This Substack will describe the ideological fever that overtook the governing and chattering classes in America during the Trump years which is now consolidating its grip on American institutions. Its subject is the bourgeois moral revolution, many decades in the making, that flowered at the midpoint of the decade, composed in equal measure of new political propositions, new moral premises, and new psychological underpinnings, in pursuit of what it declares to be "social justice". It will excavate the historical lineage of the diffuse and decentralized movement behind this ideology, chronicle its unfolding, and reflect on the consequences likely to flow from it.
It will serve as an ongoing contribution to a larger project of which it is a part -- the writing of a book-length account of the peculiar species of authoritarian utopianism sweeping through the ruling institutions of American life, which I have termed "the Successor Ideology."
The contribution will take what I hope will prove to be a novel literary form -- the public and contemporaneous record of a writer making himself the equal to a strenuous undertaking for which he is not yet qualified at its outset. The Substack will be a kind of non-fictional Flowers for Algernon, in which the author begins with a handful of intuitions and ends having mastered the broad corpus of subjects -- history, philosophy, and the law -- required not just to expound knowledgeably on the phenomenon it names but to elaborate a credible alternative vision of present and future.
Some of that work will be frankly remedial, yielding written reports and audio interviews on the sundry topics that touch upon the subject I am researching. This ongoing work will not be the final book itself, but will be an open-ended series of investigations that will allow the author to cultivate a public presence partway between the daily firehose of outrage and inanity that populates the Twitter feed, and the freestanding work that will be written concurrently to it.
Thank you for agreeing to follow me on this endeavor, and especially to those who elect to partake of the unique pleasures of micro-patronage — those who can help this work to get done and to reach its audience through a small monthly fee. I will strive to be worthy of it.