Sanctimonious rhetoric is all too prevalent nowadays in a media completely dominated by image. When sifting through a newspaper or online news articles, one does not have to search long before coming across some politically correct outrage over what the layperson may deem as overreacting (observe that someone may be overreacting, and indeed you too could also find yourself victim of the politically correct police). As I write, people are outraged that the first female super hero movie in years does not have arm pit hair; comprehend that.
Two recent and classic examples of this babyish conduct are the ‘protests’ that occurred at UC Berkley and Middlebury. Milo Yiannopolous (former Breitbart editor) and Charles Murray (author of The Bell Curve) were due to speak at these universities but, as a result of violent protests carried out by groups one could describe as lynch mobs, students destroyed university property and the subsequent talks were cancelled.
In the aftermath, what is being opined in defence of the protests is that they were shutting down fascist views, and that the violence that erupted from it was just an unfortunate, or to some a necessary consequence. People have been arguing that they are worried about the reminiscence of the 1930s in these so called ‘fascist’ speakers. Whilst they postulate this viewpoint, they completely overlook the reminiscence of the 1930s in the Kristallnacht against speakers on college campuses.
What I am trying to illustrate is that matters of importance cannot be discussed constructively in the current climate due to the toxicity of political correctness swirling in the air. The following are examples that I am sure people can resonate with; a person who agrees with equality between the sexes, in every sense of the meaning, but may have some reservations about abortion; this person is labelled by the ‘left’ as ‘misogynist’, ‘sexist’ and ‘anti-woman’. A person who believes that refugees should be allowed the chance to be free from conflict and allowed the possibility of a chance in a better world, but has reservations about some undesirable persons also coming in; this person is labelled as ‘Islamaphobic’, ‘bigoted’ and ‘racist’.
The pseudo-progressives have hijacked the left, and dragged its name through the dirt. No longer is free speech part of the left. The above examples are virtue signalling at its utter worst. The people who appear most fascist these days disguise themselves under a veil of ‘anti-fascism’.
Further, and what is more worrying, this sinister piffle and recreational outrage is slowly contaminating the political landscape of Ireland. Some politicians have gained fantastic popularity for banal and unoriginal polemics directed at Donald Trump. Any reasonable person can decipher that President Trump is by no means competent. We can all conjure criticisms in our sleep against the US president. And yet, if you cry wolf every day, and come out with statements implying that Trump is implementing genocide, or whatever ridiculous polemic is hurled at him, genuine critiques of real concern are whittled down and forgotten about.
Douglas Murray, a British commentator, recently stated that as people are gravitating more to the centre in their political outlook, the media and politicians are stampeding further to the left, thus increasing alienation between the sides. In their desperation, those people tend to gravitate towards politicians such as Trump and Nigel Farage, politicians with questionable agendas at the very least. The US election and Brexit referendums were not a direct vote for nationalism and bigotry; they were simply votes in negation of the left. It is these people who, justifiably disillusioned with the far left, can create a new common sense left wing movement. This would have the knock on effect of people gravitating towards the centre, rather than let them be lured in by the false promises of jingoistic politicians on the far right.
A recent study conducted by The Gild on persons born from the year 2000 onwards showed them to be the most conservative generation since those born after World War II, which the astute observer may note that the Thatcherite and Reagan years followed thereafter. With the study exemplifying the new generation’s current disdain towards the social justice warrior and virtue signalling movement, the need for a new centre left has become all the more apparent.
In conclusion, those who persist in a new left movement, which in today’s climate will probably be perceived as centre, that cherishes classic liberal values, and abandons the jargon of political correctness, virtue signalling, shutting down debates, and so on, should note that the move will not be easy, but those people can take heart from Confucius’ statement on clear sightedness; ‘He who is soaked in slander and deafened with denunciations, and still does not waver, may be called clear sighted. Actually he may also be called far-sighted.’
-By Jason McGoldrick
Image courtesy of Feral78 on flickr.