Where and when they can, those who rule us prefer the use of ideological fetters over the sword. If they can persuade us that our economic and social chains are desirable fashion accessories which we should purchase from them and don willingly, so much the better.
Capitalism is nothing if not adept at turning any threats to its existence or its profits, into money-making opportunities.
The sword is still there of course, often hiding inside a ceremonial scabbard, but it is wielded frequently enough against external and internal “enemies” to remind the masses of the existence of the powerful coercive apparatuses of the state, and who really controls them.
One of Neoliberal capitalism’s greatest victories was its destruction or weakening of any and all collectives that argue for a different social order, especially those which threaten its profit and its entrenched power.
Up there with it, in terms of strategic importance, is having successfully lured a critical mass of left wingers into the intellectual and political shallows where they don’t have to learn how to survive in rough, cold seas, or be strong enough to swim against the current.
These warm shallows provide a false sense of security, and never more so than now when a tsunami of interconnected social and ecological issues is likely to drown many of us, or dash us onto the rocks.
From global warming and resultant climate disequilibrium, to accelerating species extinctions, and mass plastics and chemical pollution … the interacting states of global disequilibrium have the potential to tip into whole system chaos.
The possibility of a fusion of disastrous androgenic outcomes is a terrifying reality that has to be kept well-hidden, or social disequilibrium may rapidly worsen and tip into social chaos.
The obfuscation and camouflaging of these realities is ordered by those whose manicured hands are on the system's controls but it is carried by the various strata of the coordinator class – the system managers who work to hide the deep fissures in the economic foundation, and disguise the various forms of rot that have spread throughout the superstructure.
They continue to refine the well-tested tactics of distract, divert, divide and defame.
1. Create and amplify social issues which distract and divert people away from the gross inequalities and the rapidly accelerating unsustainable nature of the current socio-economic system.
2. Foment divisions in, or forcibly break up any and all collectives that aim to change the system.
3. By various forms of defamation, destroy the credibility of those who draw aside the ideological veils, especially those who call for mass collective action for immediate, structural change.
Apropos of this, I read a tweet from a person whose analysis of many issues, I rate highly. She was targeting those who focus on “shitting on trans people” or “shrieking about pronouns.”
Her choice of words suggests she is focusing her anger more, possibly exclusively, on those who are narrowly focussed on opposing the current transgender orthodoxy than on those who are narrowly focussed on supporting it.
The interface between sex based, and gender identity based rights, has become a battlefield.
I despair when I see the principled, materialist stand that has been taken by left wing feminists being defamed by association with the religious and secular right's co-option of some of the issues. I also despair when I see people being sucked by the right into a literal hatred and fear of gender non-conforming others.
However, I am not going to easily forgive all those leftish-liberals who flipped into witch-hunting mode so rapidly and so reflexively, there can be no doubt they harboured a pre-existing, deep-seated resentment of dissenting women.
Some of them called those dissenting women, “Nazis”, and refused to engage in good faith discussion. Cowardly or lazy others obediently followed suit, and with an unprecedented speed and fervour, the infantile equation of “TERF=Nazi” was accepted as left-wing political gospel.
It was a highly infectious ideological contagion that spread rapidly among those with a compromised socio-political immune system.
When various elements of the religious and secular right predictably leapt onto the gender critical bandwagon, grabbed the controls and steered it sharply rightward, the whited sepulchres of the liberal left pompously declared that to be proof they had been correct.
Even though the transgender orthodoxy has now lurched into the realms of self-parody, there is still a mass of largely reflexive support among leftish liberals for it.
That support invariably takes the form of attacking selected women, and in my view, most of those who indulge in it deserve as much of a smack as the other extreme.
In a natural and social world at imminent risk of tipping very rapidly from disequilibrium into chaos, the gender identity issue was a master class in the use of division, distraction, diversion, and defamation.
The political left should at least be asking why and how this ideology, and the forms of praxis which flowed from it, morphed so rapidly into a powerful orthodoxy that was embraced enthusiastically by the corporate world, and by much of corporate capitalism’s compliant politicians, bureaucrats, and technocrats.
We need to ask, who benefits from:
- reducing people to isolated individuals, focussed on what they believe are their personal, and these days, bespoke “gender identity”, which effectively privileges the subjective, gendered “self” over the material, sexed body?
- worsening the conditions in which large numbers of people, especially the young, are profoundly alienated, in the sense of being socially isolated and estranged?
- replacing natural, human connection and community with the chimera of virtual or cyber-communities centred around a shared sense of individual self?
- pushing the ideal of self-improvement, of aspiring to be the best possible version of one’s self while forcing many into a struggle simply for survival?
- dangling the false promise of appearance enhancement via various surgical procedures and chemical potions, and by so doing, creating arguably the most medically monitored and chemically corralled population in human history?
It’s obvious the capitalist system doesn’t care about the wellbeing of any of the people who have been captured by gender identity ideology, so the motive has to lie elsewhere – in the fact that it’s profitable, and currently, it is politically propitious.
We cannot get a grip on the rapid drive to provide gender affirming surgery and synthetic hormone treatments unless we locate it in the burgeoning medical-industrial complex, at the heart of which are the world’s giant chemical-pharmaceutical conglomerates.
Gender affirming protocols could not exist without the precondition of the global trend towards medicine for profit, at its most starkly venal in the field of appearance medicine.
There couldn’t be all this appearance-related surgery without the Five As of modern, chemical-based medicine: anaesthetics, analgesics, antiseptics, antibiotics, & anti-inflammatories.
Almost every pill and potion that props up the entire medical system is produced, not for philanthropic or humanitarian reasons, but for profit, and crouching behind that vast mountain of profit, is the spectre of power.
For the medical-industrial complex, the gender identity market is, and will always be fairly niche – although capitalism does like the predictability of long term, captive markets, and surgically or chemically neutering people at a young age makes them dependent on synthetic hormone replacements and other treatments for many decades.
The profit motive is real but I have always been, and remain of the opinion that gender identity ideology’s main utility to corporate capitalism, is its diversionary and divisive potential.
Everything points to the fact that if the threat–opportunity scale tilts, eg., if an ultra-conservative and far-right backlash gains sufficient momentum and starts to outweigh current market and social control advantages, gender identity ideology and all its various forms of praxis will be abandoned in a heartbeat.
Surely most of us know, the same commercial, political, media, and academic forces that gave the gender identity orthodoxy so much credibility, so quickly, will be used to call it into disrepute and make it disappear just as rapidly.
The concern, for all people of good will, should be whether those who have been physically and/or ideologically captured by the current transgender orthodoxy will be sacrificed, and how wide the net of reaction will be flung.
The question then will be, where will you stand?