Weird Subcultural Safety Signalling Doesn’t Make Normal People Feel Safe
Also I learned about the word 'securitarian'
Recently a friend was telling me about a project they’ve been working on. They’re involved in the setup of a community co-op, which will be owned and operated collectively and is intended as a meeting space, organizing hub, and generally nice place to hang out with your friends and have some beers and work on stuff. It sounds like a cool project: building a local space for socializing and organizing, while taking capitalists and owners out of the equation by rooting it in the co-operative model.
Obviously however, we can’t have nice things. The bar isn’t even open yet and already the death-drive of the identitarian fundamentalists is making itself known behind the scenes, with people involved in the project aggressively pushing for various measures to make it ‘safe’, including pre-emptively banning people they don’t like and addressing perceived identitarian grievances that haven’t even occurred yet. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I don’t even have to go into the specific details of this particular co-op or the particular things these particular True Believers are calling for in order to be able to write about it, because anyone who has been around this kind of project even peripherally knows the drill. It repeats like clockwork all over the Anglosphere: lefty space opens, annoying people embark on a quest to impose ‘safety’ through the introduction of a series of increasingly paranoid and nonsensical measures, everything descends into spirals of recrimination and virtue-signalling, and then it falls apart and we are left with nothing.
There is a word to describe an inordinate obsession with safety: securitarian. Typically it’s been used to describe the kind of bug-eyed, heavily-armed conservatives who spend their lives glued to 24-hour news networks, or the gruesome law-and-order politicians they vote for; the kind of people who strongly feel that as long as it makes the streets safe for hard-working wealthy business owners, anything is justified. But it has increasingly come to apply just as accurately to huge swathes of the left. Countless people involved in the left have descended into a mindset absolutely prioritizing safety above all else. Unlike the drooling Fox News flunkies, leftish securitarians are unlikely to call the cops (unless a homeless person wanders in to the queer co-working space). But they share with their right-wing counterparts a kind of reflexive aversion to normal working class people doing normal working class people things.