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January 29, 2018



«the barriers we face from the beneficiaries of the existing order. Sure, capitalism, patriarchy or heteronormativity are different things. But they have something in common.»

Well, "conservativism" is always and everywhere the furthering of the interests of incumbents, and indeed incumbency is one of the central english virtues, defended with great determination by the sharp-elbowed mothers of the incumbent classes.

Nick Drew

Paragraph 4 of the post applies to me also, word for word. And we should certainly rage against genuine injustices.

But let's not accept "micro-aggressions" as being meaningful in any useful way (I'm not suggesting you do), let alone as being a defining characteristic of genuine victimhood.

Rather, it should be recognized that whatever annoyances beset us from many directions, the vast majority of us here in the (ultimately benign) UK can advance ourselves against some chosen line of resistance we can reasonably overcome, and do just fine. I could never have joined the Brigade of Guards (I served in a much less "fashionable" regiment.) I will never be nominated for membership of Brooks's, nor be chosen to be Master of my own college, much as I would enjoy both. There's no pedestrian right of way through the park at Longleat. Are these micro-aggressions against me? Nope, it's just the way things are.

I'm not preaching quietism (as anyone who knows me could attest) nor have I ever settled for anything unduly lazy or unambitious (ditto).

As you say: art is there for all; and remember our comforts.

Patrick Kirk

I'm not sure that any society anywhere would be able to make Afua Hirsch feel included. Its hard to feel included when things like Nelson's Column upset you.


«It’s difficult (though not impossible) for insiders to understand outsiders because fish don’t know they are wet.; this of course was the message of that song.»

I'll also mention R Kipling's

"And what should they know of England who only England know?"

verse, which I had always taken to be sarcastic, but have realized thanks to an observation it is to be read straight.

Dave Timoney


Kipling's view was that Englishness was indivisible from empire. His famous line was not only an insistence on the essential role of colonial whites, it was also a criticism of the metropole as lacking in responsibility. In other words, it was not just racist but anti-democratic. Giving the British working class the vote was, in Kipling's eyes, tantamount to betraying the empire.


”What writers belonging to the upper class have received from nature for nothing, plebeians acquire at the cost of their youth. Write a story of how a young man, the son of a serf, who has served in a shop, sung in a choir, been at a high school and a university, who has been brought up to respect everyone of higher rank and position, to kiss priests’ hands, to reverence other people’s ideas, to be thankful for every morsel of bread, who has been many times whipped, who has trudged from one pupil to another without galoshes, who has been used to fighting, and tormenting animals, who has liked dining with his rich relations, and been hypocritical before God and men from the mere consciousness of his own insignificance — write how this young man squeezes the slave out of himself, drop by drop, and how waking one beautiful morning he feels that he has no longer a slave’s blood in his veins but a real man’s...“

Steven Clarke


“Fyodor Karamazov was just like my dad.”

Who do you most resemble? Alyosha, Mitya or Ivan?


@ Steven - probably mostly like Ivan, except that I never wrote the best story ever.


I want to thank you for posting this. I’m an American, and female, and of mixed race, and not heterosexual, but this is me too. My (white)(and doting) father made a good living in a coal mine for 37 years, my mother is/was an extra-traditional housewife, and I was popularly supposed to use the skills that made me excel in school to go out and stride around authoritatively and make millions of dollars. I can’t get anyone to understand how repulsive an outcome that would’ve been for me, now and always. No one understands why I don’t have a nice, well-off husband and a few drooling brats to cart around, either. This is the foremost source of sadness in my life. Conservatives in the US like to excuse their structural bigotry by praising “equality of opportunity” over “equality of outcome” — but what most people actually approve of is “sameness of outcome.” I find this confusing, on the merits.

I also struggle with the maintenance of sympathy for straight people and men, and also for economically-challenged people who are incapable of seeing themselves as “poor,” no matter how poor they actually are, because that would mean acknowledging that they're losers. You don’t have to like someone or agree with their politics to understand that their deprivation is connected with, and indeed a part of, your own. Okay, straight white people who are suddenly finding yourselves economically “othered,” your turn!

I do wish my fellow SJWs hadn’t chosen to depend so heavily on academic jargon, though. Lots of people can’t get past it. “Micro-aggression” is a word once used by social scientists to denote a particular kind of behavior which is the subject of certain kinds of academic study. The term can’t be exported into the wild without losing most of its meaning and all of its objective usefulness. Instead of “micro-aggressions” people should read “the many ways in which a person is beset by ignorance and unasked-for argumentation related to their externally-imposed identity label.” Not “the petty universal irritations with which everyone living in a modern culture has to deal.” Or “the sad results of coming to terms with your own limitations.”

Progress. I didn’t even use a curse word.


As someone from a working class background who grew up in a northern English town in the era of de-industrialization I find identity politics a boring dead end. I especially dislike people who make professional careers out of identity politics, because instead of focusing on finding practical solutions that can improve life for the disadvantaged they obsessively look for differences to perpetuate identity politics (which is conveniently sold on to perpetuate their careers).

Somebody above mentioned 'micro-aggressions', this is one of those trivial concepts that are a symptom of identity politics. In this case it's where anti-racists with legitimate grievances morphed into 'professional' anti-racists who had a living to make. Not unique in any way to professional anti-racism, it can happen wherever personal conviction turns into professional living.

What's perverse is that the more tolerant British society becomes of diversity, the more trivial and noisy professional identity politics has to be to sustain itself. Although weirdly it seems to overlook where 'identity' groups are actively and explicitly trying to keep themselves separate, different and unintegrated from the rest of society.


You might find this interesting Chris, about the change of identity that comes with change of class.


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