One of the features of current year America is the occurrence of panics, particularly among the managerial elite. The most recent is the White Fright, where the media is hysterically reporting every disturbance as the act of white supremacists. This panic appears to have been triggered by the El Paso shooting, but it is a manifestation of a much longer occurring paranoia among the managerial classes. It dates back to at least the last presidential election and has roots in the Obama years.
The underlying assumption of the White Fright is a belief that whites are secretly organizing to overthrow the current order and impose some sort of pale patriarchy on the country. These white supremacists are everywhere and look just like normal everyday white people, so any white person could possibly be one of them. These people can, at any moment, turn into a violent spree killer, if exposed to certain kinds of content called “hate speech” which is found on-line.
The similarities to medieval witch hunting are too obvious not to notice. The adversary is not something that appears in material form. Like Old Scratch, white supremacy is an evil spirit that works through the infected. Once under the control of white supremacy, the person no longer has agency. Not surprisingly, like the accused witches in Salem, the modern white supremacist is most likely to be someone that vexes the moral authorities, either by their presence or by their actions.
Now, many on the Right have been conditioned to look at this stuff and come up with an explanation that makes the Left seem less nutty. For example, Steve Sailer will argue it is a clever ploy to rally the coalition of the ascendant. The National Review types will claim it is a ploy to conceal the fact that Democrats are the real racists. These are conditioned responses that are not intended to explain what’s going on with the Left, but to fit it into the normal Left-Right dynamic that describes America politics.
A more nuanced explanation is that the White Fright is part of a great fear that is sweeping the managerial classes. Like that which swept France in the summer of 1789, this fear is rooted in both the economic and the social problems of society. There’s also a paranoia about the ruling class. These people are riddled with angst and fear of being dropped from the managerial class. This causes them to be highly sensitive to any disruption in society and as a result, they are prone to panics.
The media, internet censors, social justice warriors and corporate HR departments are the servants of the ruling class. As such, they are wholly dependent upon them for their status with regards to the rest of us. Unlike the commoners, who are only vaguely aware that there are powerful people behind the political theater, the managerial class is much more aware of this reality. As a result, they live like the peasants of France, keenly aware they are dependent upon people they cannot trust.
This anxiety manifests itself as panics about imaginary villains plotting to topple the existing order. The Russia hoax is a good example. It is assumed that the people peddling it did so for cynical reasons and that may be true. The people spreading and repeating it, however, were motivated by a genuine fear of dark forces working in the shadows against their interests. Marianne Williamson got a lot of attention in the last debate by mentioning “dark psychic forces.” It resonated with certain people.
Now, another possible explanation for the White Fright is that something similar to what happened in Salem is going on in current year America. At the end of the 17th century, what amounted to a Puritan theocracy, had taken root in New England. Everything about social life was controlled by the religious sensibilities of the people, mostly enforced by a narrow theocratic elite. The form and purpose of New England towns was based in the religious understanding of the people we now call Puritans.
This model, when facing the challenge of witch panics, was unable to adapt and cope with the phenomenon. The response from the religious authorities decreased public trust and eroded their authority. The trials themselves, instead of reducing fear among the panicked, increased suspicions. Before long it became obvious that the religious authorities were as much a part of the problem as the people making accusations and spreading rumors. The witch trials discredited Puritanism.
That could be what is happening in current year America. The similarities between modern Progressivism and Puritanism, in its manifestations, not theologically, is hard not to notice. Everything from vinegar drinking scolds to their effeminate male enablers are present in modern day Progressivism. Current year America is ruled by a bizarre identity cult that is every bit as superstitious as the Puritans. The White Fright may turn out to be the witch scares of late empire America.
Those are all the amusing and gratuitous explanations for what we are seeing. There is another possibility and that is a genuine fear rooted in real danger. The response by the managerial class may seem hysterical and irrational, but maybe that is just a byproduct of mass media culture. Maybe there is a real threat. The people running from the monster, shrieking like madmen, are not acting rationally, but their fear is not irrational either. The monster is real and is a real danger to them.
It should be noted that panic is not the default response to disasters or dangers. In things like fires, natural disasters and combat, panic is not typical. Instead, mutual aid is the most common response. An obvious example is the response of the people in the World Trade Center buildings during 9/11. Among the stories of great heroism were stories of incredible cooperation. People came together and helped one another get out of the buildings. Mutual aid and cooperation was the natural response.
Rather than a panic or mass hysteria, the White Fright may be a call to familiarity and mutual aid by the managerial class. The old political order is breaking down, as the inevitable consequences of multiculturalism manifest. What we could be seeing is a primal call for social re-attachment. The primary purveyors of the White Fright are white, or at least white presenting. The old good-white coalition is rallying around the fear of white supremacy, in defense of what is lurking outside the walls.
Of course, all of these possible explanations for the panics we are seeing are rooted in the general sense that society is fragmenting. That’s because current year America is fragile and possibly ready to shatter. The old political order is in decline and the rise of identity politics promises to replace it. These panics are as much about the fear of what comes next as superstition or immediate threats. The White Fright may one day be seen as the turning point in the rise of white identity politics.
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