Tag: left wing

The Left’s Epidemic of Political Stereotyping

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Just as sure as the existence of Yin and Yang, the existence of left and right goes on. And seemingly, it is only getting worse in modern politics. Both sides of Western politics have become increasingly reactionary. The far right is fueled with hatred of far left-wing culture, going after all things “degenerate.” The far left is merely the other side of the exact same coin, hating all things “traditional.” They are both reactionary groups, and the result of these two reactionary groups reacting to one another is obvious: increased political polarization. Yet, while the far right has many issues, the far left may be more responsible for the destruction of contemporary politics.

When dealing with any social phenomenon, one thing is for sure: nothing is going to be perfect. The human mind has clear limitations, and because of this, it develops heuristics so as to save on thought processing. These heuristics act as mental shortcuts, so when the brain perceives something, it can quickly draw conclusions based on prior thoughts. These mental heuristics extend to politics.

When working in the political space, one must take mental shortcuts so as to reach conclusions, and these mental shortcuts are ideologies. We both self-identify and identify others using these ideological markers so as to easily signal to our potential friends and opponents where we stand ideologically. These take the forms of libertarian, conservative, liberal, capitalist, communist, leftist, etc.

We identify ourselves and others to the same time and mental energy. It is far easier to understand where someone stands politically if they simply label themselves as a “conservative,” rather than explaining the nuances of each and every political view that they have. As the economist F.A. Hayek explained when discussing knowledge surrounding social phenomena: “we group their actions, and the objects of their actions, into classes or categories which we know solely from the knowledge of our own mind.”

When anyone self-identifies politically towards us, the prior knowledge that we have comes instantly to mind. Someone who calls themselves conservative means that we assume they are probably pro-life, pro-gun, and against groups like Black Lives Matter. We then go further to adjust our mental representation of them based on further information that we are given, such as “I am actually a pro-choice conservative.” But from the get-go, political stereotyping is necessary and is usually very beneficial because it gives us a starting point for framing our political friend or foe in our own mind.

But this stereotyping can have a bad side. As Hayek continued, “the trouble is that we can never be sure.” These heuristics are simply heuristics – they will almost never be perfect representations. And more often then we would like, they can be far off from the target. As a 2012 study co-authored by Jonathan Haidt explained, everyone is pretty bad at getting these heuristics right, but the left is especially bad.

By looking at five moral foundations, the study was able to estimate approximately what values political groups hold as a priority. They found that:

Liberals endorsed the individualizing foundations (Harm, Fairness) more than conservatives did, whereas conservatives endorsed the binding foundations (Ingroup, Authority, Purity) more than liberals did. This pattern has been observed across a variety of samples and methods, including self-report measures of (un)willingness to violate the foundations for money, text analyses of sermons in liberal and conservative churches, content coding of life narratives, and facial muscle movements.

The study showed that:

Conservatives were most accurate about the individual-focused moral concerns of either side, and liberals were least accurate. Compared to actual group means of either data set, moral stereotypes about the typical conservative showed substantial underestimation of conservatives’ Harm and Fairness concerns.

Left-leaning individuals are not as capable as constructing and accurate heuristic of their political opponents. This has become increasingly problematic in 2017 and 2018, years after this study was done and published. The majority of the broader left tends to label anyone to the right of them as a “Nazi” and Donald Trump as “Hitler.” This stereotype is expected of a group that underestimates how much their opponents value harm and fairness. If one sees conservatives as fairness-hating empathy-lacking psychopaths against minority rights, then, of course, they would be seen as a Nazi.

Yet these stereotypes are obviously inaccurate. One could compare Trump to Hitler if they made the exception of mass murder of innocents and hatred of Jews. Yet in that case, and charismatic leader is just another Hitler. Trump is pretty far from Hitler, seeing as that there are few similarities. In somewhat ironic contrast, though, the left’s political hero FDR was adored by Mussolini and Hitler just prior to World War 2.

The problem becomes worse when the left decides how one should treat a Nazi. A real Nazi is a problem, clearly, because they are either advocating violent action or engaging in it. A Nazi pattern of behavior should be met with a strong response. Yet left-wingers want to treat right-wingers as they would treat a Nazi, even though the right by-and-large does not follow the same pattern of behavior.

This treatment of right-wingers through a totally inaccurate stereotype has become an epidemic. The left (as well as the right, but for different reasons) needs a reality check. Just as they would tell a straight white male to check their privilege and adjust for unconscious actions, they need to check their own mental heuristics and adjust for unconscious phenomenally inaccurate stereotyping.

We stereotype one another politically because it is impossible to give each and every political character their own fully fleshed out identity in our mind. We need to fix our political heuristics, though, if any meaningful and beneficial political dialogue is ever to come.


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A Lesson for The Left Wing on Guns

By Kevin Damato | United States

The Lesson

Recently, I was praised by my one of my peers for my handling of a heated debate with a student on my campus who disagreed with me politically. At first, I was confused and didn’t view myself as doing anything special. But after further analysis, my eyes were finally opened to the extent of our communication problems across the country. We have become inundated with emotion, hatred and flat-out stupidity. My words won’t do justice to how sad it was to realize that it is “enlightening” to write about how to have a conversation with another person.

Political disunity has reached an all-time high in the United States and has fascinated me with normalizing our interactions with one another. I have sought out to write about guns in a two-part series, with one article having already come out on “the right” and this one focused on “the left.” I aim to convince my audience that neither side of the traditional political spectrum is free of blame on these types of issues.

I received mixed support after the publishing of my previous article on the right. The support and/or negativity was split across ideological lines. This is not surprising, in fact, it proves my point. The divisiveness of our own bias is blinding us to reality. Neither side is free of blame and as you will see, I attack both sides of the political spectrum with equal amounts of fervor. Understand that I do begrudgingly use broad labels such as “the right” and “the left” liberally throughout the article. This is not meant to group everyone together, but simply provide a generalized analysis of political groups. As always, I implore you all to try and objectively view the advice outlined in this piece.

The Problem with the Left Wing’s View of Guns

To put it bluntly, the “political left” does not understand, nor care to understand the views of Americans that wish to keep their guns. Believe it or not, the people who fight for gun rights are not uneducated backwoods hillbillies who love hearing about mass shootings in the news.

Constitutionality

To start, “the left” either blatantly ignores the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution or chooses to reimagine its meaning in a fairytale-like way. Pointless debates on the grammar or word usage of the infamous amendment have gone on for decades and will most likely continue to do so. We need not look any further than some of our founding fathers’ statements on the second amendment to find out what they meant when writing it.

“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” -George Mason, 1788

So what was the point of the Second Amendment? This is a lesson that “the left” doesn’t like to talk about much. The Second Amendment was not created for self-defense or hunting, it was for revolution. The founders, in touch with historical trends, knew that the republic would not last forever. Eventually, evils such as corruption would force the American population to take up arms once again to destroy their government and start over. Thomas Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, writes “It is Their Right, It is Their Duty To Throw Off Such Government”.

Culture

Understanding the constitutional argument is important because it leads us to culture. Because the United States was founded on the principles of the right to be armed, it has merged into the national identity. For generations, families have passed down the common belief in gun ownership and this is a key feature that “the left” doesn’t recognize.

Despite the coverage in mainstream media, as of 2017, 47% of Americans still say that they believe in gun rights over gun control. In order to truly capture the minds of Americans, “the left” still needs to keep an open mind on the cultural entanglement of guns.

Mass Shootings

None of the previous reasoning listed is a justification of mass shootings. While “the left’s” lofty goal of ending these mass shootings is noble, it doesn’t make it practical. In the ultra-connected 21st century, there are things that are simply unavoidable. Some of these include homicides, car accidents, and yes, mass shootings. Like the two previously mentioned problems, we should focus much more on mitigating these events, rather than full elimination.

With that being said, the factors to mitigate are still up for debate. Through normalized dialogue and a careful examination of statistics, we can ultimately reach a world in which these events are far less common and destructive.

The Solution

It all comes down to the conversation. We get nowhere unless we are engaged productively. I will leave you with the same 3 part advice that I stated in my previous article. I challenge you to use this in the next political conversation you participate in. Small victories are how we can turn our current mess around.

Formula to a Respectful Conversation

  • First, acknowledge that your opponents end goal is a noble one.
  • Second, ask pointed questions. If the opponent makes a controversial statement, ask them to support it with a fact.
  • Third, be respectful. Keep cool, don’t raise your voice, and give the other person ample time to talk.

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A Lesson for The Right Wing on Guns

By Kevin Damato | United States

The Lesson

Recently, I was praised by my one of my peers for my handling of a heated debate with a student on my campus who disagreed with me politically. At first, I was confused and didn’t view myself as doing anything special. But after further analysis, my eyes were finally opened to the extent of our communication problems across the country. We have become inundated with emotion, hatred and flat-out stupidity. My words won’t do justice to how sad it was to realize that it is “enlightening” to write about how to have a conversation with another person.

Political disunity has reached an all-time high in the United States and has fascinated me with normalizing our interactions with one another. I have sought out to write about guns in a two-part series, with one article coming out this week on “the right” and another next week on “the left.” I aim to convince my audience that neither side of the traditional political spectrum is free of blame on these types of issues.

The Problem with the Right Wing’s View of Guns

Those on the “political right” seem bewildered by the recent uptick in support for gun control and their tribalistic response of more political jabs has only led to further polarization. They’re missing the point. Like all other political issues, approaching with a truly open mind without toxic rhetoric goes a long way.

Traditionally, it is “the right” who makes comments on “the left’s” excessive usage of emotion, but in this case, it is actually the other way around.

The largest concern I have with “the right’s” approach on guns is their lack of understanding of “the left’s” position. It seems as if the general population yearns for the disgraceful violence of homicides, police malfeasance, and most importantly mass shootings to end. Some people believe the most reasonable solution to these problems are forms of gun control, whether it be more background checks, magazine limitations, or outright bans. Typical combatants hear the proposed solution and become belligerent, irrationally spewing labels like “gun grabber”, “snowflake”, or “liberal.” This is the wrong reaction.

The Solution

As an oppositional force in this circumstance, it would be much more effective to:

  • First, acknowledge that the end goal is a noble one. We can all agree that these kinds of tragedies are disgusting and ultimately, getting rid of them would be optimal.
  • Second, ask how they know forms of gun control work. Press your opponent on providing statistics or evidence to support their point.
  • Third, be respectful. You can’t expect everyone to have the same opinion as you, especially prior to having a meaningful conversation. Keep your cool, don’t raise your voice, and give the other person ample time to talk.

The intelligent layman will probably be groaning at these points. “I already do all of these things”, they might say. Perhaps this is the case, and if you do, I commend you. I would point out that, however, you are in the minority.

I implore you to share these basic tips with others as you inevitably stumble upon another foolish argument that only makes the state of affairs in the country worse.

We, as a societal body, are going down the wrong path. We, as a societal body, need to encourage more Socratic, civil discourse. We, as a societal body, can do better.


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The Case for Right-wing Unity

By Jack Parkos | United States

The liberty movement is struggling – it has not fought off tyranny or shrunk the size and scope of the government. The movement needs allies, but the question is, with who? Contrary to popular belief, allying with other right-wingers may just be the best chance it has.

The Libertarian Party is run by watered down libertarians who often only care about a few issues, such as marijuana. Even at the idea of right-wing unity they will scoff and start throwing out words like “statist” and “conservative sympathizer”. This mentality has only hurt us. Libertarians are a small minority; we need allies. Allies that can agree with certain values we have but may have certain differences. Just because someone may have one minor issue that may not be 100% libertarian doesn’t mean we should call him a statist and kick him out. So when we look at groups of political ideology we need to ask who is the better ally. The answer is the right wing.

Politics, Not Party

Again here we see most libertarians saying that the left and right are exactly the same and both are equally as bad. This belief comes from the 2 party system, people believing that establishment Republicans represent all right wingers and establishment Democrats embody the left. Politics is more than just Party affiliation.

Populism

Populists and libertarians have more in common than you may think-both are angry with the establishment, are tired of politicians selling out to corporations and global organizations. Neither side wants to be ruled by the elite. The movements may disagree on some issues, but differences must be put aside if we want anything to get done.  Of course, certain groups in the populist movement may be a no-go, such as ethno-nationalists. However, ones who respect certain values- such as property rights, capitalism, and non-intervention, would be a good ally in the fight to defeat the elites. Murray Rothbard was a supporter of this idea but unfortunately did extend it to white supremacists. If we can vet these people out, the populist movement would be a great ally to the liberty movement.

The Left’s Threat To Social Order

People may think that the left is not a threat, or is just as big of one as other right-wingers, but this is a false assumption. Of course, not all right-wingers are perfect, but left-wing ideologies pose a greater threat to liberty. Groups like Antifa use violence to suppress free speech, all in the name of “political correctness”. Other groups who fight for “social justice” actually harm society. The further left you get, the more you get into Marxism. Even what we may consider “moderate left-wingers” are starting to turn to socialism.

A further issue with the left is they tend to crave chaos in the name of “equality”. Right-wing ideologies tend to favor social order. Libertarians favor order mainly through property rights, while right-wingers want order mainly through law. The libertarians goal should be to ally with groups who want social order and convince them of how property rights (and a possible minimal state) can maintain the order without using government violence. It is easier to convince people of a new way of keeping social order rather than convincing people that there should be none.

A Moral Society?

Right-wing ideologies tend to favor a more moral society, namely with family values and traditionalism. In a libertarian society, these would be essential to the survival of the libertarian social order. Obviously, we do not need to use government force to establish and maintain a moral society.

In such a society, people would have the freedom to make bad decisions, such as drug usage, free sexuality, etc. These behaviors can lead to high unemployment. Increased sex out of marriage will lead to fatherless children which will increase poverty and higher crime rates. Social conservatives tend to believe in family values, which could help decrease poverty. The compromise would be to encourage these values while simultaneously decreasing government. While it may not be ideal to some, the necessity for maintaining social order and defeating the left is enough for right-wing unity.


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Santa Fe Didn’t Fit The Left’s Narrative, So We All Stopped Talking About It

By Clint Sharp | United States

On February 14, 2018,  19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. In only a few short minutes, the young man killed 17 people and injured 17 others with an AR-15 style rifle before being apprehended by police.

This horrid act sparked outrage across the nation. For months, gun control was the main topic of conversation across the nation with walk-outs, protests, debates, and gun bills popping up around every corner. Television, newspapers, and social media outlets streamed nonstop updates on the mass shooting and followed all of the controversy surrounding it. Although many believed that this shooting meant the end of our 2nd Amendment rights, it soon faded from headlines, leaving behind a trail of people still fighting to remove the rights of individuals.

Fast forward to May 18 of the same year, and a very different story is told. 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed 10 people and wounded 13 others at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. Armed with a sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun and a .38 revolver, the student walked into the school’s art complex and began shooting at approximately 7:40 AM before being brought into custody. Explosives were found at the scene but were unused.

Although this shooting was reported on major news outlets, it was very quickly passed off as old news within a couple of days. So why did a shooting like the one that happened at Stoneman Douglas cause such a national stir while the shooting at Santa Fe was only mentioned in passing? Simply put, it did not match the agenda of the left-wing activists and politicians.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was exactly what the left had hoped for. A young man with known mental issues and of legal age to purchase a gun obtained an assault-style rifle with multiple high-capacity magazines and shot up a school in a conservative state (according to 2016 poll results).

Truly a perfect storm.

From this, they could argue that it was too easy for Cruz to obtain an assault-style rifle. They could argue that he was mentally ill, yet still managed to purchase a firearm due to his age and lack of criminal record. They could argue the purpose of high capacity magazines and assault-style rifles in the hands of non-military personnel and whether they were protected under the 2nd Amendment. The left could appeal to the emotions of the entire nation, after all, is the individual’s freedom worth forfeiting the safety of our children?

Santa Fe on the other hand, while still a tragedy, is the antithesis of the Stoneman Douglas shooting. A minor stole a legally obtained pump action shotgun, perhaps the most common long gun in the United States, and a 6-shot revolver from his father. He saws the barrel of the shotgun off, an illegal action, and carries the two guns to school to commit his heinous actions.

This proves that the type of gun, the capacity of the firearm, the age of the shooter, and the means by which the weapons are obtained are mostly arbitrary to the amount of damage that can be caused by an evil individual, thus rendering the left’s points null and void.

It is for this reason that the Santa Fe shooting was swept under the rug. It proved that shootings and mass violence are not caused by assault-style rifles, high capacity magazines, lax gun laws, and the 2nd Amendment, but rather by evil and twisted individuals who desire to be nothing more than the genesis of grief for people all over the nation. It didn’t fit the agenda of the overwhelmingly liberal media so it was only mentioned, not covered.

The act of ignoring this tragic loss of human life brings to question what other things remain hidden in the dark shroud outside of party and ideological agendas, on both the right and the left.

How many people have been murdered silently due to apathy? How many bills have been passed without question because the public did not know?

Until agendas are put aside for the sake of information, more and more will remain hidden from the public and more and more will happen without anyone’s knowledge otherwise.


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