September 16, 2019

Socialist apostles to the normies will respect their unwokeness

Channeling her early Christian background and upbringing (Lebanese Catholic), Aimee Terese sounds like a social worker nun compared to the standard vindictive tribalistic leftoid of the current moment:

From a long thread, addressing others on the left who she sees as sharing the goal of economic populism, and the necessity of a cohesive mass movement acting collectively to overwhelm their obstacles, she says don't worry if they aren't like you socially and culturally (i.e., are not liberals), since that's irrelevant to the economic struggle:

She and her fellow travelers may not know it, but here too they are recapitulating a crucial episode at the founding of Christianity -- who is this new religion meant for, and under what terms are converts accepted? One group followed culturally restrictive practices, and went nowhere, while the culturally open group powered a small movement into an international phenomenon.

Jesus and his disciples were Jewish, and they spread their message in and around Judea -- at most reaching the Samaritans, who were so close to the Jews that they can be considered cousins rather than strangers or foreigners (akin to the Scottish and the Irish). The audience that they took their message to already shared all of the distinctive ethno-cultural traits as the messengers themselves -- they were circumcised, they followed the list of kosher dietary laws, and so on and so forth.

After Jesus' death, the chief leaders of his movement in Jerusalem were his brother, James, and Jesus' right-hand man, Peter. They saw Jesus' movement as something intended for Jews only, and did not proselytize widely outside of their tribe. If a non-Jewish person did want to join the Jesus movement, this camp thought the outsider had to first convert culturally to being Jewish -- perhaps not 100%, but enough to make it a radical break from their existing cultural practices. They were OK with watering down the kosher dietary laws, but still wanted Gentile converts to not eat blood, meat mixed with blood, or meat from animals that were not properly slain (e.g. by strangulation).

That may sound more lenient than a stringent 100% upholding of kosher dietary laws, but to the average person unaccustomed to these practices, even this diluted amount was too much to be comfortable. That put up high barriers to entry for non-Jews. Worse for their growth prospects, most Jews at the time were not receptive to claims of Jesus being the Messiah, so this camp had no room for expansion. Jewish followers of Jesus quickly evaporated in the land where he was from.

Instead, all the growth came from conversions of non-Jews living outside of Judea and Samaria, from the northern Levant, to Asia Minor, to Rome itself. They were preached to by the culturally open camp of Jewish Christians, led by Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles (non-Jews). He believed the membership badges of the Jewish tribe were beside the point of Jesus' message. If you were already Jewish, no problem, continue on being Jewish. But if you weren't already circumcised, you didn't have to undergo it in order to become Christian. If you like your foreskin, you can keep it. This new religion was meant to transcend the particular cultural practices of various ethnic groups.

Paul and his followers did believe in upholding the Ten Commandments for non-Jewish converts to Christianity, but these are not very particularistic and were adaptable to any ethnic group. Honor your mother and father, don't lie, don't steal, don't murder -- which normal human group would not already have these among its behavioral code, whether explicit or informal? The only major change would be following the commandments about abandoning the worship of other gods -- the early Christian movement was monotheistic, so following those two unfamiliar commandments is the bare minimum needed for converts. Other than that, your existing culture already had the other ones covered.

From that initial decision -- to err on the side of laxity rather than stringency in adherence to certain cultural norms -- the trend over the centuries has been to ignore the culture of the originators. Circumcised or not, avoiding meat from strangled animals or not, observing the Jewish Holy Days or not -- that is all irrelevant to following Jesus' teachings, holding him to be your savior, and the rest of the distinctive beliefs and practices of Christianity. If anything, the tendency has been to not merely ignore the original culture, but to consider adherence to it heretical, as though the adherent wanted to return to a pre-Christian way of life.

So too, in our own age, will the successful camp within socialism break it out from a narrow little sub-culture, sending missions to all sorts of culturally different groups, and not thinking of altering most of their existing thoughts, feelings, and practices. Whether or not the converts like to cat-call women, tell ethnic jokes, eat meat, use "gay" as an insult, prefer dancing over reading, or whatever other normie practice -- what does that have to do with holding together a mass movement and using collective leverage against their obstacles?

The historical record shows that if anything, compulsory adherence to these liberal cultural norms is associated with heretical forms of socialism -- e.g., today's SJW-ism that is linked to widening inequality, stagnant wages, destruction of the welfare state, and greater authority for the elites over the commoners in general. When a proto- form of socialism existed, during the New Deal era, these matters were irrelevant. Follow them if you were already culturally liberal, don't follow them if you were already culturally conservative. It's completely orthogonal to the matter of applying a group's leverage to achieve collective material goals, through labor unions and political coalitions.

The two core regions of the dominant coalition of the New Deal, the Democrats, were the culturally conservative Deep South and the culturally liberal Northeast. Any attempt at economic populism, or socialism, that not only writes off one of these halves but derides it as backward or evil, is destined to fail. Today the relevant contrast is the coasts and flyover country, but the logic remains the same.

Where will the apostles to the normies come from? Paul was not only on the periphery of the Roman Empire, he lived outside of the Jewish homeland, in southern Anatolia (Tarsus), which had already been heavily Hellenized before the Romans showed up. He must have been inclined by such an upbringing to view Gentile cultural beliefs and practices as no great threat to leading a righteous life. He hardly found them superior to those of his own diaspora people, but he was familiar with Gentile culture in a way that Jews in Judea would have found more strange and disturbing.

I expect today's apostles to cultural outsiders -- i.e., to the normies, given the sub-cultural background of lefties -- to hail not only from peripheral places vis-a-vis the American imperial center, but also from a relatively more culturally conservative upbringing. Aimee T. has a Lebanese migrant father, lives on the margin of the Anglo empire, in Australia, and was brought up as a Catholic school girl. People like that know from their own social circles that those who tell ethnic jokes, want sex to lead to pregnancy, etc., are not vile monsters, and that they're just as receptive to material populist action as are their cultural inverses.

As for politicians, Tulsi Gabbard comes from American Samoa, far from the imperial center, and even when she moved to Hawaii, that's still far from the center. She was brought up in a culturally conservative environment, and she joined the military  -- she knows personally that cultural conservatives aren't monsters, and are just as open to material populist changes as a liberal computer coder.

Bernie Sanders chose to ditch his cosmopolitan imperial-core upbringing in New York City, to live among the cultural conservatives in rural Vermont -- who he knows from extensive experience are just as open to socialist economic programs as liberal New Yorkers.

Related: monotheistic socialism vs. polytheistic identity politics


  1. In Bernie's case, it was probably just white flight in an era of rising black crime in nyc.

  2. No, he'd have only moved to L.I., and returned to da city post-1990, if white flight had been the motive.

    Jews are one of the least likely groups to do white flight. They stayed hunkered down in their old-time urban enclaves all throughout the rising-crime period. And they don't mind being physically surrounded by black and brown neighborhoods -- UWS being near Harlem, Bexley being surrounded by the East Side of Columbus, Squirrel Hill surrounded by black nabes in Pittsburgh, etc.

    Bernie left New York because you can't lead a folksy back-to-nature hippie-ish lifestyle there, crime or no crime. Too dense, noisy, overpopulated, faceless, atomized, and oppressive.

  3. Agnostic, any advice for the realigners to stay safe, especially the women? I've had a sinking feeling growing for months. Remember your post on the trans-radicals? Recently, someone's mask has slipped all the way off and he's a total commissar. Both sides now, Agnostic. The "indie" Right turns out to be much smaller than it seemed. I'm just wondering, "Why now?" My worry is they're taking their cues from the administration and it's all about the elites fighting each other to the detriment of the people. It seems the Right lately is being manipulated and misled by their media, especially Trump-friendly media, in a way the Left has been throughout Russiagate. We won, so why does it feel like now we are both winning and losing?


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