After Oct 7, some purple-haired genderqueer activists on TikTok have taken to reading the Koran and are pondering converting to Islam. That may seem like a leap, but once you’re a teenage girl who decides to be a boy for internet clout, changing to Islam is less difficult.Hijabs, like dyed hair and androgynous clothes, have long become just another accessory of restless social change. Commercials that claim to relate to the youth invariably include a woman in a hijab as a progressive marker alongside a purple haired they/them, an ascetic activist type in a t-shirt and random minorities laughing together while having lattes on a college campus. Every generation in the last 60 years has grown up with less of a sense of who it is than the previous one. The intangible sense of being an American that once came from boundless frontiers, a work ethic, a sense of fair play and meritocracy was replaced by cultural programming distributed by daily newspapers, big publishing houses and movie theaters, then television networks and colleges, and finally a massive chaotic stream of social media sewage. American identity used to be so strong because it was internal and acquired through hard work and the character shaping experiences of life in a country with many possibilities, but it became performative for those members of newer generations with diminishing frontiers who acquired theirs from following a script written for them by the entertainment industry and radical academics. Rather than learning who they were, they copied who they thought they should be.
Social media combined with academic theories that reduced all identities to a construct unleashed a generation of mutants who mimeographed behaviors on social media. Identity became a game. And identity could be gamed for maximum advantage. Socially astute and emotionally unstable teens spread social media diseases like transgenderism or facial ticsPolitics became just another cultural identity that could be cosplayed at will. Some social media influencers played far-leftists and then fascists, putting on and taking off costumes, swapping t-shirts with different slogans, Antifa shirts giving way to farm dresses and then hijabs. On Sunday, they’re wearing pink hats, on Monday, they’re attending alt-right art shows, on Tuesday, they have their fists in the air for BLM, and on Wednesday they’re waving ‘Palestinian’ flags. “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” segueways to “From the River to the Sea.” They rarely understand any of the causes they embrace, but politics to them is just a fashion show. It’s hard to blame the mutants. They grew up on social media where the old high school cliques are about international politics, massive lifestyle changes or castrations and mastectomies. The outfits and the posturing are about getting attention, finding a group, and a lucrative side hustle. Social media and academia turned millions of people into living viruses whose emotional needs drive them to find weaknesses in our existing systems and ways of living. Teenage girls who might have gone goth and flirted, but not too seriously, with suicide in a previous generation announce that they’re boys and encourage impressionable younger girls to join them. People die and have their lives ruined, but teenage fads always did that. They rarely disrupted society on this scale, and the teenagers usually moved on and grew up. But that was when there was something to grow up to and a sane world waiting out there for them. In the age of corporate affinity groups and workplace DEI, the intellectual chaos of teenage and college years extends into their adult jobs. And social media continues to incentivize the same behaviors. The adult world with its fixed truths and serious responsibilities is less present than ever. Rather than imposing the reality that so many had expected, dismissing campus antics with, “just wait till they grow up and get jobs”, that world is a reflection of the same cultural chaos and instability. What is truth, morality, love, family, right and wrong, or even a woman, are up for grabs. And social media has become the battlefield for the endless debates about every element of reality. The essence of ‘mutantness’ is that change has become its own identity. Radicalism exists for the sake of radicalism. The culture war was always about making leftist politics into the source of identity, but much as in Weimar Germany, this didn’t lead to dominance, just instability. What does perpetual rebellion turn into when there is nothing to rebel against? A broken society eventually slides into communism or fascism just so someone will finally end the chaos. The ideal recruits for totalitarians are believers who can latch onto any mass movement at the drop of a dime because they desperately need something to believe in to fill the hole within. The leftist culture war has left behind generations of cultural orphans, robbed of faith, family and country, who veer between causes and identities, changing politics, religions and genders with total ease because they want to believe, yet they were born without anything to believe in. Academic theories have taught them to see everything from the outside, not the inside. Gender, race and sexuality are mere constructs. So they become genderfluid and invent minority roots. Politics is all-consuming, but also meaningless, so they scream for the ‘current thing’. They’ve been robbed of the ability to feel so they go to extremes to try and briefly feel something. They act out political and gender roles from the outside: they imitate because they have been made incapable of experiencing. With no identity of their own, they’re all ‘Obamas’, trained to see the culture from the outside, fitting in by sending cultural signals, gaining social clout by manipulating people on social media, and yet remaining cold and unfeeling inside. You might say that a generation raised on social media is a generation of Obamas. Leftist culture warfare and extremism has created a culture that no one can fit into except by mimicry and running along to keep pace with its latest shifts. The pop culture of last year is this year’s hate crime. Yesterday’s virtue is today’s vice. The best way to adapt is to just shout along. And that is how you end up with mobs chanting in support of Hamas. You could just as easily get them to rally in support of burning witches or killing all the children because most of the participants don’t understand the cause and have learned to internalize a barrage of memes and first-person emoting without feeling the reality of the cause or grasping the consequences. Nothing is real to them except their own internal unreality and the emotional pain they feel. Mutants are too busy running away to want to think about what they’re running to. Today’s cause will get tiring soon. It will require too much commitment and then grow stale. They will have to look at themselves in the mirror and see that they are the same people they were yesterday. And then they will find a new cause to champion and a new disguise to wear. Today they’re transgender, tomorrow they’re Muslims. And the day after tomorrow? Maybe they’ll be Nazis. There are so many possibilities, so many shades of eyeshadow they can put on while listening to lo-fi beats derived from 1920s music: a new reinvention is just waiting for them. This one, the next current thing, will surely work and make them feel like they matter. The first casualty of a culture war is the culture. People who derive their identity from the culture, become mutants, changing all the time, zombies, shambling soullessly along, or grab a piece of the culture to recruit their own mutant and zombie armies to gain power. Or they unplug from a culture gone mad and reach for the truths of their own character. Know thyself, an old dead white man once said. That is still the only bulwark against mass cultural programming and a society gone mad. We are entering a world of knowers and mutants, those who know what they believe and those who will believe anything. Those who do and those will do anything so they never have to look themselves in the eye. The business of a healthy society is expecting each man and woman to know themselves. Those who believe in nothing, can become anything, but those who know themselves, can become who they are and fulfill their potential. Mutants can’t change the world, only destroy it. To change the world, a man or woman has to first deal with their greatest enemy: themselves. The mutants are willing to do anything to avoid being themselves. They will disfigure themselves, tear down our society, or kill millions so they never have to know themselves.