Virtue Hoarders (2021, University Of Minnesota Press) 2 stars

A denunciation of the credentialed elite class that serves capitalism while insisting on its own …

Good points, but very tone deaf

2 stars

The book has good points. I specially enjoyed the chapter "The PMC Reads a Book". Throughout the book she explains how the PMC uses supposedly progressive agenda to conceal its real class-based politics. It's nothing new that, for instance, feminism, anti-racism, pro-LGBT causes aren't necessarily progressive and can be, and actually were in many situations, used to push for conservative, capitalist, anti-working class politics. I think of TERFs and Puar's homonationalism. There's nothing inherently liberating in these "causes", and we should pay attention to the way we take those discourses for granted - as we "progress" and people agree with these ideas more and more, it becomes easier to trick people while sounding rad. This is just marketing: now that we care about women's rights, or at least pretend to, we have to tone-adjust our language to get across our message, EVEN if this message is actually against women. Capitalist recuperation is how many authors call this: left-wing radical politics being used as a "packaging" for politics that aren't really radical, but seem so to us, whose sensibilities are different than that of previous generations. However, this criticism could have been done better: the author seems to despise all these causes. Her tone is really irritating: "Socialism itself is neither glamorous nor innovative: it does not sprinkle its agendas with new pronouns or fancy neologisms". How is this actually helpful? It's like she's getting money to make people go as far as possible from socialism. If I didn't know better, that's what I would do. Is this the actual strategy of north-american socialists? Because trans rights are working class rights. Even hardcore marxists theorists agree. How can the author of this book be so dismissive of it?

The way she talks about "identity politics" makes her sound delusional. One thing is to disagree with how much of identity politics is devoid of meaning, or uses a horrible strategy - i would 100% agree. Another completely different thing is to think identity politics and LGBT rights, anti-racism, etc., are the same thing. The strategies, tactics are not the same things as the causes; people have to get it wrong to do it better. If college students are inarticulate and generally bad at criticizing things this does not mean that the causes they are pushing for are bad - just that they can't get their message across. It takes time to mature things. You need to make mistakes in order to get better at what you're trying to do. The book is very moralizing about this, as if the author's POV was absolute. It felt really patronizing to read. What are her intentions? It's like she's virtue signalling from the upside down of the overton window. Very ideologically inconsistent.

I'm having a hard time processing how can so many contradictory ideas exist in the same person. Maybe it's a cultural thing. Her discourse is not different from Brazil's far-right, regardless of her socialist inclinations. If someone can explain the context to me i'd love to hear. I just don't get this.