is that island of trash floating in the middle of the ocean.
An intimation of peace comes when you realize for long enough, the amount of lies you swallowed, and that no amount of rage and righteousness, and misrepresentations regurgitated, can actually make an ideological assertion anything more than just that. Given just how corrupted things like academia, research and subsequently policy have become by that ground down, plastic thinking, it is with almost a sense of faith that I might hope that the hysterical irrationality of identity politics, with all its narcissistic swaddling, and reverse thinking, and desperate attempts to knife and silence the enemy, are actually a sign that it is in decline. As they used to say (oh the irony), succumbing to its inherent contradictions. Gotta hope.
I remember the good intentions, and I still have those. Somewhere inside me there is this little wannabe hippie that believes in a changed world. I still want change in various, very human respects. But now I know the taste of betrayal, and this brand new world is soaked in it.
You don’t have to accept it.* not so long ago I heard some of the questions of the “men’s rights movment” (which includes both men and women) trashed, on the grounds that male suicides were more successful (ie they actually killed themsleves more than women) because of male pride and ego, and male deaths in warfare didn’t count as suffering, because, ya know, soldiers are meant to die (and let’s not mention conscription). Most people don’t even seem to be aware that universal male suffrage came only shorty before female suffrage in the UK, and women were still not expected to bear the same legal obligations of citizenship as men. But people are so incapable of seeing individual human beings anywhere, that all they can say is “yeah, mainly men did it to men though, so quit complaining and give women more of the goods”. Yeah, that’s right, the “patriarchy” treated most men worse than most women. Did you get that? And it’s part of the traditional attitude that women are protected first, and men don’t complain, that women’s suffering is more significant for society. Did you get that too? And those suffragettes? Those august ladies were going round giving white feathers to men they saw were not at the front line in the 14-18 war, as they considered it cowardly and unpatriotic that they were not getting butchered for their country. Pankhurst “also lobbied to institute an involuntary universal draft, which included those who lacked votes due to being too young or not owning property” [emphasis my own]. A draft only for men of course. Whose the fuckin “patriarchy” now?