ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)
[personal profile] ecosophia
Hell freezes overYeah, it must have happened. Rhyd Wildermuth just wrote something I agree with. 

Longtime readers of mine will recall Mr. Wildermuth as the instigator of an attempted witch hunt against nonconformist groups within the Pagan community -- "nonconformist" here meaning both not conforming to eclectic American Neopagan orthodoxy, and not conforming to his personal ambitions as a Marxist agitator hoping to pursue some good old-fashioned entryism in the Neopagan scene. I'm pleased to say that his crusade didn't get far. I doubt my critique had much to do with that -- the people who read my writings are unlikely to pay much attention to his, and vice versa -- but the attempt to whip up a frenzy about sinister New Right infiltrators in our midst seems to have fallen flat. (My guess is that most of the people who were backing the witch hunt found something else to be upset about the moment Donald Trump won the 2016 election.)

But Wildermuth made his way back onto Pagan newsfeeds the other day by way of a fine thumping tirade directed at the social justice movement's insistence that all white men everywhere are evil, full stop, end of sentence, and ought to be exterminated for the benefit of everyone else. Inevitably, in the topsy-turvy world of social justice activism, Wildermuth's refusal to support the rhetoric of genocide immediately got him labeled a fascist -- a claim to which he responded with another solid diatribe. His sin, of course, was that he pointed out that it's just as preposterous to insist that every individual white male human being is personally responsible for all the evils in the world as it would be to insist, say, that every individual Jew is personally responsible for all the evils in the world. 

Wildermuth being Wildermuth, of course he phrased his critique in the theological jargon of Marxism; since that's his religion -- if I recall correctly, the guy literally has a picture of Marx on his altar as an intellectual and spiritual ancestor -- I have no quibbles with that, though it's not a jargon or a faith I find particularly appealing. Still, if he's going to be a Marxist, I hope he goes whole hog and takes in some of the very thoroughly developed Marxist critique of bourgeois moral crusades as a common hegemonic strategy in late capitalism. Along these lines, it wouldn't be too hard to show that the social justice movement functions exactly the same way the Methodist movement did in 19th century Britain: it provided a vehicle by which bourgeois interests excused and justified their treatment of the proletariat by insisting on the moral viciousness of the latter, and urging the working classes to reform themselves by conforming to bourgeois standards (and, not accidentally, supporting bougeois hegemony). 

There's a good reason, after all, why by and large the social justice movement is willing to discuss every form of privilege imaginable except class privilege. Now that that's being pointed out -- and Wildermuth is only one of the voices pointing it out, though he seems to have made more of an impact than most -- it'll be entertaining to see the fur fly. 

(no subject)

Date: 2018-12-29 02:38 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ritaer
He mentions Methodism, although he apparently doesn't know that it isn't Calvinist. But the details of Christian theology and church organization are often ignored by opponents.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-12-29 03:53 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Do you suppose that now wildermuth will have a witch hunt against himself?

(no subject)

Date: 2018-12-29 11:13 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
There comes a time in every far-left radical's life when he's no longer far left or radical enough. Rhyd has reached that point when openly advocating genocide against a group of which he is part became compulsory. Hopefully the transition is painful enough that he starts listening to people outside the left.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-12-29 11:32 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ill_made_knight
yeah, lol that's pretty old in internet time at least. it's pretty funny tho. It's similar to what got me banned from those circles years ago, back before that 'witchhunt' of his. That was pretty funny too, since I am an initiate of one of the orders of witchcraft he listed as insulated against entryism.
no wonder he hightailed it to Brittany

not surprising

Date: 2018-12-29 04:38 pm (UTC)
dfr1973: (Default)
From: [personal profile] dfr1973
I'm really not surprised, as you two are both natural-born white males (and I presume he is also of the hetero- variety since he isn't waving the queer flag). As the mother of a straight white male, I figured it would only be a matter of time before encountering that attitude that 4chan so brilliantly skewered when they did the "It's okay to be white" campaign.

contridictions

Date: 2018-12-29 05:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ritaer
It is interesting that people in the confrontation Wildermuth described, who probably agree that race and gender are social constructs, suddenly forget that theory when they want to attack a white person or a male person.

A more extensive and personal analysis of the use of poor, white, rural people as the symbol of everything wrong with America can be found in "The Redneck Manifesto: How Hill-billies, Hicks and White Trash Became America's Scapegoats" by Jim Goad. The author has a website and numerous other publications. I don't vouch for the veracity of his claims, but it is worth exposure to a "white" point of view not represented in academia or what passes for radical politics.

Rita

Re: contradictions

Date: 2018-12-29 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ritaer
It is interesting that in radical circles gender has been severed from all connection to the material world. Gender identity is alleged to be independent of the physical body either by genotype (XX or XY) or the phenotype of being born with a certain type of genitals or even surgical reassignment. Nor is it determined by gender presentation--that is dressing and grooming as expected of a particular gender by society. It is enough merely to assert that one identifies as a woman or as a man and anyone who questions that assertion for any reason is automatically a bigot. It is unclear then where gender resides. Since most leftists are materialists gender can't be a metaphysical essence; it must reside somewhere in the physical brain of the individual, if it is not a social construct. But if it is a social construct how does anyone come to define themselves in defiance of the gender that society has assigned them? No one really seems to be thinking clearly on this topic.

Rachel Dolezal's self definition as transracial doesn't seem to have been as successful in challenging the standard definitions of race. Yet most anthropologists would say that race is far more of a social construct than gender. A puzzle.

Rita

Nature - yeech

Date: 2018-12-30 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ritaer
Rejection of nature--exactly. A Pagan friend of mine, who has written on many topics sees the attacks on woman only spaces, etc. as a threat to the Pagan celebration of embodiment, the idea that the material world and our physical bodies are not a trap from which we need to escape into a world of idea or spirit, but the arena in which we are intended to grow and learn.

This is true for most forms of Neopaganism, but the woman's spirituality movement, Dianic Witchcraft and other manifestations of women's mysteries were specifically pushback to the definition of the body as unholy and of women's bodies as particularly unholy. Now this is being trampled in the name of a philosophy that has not been argued out in the public sphere and presented for general acceptance but created in the hothouse of gender studies departments and proclaimed as unquestionable truth.

Re: contradictions

Date: 2018-12-30 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I am a young-ish person who has dealt with gender and body dysphoria my whole life. It was mentioned here and on the main blog that with human overpopulation, there is likely less processing time between incarnations. I can't help but wonder whether I had a fast turnaround from a life as a different gender/body, which has led to my confusion in this life. I certainly haven't found any other way to explain it!

Re: contradictions

Date: 2018-12-31 12:56 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
How quick is too quick? Also, what would be a normal length of time when populations are at a reasonable level?

Re: contradictions

Date: 2019-01-03 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Could that fast turnaround time and "leakage" be part of the root cause of a lot of the mental illness and addictive behaviors that plague our young people today?

Re: contradictions

Date: 2018-12-31 12:57 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I always figured the endocrine disruptors we pour into the environment in such large quantities play a fairly large role.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-12-29 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Actually, people within the social justice movement talk about class privilege a lot. One can confirm this by putting 'social justice class privilege' in a search engine of your choice. Maybe you disagree with the way the social justice movement tends to discuss class privilege, but the claim that they don't discuss it is false.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-12-30 05:19 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
That was years ago, and my memory is not perfect, but IIRC Will Shetterly became person non grata at the social justice end of science fiction because he was trying to shut up many of the conversations about racism in science fiction, and he also revealed the legal name of one of the pseudonymous bloggers who was most active in the conversation about race in SFF, apparently with malicious intent (I think that in itself, whatever opinions he has of race and/or class, is a good reason to exclude him). I saw for myself that he posted comments on blogs which were discussing racism in SFF and he seemed to be trying to shut down / derail the conversation.

(And while there was a lot of seriously flawed discussion of racism in science fiction then, I think it was necessary, for the reasons N.K. Jemisin discusses in the essay "Why I Think RaceFail Was The Bestest Thing Evar for SFF")

I read a lot more social justice stuff in the 2009/2010 period, and I can say that social justice circles had quite a bit to say about class privilege / classism back then too, even though those discussions were less prominent than the discussions of racism and sexism.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-12-30 11:21 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I have no problem with you avoiding Ms. Jemisin's work (I don't understand why it brings up those associations with you, but I accept that it does) and I think we may have seen different comments from Mr. Shetterly. IIRC, it was not simply that he did not express 100% agreement - there were plenty of other people who had less than 100% agreement because they certainly did not all agree with each other - but since I don't want to go back and look at that old stuff to refresh my memory, I don't feel it would be fair for me to give a more specific description. I do know that one of the bloggers who had the biggest problems with him had trouble paying bills and relied on public transit because she didn't have a car (I'm not certain whether or not it was because of affordability), so I doubt the problem was that he challenged that blogger's 'middle class privilege'.

I think 'Racefail' in SFF is actually an example of the opposite of one bad idea being another bad idea. I remember seeing the first edition of Dawn by Octavia Butler and the protagonist was depicted as white, even though she's African-American, and yet nowadays I see reviews of Octavia Butler's works saying things like 'the best thing about Octavia Butler is that she was a black woman writing science fiction' (really, isn't that implying that Octavia Butler's writing is so bad that it would not be able to stand on its own merits if she had been completely anonymous?) Whitewashing bookcovers, being reluctant to publish SFF with protagonists of color, making it difficult for writers of color to get published, etc. is bad, but specifically praising works BECAUSE the character or writer is a person of color while downplaying the quality (good or bad) is also bad. To borrow your phrase, I think there is a 'useful midpoint' where one can ask why there were relatively few protagonists and/or writers of color in mainstream SFF prior to 2009 and try to correct unfair biases without making it the dominant measurement of whether or not a work is worthwhile.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-12-30 12:24 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Glad to see that people who used to be inside the social justice bubble are beginning to realize that it's full of "busy, uncharitable, self-lauding people", to slightly misquote Anthony Trollope's comments about the Church of England in the 1850s. (He said "busy, uncharitable, self-lauding men", speaking of a new crop of evangelically-inclined ministers.) Now maybe we can go back to people who really want social justice and are willing to do something other than virtually beat people to death in the internet to achieve it.

Yes, I know, this is uber-obvious

Date: 2018-12-30 12:47 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I know this is basic, but perhaps Rhys should also read what Marx wrote about religion? Or, better yet, study what Communist regimes have (in 9 cases out of 10) done about religion...? :D

Joyous Tide

Date: 2018-12-30 05:17 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
What was the old saying? The Revolution is devouring its own children? Those who live by the sword, die by the sword? One of the ironic things to me is how the Left has become so entirely ultra-conservative, now they have the reins of power and influence. Perhaps it has something to do with the genesis time of the 1960s: with 50% of the country solidly middle class, arguably, and over half of that part "radical", the biases and blind spots of that bunch was built into the cake? So they literally can't see Peak Oil, class prejudice, authentic rural American culture, etc., etc. It's like they are frozen in time, during the 50s and 60s, as if it is Dreamtime.
(Argus & Phoenix)

Re: Devouring its own children

Date: 2018-12-31 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
"There is a time when the Revolution needs patriots, and a time when it needs traitors." That's an approximate quotation from "My Mind on Trial" (Eugen Loebl). The Revolution needs patriots to risk their lives and fortunes to seize power. It needs traitors to explain, a few years later, why the promised Utopia has not arrived. When the revolutionaries are fortunate enough to defeat their opponents, they must cast blame upon their allies.

Lathechuck

I haven't encountered these people

Date: 2018-12-30 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I have never seen anyone suggest that all white males (!) be exterminated. I don't doubt that there are a few gibbering haters out there saying so - after all, there is a society dedicated to the idea that all girls should be raped by the age of eight. However, apparently they only spout their ranting in their own little echo chambers so that I don't encounter it as I do, say, those who want to eradicate Muslims or gays or blacks, so I don't perceive it as a real threat to society.

Anyway, how on earth do these loonies imagine such mass murder might be done? The key to successful dehumanization of scapegoat groups is to start with groups that are weak or very few in number, so that they can't fight back effectively. That hardly applies to white men.

-Dewey

Re: I haven't encountered these people

Date: 2018-12-31 12:44 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
They are disgustingly common, and I personally refuse to give comfort or aid to any group that keeps white haters in good standing.

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ecosophia: JMG in lecture mode (Default)John Michael Greer

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