Monday, September 28, 2015

When worlds collide

200 anarchists attacked a hipster cereal café in London this week. The demo was not exactly sedate:
It was like a witch hunt. There were people with pitchforks, pig heads and fire torches. It was like something from the Middle Ages.

In a way the anarchists are confronting the new world that they themselves helped to create. The hipsters fit into the modern world. The main goods in the modern world are expressive lifestyle ones. Identity does not connect the individual to a higher truth, but is personal and can therefore be expressed playfully and ironically. Hence the hipster male:


The anarchists claim to be opposed to hipsters, but are really just clearing the way for them. If you look at the anarchist slogans they are the predicable ones of opposing nation, family, religion, class and so on. But if you take away the settled identities and loyalties of a group of people, then what is left to them? There is not much there to generate larger values and commitments. People are left to find value in everyday lifestyle pleasures, perhaps in some new food or travel experience.

Predictably this does not stimulate a great interest in politics amongst the masses. The anarchists have noticed this and complain about people being zombies. But the logic of modern society favours the hipsters not the anarchists, particularly whilst economic conditions remain stable.

7 comments:

  1. These 'Anarchists' are the militant end of the SJW - Social Justice Warrior - phenomenon, a whole lifestyle based around Hate. Cultural Marxism, the SJW ideology, +l iberal-democratic individualist Capitalism created the environment that gave birth to the decidedly un-Hateful hipsters, a lifestyle based around play, irony, self-expression. Hipsters tend not to make babies, but otherwise they are not that bad, to the extent they have any beliefs they tend to be mildly conservative, favouring many of the things traditionalists do. They are very comfortable with 'liberal conservatives' like Boris Johnson and David Cameron, far more than with hatchet-faced ever-serious New Labour types.

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    1. I agree that anarchist politics is hateful. Trads want to energise political commitments through a defence of identities and institutions that engender our love and loyalty. But anarchists reject these. I suspect that their mindset is that you energise political commitments instead in a more negative way, by appealing to hatred and envy.

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  2. Building a political ideology on hatred of other entities doesn't tend to engender success, and they don't tend to last long. Too much negativity tends to repel normal people.

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    1. Certainly true in normal times. Attacking harmless hipsters will repel the average well-adjusted person. The only exception I can think of is if there were some real crisis in society that suddenly cut the ground under people's feet. It might then be possible to harness anger on a larger scale. Also, anger has worked to a certain degree for feminists, at least for the "angry undergraduate" type of feminist, but only because there was a more pragmatic wing of the movement focused on careerism (and another wing promoting sexual revolution), and only because there were reasons for the powers that be to foster these other wings of the movement.

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    2. I think Feminism piggybacked on the Victorian chivalrous notion that women were inherently good and nice, and if women get angry it must be for very good reason. I think that 19th century sacralisation of womanhood was a necessary precursor to feminist success.

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    3. Simon, I can still remember that mindset from older men when I was growing up. There were men who simply collapsed when women made an angry demand, as if they were obligated as men to accede.

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    4. "But the logic of modern society favours the hipsters not the anarchists, particularly whilst economic conditions remain stable."

      Actually over the last few years their has been a slight revival of the old-economic left. Notice how the UK Labour party has elected an old-school Leftist while Bernie Sanders is quite well in the US.

      This isn't so much about economic instability, but economic stagnation - people are starting to get feed up with the effects of jobless recoveries, lack of affordable housing and the burden of carrying debt for long periods of time. For example, we now have people in their 40s who still have student debt they acquired in their 20s.

      And of course nationalists and populists like Trump and Le Pen are attracting increasing numbers of working and lower middle class voters.

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