I’ve personally spent upwards of 7 years around liberals, radicals, and leftists working shoulder to shoulder at collective and cooperative ventures including owning a cafe & bookstore, working weekends for about 8 months on an urban farm, and sooooo many meetings, conferences, and talks. From personal and intimate relationships to business relationships, presented here are some of the ideological pitfalls of the left, by definition, the cultural conflict it creates, and then a palliative suggestion if possible:
1. Politics of Purity
- Anyone who practices politics must be pure in that practice and must hold specific political values/ morals and never fail to live up to them.
This naturally creates a culture of calling people out for not toeing the line or not being perfectly aligned with the political values or morals of the current time.
I think in these instances we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If folks are around and want to learn to do better in a sincere way then there’s hope and you can lose an ally because you want that ally to be perfect. Humans make mistakes.
2. Politics of Fragility
- Claiming to be a victim of harm in order to reverse your position as the perpetrator of harm. In this claim of being a victim instead of the one victimizing, you can then implement punitive or corrective measures on folks to “fix” behavior and make them do what you want. Includes being triggered or claiming psychological harm via speech.
This creates a culture where if you feel offended you can claim to be harmed and a victim therefore abdicating your responsibility in being accountable for the harm you perpetuate.
I think it’s best to be accountable and deal with the harm you are individually responsible for.
3. Politics of Security
- This includes white flight, Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY), self-segregation, and individual and institutional policies of elitism.
Creates a culture of separation and alienation where people don’t get to have personal experiences they can refer to in understanding how other folks eat, pray, and love. Without those personal experiences it can create a homogeneous and reductive view of others.
4. Politics of Terrorism
- Claiming a monopoly on violence i.e. Our violence is acceptable yours is not.
This creates a culture of incentivizing violence as a means to any end when you only leave yourself one option and take the validity of that option from others. Having only one option is not an option.
Violence should be a last resort in any situation.
5. Politics of Virtue Signaling
- Individual or Institutional policies or actions that convey the politics of your moral character and virtuousness.
This creates a culture of always competing to show that you’re of upstanding moral character through symbolic and performative gestures that don’t change the underpinning issues you’re signaling about.
Things that are obvious don’t need to be said or put on display.
6. Politics of Moral Licensing
- Using policies or acts which include, virtue signaling and the good presumed by that signaling, to give license for and justify policies and acts outside of those correct political morals and values signaled. In other words, just because you do something good it doesn’t automatically cancel out the bad you do.
This creates a culture that justifies people doing as much harm as good because bad can become obfuscated by the good that’s being done.
It’s useful that people be accountable and responsible for their actions that produce good results as much as the bad ones.
7. Politics of Racial Logic
- Assigning group identity to individuals.
This creates a culture of seeing people not as individuals or autonomous beings that make their own choices but as automatons and identities you can fit in a box. It’s ultimately reductive because no one can understand where someone comes from solely based on group identity.
It’s best to approach people on a case by case basis and make a judgement not based on what they say, promise, or gesture but on their actual actions in the real world.