🥀A T H 🍩L🍩G I 🌊A L
🥀🍩L I T I 🌊S :

on the


#FBR #Resistance #NeverBernie
🥀 A R T 🍩 N E :

The End of History
and the Last Hippie
Anyone who has spent time on the internet over the past few years will have noticed the sharp rise in vitriolic "centrism" in the discourse, a significant deviation from the left/right, liberal/conservative paradigm of the past several decades.
While a large portion of this shift can be attributed to cynical operators tasked with salvaging a collapsing political order, in this thread I will argue that the sudden return of leftism to the political stage has triggered a mass identity crisis among rank-and-file liberals.
In other words, the state of our contemporary political discourse isn't just a response to increasingly high stakes or the erosion of "norms" (whatever that means), but a kind of mass hysteria — a severe identity crisis being experienced by millions of people simultaneously.
Some background: In response to the people's movements of the midcentury, a reactionary corporate counterrevolution was launched to stamp out the burgeoning New Left and reverse the erosion of ruling class power that occurred during the 40-year reign of the New Deal coalition.
This brutal reconquista culminated in the so-called "neoliberal turn" of the 80s and 90s, ushering in a new era of politics: increasingly rigid bipartisan consensus on matters of economics and war masked by increasingly rancorous partisan struggle over socio-cultural issues.
Year by year, election by election, the cultural memory of the Movement was systematically eradicated, its moral authority co-opted and repackaged for sale, its challenges to power erased. A sanitized, Disneyfied, domesticated fantasy called The Sixties was erected in its place.
Soon, in the eyes of most liberals leftism was reduced to a quirky eccentricity, a goofy nostalgia trip for old Deadheads and rebellious teens, a naive and uninformed version of their more enlightened and adult "realism." Radicalism was something from before The End of History.
The political landscape thus simplified, liberals have considered themselves The Good People fighting The Bad People in Manichean struggle. The abrupt collapse of this binary demands facing just how similar they are to The Bad People, creating a devastating cognitive dissonance.
Criticism from the left has forced liberals to face up to how much they have abandoned their stated principles, sending them into an unhinged "YOU THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN ME?" rage. Unable to cope, they explain away their critics as conservative saboteurs or Russian operatives.
( i n t e r m i s s i o n )
🥀 A R T T W 🍩 :

Shock And Awe
If you want to understand the astounding rise of the left after a century in the cold, you must understand how thoroughly the Bush and Obama administrations radicalized the two youngest generations of Americans that are at the forefront of this resurgence.
Millennials, who are by now the largest generation in the US and the first so-called "digital natives", came of age during an alarmingly dark decade bookended by 9/11 and the 2008 financial crash. Gen Z has never known anything other than this nightmare world of perpetual crisis.
At this point it should be noted that generational analysis is overblown and obscures underlying divisions of class, race, etc. However, it is undeniable that there is a yawning divide by age not only in political attitudes, but also in economic standing and quality of life.
Conventional wisdom holds that people get more conservative as they age, and this is perhaps one reason why the radicalism of today's young adults is dismissed by older or more financially comfortable people. After all, the Yippies transitioned seamlessly into Yuppies over time.
The conventional wisdom assumes that this tendency is inherent to the process of aging. People get more conservative as they age only to the same extent that they acquire wealth and social standing as they age; more "skin in the game" that ties one's fate to the status quo.
The socioeconomic machinery that once reliably passed people through a cursus honorum of life milestones — education, mortgage, 401k, marriage, kids, retirement — stopped cold over a decade ago after a long period of increasing dysfunction. There are no signs of it coming back.
In the face of these conditions, combined with the advent of the internet that allowed for exposure to ideas and politics that were formerly suppressed and difficult to access in the tightly controlled American media/education system, it's no surprise that leftism is on the rise.
To those who came of age on the other side of this generational divide (or indeed on the same side but isolated from disaster by privilege) the increasing radicalism and anger of the Precariat is bewildering and terrifying. They should be terrified.
( 2 n d i n t e r m i s s i o n )
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