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Lords and Flies
by James Como
It’s been a while since I’ve read the magnificent Golding allegory I allude to in my title, but last weekend my high regard for it was renewed.
I’d been having a dollop of trouble tracking alt-Left gimmicks. For example, I’ve known it has grievances – indeed, ‘grievance’ is high on its list of Favorite Words – but alt-Left incoherence made that polemic and many others too entropic to follow. Its ideology seems theological, its morality therefore dogmatic, applicable only to its presumed adversaries: a one-way street, confusing but surely heading toward a Higher Good. It looks for “coded” language, and acolytes will find it, everywhere. (The problem with “make America great again,” it seems, is the ‘again’ – we know what that means.) It largely consists of the privileged yet nevertheless attacks “the privileged” and claims, paradoxically, to be “the victimized.” It is caring – another key word – in the abstract, so that any grand federal plan to achieve a more or less wholesome goal becomes fetishized, no matter its egregious ground-level downside.
It is fond of inventing concepts (like ‘cisgendered’, often used as a term of abuse) and of “communities,” groups who (necessarily) have been “victimized,” with a “special hell” reserved for community members who, not experiencing victimization, do not sign up for membership. (This labeling matters; it facilitates deification and demonization and is especially helpful if it can be summarized by a series of letters; I am a member of one such abused victim-group, the DCS, that is, the Differently Color-Sighted – dare you call me color “blind”?) It decries the “appropriation” of one culture’s features by members of another (thereby, of course, “victimizing” the former: a one-way boulevard). And it exhibits itself, demonstratively, its idiom being very strong emotion, which grants to it an absolute remit (permitting, for example, vile attacks on a ten-year-old). Moreover –
But I desist, because at last the incoherence has been neatly packaged: the cruelty, the febrile hatred, the celebratory irrationality – all of it conveniently bundled by the Women’s March, by women who, for example, excluded other women (too much diversity), or who cheered Ashley Judd’s semi-sociopathic rant and Madonna’s wet dream of bombing the White House (why not? CNN had already discussed the implications of a Trump assassination) and the burning of a limousine, or who . . . (I harbor the hope that at least a few participants have PMSS, Post-March Shame Syndrome.)
So wherefore my renewed appreciation for Golding’s novel? It gets the alt-Left right. When, at the end of the book, Jack’s febrile, painted, tribal herd, having risen to power on that ghastly island, is closing in on Ralph, the last vestige of civilization who has already been demonized, an adult shows up and puts a stop to it. It seems Donald Trump – for whom I could not vote – has come ashore just in time.