More Chapel Hill Impressions

The Indian food here in Chapel Hill leaves our Indian food back home in the dust. I ordered something called “potatoes with fenugreek leaves,” and now I want to marry it and have its babies. Please don’t tell my husband.

I’m staying true to my plan to hang out at the hotel all day. I’ve already been to the swimming pool. A little later, I’ll head to the gym. This will be the first time I go to the gym since the war started. The reason isn’t that I didn’t want to go but that my blood pressure was too high for me to go safely. I finally managed to get it down enough to be able to go to the gym today.

The gas prices (which I know about because I can see a gas station out of the window) are as high as back home and look like area codes more than gas prices.

In other news, our union got salary raises for some people but none for others. The raises are large and attractive, not to mention retroactive. But the logic behind some people getting them and others receiving nothing is not explained. The only explanation we get is “equity.” But I have access to all faculty salaries at my department, and the logic behind the raises is neither sex- nor race-based. Maybe it’s some other, new form of equity. You can imagine what the result is. People are suspicious of each other and nervous.

The New Right

The New Right is self-destructing before our own eyes. And it’s doing so by embracing the very thing it was born to combat.

The New Right was born when it became clear that the Left completely abandoned reality in favor of fantasy, and the traditional Right was too weak, stupid or corrupt to do something about it. There should be a group in society capable of saying “men don’t give birth, women don’t have penises, diversity isn’t our strength, Kamala Harris was never racially oppressed, crime rates are growing, and inflation is bad.” If everybody else is too weak and so easily intimidated that even saying “a woman is an adult human female” becomes impossible, there should be a political force that doesn’t get scared this easily.

This political force was supposed to be the New Right. They were supposed to keep alive the important idea that reality exists apart from our wants and desires. And no matter how much we might wish for something to be true, reality doesn’t have to oblige.

But the Left’s wish-fulfillment mentality is very seductive. “I say something, and it magically becomes true” – what can be sweeter? Within only a few years of its birth, the New Right created its own alternative reality and convinced itself that it must be real. That reality is a totally fictional “trad Russia” that will stand up to Western degeneracy and defend conservative spiritual values.

To anybody who knows absolutely anything about Russia the idea is as ludicrous as “trans toddlers” are to anybody who knows anything about children. As Antonio García Martínez reminds us,

The Putin fans among the New Right—in temporary retreat, currently sublimating their views as Ukraine skepticism—really think Russia some anti-woke exemplar worthy of imitation. Never mind that the church-attendance rate in Russia is far lower than the U.S., their birth-rate as low as any childless European country, and their abortion rate one of the highest in the world. Seen from the “trad” conservative perspective at least, Russia suffers from all the ills of post-modernity even more than the supposedly degenerate West.

And now add to this a complete collapse of the traditional family – fewer children in Russia grow up with both their parents than kids on Chicago’s South Side – exploding drug use among the young, an endless stream of obscenity on TV, a complete legalization and exaltation of surrogacy, sky-high abortion rates, open borders, extraordinarily high illegal immigration rates, and a gigantic percentage of sex crimes that stem from this situation. It takes a much harder effort of fictional world-building to turn this real Russia into a trad haven of spiritual values than it is to pretend that Lia Thomas is a woman.

To quote Antonio once again:

This is analogous to the Berkeley leftists with whom, in my naive idealism, I often debated while in grad school 20 years ago. Whether older academics still under the influence of the 1960s, or younger students in the fashionable keffiyeh-wearing left, they all thought the communist Cuba that my family had fled was an egalitarian utopia that should serve as an example to America. In fact, the Cuban reality had about as much to do with egalitarianism as modern-day Russia does Christian values, both serving as little more than rhetorical cudgels in an America-centric discourse.

Of course, neither the Berkeley hippies nor the New Right seek out reality: Both stay snugly inside the bosom of the liberal capitalism they claim to despise, rarely venturing to their idealized Havana or Moscow.

The analogy is, indeed, there. I first lost several leftist friends whose eyes glazed over and they started babbling incoherently about BLM and “Trump is a fascist.” And now I’ve lost a couple of New Right friends who look at me pleadingly and beg me to confirm that “Russia is defending us from Soros.”

When my best friend died and I went to say goodbye at the funeral home, she was lying in the coffin looking so beautiful and almost asleep instead of dead. There was a split second when I wanted to believe that she wasn’t really dead and that this was all an elaborate practical joke. Of course, it wasn’t but that feeling of being able to escape from reality into fantasy was very sweet. Too many people are indulging in this escapism without thinking of the costs. We have now lost to it the only political force capable of pushing back against fantasy leftism.