Monday 23 January 2023

Tame radicals (more on "controlled opposition")

I am struck again and again by the fact that people who are famous, or notorious, for their extreme, wild, no-hold-barred radicalism; invariably take the Establishment line when it comes to the Litmus Test issues

This is the phenomenon sometimes called controlled opposition; although that term in misleading, since these radicals are not externally-'controlled' so much as self-controlled (both by personal disposition and by incentives). 

Yesterday I was reading about a typical phenomenon of this sort called 'chaos magic' - which was/is a self-styled radical, extreme, no-holds-barred (i.e. encouraging drugs and sex) group of magic practitioners; who were almost unknown to the mainstream public*, but who hold a kind of fascination and glamour for mainstream writers and commenters on the occult. 

(*The well-known comic book author Grant Morrison is perhaps the most famous chaos magician.)  

I discovered a blog maintained by one of the leaders and founders of these chaos magicians and - sure enough - this wild radical had made sure to include Establishment-approved, mass-media-harmonious, utterly-mainstream, virtue-signaling stuff about the current major Litmus Test: the Fire Nation war...

In other words; there is an implicit deal between the radicals and the Establishment

Radicals are allowed to be wild and extreme about anything... that does not matter for the Establishment. 

(Especially those things of which the Establishment covertly approves - e.g. any non-procreative sex/uality that tends to destroy real marriage and the family.)

And if radicals stick to this kind of radicalism, their transgressive (and often illegal) behaviours are tolerated; and individuals may also reap the rewards of that kind of fame called 'notoriety'. For instance, notoriety may lead to greater sexual opportunities. 

But radicals must support those strategic issues that really matter to the Establishment.

And radicals - just like everyone else - must track any changes in these core policies, and hold fast to the Establishment's current line; even though this will be incoherent, self-contradictory, and in opposition to the radicals own espoused principles. 

That is the implicit deal. 

The Establishment say, in effect: Do whatever you like and we will leave you alone; except for the Litmus Test issues - about which you must follow the guidance of mainstream media and totalitarian officialdom

Why do radicals go along with this? After all, if they really were radical and anti-Establishment - as they affect and often believe-themselves to be - they would rebel against the need to take the approved, conventional, mass mainstream views on exactly the most dominant and important issues of the time. 

They would surely insist on dissenting from exactly "whatever 'everybody' (all 'decent' people) is being compelled to believe (- or else!)". 

And when the current narrative is solidly, monolithically, espoused by all government ministers (even when led by a 'Conservative' government), when it is espoused by all senior spokesmen for industry and finance, by all major bureaucrats and officials (and even by school teachers!). When the narrative is espoused by the entirety of the mainstream mass media... And when this standard-approved-narrative is actively enforced by explicit censorship... 

Well, it would seem as obvious as anything ever could be, that any radical worth-his-salt would automatically oppose any such Conventional Collusion.  

But in practice; they do Not oppose, but instead support. And indeed there is seldom evidence even of any desire to dissent from the terms of what they must do in terms of 'the deal'. 

This is because radicalism is very seldom sincere or deeply motivated; but most often a pose (an excuse/ rationalization/ disguise) adopted as a means to some other end - often of a sexual nature

Therefore - to return to the 'chaos magic' people, or their spiritual mentor Aleister Crowley - we encounter the claim to be using sex and drugs as a means to the end of more powerful magic; whereas it seems clear (from revealed preferences) that the truth is the opposite: such magical rituals were/are a means to the end of sex and drugs. 

Such false consciousness permeates the entirety of radicalism - and indeed nearly-all of mainstream intellectual discourse; which is why the nature and focus of radicalism moves like a weather-vane in response to changes in Establishment strategy, when it comes to the core (Litmus Test) issues. 

We see this by the Establishment onslaught unleashed on once-approved radicals whenever they publicly dissent from any of the Litmus Test issues of the day. 

Such individuals may be 99% Establishment-approved in their views - but when one-percent contradicts a Litmus Test question (e.g. the transagenda, antiracism, CO2 global warming, Fire Nation war etc) , then the individual may have have his income and reputation rapidly destroyed. 

Such disgraced radicals are very seldom on the side of Good. Usually they are 99% evil-aligned; but they cannot be allowed to oppose Establishment core values and still retain their status and influence. 

They have made a deal with the devil; and have reneged on their side of the agreement. Obvously they must be socially-annihilated pour encourager les autres. 

Luckily for the Tame Radicals; they seldom care enough about their radicalism enough to get into hot water by transgressing on these restricted areas. They self-police quite spontaneously, often unconsciously; because in their hearts 'extreme' radicals serve the same master as does the Establishment.   


ben said...

"because in their hearts they serve the same masters as the Establishment."

This is exactly it; they're all opposing God and Good together - both the mainstreamers and those more extremely evil.

The embrace of mainstream agendas by 'radicals' isn't out-of-place, it's exactly what would be expected. In fact, I'd expect them to embrace these evil agendas even more intensely than most people, as they do.

To see self-described satanists expressing well-developed leftism... Well it's like seeing those other 'extremists' discuss that major monotheism. The extremists reveal the severity of the average.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ben - One of the functions of 'opposition' parties and individuals in the mainstream of the totalitarian Western states seems to be to provide deniability for radicals to stay on board with the Litmus Tests.

"embrace these evil agendas even more intensely than most people, as they do"

We saw this, for instance, in the birdemic agenda; when the radicals excoriated the mainstream government and lackeys for failing to pursue the totalitarian 'surveillance & control' agenda with much greater severity.

For instance, some self-styled radicals demanded that peck-refusers should not merely be sacked, but imprisoned and their children taken from them. Others demanded *permanent and universal* masking, lockdowns and social distancing - and blaming the in-government conservative (Boris Johnson) or republican (Trump) for failing to take this further and eternal step; and regarding this failure as conclusive evidence of Establishment domination by 'Right Wing' values.

Or with global warming; the fact that every Global agency and Western government and major corporation supports their agenda is insufficient; so long as there is any person who dissents to the slightest degree from radical demands, and taken as evidence of their subversive and secret power to thwart the zero-carbon plans.

"SJWs always project" - I have heard CO2 global warming fanatics angry that the GW agenda was being attacked by the Establishment, inadequately funded, and CO2-blaming climate publications suppressed by the media and kept out of the literature. And really believing it!

No matter how much left-inspired societal and civilizational destruction is universal and mainstream; it is never fast nor complete enough for the radicals!

William James Tychonievich said...

As Mick Shrimpton of Spinal Tap put it, “As long as there's, you know, sex and drugs, I can do without the rock and roll” — or magic or whatever.

(Incidentally, Spinal Tap creator Rob Reiner is now, quelle surprise, a particularly aggressive pro-Establishment agitator on all litmus test issues — so much so that, given his background, I sometimes suspect his Twitter persona of being a parody.)

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - As I think I once wrote here; all the men I knew (whether in medicine, science or academia more generally) who when young affected a *particularly* cynical and radical persona, ended-up as on-message Establishment-servile bureaucrats.

I can't think of any exceptions - but then there are an awful lot of bureaucrats nowadays, and not much of anything else in these areas of work; so perhaps that is not too exceptional.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

I have an example of this. Tyler Cowen, self-described libertarian economist at Marginal Revolution and as such supposedly a skeptic of State power, related this as one of his most "radical" ideas: pricing commuter highway travel by demand.

Tenured economist, comfortable living on some of the wealthiest real estate in the US, as secure in his socio-economic status as Gibraltar, and that's his most radical idea: *toll roads*

HeavyRain said...

Very good post. It's funny I wish I had been exposed to more articulate Christians in my youth. They always seemed to look so stupid getting mocked by whatever petty celebrity or comedian and managed to slowly shame me towards keeping my Christianity secret. Simple things like the potential truth of the Shroud of Turin or solid mathematical objections to Darwin would have saved me years in the wilderness while I sought intellectual answers to life.

Bruce Charlton said...

@AG - Libertarians are leftists; they only differ on their suggested means to the same (utilitarian) end. Also, libertarians always sell-out - if/ when that becomes expedient. Always. Mainstream Totalitarian Government is littered with ex-libertarians.

@HR - There always have been plenty of articulate Christians to counterbalance the other kind; but finding them requires individuals to take control of, and responsibility for, their own education. Such sources are trivially easy to access, but one must make some personal effort.

If people trust The System to bring whatever is important to their attention, they will simply be consuming propaganda.