passing

Freddie deBoer writing about his sense that what Wesley Yang calls the “successor ideology” might be losing momentum:

This could lead to a Great Wokelash, and that could lead to genuinely conservative cultural politics (80%) or a redefined and newly-serious left-wing society (20%). This may very well come to pass. But I think it may be more likely that our elite institutions will just quietly get tired of it and gradually move on, in much the same way as those who spend their adolescence doing yelling social justice activism and then go on to get their MBAs and get less and less strident and eventually just become absentminded flavorless Democrats. There will still be an identitarian left, but it will develop new fixations and likely lose influence. When I was in high school and college Free Tibet and sweatshops were huge concerns with the exact same kind of people as the woke armies now, but you never hear a single word about those causes from the new generation. Politics is faddish. In five years 27 year old passionate midlevel nonprofit workers who yell about CRT for six hours a day will have become overtired soccer moms whose ascendancy to executive positions and executive paychecks inevitably dulls that old fire inside. The new kids will be too busy livestreaming their prescribed ketamine treatments to do all that social justice stuff. 

I think this is almost certain to be correct. We as a culture just don’t have what it takes to stick with a set of core convictions for very long — our innate neophilia, or rather neomania, is too strong. Similarly, the hold of Donald Trump upon his worshippers is weakening — it’s not by any means gone, and I wish it were weakening faster, but it will decline year by year, if only because people will crave something new. 

It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for the hatemongers on the left and right alike, who will surely worry a bit that their occupation’s gone, but fear not: The one certainty is that whatever replaces the successor ideology on the left — the successor of the successor ideology, you might say, which is why we need a better term than Yang’s — will be met by shouts from the right that this is The End Of The World As We Know It, and whatever replaces Trumpdom on the right will be met by shouts from the left that this is The End Of The World As We Know It. Some things never change. 

July 15, 2021

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