My discussion with Jay Caspian Kang, about online activism and the future of the left, has drawn to a close. I really want to thank Jay for the invitation and for the spirited pushback. It’s been a great opportunity to flesh out my ideas, and to do so with direct and muscular disagreement, which is always useful as a writer. I also want to say that I think I am ready to move on from this line of criticism. I have one last piece on these issues that I’ve been working on, for some time, for another venue, but it’s more a personal story of my own evolution and much less a critique of current practices. (And honestly I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to get it into a form they’ll want.) At this point, I’ve made and remade my argument, everyone remotely interested knows how I feel, and I don’t want to pile on or have it become my only shtick. (I have many other shticks I’m more than happy to flog.) So, in the future, I think that this conversation with Jay is a good way to understand what I mean with this line of thinking– if people are, in fact, interested in knowing what I’m thinking, which isn’t always the case.
Ultimately, I have only tried to stress that there is a difference between sharing a vision of a better world with people and agreeing with them about how best to achieve it, and to make a case that today seems like a radical departure: that being good is not a instrument of doing good. I’ve made the case and it will stand or fall as wisdom or folly in time.