The Alt Left poses a great danger to the health and continuance of western civilisation. Its infiltration of the Democratic party in the USA and the Labour party in the UK mean that conservatives must work hard to prevent such parties from returning to power. The USA is leading the way as newcomers challenge establishment GOP candidates for seats in Congress. Will the UK do the same regarding the Conservative party?
Traditional leftists and feminists like Camille Paglia and Germaine Greer are appalled by the new-fangled take on their own positions. While no leftist myself, I could respect these ladies for their willingness to have a frank, well-constructed conversation. Empiricism (of a kind) provides a point of commonality between the old Left and the conservatives. But no such commonality exists between conservatives and the Alt Left: it is not possible to have a meaningful dialogue with them.
Where will this lead? If we are not careful, it will head towards totalitarianism. Either the Far Left will conquer us by means of a plethora of laws and peer pressure exercised through social media, or the Far Right will rise as an “immune response” to the outrages of the Far Left and impose draconian measures to stifle dissent. We must not allow either reaction to happen.
The best response we can make is to return to the kind of liberalism advocated by John Locke in the 17th and 18th centuries (minus his anti-Catholic bias, of course), and developed by subsequent political philosophers and economists. Our general angst is a consequence of increasing state interference in areas generally defined under the headings “private life” or “freedom of conscience and expression” (see the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998)).
The “sin” of the Far Left and the Far Right (amongst others) is that they bullishly impose their views on others. Lockean liberalism is a defence against this aggression on three fronts:
- it correctly defines toleration not as the endorsement of other views but as the civilised response to views that one personally disagrees with;
- it recognises that there is a class of data defined as “ambiguous” – i.e. susceptible of various interpretations – meaning that no one can impose his views in respect of such data on others because he cannot conclusively support his position or disprove his opponents’; and
- it removes the power of the state to get involved in such disputes.
Without the resources of the state or the power of the law behind them to oppress “dissidents”, we will place the burden back on these extremes to rationally persuade others of the correctness of their positions. A good first step in this direction would be to restore neutrality to the education system by removing leftist propaganda from various rubrics and curricula and introducing instead a general course on critical thinking and the analysis of data. A second step in this direction would be to remove state funding for partisan agenda, making them compete on equal terms with other parties in the intellectual market place.
If you have not come across Dr Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology, who is fighting the good fight against the Alt Left, I recommend you spend a few minutes watching an interview or lecture by him.