Woke capital

Rod Dreher channels a pseudonymous Professor Jones” with a surprising analysis of what’s wrong on campus:

[T]hese campuses, for all their wokeness, are completely prostrate before global capital. Anybody under the impression that US universities are places where old-fashioned left-wing class politics has any meaningful presence is out of his mind. Embracing identity politics is a way of disguising the fact that the contemporary left has made peace with global capitalism.

What is political correctness, Jones asks, but a form of bourgeois speech policing designed to keep lower-class people marginalized from discussions of power and how it is distributed? Nobody who actually has to deal with the Wokesters can possibly maintain the fiction that these people actually care about lifting up the lowly and defending them. No, says Jones, what they are really all about is mastering certain forms of moral outrage, and moralistic discourse, for the sake of gaining and exercising political power …

… How pleasurable it might have been to have worked alongside scholars of the Old Left, he says. Instead, what we have are universities ruled by ambitious power cliques driven by middle-class manners and identity politics …

What would save the universities? Not a crusade to make them less left” in any historically meaningful sense of the term, but rather to return to older ideals of learning and scholarship. This, says Prof. Jones, requires restraining the administrative bureaucracies that assume totalitarian sovereignty over the thoughts, words, and deeds of teachers and students — all in service of crackpot ideological concepts invented the day before yesterday, and weaponized by unstable activists who would go away if we made our minds up to ignore them.

This sounds very plausible to me for a number of reasons, including the ever-diminishing difference between our parties’ actual behavior on monetary, fiscal and regulatory matters.

Further, global capital now dictates quite openly to state legislatures, as media keep reporting stuff like Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation Wednesday aimed at getting Indiana off a list of five states without a hate crimes law …” (from my local Gannett rag, just this morning). It would be completely unsurprising if they dictated to universities as well.

April 4, 2019


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