Listen now (36 mins) | My conversation with Cambridge scholar and Substacker Rob Henderson
It's not just center-right people who are turned off by the "woke". I've been a lifelong progressive Democrat, but thanks to dehumanizing (and hypocritical) Identity politics and other forms of "Woke-ism" I, too, have had to say "Whatever this is, I want no part of it."
I'm a registered Independent today.
“Luxury beliefs”, nice coinage. I would venture that most of us think these “beliefs” are rooted in wanting to demonstrate one’s virtue; double bonus if done under the guise of victimhood.
This is a great interview. I just subscribed to Robb's newsletter. I also know of Red Bluff well. I drive through it on my way to Lake Almanor when I am there. It is a beautiful place in California eight months out of the year... the other four are like living in a hair dryer!
"They seldom turn those tools of analysis around on themselves."
For those committed to luxury beliefs, the lack of self-awareness is breathtakingly transparent.
I have a theory. As a backdrop to this theory, I recently read an interview of Tom Hank's older son, Chet Hanks. It resonated with me as being a possible explanation for what is going on. In the interview Chet complained that he never had a good male role model. He explained all the privileges he had with all that wealth and fame, but his outlook was really a negative one.
Jordan Peterson makes the case that we are all wired to strive up the human hierarchy. It seems to be part of our need to develop self-worth and maybe self-confidence. So, if you come from a family of wealth and privilege as you launch into your own life, how do you grab those higher rungs for yourself? It really does not work to ride on your family coattails. In fact, many others will use it to punch you down (like Chet Hanks claims). So, why not just gravitate toward those luxury beliefs to show that you belong? And belong you must because falling out of favor from your elite peer group is unacceptable. You would do almost anything.
Conversely, if you come from humbler beginnings, you know you earned your place, you have genuine self-worth and real self-confidence. Unlike the elite chattering political class from the left coast, you are authentic and un-fragile.
But your existence and demonstration of all that self-made stuff just triggers the elites to want to make you go away. How dare you cause them to have the slightest bit of insecurity that they are not worthy in your presence. The fact though is that you are just humble... you don't really want to compete with them. You just want them to stop destroying access to the same path you took to raise yourself up from the bottom. But that is their existential threat. Because raising yourself up is everything they cannot do or will not do. They cannot be reminded of it and maintain their made-up sense of superiority and righteousness. They label you priviledged, white and a racist... even if you are none of those things... and they are ALL of those things.
The problem is not just that they have these luxury beliefs; but that they are weaponized moral edicts that they use to destroy everyone else around them to feel better by comparison.
What do we do about this? Unfortunately, their world is crashing down around them. Their inauthenticity and fragile state is going to be their undoing. That and the fact that they are just nasty and dangerous in their craving desire to punch down those that are the better people.
"...he says we’re almost at the end. I hope he’s right."
As they say on Wall Street, a company will continue along until it can't. And then it files for bankruptcy.
Same happening to Western civilization.
You can't have an entire generation running around screwing people they find on apps by the dozens or hundreds (yes, hundreds!) and declaring marriage and monogamy are over. That's possible for only two or three decades, tops. Eventually the next generation question becomes paramount...who's having the kids?? And, as the immigration numbers prove, Western civilization is in complete collapse due to declining birthrates. If you don't replace yourself, your culture dies.
It's happening and it's likely to be VERY rocky as the whole thing collapses - and make no mistake, it is in the early stages of collapse.
Tara - Excellent work. Historically it might be worthwhile investigating what Caesar Augustus did when he won the civil war and became emperor (and ended the Roman republic for good). His first order of business was to restore the family unit, so he brought in laws about family formation, made divorce much more difficult, infanticide laws were toughened up, etc. Not dissimilar to what we could be seeing coming in America soon...
Ivy League degrees are like Hermes Birkin bags - the ultimate status symbol of the elite. Here is what an elite student's progression looks like: https://yuribezmenov.substack.com/p/how-to-karent-progressive-ivy-league?s=w
One might dare say that lockdowns are a “luxury belief” too.
I hope we're near the end of it, too. I noticed Mr. Henderson describing this phenomenon of taking the opposite stance from beliefs that have long been commonly held as a sort of a status symbol for these young adults. It seems to me that it is common for many adolescents to consider the "establishment" (like their parents' generation) to be out of touch and so they espouse different views. Often, these views can be radically different. I think it is in part an adolescent quest for individuation, however, it is also a sort of narcissistic grasping for an identity that stands out, that shows them to be special. It really reminds me of my adolescence of substance abuse, as the very nature of the behavior put me into a "counter-culture" group and we enjoyed the sense of being different from the mainstream.
Many of these ideas are right in line with Elizabeth Currid-Halkett’s “The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class”. Brilliant interview!
There is one certainty in all the conversation about conservatives and progressives. The labels cloud the discussion and reduce analysis to a binary, simplistic framing of the current issues. We love the simplistic. We love to have terms that help us feel safe. Conservative and Progressive fail to capture any of the complexity and nuances of our political social and ideological experience.
This guest is also confused about the history of "gender". He is wrong about "it used to be 'gender' and recently it's been sex"
For all of history, it was SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX
"Gender" was a grammatical term ONLY until the 60s.
Then feminist writers started to use "gender" to express the totality of sexist expectations and stereotypes imposed onto the two SEXES.
Then around the 80s-90s religious puritan activists started using "gender" in lieu of SEX, because sex was too dirty a word. "Gender" became a euphemism for SEX.
We need to get rid of the word "gender", euphemisms are always detrimental to clear communications. If feminists want to discuss sexist stereotypes (behavioural expectations not grounded in evolution), then let us use those proper words.
SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX SEX
I've listened to Rob in a few other places and really like his work. He's definitely got a point about many of ways people think these days.
As an actual socialist (not a centre-right like the Democrats in the US or the useless and delusional NDP in Canada), I revile all identitarian politics as the politics of the bourgeoisie. All identity politics that pull focus from the class war are a waste of time. Racism a problem? It's the system. Tucking your dick and balls/binding or slicing off your breasts? Good for you--now bugger off. Capitalism is killing the entire biosphere which means eventually us, too. There is one emergency and one alone that matters, and it has nothing to do with anyone's skin colour or their delusional/dysphoric beliefs, i.e., global warming and the unfolding climate catastrophe.
I love the variety of topics you tackle! Check out my book exploring the slavery roots of the US felony law system. As an evangelical pastor I am certainly firmly rooted in the conservative camp but am working hard to get my team to embrace "Conservative Criminal Justice Reform". Blessings
Political homelessness is an apt description of my dilemma. I've been a registered voter for over forty years and a reluctant voter for thirty of those years. The weekly CBC panel discussion, Kierans Camp and Lewis, was the last reasonable political discourse I heard in Canada and that ended thirty-two years ago.
"Luxury Belief" is just a slight variation on "Virtue Signaling". And yes, stated very well, here is what I told my sister (who is part of it) ""Whatever this is, I want no part of it (you). That'll be me not returning your messages. Forevemore."
Great interview. Rob Henderson is one of my favorite thinkers now -- and his work is making me me dismantle my own luxury beliefs.