I still remember the good old days.
When the biggest internal danger to America was Bible Thumping McDonald’s addicts and a spontaneous KKK takeover of the White House. I was a young brown kid growing up in a post-9/11 America. Politics was one of the last things on my mind and easily summed up as Democrats = “tolerance” and Republicans = “racist.” Barack Obama’s 2008 victory showed me that a minority in the United States could achieve anything.
All was well.
Then an apparent apocalypse happened in 2016 when the Anti-Christ was elected. I still remember watching the CNN panel go from Manhattan arrogance to DC downplaying to Rust Belt frustration to Portland freakout – the coast to coast American experience all within a day. And I kind of shared that fear too. I liked Bernie, voted for Hillary, and was aghast at Trump. I still believed my old Republican and Democrat dichotomy.
Then I decided to take a second look. I started to notice unnerving parallels between American and Indian politics, particularly those on the left end of the spectrum. Looking at it from a different angle, I realized I was misjudging the waves for the tide.
Let’s get this out of the way before you start calling me a far right conservative like my group chat friends after I dunk on their late-night show politics. I am a registered Democrat who supports or am leaning towards universal healthcare, a carbon tax, reducing economic inequality, state-based marijuana legalization, am pro-choice, and believe UBI may be needed for a sustainable future. I value diversity in background and thought as well as free speech. Totally Nazi, I know.
Why then am I so much more afraid of the far left? Because the numbers resoundingly point in that direction.
The traditional conservative is literally a dying breed and demographic. As death catches age and urbanization rises, the white percentage of America will diminish (eventually hitting under 50%). The core Republican vote bank of suburban, rural, and lesser-educated whites is disappearing.
Young Republicans sound more like Clinton and Obama on issues such as climate change, immigration, and identity. This is good news for moderate Republicans but bad news for the cliché and overstated “white nationalist” types that attract a vastly disproportionate amount of media space.
Simply put, Republicans have no choice but to cater to minorities and youth, and insane white nationalist positions cannot be on the menu. The numbers just don’t add up to the hysteric media premonition of Charlottesville protestors hijacking the White House.
Now of course, liberal youth usually grow more conservative as they age; but what separates the present from the past is a liberal stranglehold of media, academia, and institutions. Soft power centers that combine in a furious trident to meld our society and culture. From tech titans blatantly censoring conservatives to the overwhelming left tilt of academia (Liberals outnumber conservatives in academic administration 12 to 1) to the radicalization of celebrated NGOs such as the NAACP and others, so much of what influences us and what we consume is being directed by coddled extremists. Our cultural centers have been seized by those who prioritize sacrificing the sacred cow of free speech and debate at the “Altar of Wokeness.”
The New Puritans
People love religion. Whether or not they believe in a supernatural force is irrelevant. What is relevant is the ritual, the path, a notion of salvation and deliverance, a forging of identity, a unity, a mythic utopia, the prophets, and so many more parts of religious ideology.
America is witnessing the birth of a new religion. Taking advantage of the horrible and unfortunate murders of innocent black lives at the hands of law enforcement, affluent self-flagellating white progressives have driven a radical movement of blind revenge disguised as justice. If one commits blasphemy against its vague and nebulous ideals, then a horde of journalists, corporations, and social media lackeys will descend upon them and viciously admonish them in public. They have deemed speech as violence while actual violence as a voice. All while minority communities and businesses have been decimated by their engineered and encouraged riots. And god forbid if a person of color speaks out against this lunacy. Hell hath no fury like a progressive scorned by a minority who has spoken out of turn.
Whether one calls it “wokism” or radical progressivism is irrelevant. What is relevant is that America is witnessing an intolerant minority, a demographic as Nassim Taleb historically points out that can influence and steer society in major ways if they are not kept in check. And as mentioned previously, this intolerant minority now dominates Big Tech, mainstream media, and of course universities in a degree never seen before. These universities, where our best and brightest are supposed to form the building blocks of the future, are now cobblestone alleys filled with coddled minds. Reason is conquered by emotion and empiricism falls to anecdote for the new American intellectual caste.
A Cultural Revolution
In an effort to distract from colossal economic failures that naturally come from communism, just as crying racism over any and every disagreement naturally comes to radical progressives, Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966 – a movement to annihilate China’s beautiful traditional culture and history by placing the blame of its current economic woes onto social and cultural factors. Sound familiar?
Now I wouldn’t call the people shutting down a few blocks of Seattle the Chinese Communist Party, but there is an uncanny resemblance in the zeal to shatter American history, culture, and tradition that I’ve never seen before. The central danger I am seeing is crushing the liberty of America and freedom that makes it succeed not just on an economic level but also on an individual level.
Adherents to radical progressivism claim theirs is a revolution of thought and politics, yet it has the ardent support of companies so wealthy that they would induce immediate and violent nausea in their Prophet, Karl Marx. Megacorporations and “woke” capital have taken swift advantage of our national chaos as they’ve continued the crushing march over small businesses crippled by coronavirus. Far left acolytes who fought for economic reform prior are now in lockstep with corporations enforcing this new religion amongst their consumers and employees. While private companies have already bent the knee, what happens when these extremists ascend onto Capitol Hill?
Already we are witnessing a totalitarian attitude towards free speech and debate. Luckily the constitution explicitly protects our right to freedom of speech in a public sense so I do not see a scenario where words are written into laws that restrict the words coming out of your mouth. The silencing of heretics will continue to be a private and cultural push as we’ve seen with the ravenous backlash to the Harper’s Open Letter condemning the fall of free speech rather than Old World-style legal restrictions of speech. Democrats will use the web instead of Washington to continue the stampede over free thought as social media companies continue their crackdown.
Also disconcerting is the facade of the left being the protectors of the oppressed. Hypocrisy is a natural color on the political spectrum yet it is most pronounced on the far left today. When was the last time you saw a progressive politician or organization speak up for the Hindus of Pakistan, Buddhists of Bangladesh, Sikhs of Afghanistan, Yazidis of Iraq, and Christians of Egypt with the same fire and brimstone as when they speak against racism against their designated protected groups? How can one say they stand up against oppression while engaging in a stunning silence on some of the most oppressed people on the planet?
This cascades into even deeper issues of foreign policy where far left international relations resemble a blue check journalist’s Twitter mashed with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera. Domestically, far left activists incessantly promote identity politics, thereby widening fissures ripe for exploitation by foreign powers. Antipathy and outrage better reserved for much more violent regimes and states are instead barraged at much more tolerant countries that demonstrate diversity and pluralism much better than the far left’s favorite cast of countries featuring utopias such as Venezuela, Cuba, China, and a rotating seat for the latest flavor of oppressive Islamist regime. In the midst of a cold conflict with China, progressives are more interested in lambasting a pluralistic and diverse country such as India rather than bolstering ties with this potential and essential ally that could decide the result of the US-China quarrel.
Now I don’t think this is some grand deep state conspiracy. I think it’s just simply the coalescing of several factors such as the incubation of progressivism in US academia/media, the activist economic complex, and loss of religion in America. But these causes deserve another expansion themselves.
This isn’t to excuse America’s far right. Their ideas are backwards and probably much more brutal than the far left’s. But while I am afraid of what the far right can do, I am more afraid of what the far left will do. Time and democracy are tilting left; and with time, the far left may be a danger to democracy itself.
30 thoughts on “Why the Far Left Is More Dangerous Than the Far Right”
Excellent commentary without going into the nuances of conclusions.
At last the US is catching up with the identity politics and vote bank politics of India , which has kept India an underdog and bottom rungs of development. Join the club US.
Because US is a younger True Democracy than India given that it got Real Universal Suffrage in 60s, by which point India had already conducted a dozen elections (National & State).
The article here is also clickbait-y and doesn’t really comprehensively establish a spectrum skew.
The Right (of the sort which won/supports Trump to a high degree) despite its unfavorable demography in the US (as laid out by the charts of the article) still won (using rhetoric like drain the swamp, i.e. existing on the same/near spectrum position as alleged future/coming minority-left led dangerous counter-culture/revolutions, etc) and most importantly it has degraded the US as a geostrategic power on the world stage.
Meaning the practical impact of this Right in the grand scheme is far more than what is being Hypothesized for this American Left (can’t universalize this to other countries since context is too diverse) in this argument.
Furthermore the semantics of More explicitly implies Relativism.
If the argument is there is no equivalence then real practical impact over a period of time needs to be used as benchmark about how much More is that More.
How much More is the decline of US on the global stage relevant on the parameters of assigning judgement over Left or Right’s outcome upon seizing power.
It may be a subjective answer to so, along the lines of meh doesn’t matter, xyz-abc matters more to me. Sure but at a certain stage objective parameters of that outcome become supreme and the subjective realm no longer as the main arbiter.
Meaning, Left-Right can do whatever they want inside US, if it makes the US weak (globally & thus inherently) they both Lose, objectively.
Latest ideas from Progressive space – Science must fall
Where is the evidence that political views persist with age? If there is none, then it is immaterial what youth believe because they will grow old – can’t beat the 2nd law – and have plenty of time to change their minds.
Anyway, I am no fan of this liberalism is dying, apocalypse is nigh sort of fashionable pessimism (which is one of the oldest kinds of bad thinking common in human societies).
most ppls views are set early
some change does happen tho
it is kind of amusing when twenty something old kids write with the solemnness of sixty years old, as if they have seen the world. if the current agitation alarms you, then you have seen nothing.
sixties were an order of magnitude more volatile than 2020s. there were race riots and civil rights marches and anti-war demonstrations and what not. throw in the mix some rock-n-roll and drugs and woodstock and mahesh yogis, and it did feel as if the world people had known so far was coming to an end, and a new world was emerging. the air was heady.
and remember, it was fashionable to espouse far-left views back then, because in the sixties communism was a viable alternate economical model. soviet union existed as a citadel of communism, and it was running neck to neck with US in economic and military matters. OTOH, nobody with a sane mind in today’s date can think of communism as a replacement for our current economic model. (unless there is a hidden yearning among americans for turning US into a N korean style glorious republic led by dear leaders that i have completely missed).
in the end, the basic framework of american state survived the 60s. its democratic and economic model emerged unscathed from the radicalism. america did change, but not as radically as some feared. and it changed for the better.
this shall pass too. this is just the pendulum of public opinion swinging a bit left temporarily. it will find its equilibrium.
I started to notice unnerving parallels between American and Indian politics, particularly those on the left end of the spectrum.
I don’t see this. In fact, I see sharper parallels between the woke left in America and the Hindutva right in India. Both indulge in victimhood and grievance-mongering. For many blacks and their woke fellow-travelers (of all races) in America, slavery never ended. America will always remain in 1619, black bodies will continue remaining oppressed. Just like the average Hindutva activist in India seems to wake up everyday thinking it’s 1526 and Babur is invading again, and Muslims are forever preying on Hindus in the name of jihad.
It was Modi and his fellow right-wingers who were most impressed with Shashi Tharoor’s (partly jocular) appeal for Britain to pay reparations to India. (I think everyone here is aware of Ta-nehisi Coates’ advocacy for slavery reparations in the US.)
The right has been indulging in cancel culture in India for a while, even using citizenship as a weapon. Tavleen Singh, who has been a right-winger from before most Hindutva people were born, has been banished and her son stripped of an OCI card for the temerity to right an article criticizing His Highness. Most of the media has been completely intimidated into supporting the govt line, and criticism is called out as treasonous. The tax department has been used as a weapon against people. Etc…
“The right has been indulging in cancel culture in India for a while, even using citizenship as a weapon.”
I would not say what the right does in India is cancel culture. Lest someone might assume that Indian right has the same power in Media and academia as the Indian left does. In academia nothing really has changed. In media the left and liberal voices are neither silent nor are they struggling for space. i don’t see liberals censoring themselves in any criticism. On Shashi’s speech the right revels anything which is seen as mildly nationalistic. It has nothing to do with reparation and all. No one in India really revels in anti British hate or has any bad memories of British colonization. In a way, Indian right actually seems less concerned abt colonialism than Indian left (especially academia) does. That;s y u have Tharoor, and not Ram Madhav giving that speech.
What you are referring as “citizenship as a weapon” is intimidation not cancel culture as the west understand it. So they are not the same.
Indian right actually seems less concerned abt colonialism than Indian left (especially academia) does
Yes, because they are concerned about the colonization that happened before the British came (by the Muslims).
Even apart from that, you basically ignored everything else I said. Which is fine. I know you don’t live in India, so you don’t see how a stupid form of nationalism has taken over the country. How Modi is worshipped like a deity and can do wrong; wrong can only be done upon him. How easily the “anti-national” slur is thrown around.
If you don’t like the comparison to the woke left (I still believe it valid), you can compare it to the neocon right in the early Bush years, after 9-11 and through the Iraq War. I don’t know if you lived in the States then, but the American right behaved as abysmally then as the American left (and the Hindutva party) does now. Any challenge to the Iraq War would be met with “treason” and “are you against the troops/America” cry.
I visit India every year, sometime even twice. I know what nationalism has taken over. Modi is just a mega nation wide manifestation of what exists in our states. The demi-god state leaders. Recently a stand up artist was harassed in mumbai, on a trivial Shivaji matter. And then she apologized to the non BJP state leaders. Everyone in India sees fascism at the center, while meows like a cat when it comes to their own mini demagogues ruling their state. Last i checked no one has got “cancelled” because of being “anti-national” , because all of them are still going around their job fine. The most u get is trolling on internet.
None of your perceived relationship is grounded in facts. You are echoing stale tripe of the Indian Left(over) Reds.
Take a look at the election manifestoes of BJP or Shiv Sena or any other Hindutva leaning party. None of them ask for reparations or cancelling citizenship or such stuff. That Tavleen Singh/Aatish Taseer saga is routine bureuacratic stuff – exactly 1 data point. You are the one building a victim narrative 🙂
Hindutva is the decolonisation, de-dhimmification and the de-marxification of the Indian mind. Its problem is not one of scope but of scale, taking on all these 3 fronts at the same time. This has created a problem of resources and focus. But Modi is doing a patient job of moving mountains. Narasimha Rao and Manmohan Singh already did a thorough foundation of dismantling the Marxist architecture behind the state.
I read an interesting insight recently that the BLM is the result of a “white culture war”. When the war culminates in a finish and a winner (any winner), BLM will cease to exist.
This is exactly what is happening in Indian politics. A group of Indian elites (mostly Brahmins) are the progenitors of secularism while a section of elites + nouveau elites (Brahmins + OBCs) are opposing it.
Modi won the Hindu culture war in 2014 and 2019 and nobody cares about secularism anymore. The front is now something else (think about it)
You are echoing stale tripe of the Indian Left(over) Reds.
I compared Modi and Co unfavorably to the insane American Left, and this is the response I get? Whoever you are, you sound really stupid!
Hindutva is the decolonisation, de-dhimmification and the de-marxification of the Indian mind.
You are just blurting out buzzwords, like the Critical Race and Gender theorists in the West blurt out nonsense about “systemic racism” and “white privilege” and “cisgenderism” and all the other crap.
Any philosophy that looks to the ancient past for all of its wisdom and ignores all the advances made by mankind in recent centuries on the grounds that they are all “Western” and unsuitable to India is dumb. This kind of blind rejection of modernity and the refusal to adopt a scientific worldview is the telltale sign of the traumatized mind (You can call it colonized or whatever.)
Your verbosity is only exceeded by your propensity to create strawmen. Take your meds and go to sleep.
Your verbosity is only exceeded by your propensity to create strawmen. Take your meds and go to sleep.
i am going to ban you if you talk like that again. your comments tend to be long and bullshitty. i tolerate that. don’t talk back to someone who has contributed to this forum a lot longer than you.
\avleen Singh, who has been a right-winger from before most Hindutva people were born, has been banished and her son stripped of an OCI card for the temerity to right an article criticizing His Highness\
OCI card is not regular citizenship, it is just to make travel in and out of India easier and it does not have political rights. C in OCI is a fib. Govt has every right to cancel visas and OCIs as it deems fit. Citizenship/passport is a fundamental right and can’t be snatched away by the GoI.
I think both sides have been far less economical with the truth on this OCI fiasco.
Clearly his OCI card was cancelled on a technicality due to spite, mostly by an overzealous babu who wanted to curry favor with the Govt. But the other side is making as if their citizenship has been cancelled akin to NRC/CAA stuff is clearly hyperbolic.
Aatish Taseer committed declaration fraud when he stated on his application form that his father was not Pakistani. The Citizenship Amendment Act 2005, the bill which introduced OCI, clearly marks it ineligible for children of Pakistani parents (either or both), who are born after 1947.
To me, when the victim of an alleged “injustice” never approaches the courts seeking remedy, it is clear as day that no such injustice happened in the first place. Both Tavleen Singh and Aatish confined their protestations to Twitter.
“I don’t see this. In fact, I see sharper parallels between the woke left in America and the Hindutva right in India.”
I think we have discussed this before.
I won’t defend the Indian right because it is filled with idiots. But there is a decently large and vocal chunk of Indian leftists, especially in larger cities, who are as kooky if not more than their western counterparts.
It might just be generation gap because of which you don’t see them.
Some of them are really close friends of mine and I have seen a lot of folks transition in front of my eyes.
Yeah i would argue that the Indian wokes are demographically exactly what the american wokes are. Neither traditional Indian leftist/liberals not Indian right are a good parallel to the woke left in US. While Indian left/liberals are just plain vanilla , the indian right is far less sophisticated to cancel anyone. Most of them abuse/troll, that;s the extent of their power.
Only in Indian case the woke population is far less then US woke, because far less Indians study in High class, non STEM streams in India.
“I don’t see this. In fact, I see sharper parallels between the woke left in America and the Hindutva right in India. Both indulge in victimhood and grievance-mongering.”
Spot on Numinous! From what I observed, the Hindutva right uses the exact same tactics as the american “woke” left, i.e. grievances, overblown victimization scenarios, claims of bigotry/bias if they don’t like the data or facts researched by western academics (the vitriol against Reich’s team research and any previous research on the genetics of India case in point). In some ways I feel the woke created BLM movement is actually starting to mirror the Hindutva affiliated in their intimidation tactics; trolling, destruction of property and attacks on people. A parallel I fear will happen in India, is the polarization of just 2 extreme sides as it is In America, where you are increasingly pushed to pick the “woke” position or be labelled racist, bigot or not a “ally” and pushed to right wing, no middle allowed, while in India I can see the same but in reverse.
“the vitriol against Reich’s team research and any previous research on the genetics of India case in point”
I am not sure if this example strengthens your point.
Very very few Indians – on the left or the right care about AIT-OIT.
There seems to be a marked disconnect between issues that are important on the ground and what people on platforms such as this think is considered important.
some hindu nationalists have used woke talking points against me due to the AIT-OIT. basically they recycle woke attacks that i’m a white supremacist.
“basically they recycle woke attacks that i’m a white supremacist.”
I do remember Neha talking about inter-generational trauma, which seemed like a very woke term.
Sections of Hindu right online do make use of post-colonial lingo but generally, the grouse of the right is not as much against the white man as it is against Muslims.
There is a non-partisan section of the population that has a problem with the English language, though.
English seems to be both the best and worst thing that colonialism has left us with.
Prats, when i was an undergrad, the critical race theory/ poco studies set and the themes they fixated on seemed impossibly far from mainstream discourse. I’ll sheepishly admit being neck deep in it myself, and saw it from an inside perspective at a notoriously woke university. I can never again rule out how quickly ideas can crossover and academic jargon can hit the streets. I now work and interact with all sorts of people in india, some barely proficient in english, and I’ve already seen signs that these AIT/OIT and Aryan/Dravidian debates have trickled down to the masses. There is a whole sphere of social media that disseminates clickable hindnat talking points to this demographic, a la buzzfeed. Young politicians like Tejaswi Surya essentially tweet the condensed arguments of Rajiv Malhotra, to a huge audience.
“I can never again rule out how quickly ideas can crossover and academic jargon can hit the streets.”
It can certainly happen.
Aryan/Dravidian has been an issue in TN politics.
I see the other trend as well, as I mentioned above. A rise in number of Indian wokes. It’s happening really rapidly.
Young Dalit leaders on the left like Jignesh Mewani have already aligned themselves with the intersectional crowd.
I don’t know if this is just a marriage of convenience in the absence of a viable alternative to BJP or if there is an emergence of mass ultra-progressive politics that’ll be demographically buffeted by Dalits and Muslims.
I also don’t know how this will square against the various faces of Hindutva including the ones that propound victimhood.
All identitarian movements converge in tactics.
“Very very few Indians – on the left or the right care about AIT-OIT.”
Quite a few Indian publications around that time (purposely) misrepresented the outcomes of the research with headlines like “Aryan Invasion/Migration debunked” or “IVC show Vedic continuity” etc. which was then repeated quite frequently by the hindutva supporters online, paralleling “woke left” leaning publications in the US who do the same with their facts when they push their narratives.
Hard to believe “very very few” indians (at least those with hindutva leanings) didn’t care.
“There seems to be a marked disconnect between issues that are important on the ground and what people on platforms such as this think is considered important.”
Kind of a strange thing to say, Is this platform only to discuss issues that are important on the ground? Seems a little limiting on our discussions if you ask me.
“Quite a few Indian publications around that time (purposely) misrepresented the outcomes of the research with headlines like “Aryan Invasion/Migration debunked” or “IVC show Vedic continuity” etc. which was then repeated quite frequently by the hindutva supporters online”
These publications barely have any readership. You will know it has actually become an issue when you see Indian language news channels have prime time debates on it. They have debates on the stupidest of issues right now.
This is very well possible in the future but is not the case right now. Ask a random college educated guy on the street (who’s not on Twitter) about Aryan Invasion and you’re likely to draw a complete blank. Or they might agree with you since the official history curriculum in school teaches so, though most people don’t retain much of it.
“Is this platform only to discuss issues that are important on the ground?”
Never said that. My point is just that people who frequent this platform have an interest in genetics and therefore tend to over-estimate its importance in ground level discourse in India.
Most Indians I know think our ancestry is from some brown race that has existed since the beginning of time. They don’t know anything about population genetics.
Also are white people the only group of people that could willingly allow themselves to become a minority in less than 100 years? I guess the end game of wokeness is self destruction.
Hindu nat use woke points not just to fight against their (perceived) opponents, but increasingly even in group, because in the last decade or so , woke points (systemic racism, genocide, inter generation trauma) has peculated to day to day conversations. Indians whether left or right look to the west for cultural pointers, and we all see the results. But this is quite different to cancel culture which largely is confined to the same twitter crowd in India as well. Only in India, unlike US, folks have not started censoring or getting fired from their jobs. Now dissidents of the current govt do face intimidation but that’s similar to previous regimes (police and court cases, govt pressure on Organization) etc
On Aryan-Dravidian controversy and their impact, i largely agree with prats. At least in N-India this is hardly a debate around it. Because its sort of established which is the “in-group” and which one is “out-group”. The only debate is on semantics. Statements like “Even if the Mughals came from outside, they made India richer…” from the Indian liberal/left show what’s the established norm in N-India is. This acceptance of the situation is found not just among Hindus – muslims, but also among sikhs,jains too.
In S-India, rest of India, of course what Girmit said abt ideas “crossing over from Academia to the streets” carry more value because there is already a more strong opposition to Hindu nat on the ground so all the academic theories find far more receptive audience.
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