Friday, September 05, 2014

The Re-Emergence Of The Hard Left In the U.S.

Recently, the far-ish left has grown in prominence in the U.S. (largely in the guise of the "social justice" movement, and "social justice warriors). 

I contend that we are now experiencing a new version of the "political correctness" debacle of the '90's.  

I also believe that the SJWs, like the PCs, are irrational and illiberal. 

I've long maintained that American liberals are bad at criticizing the illiberal left, because the extreme left is usually insignificant in the U.S. (unlike Europe).  

And I think American liberals are making the same mistake now that they made with PC--they are insufficiently critical of it. 

Liberals already have their own problems, and they share many of them with the hard left--they incline toward the cult of culture, radically overestimating the power and effects of society, they have a tendency to cry "racism," "sexism," "homophobia"...and, for that matter, x-phobia for almost any value of 'x' you care to mention, they tend toward language policing, and so on... The hard left shares many of the same failings...but in greater degree.  

Liberals, already worried about, e.g., racism, and used to battling people who underestimate its prevalence and importance, are too tolerant of, and too slow to react to, those who throw the charge around indiscriminately and over estimate its prevalence and importance (e.g. holding that all whites are necessarily racist and/or that it is impossible for non-whites to be racist--both prominent positions among the "SJW" types...).  

My own view is that the hard left is illiberal, and, as a mostly-liberal dude, I disagree with those who are illiberal. So I disagree with the hard left. 

In fact, I disagree with the far left as much as I disagree with the far right. 

And I think that this is what every approximately-liberal person should do.  

Though I detest arguments of this sort, I'll mention it here: even if left-wing extremism and irrationality doesn't bother you that much, you should worry about its effects. The PCs drove many intelligent, independent-minded college students to the right in the '90's. (In fact, I've always secretly blamed them for George W. Bush...)  The more arguments like this must be emphasized, the more I worry about liberalism...  I don't want to be associated with a position that is ok with irrationality so long as it happens to be associated with allegedly true conclusions...

Of course, some liberals really are leftier than I am, really do conclude that more things are sexist and racist than I do, really believe, for example, that "rape culture" is a perfectly sensible concept that accurately applies to American culture, really do think that micromanagement of people's language is reasonable, and so on...  (I expect that most will draw the line at talk of "cultural appropriation"...but maybe not...) So nothing above, anyway, will move them.  

But, if you are in my sector of the political spectrum, it's time to get concerned about what's happening to the left of you in America right now...  It's still largely confined to parts of the web--as PC was confined to college campuses--but the web is important. And, worse, it does seem to be leaking out...


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