by Daniel Greenfield
Culture War 2.0 is as inescapable as it is obnoxious. Its loudest proponents, the Social Justice Warriors, live off a drama that they create, playing enlightened victim-activists fighting micro-struggles against micro-aggressions in areas most people have never even thought about.
The issues are ideological, but they're mainstreamed by focusing on personal narratives. The victim-activists are usually millennials from wealthy families with useless degrees. It's a story as old as radicalism, but in the dawn of the 21st century, it's activism and culture war being replayed as farce.
Culture War 2.0 politicizes narcissism and insecurity. It obsessively masticates culture the way that its political predecessors destroyed people. Its target audience lives and thinks in terms of premium cable shows. They are to it what novels were to its 19th century counterparts.
Even its ideology is more grievance than theory. It only cares about theory to the extent of parsing the Victim Value Index and determining who has more or less privilege, who ought to feel more guilty and who ought to feel more victimized. This is ideology as soap opera. Politics as a means of deciding who gets to play what emotional role in a societal drama.
Its political expressions exist in the space of the personal narrative. In this tawdry post-Orwellian future everyone will get their essay of victimhood on Medium or ThoughtCatalog read for 15 minutes. Their drama will, very temporarily, be a trending topic. For a generation of overindulged children, broadcasting their petty pains is the closest thing their lives have to love and meaning.
1984's world was obsessively serious. Our 2015 social tyranny is absurdly trivial. It's a world whose leaders is always looking for goofy photo ops while he violates the last remaining shreds of the law. Every crime is buried under a thousand shrieking viral headlines that alternate between fake empowerment and fake outrage.
We don't have an adult totalitarian state, because we no longer have adults. Instead we have Lord of the Flies and Mean Girls. Overgrown children advance a totalitarian state out of spite and envy. Identity politics is everything because tribalism is more innate to children than it is to adults. Enemies have to be punished for emotional validation. Freedoms have to be eliminated out of insecurity.
The politicization of insecurity lets everyone be a victim. Anyone can turn their feelings of shame or ostracism into political awareness. Feelings not only displace reason, they warp ideology around themselves, so that ideology becomes a means of emotional venting. Activism becomes catharsis. Hating others becomes therapy. No one is cured, but making things better was never the point.