I just subscribed annually. You're my first paid subscription on Substack.

I like your premise and love that you called 2021 Year Zero. I feel it too. I'm a moderate 44 year old woman in the wealthy part of the Philly suburbs with two teens whose always voted as a Democrat. I see it all around me, this Successor Idealogy- perfectly named.

It frightens me- how fast it spread and how no one seems to mind it that much- at least not in my circles. I feel like I haven't changed as far as my beliefs, yet I know I can't vote the way I normally would- at the local levels at least, probably at the state and federal too. And what's awful is when I try to talk about it with close friends, I feel like I'm seen as a quasi pariah, so I avoid it now.

I'm looking forward to reading you as these months and years unfold. You're a measured voice, and we need people who can "keep your head when all about you are losing theirs" to tell the objective truth.

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I've been awaiting this sub's first breath since last year and I look forward to reading your elaboration of this project. The title evokes exactly the feeling I am holding inside right now, that this is the beginning of a new dystopia, one wherein my grandson (who is Afro-Brazilian American) might be trained to despise not only me and the values I hold, but where he came from, while being encouraged to uncritically shut the door to dialogue as a means to discover and grow intellectually.

This is the first substack I've purchased a sub to. Tonally, your voice is how I approach investigation. I can't wait to see what you produce here.

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This first installment should signal to Matt Yglesias that Wesley is not "obsessing over Woke excesses." He is pointing out that these "excesses" are actually the logical landing points for Wokery. From health administrators using skin color as a criteria for access to vaccinations to school administrators referring to boys and girls by their genitalia (rather than by gender), this is in accordance with the new values of the Successor Ideology. It may run out of steam soon, but only if people like Yglesias stop dismissing and trivializing these real concerns as "excesses."

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I'm proud to sign up as a founding subscriber. We desperately need clear analysis of this strange and terrifying turn of our culture.

That said, I am actually more afraid of the reaction of the right. The trumpistas are busily altering election law state by state to give them the ability to declare themselves the winners, no matter what the actual votes are. You will perhaps regard this as outside of your purview, but I hope you will consider this as well in your writing.

I also hope that the comments here are not overrun by rampaging trumpistas, as they are at the subtacks of a number of other ostensible defenders of classical liberalism (eg Bari Weiss, Matt Taibbi).

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A large component behind the power of the successor regime is precisely that comparatively few thoughtful people are willing to think about it or often even name it. (The favored euphemism seems to be "just being a decent person," and/or couching successor philosophy as an essential component in opposing MAGA. I actually think the most surefire way to identify someone beholden to the philosophy, at least in my milieu, is just to ask them if it exists.) That your project promises history, historiology, sociology, and honest moral appraisal on this stuff -- all in skillful and artful writing -- makes me an instant subscriber. Good luck Wesley, and a lot of us are out here rooting for your success with this project.

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This is like finding an oasis in a sun-parched desert. I'm in.

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What an ambitious project, and what beautiful writing. (I just hope it doesn't end the way Flowers for Algernon did.) Also, your timing is perfect. This isn't historiography, for you or us; many of your readers are or soon will be on the front lines. More than anything we need to find ways to articulate our stand for something we naively thought was a given, a birthright even. Anybody can call out what they oppose - CRT, neo-racism, the dissolution of liberal society, cancel culture, or a hundred other bogeymen - but to express and formulate a positive and inspiring call to action and engagement is another thing altogether. That poetry is struggling to be born right now. I hear its labor in your essay and I hope for its fruition in your work and the efforts of so many people stunned by the speed with which this world-shaping change has penetrated our critical institutions and reached our daily lives. I don't see anything more important or far-reaching right now than joining this struggle.

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I subscribed because Wesley clearly is on the right track and we are going to need to fund our brave journalists/intellectuals that are willing to speak truth to power.

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What a joy to read! Wesley Yang, I welcome you happily into my life, and I offer you my very best wishes with your admirable Substack project.

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In trying to zoom out and understand the big picture as to why this is all happening it appears to me to revolve around how the egoic mind functions and how the current social media environment has exacerbated its inherent fundamental weaknesses.

I watched a good documentary series this week on PBS called Hacking the Mind where they address topics including slow contemplative thought vs. our more common autopilot decision mode, confirmation bias, tribalism, social media polarization, etc. Another good one was The Social Dilemma on Netflix.

I think that the far liberal left that is pushing the facets of the successor regime either truly believes in it and/or they feel like they have to be part of their "woke" social group or they will be socially banished. The far right is obviously using the ideas/principles of the successor regime to polarize anyone they can against the left for political gain.

My perspective is that the big picture fundamental problem is rooted in the human mind's tendency to seek out correct narratives to identify with and hold within our internal collection of beliefs as to what is right/wrong, how the world works, the true nature of our reality, etc. The non-egoic perspective is in understanding that all narratives and beliefs are false and that strong identification with any thoughts, ideas, beliefs, feelings, or narratives is dangerous and ultimately the source of all human conflict and suffering. Understanding that the true nature of reality, or what-is, cannot be found by the mind is fundamental.

Years ago I read Eckhart Tolle's book "A New Earth" which was his follow-up to his best-selling "The Power of Now". I don’t remember it as a great book but my takeaway of the central idea was that we need to lose our egos and wake up first before trying to go and make the world a better place. Only by operating from a post-egoic perspective (non-dualistic, non-attachment, & empathetic) can we actually help ourselves, others, and the world at large without repeatedly falling into fundamental trappings of egoic mind/thought. When I read this book over 10-years ago my reaction was "meh" but in today's environment it seems quite prescient.

We live in this new world with an infinite amount of finite information/disinformation and the egoic mind thinks it can gather and sort through this vast sea of information, opinions, perspectives, etc. and settle on the correct truths that must be believed, shared with, and taught to others.

Perhaps the fundamental solution starts with non-egoic teachings and practices.

Instead of the mistaken belief that we need to indoctrinate our children with the correct ideas/beliefs, only by teaching our children and others to understand the fundamental problems with human mind/thought, and also incorporating proper tools and daily practices that can challenge and dismantle reflexive egoic thought/beliefs will we be able to prevent us all from collectively driving off a cliff. (or crashing opposing ideological trains head on into each other)

Or perhaps we should all just take a high-dose psilocybin trip and all will be revealed. (helped me).

Want to know more?

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Wesley writes: "For the basic intuition shared by a super-majority of American citizens that the distribution of opportunity and reward by race is both morally wrong and will have negative externalities not outweighed by the positive gains is likely to prove in the long run to be a sound one."


1. Does anyone have examples in which application of Successor Ideology, as example in schools or work, has led to more rigorous standards? Seems to me that anything it touches, always ends up into a kind of slacker episode

2. I think this "downgrading" of essentially tool making capacity (in all its forms), generally marks a society taking a back seat to other more energetic and rigorous ones. So, How does that comport with sustaining standards of living of a hyper-first world country that needs the world's financial trust to retain a reserve currency and a debt-fueled economy?

I get the feeling that at some point there will be a very nasty cram down......

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Thank you for undertaking this enterprise. I can see that readers will try to push you to take anti- or pro-Trump positions. I think it will become fairly obvious that a large element of support for Trump is that supporting him is a way of expressing opposition to the multiple facets of what you call Successor Ideology. He ran up the opposition flag, which we can call Populism, which a large part of the population will continue to salute. Whether he was effective or sincere is more open to debate than the fact that he raised the flag. Just as Communists raised the flag of worker liberation, but left their sincerity and effectiveness open to debate forever after. You have probably read Whittaker Chambers' Witness. He depicts an Establishment that shields Communist infiltration because of the benefits it brings to the Establishment. The means he identifies--smear campaigns, cancellation through depriving persons of their employment, media domination, lies in every direction, and the coordination of the "united front" strategy--are vividly present today. I hope you will have Chambers' courage--you may need it!

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"Every cancellation is...an absorbing human drama that illuminates the world that changed around the cancelled".

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Regarding the "new religion" argument is it just me or is there a strong streak of sexual Puritanism in all of this woke propaganda?

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Very glad this has kicked off!

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Subscribed on Taibbi's recommendation because I find all of "it" profoundly disorienting and confusing.

Looking forward to what comes next after - A Tentative Beginning in a Subdued key.

Thank you.

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