Hi, feminist sisters
Louise: So what happened? Were you bored in Manchester?
Johnny: Was I bored? No, I wasn’t fucking bored. I’m never bored. That’s the trouble with everybody, you’re all so bored. You’ve had nature explained and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the living body explained to you and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the universe explained to you and you’re bored with it, so now you want cheap thrills and, like, plenty of them, and it doesn’t matter how tawdry or vacuous they are as long as it’s new, as long as it’s new, as long as it’s new, as long as it flashes and fucking bleeps in forty different fucking colours. So whatever else you can say about me, I’m not fucking bored.
Mike Leigh, Naked, 1993
Is two genders not enough for you? Well, Facebook offers 58 genders for your self-identification pleasures.
Lauren Southern, Barbarians
Lauren Southern, according to Alt. Right outlier Gavin McInnes, is not just a millennial, she’s a millennial Ann Coulter. She certainly shares Coulter’s unswerving attention to the root causes of the ideological plague we find ourselves afflicted by and, although she lacks Coulter’s brash mastery of style, it is there in utero. She also lacks as yet Kathy Shaidle’s comic timing but, again, the elements of harmony are all present in Barbarians. She is a promising mixture of good things: a millennial who has rejected the anti-intellectual emotivism of her peers, a politically engaged writer who will add one more dart to the already badly punctured body of the establishment, and a feminist’s nightmare.
Lauren lays the blame for generation’s uncomprehending and ideologically-driven dysfunction at the feet of the baby boomers. They have paved the way for the snowflakes’ ball, a celebration of
‘…the nihilistic, consumerist, à la carte political consciousness that has been shoved down our throat to cover up the fact that we have experienced an utter dispossession, dilution, and disintegration of the Western soul’.
She introduces us to the plight of millennials by doing what many other writers more advanced in years – baby boomers themselves, in some cases – cannot do; taking us inside her own ‘social justice class’. Yes, she writes, this is a thing. At the end of it, during which she was harried out for political incorrectness, she has almost nothing that could be described as wisdom, but ‘I could interrogate someone else’s privilege like a Spanish Inquisitor, but wash my hands of my own like Pontius Pilate.’
Her early diagnosis of the problem, however, leads her out of her depth, and it is a specific problem affecting a number of writers from the new or re-formed Right. She rightly accuses ‘the curse of the postmodernist, deconstructionist professors making their long march through the institutions.’ (Incidentally, this is a phrase I thought originated with Gramsci, but Southern informs me that it was actually coined by German student activist Rudi Dutschke). However, and I have reason to understand this from personal experience, it is the professors themselves who cause the problem in their reading and dissemination of Southern’s two specific targets: Derrida and Foucault.
I have written about the problem of holding Derrida responsible for cultural relativism here and the same applies to Foucault. Foucault is a Nietzschean genealogist historian working within a refined philosophy area, while Derrida would be pleased with Bernard Henry Lévy’s criticism that he wrote philosophy purely for other philosophers. They are not Saul Alinsky and Russell Brand. The free-for-all concerning text and meaning which resulted from the work of the pair has been misunderstood before, and Southern once again shows the danger of harvesting your philosophical knowledge from Wikipedia. It is not a major criticism of the book, but I don’t believe Derrida and Foucault are the villains of the piece so much as the professors longing to find what I have called ‘a whiff of Gallic brimstone’.
Apart from being at the wrong end of the playground when it comes to philosophy, Southern aims at and strikes a number of far more deserving targets. ‘Conservatism’ needs to be retired as a term as;
‘My generation sees nothing worth conserving in the modern world. And we shouldn’t. To be a literal conservative today is to tacitly support the left.’
The de facto conspiracy – and it is a conspiracy, despite Leftist guffawing at the term – to destroy the white west is also neatly summed up;
‘The experiment of multiculturalism was thought up in the minds of tenured intellectuals, put on paper by virtue signaling politicians, and then enjoyed by big business globalists’.
Reductive, certainly, and very much a pocket-book sketch, but this is part of the book’s appeal. There is a sense, and you can catch its scent on social media, that a lot of millennials are beginning to sense that they have been duped. They will be requiring primers for a resurgent political Right, and Southern both speaks their language and isolates the errors they have been forced to make by classroom and seminar room ideology of the most brazen variety.
She does repeat the saw that ‘Islam has not had its enlightenment’ without considering, as Robert Spencer has noted, that Wahhabism might well have been that enlightenment. In terms of an Enlightenment, Islam lacks the intellectual capability and lability of social administration. But overall she is firm on a point snowflakes will soon be forced to confront; Islam and the West do not mix, and the attempt to make them do so will end in disaster.
Overall, this book is a rough diamond, but there are enough facets which glint in the dark to make it a good read and another strike back against the ludicrous posturing of the millennial generation. Safe spaces, freedom of speech which does not offend, micro-aggressions, no-platforming, gender neutrality, white privilege, Islamophobia, racism; all of these are the trinkets of children, and playtime is almost over. What are the intellectual orphans of today going to do when their Queer Studies degree fails to net them a job, and nothing is available further down the trough because of the refugees they held up banners to welcome? The more of them who read Southern’s book – and others which will undoubtedly emerge from a disenfranchised generation – may save themselves yet.
Lauren Southern is a partner-in-crime with fellow Canadian Ezra Levant, always a worthwhile content provider, at therebel.media and once her style and knowledge of intellectual history broadens and deepens, she is going to produce some of the greatest texts of the coming fightback against the generational sabotage that almost left her as just another snowflake in a blizzard of ignorance.