Alt-Right Martyrdom for the Cause

The misogynistic gender ‘realist’ of recent fame, James Damore, has responded to the backlash. He wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal: Why I Was Fired by Google. I’m willing to listen to contrarian views, even when ill-informed, if only to hear the other side. After spending much time in human biodiversity and race realist blogosphere, I’m already familiar with the standard arguments that get rolled out. That said, I actually think he makes at least one good point, albeit unintentionally. Such issues are complicated and in ways that few would like to acknowledge, specifically in terms of the historical context.

Damore complains that his free speech is being trampled upon. A problem with corporations, specifically big biz, is that they aren’t democratic institutions. By design, they don’t uphold democratic values and processes. This is an old argument from the political left and now this critical rhetoric is being co-opted by the alt-right. For example, most of the prejudice and oppression during the Cold War came from corporations, not government — such private sector blackballing and other tactics led to social ostracism, effective silencing, destroyed careers, and even suicide; while redbaiting and witchhunts were used to attack civil rights activists and labor organizers.

Yet the alt-right wants us to now believe that white men, especially the privileged professionals and the aspiring technocracy in the comfortable class, are the real victims. They suddenly feel betrayed by the powerful business interests they assumed were on their side. Well, business comes down to profit and recent research shows that diversity is good for business. The capitalist class for the most part aren’t going to put ideology before profit, at least not any ideology other than capitalist realism.

Capitalism is as much a political system as an economic system. Corporate charters are political constructs and so corporations are political entities, but their politics have rarely been anything close to democracy (although anarchosyncialists have aspired to a different business model, not that they have had much influence in the US and global economic system). Capitalism and democracy have historically been two separate things, occasionally overlapping but more often not. China and Russia presently have capitalism, as did Nazi Germany along with numerous fascist countries.

In any country, capitalism by itself has never stopped the silencing, persecution, imprisonment, and assassination of political dissidents. Many authoritarian governments were promoted and supported by US business interests and the US government (e.g., the American plutocracy’s ties to the Nazi regime, which is how the Bush family made its original wealth). Is the political right now suggesting that capitalism needs to be made to conform to democracy, rather than sacrificing democracy to business interests? Or are they just complaining that American capitalism isn’t authoritarian enough in privileging the appropriate identity politics and not fascist enough in maintaining gender and racial hierarchy?

In American society, corporations have no legal requirement nor social expectation to be democratic, much less respect the free speech of employees. That has been true for a long time. It’s true that many of the American revolutionaries and founders did expect that corporations should serve the public good, but that was a much earlier and more idealistic time. The capitalist economy and corporatist government have long left behind that original intent of the country’s founding. The US has essentially returned to the British imperial collusion between big gov and big biz that the American revolutionaries fought against.

If we want to return to the revolutionary ideal of corporations serving public good or at least not undermining personal freedom, we might need a new revolution. This is an old conflict that has been fought over by generations of Americans. It is why originally libertarianism was aligned with the workers movement and not with the capitalist ownership class. No worker, not even a professional in the tech industry, should assume their interests are aligned with corporate interests nor that their rights will be protected by corporate management. That class conflict is as old as capitalism itself.

It must be remembered that incipient capitalism in the Anglo-American world preceded modern democracy by centuries. The hope that some of the more revolutionary founders had was that capitalism could be made to conform to or at least be kept in check by a democratic system, a government by the people rather than a government by monarchs, aristocrats, and plutocrats. But they had plenty of experience with crony capitalism and oppressive corporatism so as to give them good reason to fear corporations, which is why they sought to severely constrain them in being legally obligated to serve the public good or else have their government-sanctioned corporate charters annulled and eliminated. They were careful to not conflate a for-profit business with a public-serving corporate charter, based on an important lesson we have forgotten.

If actual freedom for all citizens is our shared intention as a society, then we have a long way to go. That would require a complete overhaul of our present political and economic system. The tech bros and pseudo-libertarians complaining about Google probably don’t understand the implications of their own claims (e.g., James Damore quoting Noam Chomsky). That is what makes these times both dangerous and promising. Before any revolution or other societal transformation, most people don’t understand the implications of much of anything, until it is too late. There is a coming storm and no one knows what it portends.

For certain, the fracturing of our society goes far beyond the challenge of feminists in demanding fair treatment and a tech industry giant upholding those demands. Yet another men’s rights manifesto is not going to bring back old school patriarchal capitalism where flagrant misogyny is acceptable and where gender bias will rule over the social order. Like it or not, the ideal of equality is becoming normalized, just as a minority majority is forming and the Confederate statues are coming down. It’s a new world we are entering, even as the old forms of power still hold much sway. So what is the alt-right hoping to accomplish, other than concern trolling and general fuckery?

4 thoughts on “Alt-Right Martyrdom for the Cause

  1. This reminds me of right-wingers complaining about universities. They say that universities should be places of complete open free speech, at least as far as their own free speech is concerned. Yet they simultaneously argue that universities should have less or possibly no public funding, even as their public funding is only a fraction of what it once was a half century ago when free speech on campuses became a big issue.

    Anyway, this misses the point. Universities have always primarily been forums of speech for those involved in universities, specifically students and academics. They were never intended as being public forums for the entire society. Right-wingers conveniently never criticize conservative Bible colleges that receive public funding for their not allowing total access of free speech to atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Pagans, anarchists, communists, etc.

    There is a profound dishonesty and hypocrisy in these right-wing complaints of concern trolling.These same right-wingers are perfectly fine with the oppression and silencing of others. You never hear them arguing for the rights of the historically oppressed who have been silenced for centuries and who still are disproportionately without much voice in our society.

    It never occurs to this guy to defend the rights of women who are silenced in the tech industry because they are never hired in the first place. Nor is he concerned about the silencing of poor whites who, in receive inferior education, have little hope of getting anywhere near the expensive creative class communities where the tech industry is primarily located. He complains about his rights as an employee. But where is his strident defense of organized labor in having a voice considering the tech industry has been unfriendly to unions?

    Why do people like this expect others to stand up for them when they won’t stand up for others? The rest of us have no option other than to interpret this crybaby whimpering about injustice as nothing more than total bullshit. The world is full of injustice, far worse injustice than he has ever experienced or could imagine. Is this guy just now noticing that the world is not fair because he lost his job?

    • For various ideological reasons the right hates universities:

      They mean rich people must pay taxes
      Knowledge is a threat to their ideology
      They don’t want poor people advancing as often they feel rich people are superior

      They also resent common taxes like property taxes.

      • The right would love universities and would love them to be publicly-funded, if they were all sold off to wealthy interests and so owned by either for-profit corporations or churches; and if they could bring back the race and class biases of the old universities. The standard model of socialized costs and privatized gains.

        Then they would demand even greater taxes to prop up and, when necessary, bail out these universities. They don’t hate universities. They hate that they aren’t right-wing institutions serving the interests of Social Darwinists, theocrats, oligarchs, plutocrats, and corporatists.

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