by Patrick McAuliffe
Philosophical, ethical, and political consistency is something everyone should strive to attain in their lives. If it is lacking, one’s ideology quickly falls apart under the slightest scrutiny, and a sound system of beliefs allows for the clearest debates where both sides can fully understand each other’s position. The two major political parties and movements of our day, the liberal Democrats and the conservative Republicans, are too often guilty of this hypocrisy. How such logically flawed politics became so widespread is a very nuanced question, one I hope to show in due time.
Because this is a more conservative publication and you’re probably here for the right reasons (pun intended), I want to start by pointing out some fallacies in today’s liberalism. I took notice of some recent rhetoric among my liberal feminist friends, especially during the Women’s March protesting the inauguration of Donald Trump. Right-wing and conservative women ridiculed the march for ignoring the various abuses committed against women in other parts of the world while asserting that the march seemed pointless for women in America, who already have the right to vote, make choices, and determine their own life path. These conservative women, well-spoken and respectful in their criticism of the march in most of their social media posts, were ridiculed and talked down to by responding third-wave feminist posts. The main issue that supporters of the Women’s March had with the critics of the march is the assertion that the activism and accomplishments of past feminist movements invalidated any right to criticize this new feminist movement, especially by women, who had benefitted from the actions of women from Susan B. Anthony to Margaret Sanger to Gloria Steinem. If this is an acceptable mode of thought for some liberals, modern discussions of Marxism should be obsolete. After much of the world has lived under a capitalist system for centuries, humanity has advanced farther and faster than ever before in matters of science, technology, and productive efficiency. Because of all these great things, should the negative consequences of capitalism be also ignored, after everything capitalism has done for people living in it?
It’s no secret that race relations haven’t improved very much, if at all, over the last several years. There are genuine racists and bigots in America, but most of the people that are labeled this way (according to some liberals, people that voted for Trump) are moderate, upstanding citizens. Radical Islamic terrorism and violent Black Lives Matter protests too often make national news, and the customary battle lines are drawn, with right-wing ridicule and left-wing defensiveness. The latter side’s defense usually runs along the lines of “#NotAll(insert group here)”, which is logically correct. Just because one sees that “X is Y” (a BLM protest was violent, or Muslims were motivated to attack Brussels), does not necessarily mean that “All X is Y” (BLM as a movement stands for violent resistance, or Islam is a religion of war and violence). I recognize the hasty conclusions that many conservatives jump to during these times of crisis; I only ask that liberals hold themselves to the same standard. When Brock Turner, a white rapist, gets an easy sentencing for his horrific act, or no white person today owns slaves or was responsible for the centuries of American slavery, try to avoid generalizing to say that whites will always receive vastly shorter sentencing disproportionate to their crime or that modern whites benefit from slavery outlawed more than a century ago.
These types of identity politics have the strange dichotomy between encouraging individuals to be more than what their group is portrayed as in the media, and compartmentalizing all people into a specific identity with its own set of expectations, unspoken rules, and cultural separation. As Bill Maher put it, “How dare you! Where do you think you are, some sort of melting pot?” I find this contradiction between advocating for the individual and an emphasis on a collective quite fascinating. It carries over to more than just race as well. In the wake of Trump’s victory, Democrats vocally opposed the anti-democratic Electoral College, giving Trump the presidency without the popular vote. The people, the collective, seemed quite important at that time, when it was convenient to their own political interests. However, once the people have elected a left-leaning politician into office, the focus becomes on what that one person can do for everyone, how well they can centrally plan and organize their city or home district or state or nation. College professors, media personalities, and other liberal intellectuals have an adverse reaction to any movement resembling populism – preferring instead to prescribe the economic and political direction of the nation from their own opinions – despite vehement complaints that the “will of the people” was violated should anyone with an opposing (right-wing) view assume power. Do the liberal cultural elites care about the values and struggles of the people, or do they exploit the need for them in the democratic process to further their own agendas?
To change such fundamental fallacies in the thinking of so many who believe them is a monumental task, one that will not be completed anytime soon. Unlike many more belligerent conservatives and libertarians, I don’t mean offense by this article. If there is a way that these contradictions are reconciled, I would love to hear it and understand. In the next issue, I’ll be pointing out some fallacies in the conservative mode of thought, and tie both sides together with what I believe to be the main cause of the contradictions of both sides. Welcome to cloudy Hypocri-City, we hope you enjoy your stay!