Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rita on the Opression Olympics

Strange to say, one of the most talented writers to emerge on the Australian right is a young Persian immigrant woman named Rita Panahi. She writes a column for Melbourne's Herald Sun, a mass circulation newspaper.

She even defends heterosexual Anglo men, such a rare thing within the mainstream culture we live in. Here is an excerpt from her most recent column:
Where do you rank in the Oppression Olympics? Are you floundering at the bottom of the table among the privileged white, Christian, heteronormative cisgender males with no moral authority to speak on any issue? Or are you going for gold as a transgendered pansexual Muslim woman of colour?

...The new aristocracy is determined by one's victimhood status; the more grievance points you accumulate, the greater your mandate to preach.

Of course, if you don't identify as a victim then your oppression ranking plummets to Anglo-male depths, but if you play the game right, you can use your grievance status to score plum roles as well as dodge all responsibility if you happen to fail miserably. One popular tactic among the victimhood brigade is the refusal to accept any criticism that comes from those who are of a different race, religion, gender, sexuality or whatever else differentiates you.

Men should not speak about feminism, whites should butt out of black or ethnic debates, and non-Muslims should never pass judgment on Islam.

Last week soon-to-be-retired Senator Nova Peris rejected the opinions of those who don't share her oppression ranking.

"Until you are an Aboriginal person, don't criticise me," she said.

Really? Can I play that card the next time I receive unhinged abuse from the always bitter and outraged feminist frightbats who are invariably middle-class white women? From now on my standard response to any and all criticism will be: "Unless you are an American-born Persian Australian, don't judge me."

And I enjoyed this from her Twitter feed:

Just two of Sweden's problems

Sweden's government has operated something like an open borders policy for refugees. I noticed a couple of statistics in the news that highlight how short-sighted this policy is. The first statistic is that it takes a very long time for refugees to find employment. After 15 years in Sweden only a third have found work, which means that they have to be carried by the Swedish taxpayer:

The second statistic is that for the first time since records began in the 1700s there are more men than women in Sweden, due in part to the fact that many of the refugees/economic migrants are young men from the Muslim world.

So a young Swedish male will find himself having to pay extra taxes to support the immigrants and at the same time deal with the distortions in the sex ratio caused by immigration. He will then be told to celebrate diversity.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Generation Identity on the streets of Paris

One of the most dynamic of the resistance movements in Europe is Generation Identity, strongest in France and Austria. Here they are in their latest gathering on the streets of Paris:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Not equal in all things

Last year the Australian women's soccer team, the Matildas, went on strike because they were paid less than the men's team. Unfair? Maybe not. The Matildas have just been thrashed, 7-0, in a match against an under-15s boys club team. That's right: 14-year-old boys from the seaside town of Newcastle in NSW can easily defeat Australia's national women's team.

It's a stark reminder that men and women are not equal in all things. I don't think this is difficult for traditionalists to accept as we don't think of men and women as being made for exactly the same things. But I do wonder what those feminists who believe that sex distinctions are socially constructed would make of it.

Is it the fault of the patriarchy that the best women soccer players cannot match it with boy ones, let alone with men? Can you really deconstruct this difference?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Nancy Pearcey: the liberal world does not know for sure what a man or woman is

Nancy Pearcey has some interesting points to make on the topic of transsexualism. From a 2013 column:
Several states and school districts have passed laws on “transgender discrimination,” and most read something like this (from a 2011 California law): "Gender . . . includes a person's gender identity and gender related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth."

What's the key word here? Assigned. As though a person's "sex at birth" were purely arbitrary instead of a scientific, biological fact.

What such language implies is that biological facts do not matter. The law is being used to impose a worldview that denigrates the physical body as inconsequential to personal identity. It is a worldview that drives a wedge between one's body and one's sense of self, which exerts a self-alienating, fragmenting effect on the human personality.

I had not heard of Nancy Pearcey before, but as it happens she is critical of liberalism on the same grounds that I am, namely that liberalism bases itself on the idea that the individual should be radically autonomous, and therefore not limited by anything unchosen, not even by one's own biological sex. Liberals believe that this is freedom, but are mistaken in thinking so:

...we are moving to a postmodern view that gender is something we can choose, independent of biology – and thus something we can also change.

...A few weeks ago, an NPR program featured young people who literally changed their gender identity throughout the day. "At one college, things were so fluid you could make up a different pronoun for a different event," NPR said. Students might go to lunch as a he, then to class as a she.

...many are...insisting that gender identity has nothing to do with biology. In an internet forum discussing transgenderism, someone wrote, Why should anyone care about "some little bit of flesh between the legs?" Why should that make a difference to your sense of who you are?

The autonomous self will not tolerate having its options limited by anything it did not choose – not even its own body.

We can call this view liberalism, employing a definition by the self-described liberal philosopher Peter Berkowitz. In his words, liberal thinkers focus on “dimensions of life previously regarded as fixed by nature” and seek to show that in reality they are “subject to human will and remaking.” For liberals, even your identity as male or female is now open to "human will and remaking."

This radical autonomy may be promoted as liberation, but it is a devastatingly disrespectful view of the physical body. The implication is that your body is not part of your authentic self.

A few years ago, Christianity Today quoted a female United Methodist minister who underwent a sex change operation to become a male. Her explanation was, “My body didn’t match what I am.” Clearly, she did not regard her body as part of “what I am.” She did not think of her body as part of her authentic self.

Of course, humans are more than biological beings. But biology gives an objective, scientifically detectable baseline for human identity.

When disconnected from biology, gender identity becomes subjective and ultimately unknowable. In a book titled Omnigender, the author says that all sexual identities are now up for grabs. A review of the book said – and this was written in all seriousness – “Arguments against women’s ordination need wholesale revamping since we do not know for sure now what a woman is.”

The liberal world does not know for sure what a man or woman is.

Not that long ago, nature was regarded as God's creation, endowed with God's purposes. This is called a teleological view of nature (from the Greek telos, meaning goal or purpose), and it is supported by the most evident empirical facts: Eyes are designed for seeing and ears for hearing; wings are designed for flying and flippers for swimming.

Of course, our physical bodies are part of nature, so they too were respected as having a purpose, a meaning, a moral significance.

...Transgenderism treats the scientific facts of human biology as having no intrinsic purpose or significance. It treats the body as nothing but a piece of matter that gives people no clue about who they are as persons. It is a self-alienating worldview that teaches people that their identity as male or female has no inherent purpose or dignity.

Our bodies suggest purpose, meaning and identity. They are not accidental to who we are. We are born male or female and develop either more or less successfully along these lines. We fulfil ourselves and our purposes, in part, by developing the highest and best qualities of our manhood or womanhood. It does not matter that we don't get to choose whether we develop along masculine or feminine lines. It is better to be given something meaningful, than to choose something emptied of meaning.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Can you tell the difference between men and women?

The Family Policy Institute has released a new video. This time the reporter asks American college students a very basic question: "Is there a difference in your mind between men and women?" The answers are mostly the familiar liberal ones: that there aren't any differences, except for some that have been socially constructed that shouldn't be there. Some of the students claim to have difficulty knowing whether people are male or female.

One girl responds to the question "How do you tell the difference between men and women?" with the answer "By what people think they are." Others respond that it isn't necessary to tell whether someone is a man or a woman.

The students themselves are so obviously male and female that it's like watching a comedy sketch.

It's interesting how these students are smart enough to understand the ideology and articulate it, but not smart enough to think independently, not even when the ideology is making them look foolish.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Well, we can be different

A survey has found that only 2% of young British men consider themselves completely masculine, compared to 56% of older men. 42% of young British men have a negative impression of masculinity, compared to only 15% of middle-aged British men.

This is another slip down the ladder. It has happened more quickly in Britain than in the U.S. In the U.S. 42% of men still consider themselves completely masculine compared to only 28% in Great Britain.

I don't know exactly why the decline has been so dramatic. It possibly has to do with young men absorbing negative messages about men being oppressors, wife beaters etc. I think it's more likely, though, that a tipping point has been reached at which young men no longer see a masculine role for themselves in society and so close themselves off psychologically from that aspect of their nature.

I know the stats aren't exactly heart-warming, but it does mean that we traditionalists can position ourselves very clearly and positively in opposition to the liberal drift of society on this issue.

(Hat tip: Traditional Britain Group via Breitbart)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A night at the movies

I took my son to see a film the other night. One of the cinema ads was part of a campaign against domestic violence. It showed a young couple having an argument in a car. The man gets out and hits the side of the car in anger as he leaves. The woman is left traumatised by this, trying to reassure herself that things are alright by repeating "He loves me, he loves me." She conveys intensely a feminine vulnerability and emotional sensitivity.

And then the film, Captain America: Civil War began. And almost immediately a female character played by Scarlett Johansson began to ju-jitsu her way across the screen, smashing apart one muscular bad guy after another. She must have punched/kicked/strangled about 30 or 40 during the course of the movie.

And I couldn't help but wonder what image of women my son took away from all this. Women as highly physically vulnerable and emotionally sensitive? Or women as kick-ass heroines, who can more than match it with male aggression?

I didn't much enjoy the film (I was possibly not in the right kind of mood for it). Even when the men fought, it seemed to me to be missing the point. Each of them had a kind of gimmick that made them special in who they were: a shield, or armour, or an ability to change size. They belted each other throughout much of the film, relying on their gimmick for protection.

The thought occurred to me that the ordinary man has a chance to be something more than this. He has a chance to experience masculinity, in its essence, as a life principle imbued with extraordinary meaning, a meaning that makes up part of who he is - his own self - as a man. Better to turn to this, the greater thing, than to the lesser attributes of comic book superheroes.

As for the Scarlett Johansson character, I thought that Alastair Roberts framed the issue well:
Fictional worlds are places in which we can explore possibilities for identity and agency. The fact that women’s stature as full agents is so consistently treated as contingent upon such things as their physical strength and combat skills, or upon the exaggerated weakness or their one-upping of the men that surround them, is a sign that, even though men may be increasingly stifled within it, women are operating in a realm that plays by men’s rules. The possibility of a world in which women are the weaker sex, yet can still attain to the stature and dignity of full agents and persons—the true counterparts and equals of men—seems to be, for the most part, beyond people’s imaginative grasp. This is a limitation of imagination with painful consequences for the real world, and is one of the causes of the high degree of ressentiment within the feminist movement.

Does Scarlett have to be severe (like her film character on the right) to win meaning?

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Mark Latham on DV

Never thought I'd be posting something in support of Mark Latham. He is a former leader of the Australian Labor Party, who lost the 2004 federal election to John Howard. In the video below he wins an argument with two journalists on the issue of domestic violence. He mentions during the interview statistics published by the NSW coroners court. I've looked these up and they are very interesting - I'll post on them soon.

Taking Stockholm

The open borders crowd might like to have a look at the two videos I have posted below. They were filmed in two districts of Stockholm with a high concentration of refugees from Africa and the Middle-East. In the first video a film crew from Norway attempts to interview a man but are chased away by a masked gang who shout that they have no right to be there. In the second video the same thing happens to an Australian film crew (beginning from about 3.00 minutes in). In these parts of Stockholm, the gangs are asserting authority:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The descent of culture

The Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) is the most important theatre group here in Melbourne. This year it is performing a play called "Straight White Males". Yes, it's a case of whiteness studies now hitting the stage.

The play was written by a Korean-American woman by the name of Young Jean Lee. It's about a liberal white family dealing with their "privilege":
With Straight White Men, Lee was interested in exploring a problem: What do you do when you've got privilege — and you don't want to abuse it? Lee, who is Korean-American, wanted to create straight white men on stage who think about these things.

Young Jean Lee assembled a group of women, minorities and homosexuals to tell her what they wanted out of the straight white male characters. They wanted the character of the oldest son, who is meant to be the most conscientiously liberal one, to stay quiet and listen:
"I asked a roomful of women, queer people and minorities, 'What do you want straight men to do? And what do you want them to be like?' " she recalls.

Lee wrote down all of the answers. It boiled down to this: They wanted the straight white male character to sit down and shut up.

And so she wrote the oldest son as a character who holds back in life so as not to take the limelight from others:
The character, named Matt, is a sort of idealized straight white male. He works for a not-for-profit and is guided by a sense of trying not to — in his words — "make things worse."

But to Young Jean Lee's surprise, the women, minorities and homosexuals ended up hating the character because they saw him as a loser:
Lee and Stanley workshopped the character in front of the students. Who hated him.

"Hated him," Lee said, clearly still surprised. "And I realized that the reason why they hated him was — despite all their commitment to social justice — what they believed in most was not being a loser.

So all that talk from rainbow alliance types about wanting "cisgendered white men" to sit obediently at their feet and not object to anything they say is not supposed to be taken seriously - the rainbow types would be as revolted by it in real life as any healthy minded white man would be by the thought of it, as being spiritless.

There's another angle to this. Young Jean Lee does give a few hints about what she considers privilege to be. For instance she writes that she herself shares some of the privilege of being a white male:
Believe it or not, Lee discovered she has something in common with straight white men. Sure, straight white men don’t share the emotional intimacy she’s used to, but: “As an Asian-American female, I share a lot of privileges with straight white men,” she says.

“There’s a lot of positive association: Asian women today are considered sexually desirable, they’re considered smart, and hard workers. Absolutely nobody’s ever going to assume I’m a criminal.”

So privilege has to do with being perceived to be sexually desirable, smart and hard-working. More on this in a moment. First, consider the following statement from Young Jean Lee:
“The question I was asking myself when I was working on the show was: ‘To what extent am I a straight white man, and to what extent am I accepted into the continuation of straight white male ideals? Am I using the straight white man as an excuse to not have to give anything up for social justice, because I can always point at the straight white man and say, ‘Well at least I’m not him’, so I can just do whatever I want and I’m making the world a better place because I’m making it more diverse?’” she said. “There’s a contradictory expectation these days. One is that they be more deferential, be less macho, and take up less space. And the other is that we want them to continue to be typical straight white men because we’re invested in it.”

I think what this means is that she gets to pursue what she takes to be white male success criteria and still be considered a progressive social justice warrior because she is advancing as an Asian woman (a diversity figure) rather than as a white male. If white males weren't there as a foil, then she wouldn't get the free ticket.

What's interesting about this is the underlying assumption about privilege. She assumes that being considered sexually desirable, hard-working and smart, and advancing in some status seeking way in a job, are the standards by which privilege can be measured and that these things represent the cultural high ground, the ideals of straight white men, which we white men now have to vacate so that others have room to occupy this ground.

If you look at the big picture, the larger sweep of history, this is not a very elevated view of culture. It is a relatively sterile, domesticated and tame view of what it means to be a man. If I work hard, don't get arrested, get a job with some social status, and have some Asian women like me - that is supposed to make me a great white male? That is my great historic privilege?

I don't think so.

No wonder that Young Jean Lee can see us as "privileged" even as we are being shuffled out of existence - as for her, privilege is not measured in terms of belonging to a rich tradition, or to a closely connected ethny or nation, or to a longstanding culture.

Nor does she see success in life in terms of the cultivation of character and virtue. For her, "white males" are an icon for individualistic career progress, rather than an embodiment of courage, fortitude, loyalty, and integrity.

She does not care about the inner spiritual life, about piety or religion or what a man holds to be sacred. And she is little concerned about family: about the quality of a man's commitment to marriage and to fatherhood.

She does not understand that it is a privilege to be connected closely to people and place, to manhood and a masculine culture, to nature and to art, to virtue and to a love of family.

Young Jean Lee's "idealized straight white male" represents a radical descent of culture - as does her own standard of privilege. It would be a mistake to be drawn into this world view, to see it as defining the terms of what matters in life.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Leftist newspaper slams leftist white flight

The inner north is home to the most left-wing of Melbourne's residents. I occasionally walk through an inner suburban area called Fitzroy. Much of it is beautifully historically preserved and it gives you a wonderful sense of spirit of place. Its residents, however, are not traditionalists but Greens supporters (despite the nearest countryside being at least 20km away). The old Victorian era town hall is draped with banners proclaiming "refugees are welcome here" and the Palestinian flag flies from the mast.

Back in the 1960s, however, there were plans to demolish these suburbs and to build housing commission towers. The plans were only partly carried out. And so adjoining beautiful, historic, leftist Fitzroy are areas of ugly towers mostly housing Muslim refugees from Africa.

Enter The Age, Melbourne's left-liberal daily newspaper. It assigned a reporter to look at where the Greens voting residents of Melbourne's inner north send their children to school. And guess what? Despite the "refugees are welcome here" banners on the town hall, these Greens supporters have chosen to send their children away from the refugees, to be educated amongst other white children.

You can see from the graph above that the primary schools located closest to the refugee estates (e.g. Fitzroy Primary School) have only a very small percentage of students from English speaking families. The "white flight" is taking place to the schools to the north such as Clifton Hill Primary.

Here is how The Age put it:
"White flight" is shaping education in Melbourne's inner city state schools, leading to unofficial segregation along race and class.

In the Greens-voting socially liberal enclaves of the inner north, white middle class families have deserted the schools closest to the remaining commission housing towers, while competing for spots in a handful of schools seen to have greater prestige.

Schools such as Fitzroy Primary, Carlton Primary School and Mount Alexander College in Flemington have become catchments for poor students of African heritage, many of whom live in the flats. Between 71 to 94 per cent of students attending these schools speak a language other than English at home.

The average median house price in some of these school's suburbs teeters around $1 million, yet about 60 to 80 per cent of students at these schools are among the poorest in the state.

They've been called "sink schools" – schools drained of affluent families and high achieving students.

White families with higher incomes are opting to enrol their children in over-subscribed schools a few suburbs away.

They favour Clifton Hill, Princes Hill and Merri Creek primary schools, where 79 to 84 per cent of families are among the state's richest.

These schools – with just 10 to 30 per cent of students speaking a language other than English at home – offer accelerated programs, overseas trips and boast above-average NAPLAN scores.

Abeselom Nega, an Ethiopian refugee and community leader, is alarmed by this trend.

"The white parents don't send their kids to these schools because all they see is black kids," says Mr Nega, who sits on the board of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

One writer for The Age believes that the parents are right to send their children away from the local schools. She justifies this on personal experience. Her own left-wing parents sent her to a local school with the following results:
Ours was a school in which the majority of students came from non-English-speaking backgrounds, and the literacy level was so low that instead of asking us to read the assigned VCE English text, our teacher walked into class one day with a video and said, "I'd ask you to read the book, but let's face it, none of you will, so here's the movie version instead."

It was a school in which, if you read for fun, you hid it lest you got your head kicked in. (A shame, since our school's version of an "accelerated learning program" was the teacher pretending not to notice when you stopped listening and quietly read a book under your desk.)

As an adult, probably to alleviate my white, middle-class guilt (certainly not because I valued education), I volunteered to help with reading in a grade 5 class at the local primary school – one of the "ghetto housing commission schools" mentioned in The Age's story. As the highly competent teacher struggled to teach the kids who could barely read the alphabet while simultaneously challenging the kids who had an average grade 5 reading age, it was clear she had an impossible task.

...The idea that it's the so-called "high achieving" kids' social responsibility to sacrifice their own education to somehow drag up the level of their peers (by osmosis?) is obnoxious and entitled.

Is it so hard to imagine that a parent might not want their kid to be the one to suffer? Or, as the patron saint of the socially conscious (and Probably Not Racist) filmmaker Michael Moore said, when criticised for not sending his child to the local state school, "our daughter is not the one to be sacrificed to make things better".

But here's the thing. Alice Williams is herself a leftist (she is particularly radical on women's issues). And I don't see why leftists should be able to promote open borders, mass migration and a large influx of refugees and then say "but I don't want my own child to be negatively affected by this".

The leftist mindset is maddening because there is an assumption that a certain type of white lefty-liberal lifestyle will continue whilst the society around them is dissolved by leftist policies. They are managing it for now, but it is going to catch up with them soon enough.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

An even more revealing Swedish video

A few weeks ago I posted a video in which American uni students were asked if they would accept a man's claim to be a woman. Or Chinese. Or seven feet tall. The students mostly answered in the affirmative.

They did so because that is what the state ideology tells them they should do. According to liberalism, the highest good is to self-define who we are and to accept others doing the same. So if a man claims to be a woman? Or if a white person claims to be Chinese? A good liberal will respond "good for you".

A Swedish copycat video has now appeared. In some ways it is even better than the American one. The Swedish students are very clear that they will accept the claim from a very feminine Swedish woman that she is a man. But some of them hesitate to accept that she is Japanese or 7 feet tall or 7 years old. When asked to explain why they will accept that she is a man but not the other things they respond that she is not physiologically/biologically the other things. The Swedish woman then asks them the obvious follow up question: but isn't being female also something physiological/biological? The students struggle to cope when challenged this way.

To be consistent, and accept the claim that a biological woman is a man, you must then also accept that someone who is biologically Swedish is Japanese. Or seven feet tall. Or seven years old. The American students were consistent, the young Swedes haven't "got there yet".

What a strange world liberalism is leading us toward. There are basic aspects of reality being denied here. Imagine living within that mindset and how that would affect your sense of mental integrity.

Germans chase minister off the stage

Heiko Maas is the Minister of Justice in Germany. He is a member of the SPD (a social democratic party). He was supposed to give the Labour Day address in Zwickau this year, but things went awry.

Zwickau in East Germany

His audience began to chant "Verräter" (traitor) and then "Maas muss weg!" (Maas must go!). He eventually fled from the scene.

Good to see Germans serving it up to the politicians who betray them.

Monday, May 02, 2016

They assume we think the same way they do

An American leftist woman named Sally Kohn has claimed the following on CNN:
SALLY KOHN, CNN: Look, people are only voting for Donald Trump, most of his supporters are only voting for him because he’s a white guy. And frankly, if he were a woman, or if he were, I don’t know, let’s pick, Latino, Muslim, any of the groups that he’s stoked hatred amongst his supporters, if he were any of those, I don’t think he’d be getting support either.

It's not true. Even trads like myself who believe that men have a special responsibility to provide political leadership would still vote for a female (or minority) candidate who broke with political correctness in order to uphold national borders.

It's possible that Sally Kohn is assuming that everyone thinks the same way that she does. Her left-liberal political outlook runs as follows:

1. Society is a neutral space in which everyone competes individually for material outcomes like money and status.
2. Therefore, if women and blacks are not getting the same material outcomes society is not neutral but biased. It is biased because white men have organised together to rig society in their favour.
3. Therefore, equality demands that white male society be deconstructed. This will then bring about the long awaited promised land where everyone has an equal freedom to pursue their goals.
4. If white men object to being deconstructed it is because they wish to uphold the privilege that society grants them.
5. Women and minorities are therefore a progressive force who should unite together to defeat white men, hence identity politics. A female president would and should represent a dismantling of white male power structures.
6. White men are supporting a white male candidate to defend the status quo system of self-interested privilege.

What Sally Kohn doesn't understand is that not everybody is a liberal who accepts the first step in all this. For some people, America is not just a neutral space but a country and culture they identify with and that helps to form their identity. For such people, open borders represent the gradual dissolution of a larger communal existence that provides an important setting for their lives. What matters, in other words, is the defence of a national existence, rather than men banding together to assert power and privilege. If a well-spoken, well-presented and well-resourced woman were to come along and promote policies favouring America's national existence, I suspect she too would have become popular amongst those who are now supporting Trump.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Don't miss the Sydney Traditionalists Symposium

I feel a bit of national pride in announcing that the Sydney Traditionalists have put together a very impressive symposium on the topic of “transcendence: community, nation, civilisation; religious aspects of the present turmoil.”

This is exactly what the traditionalist movement needs right now: a bringing together of some of the intellectual heavyweights of the movement on an important theme.

It is also well-timed from my point of view. I am making a concerted effort to finish my booklet and so I will devote this website for a period of time to making commentary on the Sydney Traditionalist symposium. I'm going to try to comment on each contribution this year.

So far I have read through the introduction to the symposium. It's very well done - it certainly whets the appetite for further reading.

The first part of the introduction that really caught my attention was this observation by Gwendolyn Taunton:
by embracing capitalism and the ‘valorization of the worker’, [we] have created a nation which is no longer capable of generating authentic culture. The necessity of full time employment for both men and women in a capitalist worker/production society, requires that in order to live at even a level of basic subsistence, the prospect of any pursuits capable of generating culture are instantly negated.

It's one of those things that often go unsaid. You can't have great culture without having a class of people who have the time to appreciate and support that culture. And yet both the right and the left (including the radical left) believe that an individual is fulfilled through their competitive status in paid work.

The other day I vented to a radical feminist about a mutual friend who had dropped out of work and was choosing to live on welfare. This mutual friend now had time for family and for a range of creative pursuits, and I must admit I felt a bit jealous, as I can hardly keep up with the demands of my career despite very long work hours. But the radical feminist was not at all perturbed. She said disparagingly of our mutual friend "But she is never going to amount to anything" - the assumption being that work status is what matters. And this is from a radical leftist.

Well, here's a radical thought of my own. If we are ever to get out of this current situation, not only should we aim at reining in excessive work hours, we should also try to combat the idea of men acting "in servitude" to women. It is normal and healthy for men to want to fulfil a provider role, but if we want men to have time to be part of culture creation, then we are going to have to confront the expectation that men are just there to work on behalf of women (i.e. the idea that men should either be at work, or with their wife, with any other commitments being thought of as an offence to their wives.) A man should ideally spend part of the day working as a provider; part of the day as a husband and father; but crucially also have time to contribute to his community and to his culture.

The next quote that caught my attention was, unsurprisingly, from James Kalb:
James Kalb writes that the “basic proposition” of modernity “is that each of us establishes the good by his will, since individual preferences are what make things good or bad. The result is that each of us becomes a sort of divinity that creates ultimate moral reality ex nihilo.”

Regular readers will know that I share this thought, though I express it a little differently. This "basic proposition" of liberal modernity then becomes one of the logical foundations on which a liberal morality - with an emphasis on inclusion, diversity and non-discrimination - is logically built.

I was also very interested in this insight from Alain de Benoist:
For liberals, the notion of the common good makes no sense because there exists no entity likely to benefit from it: since a society is composed uniquely of individuals, there is no ‘good’ that could be common to these individuals. The social ‘good’, in other words, can only be understood as a simple aggregate of the individual goods, a result of the individuals’ choice.

I have to admit I haven't really pursued the logic of this as much as I should have in my own writing. It is the age old problem, the one that goes back to the classical liberals and even earlier to the proto-liberals, of beginning philosophy with an abstracted and atomised individual (what modern philosophers call the "unencumbered" individual) rather than with individuals who share certain characteristics which connect them to specific human communities. (It is the problem too of nominalism - in which there are held to be only individual instances of things.)

Finally, I thought it useful that this general criticism of the non-liberal right (the alternative right) be made:
most discourse within the political Sidestream, that heterogeneous milieu of individuals that are sometimes referred to as the dissident or alternative right, is rarely characterised by uplifting, positive or even hopeful rhetoric. Instead, and with few exceptions, contemporary criticisms of modernity tend to be cantankerous, sarcastic, mocking and often fall into the trap of nihilistic capitulation.

Nihilistic capitulation is, in my observation, the most common stance of those on the alternative right (i.e. the attitude that "there is nothing we can do, it will be good to watch it all burn down"). The nihilistic strand is, I think, here to stay, so we will have to just build around it, and be careful not to be drawn into it.

Once again, I encourage readers to visit the symposium. I'll be putting up some of my own commentary on the contributions over the coming week or two.