The Greatness of Freddie deBoer

If you want to understand how “progressives” think, you should read Freddie deBoer’s Substack. FdB is a brilliant writer and observer of things political and cultural. He is close enough to the progressives to see them up close and personal, but far enough away to offer clear-eyed descriptions and criticisms. A foul-mouthed stoner prophet to the progressives, and (as befits a prophet) usually without honor among his own.

(Honestly, I defy you to read Ezekiel and tell me “foul-mouthed stoner prophet” wouldn’t have been how the people of his time and place would have described him.)

For FdB: this essay is a great place to start. Or this. Or this. Adult language alert, btw.

I especially love this quote from the “Resilience” piece:

Sadly, nothing is complicated for progressives today. I think the attitude that all questions are simple and nothing is complicated is the second most prominent element of contemporary progressive social culture, beneath only lol lol lol lmao lol lol. Haidt’s interview with the WSJ was of course immediately dismissed and ridiculed, treated as a joke and dismissed as reactionary. Because Haidt talked about a culture of victimhood, he was immediately coded as right-wing, which is to say on the wrong side of the culture war. … Haidt’s concerns about depression and anxiety among Gen Z, which would seem to be an issue of great public interest, were immediately drowned out by the sound of a thousand bitter people dunking and loling. 


Still, I think Haidt’s perspective is much more nuanced than, say, Ben Shapiro’s. I also don’t entirely endorse Haidt’s argument and would not use his terminology. (Imagine, neither uncritical endorsement or simplistic dismissal.) Here’s what I do think. I think that suffering is the only truly universal endowment of the human species. If I know one thing is true about every single person reading this, it’s that at some point in 2023, they will suffer. Teaching people how to suffer, how to respond to suffering and survive suffering and grow from suffering, is one of the most essential tasks of any community. Because suffering is inevitable. And I do think that we have lost sight of this essential element of growing up in contemporary society, as armies of helicopter parents pull the leash on their kids tighter and tighter and as harm reduction has eaten every other element of left politics. (The piece notes that the age at which children are allowed to play outside alone has moved from 7 or 8 to 10 or 12 in short order.) 

deBoer is the person who made me re-evaluate my response to Trump; that’s a different story, I’ll tell it some other time. Suffice it to say here that he is a thoughtful, talented writer who will make you think about what other people think and about what YOU think.

Which is the whole purpose of reading people who write about politics and culture, isn’t it?

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