The original version of this article was a response to Rachel Haywire’s post on her own website entitled “What is the Workshop? where she attacks the pressure to conform to a “facade-liberal” cultural norm and the cause of the week political culture that all of us involved in the hipster creative-professional subculture have to publicly subscribe to if people aren’t going to back away from us.
She called the memetic creation machine that produces these norms “The Workshop”. This structure is intended to create artisanal memes and mass-produce them into the various political subcultures.
Her post described what it does, I describe here what it’s for, as in its political objectives. While this post is intended to stand by itself, it’s best understood after reading hers linked to above.
After posting the comment, it occurred to me that the ideas expressed deserved wider circulation.
Political movements are supposed to be about creating good public policy. Basic public policy is supposed to be about keeping the infrastructures running that make it possible for people to do business, building new ones required. It’s also about making people pay to make this possible.
The problem with taking progressivism seriously is progressives. The movement only exists today as a marketing demographic filled with Obamabots. Progressives are supposed to support civil liberties for everybody. Those were the people attacking everybody in sight that opposed Obama’s taking the power to himself to blow up any American he considers subversive with drones. We’re supposed to take them seriously because?
Did you know there was a time when the right to bear arms wasn’t even a political issue, when liberals were members of the NRA and nobody thought it was unusual? Oppose gun control and get attacked by an angry online mob of progressives who find that civil right no longer convenient.
The problem with taking conservativism seriously is conservatives. The movement only exists today as a marketing demographic filled with Tea Partiers, with battle cries of “the wealthy must not pay taxes!” and “stop gay marriage!” as our roads and bridges and public schools crumble.
Does anyone have any particular doubt that if Mittens were President today, the conservatives screaming about civil rights would have denounced opponents of the President’s power to blow up subversives as terrorist allies? We’re supposed to take them seriously because?
But I helped push Rand’s message out anyway because he happened to be on the right side today.
Political discussion about what public services we need and how we should pay for them has been replaced with empty-eyed masses of people screaming political slogans. But the appearance that “progressive” messages are dominant among the screams is a function of what bubble one lives in.
If one lives in a bubble full of hipster creatives, one hears lots of “progressive” messaging, one sees lots of women with tattoos. But there are other bubbles. Check out FoxNews. See any women with visible tattoos or lip piercings? Check out FoxNews forums for an alternate reality where tens of millions live where a “progressive” message, even one as inocuous as “gays deserve civil rights” will get one attacked by an angry online mob.
The sole virtue of the “progressive” memes is that they are usually a lot less dangerous to minorities than those of the Right, unless one is part of an “undesirable” minority. (Gun owners and sex workers and people of color in Islamic countries come to mind.)
The slogans whether Left or Right have little visible connection to responsible public policy. But they are paid for by the same class of people, and some PR firms will put out a “Left” or Right message depending on who’s paying them on any given month.
Their only purpose is as tools of oppression by people who find serious public policy discussion unprofitable because attempts to solve serious problems will cost them serious tax money.
The Workshop is run by hired hands. Who profits from boosting the noise in the signal?
Exiting The Workshop means learning to hear the signal under that noise.
As Robert Anton Wilson said, “What the hell is really going on?”
That’s the question you should be asking. Ignore the noise.