Culture Wars/Current Controversies

How the Cultural Left Became an Authoritarian Force

From a thread on a social media page. This nails it. The only qualification might be that I don’t know that “liberal” is really the right word for it, and terms like “cultural Marxist” are even more off base. I’d say “progressive” in the historic American sense is probably a more appropriate label. But that’s only on social/cultural questions. The USA is far-right (imperialist) on foreign policy and center-right to far-right (plutocratic capitalism) on economics
“Big comment incoming about why I think this cultural shift has happened:
1. Because the “Religious Right”/Evangelical-Coalition basically got defeated and isn’t as culturally relevant anymore. So promoting things like moral skepticism and uncertainty, Tolerance, “Edginess,” shades of grey, transgressive art, breaking speech taboos, etc is no longer in the interests of liberals as much. Whereas that was at least one face of their coalition in the past. You still see ghosts of this but it’s not as convincing today. Their biggest relatively organized domestic ideological rival in that department isn’t as much of an issue anymore. So an increasing number of them are just black-and-white moralists who get off to the idea of punishing their political enemies openly now, see their position on any given issue as the ethically self-evident solution (as in you’d have to be some kind of immoral monster to disagree or reserve judgement), etc.
2. A lot of stuff that used to be “Counterculture” for boomers and gen x has become relatively mainstream culture for millennials and gen-z, just in a watered-down/cutesified/commodified form. So it doesn’t feel as rebellious anymore as it used to if you’re an angsty/angry young adult nowadays IMO. I mean look at how much has changed in terms of popculture since then and what is and isn’t seen as shocking, unusual, etc, right?
3. Because certain events that have happened online over the course of the past decade, (specifically the whole nerd-civil-war thing with events like Gamergate and the Atheist movement breaking up, and then the rise of the Alt-Right shortly afterward) kind of sent liberals into a moral panic mode where they realized that they can’t just necessarily count on this idea that people will keep on getting more and more aligned to progressive ideas with each new generation. That they’re getting a decent amount of backlash to their politics even from relatively young internet-savvy people, often people who come from somewhat liberal cultural backgrounds even. Not *just* dumb uneducated middle-aged and elderly people living in rural America. The Alt-Right was a white nationalist movement that was successfully recruiting angsty socially alienated young people in their teens and twenties in decent numbers which (since the 1960s) has usually been a progressive strategy. Kind of put libs in the uncomfortable position of having to argue that we might have to shield young people from exposure to certain dangerous ideas which is usually the conservative’s position.
I say all this because a good chunk of the so-called “Far-Left” in America are really just extreme liberals in a sense. They’re people who take the kinds of attitudes they learned from growing up in a liberal cultural environment a little bit *too* seriously. They don’t even really have it in them to oppose things like consumerism anymore (you see a lot of leftists online try to reconcile this nowadays… being a socialist but also wanting to live a kind of consumeristic socially liberal lifestyle). So a lot of what you can say about liberals applies to them by extension. A lot of them still retain this idea that fighting the far-right (As opposed to the liberal establishment) is the *real* most important thing that needs to be done hence why supporting authoritarian measures might be necessary. You get this with people like Vaush insisting we have to critically support the FBI to stop a potential far right uprising and stuff like that.”

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  1. “You get this with people like Vaush insisting we have to critically support the FBI to stop a potential far right uprising and stuff like that.”

    For a few years, I’ve wondered what happened to the “right”, as opposed to the “far right”. Functionally, I think that the working definition of “far right” is “any conservative who gets up off the couch and goes somewhere to protest.”

    Any such person automatically becomes “far right”. As if by magic.

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