When Left-Wing Sensitivity Becomes Right-Wing Intolerance


I’m always fascinated by things I do not understand. One of these is the thin green line between strident left-wing politics and intolerant right-wing advocacy. An article in yesterday’s London Guardian helps to explain how the line can be breached.

How a lady, once admired as an aggressive British Labour Party activist, fighting against the treatment of British Muslim women as second-class citizens. Turned a corner. And became an ugly, latent, right-wing fascist.

I have seen some of this upfront for myself. My sense of it is this. Liberals, progressives and the like tend to be passionate. I said this of the British Labour party in the UK General Election this year.

It is sometimes difficult to determine the quantitative impact of some left-wing politics. Because the left tends to be noisier than the right or the center. That passion can be further aroused when under attack.

I observed this specifically when I was living in Carrboro, NC, where a significant number of those who are politically active perceive their municipality as a bastion of progressive ‘common sense,’ surrounded by an ocean of right-wing nutjobs.

The problem is that this sense of isolation, of constant assault, can lead to over-reaction. A need to build the walls high. Keep out intruders. Maintain the purity of the flame.

Eventually the paranoia can lead to precisely the sort of totalitarian righteousness that liberals normally condemn.

So. As I say. I can bear witness. I’ve seen it in action. But it remains fascinating for me to read someone else describing it. Not least for its help in understanding why so many working Americans are attracted to Trump.

(Facebook comments are here.)

Published in: on August 7, 2017 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  

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