I hate that I’m writing about politics.
It’s not what I like to talk about, really.
I’m interested in consciousness, human potential, artistic expression, finding meaning in life—you know, the good stuff.
I don’t like the dualistic thinking involved in the modern political system. Unfortunately, the conversation has become so polarized that I’ve been forced to enter the public dialogue—which we can thank some of my more rapacious peers for.
You see, we live in an outrage culture, fueled by clickbait, positive feedback loopholes, and giant egos—and if we’re at all interested in living in this world, sooner or later we’re going to get dragged into this cultural conflict. We all feel it.
I’m writing this, against popular demand and every feeling in my bones, because in the wake of Trump’s election it’s become increasingly difficult to have a good conversation about the state of things politically—and “good” conversations seem to be exactly what our country is in most need of.
Basically, I’m deeply afraid, because it feels like the left has completely lost its mind—descending into identity politics and lazy adversarial thinking. Being a generally left wing person, I know that society crumbles without a strong democratic party.
I’ll tell a bit of my story to help explain where I fit into all of this, so that you can rest assured that I’m not some bigoted right wing patriarch deserving of your boiling liberal rage.
I grew up with a fairly left wing family in a fairly left wing community, though I’ve had my dealings with the other side of the political rainbow from moving around school to school. I was told growing up that capitalism is ruining the country, that the environment is collapsing, that we’re killing millions overseas for no reason, that the world is falling apart—and I took this liberal two cents at face value and have looked at the world through this lens for most of my life.
When the election rolled around, I was really shocked by the “do or die” attitude of my community. It had become personal with many people once Trump reared his ugly head. It was no longer about policy. It had become about identity. As long as we vote on identity (race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality), policy won’t change.
It had become a broken record—I would start to express some of my thoughts about this stuff openly, and I would immediately be put on the defensive about my white privilege and systemic oppression that I’m somehow secretly complicit in (I’m not on any “keep marginalized people down” email lists, by the way).
I’m not bothered by the fact that I’m being challenged. What bothers me is that these conversation don’t even have a hint of a constructive quality to them, as though they are indignant and self-righteous for the pure cathartic pleasure of it—rather than to actually affect any kind of positive change.
These conversations are the norm, and it’s a bad thing if you’re someone who has any hope in revitalizing the institutions of Western civilization. This “let it all burn” attitude needs to die away fast, and it’s the proper role of the left to let that deadwood burn off. We need to open our eyes.
America is not a platform for racism and bigotry, where it’s all just one big power game based on your group identity and its particular history (every group has been oppressed). If you travel around America at all, you’ll find that most people are more concerned with having a decent job and getting access to health care, than with asserting their white male privilege and oppressing marginalized people.
Whites are becoming the minority here anyhow, and Asian men actually make more than white men. Black kids in the inner city are not struggling because their great great grandparents were slaves (in all honesty, most of our great grandparents were serfs); they’re struggling because of false promises and sh*tty education.
Men have not been oppressing women for thousands of years in a massive patriarchal conspiracy, nature has been oppressing everyone, as we’ve lived in scarcity for most of human history. It wasn’t just feminism that freed women, it was birth control and good menstrual utilities.
There’s this idea on the left that suddenly in 1964, we all woke up to our latent racist and sexist proclivities and changed our ways, but in reality, the civil rights movement was a continuation of trends that already existed in America—as the poverty rate of African Americans dropped from 87 percent to 47 percent from 1940 to 1960.
It’s funny, because if my past self saw me writing this a few years ago, I would’ve thought it was coming from some republican mouthpiece.
The only thing that’s changed is that I actually read what the other side was saying and had to console some of my previously held views. I still consider myself very much a classically liberal person, concerned with striking the balance between freedom and equality on a societal level in a way that leads to the sovereignty of the individual, but my ideas of how to get there have changed drastically. It doesn’t come through hating wealthy people and disparaging the constitution, it comes from looking very closely at problems and considering all of the factors involved in solving them.
I want to be a beacon of hope, not of angst and despair.
So, I wanted to say a couple things to help soften the views of my left wing peers—so that we can actually get this party started and change policy on the issues that we’d all like to see changed.
Identity politics leads to sh*t, and most likely totalitarian sh*t. We need clear and concise thinking, free of egotism and ideology, if we really want to address the problems in the world. I hope this helps.
1. The Right is not Evil.
Conservatism, by its nature, is to keep things the same and preserve culture.
Liberalism, by its nature, is to change things and expand culture.
If everything were completely right wing, we would live in a stagnant hell. If everything were completely left wing, we would live in a chaotic hell. We need both parties to avoid hell, and our founding fathers understood that. We need the structure to be upheld, which is the responsibility of the right, and we need the structure to adapt to change, which is the responsibility of the left.
In our current paradigm, conservatives are more concerned with defending freedom, i.e. free markets, property rights, and free speech, and liberals are more concerned with defending equality, but they are always going to be at odds with each other to some degree.
Freedom implies inequality, and where there is equality there can never be total freedom. It’s a necessary sacrifice. Don’t hate the right, improve the left. It’s a better way.
2. Fascism can be Left Wing too.
When people talk about fascism, they are most likely referring to Nazi Germany and the rise of the right. As it turns out, it was the far-left countries that had the highest death toll, i.e. the Soviet Union, Maoist China, and Cambodia—which we are based on a Marxist equity doctrine that’s comparable to the arguments made on the left today.
“Property is theft, wealth is oppression!” Sound familiar? It was the adage proclaimed by the soviet revolutionaries before they slaughtered millions of Kulaks, the productive peasants who maybe mustered up the funds to own a farm and a goat—but apparently according to Lenin and Stalin, they were all capitalist oppressors. That’s a lot of oppressors, as somewhere between 30 to 100 million people died in the Soviet Union under horrifying conditions in the gulag camp system—which was essentially a slave labor system because the country couldn’t afford resources (that’s what happens when you destroy the productive class).
The point is, ideology is evil no matter what it claims to stand for, and it’s existed both on the left and the right throughout the 20th century. The Soviet Union is a quintessential example of left wing ideology run amok and it should make us think next time we’re about to call our political opponents racist oppressors—because they really probably are not.
3. Disagreeing doesn’t make someone a Nazi.
The thing that really gets me about all of this Trump hysteria is that we can’t even remark on how absurd it all is, without being lambasted with indignant rage and claims of secret oppressive tendencies.
I’ve made comments like, “Why are we even talking about Trump, instead of the banking system which is truly doing the damage,” and immediately, my moral fiber is put into question. I’m made to feel like there must be some racist and sexist part of me that’s desperately clawing its way to the surface.
You know, I hate to say it, but white guilt is not a good political tool. You can’t make people feel guilty about about their position in life to justify your point of view, and you definitely can’t presume that someone is an oppressor because they don’t agree with you. That’s toxic.
This barely scratches the surface. I’m talking about toxic leftism and its role in the polarizing of our culture. It’s not helping.
This whole oppressor/oppressed narrative does not breed the result that we would hope. It doesn’t bring us together in solidarity of the working class. It pins us against each other, based on race, gender, class, ethnicity, sexuality, and every other way of categorizing someone in relation to power. It has become all about power, and what’s even more unsettling is that’s it’s all done in the name of the people who are suffering most. They don’t need their blackness to be affirmed. They need opportunity, and right now it’s not being provided.
This is the job of the left to be a voice for the underclass, and the only voices we’re hearing are the meek shrills and shallow cries of overprivileged college students, overinflated bureaucrats, and pissed off hippies, without the faintest semblance of sincerity or a true desire to change the world for the better. It won’t do.