The pseudo-activism of social media and membership in the self-deputized sheriff’s posse of political correctness provide some of the same benefits as genuine civic engagement — without the need to attend all those tedious meetings. The displacement of “Latino” by “Latinx” does not achieve anything of genuine value for anybody with Spanish-speaking ancestry, but it does create new opportunities for rarefied psychic consumption, giving a new generation of consumers (overwhelmingly college-educated white people) an opportunity to enjoy the taste of being in a vanguard, an exquisitely refined psychic product that is necessarily rivalrous in consumption.

The pattern repeats. Loosely organized coalitions such as Black Lives Matter, Antifa, or the Tea Party are rooted not in radicalism but in Tracy Flick-ism and Max Fischer-ism: Community organizers are people who start clubs to give themselves something to be in charge of for the purpose of achieving social status. Civic organizations and political parties have long operated on a kind of informal seniority system: You volunteer, you do grunt work, you work your way up, and you wait your turn. The turn against party “elites” is much more the result of frustrated party activists’ looking for a way to avoid waiting their turn than representative of a genuine shift toward populism in either of the two major parties. A car dealer or a jeweler will arrange lending for customers because those customers want their consumption now, not in two years, when they can afford it — and we want our psychic consumption now, too.

Hence the churn.