Culture War 2.0 is as inescapable as it is obnoxious. Its loudest proponents, the Social Justice Warriors, live off a drama that they create, playing enlightened victim-activists fighting micro-struggles against micro-aggressions in areas most people have never even thought about.
The issues are ideological, but they’re mainstreamed by focusing on personal narratives. The victim-activists are usually millennials from wealthy families with useless degrees. It’s a story as old as radicalism, but in the dawn of the 21st century, it’s activism and culture war being replayed as farce.
Culture War 2.0 politicizes narcissism and insecurity. It obsessively masticates culture the way that its political predecessors destroyed people. Its target audience lives and thinks in terms of premium cable shows. They are to it what novels were to its 19th century counterparts.
Even its ideology is more grievance than theory. It only cares about theory to the extent of parsing the Victim Value Index and determining who has more or less privilege, who ought to feel more guilty and who ought to feel more victimized. This is ideology as soap opera. Politics as a means of deciding who gets to play what emotional role in a societal drama.
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Its political expressions exist in the space of the personal narrative. In this tawdry post-Orwellian future everyone will get their essay of victimhood on Medium or ThoughtCatalog read for 15 minutes. Their drama will, very temporarily, be a trending topic. For a generation of overindulged children, broadcasting their petty pains is the closest thing their lives have to love and meaning.
1984’s world was obsessively serious. Our 2015 social tyranny is absurdly trivial. It’s a world whose leaders is always looking for goofy photo ops while he violates the last remaining shreds of the law. Every crime is buried under a thousand shrieking viral headlines that alternate between fake empowerment and fake outrage.
We don’t have an adult totalitarian state, because we no longer have adults. Instead we have Lord of the Flies and Mean Girls. Overgrown children advance a totalitarian state out of spite and envy. Identity politics is everything because tribalism is more innate to children than it is to adults. Enemies have to be punished for emotional validation. Freedoms have to be eliminated out of insecurity.
The politicization of insecurity lets everyone be a victim. Anyone can turn their feelings of shame or ostracism into political awareness. Feelings not only displace reason, they warp ideology around themselves, so that ideology becomes a means of emotional venting. Activism becomes catharsis. Hating others becomes therapy. No one is cured, but making things better was never the point.
Our emotionally unstable activist elites veer from narcissism to insecurity. Their politics are manic-depressive efforts at managing their emotions by controlling others. They retreat to political safe spaces, gnaw at each other and then emerge forth to demand that the world be made safe for their feelings.
The left always gets what it wants and is never happy. The purpose of its idiot activism isn’t progress, but drama. Each achievement leaves behind a sense of emptiness. It isn’t about rights, it’s about conflict. It’s not about giving to someone. It’s about taking from someone else.
Without the conflict and its accompanying self-dramatization, there is only the emptiness.
The social justice warrior seeks to escape insecurity by dramatizing its own victimhood all the way over into narcissism. But such dramas need participants. Politics is its means of manufacturing that drama by finding antagonists. Without antagonists, there is no drama. Without drama, there is no sense of importance and the activists loses what it hoped to gain, a sense of self.
Our emotionally insecure culture warriors other themselves and then assemble an identity that makes them the victim of some larger primal force, racism, the patriarchy and privilege, when really they are Rachel Dolezals, unstable types who manufacture their victimhood out of a paranoid dislike of people.
Paranoia is the political currency of the emotionally unstable culture warrior who is always certain that someone is looking at them the wrong way, threatening them on social media or committing some other microaggression against them.
There are people who can’t hear a “good morning” without seeing a conspiracy against them. In normal life, they’re diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenics. In political activism, they’re just sensitive to microaggressions.
The left has always valued oversensitivity because neurotics are easy to convince of their own victimhood. And career victims naturally dehumanize those they consider to be their oppressors. As neurosis has become culture, the only way to escape accusations of privilege is to find your own victimhood. And there’s nothing like being forced to develop insecurities to make you insecure.
Culture War 2.0 is culturally crazy. Its personal dysfunction so entangled with politics that there is no way to tell where one begins and the other ends. It politicizes insecurity and narcissism for campaigns that are indistinguishable from trolling. It reduces every issue to personal unhappiness and demands the abolition of traditional freedoms and rights as the answer to that unhappiness.
Its demands are unanswerable because they are personal. There is no solution to them except sanity. And in a cultural conflict where insanity is an asset, sanity is no answer. It’s an accusation.
The truly paranoid see the world as hostile and are driven to destroy it. Their crusade to find happiness by making everyone else miserable can only success halfway. They can never be happy, but they can always make others miserable.
First published at Sultanknish Blog
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