Justin Murphy is a fascist. He’s not a proper racist, or a proper misogynist, or a proper anti-Semite. He’s not a Nazi or even a bigot. He’s not a screeching demagogue or a violent terrorist or a crass, acidic ironist. But what he is, simply, is just a proper structural fascist. He’s polite and fluent in the manners of the academic Left, which makes him difficult to pin down. His fascism is chic-Deleuzian. Beneath his ostensibly post-political attachment to “nomadic,” “barbarian” online movements lies a younger, more nuanced iteration of the “Intellectual Dark Web” brand of politics. Petersonian, anti-SJW, postmodern, authoritarian performance art.
And thus, Justin should be cancelled. Not cancelled violently, spectacularly—not in the chaotic, unproductive “punch nazis” sense. His person is no immediate threat to public safety. He shouldn’t be #cancelled so much as his superpersonal essential characteristics cancelled, in the Hegelian meaning, aufgehoben—sublimated, negated in the process of reason coming into awareness of itself—cancelled in that the internal, underlying contradictions come to a resolution and produce some kind of higher knowledge. In other words, his art project should be cancelled, and it should be cancelled in the form of art.
Justin’s official, self-professed political ideology is apparently “Catholic libertarian communist.” But what is this, other than a fanciful collection of paradoxical terms? How are we supposed to interpret this? Is he any of these things? How much does he talk about Catholicism proper, libertarianism proper, communism proper? There is no intended value to these labels other than to negate each other and establish an implicit, tactical ironic distance from each of them. This heterodox political label is a stylistic allusion to the online communities whose energies he seeks to tap and a mask to conceal his true politics, whatever those true politics, if they exist, happen to be.
Justin calls himself a communist precisely to say that he is not a communist. It is always to separate him from “those” communists, the intolerant ones, the difficult ones, the joyless, preposterous, angry, absurd ones. He has transcended the stupidity of the campus Marx study group. He never is a communist in the present tense, but always was one. Someone who was something always has more to say than someone who never was in the first place. (Leftists wonder why the New York Times will always be more interested in the opinions of now-woke former Bush administration officials than theirs.)
Justin isn’t really a Marxist, not even in the sense that one could be a “Deconstructionist” Marxist. His suggestion for a feudal communism (“Make Communism Elite Again”), ridiculous and nonsensical on the surface, creates an obvious ironic distance that conceals the phantom kernel of seriousness—a proposal for technocratic authoritarianism, which is all that can possibly remain after feudalism and communism are totally abstracted from their historical conditions and put side-by-side. This distancing effect is also at play in the political-scientific analysis of Kekistan, which uses his academic discipline’s ordering methodology to come to a conclusion exonerating (rather than a more nuanced recognizing-and-overcoming) the iconography of Kekistan of its fascist-ironic—which is to say, contemporary fascist—overtones.
This technocratic-authoritarian kernel of seriousness attaches itself to the nomadic-barbarian tendencies of contemporary internet avant-gardes and hides among an amorphous, ever-shifting array of absurd virtual surfaces. It seeks to take advantage of the de-centered rhizomatic nature of these networks—it will seize anything and everything: feudal communism, Kekistan, Deleuzo-Petersonianism, and so on—using these non-contradictory names to stand in for the nameless absolute darkness at the unspeakable center: hierarchy, order, fascism.
Murphy is a true Petersonian at the core in that he deploys a series of symbolic-mythological masks to conceal what is fundamentally an unspectacular retreat into assumed hierarchies that undercuts radical opposition (in other words, the SJWs) to those hierarchies. For Murphy especially, these hierarchies are distinctly fascist, rather than simply conservative, in that rather than referring to an organic body of tradition, the political project unscrupulously attaches to any viral movement without any attention to internal logical coherence. There is no interiority to the signs it takes up, other than that unspeakable tyrannical center, which is not so much an interior as it is a void, an absence.
The question that remains is how to find an adequate ground for a critique of the ideology that saturates this authoritarian rhizomatic assemblage. How does one contradict a system of seemingly total non-contradiction?
8 thoughts on “Murphyist Microfascism”
A key premise of this post is that Justin’s feudal communism spiel is post-political, incoherent, or ironic. I don’t see it that way because Justin really does talk about this shit unironically. The feudal communism thing seems to me like he is independently stumbling upon paleocon. Parallel discovery should be expected because Justin is working on breadth-first search for alternative forms of governance.
Paleoconservative (with blockchain) is not fascist. It’s Jeffersonian with engineers substituted for freeholders. To a normie, I could simply say “Catholic parents, communist village, dismantled federal government”. That captures all three buzzwords without contradiction. That’s just my interpretation, but it’s a coherent and obvious intepretation. It’s dangerous and possibly stupid, but it’s more Catholic, more communist, more libertarian, and less fascist than the currently existing regime. I just can’t buy your argument that Justin is intentionally incoherent.
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I don’t think that the things you mention can credibly described as “fascist”. Wikipedia tells us that fascism means ultranationalism, a totalitarian state, a strongly reglemented economy, legitimized political violence and forcible suppression of opposition. Whatever Justin Murphy might think, it’s certainly difficult to stretch the concept of fascism so far that it encompasses his position.
When I search for “nation” on his twitter, I get old tweets saying “ugh nation states”. That doesn’t fit. Just like his tweet: “The more you incorrectly label good people enemies, the less friends you’ll have” fits with the supposed totalitarianism. As good as nothing matches. You mention hierarchy, but that is not a fascist belief. Which country nowadays doesn’t have hierarchies? I could go on and on…
I think you’re trying to taint him with a poisoned word he doesn’t deserve.
If you wish to genuinely ‘cancel’ Murphy then perhaps you should write to (as I and others already have) his superiors at his institution. Here are their contact addresses:
Or perhaps contact (as I have) student unions at Southampton who may not take kindly to his spurious proto- and/or crypto-fascism.
You people don’t belong anywhere near the academy. What happened to giving people the benefit of the doubt and hearing them out? Assuming good faith? No, you labeled him a fascist. No, we don’t hear out fascists. We don’t hear out hate speech. We don’t hear out witches. Burn them at the stake! #cancel them!
You think you’re against ignorance and intolerance but you’re just another iteration of intolerant zealotry.
Mike Crumplar is a CryptoMurphyist and I have proof. I hate to say it, but Q predicted this. Trust the plan.
Hello, this is “Penis Fred” and I think that this really articulates feelings about Murphy that I’ve had for a long time and had difficulty expressing. Thank you for this.