This morning, [someone with a protected Twitter account] retweeted a quote from Justine Tunney,
an Accelerationist a person who recently made some remarks to the effect that the humane genome project had revealed certain genetic inferiorities in those of African descent and had obviously faced criticism for saying such a terrible thing. The quote expressed sentiments that may be familiar to us from many other public intellectuals: “The left is going to lose. Why? Because they eat their own.”
I’ve concluded that expressing these types of sentiments is an absolutely certain sign of someone who wasn’t actually committed to the left in the first place — of someone who was merely “left-curious,” one might say. First, there’s the position of enunciation. Structurally, it’s identical to the “concern trolling” of someone like David Brooks telling the Democrats why they’re in mortal danger of alienating the American people once and for all. Further, the sentiments expressed are classically liberal-centrist: let’s make room for everyone, let’s not make a big deal out of actual political ideals, etc.
The question is why a person like this would bother trying to associate with the left in the first place. I assume part of it is a quest for edginess — and it presumably has a special appeal for Christian intellectuals, given that it allows them to make “risky,” countercultural claims (e.g., “economic justice is important”) that are nonetheless clearly grounded in Scripture.
In some cases, though, I wonder if it might be a consciously cynical ploy. Once they turn their backs on the left for, you know, being people who care a lot about politics and hence have strong opinions, they are then uniquely positioned to show their “seriousness” to the mainstream: “There’s a grain of truth to left-wing ideas, which initially attracted me, but they’re much too factious and extreme to be taken seriously.” A bold career of centrist, “both sides are equally wrong”-style op-eds awaits the chastened left-curious intellectual.