A Disclaimer (“A denial, a denial, a denial, a denial, a denial…”

If you’d been following this blog[1], you’d have realised what I’ve been coyly approaching. I’ve been working up to discussing, perhaps challenging, the most vigorous forms of online activism[2] of the moment: those that have flourished since the death of George Floyd[3].  

I’m nervous of this, because of the (understandable) strength of feeling coursing through these debates. I wholeheartedly support those trying to create a world of social justice and equality. I am on their side; I want to put that on record. The Black Lives Matter campaigns, in the USA, seem absolutely necessary. American society seems to contain a catastrophic schism between perceived ethnic groups. Black people face prejudice, discrimination, persecution and even death because of the pigmentation of their skin. This situation is intolerable, but the campaigns that have sprung up to challenge it have largely been carried out with dignity, grace and courage. They are reaching out and communicating their experience of prejudice. 

The situation is a little different in Britain, with its markedly different history of discrimination and, I think, markedly higher levels of integration. Here, as online in America, some people seem kind of intemperate in the way they deliver their messages.

I guess this isn’t surprising. They’ve endured a relentless stream of low-grade bullshit and assumptions about who they are, in daily life, and open abuse and hostility online. But I don’t think it’s helpful.  The Right seek out tribal conflict. It justifies their claims that we are too different to live together and that “foreigners” should “go home”. We must try not to give them what they need. 

So, I’m not expressing right-wing opinions in what I’m about to say. I just think we should agree on what we believe and what we’re about to say before we say it. We need to get our messages straight. And, for Christ’s sake, stop attacking each other!

I feel a sense of shame expressing these opinions. I feel I must be wrong. Or racist (a condition our society abhors in theory) that I’m revealing my squalid inner worthlessness. I guess this comes partly from the conditioning of my social faction (Guardian-reading lefties) and from my low-self-esteem. 

However, I also think the Far-Right have claimed a monopoly on questioning the pieties of the social justice movement. If anyone expresses reservations about the way self-defining Black or LGBTQ+ Activists are acting, the Far-Right gleefully claims them as their own.

The problem is that the rest of us collude in that definition. Anytime a person stands up and suggests the smallest recalibration in the way a Human rights campaign is being run, even if it is eminently reasonable, everyone roundly condemns it as reactionary propaganda. I am as bad, and as conflicted, as anyone. I’ll read an article by some fair-minded professor of ethics, and think, “he is absolutely right!”, followed, rapidly, by “but maybe he’s just a closet racist and ultra-conservative”, followed just as swiftly by, “so does that mean I am, too?”[4]

Thus we struggle to cleanse our own thoughts, to keep them orthodox and conventionally unconventional.

And some Social Justice activists collude in this[5], because they insist you must accept their ideas in their entirety or be labelled a fascist. They are in cahoots with the Right, because they are deciding together which parts of the population they can each have as their constituencies in order to mutually cement their importance as leaders of their movements (I suspect.)

[1] And I’m pretty certain you haven’t, dear reader!

[2] The “mainstream media” pick up on online trends and amplify them by reporting on them. Journalistic research, nowadays, seems to consist of trawling social media sites to see what’s trending.

[3] The previous dominant voice, The LGBTQ+ lobby, has had to take a back seat for the moment. 

[4] This train of thought is not discouraged by Jordan Petersen, who said some very wise and sensible things and then turned out to have some very suspect views on race (apparently.)

[5] Not you, dear reader, of course!

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