Cultural movements have a certain life cycle. If you read enough history, you see it. Because humans are the same all through history, the history of ideas that excite people tend to follow the same points.
It starts with enthusiasm and iconoclastic elan. That is the idea is so strange and far fetched for that society that only people who arrive at their positions by difficult individual thought and decision think it’s a good idea.
In fact, people who think this is a good idea, might get called names or ostracized.
Then slowly the idea gains converts. When it’s new and vibrant, the converts will be young and also vibrant, the movers and shakers of the society.
If the idea is not completely insane, it will then become more and more accepted, as these young and vibrant people gain power.
But if it is still moderately insane – say Marxism – and won’t work in the real world, when tried, it will then become ossified. The only people who still believe in it are the ones who were too old to change when it proved non-viable, and possibly a whole bunch of youngish people who were taught the idea as a legacy, inherited from parents or grandparents (or in the case of Marxism teachers) and who refuse to evaluate it on its merits, because then it might prove wrong, which would force them to go against received tradition, which none of them is prepared – emotionally – to do.
This is when you get the rump end of an ideology, the straggling, delusional end.
It was about something like this that Cervantes wrote Don Quixote.
I read Don Quixote when I was seven or eight, and I’ve watched one of the movies. It left very little to no impression. (I have the same problem with Foundation. No idea why.) So my memory of what it says might or might not be true.
However, if I remember, Don Quixote read a lot about the age of chivalry and decided to be a knight errant, at a time when knight errants were well and truly gone. He then proceeded to go over the country side, mistaking various signs of modernity for long gone mythical enemies. So for instance windmills were thought to be giants.
There have been, I know, because I studied them, various interpretations of Don Quixote, including that he was mad, or that he was just playing a game. Faced with a world that had escaped the framework in which he was prepared to understand it: a world that made no sense and gave him no status, he chose to go into the country side and battle imaginary monsters.
This gave him an illusion of control over a world to which he could no longer adapt.
Yesterday, while on facebook, reading a link that Brad Torgersen had put up, relating to the Hugos and science fiction (I didn’t have much time on the net yesterday and it will be spotty all week, mostly because of access/connectivity issues as we change services) the thread got invaded by a young lady (ah! She wouldn’t like that appellation) lecturing us on how the use of Social Justice Warrior was wrong and shaming, and it meant we were all wing-nuts or something.
The funny thing is the longer the thread went on the more she revealed herself for a stereotypical SJW. She believed science fiction needs to be more about underrepresented races/LGBT/other because “people can only identify with characters like themselves” for instance.
Also, of course, she didn’t answer my comment that I often have gay characters, but somehow I get more grief from SJWs than the right wing people. With a few and rather nutty exceptions, right wingers might say “I don’t like this type of thing” but they don’t call me evil, a Nazi or stupid. All of which the SJWs call me for doing gay characters in a way that’s not “progressive.”
That’s because it’s not really about writing the other, for them. It’s about writing the other as a Marxist class, in which each individual is a widget, tainted with class guilt or accruing class credit due to what the “class” is considered and what it has suffered historically.
Though Marxism has proven itself a thoroughly unviable economic and social theory, by impoverishing some of the world’s richest countries and filling graves with over 100 million humans, they learned it as the frame work through which to see the world.
They can’t see the world in any other way. And anyway, if they managed to adapt to this “Marx is dead and so are his theories” world, they’d have to break ties with the old power structure, which would mean they would be cast adrift in a world with no ties and no clear guide to right and wrong.
So instead of trying to adapt, instead of seeing what’s before their eyes: a world that’s unimaginably rich with possibilities; where Marx might be dead and we might be going through a rough patch, but the future of humanity is full of possibilities, where men and women are for the first time freed to be themselves in anyway they want to be (short of the truly impossible) where more people are fed than ever before, where even the “poor” in developed countries live better than kings, they choose to tilt at windmills.
The windmills they’re tilting at are the thoughts and artworks of those who don’t subscribe to their philosophy.
Like Don Quixote they’ll do some damage to whatever stands between them and the monsters of their imagination.
They’ve already done considerable damage to ever field they’ve taken over: education, arts, government, entertainment, even religion.
But in the end, those fields will recover. Partly driven by need to circumvent the damage they cause, people have created other avenues, other means to these pursuits.
The rest of society is routing against the madmen (and madwomen) shouting and throwing fits while charging at the windmills.
But the dying rump end of socialist-communist-Marxist-Leninism can’t do anything but keep charging.
Charge all you want. We’ll repair the windmill sails and life will go on, except for the occasional nuisance of yet another scare-crow would be knight, calling itself the triple lie – social justice warrior: any justice is individual. Punishing individuals for their ancestors actions or the actions of those who look like them is by definition INJUSTICE. As for warriors, they couldn’t fight their way out of wet paperback – sticking a lance through a working part.
And eventually the dying rump will be gone, too ineffective to even annoy us.
And we – and the windmills, which are good and useful portions of society – will go on.
In the end, we win, they lose.
Be not afraid.