Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Original Alternative Left Facebook Page Description

The original description of the Alternative Left Facebook page.

A specter is haunting the internet - the specter of the alternative left. But what is it, exactly?

There's no one ideology. No party line. Rather, an overall sympathy with liberal and progressive ideas but a distaste with how leftist thinking has gone. Alternative left can be used to describe people who are, to varying degrees, left of center, but may believe any or all of the following:

  • Believe that the most pressing forms of injustice and inequality of today are economic.
  • Favor free speech and are civilly and culturally libertarian - especially on college campuses - but distrust libertarian views on economics.
  • Don't like political correctness and think social justice warriors are obnoxious, but aren't willing to abandon social liberalism all together. 
  • Oppose racism and sexism, but think that equality and universality should actually mean equality and universality. Racism means racism against ANY race, including white people. Sexism means sexism against any gender, including males. Feminism and anti-racism are essentially good ideas worth fighting for, but double standards and prejudices that favor groups that are rationalized on the basis of the group's historical "marginalization" actually defeat the purpose of egalitarian politics, turn people against these causes and are usually self serving and opportunistic. 
  • In the same way, it doesn't make sense to you that so many leftists ruthlessly attack Christian fundamentalism in the name of science, secularism and women's rights, while defending similar criticisms of Islamic fundamentalism with cries of "racism" and "Islamophobia."
  • Progressive thought needs to get real about economics. Vague and utopian "anti-capitalism" is useless. Neither pure socialism nor pure capitalism are feasible, but something better and more equitable and just than this crony corporatist neo-liberalism has to be possible, feasible and implementable.
  • Many progressives today just seem irrational, dogmatic, fanatical and overly sensitive. They don't engage in dialogue with other people and political thought and instead just try to drown out other points of view with shrill cries of "racism", "misogyny" or the like and disruptive protest. People cannot be expected to support ideas for progressive social change if their advocates are fanatical grandstanders. 

Left of center thought seems to be having a revival the likes of which have not been seen since the 1960s, especially on "social justice" and feminist blogs on social media sites like tumblr. But this progressive revival is coasting - neo-conservatism lost credibility during the disastrous Bush years and the religious right retreated (in some quarters, at least) under the criticism of the new atheism, that has created an ideological space wherein progressive thought has proliferated. But it will not last if it continues to rival the far right with its own brands of irrationality, dogmatism and authoritarianism. The backlash has already begun - the online rebellion against the excesses of contemporary progressive thought that began in obscure fields such as video game journalism has begun to spread and grow more mainstream. An equally irrational brand of extreme white male identity politics, an "alternative right" if you will, will capitalize on this inevitable backlash if voices on the left do not speak up and demand that progressives return to true enlightenment values. 

If you hold any of these kinds of views, social media can seem like a bizarre and irrational place. Your pleas that cooler, more rational heads prevail grow increasingly unheeded. But you are not alone. There are many who think this way. But it seems like you fight alone. You know full well that "no force on Earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one."  But the alternative left will make us strong!

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