Listen now | Yascha Mounk talks to Wesley Yang about the meaning and the prospects of the "successor ideology."
Excellent discussion; definitely among the most interesting and thoughtful I've heard on this subject, which I think is very important.
Two interrelated points that I would have liked to have been explored and were not, however, are the class dynamics involved in both the appeal and institutionalization of the successor ideology, and the likelihood that said ideology has and will continue to contribute mightily to right-wing reaction and, in the process, further threaten liberal norms and procedures.
Prof. Adolph Reed has long argued that what he simply refers to as "identity politics" is essentially a tool of a rising segment (i.e., female and/or non-white) of the professional-managerial class. It would be great to hear Yang assess Reed's socialist-based analysis, which puts a lot more emphasis on material factors, rather than psychological and cultural ones.
Similarly, there is a very compelling argument I've heard that holds that today's "oversupply of elites" is very much contributing to the appeal of the successor ideology. This holds that because our society produces far more ambitious college grads than it does appealing professional jobs, anything that will help such people beat the competition and/or get rid of older people who are taking up slots and have power is very appealing.
Even if such a crass motive is never consciously recognized as such (which I believe is the case), that doesn't mean it's not operative, at least in part. Personally, I think that it works hand-in-glove with the more personal, psychological, and experiential factors that Yang focused on in this discussion, which also seem clearly important.
As far as right-wing backlash goes, I think it's definitely happening and will grow. This will further threaten the liberal values that Yang is concerned with (and I definitely share that concern).
But again, it's the double whammy that's worth considering in more detail. There is a reciprocal dynamic in which the increasingly powerful force of the successor ideology works to generate more aggressive pushback, some of which takes the form of more aggressively racist, sexist etc. thought and language, which come to be seen as more edgy, rebellious, and appealing among certain segments of the population. This growing backlash is then is used to justify the need for an even more draconian enforcement of the successor ideology - and the downward spiral deepens.
This is not to suggest that racism and sexism don't operate fully independently of any successor ideology dynamics as well, or that said reaction might not simply be an excuse to broadcast such hate more aggressively by some. But it seems logical to me to assume that there is a cross-fertilization here that has already moved in the wrong direction, and that is likely to grow even worse in the future.
I grew up in Soviet Union. I am Jewish. In no shape or form my friends or I support Alt-Right. But many people I know voted for Trump (I did a write-in), because we consider Alt-Left - or Successor Ideology more dangerous as it has powerfull support of Universities and HR departments.
No one in polite society will voice support of Proud Boys, but somehow it is acceptable to dismiss anti-antisemitism when it comes from Blacks, violent riots can be criticized only with qualifiers and corporations are chastised into submission.
I read Slate and NYTimes - Slate especially convinced me not to support Biden. NYTimes used to be a voice of reason, that's under question too.
I'm refreshing my old skills - ability to discern truth from partial and biased information.
Such a brilliant conversation!