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. 
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