The Far-Left and Far-Right Have All Too Much in Common
Far too many liberals and Democrats forget that authoritarianism is a horseshoe. The extremes of both ends of the political spectrum tend towards totalitarianism wherein the state suppresses, to the best of its ability, the viewpoints of dissidents and critics. This can be done in many ways – governments can pass laws forbidding contrarian speech, condone violence and physical retribution against those speaking in opposition, or it can discriminately apply frivolous labels meant to “poison the well” or otherwise taint the perspectives of those who stand against empowered group. All of these methods serve the same end purpose: Monopolizing thoughts and ideas.
While it is of course easiest to pursue any of these avenues while in the majority and holding the seats of power, plural or minority factions can embrace the latter two means of muzzling nonconformists in efforts to squelch opposition and create a homogenous group. Donald Trump has, throughout the course of the past 18 months, encouraged violence against protesters and applied meaningless and incorrect monikers to outlets and individuals who disagree with him. See how he and his supporters deride the “mainstream media” as “fake news” or dismiss liberals as “libtards” or “communists” or “treasonous insurgents.” Many (but not enough) have railed against such labelling and suppression of ideas, especially when it comes to the media as the news organizations help educate a wanting electorate. But what Democrats, facing the brunt of this well-poisoning, seem to ignore is that such silencing also occurs in their own ranks
College campuses have been the focal-point for leftist censorship, and rightly so. Students care too much about “microaggressions” and other slights to feelings and, as a result have sought to curtail free speech and free expression. But these illiberal sentiments continue once students descend from the ivory towers. Leftists, those on the fringes of the Democratic Party and liberalism, continue the college belief that speech with which they disagree – or speech which they find, in any way, racist, sexist, or condescending – should be banned. How is that any different from the illiberal ideas of Trump, who blacklisted outlets critical of him, or his supporters, who want to see constitutionally-protected speech (such as flag-burning) outlawed because they disagree with the argument being presented?
These leftists also love to quickly and easily dismiss speakers with different views. Innumerable speakers have been disinvited from schools because of potentially offensive viewpoints. Not even liberals are immune from leftist censorship: When the illiberal left is faced with disagreements from Democrats or other liberals, they don’t try to have a dialogue or come to an understanding with the other party. Rather, the illiberal left condemns critics as “racist” or “condescending” or “intolerant.” Many antagonists are simply ignored by virtue of being a “straight white man” (I’ve been told my opinions or use of logic aren’t welcome because I’m white and rationality is somehow, and I kid you not, a racial construction). Suddenly, immutable characteristics, rather than being something to defend and protect, are reason to dismiss opinions and thoughts just because they hail from a historically privileged demographic.
And so, by labelling as “racist” or “intolerant” or “bigoted” those who bother to disagree with the far-left, leftists alert other leftists than a speaker or writer is to be ignored. It is de facto censorship within a community, creating an ideological echo-chamber and the makings of authoritarianism should the faction ever somehow come power. Much as Trump and Trumpian thought is a cancer on conservatism, leftists and leftist thought are quickly becoming a leech on liberalism of which Democrats must be wary lest they follow the Republican Party down the road of authoritarianism.