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Culture War Roundup for the week of July 31, 2023

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Richard Hanania is a man whom I do not always agree with but do appreciate for successfully pissing off people both on the left and the right. The ability to piss off people from both of those groups is, in my opinion, generally correlated with being right about things.

Well, Hanania has allegedly been linked to a pseudonym. The allegation is that about 10 years ago, he was routinely saying taboo things about race and gender issues under the name "Richard Hoste".

Some quotes:

It has been suggested that Sarah Palin is a sort of Rorschach test for Americans [...] The attractive, religious and fertile White woman drove the ugly, secular and barren White self-hating and Jewish elite absolutely mad well before there were any questions about her qualifications.

If they had decency, blacks would thank the white race for everything that they have.

Women simply didn’t evolve to be the decision makers in society [...] women’s liberation = the end of human civilization.

It's nothing very shocking for those of us who read dissident right stuff, and it's not even really that far away from Hanania's typical under-his-birth-name writing. But it may be a bridge too far for much of the more mainstream audience.

What I wonder is, which way shall Hanania go?

  1. Own it, say "yes I am Richard Hoste and I did write those things"? He would gain praise from some people for honesty, but he would also stand probably a pretty good chance of losing book deals, interviews with some mainstream figures, and so on.

  2. Deny deny deny?

  3. Ignore it?

I think that it is an interesting case study, the attempted take down of one of the more famous examples of what is now a pretty common sort of political writer: the Substacker whose views are just controversial and taboo enough to have a lot of appeal for non-mainstream audiences but are not so far into tabooness, in content and/or tone, to get the author branded a full-on thought-criminal.


He could have ignored it and increased his chances of surviving, or he could have owned it and gone down with dignity.

Instead, he will go down as a cuck.

I suspect there's some other balancing act going on here.

Hanania doesn't need liberal approval or sympathy, nor could he possibly get it before all this anyway.

He does need to stay relatively acceptable to rich and powerful old boomer conservatives who control the media megaphones and purse strings and set the tone for where things are headed going forward within the shifting conservative movement, especially regarding public political priorities about legal matters (both in the Federal government and concerning cases conservative activists drag in front of the Supreme Court).

And old boomer conservatives are, I think, the only people left who overwhelmingly still cling to the rotting corpse of the old Reagan public settlement about race (namely, we all agree that racism is a truly awful thing, we legitimately believe in a goal of milquetoast equal opportunity, but we will also define racism such that it only applies to truly egregious acts by individual extremists that have nothing to do with almost anybody normal, and we'll likewise view it through a colorblind lens that also holds black Americans to the same standard as everyone else).

Fundamentally, on the ground (at least online), this settlement is over. If you're a younger male or traditional Christian or are white, you have been steeped in progressive activists salting the earth on this and related identity topics since, like, 2013, and so you've already acclimatized to the new reality, or for you this might be the only reality you've ever even known. "Racism" now means whatever it is that progressive activist networks say it means on any given day, and in turn it's just one more term of abuse hurled by self-aggrandizing partisans heavily steeped in conflict theory who want good zero sum things for their allies and bad zero sum things for you. And so it's no surprise to see conversation norms heavily shifting for younger conservatives, or the sorts of people who at the least are drawn to anti-woke discourse. Younger people who likely would've accepted the public moral legitimacy of the old Reagan settlement stop accepting the moral legitimacy of what has replaced it, and so all the guard rails come down.

I read an interview between Hanania and Chris Rufo the other day (IIRC), and Rufo was basically making something like this point - lots of old boomer conservatives are still very sensitive to how race is talked about, largely because they're insulated from all these changes out in the wild, and so he has to be quite delicate rhetorically about how he talks about race when trying to reach out to them. They can agree about policy goals, but the rhetorical frame that's required to convince them is quite different than what younger online anti-woke types would be receptive to.

This seems like I what I was getting at about a bit of a noble lie where we just ignore disparate outcomes.

One thing I’d add is a lot of the old agreements seem gone outside of race. Pride seems like the exact same thing where we had everyone can do what they want at home to now we teach pride in elementary school.

The right doesn’t want to come out and say they think homosexual lives are inferior. And that’s before we even get into the more extreme things being pushed.