The conservative who protests that he is just an individual, treats people as individuals—the conservative liberal—is complicit in the very problems he claims to oppose; specifically, in the contemporary environment, the “woke madness” he so deplores. So, for example, there might be a debate in which a black woman explains her Netflix documentary about black hair—she explains that for centuries black women have only seen adverts with white models, have struggled to straighten their hair to an adequate degree (how this is, in fact, impossible); they always fail to meet the implicit white beauty standard—and so it is time to foreground the implicit bias in the beauty industry, to put more bulky female models in prominent positions; and to have a discussion about black hair—indeed, as one Australian shampoo ad has always put it: “You need to have a conversation with your hair.” (I shaved all my hair off, this is a conversation with nothing).
“Well, people have different hairstyles. I don’t think we need to make this into a political issue. I don’t particularly think about ‘black hair’, just hair.” The debate might deepen a bit (though, frankly, probably not), so as the conservative continues: “We just see people, this is our Enlightenment heritage. I’m a rational man and there are certain universals that apply across the world—I’ve no problem with how anyone wants to do their hair, so long as it’s not so gelled it spikes me in the eye of course. Ha-ha. Seriously, it’s thanks to our liberal democracy, our Judeo-Christian heritage, and our Enlightenment values that we can all have the freedom and prosperity to do our hair however we want—and I think [strikes a smug pose], we can all be very glad about that; perhaps we ought to think about how lucky we are.”
He is complicit in his own defeat—he is a patsy. The reason is that hair is different—along with many other things—due to racial characteristics; and it is a blow to your thymos, your self-conception, to live in an environment where you are the racial outsider; even in terms of coiffure. People who claim otherwise have never been abroad outside the Western world, or have never worked in an inner London call centre—it is alienating when all your colleagues, except three, are black or Asian; and when some wear a full niqab over their face to take the calls.
The left grasps the inherent differences but conceptualises them as cultural. Their assertion that black women’s hair is different to white women’s hair and that white women’s hair has been normative for centuries is true. It is just that, putatively, this difference is a move in the cultural dialectic that will eventually lead to a universal human hair type—perhaps a single hairstyle, the Absolute hairstyle. To foreground the power relations inherent in hair is one step towards the ultimate hairstyle—the hairstyle that reconciles all contradictions present in current hairstyles.
The conservative, although he praises himself on his “realism”, flat-out denies reality—perhaps he should spend a week in a salon with curling tongs at work on black women’s hair, then he can spend a week in a white salon and tell me if there is a difference. He also denies that there is any particular thymotic element associated with your group not being the default, as Westerners have been the default for several centuries—and particularly thanks to 20th-century Hollywood. Now, just because you are disprivileged does not mean it is axiomatically justified to displace the current order; yet to deny that it exists is obtuse and, really, stems from fear—the fear that the reality is too primal and too terrible and so we would do better to pretend it does not exist.
The result is that conservatives are exactly what the left has accused them of being for decades: hypocrites—proud hypocrites (“That’s just how the world works, chum.” smug smile). The hypocrisy gives the left the necessary traction for their causes. Real answer: “These hair types are used because people find them more attractive, not because they are chosen for ‘whiteness’ but because those traits frequently found in whites are the most attractive. We’ve always used a few black models who are also beautiful. This ‘unfair standard’ is admired by non-white people as well; they have not been brainwashed—that is why skin-whitening cream sells so well in India.” No hypocrisy there. If you do not say it how it is—especially if you have managed to drag this fact to consciousness and then suppressed it—then you are a hypocrite and you deserve to be beaten by the left; they have at least stated the bare facts, even if they have only told a half-truth to advance their agenda.
It comes down to whether you want to be a “good boy” or a whole person—conservatives want to be “good boys”; they never break the law, either explicit or implicit, and they are always mortified at the “totalitarian threat”. Yet they forget that there is no creation without “evil”. To put it in straightforward biological terms: no “innocent”—as innocent as a human can be—bouncing babies without sex. Conservatives are like some prudish maiden aunt who watches a TV drama that gets a bit spicy—the car window fogs with condensation—and then says “oh, they’re being naughty”. Actually, even people with exploratory sex lives still behave in this way, as if they are virginal (maiden aunts are in short supply these days)—and that is because people are unintegrated. The “bad thing”, the thing that is like murder—even is euphemistically called “murder” by women—leads to the “good” thing; so there is no “good” or “bad”, just a beautiful whole—the good-bad thing.
Conservatives are just “good”, so they will never admit, for example, tribal partiality. Even extreme conservatives will squirm and say, “I didn’t have anything to do with Drogheda or the transatlantic slave trade, you can’t pin it on me—I’m not responsible.” Unfortunately, you are—you are not an atom, you are part of an extended family and that family has a history; and the past is present in the present, in fact the way we live makes no sense unless we take minimal cognisance as regards the past—even if you deny it, others see it that way; and they will exploit you if you drop your defences and act like an atom. Conservatives are irresponsible.
It is true that some people care more about the past than others, only one person in a family will make a family tree—although most will express some interest in it. However, even the most unhistorical person would not deny their own history; they do not wake up every day as a blank slate—they remember school, university, first job, first kiss, promotion, marriage; and they need to remember to orientate themselves today—even to learn anything.
So conservatives will disclaim any responsibility for the transatlantic slave trade, but neglect to mention that the slave trade was essential to the capital accumulation that facilitated the Industrial Revolution—an event they praise extensively; and an event that eventually made the slave trade uneconomic so that emancipation became likely. “I am responsible, it was necessary—slavery was a normal institution throughout history; it is just another form of property ownership—and it led to many positive developments. People who attack it only do so because they hate private property, not out of ‘humanitarianism’. You cannot have genuine progress without so-called evil; if we never have “evil” then we are static—nothing would ever happen, ever.”
Conservatives would rather be innocent unproductive people who never made a mistake and never hurt anybody, being mired in childish moralism, rather than dynamic people who grow—a message that is both oddly Nietzschean and also found in the Christian injunction that people suffer because God wants us to improve through pain.