Something that has been noticeable for a long time now is that the Left is in a perpetual state of rage. The smallest things send them into spasms of anger. They hate Trump and they really hate his voters. They will go rummaging around in the social media history of people, looking for reasons to hate them. It’s not a general all-encompassing hate, like hating the fans of a rival sports team, but a very personal and cruel hate. They want the victim to suffer and they want to enjoy his suffering.
One reason for this, obviously, is that many people attracted to the Left are mentally unstable, so their politics are just a vehicle for their pathology. Many of the Antifa people, for example, have no coherent political thoughts. They just like being crazy on the streets and causing mayhem. This is the type of person who was attracted to the riots that used to follow the big economic summits. There was never any purpose to their rampages, other than the thrill of smashing things and causing mayhem.
Another more important reason for the rage is the nature of leftist politics in our post-national age. 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.
This is not something anyone is trying to hide. This essay by one of the organizers of the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion explicitly makes this point. He’s not really concerned about the climate. He concedes that there is nothing to be done that is going to change what’s coming. The purpose of his activism is to normalize himself and his sense of self. It’s all about him forcing you to listen to his story and then accepting it and him as something other than strange.
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. Climate activism, as expressed in that essay, is about destruction. Everything the writer sees as keeping him from reaching personal fulfillment must be destroyed.
It is not a politics of self-interest, as the so-called conservative would imagine. 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.
It’s an important thing the alt-right got wrong about their on-line activities. They still assume the reason they get thrown off these platforms is because their ideas are so powerful. In reality, their ideas are meaningless. The reason they are removed from the platforms is the same reason one would kill a snake. It’s not that the snake poses a threat to the ecosystem. It is that the snake is a personal threat. The person kills the snake because they can’t feel safe until they know it is dead.
The ultimate cause of this highly personal radicalism is the same thing that is driving dissident politics. The dehumanization, that is the result of post-national liberal order, is creating a growing number of people looking for something to fill the void left by community, identity and culture. For some, it means a deep dive into their own psyche where they live hiding behind the sandbags of their own peculiar traits. For others it means a search for community and fraternity.
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.
For sites like this to exist, it requires people like you chipping in a few bucks a month to keep the lights on and the people fed. It turns out that you can’t live on clicks and compliments. Five bucks a month is not a lot to ask. If you don’t want to commit to a subscription, make a one time donation. Or, you can send money to: Z Media LLC P.O. Box 432 Cockeysville, MD 21030-0432. You can also use PayPal to send a few bucks, rather than have that latte at Starbucks. Thank you for your support!