The Daily Sceptic is dedicated to expressing scepticism about three contemporary cults: the cult of Covid-19, the cult of Climate Crisis and the cult of Wokery. I have written a few essays trying to offer suggestions about how to think of these cults and perhaps to sketch a grand unified theory of scepticism about them. I have described them as aspects of ‘nice totalitarianism’. I have suggested that they derive from a belief system which could be called ‘narcissistic gnosticism’. But let me try again, perhaps in blunter and simpler manner.
We are, I think, in a world of TOXIC MONOPOLIES.
I hope the irony in using ‘toxic’ is evident. We often hear much about ‘toxic masculinity’: but, as I hope to show, ‘toxic masculinity’ is one of the old (and not actually very toxic) monopolies; whereas the specifically toxic monopolies I want to talk about here are new.
Let me begin by telling a story about the recent history of the world. This history comes, as all good histories do, in three stages.
Stage 1 is the era of the existence of the old monopolies. This is the ancien régime, the world which runs from, say, Coriolanus to Oliver Cromwell, the world of military rulers, the world in which the only way to achieve political stability was to engage in successful wars, and the only way to achieve economic growth was to make successful conquests. At least in England, and in the centuries closer to Cromwell, the significant monopolies were three: the monopoly of the aristocracy, the monopoly of the church, and the monopoly of males, all three monopolies, happily, crowned by the king – or occasionally by a queen.