On what can we blame the sudden rise to popularity of social justice? If I’m judging the political leanings of this site’s dozen of readers correctly, you probably spend some time complaining about the loud, the offended, and the vitriolic subculture we call social justice warriors; I’m guilty of the same. But can we explain its appropriation by the mainstream from a completely neutral, etic point of view? Probably not: My distaste for the culture is likely too ingrained in my head for me to study it in a way that doesn’t paint it as malicious. That being said, I will damn well try.
Many people on the capital-R Right talk about the Frankfurt School, and indeed it would be foolish of me to not reference the interplay between bourgeois academia and their ironic endorsement of Marxist cultural analysis in a discussion of social justice. But high-minded and cushy philosophical and social theories seldom permeate popular culture except indirectly. The average person has not heard of Gramsci or Horkheimer or whoever else you want to namedrop, and indeed the archetypal “SJW” encountered online is either not a leftist, or is simply bad at being one. Critical theory is, in theory, critical of how “””capitalist””” institutions affect culture, and as a die-hard capitalist, I must say that corporate media, and the PR and marketing wings of many a large business, has had a field day with social justice, to which it poses no threat. Continue reading