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Welcome to the Cultural Counter-Revolution

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days.

Was it really? Only if you live on Twitter and like to hyperventilate (but I’m repeating myself). Since most people mercifully don’t live in a hyperpoliticised 24/7 spin cycle, I’m venturing to guess that Kanye West saying nice things about Donald Trump is largely irrelevant to their lives. Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where no one cared about what celebrities think about topics outside of their area of celebrity expertise? Alas. And the hyperpoliticised 24/7 spin cycle does increasingly intrude on our everyday lives. When the New Left pioneers declared a few decades ago that “personal is political” little did we expect that in time everything will be political. That’s what happens when the left ditches the class war in favour of the culture war and the gender war, not least because Marx was wrong and the latter two seem easier to win in any case. Goodbye the working class, hello the wokeing class.

The left (nowadays Gramscian – rather than Marxist – or cultural Marxist) has if not actually won then certainly dominated the culture wars, if by domination one means capturing the heights of the cultural production. The worlds of entertainment, media, arts and culture, and education are so thoroughly dominated by the 50 shades of progressive thinking that a few classical liberals, conservatives, libertarians and anti-authoritarians stand out like the sore thumbs you get from furiously twitting on your smart phone. Deviations from the widely accepted norm are at best treated as eccentricities and at worst as thought crimes. Hence the entirely typical news perspectives like this one:

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“Bizarre behaviour”? Saying that people should be free to think for themselves. And saying some nice things about the current President while not agreeing with him on everything. Good God, that is downright bizarre. The guy must be crazy.

Just like in the Soviet Union, expressing political dissent from the accepted orthodoxy is enough to label you insane. Unlike the Soviet Union, we don’t put dissenters in psychiatric institutions, though if it was up to our culturatti I’m not so sure. Just think how downright insulting it is – expressing mainstream right-of-centre views is a sign of mental illness. Certainly for a black male. There is the added element here of ownership: whites and white males in particular are racist, so you can understand if they’re right wing, but if you are a woman or a minority you simply have to be left. And if you’re not, you’re not really a real woman or a real black or a real gay – or, quite simply, you’re crazy.

The left might have been anti-establishment and counter-culture in the 1960s and ’70s. Now they are the establishment and the culture. So guess what – in 2018 if you want to be a rebel and iconoclast you have to be a conservative or at least anti-left. Kanye and others are merely doing what creative people have always been so good at – challenging orthodoxies, slaughtering sacred cows, shaking the tree. Half a century ago this meant being anti-war, feminist, free love, green anti-capitalist; today it means being anti-PC, anti-identity politics, for free speech and personal liberty, and against big government.

If you are reading this post you are more likely than not interested in politics and the battle of ideas, even if you are not entirely captive of the hyperpoliticised 24/7 spin cycle. The day that Kanye West has “come out” as someone not afraid to go against the grain and completely unapologetic about is unlikely to be the best or the worst Twitter day for you. Quite likely you don’t care about Kanye regardless of his beliefs. And that’s good – and it’s also the correct way to approach this situation. In and of itself Kanye’s MAGA moment doesn’t matter greatly and won’t change much in the way people out there think and vote. That is partly because the influence of celebrities is less significant than celebrities themselves would like to believe, but also because historical processes are relatively slow and consists of millions of small actions and events rather than a few spectacular breakthroughs. But it is an indication and a sign that things are changing – another brick in the wall, you might say. The cultural counter-revolution will likely take decades, not years, or days, or tweets. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So get used to the new counter-culture. In a world where the Narrative is made by the left, the right is the new punk.

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