“No more performative shit!” Cries a latinx antifa woman at a white antifa man, whom she accuses of not being radical enough to punch a Nazi in the jaw. But, really, it’s all performative shit. All of it. None of you have scraped even one single filing of white off the spine of capital. The beast you declare to be a skeleton encompasses every single one of your actions, and taking out your impotent fury on middle-aged dough-faced Neo-Nazis is the only emotional catharsis you have in face of the knowledge that in all the years of leftist theory-making, not one of you fucks has found anything approximating an alternative to capital.
There are many radical professors. There is so much critical theory, critical race theory, Marxist analysis, the history of Maosim, Leninism, the Cuban revolution, the socialist anarchist movements in Spain, and yet what has it amounted to but a bunch of damn useless theory?
George Ciccariello-Maher, a Drexel professor famous for his performative woke-speech in favor of Nazi punching, has a book called Building the Commune. He has a book with this title, because he is an impotent clown, and if he actually had anything approximating an answer, he would be out there right now actually building the commune. Instead, he writes about it, because he is just alienated from the fabric of reality as the workers who mop his offices are from the means of production.
George Ciccariello-Maher inculcates a special type of sickness. He sits, in his office, on Twitter, and performs a kind of radical street-boxing approach to shutting down neo-fascism. And yet, the most obvious critique of him rings the most true: his words do not align with his actions. Will this coward himself ever actually throw a punch? Of course not. Never in his life. So what he is doing is telling other people, people with nothing left to lose, to go out there and beat up Nazis, get jailed or beat up in return, and call that a victory for the revolution, comrade, raise your fist.
He lives in the broken shells of century-old ideologies that he thinks can apply to the digital consumption of all individuality, the Geohell, that we currently live in. He is a man trapped in ‘dialectic’, like all people who are truly impotent, who worship the ‘dialectic’, the ‘synthesis’ that never comes, though they assure you that you’re merely a reactionary for noting the blatant reality that their ‘progress’ of the dialectic, the conversation between liberation and fascism, has gone fucking nowhere in 400 years.
A far nobler figure on the left is Chris Hedges. Hedges, who is an ordained minister, who holds a sublime love of non-violence and doomed causes, informed by his Christianity, is a far more honest broker than a weak man who knows he is weak but invites warfare on the streets anyway.
Those of us living in reality understand that 20,000 DSA kids versus the police state and the Oathkeepers ends in a massacre and probably the instating of a total martial law police state. In fact, such a war would be the argument of ruthless acceleration into collapse and Neo-monarchy, not the argument of a do-gooder normie-Marxist looking to liberate the working class.
George Ciccariello-Maher doesn’t wish to do good. He is a prisoner of his own theories, a warped Marxist on bath salts in Geohell, trying to punch his way out of his own skin. He claims to understand violence, then advocates for individuals to lose everything over empty acts of emotional catharsis that only prove the total futility of resisting capital.
If Twitter users asking for others to punch Nazis for them is the face of the revolution, I only laugh at how pathetic the legacy of Marx, a genuinely great thinker, has become.
Why does the emperor turn the circus against him? In conventional narratives of authoritarianism, sports are a tool of reinforcing uncritical patriotism and keeping entertainment wedded to the heights of performative nationalism. Yet Donald Trump, a man seen as representing the ruddy faces of America’s red state white male fathers, who all tune in to sports to avoid politics, has made the players of the sport a symbol of counterculture. Colin Kaepernick, now dozens of others, have made kneeling for the national anthem a symbol of the players against the masters, the black men asked to blow apart their bodies on the field instead turning toward the flag and rejecting its false promises. How did we get here?
Donald Trump, of course, rejects the idea that institutional racism exists. That is no surprise. The average black household makes only 57 dollars for every 100 dollars earned by a white household. The racial determinism of birth has not vanished, yet fantasies of unmarred opportunity are peddled to black Americans, who remain traumatized, institutionalized, by the restless limbs of poverty, and the dark face of their ancestral losses, codified in the present, pulsating beside their heads as they sleep, the idols of a misbegotten journey into America, those fearsome Medusas. Rapper Montana of 300 has called America “hell’s heaven”. Indeed, it seems right to call this place hell’s heaven. I would not want for an instant to live in a country without free speech, as the rising Chinese bulwark of Sino-futurism seems destined to blot out that sun, along with all privacy and individuality. And yet it is clear that we are still living in hell.
If you have lived for this long on Earth, and have not seen that evil is more powerful than good, and that it is not in your individual power to change that, then I do not know what to say to you. Those who have internalized this evident reality find themselves scorched by a black truth, literally a black truth, the fact of inequal circumstance and a rotten inheritance, the bag handed down for generations containing only ash and the small skull of one slain demon, slavery, and segregation, only to find that these institutions were mere formal structures given to the eternal law. That is how Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about race – as an eternal law of fallen man’s suffering. The black person, then, is the most beloved by God. In Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Fear’, the skull-shatteringly cruel voicemail at the end of the song reveals the cosmos of Job – God is only punishing you unduly because he loves you. You, who are tested the most, are promised the Kingdom of Heaven, because this Earth is hell.
It would take 228 years for the average black family to earn the same generational wealth as the average white family. In light of that fact, for a black man in professional football, having succeeded against the odds, but maintaining knowledge that he is part of a select few, and that millions of black men just like him are swatted down by the same hand of the Bodhisattva that raised him up, a bad conscience is sure to develop. In that instance, a symbolic rejection, a knee upon the field, comes when you are expected, in spite of all this, to honor the image of a sanctuary within a sanctuary.
One wonders what Donald Trump is thinking when he tests the limits of our collective patience time and time again. For a generation that coined the microaggression, we have now been punished with this eternal prodding, each day a new thing to make the ‘sane and rational center’ go absolutely mad. Perhaps that center never once existed. Donald Trump, in participating in the politicization of sports, has accelerated the demise of that center. Now, no sport is free from political structure. An eternal war is waged in all sectors of life, a cultural sickness removed from economic reality, a stupid world where Tom Brady represents white nationalism and the Atlanta Falcons were trying to overthrow white supremacy for just a brief flashing moment in February of 2016.
It is a world woven purely of symbols, where economics is pushed into the absent and impossible past. Even Donald Trump, the President himself, is impotent, flailing meaninglessly at symbols in his unfocused outrage at all that offends him. And meanwhile, beside it all, the tension of a North Korean war sinks deeper and deeper into the unconscious, sublimated away, because we know we are powerless to prevent or act upon such a situation. Perhaps this weekend’s news cycle, of September 23rd and 24th, encapsulates the image of a humanity at the brink moreso than any other moment: a society agitating for nuclear war spends its weekend waging war over symbolic protest.
Asking who politicized culture first would be a waste of time. Culture has always been political, but now for the first time this observation has ceased to be radical. The days of manufacturing consent are long behind – it is more acceptable in the mainstream to despise the President than to support him. Sports, to many, is more a field of radical politics than the actual machinations of governance. A celebrity President means exactly what it appears to mean – it is no longer possible to be ‘woke’. There is only being compassionate and wrong, or cruel and closer to an approximation of what is really going on.
There are no ‘free thoughts’. Every thought pushes back against you in its own way. You are eternally thinking against yourself, crucified in an incomplete world. What now? Is the death drive stronger than life?
I surmise you will need more than a grain of faith to survive this century.
I believe that hip hop fundamentally is an extremely capitalist and anti-socialist medium, and it is paradoxically fascinating that rap is considered the voice of the oppressed when it is so clearly in love with the oppressing influence of capital.
It is no coincidence that rap’s worship of wealth, women and success have led the medium to idolize Donald Trump right up until the moment of his Presidency. You don’t get to praise Lucifer until he achieves the throne, and then act like he’s betrayed you. Donald Trump, in the pages of hip hop lyricism, would be considered a mythical hero by an alien race observing the history of that lyricism up through the 90s.
Why? Well, because rap is in love with capitalism. Simon Reynolds wrote: “To ‘get real’ is to confront a state-of-nature where dog eats dog, where you’re either a winner or a loser, and where most will be losers”.
The relationship between rap and capital is summarized by the subtitle of Reza Negarestani’s impossible theory-fiction: ‘complicity with anonymous materials’.
Capitalism destroys blackness, and yet capital is the only path for black people to better themselves. This is the essence of Jay-Z’s 4:44, and its fixation upon black business as the salvation of black America. Yet, isn’t this just the same American Dream optimism peddled by white racist conservatives? Capital shatters the lives of all those around you, yet you alone, the rapper, The Star, are to overcome all the shattered fragments, batting aside the glass pieces with bars and verbal acuity, ascending ever upward as the community remains destroyed.
What else can be done? It is the crisis of capitalism – achieve your dream, even though millions of others will fail in theirs. How many thousands of hungry young black men die each day reading their Soundcloud analytics figures, grinding their teeth and holding back tears as they see, day after day, that the stars have not chosen them?
“Hustle, grind, never sleep”. The mottos of the rap world are identical to the most insane mottos of corporate capitalism. Rapper Cupcakke Tweets: “If you’re feet ain’t hurting, you ain’t working hard enough.” Puff Daddy Tweets: “If you’re not motivating me, praying for me, loving me, or trying to get money with me… You’re a distraction.”
Puff Daddy is the richest rapper of all time. His philosophy has worked. And yet, his philosophy is vampire capitalism. All surplus value is directed toward him – that is the law and rule of his corporeal existence.
Rapper Killer Mike poses a fascinating alternative – focus on arming black folk with firearms and investing in black banking. Create concentrated centers of black capital and thus create black power outside of white institutions. And when there is violence on the streets? Arm yourself. This essentially amounts to a black libertarianism. Black people, indeed, if they had invested in Bitcoin between 2010 and 2014, would now find themselves in a rather powerful position.
Black banking is an attempt at achieving the goals of cryptocurrency – a life boat from the sinking of the stock market and the vanishing of the Wall Street bull beneath acidic shores. Killer Mike is, for all intents and purposes, a libertarian ‘pan-Africanist gangster rapper’. His survivalism, individualism and emphasis on alternative modes of community resources strike to the heart of even such figures as Alex Jones, though clearly Mike is more serious and represents the light-version of Jones’ shadow-dweller.
Of course, Killer Mike is also a Christian. Mike, like Cornel West, like Nina Turner, is a believer in God’s grace despite the blood and soil of this world, which is the domain of Satan. Satan is the prince of this world – and yet accumulating Satanic power is the only way to break free from poverty. Wealth, capital, is the serpent – it is wise, it creates opportunity. So we chase it – knowing it will destroy most of us. We all, us dutiful slaves, believe that we will be the exception, the one who is saved, the single sperm who reaches the egg, the single thread that weaves the needle.
All those who invite violence, from antifa to white supremacists, believe the same thing – they believe that violence, the way of the serpent, can save them. It may save some. It saved Cornel West, in Charlottesville, when he directly credited antifa for saving himself and dozens of church activists from being swamped by Neo-Nazis thugs. Violence also saved the world when it destroyed the Nazis in World War II, and black titans of the intellect such as W.E.B. DuBois argued that black Americans had to swallow their concerns about racism for the time being to win the war against Nazi Germany.
Speak to the serpent – this is the motto of this world, of accruing wealth, of having a bag and being able to reach into it for self-worth and application of the individual will. It’s a compromise we must make. Each time we fill our gas tanks, purchase clothing, purchase food – you get the point. There is no ethical consumption under capitalism.
And yet, there exists nothing outside of capitalism. Though this world is of Satan, we are in this world. Can one, as Melville suggested, live ‘in’ this world without being ‘of’ it? Can one consume and be a capitalist and yet maintain the divinity beyond it all? We certainly hope so. Because in practice, we are all capitalists.
Cosmic fatalism surrounds us here, like a misty cloud, we see that there is no exit – only the promise of doing better within the brutal circle we have.
The career of Kendrick Lamar is itself a plummeting into this cosmic fatalism. On To Pimp A Butterfly, songs like “Instituionalized” lament the inability for Kendrick to uplift his friends out of their self-destructive mindsets. No matter how much jewelry and gold circles the widening gyre, they cannot change themselves. In DAMN, this feeling becomes the essence of the whole album – you cannot change who you are. Is it wickedness alone that condemns black America, a Demiurge beyond our control, or rather weakness, a simple inability to become more than we are and transcend our own nature? You may decide, but neither option leaves revolution as a tangible response. Black Americans are institutionalized by their own self-hatred, their own misbegotten lack of generational wealth, and a civilization that charges onward into digital fragmentation, unconcerned with their suffering. Nick Land wrote that the Civil Rights movement was the ‘New Testament’ of black history in America. The Old Testament was slavery, the civil war, the slave cry of ‘let my people go’. Black history, then, closely aligns to the arc of human history in frightening and sublime ways – the New Testament, the possibility of grace, has descended like the crucified savior upon a cross and crown of thorn. And yet, the possibility of grace remains unfelt, and the world remains as it was despite the empty tomb. A miracle has occurred, and yet nothing has changed. Such is the true panic and hatred of this world, the recognition that not even grace can stop the wheel and change its ways.
The pessimistic Kendrick, then, is the most truthful. His intimate knowledge of suffering and the stubbornness of man must make his own life something of a hell – to possess ultimate cultural power and yet zero political force is an institutionalization of its own. The paragon of the race has achieved his dream – and yet his people are not free, and may never become free.
Writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates, beloved darlings of ‘neoliberal but woke’ white liberals, write about racism as if it were a torrential downpour, a force of karmic Godhood, the Godhand turned against the beings dark like the moon, and like soil. His writings amount to a great lamentation of an unstoppable force. He knows the body is fragile, and cannot protect itself, and yet there is no soul, so there is no possibility for resurrection, or hope. Coates incarnates the Old Testament wounds of the black church with none of its theology. He is the ultimate pessimist and is a voice of trauma alone.
Perhaps, in rap history, there has been no lie louder than Chance the Rapper’s bar: “I do not talk to the serpent.” This false holy boy attitude is something that Kendrick Lamar, a person who is actually wise, could never hold onto.
Chance presents naivety, Lamar presents wisdom. Lamar acknowledges that “I got dark, I got evil that rot inside my DNA”. Chance, meanwhile, makes pretense to a false nostalgia, with his baby-mumble voice and flow, the infinite childhood of a dumb young boy in awe of a church choir, who has never grown out of that joy and understood the world as it is.
Lil Yachty, likewise, was much maligned by old-head archetype Joe Budden for suggesting that he’s always happy, or that depression is never something he sees fit to put into his music. Lil Yachty’s album flopped, because of his pristine corporate image. Yachty is a perfect figure for fake-woke neoliberals – his album cover features the poor sodden masses of social justice, all the oppressed and non-conventional bodies and identities presented alongside mediocre and vanilla music, and a gentle heaping of Sprite and other corporate endorsements.
Vince Staples, perhaps the most intelligent and no-nonsense rapper in the game right now, also endorses Sprite. But Staples make no pretense to any higher goal. In all his interviews, he says that he only wants to earn money to buy his mother a house and keep his family happy and paid. Nothing more, nothing less. He is a voice of stoicism and simplicity in a time of overworked false glamour. He ‘keeps it real’. Of course, in keeping it real, he acknowledges the same cosmic fatalism that leads Kendrick Lamar to dismiss the dream of revolution. Neither men are are here to change karma. They’re just here to speak what they see.
On the contrary, Lil Uzi Vert and xxxtentacion, in the vein of Lil Yachty, present total falsehoods. Uzi, who has stapled his own head on camera and claimed to sell his soul to Lucifer, is in reality not much more than a fame-hungry nobody who bit the autone-crooning style of another rapper, Trippie Redd. Lil Uzi Vert is so popular because he is a nobody who admits he only started rapping to get popular. There is no love for the medium, there is only the craving for power and fame. He is a ruthless capitalist who steals styles and pretends to be something more original than he actually is just to cultivate a brand. Lil Uzi Vert, in his own words:
“My homie at my high school used to rap, and he got all the attention, so I’m like ‘I can rap too.'” -HOT 97 interview, February 2016
Then there is is xxxtentacion, who truly is a pathetic figure. Accused of ruthless domestic assault by his then-pregnant girlfriend, delivering levels of corn in freestyles straight out of edgelord hell, embodying a fake depth that manifests in high-school level sad poetry (if I’m being generous) and accumulating enormous hype off of lo-fi scream-punk hip hop and then releasing a trash sadboy album that is shorter than it will take most people to read this article, xxx is a total flop, a mirror reflection of the shallowness of our own ‘dark, diseased’ minds, that really have nothing inside them. Nothing profound to say, no new sound – just smoke and mirrors.
The newest and perhaps last famous Soundcloud rapper is a 16-year-old named Lil Pump, who has never spit a bar in his life, and will likely die of a lean-induced coma by age 30, leaving behind nothing but a trail of piss, sizzurp and mass delirium.
Lil Wayne, arguably one of the greatest rappers of all time, in a league all his own, is 40 years old and suffering comas from his lean consumption, and unable to release his last record because he signed a deal that screwed him and chained him indefinitely to Birdman, another ruthless capitalist, but one without talent, without scruples, a scumbag of the lowest order. Wayne’s fate is in his hands, which he rubs together menacingly like the Lord of the Flies.
Is rap dead? No, but the ability to rap clearly is. Even when you have rappers who spit absolute fire, like Joyner Lucas or Montana of 300, there is nothing new under the sun. There is nothing new to express. There is either tortured hyper-syllabilistic insane lyricism that ultimately says absolutely nothing, a linguistic monument to an inflated ego, or a rehashing of the misery of black poverty, gang life, the ‘real’ that sits at the foundation of racist capitalist terror.
Drake, the most popular rapper, encapsulates the mainstream of rap quite flawlessly. He is a boring individual who has put R&B and dancehall ahead of bars, slowly sublimating the genre of rap into a more melodic, boring, repetitive mode of music. That type of rap, that is more singing than rap, is only on the rise.
The stereotype is that women love it. The marketing idea is that women love the melodic music, the club songs. And yet, when it comes to misogyny, rap as a whole gets a free pass. God help you if you make a sexist film or a sexist novel – but a sexist R&B banger that calls women every name in the book and denounces them as material sluts worthy of no love? That gets the club moving.
Of course, this is bad news for the current strand of feminism, which narrow-mindedly has sought to assign all negative influence in the world to the ‘father culture’. Toxic masculinity, the way of men, is considered the root of aggression, competition, brutality and evil. And yet, rappers are some of the most sexually attractive men alive. They are open about their participation in this evil – that’s what ‘getting real’ is about: understanding that women are hoes, aren’t worth shit, and it’s time to sleep with them and leave them. Men’s rights activists are maligned, even though they share the worldview of hip-hop. They just lack the aesthetics.
These ‘problematic’ bangers go over extraordinary well with women. Why? Because these hyper-masculine traits are actually attractive. Modern feminists play a cynical game: they want all men to be meek, polite, passive gentlemen, but nobody actually values those men when it’s time to have fun. That’s when it’s time to bring out Young Thug and Lil Wayne. And Young Thug and Lil Wayne! If you think you have heard the most disgusting anatomical language about women possible, their records will utterly floor you. But women fuck it with heavy. Why? Hyper-masculinity is selected for, not against.
This is all a big problem for the narrowest version of feminism, which casts masculinity as oppressive and bad, and femininity as compassionate and good. When it comes down to it, many women are glad to have men who break the rules and are vicious hyper-realist capitalist go-getters. The contradictions amount rather obviously to anyone paying attention.
Hip-hop, like all beautiful art, amounts to a sinister contradiction that appears to be the voice of an authentic oppression, and it is, and yet its lifeblood depends on complicity with that very same oppression. What is the proper response? To answer that question is the same as to ask what we should do in response to the paradox of evil in the world. it can’t be solved. It’s just worth understanding what the medium is: a lamentation of one’s own poisoned soul.
“All our problems are related” reads the Occupy Wall Street poster I have seen in a half dozen college dorm rooms. Indeed, all our problems are swirled into one massive enterprise, a beast by a thousand names, and so every strand of fur or piece of claw is an opportunity to attack the entire thing. Manspreading, private health insurance, catcalling, drone war, the toppling of confederate statues and intense poverty are all opportunities to rail against the now, to rise up, to create the revolution on the basis of any expression of inequality in any human domain at any time.
Given that, I think it’s a simple declaration of fact that the left is waging a spiritual war. The idea that every foundation of modern civilization is corrupted by the same factor – capitalism – is not a political doctrine, but a mythological one. Capital is the face of the beast of revelation, the antichrist, the traitor to humankind. How could it be anything else? It is the creator of all inequality, thus the source of all unjust suffering, thus occupying the very role of the fall from paradise in the Marxist narrative of history.
The project of the left is to create the kingdom of God on Earth, the ‘virgin nature’ that existed before the fall, before mortality, inequality, poverty and pain. Capital is the serpent’s head that surges through history, it is the evolutionary tree of life itself. It is genetics, IQ, the factors of life and wellbeing beyond our control, which doom some of us and bestow others with gifts.
This, of course, is why the left despises evolutionary psychology, or any appeal to biological human nature whatsoever. If we are a blank slate, if most of our behavior is constructed, then it can all be changed. The snake of capital can be twisted to become something else. By human hands, we can make ourselves more than capital. We make ourselves more than what we are. We can overcome our own nature, because we have no innate ‘nature’. We could be anything.
It’s inspiring, beautiful and magnificent. Making the kingdom of heaven on Earth is surely the only goal worth pursuing. And yet, is it true? Is it actually, factually, true that we can become anything and rise beyond our fallen nature?
Well, let’s look to the left. As a reader of leftist thought, it seems abundantly clear to me that this boundary line is firmly established – capital must be overthrown to create a better world. Yet, this critique, which I absolutely agree with, is the limit of leftist thought at the moment.
Mark Fisher’s book Capitalist Realism calls for a universal notion of worker solidarity, an emphasis on local control of industry, but none of these projects are contained within the mass consciousness of contemporary visible leftist thought. What you see in the mainstream left is opposition to Trump, opposition to Nazis, and the leveraging of identity politics against the very concepts of individual liberty and freedom of speech.
Highly intelligent left writers admit that they only support antifa and illiberal left movements out of desperation:
There is a crisis of imagination. And that is not good at all. Without a cogent imagination of what a world without capital, an actual paradise, would look like, we’re left clawing at the edges of our vision, hoping for a way out. The leftist is no better off than the world-weary existentialist.
Can this paradise even be created by human minds? I don’t know. I genuinely don’t know. It is, once again, as Mark Fisher wrote, “easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.”
If capital itself is our karma, our mortality, our suffering and our status as broken human beings imbued with a shadow, demons and angels alike, then how could we possibly rid ourselves of what we are? Can a soul carve out its dormant Satan and cast it out? Can imperialism, greed, and the accumulation of capital be severed at the root? Can we change who we fundamentally are and have proven to be for 100,000 years?
If we have a human nature, and that nature is largely inscribed in our genetics, then it doesn’t look good for the left. If the best we can do is topple statues and shout down Nazis, we aren’t even within the outer limits of a better world where capital is seriously challenged.
So what now? Ever the question. Ask it young, and pursue it relentlessly for life, and maybe you’ll find out. That’s the best I’ve got.
There’s a new realignment taking place in American politics. Because of shit like this, this, this and this, being socially liberal is now the authoritarian and in-group socially policing position that being conservative once was.
The new conservative kids, if they think conservatism has any future at all, have to adopt a neutral stance toward social issues – live and let live. Trans people? Their choice. Free speech? Absolute. Abortion? Again, your choice.
Even if the conservatives aren’t here yet, this is clearly the only coherent social view remaining in America. The young right knows this. They are pouncing upon the opportunity. And here’s the problem: through the culture wars and anti-SJWism, conservatives have lied and pretended to be the ‘new punk’.
Now, being against SJWs will also involve being slipped a red pill that thinks authoritarian policing is great, universal healthcare is a joke, the flat tax is amazing, and the only function of the state is to police and wage war. This aspect of the conservative/libertarian soul is morally and spiritually corrupt.
It leads people like Ben Shapiro to make absurd arguments, like that corporations don’t influence government policy and subvert democracy through big money, that lobbying the government is no different from any private exchange of money, that socialized medicine is impossible and morally evil, and that, as I said before, the only function of the state is to wage war and beat black people with batons.
Conservatives have played a smart game. They’ve used the absurdity of the SJW and anti-individualist left to peddle supply-side economics and racist myths about crime, justifying mass incarceration and poverty as just a part of the natural dominance hierarchy.
The left is losing this culture war. Saying that the founding fathers were racist fascists, and thus individual rights are inherently racist and fascist, is like Fox News for the left. So, even though I’m screaming into the wind here, my advice for the left is simple:
Organize the working class on the basis of a better life. Don’t be anti free speech. Be culturally libertine, like the left used to be, when it was up against George W. Bush and conservatives were (and still are) the ones threatening free speech.
An enclosed and socially restrictive left will only allow conservatism to survive the generational gap and thrive 30 years from now.
But, I’m sure that will happen, and the 2020 election will be narrowed on one issue:
“We, noble Democrats, are not Nazis, and Trump is. So vote for us.”
The 2016 election will repeat, but far worse this time. Some insane illiberal tech baron who happens to be a Democrat could run against Trump, and by default, again, we’d have no choice.
“We’re not Nazis. Let’s censor these Nazis,” is the most limited and unimaginative political project possible. Destroying cultural freedom on the basis of fighting Nazis will only speed along decadence while far-right movements continue to grow, citing the left’s repressive attitudes toward speech and unwillingness to debate as their main superiority. And that message will have far more broad appeal than “White people should shut up and fuck themselves, you’re problematic, bend the knee to me.”
And then, they’ll sneak neoliberalism into the pudding, and the fake ‘center’ will continue to truck on, making money and locking people up, but at least we’ll feel good if a few Nazis feel bad…
It is no secret now that the United States is accelerating toward the dissolution of its founding principles. The contradictions, so blatantly obvious at the moment the foundation was set, have failed to resolve.
I, like, many others, dismissed the battle between Antifa and the alt-right as a kind of cosplay, a fake politics conducted outside of the traditional political sphere, in a new and illusory world of glory, righteous power, and the victory and spoils of war. This sphere of blood-in-the-streets activism is still Hell on Earth. It still moves us not one inch forward to a world worth living in.
I have responded initially to the murder of Heather Heyer in the way that was right in that moment. But now, I only want to understand what will follow. The act of writing, in the end, can only serve as a tool of the faithful witness to understand. Writing can change nothing. It can only clarify what is.
The left, in the wake of this, has been emboldened beyond belief. Many are the thousands who announce victory is now a necessity that a comrade has died at the hands of fascism. Consequently, the left will accelerate a crystallized version of its ideology that it has been approaching for the longest time now: the idea that freedom of speech is just covering up for fascism.
Already, the left has turned against the ACLU. Good people like Jordan Peterson will also no doubt be lumped in with the alt-right and Neo-Nazis, and shutting down his lectures will be a paramount duty of obligation to the revolution. Every syllable, word, thought and synapse snap not directed toward overthrowing racism and capitalism will be seen by the left as a betrayal. If you have any response to August 13th other than: “Smash them, comrades, the hour of victory is nigh, no blood and no glory is wasted”, then you are on the wrong side. You are on the side of the Neo-Nazis. I don’t believe this, but I am only trying to articulate what it is to come.
The debate over freedom of speech in the United States has come to a head here, in the destruction of all language, in the affirmation that politics can only take place as bloodied struggle against the oppressors. What would Angra Mainyu, the materialist, the prince of this world, do right now? Surely he would aggressively recruit cops and veterans to the revolution, he would be a Bolshevik, he would aim for the tipping point of that 10% revolutionary body to overthrow the American government, and he would be a he because this goal is the ultimate expression of masculine outrage and despair. He would build a private leftist militant body like the Oathkeepers, that would descend upon these real-life culture wars armed to the teeth and ready for war.
This contradiction will also eat leftists, who are simultaneously in favor of revolution but against the Second Amendment, against hyper-masculine military culture, and against cops. It wants to escalate, but it clearly lacks the mindset and tools to escalate.
And what would follow this kind of military escalation, if it were to take place? The death of bad people. In our lowest hell, the suppression and destruction of the bad people is considered equivalent to political victory.
The left, now, will support hate speech laws, because freedom of speech is just the freedom to commit hate speech, and hate speech is just the fuel of Nazi murder. The left, which has already abandoned economics and ran for the campus, will only become more a crystal of cultural issues and escape any systemic analysis of capitalism or authoritarianism. Hence, firing and censoring bad people will become a permanent replacement for legislative victory. The left will continue digging the grave of its own ambitions.
It is harder to predict what the alt-right will do now. The category is utterly meaningless. What do Jordan Peterson, Alex Jones, and Richard Spencer have in common? The designation of alt-right. What do they share amongst them? At root, very little. Neo-Nazis and Spencer have been around far longer than November of 2016, and they will continue to be a scourge. Anyone opposing government control of speech will become utterly lumped in with these Neo-Nazis. The authoritarians and anti-authoritarians alike will be seen as obstacles to the left. The left will no longer seek to recruit – it will only seek to smash anyone not standing shoulder-to-shoulder with its worst ideas.
The right, born and persisting in tacit racism, is off-limits. There is no reaching out to anybody on the basis of common economic goals. So, then, like Twitter itself as a platform, the left caps its recruitment, closes rank, and goes to war with a body ill-fit for war.
The more public face of the alt-right will hopefully collapse. 4chan users present at the Unite the Right rally have been doxed. If someone as lukewarm as James Damore was fired, certainly these odious racists and actual Neo-Nazis will be fired. But it will not end there. The Nazis are the red tips of the fingers that end in the arm and root of capitalism.
Anyone living in this root, living within capitalism, who is standing for speech, debate and discussion over violent clashes will be seen as rejecting the pure materialist struggle, rejecting the necessity to bleed out Nazis in the streets, rejecting the hour of virtue. From Samuel Sinyangwe, and his useful idiot strand of neoliberals, all the way to myopic and evil Twitter communists who have hated freedom of speech for years now, the entire left will mobilize as a beast, a mass of tendon and meat lurching toward aimless war.
There is only one side. You are with us or against us. You are a Nazi or you will support the outlawing of hate speech, and the shutting down of hate wherever it is detected. Anyone who complains or dissents in the slightest will be purged. I will list plenty of interesting and great leftists who have already or will be purged: Freddie deBoer, Michael Tracey, Lee Fang, Zaid Jilani, Glenn Greenwald and the ACLU. The left will consume its own until only the ugly meme-spewing life-resenting bitter violent strand of Marxists will remain. On the left, publishers like Zero Books and The Intercept remain committed to balance and speech at their own peril.
Lastly, Heather Heyer was murdered by a fascist in an event that was an evil act of white supremacist violence. So many at the Unite the Right march were Nazis, and that will continue to bleed politics into the streets, a swirl of the politically impotent against the politically impotent with the only goal remaining to hold the bloody flag high.
The United States is becoming the kind of country it has spent a century building its decadence upon. All the terror we have stoked in the Middle East, in Latin America, all of this was the shadow of the country reaching out and ruining the world, and now the actions of the shadow are damaging and destroying the constitution of the body.
We reap what we sow, and we receive the outcomes that we ask for. Anybody who claims to know what to do right now is lying. The only thing we can do is continue to work and speak (I lied). The center, which is nothing more than the center of democracy itself, must hold, but I see no way it can hold. Surely, if you feel you are in danger, the Second Amendment exists for purposes of self-defense.
We will go down with the ship no matter what. Choose where you stand carefully, because someone will come for you. In the end, this is the spiritual task of being born upon this Earth. Just as God is crucified in the world, the ideals of democracy and human dignity are crucified inside the structures of capitalism. However, as Mark Fisher once wrote, it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Thus, it is easier to imagine the apocalypse of Revelation than the slow work of pulling the splinters of a broken cross out of the wounded hand of God.
“The philosophers have interpreted the world. The point is to change it.” -Karl Marx
“This whole act’s immutably decreed. ’Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled.” -Captain Ahab
I really need to dissect and compare these quotes, because they’re the crux of so much seriously meaningful shit that needs to be dragged free from the vaults of darkness into the light of conscious apprehension.
Marx goes first.
“The philosophers have interpreted the world. The point is to change it.”
There are two useful ways to interpret this.
The first way is essentially the main spiritual proposition of all left politics, that a better world is possible, and all thoughts which do not challenge power are complicit in the injustices of current structures of power.
This is a wildly powerful but insanely dangerous argument. At best, it will inspire heroic change in the Earth. At worst, it will create ideological drones of bad conscience who hate the world and scream against all that it is, ignoring the possibility that the world is only a macrocosm of the disorder of the individual soul.
The second way of interpreting it is that Marx is compelling us not to merely think, but to live out what we think in the world. We all live out our beliefs unconsciously, so the goal of thinking and articulating what we believe is so that we can begin to implement our thinking in the world consciously and become responsible for our own lives, and eventually become the best possible version of our best thoughts.
I love this quote for those reasons. It’s so damn world-defining. It’s so important.
Melville is more dour. Melville, the stoic, the mystic, the Platonist, sperm whale and right whale in one, is a monolith through which all ambitions of change are crushed and swirled into the great Pacific Ocean.
“This whole act’s immutably decreed. ’Twas rehearsed by thee and me a billion years before this ocean rolled.”
Fatalism is the greatest danger of spiritual thinking. Infinite deference to the cosmic order, or God’s will, results in utter immobility. It is a serious problem and it is crippling to the intellect and soul alike. Any student of the Western canon seems to emerge either a kind of fatalist or a peculiar and ever-shifting motion blur, but a motion blur with a purpose.
All spiritual thinking, when truly honest with itself, ends in paradox, or contradiction. There are simply no concrete answers. The person who sees this and understands it often becomes burnt by the realization, and becomes a fatalist with no faith in human action or human hands.
The image of the world’s soul is a flat circle, a spiral, a karmic wheel, an oscillating motion that loops back into where it first started. All these images, from Nietzsche, Hegel, Buddha and Jung, are the same essential thing. The type of person you are is immortal. Your kind have existed before, and will exist again. You are complicit in the outcomes of history and can claim no ledge away from it all. You were not born today into this place that is so cruel. You, your soul, whatever you are, is the same damn place that the world has come from. This is why symbolic and mathematical order exists, for God’s sake! The self is a microcosm of the entire world. That metaphysical conceit I will always believe. I have believed it forever. I will believe it forever.
It is the premise of the redemptive, transcendent and heroic story, that the salvation of the individual, in a true sense, is the salvation of the entire world. The triumph of one person over the demons is the triumph of all. This is what I believe. This is what my book, The New Symphony, is about.
I have given you some things to consider. That is all, in the end, that writing can do. But I was born a writer. I can do nothing else. I wasn’t born a great fighter, or a charismatic activist. I am this, and I cannot change who I am.
It is the only work I can do on this Earth. And that’s that.
“It’s time to abandon this Jungian notion of a balanced, whole, natural humanity that we must return to.”
This is the concluding line of an excellent video by Zero Books, critiquing Jordan Peterson and Carl Jung from the left. Unfortunately, I think this line is also indicative of the spiritual immaturity of the left, which at its fundamental root, is why the left is losing its culture war. If the left seeks to dispose of the very notion of the Jungian hero’s journey, then what can possibly replace that journey? Nothing. Just bad conscience and spiritual malaise. And that’s the left’s most serious problem right now. I believe that the left is 90% right about everything when it comes to politics. But this spiritual malaise is killing its ability to speak to people on the most fundamental human level, and thus the left loses a root to the human soul. This is why figures like Jordan Peterson have attracted so much attention.
In the following essay, I am going to explain exactly why you cannot possibly abandon Jung, and why the hero’s journey and the work of perpetual synthesis will never be replaced by some social constructionist model, which unfortunately, in the left’s thinking, the social constructionist ideal of nurture taking total precedence over nature has become their trump card over reality itself.
It won’t work. And here’s why.
The Jungian notion of the hero’s journey, which is nothing more than the striving individual working to integrate their personality into the world, exists at the root of psychological wellbeing. If there is no notion of the whole person, the synthesized personality at work in the world, then there will only be pain, chaos and suffering, an inability for a person to understand who they are.
Any worldview that makes the world a place worth living in, without making that worth contingent upon uncontrollable outcomes, is no easy thing to dismiss. A person who can live in the world without seeking escape, despite all the terror that the world is, is, like Melville wrote, a whale who retains warm mammalian blood in arctic seas, a person on a hero’s journey. Or, in the simplest terms possible: it is a person with a genuine spiritual center that grounds them no matter what horror befalls them. That spiritual center is your only defense against the infinite chaos of the universe.
There are a million pitfalls. There is pretentious and self-important zen, over-acceptance of karma or fate, or the malaise and bad conscience of living in a world that you despise and cannot reconcile with what should be. Any worldview that lives in action, and yet resists these deceptions, is the golden core to which all personalities must strive.
In every moment of your life, your unconscious is creating context for your experiences. If you do not synthesize the million voices, species and attitudes of the soul, your life will be a play staged by the condensed and chaotic murmur of schizophrenic panic. Thus, you reap postmodernism, unconditional accelerationism, and other philosophies rooted in unreason or constant craving catharsis.
You will be a puppet of a thousand demons and a chorus of seraphim dimmed and hidden in the blind spots of the mind if you have no notion of an organized, synthesized personality. Let me briefly sketch out what such a worldview, and the personality that lives out that worldview in practice, would become:
1. A person who can make sacrifices. Every decision you make is a sacrifice, and if you choose nothing, if you sacrifice nothing, you will receive nothing. The entire Judeo-Christian tradition, and the Bhagavad Gita, emphasis sacrifice as the hallmark of a worthy individual. If you are not willing to give up what you are currently holding, you will never be able to receive anything new. The link between human beings and the ultimate sublime, in a very real way, is mediated through sacrifice alone.
Giving up something in the present to receive something in the future is the hallmark of conscious thought, an awareness of time, and a way to understand, at root, the way the world works. Giving up the most valuable thing you own is something only a great person can do. This is why heroes so often sacrifice what they hold dear. They leave their hometown, they leave a relationship, they are away from their family and friends, they are not dependent upon instant pleasures. They are self-sufficient, because they renew the covenant between humankind and the divine through perpetual sacrifice.
Once the sacrifices stop, life loses its meaning. There will always be more to give, so there can be more to receive.
2. A person who understands the nature of work. In Christianity, as well as in the Bhagavad Gita, work is given a sacred position in the life of humankind. This is because work is sacrifice. No synthesized personality can exist without work, as a routine, and so every person must ensure that their work is worthwhile, that it is endlessly renewing as much as it is endlessly taxing. That is the ideal toward which work must strive. Work that is not renewing is corrupt. That is the crisis at the core of the Western world right now, the loss of dignified work and the subsequent loss of faith in God.
3. A person who does not expect finality or reward. This, at last, is key. If you work for a reward you will be eternally disappointed, because you are tethering the ritual act of sacrifice to an eventual escape from having to sacrifice. If you work to be finished, work will always be miserable, your sacrifices will suffer, and your personality will fall apart. The great evil of the world is that so many people do work that is not eternally renewing. How many faithful servants of religion have lived lives of endless physical toil, and passed those lives onto their children? How many seconds, hours, centuries of lived experience have been spent in such perpetual exhaustive suffering without hope or reprieve?
This world is not good. The evil of the world runs deeper than the good. Evil is easier to find, more powerful, and can easily tip you from your perch and into resentment and misery, no matter how balanced a person you are. You must understand, like Job, that a good outcome is not promised for good work. And this is the hardest and most evil pill to swallow. This is the true despair of life.
And nothing can change that. No ideology or worldview can erase that reality of the world. The only option is to live alongside it, to live and work and sacrifice without despising the ground beneath your feet and the tendons in your hands.
The hero’s journey, in my short life, is the only mode of existence I know that satisfies these conditions. It is a philosophy of endless renewal and synthesis of the human personality into something more and more each day.
Here is the shape of the Jungian hero’s journey: the world is a wheel, a circle, but each revolution upon its spokes makes you stronger, not weaker. This is the Buddhist doctrine of infinite reincarnation leading to the emergence of a Bodhisattva from the truest student of life, the most faithful witness to the truth.
Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita says that his work is never done. If the ultimate transcendent God ceased to work, the entire world would cease to work. Thus work is infinite and eternal. As above, so below, say the Hermeticists. The Gods too must sacrifice. They must sacrifice what they hold dear the most. They must sacrifice human beings to the fall.
Why is the world structured around work and sacrifice? We cannot possibly know. All religion exists as an attempt to be a faithful witness to this reality, and despite arriving at circularity or contradiction, maintaining that life is still worth living.
But this isn’t existentialism. This isn’t postmodernism. You can’t simply ‘pick your meaning’ in life and do whatever you choose. Certain sacrifices will ruin you. Choosing certain modes of meaning, such as drug abuse or ideological possession, will demolish your life and the lives of everyone around you.
Right now we are immersed in a world being demolished by these misguided, unsynthesized, fractured personalities, people who have not sorted out the thousand demons and faces that speak a thousand different thoughts and leave you, weak and tiny you, to deal with it all and live in a way that is satisfactory.
All my fiction is aimed at restoring faith in life through the evocation of the right sacrifices, the ‘right path’, the perennial religious wisdom that is more relevant than ever, because people yearn to understand their lives and their place in this world more than ever.
If you cast aside the notion of the synthesized personality, the heroic sacrifice in the world, then you will be spun by aeon and you will see only a dim glint of the sun. You will mistake ideology for truth and you will resent the world to such a degree that life itself seems a joke, a meaningless, fruitless hell, and no worldview that arrives at such a conclusion can ever be seriously entertained. Those who have made it their cynical core will reap the demons they answer to.
Please, think. Think honestly and truthfully and find work in the world that makes it worth living in. And if you can’t find that, then that is a problem, because the world is filled with Cains, those who have found nothing for all their sacrifices and been punished in the worst ways.
The world cannot be justified, or made right. But there is a way of thinking that will make it worth living in. That thin strand is what I seek. If that is not a worthy goal, then there are no worthy goals.
At the risk of pissing off literally everybody, I’d like to make a few proclamations on the state of race in America, 2017.
Of course racism is an operative philosophy of the Trump administration. This exists at the level of aesthetics. There is a collective imagination of rustic hard-working white Americans who have been abandoned by the ruthless globalism of the 21st century, juxtaposed against the imagination of a black America engulfed in perpetual self-inflicted failings. The heroin epidemic in the Midwest is an example of vulnerable white voters who must be defended from their demons. The crack epidemic in the 1980s, and the crime and drug use that exists in black America today, is considered a failure to tug properly at the bootstraps and earn an honest living. These two Americas, bisected by race, exist in the Trump-Republican brand synthesis. This is nothing new, however. It was Bill Clinton who incarcerated an entire generation of black fathers, and of course Republican racialization, from gerrymandering, the fantasy of black ‘welfare queens’ bankrupting the government, the Southern strategy and the war on drugs, is as old and grand as Trump’s leathered speckled hide.
It is a bold-faced lie to claim that institutional racism is not real. There are more black Americans incarcerated because there is more crime, so say the conservatives. But why is there more crime? Are we to abandon black America on our certainty that black Americans are simply less lawful and less productive than white Americans? Of course not. Either institutional factors are driving these demographics of white and black toward different outcomes, or black people are simply inferior and self-destructive. At this juncture, there is a moral choice and a deplorable choice. Blame suffering people for their own suffering, or admit that globalized capital has failed black Americans in deep precision and longevity. Now that white America is fearing chronic unemployment, drug addiction and poverty, the clear answer is to unite together, not to continue expounding on your own suffering while blaming your neighbors for theirs. The global economy is a web that ensnares us all in its fortunes, its privatized gains and socialized losses. There is no time or patience for those who claim that black Americans have failed themselves, and need to have faith in the economy. Who in their right mind has faith in this economy?
What can be done about institutional racism? End the drug war. Socialize medicine. Incarceration and poverty are the twin demons that haunt oppressed life in America. Each feeds the other – the need for money and meaning make desperate people who do not respect the rule of law. If society frays and exposes people to harm, those people will no longer trust in society. But what is society? Right now, it is nothing but economics. All factors in cultural and societal life are driven by economics. This has led to profit incentives for jailing more people, as more prisoners means more free prison labor, and like the military-industrial economy, we need to pile up bodies to grow these repulsive industries. What is growth for prisons and armies? Only the destruction of individual lives. That is the only phenomenon that can grow industries built in sickness. Generating profit by imprisoning people for the drugs they sell and use to try to create better lives outside of the broken social contract is an insanely cruel ‘remedy’ for crime. It is a failed method.
And as for socialized medicine? As long as you can go bankrupt over emergency medical bills, you are never truly free. You are always dangling over a pit of massive debt, suspended only by eternal prayers for good health. This will engender a fearful and repressive society. Socialize medicine.
Now, let’s address the subject of identity politics. Given that institutional racism is real, doesn’t it make sense to go as hard on identity politics as possible?
Yes, and no, depending on what you mean by identity politics. It seems to me that intersectionality redefines and ruins words and terms constantly. In modern discourse, identity politics is used by the left as a shorthand for civil rights. If you’re against identity politics, you’re against blackness, simple as that.
This is obviously foolish! The category of identity politics has included so many cancerous and cynical political projects that organizing on the basis of identity should be seen as inherently broken. Identity evokes identity. The rise of ‘SJWism’ since 2015, from cultural appropriation by sushi chefs to ‘men are trash’ and other group-think and group-dependent ideologies have evoked a clear counter-SJWism from the right, which is known as the alt-right or alt-lite or whatever.
How do you tell poor and frightened white people about their privilege? You don’t. You emphasize universal solidarity, not the Tumblr-Twitter fantasy that white Americans get handouts and are essentially members of an upper-class. That is not the reality. The reality is that we could all be cut loose from the surface of the Earth at any moment, and that constant presence of mortality is felt strongest in marginalized communities, such as black and trans people.
The mission of the left, broadly speaking, is the mission of mercy. Consider the path of life to be flanked on either side by the sword of severity and the soothing hand of mercy. The right, and conservatism, is the path of severity. If you have failed, it is your fault. There is a kernel of truth in this. How are we to live if we do not take responsibility for ourselves? Severity cannot be dismissed, because it is intensely real. But when civilizations fail, and people give their voices to demagogues, the world is running too thin of mercy. The mission of the left is to balance the severity of the world by providing people with social safety nets, outside help to rescue individuals when they cannot succeed, literally the grace of socialized surgery or a college education without debt.
Along the lines of mercy and severity, it is obvious to anyone with an ounce of memory that the proponents of identity politics are not merciful. At all. They represent, at best, a hive of moral busy-bodies obsessed with the most minute and trivial personal subjects that can be made intensely political, and then those same people who rail against incarceration and the misuse of power seek to ban controversial speakers, create kangaroo courts without due process run by administrative hacks, fire people for jokes, and otherwise clamp down upon society and seek to reshape it at the most superficial levels through shaming and group tactics.
I disavow that crap! Forget the phrase ‘identity politics’. It is not useful. It was made by idiots for the usage of idiots. The only writing that should be done on identity politics is a call for its evaporation in discourse, and its replacement with a far stronger message of universal mercy and grace.
The nihilism and incompleteness of modern life will never be healed through an infinite fracturing of humankind through the lens of identity politics. Fracturing can only lead to the annihilation of universal concepts, and with that, the end of the universal ability to speak and reason freely.
Identity politics, nested in postmodern thought, seeks to escape from the all-consuming reach of capitalist Western society. However, it makes crucial errors when assigning the virtues of the West to its very real faults. The concept of reason itself is maligned as a colonial outpost. Reason, to the identitarian, is a fantasy. It is nothing more than the imaginary idea that a white person, through distance and objectivity, can understand blackness or black life in America. This is why so many publishers and magazines desire writing by people of color – they are under the impression that they can break reason’s constricting spell, and the illusion of objectivity, by allowing unheard voices to fill the world. Through diversity, the multitude, the infinite fragmentation, difference and subjectivity of the world, new ideas and new modes of thinking can come into being.
Men should let women speak. Women should let trans people speak. Trans people should let black trans people speak. And so on and so on, until physiology alone is expected to speak for the revolution. A universal faculty of speech and reason has no place here. That ‘universality’ would be seen as a ploy to extend a default whiteness over all politics. Hence, speech itself becomes just another tool of whiteness, or maleness, ‘mansplaining’ or ‘whitesplaining’ away the nuances of subversive identities.
Freedom of speech, universal rights, and equality under the law are concepts opposed to identity politics. The attempts to redefine identity politics as ‘just not being racist’ are propaganda designed to undermine the very notion of universal ideas. In infinite difference, and infinite subjectivity, there exists also infinite chaos and an inability for speech to unite people. That is so clear, yet the left insists upon fragmentation as a worthwhile political project in the 21st century. It is not.
Everyone feels fragmented. Everyone aches in their bones for a different world, a profound anxiety and discontent has settled in the digital era in a way more palpable and visible than ever before. Hope in the human project itself is fading. Will hope be renewed by accepting fragmentation? Of course not. That leads only to the infinite regression of reason, the slow collapse of a universal movement into a Dada display of madness. The anxiety of infinite subjectivity is already a flaming pit capable of consuming us all. How can a political movement succeed by evoking it?
I am reminded of one of the greatest passages in Moby Dick: “The great God absolute! The center and circumference of all democracy! His omnipresence, our divine equality!”
The universal spark of divinity in every individual is the essence of democracy, of human rights, of the liberal ethos. Perhaps I have framed this question in the wrong way. But to my mind, identity politics is a doomed project precisely because it rejects the notions of objectivity, universality, and the reasonable speech capable of bringing together a multitude into a coherent whole.