This is quite good: Titania McGrath and the Politics of Wokeness: An Interview with Andrew Doyle. In case you do not know, this is who Titania McGrath is:
In April 2018, Oxford-educated comedian and journalist Andrew Doyle created a satirical Twitter persona, an “activist,” “healer,” and “radical intersectionalist poet” who self-identifies as “selfless and brave.” Titania, an imaginary amalgam of all the worst excesses in the modern social justice movement, fancies herself a voice for minorities of all kinds (whether they know they agree with her or not). What she lacks in self-awareness, she makes up for in conviction.
And this is Andrew Doyle, what he did and how he thinks:
Doyle is among a growing number of classical liberals who have simply had enough…. Comedy and culture have been so strangled by political correctness that he is “at that point where I feel that it would be morally wrong to be silent” about the crisis of free public discourse in the West.”
Doyle decided to create a fake character on Twitter—a satirical character who would mock the worst excesses of the social justice movement. So, to that end, “I thought one of her characteristics should be a devotion to fourth-wave intersectional feminism. In which case it made sense that she was female and white—because a lot of what passes for social justice activism is actually rich white people telling poor black people what they should be thinking. It’s a kind of soft racism, I think: a very patronizing view of minorities. So I thought she should come from privilege. And so she’s very rich, she comes from an independently wealthy family, but she’s determined to express how oppressed and persecuted she is at every opportunity, and also to attempt to censor anyone who disagrees with her on any point whatsoever.
This is the kind of entitlement and narcissism that you see among social justice activists—it’s why they’re not prepared to debate. They can’t conceive that anyone who sees the world differently is anything other than evil, and they think the world has to change around them to suit their particular preferences.
And the only part of this that is actually remarkable is that Doyle believes he has stumbled upon something that was until then unknown. In actual fact, it is near enough what most of us think about people on the left. This is how he characterised himself (emphasis added):
In the question of where I stand on the political spectrum, I think there is an objective method of assessment which I can do nothing about: I think if you were to write down all of my political views on various things I would come out more left-wing than right. Certainly in terms of economic principles I’m more to the left, in terms of welfare, in terms of nationalism: I understand nationalist sympathies but I don’t feel them personally. That’s more an instinctive thing, but that definitely pushes me more to the Left as well.
He seems to think the welfare state was not almost entirely the product of the right in politics. He is trapped in that absurd belief that the politics of the right are the ethics of Ebeneezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve, just before he went to bed.
Timothy Cootes: Titania McGrath, the Wokest of the Woke
Quite vague on nationalism but, given his value system, there is little doubt he could ethically function only in a nation state that has been built on the principles found solely within the West. He then adds this:
I’d say I’m quite culturally conservative, however. I believe in high standards of education, because I think that adult autonomy depends on effective socialization in youth. So you need to have a rigorous school system, and children need to have an awareness of the classics and be taught the classics. I think art history, for instance, should be embedded at a primary-school level: not “let’s see what you can create with these paints”; I think you need to learn the classics. That’s a more traditionally right-wing viewpoint. I also believe in politeness, and decorum, and high standards and that kind of thing, which I think might be more associated with the Right.
That’s exactly why people such as myself enjoy what he writes, because he looks at things the same way we do. George Orwell, for example, his essays especially, are read almost entirely by people such as myself.
You know, someone like George Orwell was a cultural conservative. His essay “The Lion and the Unicorn” is a robust defense of cultural conservatism, but at the same time he’s very much on the Left. He’s actually a sort of canonized figure of the Left, so there is room for cultural conservatism within traditionally leftist thought. I don’t think one excludes the other.
Orwell was on the left in the same way as Doyle, because his beliefs happened to coincide in their views with the people from whom he thinks himself distinct, such as here:
I think the Left and Right should agree on the basic liberal principles of free expression, free discourse, and free thought. But also we need a shared social contract of how we address each other and how we tackle these issues. It doesn’t work if one side of the debate is just screaming and covering their ears. Nothing can be achieved that way.
Absolutely right again. He has just covered the views of John Stuart Mill. But who does he think are doing the screaming and covering their ears? Which side of politics is that? Who is he describing here?
I think one of the first things you have to do is be discerning about who you talk to. You know, let’s have the debate with those who are willing and capable of debate, and let’s all agree that those who are incapable of debate should be ignored, because they won’t have anything to add. And then we raise the bar of political discourse. But we have major mainstream politicians saying these ridiculously woke things, and saying these incredibly intolerant things, and calling people Fascists and Nazis and things like that. When that’s happening, it’s like debating a child. It’s not going to achieve anything. So we basically just need adults back in the game. We need the adults to take control.
That is how I think of Antifa and the Left in general, and he even uses the term “woke”. As I see it, he is describing the modern American Left down to its bootstraps. If that is his intention, then he and I are on the same side of the fence absolutely and without question. Whether he likes it or not, he is a man of the right, as these things are structured in the Year of the Lord 2020.
Steve Kates, an economist, is the author of What’s Wrong with Keynesian Economic Theory? (Edward Elgar 2016).