I wrote about this a couple years ago, when we watched the Boomerang Effect of identity politics come full circle to bite Hilary Clinton’s 2016 presidential election campaign in the ass. Clinton not only lost to Trump amongst white men, she even lost with white women. This is a stark shift in voter demographics from even just twenty years ago (see below). Which is of course fascinating on the surface since Hilary is actually a white woman. But more importantly, it tells us something of the totalitarianism-based approach that underlies modern Progressivism and the identity politics that goes with it.
In short, Totalitarianism is defined as a political entity or group that attempts to completely control both the behavior AND thought of the society it inhabits. It is an attempt to shape and control the dominant Cultural Narrative. The problem is that once a society has been desensitized to using thought to punish/shame/exclude others, that subtle shifts in the narrative can eventually turn it on its own creators. The real danger of such cultural narratives is that when one “single story” comes to dominate the discussion, then it warps our sense of right and wrong. Political decisions and policy choices then become more about engaging in acts of social display, i.e. virtue signaling, than fact-based political discussions. It becomes a race, a competition, to prove who is the most ideologically “pure”.
In fact, given the nature of societal mobs, it is almost a certainty this will happen at some point. Like unleashing a dragon.
This is what we mean by the Orwellian Curse. Indeed, Orwell’s book 1984 is not really a book about fascism or authoritarianism per se … it is a book about Totalitarianism. About political groups controlling and manipulating thought, and the dominant Cultural Narrative.
And so in many ways, one can argue that the Democrats and their progressive wing have really been the victim of their own success over the thirty or forty years in the United States. From civil rights to gay rights to feminism to gender fluidity to white guilt, they have radically reshaped the cultural narrative in the U.S. To the point that even suggesting that “diversity” or “equality” may not always be a good thing, that there may be downsides, is enough for shocked public outrage and humiliation.
In more recent years, this has meant many former allies of the Democrats, including the white working class (who still make up nearly 70% of the U.S. population) and many men, have become casualties of the Orwellian Curse. The problem is that if they advocate for their own children, or god forbid themselves, they are seen as “ideologically impure”. Try being an anti-feminist Democrat and let me know how that goes …
Social media lies at the root of a lot of this Orwellian Curse phenomenon in the modern West. I would argue, in hindsight, that social media like Facebook are actually perfect tool to cause the over-fermentation of totalitarian social movements. And that it in many ways contributes to the place Democrats in the United States find themselves now. Let me explain.
It is easy to contend that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter lead to greater polarization and extremism in politics. Friends share things with like-minded friends (that is why you’re friends in the first place, right?), and automated algorithms further mold and shape what you see based on what you react positively too. A positive feedback loop that simply reinforces your prior beliefs and prejudices. Or, in a nutshell, a Filter Bubble. Facebook belatedly seemed to realize that after the 2016 presidential election, though only because foreign entities were able to manipulate the news feeds and narrative for their own purposes.
But the bigger problem is how social media normalizes radical positions and virtue signaling. In fact, one could argue that social media is basically all about virtue signaling. Unless all my friends are really living perfect lives?? Traveling the world and always taking that perfect candid photo?? But probably not.
Social media is in effect a market economy for virtue signaling, where the currency is dopamine hits people get from likes and shares and retweets.
The problem thus is clear, social media mixed with politics simply exacerbates the race for ideological “purity” and accelerates the Orwellian Curse. Hell, there was an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune by Mary Schmich last week contending that Father’s Day is “outdated” because all her gay and transgender friends on Facebook think so, and all her straight friends rushed into agree so as to look like the most “progressive” of the Progressives (le sigh). Covert Bigotry at its finest. So if you are wondering how it seems like all the sudden in the last decade or so the Democrats have become increasingly anti-white and anti-male, well there you go.
Interestingly, if you go back to the first Clinton (Bill, her husband) who was president in the 1990’s, you will see that just twenty years ago Democrats virtually split Republicans on both the White vote as well as the male vote. Food for thought.