Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cog status

Naomi Wolf, the American feminist, has noticed that quite a few of the leaders of the more patriotic parties in Europe are women (e.g. Marine Le Pen in France, Pia Kjaersgaard in Denmark and Siv Jensen in Norway).

She's not happy about it. She's written an article in which she crudely attacks these parties; however, she does a good job in explaining why ordinary women might find these patriotic parties appealing:
right-wing movements benefit from the limitations of a postfeminist, post-sexual-revolution society, and the spiritual and emotional void produced by secular materialism.

Many lower-income women in Western Europe today – often single parents working pink-collar ghetto jobs that leave them exhausted and without realistic hope of advancement – can reasonably enough feel a sense of nostalgia for past values and certainties. For them, the idealized vision of an earlier age, one in which social roles were intact and women’s traditional contribution supposedly valued, can be highly compelling.

And, of course, parties that promote such a vision promise women – including those habituated to second-class status at work and the bulk of the labor at home – that they are not just faceless atoms in the postmodern mass. Rather, you, the lowly clerical worker, are a “true” Danish, Norwegian, or French woman. You are an heiress to a noble heritage, and...also part of something larger and more compelling than is implied by the cog status that a multiracial, secular society offers you.

The attraction of right-wing parties to women should be examined, not merely condemned. If a society does not offer individuals a community life that takes them beyond themselves, values only production and the bottom line, and opens itself to immigrants without asserting and cherishing what is special and valuable about Danish, Norwegian, or French culture, it is asking for trouble.

There's a bit of snark in this, but she does recognise that things have gone seriously wrong within liberal modernity (see, it's not just us).


  1. Clearly anything to the right of Naomi's values is fascist.

    1. Yes, so it seems. Part of her analysis is very crude. But I find it interesting that leftists are also starting to feel the coldness of the society they helped bring about.

    2. Most leftists are ignorant dupes who get swept along in leftist movements excited by the prospect of money and status which they would never be able to achieve by means of their own efforts alone. When the goals of the elites are achieved then the leftist dupes are thrown under a bus like rubbish and naturally they find this somewhat chilling.

  2. This well demonstrates the bad will of such persons as Wolf. Denying the fact that the very essence of modernity is meaninglessness, worthlessness.....I find it difficult to think of the proper words to describe it really. The best way of putting it that I can think of is to quote Kurtz from Conrad's The Heart of Darkness "the horror....the horror." She may as well claim that crocodiles aren't carnivorous or that water isn't wet. The best place for her would be a madhouse where they could do whatever can be done to get her mind right.

  3. Assuming some critical mass of the left suddenly feeling this way, I wonder what their response would be, and what they would consider as a possible solution?

    1. It depends on how sincere they were. It's easy for the left to blame the free market and then simply put forward a redistributionist welfare state as a marker of social solidarity.

      However, it's possible for those on the left to go beyond this. Paul Kingsnorth did so a while back. He wrote about globalists that,

      it is not just The Economist reading right who swell their ranks ... While the neo-liberal [ie right liberal] citizens of nowhere celebrate the birth of a global market ... another group, the liberal [ie left liberal] citizens of nowhere help them along...

      (See: http://ozconservative.blogspot.com.au/2005/04/melbourne-readers.html)

      It's possible for the left to critique globalism along the lines that Paul Kingsnorth has done (i.e. a defence of local communities, environmentalism, opposition to multinationals, opposition to standardisation, opposition to consumerism and materialism).

      If this were done sincerely enough, it would open up some political space.

  4. Wolf's focus on Europe is no accident. Feminists got a wakeup call recently from the massive street demonstrations against the leftwing French government's attempts to use the educational system to execute a society-wide, feminist/Marxist deconstruction of gender. Cast an eye over some photos:


    For feminists, the bad optics of seeing a mass of ordinary people, including large numbers of women, reject a core principle of feminist ideology is setting off alarm bells. Ms. Wolf is making sure the sisterhood realizes their team may have a major problem brewing.

    Some attempts at raising the leftwing consciousness are less subtle. Here's the Independent newspaper demonizing France's family values movement as the "politics of hatred":


  5. At least women get some understanding. Of course, if she were talking about men we would just be patriarchial women haters trying to maintain 8ur privilege.

  6. "But I find it interesting that leftists are also starting to feel the coldness of the society they helped bring about."

    The vast majority of the leftists I know have always been against this sort of thing, blaming it on rampant capitalism and materialist obsession. In fact, the more capitalistic/greedy my friends become, the more right wing they are considered by the rest of us. The hippy, new age/ 'alternative', and extreme bleeding hearts do nothing but bitch and moan about the current system. It's as though the further left you vote, the more horrible you find the mainstream. That could probably be said of the right too.
    the problem you're having is equating social liberalism purely with whatever 'the left' is currently considered. For example, the greens support legal injecting rooms and so forth because they mistakenly think this will help people get off drugs. I know plenty of left and right wing people who smoke marijuana. Funnily it's the 'right wing' libertarians (within the Liberal party and without) who seem most supportive of drug use.

    "...values only production and the bottom line, and opens itself to immigrants without asserting and cherishing what is special and valuable about Danish, Norwegian, or French culture, it is asking for trouble."
    - I'm assuming this strikes a chord here, but this is mentioned over and over in regards to anti-corporate views, in criticisms of globalised capitalism. Take for example another Naomi.
    Or even take Keating. The irony (I'd call dishonesty) being that Keating was the instigator of large chunks of market liberalisation, which ultimately lead to that which he demonised.

    Re: Lastango, I saw in The Age a while back that they were doing similar things here in Melbourne too. Some boy started turning up to class in dresses and suddenly the whole school (teachers and students) had to be educated with seminars etc. about the snowflake.