The Hard Left and Populist Right Agree on All the Wrong Things

A time-traveller or alien dropped into the West’s “culture war” might be forgiven for wondering if it was all intended as a big joke. After all, most of the major arguments could be taken straight out of a comedy show: “Men can get pregnant, too,” “Winston Churchill is getting cancelled,” “Donald Trump is Hitler,” “Joe Biden is a communist,” “Math is racist!” Although the plot has sometimes been difficult to follow, the culture war has provided us with a steady stream of entertainment and hilarity.

However, it stops being fun when it becomes clear that the arguments are meant seriously. And it becomes positively frightening when one also realises that this theatre of absurdities has dominated much of the public debate across the Western world for years. The culture war created the illusion that utterly obscure arguments normally ignored by everyone except eccentric university professors, perpetually outraged radical activists, and 35-year-old children living still in their parents’ basement represent the most crucial questions facing the modern West. So important, according to their proponents, that the very foundations of liberal democracy and public discourse—such as free speech—might reasonably be disposed with to “win” the argument.

Even worse, the culture war made us start wondering whether our disagreements on things like transgender bathrooms or the correct way to understand 18th-century history really did represent irreconcilable dividing lines across the West—especially in the United States. Just a year before he died, the late talk radio host Rush Limbaugh said out loud what a lot of Americans were already thinking: “I actually think that we’re trending toward secession. I see more and more people asking, ‘What in the world do we have in common with the people who live in, say, New York?’” The last time Americans contemplated secession, the issue at hand was the ongoing enslavement of nearly four million Americans. But this time around, in the insane-asylum-reality of the culture war, it is disagreements on the merits of veganism or preferred gender pronouns that made Americans question whether they had enough in common to coexist peacefully as a single nation—let alone a nation providing leadership for the West as a whole.

For all but the most utterly deluded, the actual war in Ukraine ought to serve as a powerful antidote to the self-involved pettiness of our own culture war. The reality of whole neighbourhoods destroyed by artillery and bombs reminds us of how lucky we are to live in a society characterised by peace. Witnessing Putin’s readiness to imprison thousands of anti-war protestors at the drop of a hat makes us appreciate the West’s commitment to free speech and judicial due process. Putin’s readiness to destroy a neighbouring country to impose his authoritarian ideology helps us see how unified we still are in support of democracy and national sovereignty.

🇺🇦🇬🇧 The first footage of the British Brimstone guided missiles combat use by the Ukrainian military from a ground-based launcher. #Ukraine️RussiaWar #UkraineUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/Nw0JGVsksR— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) May 12, 2022

More profoundly, the Ukrainian people’s willingness to risk invasion to become part of the Western world reminds us how lucky we are to be part of the West ourselves—and how much we have in common when we separate the wheat from the chaff. The contrast with Putin’s evil makes it clear that most people in the West agree on nearly everything important: democracy, rule of law, free speech, freedom of faith, individual liberty, human dignity. We never really were divided on the things that really matter. Relatively speaking, transgender bathrooms, preferred pronouns, or what you think about the 1619 Project really don’t matter at all.

Nevertheless, even in the face of true evil, the stubborn idiocy of the culture war’s principal champions appears impenetrable. Unable to view the world through any other lens than the culture war of their own making, activist-pundits both on the Left and Right scramble to make the reality of a square peg fit into the round hole of their ideological myopia. The resulting nonsense would have made even the fictional propagandists of George Orwell’s 1984 proud: it is not Putin who is at fault for his own invasion of Ukraine, but the “warmongering” Western powers that supported Ukraine’s right to national sovereignty; it is not the dictator Putin who is hell-bent on totalitarianism, but liberal Western globalists advocating for free trade and collective defence; our own politicians and media cannot be trusted, but Putin (and Tucker Carlson) apparently tells it like it is. Or, as Orwell’s fictional totalitarians put it: “War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.”

Despite their ritualistic play at ideological arch-enmity, the hard Left and the populist Right are remarkably unified in their prevarication or even open support for Putin. But perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised. Just like the still-sane majority was never divided over the things that truly matter, the ideological fringe-dwellers always agreed on the most important issues, too—but in all the wrong ways. The real argument of the culture war was never between the hard Left and the populist Right. The real argument was about whether the Western world is something we ought to cherish, value, and fight for. The culture warriors’ attitude to Putin shows us what we perhaps knew all along—they think the West belongs on the scrap heap of history.

The hard Left, to their credit, have at least always been honest about this. In their monomaniacal view of the world, the West is uniquely violent, exploitative, racist, and hell-bent on imperial domination. So much so that there is hardly any unfortunate event in modern history that they cannot explain with the West’s wickedness. The sacrifices made to defeat Hitler or end slavery are quickly forgotten. So, no wonder the UK’s Jeremy Corbyn still blames NATO for Putin’s invasion and the Democratic Socialists of America implore the US government to stop supplying Ukraine’s military with the weapons it needs to fight the Russians—conveniently ignoring the Ukrainian democratic socialists’ direct appeals to the US to do so. Oliver Stone recently tweeted “some Sherlock Holmes clues to what’s really going on in Bucha,” linking to Russian propaganda articles claiming the massacre was faked by Ukrainian forces. So much for the Left’s solidarity with the victims.

(1/3) For some Sherlock Holmes clues to what’s really going on in #Bucha, here are some other reported observations: https://t.co/K393j152Y3— Oliver Stone (@TheOliverStone) April 14, 2022

Of course, many on the hard Left still claim to be opposed to Putin and support Ukraine, but their ideological blinders quickly lead them into a land of absurdities. Many leftists across Europe beat their chests about the importance of humanitarian aid for Ukraine, while they still vehemently oppose supporting the country with more weapons. Since they clearly don’t think Ukraine is worth defending, perhaps the aid they talk of can be delivered with the help of the Russian army. And in the US, Ilhan Omar achieved an improbable feat of simultaneously claiming that she “support[s] giving Ukraine the resources it needs to defend its people” and also saying that giving Ukraine the weapons they asked for would be “likely disastrous.” Did she imagine Ukraine might do better with a large shipment of pink knitted pussy hats?

The reason for such absurdities is that the hard Left thinks the only good the West might really hope to do is retreat entirely from the world stage and rid it from its permanently nefarious influence. Never mind that the power vacuum would be filled by Xi Jinping’s China and Putin’s Russia. The eminent British historian Tom Holland might also point out something else the leftists are quick to forget: the very values by which they judge the West as distinctively evil are themselves uniquely Western. You cannot reject Western values without also rejecting anti-racism, anti-slavery, social justice, or anti-imperialism.

The supposedly “conservative” populist Right is trickier because its members claim to be the most unadulterated defenders of Western values, patriotism, tradition, and cultural inheritance. Their fanboying of Putin prior to his invasion, mindless parroting of Kremlin propaganda, and limp-wristed prevarication after he launched his war reveal just how much of a sham this always was. Instead of a robust defence of the West, we get self-described American “conservatives” such as Candace Owens arguing that Putin’s invasion isn’t a big deal because “Ukraine wasn’t a thing until 1989,” Tucker Carlson being so effective at making Putin’s case that his monologues get featured on Russian state TV, and Ted Cruz complaining the US military is “emasculated” compared to Russia’s. In Europe, populists like Farage and Le Pen are desperately trying to make everyone forget their years of warm words for Putin. Meanwhile, the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán has refused to let military aid for Ukraine pass through Hungary and used his election victory as an opportunity to describe Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky as one of his “opponents.”

The reality, of course, is that the populist Right was never interested in the West’s values or intellectual tradition—because this is the very tradition they hate: liberal universalism, individual liberty, freedom of speech, democracy, freedom of religion. The populist Right is interested in the idea of tradition only as a symbol of authoritarianism and old-fashioned machismo for its own sake. They cannot bear to see the West stand up to Putin because he is the one that embodies the values they really care about—not the West.

And amid walk-backs and whataboutism, some still say it like it is. Two days after Putin launched his invasion, American far-right activist Nick Fuentes captured the mood at his America First Political Action Conference right before introducing Marjorie Taylor Greene to the stage. “Can we give a round of applause for Russia?” he asked the crowd, which responded excitedly by shouting “Putin! Putin!” Talk of patriotism comes cheap from those who want our enemies to win.

The ideas that unite the hard Left and the populist Right against the West itself are the same ones that make them both so excited about culture war. The very idea of a culture war is illiberal—and it cannot be fought without also undermining the very existence of liberal democracy.  One of the most important principles underpinning Western liberalism is the idea that what you think and believe is nobody else’s business unless you chose to make it so. For a culture war to even make sense, that foundational idea must be dispensed with. What the culture warriors are working towards is a society where it’s everyone’s business what everyone else believes. An old man in Liverpool said something insensitive about women? He must be punished! A café owner in California hung up a rainbow flag by her window? Her promotion of immorality must be stopped!

Of course, a bit of moral panic and nonsensical virtue-posturing is a normal thing for any society, and usually more annoying than dangerous. The Western body politic has a strong liver and can handle a crazy night out on the town now and then. But when the culture war becomes central, it starts feeding on itself. If the “war” is over what everyone else thinks, it’s not won until everyone else thinks the same as you—or you are forced to think the same as everyone else. That result is both the justification for and consequence of mutual escalation. Once “all or nothing” becomes the central assumption, the end point is the same regardless of whether it’s the hard Left or the populist Right that wins: the end of liberal democracy and the beginning of totalitarianism. The destruction is not wrought by the Left or the Right alone, but by the culture war itself.

With that in mind, it should come as a relief to the still-sane majority that the culture warriors now have revealed themselves as the toxic frauds that they always were—both on the Right and the Left. And it seems, perhaps, that they are on the retreat. But they need but a little oxygen to breathe life back into the flames of destruction they want to consume the West. Let’s not give it to them.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://quillette.com/2022/05/13/the-hard-left-and-populist-right-agree-on-all-the-wrong-things/
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It’s an interesting essay and well-written, but I do think the author does tend towards strawmanning the extremes. There are plenty of reasons to criticise the West’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. First, although we should in no way condone Putin’s aggression, NATO’s eastward expansion at least made it easier for Putin to find a justification for the invasion, and at most it was probably very helpful in crafting a message and swaying Russia’s more powerful institutions into favouring military intervention.

But the real risk is that we seem to be committing to an open-ended risk of potential escalation to the nuclear level, with friction eroding the barriers to unacceptable risk, on a daily or weekly basis. Should we plan a no-fly zone? What level of materiel support constitutes an open declaration of war, and just how close can we step to the line without crossing over it?

The craziest thing of all is the some within the corridors of power have begun to openly state that regime change- no doubt accomplished through a mixture of Russian discontent at attrition levels and hardships induced by our unprecedented levels of sanctions- should be an aim of the West’s policy. This is an absolutely mad aim, which shows little understanding of the inheritance of Soviet doctrines within the Russian military and state. The destabilisation of the Russian state to the point that Putin is removed, is exactly the type of scenario which may force Putin to ‘gamble for resurrection’, with the Russian military engaging in post hoc ergo proctor hoc rationalisations for the first use of nuclear weapons.

So there is plenty to criticise, whether one is talking about the huge levels of military support, Western institutional thinking, and host of other issues. It would not be an understatement to suggest that in a scenario where Putin is ousted from power, or merely close to it, then the risks of at least a limited nuclear exchange would be higher than during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and few realise just how close we came to ending ourselves as aa civilisation during this previous existential threat.

Rationalism does not exist in such circumstances. The friction levels are too high, as is the risk a single mistake or misinterpretation could spell our doom. We should criticise the Tucker Carlson’s and Candace Owens of this world, for their irresponsible and incorrect narratives, but we should also vehemently criticise a US Congress which recently voted $40 billion dollars in Ukrainian Aid. No amount of aid is going to break the military deadlock in favour of the Ukrainians any time soon, and one wonders whether any of the line items included in this Bill compromise the line at which the West’s condemnation of Russia becomes an active hot war…

As usual, my essays are to be found on my Substack, which is free to view and comment:

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This article began as a mystery. The headline literally says: “The Hard Left and Populist Right Agree on All the Wrong Things”. Then the sub-headline hinted at: “ideas that unite the hard Left and the populist Right against the West”.

Tell me more. What ideas?

I’m very familiar with anti-Western hard Left ideas. I could easily write a book on such. But which of these ideas “unite the hard Left and the populist Right against the West”? I persevere to discover the ONE idea Stephan believes is common between this “hard Left” and “Populist Right” is secession, or the break up on the USA. It seems the late Russ Limbaugh once said secession may not be such a bad idea, and that’s proof positive that every Trump voter fanatically wants to split the USA in two. I think not. It’s proof positive Stephan hates Trump voters.

Anyhow, secession isn’t really a “hard-Left” idea. It may be popular with anarchists but not Marxists, nor the rest of the “hard Left”. Plus: it’s ONE idea. We were promised “ideas”. I feel I’ve been ripped off!

BTW: The “culture war” is a genuine attempt at social engineering. It is not led by a “hard Left”, nor even a “Populist Right”. It is intellectually led by university academics whose main motive seems to be to make a career for themselves, and give their lives meaning by crapping in the heads of their students. It is financed by a “soft Left”; namely the “ESG Cartel”: The ESG Cartel | New Discourses Bullets, Ep. 6 - YouTube

  • In the UK the Charity Stonewall (always soft-left as I remember them) have been the mainstay pushing the alphabet soup and TWAW agenda.
  • ESG (Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance) is literally a mainstream Capitalist Thing: ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) - Overview and Framework Neither “Left” nor “Right”, it a “Centrist” idea.
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This article, like many within the milquetoast neo-liberal clan, mistakes malaise for unity and ennui for purpose. This is a sad attempt to exonerate the excesses of the left by looking to pillory the right and place the two camps into a tidy grab-bag… almost a basket, if you will… yes, that’s it… a basket of deplorables.

There is much more substance to the critiques from both sides than this author is willing to address. And merely shifting our attention to Ukraine should not become the paramount focus of the West.

If the author wants to the West to be at the forefront of anything, then he’d best gird himself for stiffer combat. Dominance in global affairs is not acquired by squeamishness… the author needs to advance a genuine agenda:

  1. Identify the enemies of West.
  2. Propose a strategy for their destruction.
  3. Follow through on the proposition, ruthlessly if necessary.

Anything else is just playing at the same game his article laments.

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The article seems well-intentioned to point out the errors of the right to balance those of the left. But they don’t balance. The right does cherish the Constitution, and the progressives do not. There is no equivalence, despite the errors on the far right. And it might be helpful to distinguish between the far right and the ordinary right, while the far left is almost indistinguishable from the progressives.
My impression is that the author is opportunistic.

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Well there is the “horseshoe theory” - the idea that at the extremes of the political spectrum, the different wings cross into Illiberalism and arch downwards and toward one another. That I think is a superficial analysis.

The Left, as it goes to the extreme, is tempted toward some form of Authoritarianism, as it seeks to compel equal outcomes. But the Right, as it goes to the extreme, heads more toward some form of Anarchism. Of course, the practical result of such anarchism would be the dissolution of the state and its replacement with warlords - a Hobbesian state of affairs which is a pretty high price to pay for extremes of “liberty.”

The intensity of the culture wars is, let’s face it, a direct function of the fact that the U.S. home territory is more invulnerable to attack (let alone overthrow) than any state in history. We can afford an orgy of partisanship, without it leaving us open to a foreign threat. But such partisanship can lead to the rise of Factions which the Founders loathed, and feared. It could lead to the end of civil peace, and the end of the democracy.

Though our home territory is (practically) invulnerable (setting aside MAD scenarios), the legacy of our having taken over the Pax Anglica from the British Empire, has put the United States into its own version of Roman Imperial Overstretch. This, combined with our extreme cultural divisions at home, is a recipe for true national civil chaos, in the event of our national humiliation through defeat in war by a major-state adversary.

One thing that the Far Left, the Far Right, and the Populists/Fascists could (possibly) all come to some modus vivendi on, is the urgent need for a new national security paradigm. It is not in the national interest, for us to fight every Monster abroad. We need to effectively renew the Monroe Doctrine, promote Liberal democracy in the South, and nation-build at home. The Old World can, for the most part, solve its own problems.

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I must say I agree with almost everything you have written here!, Especially the final two paragraphs. My only caveat is that I find comparisons to the US and other “empires” a little strained. My main point of contention is really a matter of real estate. Once the Roman Empire collapsed, it can only exist in Italy. And the British Empire collapses back into itself on England. The US “Empire” for what it is worth, would still collapse back onto one of the largest nation states on the planet to date (barring division, of course). And so, while I see the parallels as being rhetorically useful, I nevertheless think that it matters a great deal that the “fall of US Empire” stuff at least keep in mind that the 50states are, by their own right, a rather large structure that is not easily toppled.

I specifically subscribed at the monthly minimum to comment that it is surprising that Quillette published such a low quality, shallow article. About the only thing good about it was that it was easy and quick to read.

It is true that some elements of the “far left” (neomarxists, totalitarian humanists) are only against the Ukraine war because of their self-loathing narrative that “everything wrong in the world is because of the west”, but the larger reality is that the cultural-left is generally now just a tumor/parasite on the neck of the neoliberal globalist establishment, and more than happy to cheerlead any war mongering pushed by their “side” of the competing power elites (the PMC, “Brahmins”, “Elect”, “New Clerisy”, etc).

I do not see much difference between the moral panics of the anti-war “left” and the pro-war “left”, or how either faction (anti-establishment or establishment) of the “left” had a 4 year long moral panic and temper tantrum about Trump, Russiagate or COVID.

There ARE centrist/moderates that have made compelling arguments against the Ukrainian war, such as Tulsi Gabbard. She has made clear that Biden is grossly incompetent, mental incapacitated and a doddering war monger that apparently has ZERO understanding of the dangerous foolishness at attempting “regime change” in Russia. (Just as he had no concern about taking basic steps to make the Afghanistan war withdrawal less insane.)

Apparent Gabbard’s analysis doesn’t fit the ridiculous narrative of the author, so he ignores it?

Given the relentless atomization of society due to postmodern social conditions, I’m not clear what the “right” even means anymore. In the 2016 Republican Primary debates, Trump made clear that the Iraq and Afghan wars were huge mistakes, and most of the other Republican candidates were forced to agree.

A lot of traditional people on the “right” (both in “fly over country” in the USA and places like Hungary) appear to have realized that regime change wars are a huge waste and are of little or no benefit to most working class people.

Hungary refused to cave into pressure from the establishment EU “left” (neoliberal globalists) to allow their country to be ruined by war refugees from the last neoliberal-globalist regime change debacles in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc.

The author also ignores the various other populist/nationalist, working class movements such as the Yellow Vests that have rejected corrupt, war mongering, neoliberal globalist, “establishment” corporate-state politics.

The author’s attempt to conjure the values of classical liberalism to cover up the destruction of small/family businesses and their working employees (the yeomanry) by neoliberal globalists is the most absurd part of this article.

The Ukraine war is not about “classical liberalism”, it is about the attempt by the establishment, neoliberal globalist elites to further entrench themselves in power by creating what Joel Kotin calls Neo-Feudalism, as described on Quillette!

Kotkin also describes the real problem with the Ukraine war: historically, Putin has been a superb tactical opportunist that has been very successful in exploiting the weaknesses and stupidities of the West.

In this article, Kotkin describes the stupidity of western europe in abandoning coal and nuclear energy and their subsequent dependency on Russian oil/gas because of delusional “greenie”, global warming politics and a MORAL PANIC that funded Russia’s military!

Maybe the bad writers on Quillette should be required to read the better writers?

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Of course the American Imperium is quite different from the Roman in that the U.S. is not a classic pre-Modern tribute-taking state (if you discount the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency). Real retrenchment would hurt our negotiating-position in global trade. But the upsides are considerable, mainly in the form of reducing our national-security liabilities, #1 of which (aside from getting into a nuclear war) is a debt-crisis triggered by the expense of fighting a real war. That would occasion a sudden and immediate collapse of our power-projection, globally. Our power is in relative decline, and this is not a crisis, on the contrary it gives us an opening for new national priorities. But a sudden collapse of our diplomatic-military power is something we should plan carefully, to avoid.

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I agree that the USA isn’t going anywhere, but it might break apart. There is a small chance that a break up could be good for “democracy” in that the dysfunctional political mess (corrupt political parties, the Deep state, etc.) in DC could be reduced.

The Roman Empire shifted to the east, Byzantium, for a while then it shifted back to the west when conditions improved (the “Christian” model of kosmic order better than Pagan social chaos).

I should have noted in my previous post that there is an old phrase here in China…

A dead centipede doesn’t fall down.

I am not sure if the US qualifies. But, much like the “Qing Dynasty” fell, so too, parts of American imperium may be in decline. But the US, as a territory, is likely to be more resilient than many may assume. As for predictions of a division… I don’t think so. I think that there has been a strong undercurrent of rank patriotism built into the American populace for a long time. The world likes to watch Americans fight themselves. But the world would be in the shitter if that fight turned truly bloody.

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The U.S. domestic peace is in serious trouble, at least in the near-term. We have fallen into Faction and we are a house divided. The best prediction is that eventually we will go the way of South American countries, and succumb to government by the military (e.g. a contested presidential election, like last years,’ could result in a political crisis which prompts people to reach for the guns). If the military itself falls into political faction, then there will another Civil War.

Such a scenario would probably prompt China to seize the opportunity to finally, fully reclaim its status as the hegemon of East Asia; and Europe might form a proper federal superstate. A lot of the world would continue to go to hell (just on a more expedited basis) - e.g. nuclear war between Iran and Israel, India and Pakistan becomes more likely. Risks like that might prompt China to seriously push their Asian hegemony Westward.

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That Western principles and ideals should be dispensed with if they interfere with “owning” your culture war enemies.

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Which is why fundamentalist Islam and Mr. Putin are both welcomed so joyfully – both volunteer to put the West out of its misery and deep down the wokies know that they need to be put out of their misery – but I wish they’d let the rest of us live.

As Monty Python would say: “That’s just silly.” No, what they need is a burka for every wimin. And men of fighting age who would rather not, can just transition, put on their burka and thereyago!

Whitespeak! Those values aren’t Western, they come to us from Wakanda and from The Indigenous. Whitey only stole them and pretended they were always his. Same way he stole mathematics and science. Besides, he only uses them as a smokescreen for genocide.

Brilliant essay. Every now and then the rhetorical dial
should be turned up into the red zone.

I suppose any act of defensive preparation might be viewed the same way. I’d not be surprised if that’s the most used casus belli in the history of the world. “Acht! Z’ Poles are holding war games, vee heff no choice but to invade.”

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There’s another case of labels doing more harm than good. As one moves away from the left, the right splits into the libbies and the fascists – the only thing they have in common is not being lefties, thus righties by virtue of not being lefties, but otherwise having very little in common. I myself use left/right in just that way – not so much any ideological position, but simply as a battle line – team red and team blue and what they believe (if anything) changes over time, but they never swap jerseys.

Yes. It’s one thing for Red states to sorta go for a quasi-independence; another thing if we see barricades going up in various cities, the military naturally will try to restore order – but if the military itself fractures, then you’ll have hell on earth.

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This rather is the reason why the tradition taxonomy doesn’t work. It makes no sense for “the Right” to split into sides that have nothing in common besides not being lefties. “The Right,” like “The Left,” has to have a coherent worldview - and it does. The Conservatives/Fascists do, as well - but they have a worldview which places them outside the Left-Right Liberal political spectrum. Operationally they often go into coalition with Right-liberals, as they each (though on different grounds) oppose the egalitarian ethos.

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True. Mind, one can still work with it just so long as one does not take categories as real things but as provisional descriptors.

No, I don’t think it does – or at least that’s one way of looking at it. The Left are those folks who sit on the left side of the chamber – team Blue. The Rats are team Blue and they have always been called the Left even when their policies have swapped places with the GOP in the last few decades. Semantic inertia has us continuing to believe that ‘the Left’ is on the side of the people cuz that’s what ‘the Left’ is supposta be, but it no longer is. So one can say that the Rats are no longer the party on the Lleft, OR one can say that, yeah, they are still team Blue alright, still the Left, but their ideology has changed. Dunno, it’s a change from the standard usage, but I like it and it would cure the problem that we agree is there – who exactly are ‘the Right’?

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Nevertheless, even in the face of true evil, the stubborn idiocy of the culture war’s principal champions appears impenetrable.

Well, sure it appears “impenetrable” – after you make no effort to actually penetrate it. Pointers to content are NOT arguments against that content. Asserting that your “enemies” are thoroughly “stupid” (and/or “evil”, and/or “insane”), complete with a raft of claims fully controversial with said “enemies” without any diplomacy, amounts to just fanning flames and preaching to the choir (“the sane” LOL). What kind of journalism is this, anyway? In our current dangerous times, we can do far, far better. All one has to do is go back to the 20th century, when in fact it was often done with great success for decades, and moved humanity forward from past sins and shortcomings. And now, we have so many more technical tools to assist us with presentation side of media!

I have some news for you: It is not the case that half, or even a third, of the U.S. (or West) is stupid/evil/insane. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Without breaking down and linking the sufficiently detailed arguments and counterarguments between sides, explicitly point-by-point, explaining the other side fully, from their points of view an author gets nowhere arguing asserting the stupid/evil/insane theme … except to the choir. Do we not remember how college debaters were trained to be good at it?

In this article, this author already has the low-hanging fruit of the actual opponents, in the content he cites/links. He should actually prove the arguments are stupid before he goes on a rant about it. Yes, make the damn arguments as explicit integrate* as geometric proofs, opening your guts to the world about it, rather than doing what everyone else does – spinning! Quillette, complete the work by providing a new framework for highly granular commentary. Yes, I know, that’s “too hard”. But this is where we’ve now arrived as a culture. We’re currently, and fully, in an epistemological crisis, and only by derivation in various political ones. It’s going to take moving past second-millenium-thinking – streams of crystalized story-vs-story – to move us forward.

Preaching that “the enemy” is “the other” – that is, beyond understanding – leads to their being treated as without humanity, and all the consequences of that. (Hmmm… “othering”, where have I heard that before? War propaganda? Oh, no, of course not, that concept comes only from certain crazy Leftists!) In the “enemies”, of course, this type of “reasoning” just hardens the more capable, further gaslights the less capable, and enrages both, even if for different reasons.

Rage is not what the West needs now. Please, Quillette, provide only content here that actually has a chance of diminishing it!

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But that’s exactly what the article attempts to do. He rages against the ragers on both sides. To diminish the rage, what’s needed is to return the center of gravity to the moderate and the sane, and that means debunking the ragers on both sides, no?

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