An unfortunately common trait among left-wingers is the inability to engage their political opponents in an appropriate manner.
If anything’s for certain, it’s that social justice warriors know how to yell. There isn’t anything wrong with yelling, but when you don’t take the time to listen to the other side, there isn’t a whole lot that’s going to get accomplished. The internet is rife with examples of so-called political activists who don’t bring anything to the table, yet they insist on adopting the role of social justice vigilantes.
Consider the viral YouTube video of an African-American woman attacking a white male with dreadlocks for appropriating her culture. The unprovoked woman approaches the unidentified male, motivated solely by left-wing media trends, and proceeds to — by all legal definitions — physically assault him even though the white male is only passing by.
Or, ponder the video of a protester screaming “BE QUIET” to a Yale Headmaster attempting to explain university policy. In both of these videos, unprovoked left-wing protesters are seen aggressively pursuing their opponents, but they don’t give the other side a chance to voice their case.
Another habit formed by left-wingers is the dismissal of arguments based on an individual’s race or gender. This attitude is prominent at the University of Alberta. I’ve personally encountered students who believe you are incapable of speaking for or against a movement if you are not a member of the demographic it’s targeting, hence “check your privilege.” Feminism (in most cases) takes a position on the left side of the political spectrum because it aims for a more equal, or egalitarian, society. There can be conservative feminists mind you, but most are associated with left liberalism.
Karen Ingala Smith carries the same sentiment in her blog, claiming that men “take up too much public space.” Men are fully capable of both supporting and critiquing feminism regardless of their gender. In other words, don’t bother checking your privilege because social movements are not all-exclusive clubs and gender is not an excuse to dismiss your critics. Like in the previous examples, rather than having a discussion with those who disagree, left-wingers prefer to nullify objections through excuses they can easily default to.
This recent phenomenon is the result of half-hearted activism. In this forsaken era of media sensationalism it’s easy to call yourself something, but it’s not so easy when the time comes around to defend your position. Instead, the left has resorted to delegitimizing the positions of their opponents.
Rather than taking the time to explain why you feel the way you do, it’s much easier to resort to buzzwords such as “xenophobic,” “homophobic” or the now extremely popular term “cis-gendered scum.” Just like the use of verbal and physical force, or dismissal on the grounds of minority membership, buzzwords are used to disregard the sincere input provided by right-wing nuts and moderates alike.
I’m not claiming that this behaviour is exclusive to the left. All over the internet (and especially Instagram for some reason) people who lean right resort to name-calling and conservative patriot memes to foolishly degrade the opinions of others. It is understood that many Republicans support militarist policies, patriotism and nationalism; these views are often represented in stark contrast to left-wing protestors such as members of the “hands up, don’t shoot” movement.
Images of left-wing protestors are often mocked and demeaned online. In American media, “socialism” is often used by the right to portray certain political leaders as aspiring despots (as explained in the video “5 Ways America is Already Socialist”). Despite this, I find that the trait is much more prevalent in the left-wing community and (unlike on the right) is widely considered proper discourse.
The important lesson to be learned here is structured engagement. You need to adequately support your position, if you want to be taken seriously. Claiming that your opponent doesn’t understand because they aren’t a member of a particular minority doesn’t count either. It doesn’t matter if you believe that your opponent’s position is racist, you need to explain why you think that. Politics is all about conversation — different people taking turns to provide what they believe are the best ways to go about solving issues.