Saturday, January 27, 2018

Camberwell vs Fitzroy: who wins?

This is an unusual post for me: more social observation than anything else.

I recently visited two very different suburbs of Melbourne, Fitzroy and Camberwell. Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, is the heartland of the liberal left in Melbourne. It is an inner suburban area that generally votes Green.

Walking along Fitzroy Street at night, I was struck by a number of things. As expected, there were leftist political slogans around me, in particular, radical "Invasion Day" posters (this was in the lead up to Australia Day). But there were some surprising things too. Although there were plenty of multicultural restaurants, the area was a lot more Anglo than other areas of Melbourne, and predominantly young Anglo. There were a lot of young Anglo couples promenading in the street.

Most surprising of all, given I was in a leftist heartland, I have never before seen women dressed in such a feminine style, not even in photos I've seen of the 1950s. The women were leaning romantically into their boyfriends as they walked along, arms entwined.

And the area itself, despite housing commission high-rises nearby, has a very traditional flavour. It's like walking into a beautiful slice of the 1880s. There are hardly any modernist intrusions.

Lawrence Auster often used to write about liberals having to resort to "unprincipled exceptions" because living strictly according to liberal principles would be unworkable. But what I observed in Brunswick Street was more than an unprincipled exception, it was a divorce between politics and lifestyle.

These are leftists who call themselves "Green" but who live in the inner city; who believe that there are 159 sexes and that femininity is an oppressive construct, but whose women clearly aim to be feminine and attractive; who support multiculturalism and oppose whiteness, but who live in an Anglo enclave; and who support modernism in all its forms, but who live surrounded by traditional architectural beauty.

And it seems to be working for them. There was an atmosphere of cultural confidence - a way of life in full swing.

You would think that there would be a great deal of cognitive dissonance, i.e. that they would struggle to reconcile the differences between their political ideals and their way of life. Apparently, though, they are happy to play a game, where it is understood that it is progressive to hold to a certain set of beliefs whilst holding things together by embracing aspects of traditionalism more fully than traditionalists manage to do.

So I don't think we can write off the Anglo left just yet. The lifestyle is still alive, even at a time when white leftists are being instructed by their fellow leftists to "sit down, shut up and listen" and when white males are increasingly targeted on the left as privileged oppressors.

My impression of Camberwell was very different. This is part of the heartland of  right liberalism in Melbourne, part of a belt of suburbs from which Liberal Party prime ministers and ministers were often drawn.

I had more of a sense of a way of life being extinguished. The demographics have changed, particularly amongst the under 50s. Curiously the young Anglo men, who in theory have everything going for them (well educated, good career prospects, handsome etc.) seem to have rejected Anglo women en masse. And, although you wouldn't expect the area to be humming on a Sunday at midday compared to an inner city precinct at night, people seemed subdued - more drawn into themselves.

I'm looking in from the outside, so I might be wrong, but there seems to be more disruption or dislocation among young Anglos in the right liberal areas compared to the left liberal ones (when I had expected the opposite to be true).

Fitzroy seems to be winning.


  1. I think it would be fair to say that Fitzroy is riding high at present. Bright young things surrounding themselves with SWPL. Pay no attention to the Diversity Bollards.

    1. Anon, that's it in a nutshell. (For readers who don't know the acronym, SWPL = stuff white people like.) I guess I had expected more dislocation, given the way that politics & demographics have evolved. But not yet, anyway. So we shouldn't underestimate the cultural self-confidence of the inner city Anglo left and their ability to continue to exert an influence politically.

  2. I suspect the impressions of this pair of quick visits are misleading. Fitzroy's population is 40 per cent non-Anglo-Cletic while Camberwell's is 36 per cent. However, Camberwell is nearly 10 per cent Chinese (Fitzroy is only 5 per cent), so the non-Anglo-Celtic component would be much more prominent there.

    There is a much greater contrast with core conservative values, however. Fitzroy is less than one-quarter Christian (23 per cent) while Camberwell is 48 per cent Christian. Similarly, just 23 per cent of Fitzroy adults are married (or widowed) while in Camberwell the number is 59 per cent. (All numbers from the 2016 census.)

    I suspect that "atmosphere of cultural confidence" seen in Fitzroy was the confidence that the Left is in the ascendant, and Christianity and Christian values have been pushed to the fringes.

    1. Anon, fair enough, though it's possible that the Atherton housing commission high rise distorts the Fitzroy statistics.

      I think you're right that the sense of cultural self-confidence I picked up on Fitzroy exists, in part, because the leftists there have a sense of being in the ascendant, in terms of being able to force an agenda on the rest of society.

    2. I see Leftism's core philosophy as secular Christianity. What Mark called "Christian theo-ideology". It is Traditionalism that is being overthrown, not Christian values. Unfortunately for the West, Christian universal love and altruism invites destruction by outsiders.

  3. Yup.

    The most infuriating thing About hipsters, much like the ABC, is that they take some of the best quality things and soil them with their crap politics.

    It's very annoying.

    1. they take some of the best quality things and soil them with their crap politics.

      Well put.

  4. Winners are more fun than losers - even if the winning is an insane death cult.

    This was very well observed and it's something you frequently see. I live on the edge of a very white, well off, traditional looking upper middle class part of London. The kind of area that can afford to vote Liberal Democrat or even Green. Though the current MP is a liberal pro-EU Tory.

    1. Winners are more fun than losers - even if the winning is an insane death cult.

      This is part of what we're up against, isn't it? It helps to explain the significance of:

      1. Nice looking young people joining the dissident right.
      2. The electoral defeat of the left by Trump.
      3. The meme warriors poking fun at some of the battier behaviour of the left.
      4. The need of giving wide play to whatever victories/gains we do make (e.g. Poland, Hungary).

      I wish too that trads had some of the same genius for establishing similar "enclave communities" - where we could at least be ascendant in a particular area (not the whole solution, I know, but it would help).

    2. I wish too that trans had some of the same genius for establishing similar "enclave communities" - where we could at least be ascendant in a particular area (not the whole solution, I know, but it would help).

      That idea has possibilities. It has political possibilities too. If you can get 5% of the vote spread across the entire nation then you're politically irrelevant. If your 5% of the vote is concentrated in a handful of electorates you could win a seat, or possibly a couple of seats. And you could gain control of the local council.

      If you have the council and the local MP then it's a lot more difficult for the government to harass you.

  5. Mark, I think this would be of interest.

  6. Any kids in Fitzroy ?

    What you are seeing is young, educated, affluent people with no real purpose and no need for a purpose as yet.

    The people in Camberwell have kids, the people in Fitzroy don't. When the people in Fitzroy have kids they will move and reality will exert itself.

    (BTW I have never been to either place, but patterns are patterns)