Bigsley the Oaf

Against weak antithesis

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on August 17, 2012

To analyze “antithesis” as such:

I feel like last night I had the same conversation that I’ve had a million times – someone (with all the best intentions) forwards an antithesis, but in so doing makes the same crucial mistake inherent in the thesis.

In this case, the guy I was listening to was rattling off some permutation of the usual ultra-progressive/anti-privilege banter. The thesis being the progression of white culture along genealogical lines – his antithesis being an racial/sexual pan-egalitarianism. But the thing is that he was making the same mistake that got white people in trouble in the first place; namely, he was over-committing to materialistic concerns. 

This is problematic in two ways.

First, even if his rhetoric were to become widespread and powerful enough (“if the truth is told in such a way as to be understood then it will be believed”) that it gained real political/social capitol, he would have accomplished nothing. Who cares about the color of the hand which holds the whip?

Second, ideological commitment to materialism is the crux of white privilege. If you buy into the framework then you are stuck in the web. You may feel like you’re arguing against privilege, but really you’re working on its behalf. This is because the power structures that be are powerful and intelligent enough that they will learn how to co-opt and transform your rebellion into Yet Another Tool of Oppression. So good luck with that.

More generally, we can think of a discourse as being generated by a teleological yearning [1]. To oppose the discourse  we must oppose its core. We cannot oppose the forms generated by the yearning! To do so would merely be to participate in the yearning and give it yet more power.

I run into this repeatedly!

– Atheists who participate in consumerist religiosity – who have religious sentiments which are co-opted by any symbol pedlar within earshot. 

– Anti-consumerists who fall into anti-consumerist consumerism. Oh you buy Dr. Bronners? You must be sooo fucking off the grid! Oh you watch TV on your computer? Yeah, I guess that’s not TV then.

– Anti-racists who participate in bigotry oriented around political ideology. They need an in-group, but they define their in-group by careful selection of the in-group they’re part of.


A crude geometric/physical metaphor: I imagine a hole and particles spinning around the hole. As the particles spin more quickly, their power increases the probability that some will enter the hole and exit onto the next plane. To oppose the progress of particles into the next plane we must act to stop up the hole – attempting to mess with the particles will only increase their kinetic energy, thereby increasing the probability that balls will enter the hole.


If you want to oppose something, do it purely, or shut the fuck up.


[1] I’ve written about this before (


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