Note: Once again, please read this post in its entirety before you comment on it.
Here are my definitions for terms used in this post: Elite = people who are rich and powerful because they (or their parents) got lucky; “e-Liberals” = credentialed people who are part of the establishment; Neoliberalism = relentless exploitation of the majority dressed up with pretty sounding but empty words and ideas; identity-based politics = exploiting social issues to facilitate “legal” exploitation of people on both sides of those issues.
Before we start, a quick clarification. I strongly believe that no person or institution has any right to tell or enforce how another person should live their life or who they should have sex with- as long as it does not involve animals or children. Also, it is abundantly clear that sexual orientation and attraction are based in biology. In other words, what occurs between two or more sexually mature people is their own damn business.
Having said that, let us turn to the topic of this post. So what inspired me to write this post in the first place? The short answer is- a set of observations about the nature of public discourse in USA over the last few years. The somewhat longer answer is that I have noticed a peculiar trend among the supposedly “liberal” establishment class (both elites and their cronies) in many western countries, especially the USA over the previous 15 or so years.
As many of you know- for a few decades after ww2, liberalism (in the west) was associated with changes and movements meant to improve the economic and social conditions of everyone in those countries. But somewhere along the way (between 1970s-1990s depending on the country) liberalism stopped being associated with improvements in economic conditions for the majority. Instead it became an ideology devoted to retaining power, for its own sake, through the division of people along various lines of their identity- racial, sexual, educational etc.
To be fair, living in the pre-1990 era as an openly gay or non-white person (in the west) meant that you were always seen and treated as a second-class citizen or worse. Therefore any elite or institutional support for movements which strove to improve the treatment of sexual and racial minorities in those countries should be seen as a good thing. Except that it seldom occurred during that era.
A bit confused by what I just said? Let me explain it in a bit more detail. See.. prior to the late-1990s or even the very early-2000s, movements dedicated to improving the status of sexual and racial minorities had basically no elite or institutional support. Indeed, elites and “e-liberals” in those eras saw such movements and the people they represented with disdain and contempt. As late as the mid-1990s, these supposed “pillars of western society” still openly talked about gay or non-white people as if they were second-class human beings.
So what changed? How come the elite and “e-liberals” of today cannot stop talking about how much they like people who are gay or of alternative sexual orientation? Why can’t they stop talking about how much they love non-whites and promoting diversity? What accounts for their fairly abrupt shift in public attitudes towards groups they were previously complicit in marginalizing? And what does any of this have to do with neoliberalism?
Let me explain..
1] Contemporary elite and “e-liberal” support for a number of progressive causes has almost nothing to do with the extent of their belief in those causes. A significant part of their motivation for doing so comes down to virtue signalling to themselves, their peers and all those underneath them. Such signalling serves many purposes- from feeling good about themselves and making sure that they fit in with their peers to feeling morally superior than those underneath them. Therefore, their support of certain socially progressive causes is not dissimilar from some of them adopting a token Chinese or African orphan. It is about the public optics and gaining small temporary status increases in their circle of peers.
2] Perhaps more relevantly, it serves to perpetuate the idea (at least in their minds) that they are somehow more moral and deserving of their ill-gotten wealth and power. Supporting such social issues also enables the elites and “e-liberals” to partially deflect attention from how they keep on exploiting and robbing everybody else. You may have noticed that elites and “e-liberals” go to considerable lengths to avoid talking about socio-economic issues that affect the majority. However they never tire of telling everybody within earshot about how they like gays, lesbians, non-whites and pretty much every social minority identity that they can invent.
3] Which brings me to why so many elites and “e-liberals”, nowadays, take every opportunity to express their support for people who are, or feel, transgender. Newsflash- It has nothing to do with elites and “e-liberals” feeling any real solidarity with people in those social groups. But it has a lot to do with signalling that they are morally superior to ‘all those other people below us’. Therefore, all of their current support for legislation to improve the legal status of that group is largely self-serving. As far as the elite and “e-liberals” are concerned, expressing public support for transgender people is just the latest cause to become fashionable. Sorta like supporting gay rights was during the early 2000s or adopting non-white babies was during the late-2000s.
4] It should be noted that the hard work on securing equal legal rights for gay people was largely done by gays themselves. Similarly adopting non-white children from non-western countries became mainstream because of ordinary people who wanted to adopt children. However, in both cases the elite and “e-liberals” adopted what was becoming mainstream and promoted it as if they came up with the ideas and did all the hard work. Luckily, both those ideas had become mainstream enough to not be tarnished by their association with the elites and “e-liberals”. The same is not true with transgender rights and the way it is being supported by elites and “e-liberals”. They got on this cause at a much earlier stage and have rightly or wrongly become associated with that movement in the public mind- to its detriment.
There is, therefore, a real risk that their association with that cause will damage its public image. This is especially so in an era where the general public is fed up with the abuse, exploitation and hypocrisy heaped upon them by elites and “e-liberals”. Of course, this is not going to stop those morons from using that cause as another example of their moral superiority and indirect justification for their ill-gotten wealth.
What do you think? Comments?