Pay attention to How excluded, ravenously angry, and moralistically shunned conservatives & reactionaries are at academia, literature, the arts, social media, entertainment, culture, sports, activism, youth culture, city life, and professional class jobs.
On the one hand, it’s just a ploy inasmuch as neoliberal Austerians promote rhetoric against it. Koch funds Atlas funds Peterson. It’s used as a cultural method to legitimate privatization, austerity, marketization, enclosure, monopoly & exclusion.
For all of their flaws & their role in indoctrination & creating a class of pliant but skilled laborers or managers, it drives neolibs up a wall that education, media, academia, science, social media, entertainment & art still bear some semblance of a public good.
Without veering into conspiracy theory, there’s also something to be said about atomization & organization. For example, sprawl, suburbs, lack of accessibility, lack of public transit & lack of walkability all predict atomization & negatively predict political org/activism.
With the decline of the factory floor & the town square as dominant spatial foci for social action, schools, leisure events, public goods, social media, entertainment, academia & science are some of the few places embodied persons come together for dedicated social interaction.
The suburbs & car society, despite their patent ecological, economic, infrastructural & logistical inefficiency, were openly pursued as a project for reasons of military control, social atomization, white supremacy, rent extraction, social control & the like.
Cities are easier to bomb that suburbs, and tho one will face guerilla war, rolling tanks through cities is easier than for suburbs.
Cities enable regular, cooperative, embodied interaction with lots of people far different than others. They reduce dependency for children, the elderly, people w disabilities & ppl w/o money. They also afford anonymity, quick escape, & more diffused surveillance.
As such, they are perfect for insurgent networks, criminals, activists, youthful neer do wells, social malcontents, etc and are far more accessible to immigrants, laborers, those in poverty & so on.
What I am proposing is that the reactionary & conservative hatred of the arts, academia, entertainment, social media, youth culture, science, education, public goods etc, is, in part, the cultural aspect of their material & political hatred of cities.
For example, French National syndicalists, German Nazis, Italian fascists, Spanish falangists, Maistreans, monarchists, and the John Birch society, one sees a recurrence of themes: antisemitism, anti urbanism, culturalism, moralism, retrivutivism, sentimentalism, etc
All of these groups also despite sexual, reproductice & gender justice, freedom, equality & non-conformity. They all were militaristic. They worshipped a prelapsarian idealized past before a fall. They sentimentalize the ‘volk’ & see poverty & rurality as edifying.
On a personal note to me, they all despise Jews & ‘Jewish influence’, communism, anarchism, academia, science that isn’t in service of technology, modernism, war or capital, they are repulsed by social science, the arts, entertainment & so on.
I want to add a caveat. There is an ecological, anti-civ and similar critique of cities & urbanism which I do not consider reactionary outside of its worst primitivist & ecofascist sub examples.
There is also the Marxian, geography, social justice, Lefevnbre, situationist & similar critiques of cities as sites of control, surveillance, capital & spatialized exclusion.
There is finally the critique coming from those like Jane Jacobs, James Scott, Christopher Alexander et al., many of the previous figures (situationists etc),historical architecture, urban sociologists (from Simmel to symbolic interaction) as cities as sites of central domination
While reactionary deployments of these exist, they are not intrinsically reactionary, and, in general, I agree with all 3 sets, albeit I am probably more optimistic than the first of the 3 & more attuned to the latter 2, on this set of issues alone.
Another thesis I want to proffer is that these cultural, social, leisurely, intellectual spaces, places, times, institutions, and discourses are one of the few places conservatives & reactionaries lack explicit control & privilege.
They vastly overstated how excluded they are—students political beliefs line up similarly to the populace, a TON of right wing professors, artists, entertainers & media outlets exist, supported by vast networks of right wing money.
From military to police to natsec to intelligence orgs to right wing think tanks to conservative politicians to right wing dark money to corporations to foreign authoritarian states to Petty boug reactionaries, the control & influence in the cultural sphere of reaction is great.
But they are right that public schools, while upholding the dominant narrative, nonetheless teach facts & skills (often despite their best efforts) in tension with the reactionary worldview.
Students, academics, cultural workers, artists, scientists, media people, and professionals, tend, on average, to social liberalism vastly more than the populace & to economic progressivism slightly more, on average.
Since we all know how bullshit it is to call professional class persons & liberals ‘leftists’ it just goes to show how intolerant of dissent these people are. Even completely non threatening status quo doctrines slightly more liberal than theirs are seen as a threat.
And, fwiw, while under 1% of people in the general populace identify as radical leftists (commies, anarchos) explicitly in polls, they are 4-5% of respondents in academia, the arts, the youth in cities.
Suffice it to say, polling over samples higher income, more educated, homeowners, with access to certain technologies, certain kinds of literacies, and more normative people, albeit, somewhat paradoxically, the less representative of the more normative.
That’s a thread of sources on polling and my skepticism of it. We don’t have good political polling for the general population. What’s more on many polls, leftism is subsumed under ‘very liberal’.
Suffice it to say, in all but business, military, medicine, law, etc, Democrats outweighs conservatives between 5:1 (economics) & 33:1 (history). Even in business, law etc, it’s still something like 60:40 iirc. But democrat isn’t leftist by any means (lmao).
Suffice it to say, I am VERY skeptical of these results, but I do think they can, in their starkness, and in the consistency/closeness to the mean, median & mode, say they express a qualitative truth.
Look how many op Ed’s there have been about this non issue. When i searches for this data I found these same BS stats & arguments over and over.
Anyway, just some thoughts. I think it’s interesting the way material interest (neoliberal drive for privatization/enclosure), military/political desire for control, Petty boug & prejudiced resentment, cultural politics & anti-urbanism all United in this cultural field.
A purely economistic let alone social class explanation is insufficient for explaining this set of targets, who opposes them, the vitriol & qualitative aspects or their persistence.
Similar to, say, antisemitism, this is part of why trad left klass reductionism is such an effective cover for reactionary SocDems & Marxians, and is partly why klass reductionists get drawn into threes ideas where they might not have before
BUT similarly, without a materialistic, economistic & class analysis it also isn’t possible to explain it. Neoliberals, capitalists & corporations desire enclosure, marketization, privatization, externalization of social costs, commodification, and austerity.
Explaining its prevalence among the petty bourgeois, & those called the lower middle class, as well as the (reactionary as opposed to left wing) opposition to professionals is also class analysis, albeit broader than the typical binary/tripartite analysis.
What’s more, if one includes the state, militaries, bureaucracies, natsec/police/surveillance/intelligence, politicians, large conservative orgs (churches, think tanks), & rentiers in one’s material analysis it’s vastly more expansive & explanatory here.
While it is atypical to see anti urbanism a materialist analysis inasmuch as urban doesn’t constitute a class, I’ll aver that the geographic, social, technological, ecological, political, economic, infrastructural & logistic aspects of cities make them object of material analysis
Suffice it to say, class analysis plays a large role WITHIN cities, as spatialized geographies come to embody class differences, the need of profit, infrastructure & factory design, as well as social control, the state, police, military, extractions & white supremacy
But AGAINST urban space such (again, with the exception of anti civ & ecological critiques which are different), is also a kind of material & social interest, albeit one that cuts across strict class lines.
The so called labor aristocracy, Petty bourgeois, many tradesmen, rural & suburban capitalists, rentiers & more privileged laborers, militaries, natsec, rezfionaries & so on, find the city as sociotechnological system to be a threat.
At the same time, the state, military, capital, rentier, agribusiness, mining, extraction, the Petty bourgeois & privlehed laborers depend on the physical, material & social surplus generated by cities as well as their means of centralizing, accumulation & distributing it.
Production, consumption, distribution, logistics, transit, research, development, reproduction, human/social/linguistic/cultural/intellectual training/certifying, all display static & dynamic returns to scale & scope in cities.
Rural agriculture, mining, fossil fuels, ‘Petty services’, infrastructure etc, tends to display constant or declining returns to scale & scope. Suburbs are uniformly diseconomic.
In old school growth & development models from Lewis to Soviet planners to Rostow to Kaldor etc, cities display an absolute surplus advantage over the rural, but the latter is necesssry for the former.
Also, note, that ‘cities’ & urbanism as described in economic models are different than that in other literature. For example, rural, and suburban areas are ‘urban’ in the anti civ sense, bc they are enclosed, stratified, immobile, sites of extraction & control.
Urban in the Econ literature is a function of density, infrastructure, population, specialization, manufacture, public goods & services, complex social organization & so on.
While ‘urban’ civ in the anti civ is about stratification, enclosure, social division of labor, extraction, commodification, systems like patriarchy/heternormativity, the state, control & confinement.
A dense livable multi function high population area that wasn’t defined by a social division of labor, extraction, the state etc (If this is possible, i say yes, anti civ anti urban say no), would be a city in political economy but not in the anti civ sense
Conversely, a farming, pastoral, or suburban services environment, low in density & population, w low infrastructure & lots of less explicitly manipulated flora & fauna, That did have soc div of labor, stratification, & the state is urban in the anti civ sense but not poli Econ
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