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.