by Rachel Haywire
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That is the old cliche, isn’t it? Of course many of us know better than to completely discount physical appearances. We look at Asians and assume they are smart. We look at African Americans and assume they are athletic. Biodiversity is an important part of human existence and to pretend like it doesn’t exist is to ignore the complexity of genetics.
Yet this isn’t another article about how we aren’t one-big-happy-family. To be honest, I have read enough articles like that to last me a rebellious-teeenager-in-California lifetime. This is an article about how there is no such thing as a “liberal gene.” I will set out to explain why assigning someone a political viewpoint based on their appearance is nothing short of ignorant.
“How can you, like, dress in an alternative way when you are not a liberal? Don’t you know that anyone who agrees with your politics would have you burnt at the stake? They would remove your tattoos faster than Hitler would give you a concentration camp number. What are you? Some kind of self-hating masochist?”
Not exactly. I’m someone who loves freedom. Absolute freedom without restriction from the state or the people. And yes, I understand that according to American politics, being a freedom-loving individualist who lives a wild lifestyle is some unholy contradiction. Libertarians and Anarchists make up less than 1% of the American population. At sites like ATS we are a bit more common, yet even among this community there seems to be an impression that alternative-looking-people are liberals.
Crazy hair? Tattoos? Leftist! Suit and tie? Clean cut? Rightist! This is actually the complete opposite of what I notice these days. Do we not remember that the Obama administration helped “cutting edge” alternative people become the establishment? The counterculture becoming the dominant culture was all the hope and change that we wanted, right?
Occupy was not a revolution and there was nothing more boring than the fashion cliches of the counterculture. I haven’t dressed “counterculture” in years. Yet my tattoos remained and so did my crazy hair. My punk attitude also survived. To any stranger on the street I was “just another liberal” because of my physical appearance. There was no possible way I could have any interest in the radical right, right?
About a month ago I explained to a few people that it would be more exciting to see a Romney win than an Obama win. While I basically see Romney and Obama as the same damn thing I did realize that a Romney win would get people to start rioting again. Not taking pictures with their iPhones at Occupy and calling it journalism but actually rioting. I wanted things to be radical like they once were: back when I still considered myself a leftist: when fighting against the war in Iraq was an act of resistance as opposed to conformity to PC culture. Some type of organic tradition.
My conservative friends were shocked to find out that I was “on their side” whatever that even meant. One of them was a politician who told me that while he was running for office he never would have thought to approach someone who looked like me. “You look like a leftist,” he told me. My heart wanted to bleed at that point, just to make an ironic statement. “I’m not a fucking leftist!” I wanted to scream. “I was kicked out of the left several years ago because my views were too extreme. I was too left for the left and this landed me on the right. Do you know what that is like? To be reversed in a political circle?”
There is no liberal gene. Both the punk and industrial subcultures were musical genres and lifestyles that resisted the dominant PC cultures of their times. The majority of “alternatively dressed” people you meet these days do not define themselves as liberal. And the people in the suits and ties? They are as leftist as you can get. They are the mainstream establishment. The defaults.
Our entire political system has reversed. What do liberals look like? They look like the conservatives of the past. Now that Obama has another 4 years we will see more and more of this. I mean, if you are going to judge a book by its cover at least understand that we are no longer in the same library as we were 10 years ago. Realize that alternative-looking-people are fighting against the system and that the system is liberal as fuck.
There is a new intellectual resistance that has begun. As for the physical appearance of this new intellectual movement? We look like the liberals of the past. We are the freaks on the streets and we are not here to Occupy. We want our culture back. This is about our roots as freethinkers and radicals. We want to bring the avant-garde 1% back. We wish to assert that 99% of the population is stuck in Academia 2.0. Digital Disneyland. We do not conform to the politics of the Obama Nation. We want total war.
This is what democracy could never look like.