Keith Preston on Woke-Capitalism, the Corona-Panic, and “totalitarian humanist revolution”


I present the following essay, by Keith Preston, on the Corona-Panic’s place in history, the Panic’s ties to Wokeness and “Woke Capitalism,” and to geopolitical developments playing out in the 2010s and 2020s. It is a unique perspective on the meaning of the Panic of 2020.

This essay is based on an overlooked “Tweet thread” by Keith Preston. It has been adapted and edited by me (E. H. Hail) to suit this format; it has been “de-Twittzerized.” Nothing substantive within his arguments has been changed. (See original raw tweet-thread here.)

Following the essay are some words about Keith Preston and his politics. Comments invited.

Understanding the Totalitarian Humanist Revolution: Wokeness, the Corona-Panic, the New Ruling Class, and Geopolitics

1250 words

(by Keith Preston;
edited and adapted by E. H. Hail.)


THE beginning of the pandemic, three years ago this month [i.e., in March 2020], sparked a revolution. First, the global capitalist classes used conditions as a pretext for massive economic consolidation and upward wealth distribution. Next, the economic and social effects triggered an insurrection by the Lumpenproletariat that subsequently turned into a general popular rebellion. Third, the ascendant sectors of the capitalist class used the rebellion as a pretext and rode the wave of popular revolt to vastly increased power. The “Woke revolution,” which has occurred in various institutional sectors over the past three years, was a product of this process.

The dominant factions of today’s ruling class are: digital capitalists, bourgeois bohemians, “newly rich,” the professional-managerial class, and [racial-]minority elites. They are abetted by Neocons, the media, other corporate capitalists, and Never Trumpers.

Totalitarian Humanism is the self-legitimating ideological superstructure of this new ruling-class coalition. Totalitarian Humanism’s cultural and ideological hegemony are asserted by the massive proliferation of “Woke marketing,” ESG (Environmental Social Governance), DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging), iconoclasm, and other efforts. “Woke Capitalism” is now the centrist, ruling class and pro-ruling class position.

(caption: The International Finance Corporation’s “END RACISM” banners, 2020.)

Interestingly, Woke Capitalism has been able to coopt virtually all of the so-called “Left” as the “new bourgeoisie.” Hence, the dominance of the upper-middle class on the present-day “Left.” While Woke Capitalism functions as the new ruling class, the professional-managerial class functions as the new clerisy, i.e., the disseminators and arbiters of the dominant social values and cultural paradigm. The rise of “Woke Marketing” represents the dominance of Totalitarian Humanism in the “ideas industries,” of which advertising is certainly one, along with media generally.

“Conservatism” is now dominated by people who would previously have been considered moderates, libertarians, center-right, or moderate liberals in terms of opinions, along with assorted weirdos drawn from tabloid subcultures. “Conservatism” is also now the party of the largest sectors of the Proletariat and Lumpenproletariat, as evidenced by voting patterns and cultural norms. Trailer-park values are now the norm on the “Right,” as evidenced by figures like Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and even Ashley Babbitt. The leader of “Conservatism,” Trump, is not a “faith, family, and flag” type. He is rather a representation of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy philosophy, watered down to trailer-park levels.

These political trends overlap with a “re-proletarianization” of labor and the growth of a massive Lumpenproletariat rooted in deindustrialization, globalization, and the Third Worldization of the U.S. political-economy. “Ghetto culture” is now the norm among the general working class.

Glenn Greenwald aptly described the Totalitarian Humanist coalition that comprises the present-day ruling class, and why the Left is now “conservative” in the sense of being the defenders of the dominant ideological superstructure:

“If Biden wins, …the power structure [will be]: a Democratic Party fully united with neocons, Bush/Cheney operatives, CIA/FBI/NSA, Wall Street and Silicon Valley, presenting itself as the only protection against fascism. And much of the Left will continue marching behind it.” (– Glenn Greenwald, October 2020)

Meanwhile, Trumpism — a “trailer-park and nursing home” coalition — as an oppositional culture, functions as a kind of “Left” (albeit one that is a controlled opposition; Trumpism is essentially a revival of Nixonian faux populism). It is interesting that serious Marxists like Caleb Maupin, Haz Al-Din, and Jackson Hinkle understand this and are orienting themselves toward “MAGA Communism” and “Patriotic Socialism,” as opposed to pseudo-Marxist liberals like the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL), Socialist Alternative (SA), or the World Socialist Website (WSWS).

To the degree that old European ideological categories can be applied to today’s American politics, it might map out like this:

  • “Digital capitalists” and the professional-managerial class of today are as the bourgeoisie of old;
  • The “Wokes” of today are the fascists of old;
  • “Conservatism” of today is the Left of old.

Yes, the U.S. Right in present form actually resembles early European socialist movements in certain ways. Early socialism was a mixture of old elites trying to reclaim their former position, middle-class reformers, proponents of utopian colonies, and violent revolutionaries. Comparable tendencies can be found on the U.S. Right today. Consider: Today’s remnant capitalist class from before the digital revolution, middle-class types at school board meetings to complain about “drag queen story hour,” back-to-the-land and I-want-a-trad-wife ‘prepper’ types, and MAGA/”Stop the Steal” insurrectionists.

The digital capitalist revolution and globalization have had, and are continuing to have, similar economic and social effects as the industrial revolution and mercantilism had in the 19th century. It makes sense they would have similar political effects as well. The Totalitarian Humanist Revolution that is sweeping developed “First World” countries and being exported elsewhere is no different than the liberal revolution that swept 19th century Europe.

The most dangerous aspect of the present situation is that the Neocon alliance has successfully embedded itself in, and effectively co-opted, the broader Totalitarian Humanist coalition. This is evidenced by the presence of neocons like Victoria Nuland (Mrs. Bob Kagan) and Neocon adjacents/allies like Samantha Power (Mrs. Cass Sunstein) and Antony Blinken in the State Department, as well as the presence of Neocons and Neocon-adjacents in the controlled opposition. Lindsey Graham is a good example: a Neocon operative who now masquerades as a Trumpist, while the Neocons are grooming Ron “Guantanamo” DeSantis as a counter-Trump they can puppetmaster more effectively.

I demonstrated in my contribution to Paul Gottfried’s latest anthology (A Paleoconservative Anthology: New Voices for an Old Tradition) that the Neocons are neither conservative, nor liberal, nor conventional-leftist. They are a freakish subspecies of Leftism. They are something like the Girondins, Trotskyites, Khmer Rouge, the Jim Jones People’s Temple, or 1970s Iran’s radical anti-Shah leftist MEK.

Totalitarian Humanism was able to coopt the Great Lumpenproletarian Insurrection of 2020 in the same way that the Bolsheviks coopted the Russian Revolution, or the Khomenists coopted the Iranian Revolution.

The Neocons today seek a two-front war with Russia and China while opening new fronts in Latin America as well (Lindsey Graham has proposal for an invasion of Mexico). This is reminiscent of the Third Reich’s efforts to wage a two-front war with Western Europe and Russia, while opening a third front in northern Africa. Containing Russia and China is a legitimate geopolitical goal for the surrounding countries, but not for NWO revanchism.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine appears to have been a response to the ascension of Totalitarian Humanism with its pro-NATO-ist, expansionist, cultural-imperialist paradigm. A Neocon-led Totalitarian Humanist foreign policy seeks to use the Ukraine War as a way to attempt a “color revolution” or force “regime change” in Russia itself. The Neocons still want revenge for the Cossacks, the Pale of Settlement, and the assassination of Trotsky.

A pan-European alliance to contain Russia, possible even including Caucasian or Central Asian states, would be legitimate. The eventual dissolution of Russia into 100 small republics (one hundred “Estonias”), or 1000 oblasts would even be welcome to some of us. But not at the cost of risking nuclear exchange, and not if it meant a strong consolidation of the NWO Panopticon and its Totalitarian Humanist project

A broad regional alliance to contain China involving states across South Asia, East Asia, and the Pacific would be similarly legitimate, as would the dissolution of China into multiple regions or a million villages. It would not be legitimate, though, if it merely meant eliminating a rival to the Atlanticists within the global capitalist class.

The exportation of Totalitarian Humanist revolution through American cultural imperialism will likely result in the repeat of America’s “culture war” in countries worldwide, with the same regional, local, tribal, and sectarian fragmentation. The resulting breakdown of states would result in the broader proliferation of fourth-generation warfare forces, and non-state actors generally. Such a proliferation would create opportunities for bottom-up anti-imperialism through the creation of startup societies and federated networks.

[End of essay.]


On Keith Preston, his politics, and his views on the Corona-Panic

Keith Preston places the Corona-Panic as part of an ideological project (and even a geopolitical project). It is a good perspective to take on the Panic now, as the Panic’s decisive breakthrough has passed the three-year mark now. There are a lot of things in this essay I don’t necessarily agree with or that I would frame differently, but the perspective is interesting.

You may be wondering who Keith Preston is. He is a former professor, scholar, political commentator, activist, and self-conscious radical-dissident in Richmond, Virginia. He has identified himself as an “anarchist” since his early years in politics in the 1990s. Lead yourself not astray upon seeing that “anarchist” label: Keith Preston is (or has become) more associated with the Dissident Right than anything else (note his mention of his latest published work, in the right-winger Paul Gottfried’s latest anthology).

Keith Preston may be adjacent to the anarcho-capitalist position. As for what Keith Preston’s own political program is, he has spoken in favor of the principles of “anarcho-pluralism” and “pan-secessionism.” He would likely have much positive to say about Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s radical libertarian ideas, but I see that (characteristically) he has said that Hoppe’s ideas are not good enough and are stuck in “bourgeois conventionalism” (he wrote that in the early 2000s).

Whatever Keith Preston’s “anarchism” is, anyway, it is a pre-Wokeness anarchism. Keith Preston is even anti-Woke. The scarlet-lettering of being anti-Woke is more anathema than his “anarchism” can hope to be in our world now. His non- or anti-Wokeness puts him in hot water with young anarchists of the ‘antifa’ variety, and with the entire mainstream Left, and with the political Center (Wokeness as standard centrism being a theme of this essay). Keith Preston himself is a White man and product of the U.S. South. He carries a clear sympathy to traditional Protestant-America, though it might not come through in much of his writing when he wants to be provocative. His “anarchism,” in my judgment, is of a certain Americanist strain. Similar types can be found here and there throughout U.S. history.

It is no surprise that Keith Preston often comes up with idiosyncratic views. He seems to enjoy the role of the dissident and while he has never appeared on CNN or Fox News, he does appear regularly on Press TV, which is English-language Iranian state media. In the USA he is a frequent essayist published widely, including in Chronicles, the right-wing opinion-magazine that was once home to Sam Francis’ long-form writing. He has run his own website, Attack The System, for many years. This particular essay, let loose in the unfavorable medium of Twitter (Tweet-thread) I felt deserved some memorialization better than the shifting sands of social media will ever give it.

The image raised by Keith Preston early in this essay is that of the Corona-Panic as mere silly-putty in the hands big power-players, even if not exactly planned out as such. There was a wide degree of basic agreement with this view on the Anti-Panic side in 2020 and 2021, but the exact nature of the “Corona coup d’etat” — the ‘who,’ the ‘why,’ and such questions — never found much agreement. Everyone had their own idea or vision of what was going on. This essay is how Keith Preston’s sees it, or at least chooses to conceptualize-and-present it.


This entry was posted in politics, The Corona Mass Hysteria Pandemic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Keith Preston on Woke-Capitalism, the Corona-Panic, and “totalitarian humanist revolution”

  1. Hail says:

    To commenter Fletcher Smith, if you’re reading:

    I blocked your comment because it contained a call for violence and had no substantive point. Feel free to write in again if you have something substantive and on-topic to say.

  2. “The “Woke revolution,” which has occurred in various institutional sectors over the past three years, was a product of this process.” No, I don’t think the highly increased wokeness over the last 3 years is any direct effect of the Kung Flu PanicFest. Indirectly, yes, if you let Government and Biz Business take even more power, the Establishment, which is completely Communist at this point, will make use of these new powers in support of wokeness and other societally-destructive policies.

    Wokeness was increasing before the PanicFest, and it would have been increasing without it. I understand you made this effort to summarize the tweets of this guy because the CoronaPanic and wokeness are both interests of yours. However, I’m sorry to say, I think this Kieth Preston is a moron… but more on that in another comment…

    • Hail says:

      There was a symbiotic relationship between Wokeness and Lockdownism (or Safetyism). That being so, there is need for a chicken-or-egg dispute pitting Wokeness and Lockdownism against each other.

    • Hail says:

      The right-wing legal theorist and political philosopher Curt Doolittle says both Wokeness (with all its many tentacles) and the Covid Panic derive from “cognitively feminine” life-strategies and the radical political empowerment thereof. It is the common root.

      • I pretty much agree with Mr. Doolittle and perhaps you(?) on this one. The root may be common. Does all this, including the modern matriarchy, not stem from a deeper root though, the ctrl-left (Communist) destruction of American society that started 60, arguably 100, years back?

  3. Here it is. Kieth Preston’s take on the current ideologies and factions is, let’s say, unsound, to be courteous. If I weren’t courteous, I’d call it retarded.

    OK, he’s seems to understand the Neocons. His take on the current right shows a lack of understanding of the state of this country:

    Yes, the U.S. Right in present form actually resembles early Europe socialist movements in certain ways. Early socialism was a mixture of old elites trying to reclaim their former position, middle-class reformers, proponents of utopian colonies, and violent revolutionaries.

    Bullcrap! The real Right (as opposed to Conservative, Inc.) is none of that. Mr. Preston must think they believe in utopia because they want to separate to live far from the left’s control, and away from the diversity that makes life h*ll. They don’t think they will live in a utopian Jonestown in the Guyana jungle.

    There have been no violent revolutionaries on the right. Mr. Preston seems to agree that 1/6/21 (not 20) was on insurrection What will likely come if the Communists keep pushing is violent reactionaries to the Communist (wokeness being only a part, like the Cultural Revolution 1.0 under Mao Zedong) revolutionaries, who have successfully marched through the American Institutions over the last half century.

    Consider: Today’s remnant capitalist class from before the digital revolution, middle-class types at school board meetings to complain about “drag queen story hour,” back-to-the-land and I-want-a-trad-wife ‘prepper’ types, and MAGA/”Stop the Steal” insurrectionists.

    Consider, Kieth Preston, that these types (wait, I first thought you realized the term insurrectionists was BS here) are people like me. They ARE real Conservatives. It’s not like they’ve got many politicians helping them out in Washington. The ones we have are, yes, Donald Trump – as flawed as he is – and the Marjorie Taylor Greens, the Matt Goetze’s, etc. We’re on our own, pretty much.

    Kieth Preston reminds me of the formerly-good pundit Fred Reed over the last decade. He decries all the problems of America and then disparages all those who spend big parts of their lives trying to fight back to fix things. I am glad for those parents who raise hell at the meetings (we are ditching Government School, so there likely will be no more opportunity for me on that). What they do is a good start, at least. What hell do your raise, Kieth Preston?

    Back to the land, getting a traditional wife, and prepping are part of opting out of the whole world of the ctrl-left. That is a good way to fight, as many on the right are “get ‘er done!” people, yet the left are nothing but “get ‘er destroyed!” people. They can’t thrive on their own. That’s the most peaceful way I can see to possibly solve the problem of the American Communists.

    Keith Preston is a clueless buffoon.

  4. Hail says:

    There is much I don’t agree with in Keith Preston’s essay (my de-Twitterized and essay-ized adaptation of his raw tweet-thread). He is being more provocative than is warranted while also indulging in too much ambiguous phrasing.

    It is not clear that by “insurrection” he refers to Jan. 6th, 2021. It would be out of character for him to condemn the “January Six’ers.” I think he may have been using it as a catch-all for the Black Lives Matter riots and all other disturbances post-Lockdown disturbances.

    There is value in the idea that the Panic was associated with a power-grab or re-alignment, even if it is one by the already ascendant forces (the so-called “Self-Coup”). This is something we, the Anti-Panickers, identified in 2020. In April 2020, I called this the “Corona Coup d’Etat.” Someone dubbed it the “Flu d’Etat.” Being on the wrong side of the Panic at the time, anything we said looked crazy. Theories about a Regime self-coup looked as crazy or more crazy than Just The Flu-ism (to the loyal Pro-Panic masses).

    Very few people are still talking about this in direct terms in 2023. Keith Preston is still interested in it. He may have allowed himself to be too provocative to make the punch “land.” OTOH, a stripped-down discussion of bureaucratic power-balances would pack as much punch as a handful of spaghetti.

    • “It is not clear that by “insurrection” he refers to Jan. 6th, 2021. It would be out of character for him to condemn the “January Six’ers.””

      Perhaps he meant to put quotes around “insurrectionists” too, right after “stop the steal” (rightly in quotes, because it was a rallying cry.) His take on the modern rightists is very Fred Reed-like, though. Because are getting off their asses and doing something, and Kieth Preston is not, so he doesn’t like them either. That’s sure what this sounds like, Mr. Hail.

      Yes, it’s good to see people analyzing what the political environment that helped the PanicFest become what it was. This guy, though, seems a nutcase, but then I also have not read anything else from him than what you excerpted.

      Anyway, thanks for the post.

  5. Hail says:

    Books by Keith Preston include:

    – Attack the System: A New Anarchist Perspective for the 21st Century (2013)
    – The Failure of Anarchism (2016)
    – Beyond the End of History: Rejecting the Washington Consensus (2016)
    – Thinkers Against Modernity (2016)
    – The Tyranny of the Politically Correct (2019)
    – A Paleoconservative Anthology: New Voices of an Old Tradition (one of twelve contributors), ed., Dr Paul Gottfried (2023)

    I have not read any of these books. I think many of them are compilations of essays. It is said he is born in the late 1960s. He embraced Anarchism in the early 1990s as a youth and has been writing on the matter regularly since then.

    From the book description for Failure of Anarchism:

    “[T]the anarchist theoretician Keith Preston places the blame for [Anarchism’s] failures on the shoulders of his fellow anarchists. He criticizes the contemporary anarchist movement for having degenerated into a fashionable youth culture… [P]resent-day anarchists are more likely to serve as the lackeys of political correctness than the vanguard of revolution…”

    In the years around 2010, Keith Preston was associated with the “National Anarchist” movement. (I remember there was a pro-white anarchist group that called itself Bay Area National Anarchists.) The label faded entirely and was not heard from again by the mid-2010s. The ca.2010 activity, and Keith Preston’s endorsement of the group, earned him a place in the ADL’s Enemies List.

    • PeterIke says:

      Anarchists are like Libertarians. They have a few sensible core ideas, and most of the rest of what they believe is delusional nonsense totally divorced from reality.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s