Given the absolute shit show that is America right now, I want to try and explain how we got here, and how the UK should aim to avoid the same divisive direction the US is taking. Enjoy.
1. Roughly half the world is left-leaning psychologically (empathetic, openness, creative, compassionate) and the other half is right-leaning (orderly, conscientious, industrious). The left and the right have been in constant debate and battle between themselves in order to find as best a compromise as possible in the middle. An acceptance that both sides had value to bring to the table.
2. During the 1960s/70s something changed though, and a new socio-political philosophy was born most famously by French philosopher Michel Foucault called Postmodernism.
3. Postmodernism is complicated stuff, and full of contradictions in my opinion, but the central tenant of this new philosophy was the belief that knowledge, language, and what we have come to understand during the period of Modernity and Enlightenment, could only be understood as manifestations of power.
4. During the same time another socio-political philosophy was born called Critical Theory, and this is where ideas such as unconscious and subconscious biases, and everything being a social construct were born. Critical Theory is a highly cynical world view that questions whether science, debate, reason, rationality and universal truths are just part of grand meta-narratives that allow one group to exert power onto another.
5. The influence of both these new progressive philosophies grew throughout academia and primarily through the newer social sciences such as gender studies, postcolonial studies, womens studies, and queer studies.
6. However, they first integrated themselves in our culture by aligning with the early feminist movement and questioning whether biology, and its evidence of biological differences, was just a social construct designed to allow men to exert power over women. This lead to the war on gender that we see today, and the push for infinite variations of gender.
7. Since Postmodernists solely see the world through a lens of power dynamics, any form of inequality in the world was justified as simply a result of one group oppressing another, and hence our current culture’s obsession with the words ‘oppressed’ and ‘privilege’ were born.
8. As a result, if everything is viewed as a manifestation of power and how they fit under an oppressed / oppressor narrative, then the only way to combat it is by fighting power with power, and thus the new-age social justice crusaders were trained in academia not focused on learning how to think, but on how to be an activist and bring about their form of social justice.
9. This depicts the point in which the traditional left agenda departs from its classical liberal objectives that define Modernity and into a far more radical and revolutionary world view called Postmodernism.
10. The far-right for the most part has always been kept in check, but the same cannot be said for the left side of the spectrum. This is because the line where a moderate left becomes a far/radical left isn’t easy to define, but also because many do not even want to entertain the thought that progressive ideas can go too far – which they can.
11. Therefore, as the moderate/radical line where progressive ideas go too far is left purposely ambiguous, these far-left views have penetrated all areas of our culture primarily in the form of identity politics, political correctness, cancel culture, and the system of diversity (which discriminates by diversity of thought).
12. This new radical progressivism is especially evident in its new authoritarian mannerisms when it comes to the idea of ‘unconscious bias training’ and the insistence that ‘everyone should take a knee or is racist’. Everyone makes bias choices of one set or another, but to Postmodernists, such choices are not based on infinite levels of variances, but on prejudice alone – since postmodernists only see the world through a lens of power and oppression.
13. Something that is ‘unconscious’ is evidently hard to prove and there therefore lies no evidence for it, so the strategy evolved to convincing benevolent and gullible individuals, by force, that they ARE actually racist, sexist, transphobic and bigoted, but they just don’t know it yet. This is where the term ‘woke’ originates from, or ‘awakened’ to such unconscious biases.
14. This new radical leftist authoritarianism therefore became: Either you accept that you’re a bigot, or you’re a bigot and part of the problem.
15. Typically, when one end of the spectrum goes too far, a debate is started to try and keep it in check, but for the first time in history that is no longer possible, because to a postmodernist knowledge and language are just expressions of power. Therefore, reason and debate are just an attempt to suppress and exert, you guessed it, power.
16. As one side becomes dominant and polarised, the other side always counter reacts to it. And hence we arrive at the culture wars we have today: the revolutionary postmodern far-left and the reactionary far-right, both detestable, both dividing nations into how they believe society should be organised and viewed.
So what can be done?
Firstly, those that lean to the right must stand and say enough is enough, but the moderate left must also have the conversation with themselves and define where exactly the line is between moderate progressive ideas and its radical forms. Until the moderate left is able to identify where its progressive ideas go too far, we will only see more divide across the western world.
Let’s hope more people stand against the growing tide of woke culture, and this obsession over oppression and privilege dies.
Thanks for reading.