Re: Lauren Rose – Nihilism in Gen Z/Millennials and the Far Right

Dear Ms. Rose

I hope this gets to you and you are able to read it. I would love to hear back from you. Forgive any offenses given in this letter.

I just cannot stop laughing at the irony listening to you, a young white woman, on YouTube talk eloquently about the horrors of progressive values. You argue, using the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s characterization of nihilism, that progressive values such as equality and diversity, women in the workplace, gay marriage etc are unnatural and that the root of all evil and problems in the modern West are as a result of these nihilist progressive values. You call yourself dissident right, falling shy of calling yourself the alt-right but say you’re sympathetic to the values of the alt-right. You basically say the alt-right has it right. I find it rather funny listening to you heap praise on the alt-right and their call for a return to the past by invoking Japan as a good model of a nation or society still organized by natural values. I almost thought you were well learned because you speak very well and quotes philosophers and the like. But listening to you this afternoon, I realize that you might be the type of person more dangerous than the foaming in the alt-right itself. You’re young, pretty; well spoken, and can rattle a philosopher or two’s names off your head. And the dangerous thing is that you’ve got a young audience. There are a number of half-baked ideas and outright ironic issues with your delivery but it seems your audience seems to eat up everything you say, which makes it even scarier.

First of all, I am amazed that a woman, talking philosophy to a larger audience than her father and brothers; on a platform (YouTube) developed by three distinct individuals (German-Bangladeshi American, and Taiwanese-American, Euro-American) from a Company (Google) founded by a Russian-American and a Euro-American; most likely educated to at least College level; thinks that diversity is against nature and praises the alt-right – a group that thinks women should be consigned to the domestic sphere (as one of the destructive liberal values you lambasts is women in the workforce). If you consider yourself competent enough to talk philosophy, I am afraid you are subscribing to the destruction of nature and Western values of equality that you talk about. In the longed-for past that the so-called alt-right talks about, your natural place in society is consigned to the kitchen. Obviously, by those Western values that nihilist progressivism so destroyed, you do not have the intellect to engage in philosophical discourse beyond childbirth and domestic chores. So I am amazed at the cognitive dissonance that you seem to possess.  But I am hardly surprised because to be on the alt-right is to abandon substantial faculties of reason and to revert to primitive tribalism that progressive Western values have been against over the past few decades. If progressive values are unnatural, you are engaged in unnatural things by talking philosophy.

Beyond the irony of a woman talking philosophy and one who’s likely College educated lambasting the value of women in the workforce and praising a movement whose leaders says a woman’s usefulness is in the kitchen and childbirth, you are misconstruing what the value of diversity or equality is in the progressive West. It means the opportunity to succeed and to have a shot at success and happiness is valued and prioritized. Diversity or equality doesn’t mean outcomes are required to be the same across the board. The diversity of input and talents gave you the platform on YouTube and Facebook and Apple. If the US had acted in the tribal fashion as old Westerners did, there’d be no Jews to give us Zuckerberg to give us Facebook because like the Brits in the early modern period who expelled Jews or the Nazis in recent memory who murdered Jews, the modern United States, practicing Western values (which excludes diversity in your mind) will likely have chased Jews away and we likely would not have had a Zuckerberg. The Western value of diversity allowed an Arab Syrian into the US to give us Steve Jobs. The modern Western value of diversity and equal opportunity for education gave us the founders of YouTube and Google, people who come from different cultures (and if they had come to the West at an earlier age will not have had the opportunity to go to school) and hence their potential would have been wasted. The progressive value of diversity and equality is not equality of outcome but equality of opportunity. The opportunity for even a young woman to go to school and learn and read about German philosophers she may not understand. I will be interested to actually see a cogent argument against diversity other than the evidence being that some people are against it or it wasn’t so in the past.

I find it laughable that you bring up Japan as an icon of traditional values that the alt-right aspires to. This would be funny if it wasn’t as far from the truth and so utterly counter to your argument. But what I think such a dissonance betrays in you is your tribalist mindset prevalent among the alt-right. There are no traditional Japanese values the current Japan adheres to. In Japan, everyone works (men and women) which is even worse (if you think women in the workplace is bad) than the US. This has led to the massive population decline in Japan (because it has not accompanied external immigration). So Japanese society is the furthest from traditional or natural human values that had led to a massive population boom in the Japanese Island. What is even funnier is that Japan leads the world in robotics but you think Japanese society is traditional and natural? There are countless articles from inside and outside Japan detailing sexlessness and the government trying to pay people to have kids. Japanese kids use computers more than kids in the US and they value College education (which you seem to bash) than here as well. But when I think of your and the alt-right’s fascination with Japan, only one thing stands out: Japan’s homogenous population and aversion to external immigration. That is all the fascination is about. In every other sphere of life, Japanese values are the furthest from whatever the alt-right wants. But what you also fail to see is that the Japanese have always borrowed from other people: they borrowed Chinese script, they borrowed Chinese religion, they borrowed American manufacturing practices, they borrowed American values about women in the workplace etc. Japan is not a traditional society, culturally or technologically. The only thing that Japan has that might be acceptable to the alt-right is tough immigration. But even that is even beginning to change as they have doubled their efforts at exchange programs to Africa, South America, and other Asian countries. It is important to actually research things you are talking about before talking. The more I write about this, the more I realize that you might not be that educated on the things you are talking about.

Finally, I would love to ask you to read more on the sociological concept of anomie. The value system in the West is in a state of anomie. But it is not exclusive to the West. It is across the world. Part of the reason it is in a state of anomie is because of the European conquest of the rest of the world through colonialism, slavery, and the current era of neocolonial and imperial neoliberal pervasiveness of global capital. World cultures having come into contact with one another, and having to interact daily as a result of global capital have been left shaken and wobbly. Older values (tribalism and supremacist ideologies) are no longer capable of sustainable application to this new flux of cultures and trade, but the new ones haven’t totally taken hold yet. That is why we have so much angst and anxiety over social change, not just in the West but all over the world. It is always easy to be reactionary and to long for time past but it is not a coherent diagnostics of the problem or way forward. I am not sure what exactly is wrong with diversity or equality but I know for a fact that without diversity and equality, you will not have had a platform or even the wherewithal to talk philosophy on Facebook or YouTube to sixteen thousand people and counting. I will be interested to have a conversation with you if you don’t mind, as you seem like someone who might be interested in learning.

Hoping to hear back from you.

All the best!

 

 

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