GABlog Generative Anthropology in the Public Sphere

July 21, 2016

A Brief Addendum to “Originally Leftism, revisited”

Filed under: GA — adam @ 6:42 am

It is already implicit in my argument, but is not necessarily thereby obvious, that a large part of the attraction of exposing the products of discipline as stolen centrality is that it opens up virtually unlimited fields for the social sciences. We have evidence that discipline leads to benefits, but that evidence needs to be taken on faith, once we consider there is always another way the flow of benefits to that individual or group could be explained. I don’t think we would be going too far to say that the origin of the social sciences—economics, sociology, political science, anthropology, psychology, etc.—lies in the imperative to sever the link between discipline and benefit (which would mean all the social sciences are constitutively leftist). It’s not a coincidence that the social sciences emerged as the notion of “civilization” disappeared. Once you start speaking in terms of social “structures” and “laws” you are undermining the “naïve” sense that increments in discipline generate increasingly disproportionate rewards. Leftism, then, provides a form of challenging and invigorating intellectual resentment that a civilizational politics cannot match because civilizationism (reaction or restorationism) starts with certain undeconstructable notions to be taken on faith. You can always define and analyze the social laws and structures in more complex ways, you can always challenge some previous definition and analysis and, in particular, you can always show that the previous definition or analysis still presupposed some link between discipline and benefit, and therefore was not sufficiently scientific, failing to explaining apparent discipline and apparent benefit in terms of something impersonal. I believe, of course, that the intellectual rewards of the approach I take are far greater than those of the social sciences, but, like GA more generally, could probably never be more than marginal, institutionally, granting, as it does, the irreducibility of “faith.” My approach would also be too “personalizing,” insofar as it must reject other approaches as dyscivilizational.


  1. I think it’s enough to say social sciences are founded in the resentful refusal of “naive” faith. What undermines is their refusal to take the humanistic question on its own terms. I think much social science was ostensibly founded to increase discipline in the name of the progressive state and industry, tied to fear of the immigrant, disorder in large cities, etc. (the rhetorics of stolen centrality being a somewhat later development, at least in the academy). Eugenics, for example, was a “progressive” invention; leftists first attempted to build an egalitarian society by making everyone superman. So why, when its means so often reveal failure, do the “scientists” always double down?

    Comment by John — July 21, 2016 @ 5:35 pm

  2. Well, the second law of SJWs is that they always double down, but you can do that by attributing previous failures to a failure to thoroughly eliminate naive faith, whether in your objects of study and manipulation, or in your own (or your disciplinary predecessor’s) conceptual framework.

    Comment by adam — July 21, 2016 @ 5:46 pm

  3. Ok so what comes after “microagressions”, the umpteenth iteration? Do you think the gamblers can ever admit their bankruptcy? If the ulmitate motivation is a Gnostic sense of stolen centrality, then it has always been there, yes. Still there was once a greater faith in a new kind of discipline, while today the only discipline that really matters is the transparently anti-discipline discipline.

    Comment by John — July 21, 2016 @ 6:35 pm

  4. Yes, what will they come up with next, after what Steve Sailer calls “World War T”? Transgenderism, rape culture and BLM style racial performance can keep the going for a while–some on the alt-right think they’re going after pedophilia next; I’ve seen the suggestion that gays and lesbians will start to demand the “right” to have children, perhaps leading to attempts to “poach” children from the less deserving (why, after all, should mere biology confer parental rights?). I think they may very well keep doubling down until the hordes arrive. The more successful a civilization, the more space it provides for this kind dyscivilizational activity. It’s easy to assume it will be contained, but who wants the thankless job of containing it? But there are new disciplines, and there always will be. In the end, the SJWs only have the power they are given by non-SJWs. The problem is really the anti-discrimination imperative, which, for so many people is the only thing that keeps the peace in advanced Western democracies. In the end, enough people would have to see that the anti-discrimination imperative is itself the greater threat. I don’t know how to set a timetable for that.

    Comment by adam — July 21, 2016 @ 6:50 pm

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