Are we trapped in the modern high school forever? -- The idealism of traditionalist dissent
By Mark Wegierski
The late modern high school setting, especially in large-urban areas, could be seen as one of the central conceptual structures determining society today. For most of the more decent and reflective people – regardless of the nominal provenance of their outlooks – it is frequently a hellish environment. Indeed, one may ask if we are trapped in the modern high school – and its various societal and media extensions – for the rest of our lives?
It may be argued that the left-wing outlook of the valorizing of the social peripheries has negative consequences for the nurturing of decent, truly integrated human personalities. It does appear that in the typical late modern high school, it is the shy, reflective, decent people, those young men and women who have the courage to say "No!" to illicit drugs, alcohol abuse, promiscuity, cruising, "alternative lifestyles", and so forth, who are the most persecuted and put-down group. The only alternatives they are offered to the thoroughgoing liberalism that surrounds them are the hazy pseudo-critiques of a supposedly overly-conservative society. It happens that in such high school situations, many of the truly reflective and decent people of our society wander about half-dazed and half-broken, usually not especially conscious of what is disturbing them and the society as a whole.
One could say that, if generational rebellion truly is inevitable, let it flow in a natural and socially-meaningful direction -- towards a rejection of the whole system of media-oligarchy, with all its sterility and machine-like conditioning processes.
Even rock music, one of the primary means for the "socialization" of youth into liberal social reality, maintains strong Romantic and idealistic themes, however distorted they might be. To properly elucidate these themes, through subtle lyrical and melodic analysis, in a socially meaningful way, would be a quick point of entry into the very centre of contemporary media-generated "youth-culture". The main rock subgenres that could be pointed to, as at least somewhat helpful, are Eighties' "retro" and Seventies' so-called "progressive rock."
Surely, there can be no cause more heroic and idealistic than to fight against a corrupt and socially-destructive oligarchy; to discover real meaning and worth in one's own life; and to participate fully in a real social, communal, and spiritual life, "heart speaking to heart".
What society does need is a union of those pure in heart, to overcome the reductive forces of an ideology which tries to reduce the human being to a meaningless lump of matter, to be shaped, manipulated, coerced, and destroyed at will.
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four offer two extreme, hypothetical examples of dystopia: one based mostly on semantic/normative control (a possible end-product of modern liberal societies); the other mostly on semantic/coercive domination (what might have been a possible end-product of coercively totalitarian, Leninist societies). The semantic element is nevertheless extremely important in the [ul]Nineteen Eighty-Four[ul] society – "Newspeak is Ingsoc, and Ingsoc is Newspeak."
Even in today's society – which claims to uphold classical liberal freedoms -- those few, fully self-conscious persons of the social mainstream who dare to express sharp dissent in public against the various idols of "political correctness" often become social pariahs. They are typically branded with various current-day epithets, and, indeed, often unable to pursue a normal life and path of employment, unless exceptionally resilient, intelligent, or lucky. And just one unfortunate remark can sometimes result in the destruction of a long, distinguished career.
Also, since political-correctness dominates the socially-impacting disciplines in most institutions of higher learning, tradition-minded persons cannot today flee into what were in earlier ages the comparatively placid groves of Academe, for quiet thought and reflection on the trials and tribulations of the age. Indeed, post-secondary education today is frequently a setting for ever-deepening disorder and decay. A typical U.S. college setting was satirized by Tom Wolfe in his recent novel, I Am Charlotte Simmons. One also saw the news-stories about the "sensitivity hazing" that straight white males – who are all presumed to be "evil oppressors"-- have to undergo in their first weeks at many American colleges.
For many tradition-minded persons, one is indeed constantly sailing among reefs and shoals in the typical Canadian or American college environment. In such an environment, one must somehow survive by dint of sheer hard work, as well as by considerably tailoring one's academic endeavours to "politically correct" expectations, learning to avoid the most excessively left-wing programs, courses and professors, and keeping very quiet most of the time. It can sometimes become very socially unpleasant if one, for example, has a markedly conservative letter-to-the-editor published in a college's main student newspaper.
The moment when one achieves one's undergraduate degree with considerable academic accomplishment is one milestone to freedom. The extent of one's success in the undergraduate program, usually determines whether one will be accepted into graduate school and/or into a professional program.
The person usually has to hold on, mostly in silence, until their graduate or professional degree is completed, and some kind of hopefully remunerative position is obtained. As the person tries to make some kind of social, political, and cultural impact (for example, through freelance articles), they must also give considerable attention to their workplace arrangements. In some workplace settings today, becoming a "known conservative" could be a highly uncomfortable situation. If they are in such settings, most persons can usually do little more than pseudonymously publish a blog written and put together from their home computer.
Nevertheless, one is called to persevere in one's resistance to the current-day, "managerial-therapeutic regime."
One would like to reinforce today the notion of the authentic idealism of traditionalist dissent, especially within the highly inhospitable large-urban areas of Canada and America, as well as in such social sectors as the entertainment industry and media. Consider, for example, how daring it would be for some well-known Hollywood personalities to openly declare themselves as being conservative! Tradition-minded persons could cheer themselves with the idea that those who play a part in tempering or possibly overcoming the great behemoth-system of this age may be among the greatest, truly heroic men and women of all ages. To consciously resist various kinds of evil, even when the odds seem hopeless, is where the true worth of human beings is proved. Indeed, it is the call "to redeem the time."
Mark Wegierski is a Canadian writer and historical researcher.