CREDIT: Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash
The modern left wants equality and justice. The same things the old left wants.
The difference: The old left wants a more equal and just society because a more equal and just society would be a happier, richer place. The modern left wants a more equal and just society for the sake of having a more equal and just society.
There’s a critical difference between these two schools of thought.
A society that is equal and just because everybody is living their best life is a Utopia.
A society that is equal and just because everybody is suffering and nobody is happy is a Dystopia. Literally. Kurt Vonnegut’s “2081” to be exact.
Many of the left’s ideas about society in 2020 bear a striking resemblance to that particular piece of fiction. Which isn’t just bad for society, its bad for the left too.
Here are just a few examples of the left’s lack of empathy:
How to cancel somebody:
First, dig through your target’s past tweets, comments, jokes, etc.
Second, select a tweet, joke, or comment that you find offensive.
Third, spread this tweet, joke, or comment around the internet so people get riled up and attack the target person
This is like collecting the trash some a-hole has strewn all over the beach and throwing it into the ocean for everyone to see.
It’s actually worse than that. It’s like digging up the trash some asshole sixteen year old threw all over the beach 25 years before and throwing it into the ocean in hopes of shaming their 41 year old self for something their asshole 16 year old self did.
If a dumb joke or comment needs to be dug up because people don’t already know about it and the person in question hasn’t said or done something offensive since making their dumb comment, maybe it shouldn’t be dug up.
But maybe they deserve it
Once in a blue moon somebody will get cancelled because they did something horrible like abuse a pet or promote white supremacy. But the vast, vast, vast majority of the time the cancellees are people who said something stupid ten, twenty, thirty years ago.
If the canceller was genuinely concerned about the effects the dumb comment could have on other people, why wouldn’t they just ask the cancellee to delete their dumb comment/joke? And if the canceller believes the cancellee is sexist, racist, homophobic etc. currently, why do they have to go back 10, 20, 30 years ago to find the comment, and what makes them so certain the cancellee is currently a bigot if they haven’t said or done anything bigoted recently?
It seems the only person who benefits even slightly from cancel culture is the Canceller. They get likes and attention. Everybody else, including the cancellee is made to feel angry, disgusted, or sad.
A dose of empathy
An empathetic response would be to message or email the person who made the comment and ask them to remove it. Nobody gets hurt and the cancellee has an opportunity to correct or atone for their mistake.
But most of the time, cancellers don’t even attempt to contact cancellees.
(And it’s not like all the victims of cancel culture are unaccessible celebrities.)
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Cis White Male Bias
The modern left will say they aren’t talking about individuals when they criticize cis white men they’re talking about groups.
But it’s difficult to foment anger towards a group of people without fomenting anger towards individual members of that group. “It’s fine because I’m talking about groups, not individuals” is a problematic mindset. 2016 saw a spike in hate crimes against white people and Muslims.1 Trump’s anti Islam sentiment and the left’s anti white sentiment likely contributed to this.
(Anecdotally, and in fairness to the left, I’ve been friends with people who generally took issue with Cis, white, males but were nice to me and to other individual cis, white, males. It’s possible to speak out against a specific group and still treat individual members of said group with compassion.)
The modern left is playing with fire when they broadly attack cis, white, men. And they get burned too.
There has never been a mass genocide of straight, white, men. But the modern left, at times, has crossed into anti semetic territory. For example, a course curriculum based on the New York Times 1619 project asked students to write a paper “detailing certain events in American history that have led to Jewish and Irish Americans gaining racial privilege.”2
Broad scale attacks towards anybody aren’t helpful and while many modern leftists justify these attacks with “it’s not going to hurt them they have too much power” they don’t ever say how these attacks actually help anybody.
Criticizing white people as a whole is not as bad as criticizing black people as a whole, but just because it’s “not as bad” doesn’t mean it’s OK or beneficial. Does shaming cis white men really help- if so, is there any evidence? If not, why do it?
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You say you want a revolution… Seriously?
This is often the go to response when somebody blames the modern left for our current situation or the continuation of our current situation if the modern left sits this election out: “let’s have a revolution.”
The fact that:
a. millions of people will die
b. The country will cease to function
c. Coronavirus will run rampant
d. A post revolution society might be a far worse place for everybody
Either the modern left doesn’t actually want a revolution and is just saying they do to justify not voting or the modern left actually does want a revolution despite all the pain and suffering a revolution will bring.
To any modern leftists reading this: There’s nothing empathetic about waging a revolution on behalf of the poor and starving if you can’t explain how the poor and starving will benefit. The old left has policies and plans that will get results. You have a vague fantasy that will quickly turn into a living nightmare. But you act like we’re the ones who don’t care, even though we’re the ones actually trying to help poor and starving people. Just because rich people would suffer more in your world that doesn’t mean your world is a better place for poor and starving people. And just because something can be twisted to fit the definition of “equality” that doesn’t mean it is actually a good thing.
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All of these ideas are presumably geared towards making society a better place for everybody.
But society can’t be a better place for everybody if there’s no empathy