175 years of scholarship down the drain in an instant
The intellectual and moral collapse of the academic left in the face of Pharma fascism is one of the more heartbreaking and troubling storylines in the pandemic
I. The Collapse
I keep coming back to this story because it’s so astonishing and bewildering.
The academic left has spent:
Over 175 years studying capital — defining it and figuring out how it moves, grows, and shapes society (starting with Engels’ The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1845);
At least 80 years studying the origins of fascism (led by the Frankfurt School — German intellectuals who fled the Nazis including Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, and Erich Fromm);
50 years studying neoliberalism — the evolution and adaptation of capital to post-industrial societies (the foremost contemporary theorists of neoliberalism include Wendy Brown and Naomi Klein); and
45 years studying biopolitics — the ways in which state power manages and comes to dominate our biological existence (the term was coined by Michel Foucault, influenced by Jacques Derrida, and the current lineage holder is Judith Butler).
I have read widely across all four of these domains. Many of the foundational works in each of these areas are extraordinary. Millions of hours of intellectual labor have gone into creating these four domains of knowledge. In every case they were developed either to solve an urgent problem in society or to act as a bulwark to prevent society from sliding backwards into barbarism. When the social science left in academia today (sociology, anthropology, political science, and now gender studies) talk about how society works, they are usually drawing from one or more of these domains.
The Covid debacle of the last three years is an extreme expression of all of these tendencies in society.
• Capital captured the state, media, and science & medicine.
• The U.S. military and bureaucratic state, seeking to justify their existence, developed and unleashed a weaponized gain-of-function virus.
• The medical industrial complex withheld lifesaving medicines to create the trillion dollar market for a “vaccine”.
• The so-called “vaccines” are genetically modified messenger RNA that penetrates the human cell and turns one’s own body into a factory to produce spike proteins.
• The Fascist Pharma State requires that everyone in society submit to being injected with this GMO mRNA on a regular basis as a condition of employment, schooling, and participation in daily activities.
• The harms from these injections are the worst disaster in the history of medicine and all of this is covered up by the Fascist Pharma State, its lackeys, and a culture built around iatrogenocide.
Any and all of these troubling developments should be in the wheelhouse of the academic social science left. Capital, the state, and culture are behaving exactly as one would expect — as described in the vast literature developed over the last 175 years.
What’s bewildering and beyond comprehension at this point (at least for me) is that the academic social science left, that has prepared for this moment for nearly two centuries, refuses to apply their own beloved theories to the quintessential examples of everything that they claim to care about.
Indeed, many of the loudest critics of capital, corporations, and the state became the point of the spear for the Pharma fascist takeover of society under the guise of Covid (Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Micah White, George Lakoff, and Slavoj Žižek to name a few, but really the instinct to take a dive at the worst time is dominant throughout this class).
This intellectual and moral black hole has also afflicted academic-adjacent bougie left institutions — The Atlantic Magazine, The New Yorker, Salon, Slate, Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, the New Republic, the Nation, Mother Jones, Jacobin, NOW, NAACP, ACLU, AFL-CIO, etc.
Left academic-types who did not fall for this fascist nonsense and practiced the courage of their convictions by speaking out against the iatrogenocide are few and far between. I’m grateful for the work of CJ Hopkins, Naomi Wolf, Fabio Vighi, Giorgio Agamben, Mattias Desmet, and the extraordinary Mark Crispin Miller — but after that the list falls off precipitously. (If you can think of others please add them to the comments.)
The academic right has also been AWOL during this crisis for the most part (but I will leave it to others to call them out). The exception to this statement is the Brownstone Institute, a libertarian think tank that has done absolutely brilliant work throughout the pandemic and deserves our support.
II. An analogy
Many years ago I dated a woman in Los Angeles who had a massive dog. Half Rottweiler, half Akita, this dog was 120 pounds and could climb a tree like a squirrel. The dog was ironically named Michiko — from the Japanese word for “beautiful girl”. Michi was really sweet with humans but would instantly try to fight any dog she saw. It took us a while to understand the implications of this. One day while on a hike we encountered an equally-sized St. Bernard off-leash and Michi pinned the St. Bernard in about two seconds (I had to jump into the middle of that and I was glad to see that no animal was hurt, Michi apparently just liked the thrill of the takedown). On a walk amongst the ruins of the old LA Zoo, Michi tried to fight 5 dogs at once. Another time on a walk at night through a small town Michi tried to get into a fight with a stuffed animal dog in a gift shop window. Michi was so strong that we soon gave up on walks in the neighborhood. Instead we drove up Angeles Crest Highway into the mountains, found government land that was fenced off with a “do not enter” sign, and crawled under the fence to go for a walk off-leash with no other dogs.
This strategy worked. We wandered desolate trails and found small bodies of water where Michi could swim.
On one of these hikes, we came upon a fenced-off residential compound that was raising actual wolves (I don’t know how this is legal, but there they were). Michi didn’t bark, didn’t go up to the fence to get a sniff, instead she just looked back at us to hurry up and went right on past the compound as if these wolves did not exist. Later in the afternoon as we were getting back to the car, the wolves down the road in the compound started to howl — long, deep, and primitive, one after another — awoooooooo. Michi acted like she didn’t even hear them and for the first and only time was eager to get back into the car to get out of there. Michi was fierce and courageous (and loving and kind with us). But when faced with an actual wolf, she instinctively knew that she was outmatched and was not willing to risk a confrontation.
I think that’s what happened with the academic social science left during the Covid debacle. It’s one thing to study fascism at a remove — from the safety of New York for example with the full backing of the U.S. military and an ocean between us and the Nazis. And it’s easy to be brave when the atrocity is in the past, or in a far off land, or so endemic that no one is likely to do anything about it anyway (hence the critique is not really a threat to the existing power structure). But when genuine evil came to the U.S. in the form of Pharma fascism — when the wolf of totalitarianism arrived at our door — the progressive guard dogs of society put their tails between their legs and looked for ways to ingratiate themselves with those who were clearly more powerful and ruthless than they are.
It’s not difficult to figure out the dangers of vaccines. You can learn enough to be conversant in the issue in an afternoon — if one approaches the issue with an open mind (a rarity these days). What’s really difficult is emotionally coming to grips with what this means — that government and corporations are actively engaged in genocide, that science and medicine are so corrupt that they are a net harm to society, and that our entire society is built around poisoning kids and draining the wealth out of their families to enrich the largest and most powerful industry in the world. What’s difficult about this issue is coming to grips with the existential terror that sinks in (and never leaves) when we see our society as it really is.
And so when we think about the role of scholarship (learning, knowledge production) in society — one more thing that we have to add to the study of capital, fascism, neoliberalism, and biopolitics is the fact that when the game is on the line and society desperately needs the tenured academic class to show courage and leadership — most of these people will collapse into cowardice, disappear, and/or develop Stockholm Syndrome. Literally nothing they have said or written before gives any indication of how they will behave in a crisis.
This is depressing af. It is also wonderfully clarifying. It tells us in no uncertain terms that elites will not save us (they will save themselves though). It tells us that scholarship is fine to a point, but not necessarily very helpful in a fight. It reminds us to look for courage in each other rather than so-called experts or leaders.
I’ve been publicly fighting in the war against the iatrogenocide for three and a half years. I can name 1,000 warrior mamas who have more courage and wisdom than the academic left knuckleheads who have been going on and on for decades about the dangers of fascism. I know for a fact that the size of the fight inside warrior moms and dads is larger than the size of the fight inside Pharma executives and their government lackeys.
So yeah, these are incredibly dark times. But we are learning what’s important and what’s good and true as a society. I believe that the current crisis will lead to a massive restructuring. Bourgeois institutions are collapsing because they are designed to reward the corrupt and cowardly. Instead, people are turning inward to listen to their own intuition, turning to each other in families and communities, and turning to warrior moms and dads — who have been right about everything from the beginning — for their wisdom and guidance.
I mourn the incredible loss of life that has resulted from Pharma’s capture of the state. But I look forward to living in a society built around the sanctity of individuals and families, that understands the difference between actual science and corporate junk science, where evil doers are held to account, and warrior moms and dads hold places of honor. Let us make it so.
Update: December 22, 2024
The academic left perspective on the pandemic is not just wrong, it’s preposterous.
• The academic left will not follow the money and refuses to write about capital in connection with the pandemic. So apparently they no longer believe that capital is a force in the world (like gravity suddenly disappearing) or perhaps they think it’s benevolent (that GAVI and the corporatized W.H.O. really want what’s best for you). Micah White went from organizing Occupy Wall Street to now selling cryptocurrency at Davos and performing hypochondria by organizing outdoor masked family playgroups in Northern California, three years after the pandemic started.
• The DoD, CIA, NSA, and FBI are no longer the enemy. The academic left now sees the military industrial complex as a Friend(TM) who is keeping us safe through the most sophisticated global surveillance and censorship program ever created.
• Fascism is just an insult for hurling at ‘those racist redneck Trump supporters who are always trying to ruin everything.’ Fascism is seen as bad people, who vote Republican, there is no longer any study of structures and incentives.
• The academic left does not write about neoliberalism in connection with the pandemic. Either they are claiming that it vanished as an ideology or they see neoliberalism as a force for good — bringing forth a more efficient and equitable genocide. The foremost theorist and critic of neoliberalism, Naomi Klein, celebrated the reactionary fascist forces who attacked the Canadian trucker’s convoy (that was organized to end the junk science lockdowns and mandates). The past three years have been the quintessential example of The Shock Doctrine and yet the author of that book is now on the side of the jackbooted thugs.
• Biopolitics. FFS! Under the guise of the pandemic, the fascist Pharma state has openly declared that it owns your body and that you must turn every cell in your body into a miniature concentration camp to manufacture spike proteins for multinational chemical giants Pfizer and Moderna. And the left academic crowd, that has been going on and on about biopolitics for over four decades, unironically endorses this slavery.
I mean look, slow clap for the Pharma Fascists. They said, ‘watch us hypnotize our fiercest critics and make them squawk like a chicken.’ And they did. That’s the world that we live in today.
Blessings to the warriors. 🙌
Prayers for everyone fighting to stop the iatrogenocide. 🙏
Huzzah for everyone working to build the parallel economy our hearts know is possible. ✊
In the comments, please let me know what’s on your mind.
As always, I welcome any corrections.