Maajid Nawaz, the former Islamic extremist turned anti-extremist/Lib-Dem politician coined the term “regressive left” in reference to people who considered themselves to uphold liberal political views, yet excused the behaviour of extremist groups and openly called Maajid (a British man of Pakistani decent and practicing Muslim) a “racist, bigoted, hate monger” because he openly criticised extremist groups like the one he belonged to. I don’t like the fact that anyone right of centre and beyond has taken to using the term “regressive left” in the same way someone might use the term “mansplain” to shut down any opposing argument, but lately it’s getting difficult not to agree with the usage.
The video above was taken today at DePaul University in Chicago. Openly Gay, Conservative journalist Milo Yiannopoulos was hosting the latest stop in his “Dangerous Faggot Tour”, a series of public speaking events designed to promote freedom of speech, freedom of the press and engage audiences in critical thinking. Yiannopoulos has a history of provoking emotional responses from people; he’s routinely called out Feminists, BlackLivesMatter members, politicians and other journalists, he’s a provocateur something he openly acknowledges. I don’t find myself agreeing with Yiannopoulos very often, I think some of his arguments have been very misguided but it doesn’t mean he should be prohibited from expressing that point of view. Instead today Yiannopoulos was nearly assaulted by overzealous BLM protesters who stormed the stage, threatened repeatedly to hit him and spent the next 25 minutes stopping the paying audience from engaging in the paid event, in addition to this the security who had been paid an additional $2000 ($1000 from Yiannopoulos personally) did nothing to remove the protesters or protect the panellists. This isn’t the first time a conservative journalist has been the victim of assault either; earlier this year Canadian journalist Lauren Southern had a bottle of urine poured over her during live coverage of a protest.
This is why it’s becoming increasingly hard to identify myself as a left oriented journalist and commentator. For me leftism has always been defined by an economic and social vision that intertwine with one another; I believe in community, I believe in an economy that supports the concept of community, one where schools, hospitals, and services are available to everyone not because of who they are or how much money they have but because it’s our duty to one another. I believe that men and women should be given the same opportunities to succeed, I believe that one’s sexual orientation should not deny them any rights or deprive them of respect. Most importantly I believe in a free exchange of ideas, a place of intellectualism in which discussions about any and all topics can be had without the need for people to resort to violence or personal attacks.
Apparently, I can’t have that any more. To be “left” these days, means I now have to hate everyone who doesn’t agree with me. I can no longer engage in debate, instead I must engage in hurling abuse at anyone who isn’t the same. I can’t engage in debate for fear of being labelled a bigot, racist and homophobe when asking a question as basic as “How is manspreading a real problem?”, if you think this is happening far away and only the USA you’re wrong. Just today, New Matilda published an editorial criticising Karl Stefanovic for calling out Peter Dutton (Source). Just to reiterate that; Karl Stefanovic called out Peter Dutton for making disparaging remarks about refugees being “illiterate, job stealing, welfare cheats” and the New Matilda decided to write an article ripping Stefanovic to shreds because even though he’s from a refugee family, he’s white and therefore his grandparents weren’t real refugees. This throws up all sorts of problems for me, because apparently skin pigmentation to determines whether you were a real refugee or not, so I suppose were they still alive I’d be telling my father and grandparents that those years in the concentration camps “weren’t real”. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Stefanovic beat up was the decision to compare him to Waleed Aly, because apparently Waleed Aly is more qualified than Karl Stefanovic to talk about refugees, which is certainly interesting given that Stefanovic’s grandparents were Serbian refugees, while Aly’s parents were rich Egyptian migrants. This notion that Aly had some variety of underprivileged life is an amusing narrative, given that Waleed was educated at Wesley College (The largest school in the country, and the same school attended by former Prime Ministers, Sir Robert Menzies and Harold Holt), either way the article is trash.
This is where we’re at today; air conditioners are sexist, Caucasian refugees aren’t actually refugees and assaulting people is okay as long as they have a different opinion to you. I shouldn’t have to defend my political leanings due to the actions of others, but given the increase in extremist behaviour I have to ask, is it worth it? Is it worth identifying as socialist-egalitarian when I’m constantly having to explain why I’m not the same as the people calling for the deaths of police officers and justifying violence? I wish I had an answer, all I know is that I’m getting sick of having to continuously distance myself from the actions of these morons, personally if you want to be douchebags and attack people maybe get yourself a new political persuasion so that people like me can continue to achieve actual change instead of confirming every negative stereotype the alt-right throws at the left.