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By David Futrelle
Alt-Right Nazis love calling conservative pundit David French a “cuck.” In part, that’s because alt-rightists love calling everyone they hate a cuck, and French — a never-Trumper who’s openly criticized the alt-right — is the sort of “cuckservative” that alt-rightists especially love to hate.
But a large part of the reason they so relish attaching this particular epithet to French– which they’ve been doing for years now — is that he and his wife have an adopted daughter from Ethiopia, making his family an multiracial one. In alt-right eyes, this makes French a “race cuck.”
James Poulos — executive editor of The American Mind, a publication of the right-wing Claremont Institute — evidently also likes to call David French a “cuck.” But apparently he felt that the case for French’s alleged cuckoldry lacked a certain intellectual rigor. And so he recently devoted 1600 words in The American Mind to a rambling, quasi-Nietzschean essay on French’s supposed “cuckery” and, more broadly, on the alleged changes in society that allegedly make this insult so allegedly resonant. The “geneology of cuckery,” he calls it.
The essay is, to put it plainly, a huge mess; Poulos buries whatever points he’s trying to make beneath a virtual avalanche of vague buzzwords. I’ve read the piece through three times now and only barely understand what he’s trying, and mostly failing, to say. Here’s a rather typical passage:
But the charge of cuckery, leveled against Christians like French, has to do with the perceived untenableness today of staking out a middle position between the Benedict Option of evacuating from fronts collapsing in the culture war and the yet-to-be-named option of reasserting powerful constitutional authority for localities to resist and reject colonization by the revolutionary vanguard of institutionalized wokeness.
That’s all one sentence, by the way. The whole piece is like this. Here’s Poulos trying to argue that there are deep cultural changes underlying the sudden popularity of the “cuck” insult:
The Nordlingerians do not grasp that the rise of the cuck charge is the product of changes in our social and psychological environment that supervene upon, and are independent of, ideological phenomena.
In case you’re wondering what, specifically, these “changes in our social and psychological environment” are, he mentions two: ubiquitous porn and, er, invisible robots.
This alien invasion of invisible robots our technologists have touched off makes us feel as if our own creation has betrayed us, because the order of machine memory obsolesces the whole social structure of imagineering that first twinkled into being during the Enlightenment and really took off with the advent of electricity.
I think he’s still mad because Google once apparently tagged an anti-multicultural polemic from The American Thinker as racist.
Speaking of racism: Poulos manages to avoid mentioning the outright racism behind most alt-right attacks on French, and he himself says nothing about French’s adopted daughter. But racist worries about supposed “white genocide” seem to underlie many of the arguments that Poulos shows sympathy for in his piece.
The metaphor of cuckoldry is selected to the exclusion of all others because nothing else quite as effectively sharpens the charge that your obsession with the details of honor and principle has in fact become fatally abstract: you are being kicked out of your own house by a rival power actively working to take away everything that is yours, your children included. You are becoming the end of your line, forever, in every respect. Yet you won’t even evacuate from your breached defenses before it’s too late. Only the heights of spiritual snobbery can explain such a choice.
So, don’t adopt children of another race, I guess? If that is indeed the implicit message (or one of the implicit messages) of this passage, it means that Poulos has managed to stretch out the “race cuck” epithet from two to 1600 words.
This whole weird episode suggests to me that the walls between those like Poulos who warn against the alleged dangers of “multiculutralism” and those who shout about “white genocide” are indeed thin — and porous.
H/T — Thanks to Twitter’s @ClenchedFisk, whose tweet on the subject led me to this essay.