James Lindsay on the theology of the new theocracy. The two most important things that are happening in the developed world at the present time are the re-feudalization of class relations and the growth of totalitarian humanism as the self-legitimating ideology of the rising ruling class. Just as neo-feudalism is reinstating the kinds of class societies that existed in the premodern world, totalitarian humanism is resurrecting premodern caste systems based on ascribed status, but within the technocratic framework of modern totalitarianism. The principal differences between totalitarian humanism and the 20th-century models of totalitarianism are two things: 1) the commercial values of capitalism require a certain degree of cultural openness that is not possible in a Stalinist type of system (hence, “soft totalitarianism” rather than “hard totalitarianism”) and 2) contemporary methods of propaganda and ideological control are far more sophisticated than those of 20th-century totalitarians, more Edward Bernays than Joseph Goebbels.
James Lindsay is arguably the best critic of the modern totalitarian left there is. This lays it all out pretty well.
Beware of the wolves, left and right.
By Rod Dreher
The American Conservative
James Lindsay is a mathematician and academic gadfly who has made his name outside of academic circles as a harsh and witty critic of “critical social justice” theory, and of its progressive crusaders. Along with colleagues Helen Pluckrose and Peter Boghossian, Lindsay pranked “grievance studies” journals by submitting fake papers that made absurd — but politically correct — claims, and were accepted for publication. More recently, Lindsay is the founder of New Discourses, a website that aims to be “a home for the politically homeless, especially for those who feel like they’ve been displaced from their political homes because of the movement sometimes called “Critical Social Justice” and the myriad negative effects it has had on our political environments, both on the left and on the right.”
Lindsay is a man of the political left, and an atheist. He is also one of the smartest analysts of what Critical Social Justice means for our society. His 2018 Areo essay explaining why critical social justice is a religion is a fundamental text for understanding this phenomenon. I wrote Lindsay the other day and put a series of questions to him about the future of critical social justice in a time of pandemic. Dare we hope that the hard material realities of plague and economic collapse will shove these loonies permanently to the margins? Here’s our interview: