The Liminalist # 179: Liminal Times (with Benjamin Boyce)

Two-hour conversation with Benjamin Boyce, on growing up in closet aristocracy, Fabian society, champagne socialists, anti-establishment establishment values, neoliberalism, malevolence and rhetoric, generational hypocrisy, Northern Foods, intelligence community and Fabianism, Marx in London, permeators, a cryptocratic rule, Bertrand Russell, the death of Sebastian Horsley, Jasun’s pilgrimage, from Morocco to Canada, a socialist life, liminality, cultural commentary & close reading, Benjamin’s Evergreen experience, infantile activism at Evergreen, the student takeover, addressing the administration, acculturation in pre-school, anti-oppression’s need for oppression, scapegoating Brett Weinstein, a call to anti-authoritarian authority, engineering opposition, kowtowing to progressivism, study of narratives, how consciousness operates through narratives, emerging into social consciousness, teaching two-year-olds, the emergence of an I, rudimentary theory of mind, morality & do unto others, the arrested development of the narcissistic ego, identity politics & the collective, a story of victim & victors, epic story culture swallowing up local heroes, Homer and the mythic template, cultural stereotypes, Asian culture, the myth of intersectionality, mandatory orientations of privilege, vilification of white man, Victor Turner and status reversal, decoupling power from competency, seeking first generational privilege, abusive child-rearing practices throughout history, Lloyd de Mause, seeking to oppress the oppressors, how to deal with trauma, revenge drama, the ritual reversal of high and low, black day at Evergreen, the ultimate evil of white supremacy, mapping an end-game scenario, the oppression of privilege, the model of running a thrift store, over-complexification, the idea of religion as social cohesion, the postmodern project, an Iliad of heritages, seeking an overarching narrative, warring mind viruses, cultural Marxism, the religious perspective and humility, surrendering the presumption of judgment, a transcendent principal, casting stones to prove purity, in God’s image, through the glass darkly, appropriating marginalities, a vicious circle of outrage, an opportunity for equanimity, the compassionate critic, getting past the surface, relating to categories, the value and problem of emoting, back to diaper-land, the emotional appeal of protest, becoming algorithmic, child defense filters, normalization of pathology & pathologization of normalcy, amping the volume, the values of radical activism, the marginality of courage, thriving on opposition, the need for articulation, creating a space for self-expression, going out on a limb, risking ostracization, creative criticism, the foundation of human community.

Benjamin’s YouTube Channel

Songs: “Slouching Towards Bremen” by Geoff Berner; “Let Your Hammer Ring” by
Monkey Warhol; “The Ear of the Happy Sailor” by We Is Shore Dedicated; Марина by POVALISHIN DIVISION; “These Words Are Yours,” by Hazelwood Motel

10 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 179: Liminal Times (with Benjamin Boyce)”

  1. I first came across the term ‘Fabian Socialism’ on Red Ice, where Henrik regularly inveighs against it. The generic google results always describe it as some ideology about inrementalist approach to transforming the capitalist world into something resembling an American’s idea of 1979 Sweden. Which sounds cozy to an American liberal. OR did. The dream seems to be dying though. Similarly, I first ‘Cultural Marxism’ listening to the saem show. I never could quite grok what how Marxism can be cultural. To me, Marxism is a useful way to look at economics. I’m not sure what utility it has beyond that. Digging around, I found this whole academic reality where “Marxism” as opposed to a way to critique late 19th century laissez-faire has been transformed into an all purpose tool to critique ‘oppression’. Then you slide down the rabbit hole of ‘lit-crit’ and those people are bonkers. Thank you for introducing me to Mr Boyce, who has some useful ways of looking at it all. Altogether a fascinating interaction.

  2. Oh derp- sorry i didn’t edit that very well. A stroke paralyzed two fingers in my left hand so I can’t type very well anymore. It kinda killed my ambitions as guitar maitre as well.

  3. Just finally got to listen to this podcast. And while honestly I’m bored with this topic that’s been flogged to death, it was a good conversation and Benjamin a good guest. BUT, Jasun, when I heard you say you don’t “believe” in global warming (I hate that term, but…) and you don’t “believe” in peak oil, and then right away say “people are unable to think coherently”, I had to come here to comment. Firstly I get that you are paranoid and everything is a conspiracy, to what end I fail to grasp. But to ignore facts and provable concepts and then talk about other people not thinking coherently is pretty interesting. I will just assume you are unread on the subject. These things aren’t matters of belief. They are concepts based in logic, and evidence. The only tools we have to prove the existence of something. Beliefs are matters of faith. Faith is playing with magic. If you want to throw science out the window and fall back into the dark ages, then we are surely doomed. The world is complicated now. For sure. Evolution is favoring the highly intelligent, at least those who are breeding. Not understanding what is occurring is no reason to deny its existence. THAT, and only that, is the problem in society now. Willful ignorance. I suggest you read more about climate change and peak oil before saying you don’t believe it. I find it odd that you brush these concepts off so easily when they are truly what’s the most pressing issue effecting our civilization’s survival.

    • I think you made the common assumption of conflating not believing with disbelief; I don’t disbelieve in peak oil, I simply do not believe in it because there is no need to & I haven’t done enough reading to have a strong opinion (eg belief). I do tend to lean towards believing in it because I trust someone like Kunstler and because my wife is often talking about it. With “global warming,” it is more a case of disbelieving and I disagree with your claim that it’s simply a matter of science, a very naive claim, frankly, since there is clearly an ideological, economic, and political element to GW narratives, making it closer to scientism-backed evidence than objective fact gained via the scientific method.

      Also, as I have discussed on YT, a true scientific method must include recognizing that the scientific method itself has limitations, and allowing that it can’t be used to understand or explain all of reality.

      I do agree that there must be a point at which we agree facts are facts and not merely beliefs; but where that point lies is quite individual and case by case.

      Your own comments suggest, to me, quite a bit of the baggage of belief, which to me is when a person thinks they know something, but doesn’t.

      • Putting aside the narrative that you like to obsess over, read the actual science. Not what the media tells you, but what honest scientists are saying. There ARE facts. Indisputable little things they are, they point to our near term extinction. Read that closely, NEAR TERM. The narrative, if there is one, is that there is endless oil, and that we have all the time in the world to keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. I’m pretty certain any smart, rational person who truly examines the science, and the evidence, will see what’s at stake. Will not be left with doubts. And I’m not concerned with who’s fault it is. It is occurring, and I promise you that before you die of old age you will be extremely hard pressed to deny it. And to suggest we carry doubt due to sciences limitations is exactly what science does. Have you ever carried out an experiment? I have no “baggage of belief”. I have spent 100s of hours reading and listening to the actual people carrying out the experiments and documenting what is occurring. They have no doubts. Why should I? What we should be doubting is that there is some damn conspiracy to lie to us about the climate.

    • Funny, because the “peak oil” thing was nagging on me as well these past few weeks, but for maybe a different reason. I am hoping that “Abiogenic petroleum” is discussed here one day.

      “Abiogenic petroleum origin is a term used to describe a number of different hypotheses which propose that petroleum and natural gas are formed by inorganic means rather than by the decomposition of organisms.”

      Sort of like who when you give blood, the water in your body is replaced a bit faster than the red blood cells, which do replenish themselves, albeit slower than the water. So I guess the oil/natural gas would keep forming in the Abiogenic petroleum idea.

  4. Hi Jasun, just wanted to clarify that the term “neoliberalism” is an economic term. It refers to neoliberal economics and is typically associated with the policies of Thatcher/Reagan.

    Wikipedia: Neoliberalism is the 20th-century resurgence of 19th-century ideas associated with laissez-faire economic liberalism and free market capitalism.

    The topics you discuss are not related to “economic liberalism,” but rather “social liberalism.” (Postmodernism, identity politics, etc.) I’ve heard you mention “neoliberalism” numerous times, but it doesn’t make sense in the context you’re using it in, and it sort of makes me cringe because you usually have such a great facility with words. 🙂

    • Yes I stopped using it partly for that reason, tho i bet the two things can be connected if one had enough knowledge and insight. ID politics IS literally a form of neo-liberalism, after all. sometimes I want to use a word for what it communicates rather than what the dictionary tells me it means!

      • Yes, I do agree that the two things can be connected. Just off the top of my head, we could theorize that economic neoliberalism, which worships “the free market” and “freedom of choice,” leads to extreme individualism, which then manifests as ID politics, transgender, etc. But I could just as easily imagine a society that is economically liberal and socially conservative. (sort of like Switzerland?)

        “sometimes I want to use a word for what it communicates rather than what the dictionary tells me it means!” That damned dictionary! 🙂

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