Trapped Between Frenemies

We are trapped in an unhealthy symbiosis of woke overreach and anti-woke reaction. They need each other to exist. They feed each other. They function as a closed system that’s not outwardly oriented. Their interaction can’t generate new ideas, new solutions, or any meaningful action at all.

Woke and anti-woke are in love with each other but the joyful, orgasmic union they keep experiencing is sterile. They are too similar, too closely related to be able to procreate. Their pleasure is masturbatory and as such never quite satisfactory enough.

We know woke and anti-woke by different names. We can call them progressives and MAGAs. Far left and far right. BLM and January 6. Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson. Taylor Lorenz and Douglas Murray. The name doesn’t matter. What matters is that their passionate embrace is choking all life out of our public sphere. Their enthusiastic coupling is so loud, showy and boisterous that we are constantly duped into expecting some progeny to pop out. But there will be none. They’ll keep providing each other with opportunities to scratch the itch of outrage. They’ll keep competing who is the biggest victim in their dysfunctional lovefest. But they’ll never move on from each other.

12 thoughts on “Trapped Between Frenemies

  1. Yep. Have weeded so many “conservative” commentators out of my newsfeed because of this. I don’t care about woke. Unless it’s a major legal action, I don’t want to hear about it. But there are an awful lot of righties who can’t shut up about it. The outrage porn is mind-numbingly tedious. Conservatives don’t have any conservative ideas anymore? Just spend all day reacting to whatever the enemy says? Gets a lot of clicks and “engagement” points on social media I guess, but it’s a losing strategy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. If we can’t define ourselves as anything but anti-someone-else, we’ll keep that someone else in existence simply because we are nothing without them.


    2. “Conservatives don’t have any conservative ideas anymore?”

      The problem is that “conservatism” is about not having ideas but about trying to recapture some past (that never really existed).

      Just the same as “liberalism” is about achieving some state that has never existed (and cannot exist given the limits enforced by human nature).

      I’m all about what’s realistic and possible…. and not many others are now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s possible for us to be FOR things, though. And not just in a long-lost-mythical-golden-age kind of way. We could be for tariffs, for instance– that’s the traditional way to fight offshoring. We could be for education/school choice (and for trying that out in as many ways as there are states, by getting the fedgov out of it). We could be for clean air and water, since the left has abandoned that one (I’ve always thought that nature conservation rightly belonged to the conservative side). We could be for restricting property ownership to citizens and busting up the real-estate investment cartels that are making it impossible for working-class people to own their homes. We could be for restructuring our social welfare programs so that they don’t penalize people for being married and working. We could be for simplifying the tax code, ending daylight saving time, and the right to air-dry your laundry outdoors. So many things we could be for.

        But that’d be work. So much easier to let the left lead us around by our nose-rings.


        1. “We could be for ”

          I generally agree (I don’t think school choice is the answer for reasons that James Lindsay articulates very well) but yeah those are all things that conservatives could be for and which, at present, they don’t care about as much as deadend culture war crap.
          I think liberals could be for all of those things too, they certainly lead to more social progress (as liberals used to define it than eliminating police or emptying prisons) but they’re also caught on the deadend culture war loop.


          1. It does lead one to ask… who does benefit from the endless culture-war loop? For most of us it’s an obvious death-spiral, so I guess it’s just another thing to keep the plebes and the whitecollars at each other’s throats while the wealthy accumulate whatever resources we still have access to.


  2. Anti-wokism was interesting and useful to me when I was leaving leftist thinking behind. I don’t know how people stay focused on it for years though. I don’t even often see new analysis, just the same tired talking points. “Wokeness is…like a religion!” Wake me up when something actually happens.


  3. “… Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson …”

    Around here we pronounce that second name as “Cucker C-C-Carlson”.

    Just sayin’. 🙂

    “What matters is that their passionate embrace is choking all life out of our public sphere. Their enthusiastic coupling is so loud, showy and boisterous that we are constantly duped into expecting some progeny to pop out. But there will be none.”

    Are you really surprised that this draws all of the oxygen and doesn’t even let any kind of intellectual space smoulder, let alone burn?

    This isn’t about woke versus anti-woke, fascist versus anti-fascist.

    This is straight out of Guy Debord’s writings of The Situationist International in which spectacle overwhelms everything.

    That and nostalgia, actually, because it’s easier to have nostalgia for a time instead of critically viewing both the good and bad.

    And there will be nostalgia for this time, despite its dysfunctional politics and collapse-orientated rhetoric.

    That’s because compared to roving left-wing and right-wing paramilitary death squads and Pineland Rules being everywhere, what’s going on is relatively calm.

    It’s fun taking a vacation with the Pineland Resistance Movement, BTW, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

    The BBQ is pretty good, but don’t ask too many questions about how they’re getting it.


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