I regret to inform you all that Rhyd Wildermuth is an ally to bigotry

Have you ever had that feeling when you encounter someone you really found fascinating, whose work got you thinking about something in a bit of a different way from before, and you start taking influence from them, and then you find out that they’ve made such egregious errors of judgement that it makes you question what you want to do with them, and then you feel kind of lost? That’s what happened regarding Rhyd Wildermuth. I discovered his work a few months ago, in the process of rediscovering Gods and Radicals, itself part of my own process of rediscovering, and re-envisioning, Paganism as a religious world-outlook, onto which Luciferianism as an esoteric outlook can be formatted in my own syncretic way. He inspired some ways of thinking about Paganism or had me thinking of some beliefs I always kind of had in a way that, at that time, I didn’t imagine before, or at least pointed the way to them. But recently I’ve begun to think he’s actively taking the side of some bigoted and reactionary corners of the online left – either that or he’s just too stupid to know the difference and he ends up as a dupe – and that has me questioning myself quite a bit. I mean don’t get me wrong, his more recent article on anarchism was very questionable enough and I had a lot of problems with it, but what I’m about to tell you is much worse. It has to do with two online left figures widely known for their snobbish, reactionary bigotry and who together form a kind of red-brown alliance in online circles: one is an (apparently) anarchist YouTuber/podcaster by the name of Angie Speaks, the other is another podcaster by the name of Aimee Terese. One of them, Angie, seems to be a friend of Rhyd Wildermuth’s and is actively platformed on Gods and Radicals’ website. This is a problem for reasons you are about to see.

This all started a few days ago when someone showed me a short Twitter thread that Angie posted last week, in which she attacked people who “”try to be something they’re not”. If that sounds vague, I’ll just post a screenshot of the thread below here:

Now this on its own can invite a fair few questions. What “self-hatred” is she referring to? Who are the people “trying to be something they’re not”? Why is aversion to said people “not bigotry”, and for that matter why the need to refer to bigotry, since this reference implies a response to accusations of bigotry? Who is “not living their truth” and why is it “perfectly natural” to be “creeped out” by them? But the answer to all of those questions, to anyone reading between the lines, is that Angie is referring to trans people. She believes that trans people are not and cannot be the gender they identify as, that they hate themselves, and that cisgender people being averse to them is “natural” because they are “uncanny” and “deceptive”. This is in part a fairly textbook case of ignorance about trans people, but also an equally textbook case of transphobic bigotry, since the whole premise of Angie’s argument is that she thinks trans people are inherently disturbing and that it’s both acceptable and justified for others to be disturbed by them and treat them like scum. When it’s coming from a right-wing conservative, and a Christian one at that, the bigotry tends to be easy to spot and most people react accordingly. When it’s coming from someone who calls themselves a leftist of any sort, the same is also almost true, except that for some reason there are more people willing to take them at face value or give them the benefit of the doubt, because left-wing transphobes, unlike right-wing transphobes, have the habit of masking the same exact bigotry in a labyrinth of intellectual jargon and obfuscation.

This is also not Angie’s first time being transphobic. In April, Angie, after seeing a video of a schizophrenic trans teenager panicking because their mother deadnamed them repeatedly and was in the process of kicking them out of their home, responded to said video by calling the trans person in question a “brat” and remarked that parents would “many parents would rethink having zoomer/ millennial brats if they new it entailed paying for their lifestyle and housing in adulthood”, among other things.

Just to emphasize, the poor individual with the green hair is pleading to anyone watching their TikTok video to help them find a new home in order to get away from their parents, because said parents are abusing them, and Angie’s response to this is to make it seem like the teenager deserved what they got, because of their “strange interests” (as though witchcraft somehow isn’t considered a “strange interest”) and supposed “bullying”. Angie decided to frame the teenager as the bully and her parents as the real victims, and following this she released a nearly-hour-long YouTube tirade about “narcissism”, “validation”, and “social justice”. Angie’s open and public stance on someone having a mental health crisis while being verbally and mentally abused by their parents and thrown out of their home is in fact a dispenser of abuse rather than its victim. Angie is thus justifying the suffering of young trans people, and is therefore a transphobe. Insofar as Angie considers herself to be a feminist, this would mean that she is also a TERF, a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (more on that later).

Then, last week, there’s the other tidbit about Angie appearing on the What’s Left podcast, hosted by Aimee Terese. I didn’t get much into Aimee’s whole persona and even in the context of this post I don’t think going into much more than a paragraph of detail is merited, but there’s a lot out there, and none of it good. Born as Aimee Laba, Aimee Terese is a Lebanese-Australian self-styled Marxist (who apparently can’t debate about Marxism without shutting down) who likes to talk a big game about how she advances real working class politics against “the professional middle class” by smuggling conservative nationalist, and often bigoted (and more recently anti-vaccine), talking points into socialist/left-wing circles. This, of course, is despite being the scion of a wealthy Lebanese capitalist and reared in one of Sydney’s most prestigious (and not to mention reactionary) elite private schools, a fact that flies straight in the face of her claims that her father was an impoverished electrician, and also despite having people like Oren Cass on their show, who is so establishment conservative that he worked for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns (very “socialist”, I’m sure). Over the years Terese’s politics has gotten more and more reactionary to the point that she went from posturing about being the biggest supporter of Bernie Sanders on the block to literally opposing universal healthcare on the grounds that it would supposedly give the state the power to vaccinate and euthanize everyone in totalitarian fashion. I’m not kidding around, see below:

Nobody tell Aimee that this has never happened anywhere, or that she sounds almost exactly like a Tea Party goon

Oh and did I mention that she’s basically a white nationalist who is in turn supported by other white nationalists and also literal, actual neo-Nazis? Because that’s pretty important.

Aimee Terese is the only contemporary “Marxist” I am aware of who has actually been promoted by white nationalists as an ally of their cause. Consider American Renaissance, the organization founded by the white nationalist and alt-right thought leader Jared Taylor. On their website one of their authors, Chris Roberts, wrote an article on December 11th 2019 titled “Aimee Terese: Contrarian, Marxist — White Advocate?“, in which Roberts goes through a gallery of Terese’s many takes which he finds agreeable to his own white nationalist ideology. In the same vein, the website for the National Vanguard, which is an actual neo-Nazi group founded by a fairly notorious neo-Nazi named Kevin Alfred Storm, also published their own article expressing solidarity with Terese, written on July 28th 2020 by an anonymous author going by “Dissident Millenial”. Titled “Aimee Terese — A Witty Marxist and Fetching Thorn in the Side of “Woke” Liberals“, it contains basically the same collection of tweets as Chris Roberts’ article with basically the same intent, but the author also adds a certain degree of flirtatious feeling to it, almost like a pathetic attempt to get a date. She’s also known to be rather friendly towards a white supremacist and Daily Stormer contributor named Joseph Jordan (known on the internet as Eric Striker), and had agreeable conversations regarding Striker’s views on the “j-left” (presumably meaning “Jewish left”, implying the left they don’t like is a form of anti-white Jewish subversion). When this naturally attracted the ire of the rest of the online left, she pretended not to know who Striker was, accused people of policing her, preceeded to police other people for retweeting her enemies, and had Eric Striker come to her defence.

If you advertise yourself as a socialist, indeed the one of the “only real socialists” on the internet, but you echo the views of white nationalists and neo-Nazis, are friends with neo-Nazis, and will defend association with neo-Nazis, the possibilities are that you are a Nazi or a white nationalist yourself, or are just so colossally stupid that it isn’t even worth contemplating.

Of course, so far I’ve gone through all of this information without once tying it back to Rhyd Wildermuth. But that changes now. You’ll remember that I mentioned that Angie Speaks is still listed on the Gods and Radicals website, and still has a page on that website. I contacted Rhyd Wildermuth via email about much of what has been discussed previously, and expressed concerns about him platforming a transphobe with links to white nationalism. What you’re about to see below is his response:

Hi there,

I’ve checked out the links you provided and none of these amount to evidence of Angie being anti-trans or aligned with white nationalists.

Her views align with a growing number of Black Marxists (see for example the repeatedly de-platformed Black Marxist professor Adolph Reed, as well as many of Cornell West’s recent positions) that neo-liberal ‘anti-racism’ only reifies race, because it is much better for the capitalists that poor people blame each other for ‘systemic oppression’ rather than fighting the capitalists together. While I do not have experience with Aimée Terese, after reading the screenshots provided in those links it appears she is also critiquing this same problem.

I have known Angie personally for many years, by the way, and can assure you she is not anti-trans either. She has absolutely critiqued much of the neoliberal (capitalist) dogma around trans identity and the aggressive subsection of twitter that has called for the death of cis gays who will not have sex with trans people, as well as the many rape threats against gender critical women on social media (see my own critique of this here, with links to large archives of this behavior ).

While some of her own rhetoric can absolutely be quite provocative in a way in which I myself would never engage (it’s one of the reasons I completely left social media in August), it would take much more for me to silence her–or anyone–on our website.

Thanks for your email.

In short summary, Rhyd Wildermuth has seen what I have sent him and does not believe that Angie is anti-trans or aligned with white nationalists, thinks of her as an intellectual critic of neoliberal identity politics doing nothing but critiquing “neoliberal dogma around trans identity”, treats Aimee Terese as yet another of said critics while seemingly not touching on why white nationalists and Nazis seem to actively promote her content, and will not dissociate her from the Gods and Radicals website. Let’s go through this response point by point.

I’ve already established that Angie is in fact anti-trans, so there’s no need to go into too much detail about that. What I could do, though, is get into Rhyd’s justification for why he maintains this idea that she is not anti-trans. He says that she has “critiqued much of the neoliberal (capitalist) dogma around trans identity”. What is that “neoliberal dogma”, exactly? Judging from Angie’s statements it would appear that this “neoliberal dogma” is nothing more than the assertion that trans people are the gender they say they are, and that gender affirmation (or reassignment) surgery is valid. How exactly this is “neoliberal dogma” is a bit of a mystery, unless you consider that perhaps calling it “neoliberal dogma” serves as a way to de-legitimize what is otherwise essentially scientific consensus on the subject of being trans, and in a way that can seem palatable to certain idiotic leftists obsessed with certain ideas of “proletarian culture” against “bourgeois culture”. The only other “neoliberal dogma” I can see is the idea that trans people shouldn’t be deadnamed ad nauseum, let alone at all or by their parents for that matter, and shouldn’t be thrown out of their homes for suffering a mental breakdown because of it. And again, the only reason that’s seen as “neoliberal dogma” for some is because it can serve as a convenient intellectual justification for being cruel to trans people.

The other flank of his argument that Angie is not anti-trans is that she is also critical of “the aggressive subsection of twitter that has called for the death of cis gays who will not have sex with trans people, as well as the many rape threats against gender critical women on social media”. As ludicrous as this all sounds, the tell is in the phrase “gender critical women”. “Gender critical” is the politically correct term for what are otherwise called TERFs – trans-exclusionary radical feminists. These feminists believe that trans women are actually men seeking to “invade women’s spaces”, borrow arguments from homophobic evangelical Christians to justify discrimination against trans people, and they have the habit of threatening violence upon people they disagree with – or at least, they like to stick razor blades under their posters to slice anyone who tries to pull them down. So for a start, it’s the TERFs that like to do the silencing in broad trends. As for the “death and rape threats” accusation, even the Twitter album that Rhyd cites isn’t necessarily the smoking gun that he thinks it is. Not least if you remember that Twitter is not representative of the entire LGBT community – in fact, it’s not even representative of the whole population. Besides which, no matter how many people in the LGBT community actually hold the kind of absurd and bigoted opinions towards homosexuals Rhyd alludes to, that doesn’t suddenly mean that Angie isn’t transphobic anymore than US imperialism suddenly means Iran isn’t an authoritarian theocracy. And even if there are people on Twitter who shit on gay people for not dating trans people, is that really worse than the fact that trans people can be murdered on a whim, with violence against trans people increasing, and their murders often still going unreported, and failing that they’re still regularly denied housing? That’s something that, for some reason, Angie and Rhyd don’t seem interested in talking about, or Aimee Terese for that matter, or any TERF. Or, for another matter, Glenn Greenwald, who went from one of the best journalists in America willing to stick his neck out to stand up to right-wing authoritarianism in Brazil, to a tired old centrist crank whining about how he thinks gay people are being replaced by trans people or some nonsense like that.

Oh but then there’s the point about Angie not being associated with white nationalism. Rhyd insists that Angie is not associated with white nationalism via her links with Aimee Terese, and that instead she is part of a growing movement of black Marxists (only two are actually cited) that are united by the contention “that neo-liberal ‘anti-racism’ only reifies race, because it is much better for the capitalists that poor people blame each other for ‘systemic oppression’ rather than fighting the capitalists together”. This, again, is deflection. For starters, “neoliberal anti-racism” is never specified, but we can only assume it refers to various liberal ideas about race and discussion thereof. Without being given any canards to examine, we can sort of dismiss this by pointing out that many leftists who aren’t what we might call “class reductionists” already tear apart the work of people like Robin DiAngelo as essentially an arm of corporate power against working class coalition building and organization, in favour of socialist anti-racist projects that still emphasize the inclusion of various identity-based struggles.

There’s a reason for this that I’ve come to understand. In the past, there were communist parties that expressly refused to include struggles for black liberation in their political program, no doubt to emphasize that the class struggle was the only struggle. The main example of this would be the Communist Party USA, which in the early 20th century followed this exact approach even to the point of denying the existence of racism. The end result was that some black workers abandoned the communist parties, and the left, to support Marcus Garvey, a proto-fascist black nationalist and an admirer of the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Of course, many who didn’t instead turned to the much more radical Black Panthers, who unlike Marcus Garvey actually did frame demands for black emancipation in the context of a revolutionary agenda. The point being, socialist movements that dismissed liberationist identity-based struggles ended up losing people to anyone who might champion whose causes instead, even if that included fascistic ethno-nationalists. That historical reality may end up explaining why certain “class reductionist” or “class first” leftists end up morphing into reactionaries, often of the white nationalist variety. So contrary to some talking points about how “woke” leftists are creating fascists, the communists who followed the approach that Angie and Aimee would have them follow were the ones actually creating fascists.

Returning to Angie, for a moment, if the idea is that she’s critiquing identity fetishism in the sense of leveraging racial identity against the working class, that’s frankly laughable. In many exchanges, including only a few years ago in which she was arguably just as much an “identity-fetishist” as the people she now hates, she will, during the course of argument, not hestitate to leverage the fact that she’s a black woman in order to shield herself from criticism. Not exactly something you’d expect from someone interested in fighting “identity politics”. Since Rhyd claimed that Aimee Terese makes basically the same critique, we should briefly address her once more. While Terese is framed as an opponent of “identity politics”, we can see from her tweets that she spends a lot of time leveraging white identity against a multicultural elite, which is the quintessential and core politics of white nationalism. Also, for someone ostensibly keen to oppose identitarianism, why is Aimee Terese an anti-Semite? Just a month ago she produced a meme which depicted mass vaccination against Covid-19 as some kind of Jewish plot to enslave non-Jews.

When you do explicitly Nazi memes after repeatedly insisting that you aren’t a Nazi

I guess I can’t blame Rhyd too much for not knowing about this, not having dealt with Aimee before. But I’ll bet Angie knows what she’s doing, considering that they are friends and fellow travellers. Insofar as Aimee Terese is a white nationalist, and there really can’t be any denying it at this point, Angie’s links to white nationalism are pretty definite. She’ll never express white nationalism ideologically herself, but she will ally herself with white nationalists seeking to infiltrate the left as comrades in being “cancelled” by everyone else, thereby creating a network of influence. This along with the obvious transphobia is the problem with Gods and Radicals still having Angie Speaks on their website.

In light of all this Rhyd Wildermuth’s stance is clear: he is on the side of TERFs, and from the sounds of it might be a TERF himself, and so he has no problem with transphobia except to the extent that he likes to deny being anti-trans. He has seen evidence to corroborate Aimee Terese being a white nationalist, which would mean that, because Angie networks with Aimee, Angie represents a point of connection between left-wing contrarians and white nationalism, yet has chosen to dismiss the idea of Aimee Terese being a white nationalist, which functionally means he denies that Angie has any connections to white nationalism, and therefore he will not distance himself from her. By continuing to have Angie on the roster of the Gods and Radicals website, Rhyd gives his website a place in that same network. This means that at this point Rhyd Wildermuth is an ally to some very bigoted people.

What does this all mean? Well, it does mean I’m feeling extremely conflicted, mostly because his writings on Paganism proved to be informative of the way Paganism and radical left-wing political thought could intersect and helped light the way to a meaningful Pagan left-wing critique of the Enlightenment, plus his website still has a lot of good work on it, in the form of not just the articles not written by Rhyd, as well as some he did write, but in the form of the books they have (Kadmus Herschen’s groundbreaking True to the Earth is on that website). But while all the good is still there, knowing that Rhyd is willing to go out to bat for these disgusting reactionaries makes things very painfully inconvenient. The best outcome of this is that this complicates my ability to appreciate his work, but the worst possibility is that he’s trying to smuggle some pretty chauvinistic attitudes into Pagan left-wing spaces.

To close out this post, I’d like to make a point about why being a TERF doesn’t make much sense if you’re serious about Paganism. Christian culture may have made a big point about hierarchical masculinity and femininity being fixed essences and set in stone by God, but while even pre-Christian societies tended to be patriarchal, there is also a lot of evidence that they tended to accept trans identity to some degree. 3,000 years ago, the Persians recognized a “third gender” alongside male and female. In Sumeria, the priests of the goddess Inanna were men who discarded their masculinity and became women, and Inanna herself was revered for having the power to change men into women and vice versa. In India, the Hijra were a kind of “third gender”, considered either intersex, transgender, or asexual, who, although often marginalized in Indian society, have been present within it since antiquity and can even possess religious significance. In pre-Christian Norse society, transgressing gender norms could be seen as a source of profound power, and the god Loki himself moved through the genders almost on a whim, a fact that the Norse also tended to accept of their gods in general. And of course, the Amerindian (or Native American) tribes are known to have acknowledged over a hundred different gender expressions, and many tribes had a variety of ideas about people who did not fit the traditional male-female dichotomy, which were then suppressed by the dictatorship of colonial morality.

The point I’m trying to make is that the Pagan world did not have the problems with accepting the identity of trans people that Christian culture or more particularly modern Western culture has up to the present. So what’s stopping Rhyd Wildermuth, a Pagan, from taking effectively the same stance as his ancient pre-Christian forbears and accepting trans people as valid? By legitimating the TERF stance on trans people, endorsing the delegitimating of the identity of trans people on TERF grounds, and falling into identity-based sectarianism between trans people and gay people based on some dumb bullshit on Twitter, itself trumped up by TERFs, Rhyd does not seem to take seriously or grasp the extent to which Paganism endorses the acceptance of the identity of trans people. It also means he doesn’t take too seriously the way he talks about the Right Sacred and the Left Sacred. By his terms, the Right Sacred segregates Man and the Sacred and rigidly enforces the boundaries of experience. The TERF position is all about rigidly enforcing conservative gender norms as the mandatory experience of gender. It doesn’t matter that this hierarchical conservatism happens to be disguised by the rhetoric of female empowerment and liberation, because hierarchical conservatism it most certainly is in reality. So, by Rhyd’s terms, the TERF position is that of the Right Sacred, which he tends to see as inferior to the Left Sacred. To take the Left Sacred, with its emphasis on liberation, disinhibition, and transgression of the boundaries of experience seriously, it would be far more sensible to embrace a society in which the boundaries of experience can be freely transgressed, and therefore being trans should be considered valid in itself on those grounds at least. But even without that framework, being trans was simply considered to be valid in the Pagan world, or at least it was a recognized social category even in the context of societies where this was still marginalized. It’s not something that has recently sprung up as the product of liberal modernity.

In broad terms, Rhyd Wildermuth is taking the wrong side of an issue where we on the left, and we as Pagans, really should not be having such a hard time being on the right side of, and his willingness to defend transphobes who also happen to network with white nationalists is a major problem for his own credibility, and unfortunately that of Gods and Radicals, which is his website. Perhaps it can be maintained that we need not completely disregard the work of Gods and Radicals because of it, but then perhaps it would be better if there was another Gods and Radicals that isn’t run by someone who may be a TERF.

There’s no reason for this image to be here, except for me to say “fuck TERFs”, because fuck TERFs

Could Elizabeth Warren be worse than Hillary Clinton?

Last year I wrote a lengthy post about the Democratic primaries, and the crop of candidates that were put forward under the Democratic ticket. Since then, a lot has changed. For a start, many of the candidates I talked about have since dropped out, and some latecomers have joined the race too. Kamala Harris, Jay Inslee, Wayne Messam, Marianne Williamson, Seth Moulton, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, Bill de Blasio, Kirsten Gilibrand, Beto O’Rourke, Steve Bullock, Joe Sestak, Cory Booker, and Julian Castro have all left the race by now, and thank fucking lord they did because most of them were dogshit candidates in their own way. In their place, we have two new candidates have joined the race since – billionnaire and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and Massachussetts governor Deval Patrick, both of them essentially liberal in their politics, threw their hats into the ring in a bid to keep progressive campaigns like that of Bernie Sanders at bay. But, that’s not the operative subject for me. I would like to talk a little about the crop of Democratic candidates that remain later on, but that can wait.

One of the key changes that has occurred in the Democratic primaries is that the climate of the campaign has shifted. Although 12 candidates are presently running in the race, there’s only three that really matter: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden. However, much of the race seems to have focused in on the rivalry between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren specifically. This came to a head within the last week when CNN (America’s premier corporate Ministry of Truth) reported that Sanders privately told Warren that a woman couldn’t win the White House. Conveniently, the sources were listed as anonymous, which means we have no way of verifying whether or not the accusations are true. However, because such a statement is inconsistent with Sanders’ record on gender equality, specifically his having said publicly that a woman is just as capable of being the President as a man, we can assume safely that this is a transparent attempt to smear Sanders as a sexist.

At that moment, it became clear to many who were not already apprised of the sins of the Warren campaign that Elizabeth Warren was using gender-based identity politics in order to mask a deep-seated lack of political substance. This, combine with her penchant for outright lies and misinformation about Bernie Sanders has inspired comparisons between Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton, the failed 2016 Democratic nominee. And to be honest, there is a lot more you can build that comparison on to the point that you wonder if Warren and Clinton are really so different. We all remember that Hillary Clinton was a Goldwater girl (that is, a supporter of Barry Goldwater, a Republican who opposed the Civil Rights Act) at the same time that Bernie Sanders was joining pro-civil rights rallies and getting arrested for it. Well, years later, while Elizabeth Warren was busy giving speeches for free market think tanks like The Federalist Society (the very same organization, in fact, that Donald Trump would turn to for Supreme Court nominations) about how the government needs to cut regulations while Bernie Sanders was busy arguing for what could be interpreted as democratic socialism at the same time. And more recently, Warren actually voted for Trump’s military budget while Sanders opposes it. And let’s not forget that while Sanders was the only one to look on to Trump’s self-masturbatory speech about socialism with bemusement, Warren clapped enthusiastically along with the rest of Congress.

But, really, at least Hillary Clinton is capable of committing to her bullshit. When it comes to Medicare for All, for example, Elizabeth Warren is completely unable to define her views about Medicare for All, and is completely unable to combat the people to her right on the issue of how much her plan will cost. It also seems that Elizabeth Warren can never agree to anything, despite her occaisional insistence about how we should all come together in a dialogue to agree on things. When a journalist asked her if she agreed with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that the military budget should be slashed in order to pay for healthcare and environmental programs, she refused to say whether she agreed or disagreed and instead rambled about how everyone needs to have a debate on the subject.

But the most damning part of all is how a former academic colleague of hers, Drucilla Cornell, referred to her as a “relentless, ruthless nihilist”. I’ve never seen a political candidate be so empty as to merit such a description, not even Hillary Clinton, and by someone who worked closely with said candidate in the past no less. All told, given her sheer lack of policy susbtance and convictions, and her inability to defend her positions when scrutinized, coupled with her noteworthy past as a free market shill and her rapacious habit of lying, it is my estimation that the descriptor of “ruthless nihilist” is in many ways apt. She does not believe in anything, except the pursuit of her own power. And while Warren doesn’t have the same skeletons in her closet as Hillary Clinton does, owing from her record as Secretary of State under Obama, I am inclined to think that this is merely because Warren has not yet attained the political power necessary to do the kind of evil that Clinton did. In a deep, spiritual sense, I find that Warren is probably a worse person at her core that Clinton, or at least she would be were it not for the fact that the Clintons are the kind of people who could be friends with Jeffrey Epstein and are prepared to engage in all manner of depraved conspiracies on behalf of their own self-interests.

Oh and, just as a final pointer, take note of the fact that Warren, her supporters, and the identity-fetishism that they represent is the same thing that played out during the 2008 presidential campaign. When Barack Obama first ran for President under the Democratic ticket, Clinton’s supporters smeared Obama’s supporters as sexists who were afraid of the idea of a woman being President for the first time. An example of this is when Salon published an article accusing Obama supporters of being fanatical misogynists back in 2008. In fact, the same woman who wrote that article (Rebecca Traister) would go on to write an article for The Cut last week defending Elizabeth Warren by whining about sexism. And all the while, for the spiel about fanatical bros gaslighting women, Hillary Clinton was spreading racist propaganda against Barack Obama in order to undermine his campaign, and none of her supporters, then and now, batted an eye to it. In fact, it was Clinton supporters who helped feed the birther movement by circulating claims that Obama was born in Kenya rather than Hawaii in order to delegitimize his campaign. So just as feminist identity politics was used to defend an odious avatar of corruption in the past (both in 2008 and in 2016), now the same identity politics is being used to defend a valueless shell of a person. Indeed, in both cases it seems to be utilized within progressive circles to shield candidates who are otherwise less progressive than their rivals – don’t get me wrong, both Obama and Clinton are neoliberal scum, but Clinton’s record may as well have been that of a straight up Republican in Democrat clothing.

Take all of this into account when you observe the Democratic primaries going forward.

The image that Warren fears most

Recipes for self-delusion

People these days seem hungry for the doctrine that you’re fine just the way you are, and I mean this in the sense of this pervasive idea that nothing you do can come with any negative consequences and you can never be wrong or deluded in your choices. This idea tends to be crystallized in one word: self-love.

Recently I’ve been apprised of a new book that was published in April that has proven emblematic of this noxious ideal. Recipes for Self-Love: How to Feel Good in a Patriarchal World, authored by Alison Rachel, is essentially a self-help picture book of sorts that marries the typical feel good mumbo jumbo you get from New Age philosophy or similar philosophies with intersectional feminism. The book also apparently has an Instagram account that allows us to get a peek at just what sort of life philosophy is contained in the book, as illustrated by a series of graphic designs. And what life lessons can we draw from this book? Well, just hold tight, because you’re about to see.

To be honest, some of the points within that book are actually pretty OK to be fair, like “it’s OK to say no”, “it’s OK to not be OK”, “you don’t always have to be happy”, “learn how to deal with rejection”, or even “normalize menstruation”, and a few are even genuinely positive, like “support those with chronic illness”, “re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book” and “be honest with yourself, be honest with others”, but we’re here for some of the stand outs of bad advice and philosophy, the points which range from the ridiculous and/or deluded to the potentially destructive.

Starting off in that direction, we have “skin is a feminist issue”. What does that mean exactly? Well basically it’s an admonishment of people who think acne is bad skin. You know, that thing most people have to deal with in high school and sometimes still with a little bit of it in later life, that thing that ruins your face by dotting it with pimples and in rare cases even scars? Apparently that’s not bad skin according to this book. Don’t worry about your pimples, you’re just fine the way you are. Don’t work on getting rid of them, don’t consult a doctor if your acne gives you much worse, because there can never be anything wrong with your skin. Your skin is perfect and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Words cannot describe how dumb this is, and it’s not even the only point that stresses that your body is fine as it is even if it is legitimately unhealthy. But apparently this is a feminist issue too. Not sure why that is the case, but then I can’t imagine why advocating that women who have bad skin should just live with it because it’s actually as good as having clear and healthy skin could possibly be of benefit for a movement supposedly concerned with empowering women.

Then there’s “there is no such thing as ‘bad emotions'”. Really? I guess hate doesn’t exist or it doesn’t count as a bad emotion then? Man that’s going to be a problem considering these are often the same people who clamour for hate speech laws to be introduced or expanded. How can you do that without hate being a thing? Isn’t hate a bad emotion? Oh but this just plays into “Your feelings are valid” says one, to which the Instagram post clarifies “absolutely all of them, especially the negative ones”. The only reason this doesn’t apply to hate here is because of how another person’s hate makes you feel, but who cares about that when your hate is valid according to this very framework. I know the author would probably assure that such is not the case, but that’s only because the author is not capable of thinking her philosophy through to its conclusion.

You’ll notice that these points are accompanied by horrible-looking graphic designs that look like they came from some fashion design student decided to make a magazine showcasing their work, and at that the central characters appear to be almost all women. It’s an interesting detail because it sort of showcases the target demographic of the book, which appears to be chiefly women of all races, and almost certainly of the middle class.

One of the worst takes by far is “you don’t have to worry about something that hasn’t happened yet”. For a simple explanation as to why that’s shockingly dumb, let’s just look at climate change. The major effects of anthropogenic climate change that have been predicted, such as the rising of sea levels and the desertification of parts of the earth, are predicted to happen many decades from now, and we’re already at a point where we have just 10-12 years before we arrive at the point where these effects cannot be stopped. But they haven’t happened yet so why worry about it, right? Or how about the looming threat of nuclear war breaking out over the Middle East, or the India-Pakistan standoff, or to a lesser extent North Korea? I guess we can’t worry about that because it hasn’t happened yet, right? Or how about the growth of artificial intelligence and automation? Or the next financial crash? Those haven’t happened so let’s not worry, right? That mentality will be the cause of untold suffering and death if actually applied seriously.

Another particularly horrid take is “eat what you want”. The justification for this is that you shouldn’t feel bad about what you eat because food is just the fuel for the unique person that you are. Well, judging from the fact that there’s several other takes that appear to condemn the pursuit of losing weight or the discouragement of obseity, such as “don’t compliment a woman’s weight loss” or “stop fat shaming disguised as health concerns”, we can sort of guess that “eat what you want” means “don’t worry about whether or not you have an unhealthy diet that makes you fat and flabby”. And of course, it all has nothing to do with health or beauty. It’s all about whether or not you feel good. After all, if you’re fat and somebody tells you the harsh truth of what your lifestyle choices bring upon you, that might feel bad, that would probably make you want to do something about it in order to change that because you feel bad about it, and you can’t have that can you? That would disrupt that perfect aura of self-love you’re supposed to cultivate. Better “protect your energy” as the author suggests (read: block people who tell you that you’re a delusional asshole).

Even more horrid, one that perhaps plays into most of the rest is “you can’t control your feelings”. There are probably a thousand instances in your life where you will encounter the need to control certain feelings, because sometimes said feelings will lead you to make patently bad judgements. The lack of ability to control those feelings leads inevitably to the inability to subordinate emotions to your own faculties of rational calcuation and reason, which can lead to all manner of short-sighted and potentially destructive behaviours. And again, what if hate is one of those feelings? Should you not bother trying to control your hatred even though doing so would prevent a litany of malignant behaviours from emerging? Or no. I forget. Hatred doesn’t count because other people’s hate disrupts your psychic tranquility. How purely self-serving.

Several points appear to just be outright edifices of intersectional feminism. Examples include “good things come to those who smash the patriarchy”, “be a community activist, not a white savior”, “women don’t owe men shit”, “support survivors” (which is really just “don’t express any skepticism when a claim of abuse is made”), “smash the cishetero patriarchy”, “all oppressions are linked”, and of course “I wear the niqab as a defiance against the patriarchy”. Yeah, never mind that the niqab is basically an edifice of patriarchal Islamic or more generally Middle Eastern culture, never mind the fact that in the Middle East women wear the niqab because they’re told or expected to wear it and that dress is imposed upon them by men. Somehow the niqab is a defiant anti-patriarchal artefact of clothing. Worthy of particular note is “beauty is a construct created by the capitalist system to make you see flaws that don’t exist to sell you things you don’t need”. This is noteworthy in particular because it requires us to assume that the concept of beauty has only been around for a very short period of  In fact, there is a strong feminist idea of embracing a gendered in-group. One example of this is “don’t make fun of other women”, a point that we can immediately assume will never be applied to women who aren’t liberal feminists and is thus hypocritical. Another features a quote from filmmaker Ava Duvernay which reads, “we should conjure sisterhood wherever we can”. . On a similar note we have “strength in sisterhood”, which sounds almost volkisch if you ask me. And of course no intersectionalist tome would be complete without some attention being given to the transgender issue, their particular take being “a “real woman” is whoever identifies as one”. In other words, you’re not a woman if you posses any components of physically being a woman (whether that means being born a woman or being a trans woman), you’re just a woman if you say so. I guess that means I can do it too, even though I’m a regular man and nothing about me is remotely female.

Some points are not explicitly bad at least on the surface, but they still seem illogical and tend allow for some pretty negative conclusions to be drawn. For example, “you are multifaceted and multidimensional”. In itself, not a controversial or nonsensical statement, but in context it sounds like it’s trying to stroke your ego’s dick by selling the narcissistic personality this sort of philosophy appeals to as more nuanced and deeper than it really is. Or “learn to set boundaries with toxic family”. In itself, something that can be sensible under the right circumstances, but I have a suspicion that this is probably intended to be applied to family members who don’t get along with your particular politics, and I usually don’t get the right vibes from people who use the word toxic to refer to things other than chemical waste. In general I find the book’s attitude to capitalism to emerge from entirely the wrong place, stemming not from a critical analysis of capitalism in terms of the material structures it bases itself on but instead from a dissatisfaction with not being able to follow conventional standards of beauty and productivity. I get this sense from the take that reads “living in a capitalist world can lead to anxiety and depression”. Well, that might be true, insofar as the policies that affect your ability to survive and thrive economically invariably generate anxiety and depression (this can be suggested inversely by a recent study which suggests that raising the minimum wage may reduce suicide rates), but that is not this book’s problem with capitalism. No, the real problem according to this book is that, in a capitalist system, your worth is determined by what you achieved or produce rather than you just being you or you just existing. Not the most compelling assessment I must say.

And on that front we simply must address the “Break the stigma of STIs” take. There’s no getting around it, this reads like a statement of approval for people going around and getting sexually transmitted diseases. I’m not trying to be harsh on people who are suffering from these illnesses and don’t need people being harsh on them while they’re going through that pain. It really does read like the author wants to normalize sexually transmitted diseases. They only care that people are disgusted by STIs because it “perpetuates slut-shaming”. Yeah, no shit, people probably would be more averse to sexual promiscuity or even just more liberal attitudes to sex if to them that just meant going off and getting your dick riddled with herpes or some shit. Seriously, if like me you want people to be less conservative about sexuality, then this sort of attitude actively hurts our cause and we should be fighting against it. We shouldn’t be treating STIs as something that’s basically normal. If we should break the stigma of anything, we should focus on sexual education and safe sex, because as long as those things are normalized, we have very little problem because then nearly everyone who does casual sex would be doing so in a safe manner for all parties concerned.

One take is basically just the egoism of LaVeyan Satanism, but without the honesty. “Don’t feel guilty about putting yourself first”, it reads, and the accompanying Instagram post explains that it’s all about self-preservation and that putting yourself first is all about protecting and looking after yourself and that this doesn’t make you selfish. At least baseline Satanists are prepared to say that, yes, their philosophy is selfish, and that that’s a good thing. Same is true of Objectivists, or for that matter just about any self-identifying egoist. For some reason, however, this book doesn’t have that same level of honesty to it, and to me that’s a red flag. In any case, instead of the determined will-to-power ethos of selfishness that we get from baseline Satanism, we get would reads like pure navel-gazing self-coddling.

But the most galling detail of all is the promotion of the idea of lifestylism as a legitimate form of political activism, and even a representation of authentic political struggle. One take bears a quote from feminist author Audre Lorde, which reads “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare”. We also get something like that from a take that reads “Post your selfies”. On the Instagram post that goes with it, the account explains that female sexuality is commodified by capitalism while women themselves are shamed for posting sexual images of themselves (which, trust me, they aren’t), while not considering that surely they themselves may potentially be contributing to the process of commodification in one way or another. There’s just so many bourgeois traps that this framework falls into that it’s pretty mind-boggling.

Of course, there’s a lot more to go through if you want to see it all, but I would rather not bear labouring the point any further than I already have. The main point I’m trying to get at is that Recipes for Self-Love: How to Feel Good in a Patriarchal World seems to be a work of pure navel-gazing egotism and self-delusion. It is in this sense another edition to the long-running self-help industry that has taken hold of Western consciousness for decades, albeit of a more politically charged variety. It’s essentially what happens when you mix in intersectional politics with this weird trend of seemingle New Age self-help philosophy. I wonder if the author supports Marianne Williamson. In any case, I find that such a philosophy is harmful to Luciferianism on the grounds that it opposes the virtue of overcoming that we Luciferians often attach ourselves to, and it encourages us to surrender our faculties of reason and abandon the duties that come with us being our own divinities in potential – among them, to consecrate our bodies as though they were temples intended to be the house of that potential – in favor of wantonness in pursuit of just feeling good about yourself for the wrong reasons. It is a path that will lead the individual, and society, to destruction if pursued en masse. In fact, stuff like this is already a part of the messaging of the capitalist system as it stands already.

The sham identity of identity politics

As you might know from some of my more recent posts over the summer, I despise identity politics. I find it to be highly collectivist, anti-liberal and unnecessarily divisive to the point of being a cancer to the fabric of society. But there is another reason I especially despise identity politics: it is fraudulent.

Think about it: in the realm of identity politics, identity is based on sex, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and social class – sometimes weight too. In other words, you are who you are because you are white or black, or male or female, straight or gay, trans or not, rich or poor, fat or thin. Those things are not who you are. They’re what you are. Who you are is about your personality, your actions, your beliefs, your values, your desires, your thoughts, your goals, your soul/spirit (if you believe in one) and everything else that makes up the complex thing we call you. If you are white, black, gay, straight, male, female, rich, poor, European, African, fat, thin etc., those things make up only what you are. Your identity can’t be reduced to your sex, your race, your sexual orientation and the other categories of social identity that the identitarian movements of both the far-left and the far-right worship so much. Otherwise, if you’ve seen one male you’ve seen them all, and I could probably say the same of every other category of person out there.

And all too often in the realm of identity politics, value judgement tend to emerge that are applied to entire groups of people based on what they are as a label and not who the individuals are. These days, white people are viewed with a sense of shame by the supposedly liberal establishment to the point where it’s OK to suggest that white people should be extinct because of the actions of their ancestors during the age of colonialism. If you replaced white with black, or any non-white race, only then would you be condemned as racist. But if you exhibit obvious bigoted attitudes regarding white people, you aren’t seen as a racist at all. Conversely, if you are black, you are most likely seen by society as someone who always needs a leg up and always in need of succor, constantly needing to be defended and praised. If you are male, society has already determined that you are more expendable than a woman. You might think that the reverse is true, but an observation of such phenomenon as war, suicide rates, online harassment and crime in general as well as how they are treated will show you that the female victims, no matter how many there are compared to men, will always be valued more. We value women so much over men, that we will take extreme measures to protect their feelings (like actually deeming wolfwhistling and cat-calling as hate crimes and prosecuting them in Nottinghamshire, England), and surely it can’t escape anyone that we would never do the same for men. All based on what a person is, and based on what we have decided that means for everyone who falls under that category.

I happen to be a white British (specifically Welsh, with some Italian heritage from my dad’s side of my family) heterosexual male, and I also happen to be autistic. What about my personality, the way I think or my overall identity can you possibly discern from just those labels alone? My identity as a person, who I am as a person, is more complex than those things. And I am quite certain that I don’t fit many stereotypes (for instance, there’s a stereotype that autistic people are good at math, but I personally don’t like math that much and I remember getting a D at GSCE Maths and C on most of the other GSCEs I took). The self matters more than that, and it’s more complex than the categories of what you are as emphasized in the realm of identity politics.

The fight for liberalism in the West – Part 1: Identity politics needs to die

In my opinion we in the Western world are losing sight of the values that are supposed to define us as a society, namely the values of liberal democracy. An important part of the values of liberal democracy is the value of judging an individual based on his/her character, and not arbitrary traits likes race, gender, sexual orientation or any other physical traits acquired only through birth. These traits are not the responsibility of the individual and they have no real bearing on the character of the individual, and therefore the individual as an agent that can think, feel and act independently trumps them all. That is an important part of what it means to live in a liberal society. But increasingly, this is lost on a number people as they choose instead to embrace identity politics.

Does anyone remember when Martin Luther King Jr gave his speech wherein he proclaimed his great dream? The dream that his four children shall live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of his skin but by the content of their character? For King, individual character clearly trumped race, and it is in this same spirit that it should trump all else in our society. But instead, identity politics has a foothold in the imaginations of people in the West, particularly in America I have to say. The country is being divided along lines sex, race and gender by identity politics ideologues, particularly those on the progressive side.

You have Black Lives Matter, who are so convinced that all white people and all white cops are irredeemably evil that they cheer for the violent deaths of five police officers in Dallas by an avowed racist who wanted to kill white people. Supporters have even accused non-white people of being white supremacists if they happen to be police officers. And they are so heavily focused on race, that they get histrionic of the use of the hashtag #AllLivesMatter, presumably by people who believe that all lives matter equally in our society. A fine sentiment to hold, and for that BLM supporters accuse you of racism, which just proves that the only lives they care about are black lives (or rather, the lives of black people killed by police officers) because they think black lives matter more than any other lives. They are also so aggressively agenda-driven and self-centered that they will hijack events unrelated to them in order to insert their own agenda, like how in Canada recently they actually disrupted a parade conducted by Pride Toronto, where they were given honorary status even though their cause has nothing to do with that of Pride Toronto, because they decided that the pride parade was somehow anti-black and not inclusive to them. Again, despite being honored by Toronto Pride. I guess their real beef was just the fact that police officers apparently got to march in the parade, and that must have triggered BLM’s pathological hatred of the police.

Speaking of people who get triggered, there is a reason that the regressive left, another prominent political force where identity politics finds its home, is called the regressive left. They are a movement of left-leaning individuals who hold socially regressive viewpoints. One of these views is the idea of segregated spaces for people of color. You know, the kind of think people like Martin Luther King Jr. would have actively opposed for the simple reason that it is a form of segregation based on race! And this is something that is being advocated by people we refer to as SJWs (social justice warriors) and sometimes people who consider themselves feminists. Members of the regressive left also have a nasty habit of declaring that all white people are evil and that whiteness is equal to oppression (in other words, if you’re white then you are automatically oppressive and racist because you’re white), while simultaneously claiming that they are fighting against racism. Similarly, feminists who are on the regressive left tend to think that any kind of harassment or threats made against men is fine (because again, to them being a male automatically makes you evil) but the same thing made to women is a capital crime. To them racism and sexism are a one way street. Then you have “special snowflakes” supposedly speaking out in favor of marginalized communities when they no-platform speakers at their universities which they consider to be offense (read: they espouse views that they disagree with), like in the cases of Peter Tatchell and Germaine Greer; Tatchell is long-standing LGBT rights advocate, while Greer is a well-known old school feminist. They even bar their own kind from speaking for holding the wrong opinion, like Kate Smurthwaite, one of the usual kind of modern radical feminists, whose only crime was having the opinion that prostitution should not be legalized or decriminalized.

With identity politics you also get people willing pounce on tragedy to make it all about them, particularly in the wake of last month’s massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in which 50 gay people were murdered in the name of Allah. And what do Owen Jones, Steve Shives and other progressives and gay leaders do? Use the tragedy to enhance the victim status of the LGBT community, with a healthy does of conservative and Christian-shaming in America’s case. Because the fact that they were killed by an Islamist who pledged allegiance to ISIL means nothing compared to the sexuality of the victims. There was also a keen agenda on emphasizing the label of “hate crime” while overlooking the obvious element of radical Islam in the discussion. And if you try to change the subject from the LGBT community to literally anything else, you’re a homophobe to them. That’s why Owen Jones stormed out of a Sky News interview after failing to maintain control of his narrative on the conversation.

Identity politics is so pervasive, that even find pointless insertions of identity politics into atheist and so-called humanist movements, via Atheism+ and Humanism+ respectively. The former is basically a co-opting of atheism by feminism, while the latter is a co-opting of humanism by social justice movements. In both cases, this co-opting is unnecessary. However, with humanism, it is especially egregious. To the humanist, the emphasis is very much on egalitarian ideals to applied to all of humanity, rather than giving any unique status or extra attention to a given gender, race or sexuality or any movement based on either. Doing so undermines part of the tenets of humanism. The American Humanist Association, evidently, has not realized this, and they even go so far as to block people on Twitter who disagree with them. And what does YouTube do in the wake of the Orlando massacre? They release #ProudToBe, an indulgent celebration of people claiming to be all sorts of gender identities that, for all I know, were first discovered on Tumblr. That’s real nice. Way to show solidarity with the victims by using the tragedy to help people indulge in their witless pursuit of mostly non-existent genders.

Here is the main problem with identity politics: by virtue of being based on race, its based on what you are not who you are. When I have thought about identity in terms of “my identity”, I think of my personality, my self, my being as an individual. Who I am, not what I am. Race, gender and sexuality tend to be less important to me. I’m happy being a straight white male, but that’s not the most important aspect of who I am, or who I consider myself to be, as a person. In identity politics movements, however, identity has nothing to do with who you are and everything to do with what you are. If anything, they think who you are is tied to what you are. And by emphasizing so heavily on race, gender, or sexuality groups, they don’t deal in individuality, but rather group identity (for instance, thinking in terms of black people and white people as collectives with desires and goals, rather than thinking in terms of individuals). This also means they despise people who disagree with them, because to them they must be traitors to their genders . Feminist public figures don’t like women who aren’t feminists, and Black Lives Matter doesn’t like it when other African-Americans speak out against Black Lives Matter, because it undermines their identitarian narrative. I can’t imagine how the LGBT community views Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative journalist who also happens to be gay. Or for that matter Blaire White, a transgender YouTuber who criticizes social justice progressivism.

Not to mention, as long as feminism continues to rise and it continues to focus largely on women whilst claiming to be an egalitarian movement, it always creates people who decide to become MGTOWs or masculinists or any identitarian movement centering around men instead of women. As long as you have social justice warrior movements that decide that all white men are evil because their ancestors may have been slave-owners of some other malevolent personality, and as long as people in the mainstream media continue entertain their kind of racialism as a legitimate political standpoint, it will create people who will practice the same thing but from the opposite side, such as the alt-right – a modern current of neo-reactionary white nationalism that specifically exists to counter progressivism. The same thing has happened in this year’s gay pride. People have reacted with a hashtag #HeterosexualPrideDay, possibly out of concern that they feel pride parades are still a sign that the LGBT community believes their behavior isn’t normalized, which you’d think was the end goal in the first place – for the homosexuality, bisexuality and transexuality to be seen as normal in the same way that heterosexuality is. It is a constant pendulum swing, and the only thing produced is division and unserviceable hate.

In the end, though, I think the rise of identity politics is leading to a lot of illiberality and division, particularly racial identity politics, which is now leading innocent lives being lost by psychotic identitarian ideologues. The way Black Lives Matter is going, there are a lot of people who have come out in support of the idea of killing cops solely because they’re cops, and they have come out in support of a man who openly stated that his reasons for slaying police officers in Dallas was because he wanted to kill white people and especially white police officers. And whatever Black Lives Matter does, no matter how retarded or unethical it is, the mainstream media will paint them as though they are completely justified in what they do and can do no wrong, as though two wrongs somehow make a right. I think it’s only a matter of time before violent rhetoric produces violent actions. As far other forms of identity politics? Well, I think it’s a particularly bad sign that in recent weeks al-Qaeda has reportedly encouraged lone wolves to specifically target white males, apparently in order to avoid the hate crime label. If that’s true, it means they know how divided the West is along identitarian lines and, like any terrorists worth their salt, they may work to exploit that in order to try and undermine the framework of Western society through violence.

Identity politics is a hydra that needs to be defeated before it not only corrodes and destroys the liberal values we in the West hold dear, but also takes more lives in the process. If we do not rout identity politics from our culture, or at least delegitimize it as a valid political platform, then I think there will be increasingly dismal days ahead for the West.

An engraving of Hercules defeating the Lernaean Hydra, dated 1563.

Pride and humanity

Recently there’s been a fuss on Twitter over a hashtag celebrating “Heterosexual Pride Day”. Honestly I don’t see anything inherently wrong with the concept itself, but from what I understand there is frustration directed at it partly because people happen to celebrating it during Pride Month. You know, a month dedicated to celebrating homosexuality? I can definitely see why the timing of such a thing would be an issue, particularly as it would be seen as a piss-take.

Of course, the other reason behind the frustration is because of social justice warriors deciding that heterosexuality isn’t something worthy of any kind of pride. A common response is “what’s next, white history month?” or “breathing air?”. The latter I find really strange. Surely to a gay person, isn’t being gay about as normal as breathing air? Oh wait, it’s because there are more heterosexuals in the world isn’t it? And it’s a very peculiar notion that heterosexuals shouldn’t get a day to celebrate their heterosexuality because it’s normal (for them apparently), but being gay does merit celebration, even though both are basically celebrations of what you are and not who you are. Sexual orientation is something that is, at least to my understanding, beyond the control of individuals, it is not an accomplishment, and has no bearing on the character of individuals nor is it something upon which the character of an individual can be based. So why is one sexuality treated as basically meaningless, or worthless, but not the other?

Oh wait, it might be because Pride Month is about more than celebrating being gay. No, it’s about their right to exist without persecution, at least according to this. Wait, don’t we all have the right to exist without persecution? Yes, but not if you believe in identity politics. As far as I am aware in the Western world we all have the right to exist without persecution under the law, don’t we?

It’s a similar situation with International Women’s Day. Although there is indeed an International Men’s Day, it seems to me that International Women’s Day is apparently seen as more important for a lot of people than International Men’s Day, whereas if you believed in equality you would see both as equally important. Same with Black History Month, or White History Month, or any history month devoted to a racial group, I find there’s a certain segregation of history, and inevitably one is treated as more important than another. That’s also the same problem I have with the MOBO awards – it segregates musical achievement based on race or ethnicity.

The whole point of combating racism, sexism and sexualism is that you shouldn’t be treated unfairly based on race, sex and sexuality, on the basis that those things don’t make you less of a person. This should mean recognizing that race, gender and sexuality have no bearing on the character of the individual. But for some reason, one group of people is treated as more important than the other, to the point that another celebrating their sexuality, race and gender is either meaningless or downright bigoted.

My thoughts are either we start celebrating humanity as a whole in monument to egalitarianism instead of identity politics, we make it a point to celebrate our humanity throughout our lives as much as possible, or we just live and let live and just let everyone have their own time to celebrate their identities because in the end that’s what these things are – a celebration not of who you are, but what you are. If you’re going to have pride in what you are, then just focus on what you are and not what other people are and how they’re wrong for celebrating it. But if you think pride is reserved for one group of people, and for another group it is hateful, I think you’re in the wrong and in fact beholden to identity politics. I don’t mind Pride month. I just don’t like the idea that some people should have pride for what the are, but others should not.

The ballad of John McAfee

Just today I came across a post from defeated Libertarian presidential candidate John McAfee via Facebook. The substance of the post is as shown below.

People are confused about about why I said ‘Shame on us” at my concession speech at the Libertarian Convention. It is simple:

If the Party’s actions matched their words, even remotely, then it would not be composed of 99.7% whites, and nearly 80% men. Yes. Shame on you LP! Shame on you! And shame on those who perpetrate this abject offense against humanity and those who support them. Stop just talking the talk. Start walking the walk. I will shine my light on your darkest corners. And, be warned, nothing will escape my light.

I can’t help but feel McAfee is taking the piss. Seriously, is he actually implicating the Libertarian Party of discrimination, or does it not occur to him that those percentages likely just reflect that most of the people who chose to join the Libertarian Party happen to be mostly white and/or male? Either way, the language seems to imply that McAfee is calling for enforcing diversity within the Libertarian Party’s ranks. In my opinion, this betrays a party that would oppose things like enforced diversity, affirmative action, and quotas because those are attempts by the state to unfairly level the playing field in order to achieve equality of outcome at the expense of meritocracy. Not only that, but it smacks of progressive social justice logic. I can’t help but wonder why McAfee would consider this sort of thing, this thing which smacks of the same progressive identity politics that would be adopted by the likes Hillary Clinton.

And there’s another dimension to this. What’s this talk of McAfee’s “light” coming soon, with nothing escaping it? Does he intend to be some kind of messiah or something. It’s clear that John McAfee is upset that he didn’t get nominated as the Libertarian presidential candidate and that he does not support the nominee Gary Johnson. When he was asked what who he would support, he said he would support himself, which seems to imply he might run as an independent candidate. When asked if he was running as an independent candidate, he said that “running” was being redefined, which to me still seemed like he had ambitions of his own after the Libertarian primaries. Honestly, I am deeply suspicious of McAfee’s ambitions at least from his rhetoric on the matter. I can’t help but wonder if he is simply a bad loser – unwilling to accept that the Libertarian party chose a guy that wasn’t him. And this talk of a revolution and a new world seems about as hyperbolic and emotive as Bernie Sanders’ talk of a political revolution, and look how quickly his “revolution” has failed.

Zionism, anti-Semitism, and the Labour debacle

Remember in one of my posts where I mentioned the Labour Party in the UK has a lot of crazy people in it, including a woman who claimed Hitler was the “greatest man in history”? Well it turns out Labour has had a very public controversy over apparently anti-Semitic remarks, with a lot of talk of Jeremy Corbyn taking action regarding MPs like Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone over their remarks. That a big deal has been made over comments that really are nothing more than dumb assumptions that can be debated just seems silly to me, and our response to it speaks more about how we handle people’s ideas than any problem of anti-Semitism in Labour.

But perhaps the most ridiculous part is how apparently being anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic are somehow mixed up. This of course, refers to comments made by Ken Livingstone, which read as follows:

Let’s remember when Hitler won his election in 1932, his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism – this before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews.

The simple fact in all of this is that Naz made these comments at a time when there was another brutal Israeli attack on the Palestinians.

As I’ve said, I’ve never heard anybody say anything anti-Semitic, but there’s been a very well-orchestrated campaign by the Israel lobby to smear anybody who criticizes Israeli policy as anti-Semitic. I had to put up with 35 years of this.

Clearly this is a claim that can be debated, but I think people make much more of that remark than needed to be made. Besides, he raised one good point – that point about how the Israel Lobby tends to denounce critics of the state of Israel as being blatantly anti-Semitic. I’ve read about that happening before and it’s much the same as how in the UK the BBC tends to lump the EU and Europe together, thereby painting Eurosceptics as being against Europe and Europeans rather than just the EU.

Today, I spotted an article on the Telegraph on how a rabbi (Britain’s chief rabbi apparently) named Ephraim Mirvis claimed that Labour has a “severe” anti-Semitism, and just look at what he says later in the article:

Zionism is a movement celebrated by people right across the political spectrum, all over the world, and requires no endorsement or otherwise of the particular policies of any Israeli Government at any time.

 But to those people who have nevertheless sought to redefine Zionism, who vilify and delegitimise it, be under no illusions – you are deeply insulting not only the Jewish community but countless others who instinctively reject the politics of distortion and demonisation.

First off, I don’t understand Zionism as something celebrated by people all over the world (including countries where Judaism isn’t a thing), but hated as the subject of lurid anti-Semitic conspiracy theories left and right. But secondly, criticizing Zionism is the same as insulting the Jewish community? That’s identity politics, plain and simple. Zionism is an ideology, an idea. To criticize an idea is not the same as insulting or being xenophobic towards an entire community or individual. The problem of identity politics stems from exactly the misunderstanding shown by Ephraim Mirvis.

To clarify: Zionism is an ideology that specifically advocates the repatriation of all the Jewish people to the historical (read: Biblical) “Holy Land”, and that this “Holy Land” consists not only of the territory we call Israel, but all of the land that was once ruled by the Isrealites (which, crucially, includes Palestine). It’s a nationalistic ideology mixed with heavy religious fervor, based on the idea of reclaiming the land that, supposedly, was given to them by “God” – in other words, “God gave us this land therefore it’s ours”. It doesn’t take a genius to see that there are entirely legitimate reasons to criticize the Zionist ideology, and none of it exclusively predicated on hatred of the Jewish people. In fact, there are critics who denounce Zionism because they think it is inherently racist. Not to mention, you don’t hear it in the media, but there are critics of Zionism who are Jewish. Those critics recognize Zionism as an ideology, one that need not be intertwined with any ethnic identity, and thus they understand that criticizing Zionism need not have anything to do with xenophobia towards Jews.

With the Labour debacle, I can’t help but think that the MPs who talk about Zionism and the MPs who have made apparently anti-Semitic remarks are being treated the same way – as anti-Semites. And that’s what you get with a political crowd that doesn’t bother to examine the remarks let alone debate them and prove that they’re demonstrably wrong. People don’t want to look behind the curtain, so to speak. That’s exactly how and why Stephen Fry was vilified by the Twitter mobs and the British press.