Situational dominance is contingent on local factors.
For example, a 5’4 female teacher with a firm demeanor is situationally dominant over a classroom full of 5-year-olds. If she raises her voice, she can even be intimidating. Outside the classroom situation, however, she’s a short woman in a low-prestige profession who will have trouble commanding general respect unless there are other mitigating factors. Certainly, she’d have problems bossing around rowdy teenagers.
In the cultural scene — particularly in publishing of all kinds — progressives enjoy a limited situational dominance.
On a university campus, if someone tells you that you have to check your privilege — and you’re trying to move up from being an associate professor — you must submit utterly or have your life destroyed. Even if the person is a 55 year old lesbian who had to quit molesting kids because she became too ugly to have them fall for the ol’ candy-van trick anymore, if you’re an associate professor and she’s the committee chair, you need to grovel to her.
Leftists tend to enjoy that sort of situational dominance over American institutions which becomes absolutely irrelevant outside their particular legal context. In a fistfight, the 55-year-old lesbian loses every time against all but the shrimpiest of men. In an academic-legal conflict, she will win just about every time.
As progressives lose influence and authority internationally and even within their own countries, they’ll find themselves only really empowered where people are compelled to respect their authority. Facing up with that retraction from the world must result in far greater interference and focus on the internal lives of average citizens. And so where there were unprincipled exceptions — like how Silicon Valley could get away without having HR departments and obeying the letter and spirit of Civil Rights Law — they must be expunged, because keeping the leftward momentum internationally is proving to be untenable, as we see with the rebuffed Middle Eastern democratic revolutions being pushed back by ISIS in some regions and by a return to military rule in Egypt.
Much of the consternation about progressive influence over Western culture comes from grousing about the situational dominance of progressives over institutions that they control (such as the US government or academia).
Yes, progressives can get your video game censored, because they own almost all of the magazines and successful websites, and the rest of the media besides. Yes, they can debauch your currency with a central bank, because progressives dominate economics departments and universities in general.
Much of the criticism comes from a sort of moralizing position — “hey, progressives, you should really think twice about using your power, because it’s mean and morally wrong.” This has never worked, but it’s the only opposition which progressives permit — grousing, and grousing is useful to progressives because it helps to identify people for them to exterminate later.
“Seeing Like the State” is especially good at furnishing several examples from many different countries about the utility of temporarily permitting dissent to states. It tells you who your enemies are, so you can have them all killed later, while doing almost nothing to challenge your power.
The point of this is to argue that it’s a bad idea to challenge progressives in areas where they have institutional control. You could counter by using the recent example of right-wingers crashing the Hugo Awards, but ultimately, what that was good for was just demoralizing fringe progressives while heartening some right-wing genre fiction fans. The official science fiction author’s groups are, for the most part, still solidly progressive, and will continue to be so. Creating alternative institutions is more important and effective than trying to take over progressive institutions which are only nominally neutral.
The more profound impact on progressive institutions has come from the re-emergence of self publishing and small publishing enabled by Amazon and its eBook platform — a mostly neutral bookstore which has contributed much to the weakening of the progressive critical establishment, which they complain about endlessly. When the opposition complains about something, it’s wonderful, because they’re telling you where the pain is, and if they’re telling you where the pain is, then that’s where you should apply more pressure to cause more of it.
It’s also important to understand that, when making moral arguments in a progressive country, where most people believe in most of the tenets of progressivism, that you have the low ground when making such arguments. It’s futile to criticize progressives on moral grounds which they don’t accept, and which the majority of Westerners tend not to accept. You have to shore up the alternative moral institutions to provide those opposing sources of authority in order to create a self-sustaining resistance.
Robert What? says
What spheres of modern American life you see as not being completely under the Progressive influence?
None of any significance whatsoever.
Jeet Heer’s “Science Fiction’s White Boys’ Club Strikes Back” The New Republic (17 April 2015) (linked above) illustrates how a progressives’ target group can radicalise and turn into the very thing that progressives fear. It’s difficult to imagine that Caucasian male culture in the SciFi literary world is saturated with the kind of bigoted ideology the Left constantly harps on about. Left to their own devices, it would be a world dominated by white males with, presumably, broadly liberal attitudes. “There are no Nazis under the beds ladies, but you have breathed life into the straw man you’ve created.” That should be our message to progressives who bemoan every instance of reaction (and secretly, we should thank them for their efforts).
No, which is why if the American progressives were competent, they would just kill their enemies instead of antagonizing them so much.
Doesn’t this reveal an chink in their armor to attack? Or at the very least, something to exploit? If pain is where they want to apply the pressure than maybe we can begin to tactically decide what we want to allow them to see as “pain”?
It is a big vulnerability. Also, yes, you don’t want to tell them where it hurts and when it hurts, as a general rule, because that’s valuable information that they can use. If you give them false information or none, that’s preferable.
“Conservatives think that those who disagree with them are wrong, liberals think that those who disagree with them are evil, neoreactionaries think think that those who disagree with them are irrelevant.”
Just so. Gnon snaps at our heels. Time does not suffer itself to be halted. Progressives are relevant only within a system that is unsustainable, and therefore eventually doomed. When? I can’t really say. But I can say that I’m old enough to remember when all the wise men and all the smart money were on the side of the idea that the Soviet Union was going to last for centuries more to come (Fun fact: the official series biography of Chekhov from Star Trek said he was born in “Leningrad, Soviet Union, in the year 2245”). Only cranks and fools said otherwise. Well, as Lord Melbourne once said: “What all the wise men promised has not happened, and what all the damned fools said would happen has come to pass”.
What do we do until then? I cannot emphasize enough the relevance of the 8chan model: exit, then form parallel institutions focused on quality over quantity. Essentially all of these will have to have no legal status, because being legally incorporated in any way will subject them to regulatory interference by the state. But what do we care what the government thinks? Or what anyone outside out in-group thinks?
In public, eep your heads low and your mouths shut. Don’t attract attention. Drive the speed limit. Pay your property taxes on time. Publish under pseudonyms. Tell your boss whatever they want to hear – it’s just a paycheck. If questioned, either demur or answer in ways that are technically correct and give only the minimum amount of information possible – “We prefer to homeschool” or “I’m not registered with either political party”. Or shit, just outright lie (where doing so would not constitute felony perjury) – I can divine no moral obligation to be scrupulously honest with those who would use your honesty as a weapon with which to destroy you. Don’t be a cafone.
They can’t last forever. Outwaiting an enemy is a perfectly valid tactic. Just keep your knives sharp, your powder dry, and your rope securely coiled for when the time for waiting is over.
“outside *our* in-group”
“keep your heads low”
Damn typos. Seriously, WordPress, a comment edit function – it’s not that hard; Disqus has one!
They’ve made a bad bet.
As my Polish scientist-ette neighbor said while plotting how to kill a wasp:
“I don’t want to make him mad. I just want to kill him.”
You could counter by using the recent example of right-wingers crashing the Hugo Awards, but ultimately, what that was good for was just demoralizing fringe progressives while heartening some right-wing genre fiction fans. The official science fiction author’s groups are, for the most part, still solidly progressive, and will continue to be so.
Fortunately, the Hugo Awards are not under the control of any official science fiction authors group. That would be the Nebula Awards, administered by the SFWA, which can and does silence and expel dissenting voices. But the Hugos are administered by the WSFS in the form of committees of the annual WorldCon. And the good thing about WorldCon is that it is produced by a different group every year. The Hugos are nominated and voted by the membership of that year’s WorldCon and membership is open to anyone who can by one, with supporting memberships at $40. Which is why this year’s “take over” was possible.
Predictably, the progressive in science fiction and fantasy are not working to alter the rules by which the Hugos are nominated. (It probably won’t do what they think it will.) But it takes at least two years to change the rules (changes can be proposed and passed this year, but have to be passed again by next year’s WorldCon) and any attending member of WorldCon can vote at the business meeting. The earliest such new rules could affect Hugo nominations is 2017.
Whether the takeover will be successful or not is up in the air, but there are different levels of success, one of which is revealing the duplicity of the “progressives” for all to see.