What is The Turn?
The Turn refers to “turning points” or important events or ideas that have contributed, either positively or negatively, to the current state of cultural divide in western societies. A situation greatly accelerated under what has been called the postmodern turn.
But my use of The Turn is also inspired by the book The Critical Turn In Education by Isaac Gottesman. I’d like to expand on Gottesman’s conception to include a broader context of turns (or turning points) that may provide some explanation for our present state of divisive culture wars. The Turn aims to trace the historical emergence of ideas and events that have contributed to present day ideas and events. Are there patterns? How exactly is history repeating? And what is new this time around?
Modern ideologies, expressed through activism and advocacy, are determined to poison our ability to preserve both safe and ordered societies. Although aspects of these ideologies may be modernized, they come from a long tradition self-loathing adversary culture.
A good example is the second article I published, The Treason Of The Intellectuals, which shows the underlying issues (an intellectual class captured by bad ideas; Marxist ideas) as a pattern present in our modern moment. The Treason Of The Intellectuals was written in 1927 - well before Gottesman’s Critical Turn of the 1960s - but in both cases Marx’s fingerprints are everywhere.
In the book The Treason Of The Intellectuals, author Julien Benda observed the rampant politicizing of the intellectual class (a new situation for the times as people had largely been uninterested in politics) - this in my view is the particular turn of interest (the moment we got political) and the reason I decided to write about it.
The Turn is a place for me to reflect on the changing landscape of the west caused by the ever-alarming onslaught of an authoritarian ideology called wokeism, or as writer Wesley Yang calls it the “Successor Ideology.” Or more technically, reified postmodern identity politics (with totalitarian characteristics).
Since I’m writing a book (“The Woke West”) essentially about the “Successor Ideology,” - where it came from, where it seems to be going, and a suggestion or two about what can be done about it - The Turn substack will also be a place to publish bits and pieces of this upcoming book.
I will share my ideas regarding responses to the culture wars, exploring what can be done to restore liberal values.
In my view a reasonable response to the Successor Ideology or wokeism is the expression of unfettered individualism. Wokeism is an authoritarian collectivism at heart, so asserting an unapologetic and free spirited individualism is the ultimate act of counter-wokeism.
The Successor Ideology seeks to limit individual freedoms in order to ensure “safe” spaces for its adherents. Like so many other tenets of Wokeism things may sound reasonable on the surface, but on closer inspection one finds a disingenuous victim class seeking to advantage themselves without caring about real harm and societal division caused in the process.
I will do my best to guide readers through these tumultuous times. I will only provide commentary aimed at both understanding and improving this postmodern situation of identity politics madness.
Also, I like books…So probably will talk about them a lot too.
Thanks for reading.