Sympathy with the Deplorable

A timeline and analysis of the @antiPCNYUProf affair, why (usually white male) leftists defect right, and what it says about the left.

Rectenwald recently called his followers, which include self-described White Nationalists, his “Twitter family,” while at NYU he felt like he was “being exiled.” Like many other defectors, he belongs to a movement that seeks to be for white men, in an ironic turn of which they are fully conscious, a safe space. For these defectors, perhaps hurt feelings and defensiveness could be said to have hijacked values and political convictions; the way this community made them feel about themselves became more important than what it stood for. Once they became embedded, stated convictions ceased to matter.

Nietzsche’s iconoclasm was central to the account. Perhaps, like Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, Rectenwald needed to create a character, speaking in vicious aphorisms, to transcend academic criticism and the echo-chamber of his milieu, taking struggle against both the identitarian rabble of campus politics and its cynical cooptation by Clintonian Democrats. For all his bluster, it’s worth remembering that Nietzsche referred to his bad faith followers in Genealogy of Morals sarcastically as “free thinkers,” who “hate the Church but love its poison.”

Read the rest of “The Learning Annex” at Real Life Magazine 

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