Just a quick comment on this incredibly helpful, thought-provoking, and needed essay. You mentioned a specific statement early on by black students at Harvard Law back in 2017. I went looking for it and quickly found it. It's by two progressive white professors and is actually dated 11/29/15: https://systemicjusticeblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/a-response-to-randall-kennedy/. Here are the two profs: https://systemicjustice.law.harvard.edu/about/team/. I don't think that this error on your part undercuts your claims about how the successor ideology has colonized the academic elite, but I'm a facts-guy and this needs correcting. It's for that reason, actually, that I wanted to post: because the event that Kennedy, a black center-right professor, was writing about, and that these two white professors are underlining--the infamous "black tape" episode where black law profs' photos at Harvard Law were taped over--was a hoax. It was a hoax almost certainly perpetrated by, or at minimum abetted by, Derecka Purnell, a student at the time who has gone on to write a book called "Becoming Abolitionists." Neither Purnell nor law school dean Martha Minow nor any of the HLS administration ever held her and possible co-conspirators to account. Purnell herself certainly hasn't come clean. But Wilfred Reilly wrote about this in his "Hate Crim Hoaxes" book, as did The National Review in the following article: https://www.nationalreview.com/bench-memos/minow-harvard-law-school-hoax/. A small group of HLS students who were angered by the way in which Purnell's scam ended up stigmatizing white students and administrators even as it licensed the full-frontal march of the successor ideology there began a blog, and it's worth investigating. Here's one early post--and bravo for it. https://royallasses.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/3-evidence/. In any case, there's a bottom line here: One way in which the successor ideology has tightened its hooks around academic institutions is through such hate crime hoaxes. This doesn't mean that actual hate crimes haven't taken place, and don't take place, on college campuses. Of course they do. But as Reilly makes clear, and as the HLS episode forcefully demonstrates for those willing to listen, hate crime hoaxes ALSO take place on college campuses--and the response of the administrations and student bodiesd that witness them is not to call them out, or say, "We were wrong, sorry!," or investigate the alleged hate crime in adequate depth and then publicly chasten and punish those who committed the hoax. Quite the reverse: more often then not, it's to insist that the, um...we won't call it a hoax, "because it reveals deep-seated anger at racism blah blah blah." It's to blur the line, finesse the issue, insist on instituting additional campus climate surveys. Never, but never, do people pause and go, "Hmmm. Maybe things AREN'T as bad here as we thought." It's this floating-free-from-facts in the matter of race relations on campus that I find most destructive. It's the post facto justification of such acts as impressionistic but needed--ways of "raising consciousness of longstanding disparities," etc., that is most socially corrosive. Because the lack of actual accountability for those who perpetrated these hoaxes, in many cases, leaves the stench of APPARENT white (and usually white mal) maleficence in the air. The hoaxes themselves degrade the campus climate, even while they pretend--everybody pretends--that they were exposing a "systemic problem." Well yes, they were. It is indeed a problem, but not the problem it pretends to be. The problem, Wes, is exactly what you've articulated so well, which is that even the BAD facts--the hoaxes--end up getting subsumed within, and purified by, the Narrative.

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Great piece, looking forward to the next installment. I would not be too hopeful about finding the philosopher's stone that reveals the unity of the many movements that make up the Successor Ideology coalition, though Nietzsche's resentment may not be irrelevant to the quest. The strongest source of the coalition's unity is people's desire to conform to (and participate in) the perceived dominant ideology; the second strongest is the pragmatic benefit of mutual support among allies. The strategists who are able to coordinate activists with different grievances and contradictory interests are intelligent engineers of power, like those who were able to use Communism as a clearing house for various, contradictory progressive movements, and steered these movements into serving the engineers. When the engineers have sufficient power, or as occasion demands, the progressive movements are downgraded or cast aside, having served their purpose.

You do not exaggerate the significance of Successor Ideology. It is the clearing house of today. The question is cui bono. It is only "the Communists" in the popular sense of the word, meaning subversives who seek to impose (not even necessarily exercise) totalitarian control over their neighbors. So who is it? Movement folks gain something for their supposed constituencies; advocates find an audience, which is enhanced by the advocate's actual exercise of power; money changes hands, public and private funding finds its way to the trough; but is there any higher order of profiteering? The billions that accrued to the billionaires as a result of the media-amplified COVID crisis point to one set of wire-pullers. But as Matt Taibbi wrote today, not even Zuckerberg actually controls the vast power he appears to wield. Who then? Satan and his generals aside, a critical thinker may come to the conclusion that any "Master Cylinder" is a figment of Aristotelian physics, when what we are really looking at is an ecology in which organisms discover and exploit ecological niches and compete for the ability to do so. The ultimate wire-puller is an Emmanuel Goldstein, invented to give people someone to hate, as the Successor Ideologists have invented the all-powerful white male. Successor Ideology, by contrast, may be found in many apparently unrelated niches serving different purposes, a kind of all-purpose vitamin for exercising power in any particular niche. More concretely, let's ask, what is the Open Society Foundation, a proponent of Successor Ideology in many forms, really after? For example, when it gives half a million dollars to the coalition agitating to reorganize the Minneapolis Police Department. Or when it gets DAs elected who decline to prosecute specific categories of crime. The answer seems to be, a seat at the table for our proteges, whom we will influence for our benefit as they acquire more power. We raise the valuation of the Successor Ideology itself by delivering practical successes. The whole enterprise benefits, from top to bottom, floating all activist boats, academic, professional, political, and commercial. It is also possible that this kind of practical Successor Ideology activity generates economic stress, which generates political stress, which generates even more economic stress, devaluing currency and other ownable assets for the benefit of whoever is left standing. This kind of query does not need to explain the whole world, only to link potentially related ecosystems. Thanks for your work!

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If the base ideology, in this case liberalism, is itself derivative then the cannibalism of its assumptions you described is inevitable.

Liberalism has long struck me as derivative in its need for something to reject in order to "improve the world and elevate mankind"--tradition, local custom and mores, habits that create social order, anything, really, that exists and impedes desire and visions of moral grandeur. Those protesting liberalism's self-described project of creative destruction are called reactionary, conservative, etc. True, nothing can be made ex nihilo and without contraries there is no progression, as William Blake said, but joined with technology liberalism slipped its own leash and abandoned reason, achieving dominance on a vast scale but without capacity to rein in its own ambitions.

Enter, the SI, which for now seems to consist of elaborately schematized gripes and grievances wedded to an abstract desire to "save the planet," which, proponents claim, is being destroyed by the evil parent of liberal humanism.

The grim dopiness of the SI is its metaphysics, which asserts that humans have no inherent nature and, by extension, rejects nature itself. The nearly unbearable tension SI bears lies in insisting that reality be defined by subjective choice while disdaining the necessity of choice moderated by and clarified by reason as a human function necessary for individual and species survival. SI's metaphysics is social, its epistemology a dark cavorting through synthetic word games, its ethics bureaucratic and bullying, its fang-baring emotional tone devoid of humor and joy.

SI is liberalism's imbecilic progeny gathering energy for a full attack on reality, reason, and human life qua human life. It will lay the spiritual groundwork for the technocrat's deus ex machina: transhumanism.

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This is the sharpest analysis of the current momemt. I also commend you for your courage.

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I'm not sure that anyone could fully comprehend exactly how important this passage is:

"Whether or not any of them really understand that they did so, or intend to follow through on all the implications of the act, the countless private and public organizations that declared themselves “anti-racist” organizations all signed on to fulfill the agenda that flows from these principles. If they prove resistant to any specific reform demanded of them by the successor coalition, they will be confronted by their prior commitments and asked — politely at first, and then through the medium of screaming fits and claims of genocide — to live up to them."

I've seen it firsthand, and it's not only "anti-racist". "Equity" works the same way. "Diversity, Equity and Inclusion" increasingly so, and to the extent that they don't, they'll get dismissed as passe or appended with "Justice" to the front of it to be sure. It's brilliantly diabolical because who wants to be against any of that? If course, everyone wants to be against racism and for diversity, equity, inclusion (and justice). But as long as we collectively have granted to the Successor Ideology the power to define those terms, then what we're signing up for in the process is generally exactly the opposite.

One of the responses from the right, which I sympathize with but probably don't agree with, is to then say that we don't stand for "anti-racism" or "equity", rather than wage battle on the ground of how the terms are defined. I think the better strategy is to say that, yes, we're also against racism and for equity, but here's what we mean by it (which by the way is what was written in the dictionary until about three months ago).

But I'm not sure that works, when the cultural power of this ideology is such that yes, they can alter the dictionary whenever they want to.

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TYTY, M. Yang. Astute as always. I"m gonna reread it now. Well worth it. You're a breath of fresh insight in what's turning towards, perhaps, a lousy day.

I think the thing that bothers me most is this FACT:

"The mystery, simply stated, is that those who sought to pursue the cause of black equality through the instrument of the civil rights state, instead wound up providing a warrant for federal judges to regulate the manner in which local principals would set bathroom use policy ."

I've been reading "The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties." It's a fascinating history by an extremely strong conservative. But he, on first read, seems to posit some pretty good ideas on how we've ended up where we have.

I read about the courts earlier, but will probably hafta read again to get my thoughts in order.

What I'm reading today covers the extent which liberal FOUNDATIONS supported by the tech (and non-tech) billionaires. EXTREMELY liberal. And how they've taken upon themselves the task of changing society to it's liking. Aided by liberal governments, they got things DONE:

"Foundations certainly found it easier to get things done. Where governments faced accountability, a billionaire could say that what he did with his money was none of anyone’s business."

One of the things he's pointed out is that over and over again, more and more, decisions are made at levels that contradict the will of ordinary people:

"The reforms of the 1960s had created mechanisms for forcing social change even against the democratically expressed wishes of the electorate."

When we were kids, eons ago, there was a saying, "Don't make a federal case about it!" This used when someone was being over-vocal about some real or imagined fault in another.

So when it comes to how to interpret idiocy about hair, I think this is the attitude that comes after it, necessarily. But ICBW.

"We might end up calling this process of oppression without oppressors, as the Successor Ideologists do, 'oppression'. And we might demand that true equality means a root and branch criticism of all that exists in order to ferret out inequity still baked into our societal operating systems, followed by a transformation of all those institutions to purge them of that inequity."

To bring this back home, they WILL make a Federal case out of these things, when they decide they want to. Scripted in advance. It's a proven strategy, right?

I maybe should-a read it a third time, and waited till I was more rested in the morning.

The POINT of this, indirectly, is that the Successor Regime includes a lot MORE than the woke. The courts. The "charitable" foundations. The billionaires. I wrote elsewhere that the Successor Regime, the Elites, sure aren't helped by Democracy! And I think it makes logical sense that they go around it... That is if they don't end up destroying it altogether in the end.

TYTY again, M. Wesley. Always enjoy.

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Very much enjoyed the column; perhaps it’s me, but some of the passages are a little dense and verbose. The subject matter is it self a lot to hang onto cognitively, so it might serve us readers if the language of the article was a little more user-friendly.

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Good background material and I agree with you on the idea of "freedom of speech." In the same way, Henry Ford once said that you can have any color car you like, as long as it was black, you can say whatever you like, as long as it comports with Social Justice. Which is an everchanging, non-defined set of good-think.

But, and this is the part that was missed in the ramp-up to where we are now, the way for institutions to stop this is to not play the game. Leaders need to hold the line and say, "no, freedom of speech means just that." And punish those who try to take it from others. But it failed due in no small part by attacking liberalism and its ideas and pushing those who wanted to be seen as progressive into an ideological corner.

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A mere footnote in your essay, but worth highlighting:

"One may speak freely most of the time, but the gatekeepers of the manufactured consensus can choose to target you on the basis of unclear and shifting criteria at any time. Our subject here is the onslaught of an ideology that proceeds by defining all contrary opinions — and increasingly, contrary facts — as existing in the ever-ramifying zone of exception — “hate, harassment, and misinformation...”"

This is a very frightening phenomenon even for a generally anonymous nobody like myself.

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I made this comment on another forum and am stealing from myself:

"The people upholding "Successor Ideology" (social justice or wokeness) are among the most credentialed, as in degrees, people in society.

They expound that the West, and in particular the United States, are the most sexist, racist, and homophobic societies in the world. Something I have been hearing for 30+ years.

Yet, a quick bench-marking, historical and current, shows that the opposite is overwhelmingly true. In fact, I have told people that feminism, gay rights, and abolition of slavery are the inventions of "Whiteness"....something that can be established through a provenance of those movement.

So, my question is: Why the blindness and refusal by the credentialed to see the above? Where in the world is the situation better? As I said, this is something I have been running into for decades but never get the chance to explore since challenging it leads to frustration and worse by the person being challenged."

Regarding the killing of black trans women (I believe they are among the most frequent victims), many of these women were street sex workers....probably among the most dangerous jobs. I have seen pictures of both the murdered women and their murderers, and time and again, the women and the men were of the same race.

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I think you meant to write that “men are privileged over women” instead of the opposite in paragraph #2.

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Magnificent. Thank you.

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It seems to me like a dying empire parasatizing itself. It is not just the CCP who smells blood in the water, so do all those who have felt oppressed in this society, many white people included. Qanon seems an equivalent bit of madness in that sense. Militant jihadism comes to mind too, this will to destroy to take control and make the world in thy pathological image.

Working poor with many people of different races, I know this is mostly a guilt based ideology supported mostly by the professional managerial class. Urban and suburban white women are Kendi's audience mostly. The working poor are more conservative in practice, concepts like work ethic and being a good person and taking care of family and community are easier to undestand. Working poor of all races in America understand that such thinking from neo-Marxists inevitably leads to them having less of everything.

End American Empire and you end American consumerism. American consumers of all races will consume the destroyers of that.

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I couldn't get through Kelley's interview.

Fine article Wesley

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What troubles me is that the obvious lesson to be drawn from the Sokal Hoax (q.v., e.g. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair) and, even more, from Sokal Squared, a.k.a. the Grievance Studies affair, has disappeared without a trace except for the enduring hostility toward its coauthors as shown recent resignation of Peter Boghossian. See https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/peter-boghossian-the-woke-dont-give-a-reason-for-their-faith-its-different-rules-of-engagement-323hccf73

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You and Bari Weiss are my favorite Substack writers. Now if I could only get a nice printed copy of my top 5 writers' pieces all in one shiny newsletter mailed to my house every 2 weeks, I'd pay $50-100 per month for it. You're doing great; keep 'em coming!

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