As I’ve said many times, I’m neither Republican nor Democrat, neither left-wing nor right-wing. I have my own views on life, the universe and everything, shaped and formed through some pretty eventful experiences, and I don’t expect anyone else to subscribe to them.
Nevertheless, I try to understand what both wings of politics are going on about. That’s particularly important when neither side seems willing to compromise in any respect whatsoever. The Z man addresses this as observed on the left wing of politics. Can the same be said of at least some of those on the right?
Being on the Left no longer means joining a group that has a tangible enemy, against whom the group throws themselves. The days of unionist, socialists and communists operating as collectives are gone. Even the post-modern movements like climate change and sexual politics is atomized. Much of it is backed by the sorts of people the Left used to oppose like rich people and business.
Lacking an organized enemy and a transcendent reason to formally organize, left-wing politics is highly personal now. No one is committing to a cause bigger than themselves, as their self is the most important thing in their life. It’s why the pronoun stuff is such a thing for these people. There is not much more personal than how the world will refer to you in terms of sex. This intense focus on how the world must perceive them is the root of their politics now. The issues are just vehicles for self-expression.
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The idea of the personal being the political is not new. The phrase comes from an essay by feminist Carol Hanisch in the 1960’s. The idea is that personal experience is intertwined with larger social and political structures. One’s personal choices reveal one’s politics. Consequently, one should make personal choices that are consistent with one’s politics. The political person should live the life they advocate, so that means not doing business or associating with the wrong people.
Today, this has moved from simply not buying stuff from a business owned by a bad thinker to committing one’s life to destroying the bad thinker and anyone foolish enough to not share the same hatred. The whole woke movement is a blood lust, an effort to cause real harm to people by denying them the ability to live.
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The modern leftist is like a bear protecting her cubs. Any perceived threat is met with overwhelming aggression. You see it in the language. They conflate ideas and statements with actions. Holding a contrary opinion makes them feel unsafe, as that opinion is viewed as violence. They need safe spaces, by which they mean the removal of anything and anyone that contradicts their sense of self.
This is the real cause of what is behind the social media purges. From the perspective of a radical, everything in their space is theirs and an extension of their self. When a contrary opinion, or even an oblique reference to one, shows up in their twitter timeline, it feels like a home invasion to them. Those women posting about how they are literally shaking or sobbing because their favorite cable show had a bad person as a guest are not exaggerating. They were physically effected by the experience.
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The sorts of people drawn into the politics of self are not new to humanity. These people are not the victims of a new pathogen or chemical contamination. It’s just that in the past, our societies had evolved cultural and institutional ways of channeling these people into defined roles. The obliteration of community by global capital and the destruction of culture through multiculturalism has destroyed everything that gives meaning and purpose to life. That’s why they are so angry.
There’s more at the link.
I have to wonder whether some on the right wing of US politics aren’t infected with the same flawed approach. Consider the “never-Trump” brigade. Aren’t they behaving as if they were personally offended, personally threatened, by President Trump’s election, behavior, or even his very existence? Isn’t working for his removal, by any means possible, what gives meaning to their lives at this point?
“The politics of self”. In a self-centered world, that concept makes a weird kind of sense. It certainly goes a long way to explain what we’re seeing today.