Jonathan Kay resigned a few days ago as editor in chief of Canada’s Walrus magazine. He writes:
….One of the lingering problems at The Walrus — and this is something I was never fully able to extirpate — is a failure to accept the fact that great educational journalism will inevitably step on toes and anger some people. Because the magazine was conceived as High Canadian Holy Writ delivered to subscribers’ doorsteps on the wings of angels, Walrus old-schoolers still lose their owl feathers if a Walrus writer challenges any of the many suffocating ideological taboos cherished by the cultural Eloi.
I cannot resist comparing the earnest do-goodedness of the Walrus to the assured tone of the old Idler Magazine (1985-1993), which was David Warren’s highest secular achievement. The Idler lacks even a Wikipedia page by which to remember it, alas. For certain the old Toronto Idler challenged every one of the suffocating ideological taboos of the cultural Eloi, even as it was the product of dissident Eloi.
Speaking of suffocating cultural taboos, I recently heard an American professor speak of the need for glasnost and perestroika in North America, openness and restructuring. I do not think he meant de-communization in any formal sense. What he meant was the same as Jonathan Kay meant: our lives are being crushed or confined by suffocating taboos. Those of us who are old have escaped the full weight of them, but I think younger people are experiencing totalitarian cultural conformity on university campuses. It is a totalitarianism enforced by social media, which is to say, by the worst-acting in any population. Or the Eloi being conditioned by Morlocks, to follow the metaphor.