Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Liberalism and the Left

Is there a Far-Right faction within the Irish Times? A clandestine Alt Right contingent vying for the soul of the newspaper of record? No. But there is a “high-minded” liberal broadsheet determined to take what it sees as the high moral ground. In doing so it proves how out of touch Old Media are, not so much with the new dissident right as with the new shrieking left.

Twice in the past month the Irish Times have been accused of publishing racist material. And today? An article that defends racist Richard Spencer. Admittedly not his ideas, but his right to have those ideas and his right not to get punched in the face for them.

No doubt this will send Irish Twitter Trots into overdrive. 

Admittedly, the coverage of the Alt Right in Irish media is somewhat surreal. To anyone who stumbled across Richard Spencer pre-2016 is must seem extraordinary how featured he is over here. As one of the few faces of the American Alt Right and, having originated the phrase, he tends to receive disproportionate attention.

Spencer is a controversial figure even on the Right. His hostility to social conservatives and his calls for a cohesive white identity is off-putting to many ethno-nationalists. At his best, Spencer is an entertaining, slightly effete commentator on cultural issues. He typifies what the mainstream perceive as a brand of "hipster racism." The coverage he receives in Ireland is usually coloured by the Irish media's absurd view of race relations in the US. This view, might be summarised thusly: "When a certain generation of white Americans die off, race relations in America will be just fine." Needless to say this view is painfully inadequate. 

Spencer made the news in Ireland today on account of his admittedly punchable face getting punched during a video interview. What followed was a Twitter storm. And twitter storms have become more newsworthy than hurricanes. Enter Laura Kennedy of the Irish Times to defend Spencer, or at least to disavow acts of violence against him. 

There are two strands of thought in the liberal media regarding how the Far-Right should be covered. One is that they should be given absolutely no coverage (No Platform for Fascists) and the other that the public should be exposed to their vile, crazy views. In short, quarantine or inoculation.

The Radical Left, or should we say the Trotskyite reserves of consumer liberalism, 
tend to favour the former, ostensibly because they don't trust people to judge for themselves. Contempt for the masses has long been a feature of radical left-wing thought, which isn't hard to understand. Once you reduce the world to class interests you have effectively reduced people to cattle.

Over and over again the Left have been betrayed and disappointed by their avowed proletariat. In the 1930s the German worker chose National Socialism over Communism. In the 1980s a segment of the English Labour vote defected to the Tories, never to be forgiven, and initiating a revenge cycle. In the 1990s Labour opted to import wholesale a new proletariat and abandoned the old English working class. The English working class eventually struck back by voting Brexit. But that's by the way. 

Laura Kennedy, more of mainstream liberal, seems to be advocating inoculation. This is really the idea that liberalism is pervasive and that most threats can be addressed by exposure to its light. To someone like Laura Kennedy the war has already been won. Liberalism has been triumphant. It's safe then to take the high moral ground.

This is also clear in the manner that she describes his ideas but does not engage with them.

From her point of view, this is sufficient. People will judge for themselves that his views are odious. The idea that people would stoop to his level or resort to violence leaves her “baffled.” Like most liberal journalists she does not grasp the enormity of the polarisation which is occurring. And she does not appear to understand the radical left factions of her own side. The violence of the Left in the United States, the UK and Germany simply has not been covered by the Irish media. It doesn't make the papers. 

The high moral ground which modern Liberalism claims to occupy is largely an illusion. It is a function of their total control of language. Of what is and is not acceptable to say. 

The Radical Left (such as it is) retains the blood-lust of its earlier incarnations, if not the intellectual dexterity. And while its politics may have become increasingly distorted and sidetracked and silly, it retains a belief in revolution. And continues to espouse an outsider mentality. Its adherents use language cynically and don't worry too much about the high moral ground. For revolutionaries the end always justifies the means. The goal is to destroy the social order and violence is always the order of the day. Orwell hit on this in a passage from 1984:

"You are prepared to commit murder?"


"To commit acts of sabotage which may cause the death of hundreds of innocent people?"


"To betray your country to foreign powers?"


"You are prepared to cheat, to forge, to blackmail, to corrupt the minds of children, to distribute habit-forming drugs, to encourage prostitution, to disseminate venereal diseases – to do anything which is likely to cause demoralization and weaken the power of the Party?"


"If, for example, it would somehow serve our interests to throw sulphuric acid in a child's face – are you prepared to do that?"


There is a further argument, this one more pragmatic. It is clear to anyone with eyes, that the tactics employed by the Radical Left are often counter productive. The more they attack nationalism, the more prominent it becomes. A No Platform campaign will often create a news story and the liberal media invariably covers it. 

Further to this, the hysterical nature of the Radical Left makes them increasingly repugnant to growing numbers of people. Their commitment to violence, their ideological conformity, their stuffy academic jargon, their escalating zaniness on issues like sexuality and gender. Above all their inability, of late, to learn from their mistakes. It's off-putting. During the Trump campaign, the liberal media was repeatedly dragged leftward until even the most moderate outlet sounded like shrieking harpies. People noticed. 

For the moment the liberal status quo stands because it is assumed. Because people like Laura Kennedy take it for granted. The Radical Left, who feed off the teat of Liberalism, while decrying the "fascist" Irish state, have only one route open to them. That is to become more and more reactionary. More obnoxious. More toxic. In the end, they will bite the teat that feeds them. And liberalism will bleed red that day. 


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