Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Fanatics, politics, and one-track minds

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.

. . .

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.

. . .

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.

. . .

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.



Old NFO said...

That it does. And next year is going to be even more interesting...

CDH said...

It sort of sounds like one of our fundamental founding principles, "...enlightened self interest..." without the enlightenment.

Unknown said...

The Never-Trumpers have been exposed as grifters who actively undermined the conservative positions they publicly espoused.

Naturally, they blame Trump, and hate him for it.
Even more than they hated the Tea Party.
Even more than they hated Sarah Palin.

It was very surreal seeing pundits I used to respect decrying candidate Trump as completely beyond the pale. Directly after they had spent years telling me that I had no choice but to hold my nose and support Romney, McCain, Bush II, Dole, Bush I... Suddenly, our choice was "not biiiiiinary".

The Lab Manager said...

Both parties are awful no doubt. Trump was first time I had bothered to vote in a presidential election in 20 years. I had supported Ron Paul in 2012 and the Republican Party treated him like crap. That alone showed many of us what a fraud both parties have been for a while. And Trump is not exactly a fiscal conservative or civil libertarian, but I enjoyed see him stomp the Democrats and GOPe.

I'm done reasoning with leftist since they are incapable of such. Maybe an "Adolf Pinochet" needs to come next and get done what needs to be done. I'm happy to become a concentration camp director since few of my fellow Americans have a life or property I would give a damn about defending and most are too stupid for the Bill of Rights anyway. That's includes many on the right and left.

McChuck said...

The "Never Trumpers" are part of the Left, not the Right. They are infiltrators and Wormtongues. They are the approved opposition, the Washington Generals. They have finally being so obvious about their true loyalties that anyone with eyes to see and ears to listen can tell.

"You may think these thoughts, but not those. You may go this far, but no further. Now, the conservative case for eating the flesh of the innocent."

Sam L. said...

I'm with McChuck on that! I think the Never-Trumpers' problem was that Trump was RICH, had more than one GORGEOUS wife, and because he was RICH, and because those ex-wives didn't hold (or certainly seemed NOT to) hold the divorces personally.

Borepatch said...

McChuck, the Never Trumpers are paid shills (q.v. National Review, Weekly Standard types, CATO, etc). Their donors are very comfortable with the regulatory state and lose out by Trump's assault on it. This isn't really "left" vs. "right", this is "big government" vs. "small government"

The two dimensional left vs. right doesn't capture this well. It needs a quadrant to map things into.