HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » Don't Believe What They T...

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 11:38 AM

Don't Believe What They Tell You About The Left

( Excellent )

June 12, 2019


Try reading our books and talking to us instead of listening to what YouTube loudmouths say we think…
by Nathan J. Robinson

Bret Weinstein, a prominent member of the Intellectual Dark Web and critic of “identity politics,” recently released a video arguing that “demonizing ‘whiteness’ spreads white nationalism.” He contends that “intersectionalists,” by telling straight white men they are bad, have made the return of genocidal white supremacy more likely. He says:

They are going to back straight white males against the wall [and] white nationalism will emerge from that cohort… [These straight white males] have been accused, by bigots, of oppressing others, and been told that they are not entitled to well-being no matter how they individually have behaved. So what do they have to lose by cooperating together against the intersectionalists, essentially creating the world that the intersectionalists claim already exists.

Weinstein later cited a comment left on his video as an example of the tendency. The commenter wrote:

I have never been interested in white ethnonationalism until I started being told I was somehow unworthy of being a part of society by the media/the left. I do not feel superior to anyone based off of my race, but I also will not be told I am inferior. I don’t want to be involved in hateful subcultures, but when the message I’m overwhelmingly receiving from the common culture in general is ‘fuck you for being a straight white man,’ white nationalism starts looking much more appealing. If the rest of society has formed race-based gangs as in a prison, I’m going to start sitting with the other whites for group protection.

I am not naturally sympathetic to the “Black Studies made me become a Nazi” position. Partly this is because, as a straight white male myself (and a college Black Studies major), I have no idea what these guys are even talking about. I’ve never been told “fuck you for being a straight white man.” Nothing of the kind. The closest thing I’ve ever gotten is “perhaps as a straight white male you should exercise a bit of caution and restraint before loudly giving your opinion on matters that other people may have somewhat more personal experience with.” But when people insist they “won’t apologize for being white,” I still wonder who has been asking them, because nobody has ever asked me to do anything but show respect for marginalized people’s perspective and critically examine my own assumptions and advantages. Which seems a fairly modest ask.

I don’t know what “common culture” this guy inhabits, but it must be far more left-wing than my own. The common culture of the United States is The Bachelor and The Big Bang Theory and Judge Judy and Let’s Make a Deal. Even our liberal late-night hosts (Colbert, Kimmel, Fallon) are all straight white men! Most of the common culture seems pretty apolitical to me, and as I have wandered through American cities I have hardly ever encountered intersectional feminist theory. Weinstein and the reluctant white nationalist must be living in a totally different country to me. The media are anti-straight white men? Which media? The New York Times? If only they were, perhaps we wouldn’t hear so regularly from David Brooks, Thomas Friedman, Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, Nicholas Kristof, Roger Cohen, and the one I always forget. [edit: David Leonhardt! It’s David Leonhardt.] CNN? White male privilege is the only explanation I have ever come up with for the career of Wolf Blitzer. Maybe it’s MSNBC, where Joe Scarborough is on for three hours a day. And let’s not forget, when we talk about “the media,” that FOX News is a giant propaganda apparatus that, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, spews precisely the perspective that the IDW thinks is being suppressed by the Dominant Culture.

Sam Adler-Bell had a similar reaction to Weinstein, saying that as someone very immersed in culture, he thinks he would probably have discovered by this point if “fuck off for being white” was indeed the “overwhelming message.” Adler-Bell makes a very good point, which is that the people saying this don’t actually seem very familiar with the people that they’re accusing of sending the anti-white, anti-male message:

These people are not getting the message “everyone hates white straight males” from left wing media. They’re not watching left wing media!! It’s absurd. They’re getting that message from right wing media *interpreting* left wing media for them.

I’ve pointed out before that critics of social justice politics rarely seem very familiar with the arguments being made or the people making them. (For a whole book on what they get wrong about social justice, see The Current Affairs Rules For Life: On Social Justice and Its Critics.) If you watch, for example, the Rubin Report, you’ll see a lot of people talking about what the bizarre crazy social justice people say, but you won’t hear from the people themselves. Bret Weinstein and the YouTube commenter aren’t really listening to what is being said on the left. “So you’re saying I’m irredeemably bad? That being born Caucasian is a crime? That I have to apologize? That I should be put on trial?” It’s like their ears are clogged.

(An interesting related anecdote: A while back, we commissioned the wonderful artist Chelsea Saunders to draw a cartoon depicting the absurd conservative view of American universities, complete with literal pronoun police and privilege-checking stations. The image was originally called “The Campus, In The Mind Of A U.S. Conservative.” Somebody reposted it on the pro-Trump subreddit, with all of the title except “The Campus” removed. The right-wingers loved it, commenting on what an accurate depiction of universities it was, not realizing that the image was spoofing absurd conservative beliefs about universities. They simply cannot believe that we are not actually like their absurd imagined caricature of us.)

https://www.currentaffairs.org/2019/06/dont-believe-what-they-tell-you-about-the-left

7 replies, 841 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 11:49 AM

1. +1 the "dominant culture" is of by and for straight white men

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 11:52 AM

2. Selective Populism - Umberto Eco's Essay on Ur-Fascism 1995

13. Ur-Fascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say. In a democracy, the citizens have individual rights, but the citizens in their entirety have a political impact only from a quantitative point of view—one follows the decisions of the majority. For Ur-Fascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is only a theatrical fiction. To have a good instance of qualitative populism we no longer need the Piazza Venezia in Rome or the Nuremberg Stadium. There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People.
Because of its qualitative populism Ur-Fascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary governments. One of the first sentences uttered by Mussolini in the Italian parliament was "I could have transformed this deaf and gloomy place into a bivouac for my maniples"—"maniples" being a subdivision of the traditional Roman legion. As a matter of fact, he immediately found better housing for his maniples, but a little later he liquidated the parliament. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell Ur-Fascism.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Thomas Hurt (Reply #2)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 12:03 PM

4. Fits the Trump era, but its roots go back even further to the Reagan era.

A mix of a mess from con artists.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BeckyDem (Reply #4)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 12:26 PM

6. We have been headed toward christofascist theocracy since Reagan.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BeckyDem (Original post)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 12:03 PM

3. "left wing media" - what left wing media?

There is almost no "left wing media" on any form of TV in this country, nor on any radio. The few hours a week that some classify as "left wing" is negligible. Much of that is on corporate owned outlets and as such is very open to being removed at a moments notice.

There are some pockets of lefty opinion on the internet, but hardly anything that could be described as a "current culture."



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rurallib (Reply #3)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 12:05 PM

5. I know, and I find the writer exposing that reality when he mentions the NYT and others.

I always find it laughable when the Republicans refer to it as liberal.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to BeckyDem (Reply #5)

Wed Jun 12, 2019, 03:53 PM

7. Yep - the NYT has some lefty columnists but

swings for whoever is in power.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread