Nov 14, 2023Liked by N.S. Lyons

If you view these issues through a purely ideological lens, I can see why you’d think that trans ideology will triumph over racial identitarianism, but I think in practice racialism is far more powerful. Obsession over black people as an object of moral concern and ideas of human universalism are deeply ingrained in American history since the time of the founding, and the more radical abolitionists were invariably Protestant religious fanatics. This has obviously continued into the present as pretty much everyone here has seen all the bizarre atonement rituals white liberals did after George Floyd including washing the feet of random black people and practically building shrines to the man.

Furthermore, from a simple material standpoint blacks (and other racial minorities to a lesser extent) are far more valuable as a part of a political patronage system than transsexuals; there are orders of magnitude more of them, they have much more established political networks, and are a rock solid vote farm for democrats. Plus, as outsized recipients of countless welfare programs, they generate tons of valuable makework gigs for bureaucrats and the managerial class as a whole as they fruitlessly try to close various “wealth/health/achievement/employment” gaps. The couple billion made off of trans medical expenses is nothing compared to the many trillions spent over the decades on “uplift” for black people and other lower functioning racial minorities.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by N.S. Lyons

Excellent debate. Just on the basis of this debate, I would say that woke started as individualist and is now collectivist, which is the problem. You both drop the racial component of woke pretty quickly, even though I still think it's the biggest aspect of woke. It's just been around for longer so it's been upstaged by the trans movement. And here I think it's instructive to compare it with the gay rights movement. In the beginning they were in identical conditions, despised and illegal. Over time, however homosexuality became widely accepted, and I think trans would have as well. And at this stage both are still individualistic. Gays asked for and received marriage rights, with carve outs for churches who don't accept them. And then they mostly went away. Trans on the other hand went through a very small and fast acceptance stage, where the few genuine trans spoke with their doctors and families, and transitioned, and would have preferred to be done and not draw attention. I don't think people would have cared about that either. But relatively early on it moved to collectivism, providing the solidarity and community that used to be provided by church etc as mentioned above. And this grew its ranks exponentially as more people thought of it as a club rather than an intensely personal decision. And from there they began to clamor for all kinds of intrusive collectivist issues like the pronouns, sports, locker rooms etc. Whatever could be most annoying, they went for it. And this is the ultimate collectivist strategy, making everyone bend to their wishes. I think Blacks are also following the same strategy. It's also why I think you see gays, Asians and Latinos backing away from wokeism, because they've done pretty well without annoying the hell out of everybody else. So I guess this is a longwinded compromise position to the above.

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Nov 14, 2023Liked by N.S. Lyons

I think you both miss the point. I see this “deliberate organization of the labors of society for a definite social goal” going hand in hand with the divide between "the two big camps of Race and Trans". The social goal is power, and the "camps" of division become more numerous every day. It is the essence of divide and conquer, and the end game of identity politics. Regardless of the divide- old/young, rich/poor, Christian/Muslim/, deplorable/elite, gay/straight, and regardless of the stated "social goal"- equity, climate, anti-racism, anti-colonialism, or whatever, this is power struggle. It is a contest among various arrogant self appointed aristocrats who view themselves as the rightful rulers of their lesser humanity. They may differ (with some overlap) in who they ally with, which cause they support, and which group of useful idiots support them, but the end game is the same. Those in power wish to keep it, and will use any cause, any excuse, to do so. Those with less power wish to supplant those above them, and are perhaps even more ruthless. They happily eat their own, and the Robespierre Effect holds sway. The old enlightenment ideals are scorned, ignored, or subverted. Lawfare is now an openly acknowledged and accepted tool of governance. These modern day Brahmins sort and cull their wolf pack, and invite the sheep to participate. Their collectivization is that of predator and prey. It isn't about red versus blue or Hamas versus Jew, the real division is between those who wish to rule others, and those with no such wish. I cringe every time I hear "there ought to be a law".

Personally, I doubt we can vote, discuss, or reason our way out of this as a first resort. The fanatics aren't willing... yet.

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Nov 15, 2023·edited Nov 15, 2023Liked by N.S. Lyons

To list 'radical environmentalism' as one of 'two pillars' of something called 'Woke' is both ignorant and sloppy.

Firstly, what is 'radical' environmentalism, as opposed to, say, the 'mainstream' variety'? The examples quoted here - carbon reductions and the Green New Deal, for example - are not 'radical' at all; they are mainstream policies, pursued by governments and corporations. No green worth his salt would call this stuff 'radical.'

Secondly, environmentalism in its current mainstream form may have a leftist flavour, but this is because the left has colonised the movement, as it does all movements, and bent it to its end. Consider the notion of 'climate justice' as an example. What do (usually leftist) notions of human 'justice' have to do with preventing the climate from destabilising? Nothing at all. Wanting a stable climate is in everyones' interests. That the left has claimed it as their own cause, and the right has then reacted against it because it is 'woke' is neither here nor there.

Finally, environmentalism as a movement can be traced back at least to the 1950s, and if you include in that definition the much older conservation movement, then it has roots in the 19th century. Perhaps the quinetessential American environmentalist was Teddy Roosevelt, a man not known for his wokeness. In fact, the early green movement was small-c conservative. Pick a few of its best known names - Edward Abbey, Aldo Leopold, E. F. Schumacher, Edward Goldsmith - and you'll find yourself amongst traditionalists. As Scruton explained in great detail, protecting nature is ultimately conservative, by definition.

The left's colonisation of environmentalism ought to be resisted, not accepted. There is nothing 'woke' about not destroying creation.

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I find this exchange fascinating as a recovering libertarian.

Lyons put it best: would an assertion of radical individualism save us from the woke? Of course not.

What Charles is missing is that even his supposedly neutral, liberal anchors for society are really just normative assertions. There's no way he can prove that freedom of speech is best without resorting to some form Judeo-Christian "natural law", which is no different than a Muslim resorting to Shariah law to justify his prohibition of blasphemy. I expect that Charles sees these are different, but he's incorrect about that.

John Locke's value-neutral state, which Charles invokes without ever stating the name, is an illusion. There has never been and can never be a stable, value-neutral state. As tribal creatures, humans seek some form of shared culture or ideology or religion, and "my rights only end at your nose" is too weak a proposition around which to organize a nation.

In the end, I don't care what philosophical category wokeness is in. I just want to know how to kill it.

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Collectivist or Individualist? It’s both! The Woke are very good at cognitive dissonance.

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I would say you both are trying to fit Woke into a framework which doesn't contain it, at all. You are both, however, touching upon the key and core concepts - it is religious and that is the reason why it even "works". It fills the religious void in many Westerners with similar concepts and utopias, with soul-analogues (inner true self) and chosen people (the oppressed). As such, it does not - as a concept - conform to either definition.

If anything, it is born out of the void, where faith resides in humans - which by itself is a void created in part by the Enlightenment, but also by both collectivist and individualist movements. Both of them will try to smother and kill the religious in its adherents - and from this smothering rises the void that needs to be filled. And nature abhors a vacuum, and something forms to fill it.

Religions can be both collectivist and individualist in how they organize themselves, and sometimes that leads to conflicts internally to the religion, sometimes they co-exist with the overarching religion acting as a "common unifier" that allows both paths to continue existing, allowing adherents to choose their path forward by joining one or the other.

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Nov 14, 2023·edited Nov 14, 2023

...might be useful to consider the Eastern Yin Yang paradigm, chaos and order, and the current Yin ascendency having been driven by technology's release of nature's historical constraints on women. It's not that Yin seeks chaos, but it's what you get when compassion comes before justice, and compassion for an individual becomes the solution for the collective.

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The world is not black & white and it is mistake to describe it in terms of a dichotomy. The Woke debate is not a matter of the individual vs the collective, it is a strategy being used to seize power. The issues of race, gay, trans, environment, abortion (which wasn’t mentioned in the debate),etc., while they may be legitimate issues to address, are being used as tools seize power from the “Oppressors,” who they have defined as straight white males (i.e. White Supremists, White Privilege, MAGA supporters, deplorable, racists, Nazis, etc.) Of course, the leaders of this movement to seize power are predominately straight white males who are willing to use any tool, including Woke, to secure their position in the hierarchy.

If we take an honest look at history, I think we will see that every ideology and religion has been used as tools to seize power. That’s not to say that we should not seek an ideology or religion that allows humans to flourish and protects individuals from the whims of the mob, but the point is that no matter how “perfect” that ideology or religion may be, there will always be people who attempt to find weakness in the ideology or religion that can be used/misused for their purpose - power!

So, the debate should be, how do we stop it!

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I think collectivist. The case can be made better by talking less about Hitler and Lenin/Stalin and more about Mussolini. The Nazis and Bolsheviks were fanatics in ways the the Italian fascists were not. Plus Mussolini was first. Well before Hitler who always regarded Mussolini as the founding father of fascism. Slightly before Lenin who did the NEP at about the same time as the March on Rome. Lenin did the NEP about as soon as he could after the ravages of civil war and war communism. I have a hard time distinguishing between Italian fascism and the NEP. Mussolini doesn't get the "credit" he deserves because he led Italy rather than Germany or the Soviet Union.

Since I know that someone will attack my statement about fanaticism, I will urge them in advance to consider the difference between the campus version of Woke and the corporate version. The corporate version is much more powerful and is simply seeking power and wealth in the way that German and Italian industrialists and the NEPmen did.

The right full word for trans is transitory. It was chosen for its capacity to outrage normal people now that radical feminism and gayness are mainstream. It will be replaced by something else. Several candidates are already visible on the horizon- pedophilia (MAP), incest, and furries. Why not let actual lions participate in MMA. After all, there is a precedent.

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Wow!! Now we are getting somewhere in making some organizing sense of what is transpiring right before our very eyes. I am not looking to settle any perspective - collectivist v liberal, racial v trans - just yet. NS, you da best! Your article almost two years ago on the truckers and virtual v physicals put you on my radar. I so appreciate you for setting these organizing frames up and doing it by inviting a debate. Imagine that!

I want to submit a corrallary, or observation/insight regarding your calling of a winner. You choose trans to win over race, in part, because trans is a religion and race is a ploy for material gain. Material can be power, status too. I think you will be right.

Here's my part... Early in the pandemic I exclaimed for my wife, as I read everything, that the The Science was a final confirmation that religion as known for centuries was finally dead and we had a new belief system enshrined in abject acceptance of institution mediated conformity in the power of technological intervention. Everyone seemed to turn their bodies over. Willingly. Desparately. Traditional religion was dead and the new The Science took over. Coterminously, "trans activists" said, "I have an inner me and I can be whatever sex I want to be." Both are completely dependent on a massive, and I mean, massive drug juggernaut that enables. The individual in society now accepts that everything starts with putting pharmaceuticals in you. Before you have some surgery, you are on hormone drugs, etc. Any novel virus can only be dealt with by taking a novel drug therapy.

The ultimate surrender of sovereignty is facilitated by an acceptance that novel pharmaceutical "innovations" are cost and risk free and that the complex that profits from these therapies are our friends. Remember the video showing how the medical professionals at Vanderbilt were so excited by the revenue opportunities of sex changes?

Trans wins over race because it rides on the coattails of mass acceptance of the power of novel drug therapies. Only the US and New Zealand allow advertising by drug companies. The new sheriff is The Science. It will free me and I don't care if the vax did not prevent infection, transmission, hospitalization or myocarditas.

Thanks for all you do, N S!

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In order to determine the nature of something, once must determine BOTH its origin and its endpoint. For example, the nature of something mortal has as its origin and endpoint, birth and death. The endpoint here which the elites freely admit is complete liberation from the body, I.e to download one’s consciousness to a computer. While clearly hyper individual, it’s also something collectivist as only the elite would likely be allowed this false immortality.

In either case, a return to the underpinnings of Christianity would combat both these tendencies. At the most basic level, consciousness in Christianity has its origin in the spirit, nullifying any false promise of immortality in this world.

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NS, you're falling into the same old trap of two-valued logic. Questions of ideology are almost never EITHER Collectivist OR Individualist, in terms of their real-world manifestations.

I mean, really: Josef Stalin- Individualist or Collectivist? Stalin was an autocratic Individualist, pursuing his own idiosyncratic vision of Statist Collectivism.

Consequently, the commercial fishermen drawing up the nets in the rivers of the USSR were forbidden to even keep any of their catch for their own personal consumption; the urban Masses of the large cities had first claim on that vital protein resource, and if someone stashed even one fish away for their own personal or household consumption, they were guilty of a criminal offense and could be sentenced to the gulag. (Unless you knew somebody, of course. And so it came to pass that the black market eventually constituted 25% of the Soviet economy.)

Meanwhile, was Joe Stalin, the Beloved Servant of the People, dining only on porridge and beets? Of course not. It was his selfless duty to dine at banquets, attended to by a staff of culinary professionals, including a personal food taster. And the foremost of Soviet Socialism was eliminating his rivals. Stalin even killed off most of the general staff of his military, while facing the imminent prospect of a foreign invasion.

I could draw an analogy to the excesses of Wokism from that example. But it would be scare hyperbole. Wokism is a feeble grift, in comparison. Enfeebled by its own contradictions.

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Very enlightening interaction. I guess I fall on the collectivism side of the argument, most likely because I believe it is the most dangerous. Analogous to a pack of dogs, the pack mentality creates a whole new level of bravery not seen with the individual.

I certainly agree that to combat the epidemic it will take the return of Christian morality. Hopefully the sooner the better, I'm not sure we can just wait for them to eat their own.

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I love this format. I could imagine as I read it of a person standing in the crowd at the Lincoln-Douglas debates on the nature of slavery. I have to agree that much of what we have seen in intellectual and academic critical theory comes from atomized people. The old comment that Freud thought man pursued pleasure, Adler that men pursued power but Fankyl thought it was meaning, fits well with the origins and execution of Woke of which Trans is but a sub set. People who espouse these ideas seek identity, power and status ( the last two might be the same thing) because they feel powerless in their lives. Because they are uneducated in the past they don't see or perhaps don't want to see that the end of their pursuit is slavery.

Woke and environmentalism are constantly shifting landscapes of revolutionary language and action. To avoid losing meaning, a person must be constantly on top of the latest evolution of language and action, they can never stop because to stop means loss of power and status. Each evolution must become more and extreme and perhaps violent to be relevant.

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Wait..... When are you going to start insultimg each other? I thought that's what online debate was all about :)

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