I love to learn two sides of the coin. What if my opinion is wrong? How much I have grasp over the subject?
Out of many labels, Political Left and Right are kicking around everywhere on the internet, with more and more radicalization, even in everyday life. Very interestingly I observe people who identify themselves with a political tribe have the exact same opinion on everything. Most appear like humanoids acting on the lines of an overlord who decides who needs to be canceled, even which news platform is always good, which one is not. Both fronts do the same.
Why the discussion on politics or religion on internet forums soon turns into a long string of arguments (often uncivil) in a short span while threads of science or cultural discussion don’t?
Threshold of expertise and additionally, relativistic morality.
Unlike discussion on science subjects, there’s no way to ascertain if you are qualified to pass on opinions around some political subject. Only strong conviction is enough. Value Pluralism, though expected in a liberal democratic ecosystem, it’s nowhere to be found in a public platform, both sides just want to indoctrinate what they believe.
Morality is relative for sure. But here we will talk about collective conformity. Relativistic morality is the foundation of Identity Politics and Political Correctness. Who we are is like an empty palette. Conservatives have their identities with which they are born and are proud of (race, religion, ethnicity, caste) they wanna conserve and hence, are parochial altruists. This is not the case of liberals as they despise the old systems, religions, social hierarchies, say, the caste identity. To find the identity is why there’s tribalism. Though they say they hate religions, traditional systems, they create new age religions with hierarchies based on their mores.
Ever since the Enlightenment era, the Political Left has posited that human nature is always good. So, when one does bad things to another, the Left argues it’s not due to the person or the essential nature of collaborative ideology he adheres to, but some outside factors like poverty, racism, or casteism are responsible. So equity is the laudable goal. Acknowledging the painful reality that the person or the communal ideology could be responsible appears intolerable for the left. This is the morality of the left.
On the other hand, the Right believes in the equality of opportunity, but with complete accountability. A straight NO for equity (equality of outcome). Believes hierarchical system will always be there no matter old hierarchies remains or not. Mostly in favor of the elimination of big government or minimization of governance for they believe state offers them no time mold their system according to time, instead pits one community against the other utilizing past faultlines. This is the Right’s morality.
Very contradicting it seems!
But what happens you act like a know-it-all and stop exploring the other side “on your own”?
Suppose we consider Karl Marx. He’s the prophet of the Left’s religion Marxism. His critics on another side of the political landscape perceive him as an evil totalitarian leader. Being a moderate conservative, I find the reason why Marx is entirely dissed in the right ecosystem is pure nonsense. The Contemporary Left’s absurd conception of equality is equality of outcome which is much different from what Marx’s conception of equality had been.
Marx barely criticized conservativism, rather variants of socialism, far-left or anarchism are the identities he revolted against in his comments. Equality of outcome is unscientific and against the natural state. Marx knew it well., so does Engels. When the German Social Democratic Party released the “Gotha program” as its party manifesto, Marx wrote down an entire essay criticizing Social Democrats for citing “the elimination of all social and political inequality” in it. Mark writes:
“But one man is superior to another physically, or mentally, and supplies more labor in the same time, or can labor for a longer time; and labor, to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or intensity, otherwise it ceases to be a standard of measurement. This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor.”
Mark critiques the way how equal rights are formulated punishing the natural privileges of individuals. He mocked the equal rights of the manifesto as a “bourgeois right”.
“Thus, with an equal performance of labor, and hence an equal in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on. To avoid all these defects, right, instead of being equal, would have to be unequal.”
Some are physically and mentally “superior” to others by virtue of natural privileges sounds harsh to today’s progressives. This can be explicitly observed in third-wave feminism and consequently, in transgenderism where the Political Left claims both the cisgenders to have exactly similar physical and mental aptitudes and ignores profound differences between them. Scientific inquiries confirm build-in distinctions in terms of cranial potential, hormonal consequences, emotional and physical vulnerabilities. Gender Equality Paradox in Scandinavian countries aggravates the Left for they ask for “Equality of Outcome” with “Equality of Opportunities” which is downright impossible.
Of course, Marx’s egalitarianism is not in compliance with conservatism. But he was not radical egalitarian unlike neo-Marxists and overall, the modern Left. Confused over egalitarianism with relativism, they seek equality not only in economic, social structure but also in the cultural domain. We all are equal, then one society can’t be termed inferior that other they say! Suppose you say Western Secular Democracy is superior to Islamic Theocracy, the Left will start bigoteering you. Marx wouldn’t buy such nonsense.
Another popular citation from Marx on India (in The British Rule in India) that goes entirely contrary to the contemporary Left’s anti-capitalist, non-Western remarks:
“England has to fulfil a double mission in India, one destructive, the other regenerative: the annihilation of Asiatic society, and laying the material foundations of a Western society in Asia”
The same is the case with Marx’s view of Capitalism. He believed Socialism can never be achieved in an exhausted society, viz. in his words (The German Ideology) if it gets implemented in a society of “destitution” “struggling for necessities”, “all the old filthy business” would be repeated. Though Marx never explicitly defined Capitalism, he saw a high degree of “development of productive forces” as an “absolutely necessary practical premise” that will reduce scarcity laying the base of communism. While criticizing how wrong Marx was about the practical tenets of Communism, it needs to be highlighted how those radical communist experiments like the Soviet Union went directly from feudalism to a socialist regime ignoring Marx’s essential condition and hence, turned into autocracy. Rather Marx welcomed capitalism as an evolutionary economic system that will destroy itself in the end and will prompt communism that is far more humane, prophesied capitalism will, in fact, make those wholesome traditional values that sustain “bourgeois life” dysfunctional leading to the destruction of its own social base. And he was right. It is happening.
You see, treating Marx as some fanatic, conservatives cancel him like Left reactionaries. In contrast, Marx can be used as a easy means to criticize today’s Progressives and Neo-Marxists who have necessarily revised, repurposed classical Marxism. But Conservatives don’t. Certainly, Marx would have encouraged industrialization and free trade in a country like India that is “struggling for necessities”. Then why an Indian Leftist doesn’t?
Cutting it short, one can be right or left on different issues. What defines you more, that becomes your political identity. Virtue seeking full compliance limits not only our ability to receive conflicting feedback but also to see beyond identity and reactionary politics. With whatever political ideology you identify yourself with, learning the other side can begin from reading the least liberal or conservative criticism of your ideology. As there is no threshold in Politics and much to know, we truly don’t know the validity of much we say.