Slavoj Zizek: The Progressive Nightmare?

 

‘Traditional masculinity toxic?’ New universe of subtle corruption emerges…

– Slavoj Zizek

Reading Zizek’s take on how medical expertise is being used by Progressive censors and ideologists to create a new normativity of command and control against traditional male culture one can’t help but shudder. For a long while this creeping socialism of public opinion, a world of hypernormalization and control over behavior through the use of both political correctness and other censoriums has become almost extreme.  Our belief in experts and the sciences to be the new guardians of truth and morality, ethics and normativity under the guise of non-ideological blandness is hideous in itself but has become truly powerful as a lure over the progressive world of youth and academic laborers against traditionalism in secular or religious images of masculine culture.

Although my past has and remains a combination of Left as concerns protecting the underdog: the innocent, actual downtrodden, and laborers who truly seek a better life but have in our world neither the opening or ability to enter the marketplace of current hypercapitalist high-speed civilization. I am closer to those older traditionalists who see the liberty empowered rugged individualism of our American forbears being domesticated and even excluded in the new progressive world of victimization and censor based ethics and normativity that seeks to control our behaviours even as it excludes us from jobs and sociality. We are now living in a prison world of censors that even the author of 1984 would have shuddered at.

The Progressive worldview has become the face of a new kind of totalitarianism: it presents itself under the guise of experts and science as it invents a censorium of ideological blandness that would like a seamless prison system regulate our lives and behaviours in codified algorithms. We are becoming slaves to a hidden culture of ethical stupidity. A Nanny State in which the Progressive Left would supervise every aspect of our public and private behavior right down to our masculine or feminine roles. A clone world of pre-fabricated citizenry based on law(lessness?) who must conform to the new hypernormal estate of the Progressive Left. Such a world has undermined many of the excepted Americanisms of past generations, and is slowly overtaking, judging, and condemning practices that in former times were accepted by both Left and Right as normal. Nietzsche once spoke of a transvaluation-of-values but I doubt he had the new illiberal crew of Progressive hypernormativity in mind.

As Zizek puts it. Recently, the boffins at the American Psychological Association (APA) proclaimed “traditional masculinity” as toxic.

With no apparent shame, here are the exact words they used: “Traits of so-called ‘traditional masculinity,’ like suppressing emotions & masking distress, often start early in life & have been linked to less willingness by boys & men to seek help, more risk-taking & aggression – possibly harming themselves & those with whom they interact.”

Zizek goes on to comment:

What makes this statement really dangerous is the mixture of ideology and ostensibly neutral expertise: a strong ideological gesture of excluding phenomena considered unacceptable is presented as an impartial description of medical facts.

How can one not recall here the notorious Serbsky institute in Moscow (thriving even now!) which, in the Soviet years, was well known for categorizing dissidence as a form of mental illness?

And exactly the same happens when we designate masculinity as “toxic,” under the cover of medical expertise. It amounts to the imposition of a new normativity, a fresh figure of the enemy.

There’s an supposed ideology out there affecting boys and men, and the American Psychological Association says it’s “harmful.” The Los Angeles Times reports on the APA’s first official warning on the toxicity of “traditional masculinity,” which “has been shown to limit males’ psychological development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and gender role conflict and negatively influence mental health and physical health.” Featured this month in the APA’s Monitor on Psychology magazine, the “APA Guidelines for the Psychological Practice with Boys and Men“—a 13-year effort that involved scientists poring over more than four decades of research—notes the harmful effects tied to traditionally masculine traits, including being competitive, aggressive, and stoic.

Žižek decries such spurious ideological expertise posing under scientific power, and its illiberal political correctness for two main reasons. First, that it’s entirely and transparently fake, an artificial cover enforced by totalitarian social pressures. Second, that political correctness manifests itself as a form of behavior control rather than a collective effort to remedy the problems it ostensibly seeks to address. Racial and social harmony cannot sprout from this sort of situation. In fact, Žižek argues that political correctness gets in the way of mutual understanding.

“Ambiguity — that’s my problem with political correctness. No it’s just a form of self-discipline which doesn’t really allow you to overcome racism. It’s just oppressed controlled racism.” – Slavoj Zizek

Ultimately, political correctness is a system of control that fails to understand the underlying causes of the problem it wants to address. A cynic would argue that this is the point — that certain societal actors prefer citizens who restrict themselves from exploring race, sexuality, gender issues, etc.. Žižek may not be that cynical, but he certainly sees the system for what it is: totalitarianism. Rather than an authority commanding “do this or else,” the ringing refrain of political correctness is forced behavior tinged with notes of “I know better than you what you really want.” It’s this Nanny State elitism of experts that has become the new totalitarianism seeking command and control over its citizens not through direct coercion but rather by way of normative behaviorism that seeks to use the populace itself against itself in the court of public opinion and press.

As Cathy Young spells it out the new Progressive Elite seek not only to control the populace through PC culture but to enslave it through transparency. As she puts it “political correctness by itself is destructive to the liberal project — to reasoned discourse, free exchange of ideas, culture and community” (see). Secondly, PC culture also invites an equally or more toxic backlash… by way of marginal and extreme racist, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic troops of the alt-right movement. And, third, PC Leftism enables bigotry both by trivializing it — if you can be called a racist for wearing a sombrero on Halloween or a misogynist for admiring sexy women, the words lose much of their bite — and by green-lighting it when it’s directed at “privileged” groups.

Ideological extremism under the cover of scientific expertise and public opinion along with the Press  is presently a rising force in the wider society, concentrated in influential sectors, and gradually becoming part of the elite’s ideological superstructure. The new Cathedralism of high church progressive liberalism  is obsessed with the eradication of offensive history, promotes concepts such as cultural appropriation and micro-aggressions, insists on calling a manhole a “people hole,” and that takes offense to Halloween costumes, or to the serving of tacos in a university cafeteria. Recently, a representative of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals made the claim that milk is a symbol of white supremacy. On the far-left the PC culture of campus protestors, the Antifa, the neo-Maoists, and other representatives of the extreme left have produced a violent and exclusionary world where any thought other than the hypernormal thought of the Progressive Elite is ousted, lambasted, and mercilessly attacked. The center-left version is often manifested as a blend of PC culture with the American civil religion or civic nationalism. The recent exposure and deletion of Civil War memory that is being scraped clean from all public institutions is part of such behavioral illiberalism under the auspices of PC elite. Our revisioning of history is bound to this juggernaut as well. Soon the whole of American History studies will come under the fine toothed comb of such PC elitism and the past will effectively become a hypernormalised realm scraped of all sexual, race, and gender issues.

As Keith Preston puts it the enforcement of ideological conformity is farmed out to other institutions, such as the media, educational institutions, corporations, and technology companies. The means of enforcement involve the use of social, economic, and professional sanctions rather than the outright criminalization of dissidents. Ideological conformity is also enforced by means of extra-legal methods, such mob violence, shouting down speakers, the harassment political opponents or public figures in public places or even at their private homes, and the aggressive vigilante activities of groups such as the Antifa. It is for this reason that it is often necessary for gatherings of dissidents to take place on a clandestine basis. The proponents of the ideology of political correctness are heavily concentrated in influential sectors of society. Among the more significant examples are the electronic media and professional journalism, universities and public schools, the entertainment industry, left-wing professionals such as attorneys and healthcare specialists, the left-wing of clergy, the public sector bureaucracy, social services and human services, advertising, public relations, and corporate human resources and diversity officers.

Even the social media is creating algorithmic governance to enforce elite conformism. Preston goes on telling us Facebook recently purged over 800 pages with millions of followers, including pages with left-wing as well as right-wing perspectives, with the common denominator being that all of the purged pages represented some kind of anti-establishment perspective. It is also interesting to note that similar methods are used by the professional “watchdogs,” which typically focus most of their attention on the Right, but also attack leftist, African-American or other minority perspectives that are also considered to be outside the realm of acceptable liberal opinion.

Even corporate America is in on this through such initiatives as the #MeToo movement. Gillette is embracing the #MeToo movement in a new digital ad campaign aimed at men, the latest message from an advertiser attempting to change societal norms. The ad, dubbed “We Believe,” opens with audio of news about the current #MeToo movement, bullying and “toxic masculinity.” A narrator then goes on to dispute the notion that “boys will be boys,” asking, “Is this the best a man can get? Is it? We can’t hide from it. It has been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off, making the same old excuses.” As Pankaj Bhalla, Gillette brand director for North America said of it: “This is an important conversation happening, and as a company that encourages men to be their best, we feel compelled to both address it and take action of our own. We are taking a realistic look at what’s happening today, and aiming to inspire change by acknowledging that the old saying ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ is not an excuse. We want to hold ourselves to a higher standard, and hope all the men we serve will come along on that journey to find our ‘best’ together.” (see) The collusion of corporatocracy, media, and the subversive illiberalism of the Progressive extreme seeks total control through technics and technological behavioral command and control.

This is the Progressive Nightmare… a technoir vision in which society is governed by algorithms through the collusion of PC scraping and exclusionary praxis whose sole goal is the hypernormalization and enslavement of the populace through the collusion of extreme left radicalization, high-corporate technocracy, and the deliberate infiltration of the public sphere by elite mechanism of command and control. The Cathedral of Illiberalism sponsored by the Progressive Left and its Corporate, Academic, and Meditainment Elite seeks to usher in a new era of political control and censorship the likes of which have not been seen since Stalinism.

Read the rest of the article: ‘Traditional masculinity toxic?

Read Zizek on political correctness: Political Correctness Is a More Dangerous Form of Totalitarianism

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