The left and right side of politics behave in almost the exact same ways these days; iIf you need an example go and find an article about Donald Trump and see how many commenters compare him to Hitler, then go to an article about Muslims and see how many commenters compare Muslims to Nazis. Both groups are pathetic, intellectually dishonest and growing at an alarming rate.
I’d love to believe that people being this stupid is a new trend but honestly I think they just got louder once social media became a thing. Usually when you challenge one of the anti-Muslim right-wing types you’ll get hit with a macro of poorly translated Quran verses that have been cherry picked to prove “demz Moose limbs is the Nazis”, it’s weak as shit and easily refutable, but that’s for someone like me who has the Quran sitting next to himself right now, for a lot of people uneducated on the subject that macro might actually be pretty convincing. As I pointed out before the same is true on the other side of the fence, the other day I asked someone how Donald Trump was a “fascist” and instead of getting an answer I got hit with a number of accusations about being a racist and a bigot, because asking someone to explain themselves is now racism.
It’s relatively easy for the general public to ignore or avoid these people, but for myself who works in the field of politics and journalism the idea that these people dominate the conversation is bothering me more and more, each day. Despite the similarities between the groups there are certain differences as well; generally the right-wing commentators speak from ignorance; they either misinterpret something or try to argue as though the subject exists in a bubble devoid of outside influence, e.g. refusing to consider external factors like “the thief stole bread because he was homeless and hungry” generally the right-wing simply looks at the incident and not the causation. The left on the other hand doesn’t tend to argue from ignorance per se but rather a single-mindedness. Now that doesn’t mean people on the right aren’t also single minded, but in their case they’re often confused or unaware of a situation, the left however tends to have a better general understanding but they’re too easily swayed by popular opinion. For example: a lot of social justice “academics” have tried to push the notion that sexism and racism can only be committed by white men, now of course this goes against any rational definition of the term ever but social justice has never been a particularly rational field.
I’m going to focus a bit on the left right now because of how prominent this situation is becoming; if you debate a contemporary third wave feminist you’re going to be hit with a few ad hominem attacks, a kafkatrap or two and once they’ve grown tired of that you’ll get the “educate yourself” argument. This is so common that I’ve lost count of how frequently it occurs, just the other day I was explaining to someone how the “wage gap” isn’t actually real, because if it were real no business owner ever would hire men if they could legally avoid paying women equal pay. Did I get a rational thought out response to that statement? Of course I didn’t, I got called a misogynistic privileged shitlord. This is a problem more inherent with the left, I can typically forgive right wing commentators because most of them argue from a point of fear and confusion, the left on the other hand tend to read one book and just absorb that book as their opinion. It’s very reminiscent of a scene from Good Will Hunting where an MIT grad student quotes a bunch of famous economists and tries to pass off their views as his own, only to get shut down by Matt Damon who points out his parroting.
That really is the defining trait of today’s young political left; they find an author who says something they agree with and just copy and paste the author’s opinion as their own without any critical thought or questioning. At the moment I’m taking a class in middle eastern politics and every time Edward Said and his book “Orientalism” comes up in a discussion I cringe inside a little, not because it’s a “bad” book, but because the idea that in 2016 the academic reference that appeals most to these people is a book from 1978 that has been torn to shreds by numerous academics over the last 30 years is kind of frightening. It’s the lack of critical thinking and willingness to hear other opinions that dominates the political field these days and frankly people shouldn’t be okay with that.
The trickiest part in challenging both left and right is that the problem needs to be addressed differently, despite pretty much being the same problem. Too many people get caught up in calling those on the right stupid or idiots that they forget to acknowledge that many of these people are coming from a position of fear and/or confusion and that their comments should be addressed that way, sure you’ll get the occasional fuckwit who says something like “in Birmingham there are Muslim police that arrest you if you’re not wearing a veil” and those people should be derided, but a lot of people are quite genuine, they’re just scared and when the typical response they get is to be called idiots they react in an emotionally driven way. Dealing with the left is different, while they’re still being ignorant their position doesn’t tend to come from fear and confusion but rather a superiority complex because they’ve decided that their position is infallible, this can be particularly frustrating because you can often win over right wing types by treating them with a tiny bit of dignity, it’s a lot harder with left wing commentators because they genuinely believe they’ve got all these new ideas that no one ever had before, they also like to present themselves as experts which they are the furthest thing from.
Listening to Bernie Sanders doesn’t make you an economic analyst so it’s time to cut it with the “We are the 99%” fuckery. I tend to get more passionate about criticising the tumours on the left because I identify as left and having to say that I’m “An economic socialist with libertarian societal values” is a pain the ass because then I have to spend another five to ten minutes explaining what that is. As it stands dear Left and Right commenters; fuck off.