Don’t just look for the usual suspects

us and them

It’s really starting to get old.

Back in the 20th century, society was essentially dominated by conservative ideology. Up until at least the 1990’s, the narrative of Western culture seemed to be based on a right-wing understanding of the world, which had become dogma. In that narrative, the conservatives were the good guys, and the liberals were painted as a threat to society. Flash forward to the 2010’s, and things are now quite different. Now, left-wing ideology forms the dominant narrative of society, so now liberals are the good guys, and anyone who shows even a slight leaning towards conservative ideology is painted as either evil or just stupid. That’s the narrative that my generation grew up on, and it’s getting old.

Political discourse now seems to be based on one side shaming the other, especially in America, where a number of violent incidents have been attributed to right-wing racists. It also doesn’t help that America’s conservative politicians have garnered a certain reputation for their bad temper, childish behaviour, contempt for the working class, and a slew of nonsensical laws. To the average man, these are reasons why conservatives are the bad guys, but a lot of the mainstream attitude towards politics in general has been based in hyperbole. Even though I’ve gone on record in my scorn for America’s conservatives, I worry that in the political arena, they’ve become the easy target, probably because it’s very hard to defend them (to be fair, even I won’t). In fact, it’s gotten so easy that political satirists have made it part of their normal routine, and even John Oliver does this when he talks about American politics. In a sense, conservatives have become easy scapegoats.

What about liberals? On top of being as idealistic as an after school special, left-wing politicians expect the state to handle everything. Recently the left-wingers have been focusing heavily on equality, bashing the rich, and protecting women (and themselves) from hateful speech online, but they have not given much thought about freedom. In fact, one thing I’ve noticed is that left-wing politicians only seem to care about freedom when it’s being threatened by their right-wing adversaries. When liberal politicians aren’t defending freedom to make the other side look bad, they threaten to undermine the liberties of the wealthy and of businesses, and sometimes, they threaten our online liberties in order to appeal to victim mentality (this is increasingly and depressingly truer in Britain), and yet when liberals threaten civil liberties, only the intelligent raise a finger and nobody cares, but when conservatives threaten civil liberties, everyone gangs up on them like their the evil monster who’s been killing all their livestock.

To be fair, some conservative politicians, such as Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, have proven themselves to be genuinely despicable figures, but not all conservatives are like them. In fact, it’s this kind of blanket judgement that a lot of left-wing news outlets practice constantly. Okay, right-wingers do it a lot as well, but that’s the thing – there’s no difference in how liberals and conservatives conduct themselves. It doesn’t matter when both sides wants to tell you how to live, just that they’ll turn people against each other for a bit of entertainment, and how apt that would be, considering it’s all just a game. The only reason we elevate it above other games is that this particular game has very real consequences.

The ultimate problem, as I see it, is precisely the fact that we get too caught up in the game, and we take it for more than what it is. It’s simply a game where the prize is dominance. We forget that left and right are simply teams that demand the loyalty of players. Very few of those team members truly believe their own hype whatever side they’re playing, and even if they do, you shouldn’t trust them too much. In other words, don’t waste time picking on the easy targets when you can’t even trust the other side either. Yes, I still despise the right, but I can’t say I totally trust the left.

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