Wednesday, February 15, 2017
ENDGAME: Why I’m finished with our liberal left
Maybe you’ve noticed this too.
I'm fifty now, and have been on the left my whole life. I remember clearly in the '90s and early 2000s how the single most infuriating thing about debating with Republicans was that they never allowed the conversation to stay on the point under discussion. Whenever you'd get them anywhere near giving a clear answer on something, or recognizing the simple facts you'd raised, they'd quick shift to some tangential issue: "But what about . . . ?" The constant derailment was maddening.
Just this week I've realized how many hours during the past year I've fallen into discussions just like this with Democrats. I've been voting Democrat my whole life, and used to have substantive policy discussions with other Democrats around me. But for a long time now, I keep running into fellow Democrats who are almost zombielike in the mechanical way they deflect. Jittery bullshit machines. It's the same runaround I used to face with hardcore Republicans. The same nervous refusal to get anywhere near certain facts. And worst of all: it feels the same.
Which has finally convinced me of something I began to suspect around 2012. Democrats are the new Republicans. Standard issue GOP Republicans are still the old Republicans, I’d say. But Democrats are the new dumb kids on the block.
Of course now the Democratic topic du jour is the horror of Trump, of his every step and move and utterance. I agree with them on many of these things, but not all. But the key thing they still refuse to recognize: It was our own party’s choice to run Clinton that got Trump elected. It was our own party’s systematic snubbing of Bernie Sanders that led to Clinton’s win in the primaries.
As for Trump himself, putting aside the very serious flaws in his character, which may well prove fatal to his administration, the fact is he has already done three things that should immensely please the left: he summarily killed TPP, he granted union leaders a more cordial and substantive meeting than any Democratic president has given them in decades, and he signed an executive order banning his administration staff from lobbying for five years after their tenure is up.
Would Hillary have dared do any of these things? I highly doubt it. Yet each of them, looked at in itself, is a step in the right direction for American workers and government. Amazingly, on these three fronts Trump is actually to the left of Obama or Clinton.
I say I’ve voted Democrat my whole life, but I did not vote for Clinton this time. I just couldn't. The gulf has grown too vast. In fact I can hardly even talk to lifelong Dem friends about politics these days. They are unhinged. I don't see it as a symptom of fear in the face of Trump either. I see it as a new, uncanny, almost essentialist self-righteousness beyond argument. They assume they were "right", are "right" and will always be "right". Just because they are themselves.
And no, in case you were wondering, I did not vote for Trump either. But note: I do not regret not voting for Hillary. Not a bit.
What has happened to the party I long supported? I’m disgusted at the shallowness of political discussions among most Dems. Everything is identity politics and SJW cant. As for any substantive vision of America as a nation of particular people with a tradition and history, forget it. The only history they see is the history of grievances of this or that identity group. Some of those groups have real grievances, yes; others however are clearly just riding the grievance cart for all its worth. While growing shriller and more arrogant with each passing year.
And regarding the serious issues, namely the hollowing out of the working class and the corporatization of everything, it’s clearly all peripheral to them. They’re almost uniquely interested in ensuring people don’t say mean things, or offend people through “microaggressions”, or question this or that sub-doctrine of this or that SJW orthodoxy on immigration, LGBT rights, trans bathrooms, whatever. If you don’t agree with the whole list of their established doctrines, they look at you askance and immediately start calling you names.
The supposed left party in my country is no longer even on the left. It has become little more than a virtue-signaling gaggle of corporate puppets. And its full-throated adoption of neocon foreign policy makes it harder than ever to distinguish it from the original neocons around George W. Bush.
Last year much of the talk before the election centered on choosing the “lesser of two evils”. My thinking on this question hasn’t changed. Where Trump represents a kind of flailing, all-too-human evil, Clinton represents an incremental, methodical evil: the evil of a steady corporate takeover of what was once a democratic nation and is hardly so any longer.
But the corporate corruption of the Democratic Party is obvious and has been widely discussed. What hasn't been so discussed is the intellectual corruption of so many Democratic voters and media talking heads. I just don't see any hope for many of these folks. They have become machine-like in their knee-jerk reactions. This tangible shift, starting around 2012, has pushed me steadily away from this American “left”. I don’t share their social vision, I don’t share their corporate globalizing plans (as in TPP, now thankfully obsolete) and I don’t share their newfound hatred of open debate and free speech. It is this gang that poses the real authoritarian threat to our republic, more so even than Donald Trump. Which is saying something.
I am no longer with them. I am actually glad they got their asses kicked in 2016. I will not be helping them in word or vote from here on out.
Check out my book Idiocy, Ltd. and begin the long, hard reckoning.