True Diversity of Perspective Means Looking Left

In the United States, the political landscape ranges from moderate right to right wing. No one is talking about socialism, which is defined by state ownership of the means of production, even though we have many institutions that have characteristics of socialism, e.g., the U.S. military, police departments, utilities, etc. It’s rare to find any critique of capitalism in any kind of mainstream media. Marxist ideas, such as the theory of surplus value, are never discussed in an accessible format. Want to talk about anarchism? You’ll get laughed out of the room in almost every instance.

Yet, there is this narrative that the default position of the world is “left” that is maintained by U.S. conservatives, where “left” is defined by the Democratic Party, a party of moderate conservatives. Among Democrats, who talks about socialism, communism or anarchism? Bernie Sanders is the resident token.

And, the argument goes, since so much of the world is “left,” you really should take a look at diverse points of view to have a broad-minded outlook. You really need to read more conservative points of view.

The goal is obvious. If you engage more with conservative ideas, you are more likely to adopt them. Further, the Internet is a propaganda tool par excellence and it will slowly surface the most extreme views since they are more likely to garner attention and commentary. So, as you engage, you are pulled slowly in the direction of the more radical conservative mental landscape.

Freedom of speech and a diversity of viewpoints are cover. Are these folks reading leftist thinkers such as David Harvey, James C. Scott, etc.? Do they have anything meaningful to say about Noam Chomsky? They don’t. It shows that diversity of viewpoint is neither a goal nor a value of these folks. Ideas that don’t fit on the continuum of Democrat/Republican continue to be “News From Neptune.”

And, the default is not “left” but “right”. In any public forum on the Internet, you’ll find legions of “conservatives” promulgating and proselytizing for conservative viewpoints while under the delusion that their ideas are an “alternative” that everyone desperately needs to hear.

Dude, and they are almost all dudes, there’s someone like you on every site on the Internet. I know your viewpoint. I’ve seen free market fundamentalism, and every variety of right-wing idea that is in common and uncommon currency. I know you’ve been baptized by conservative Jesus, but everyone doesn’t want to hear about it.

The simple fact is that there are some ideas that are simply stupid or hateful. I didn’t need to read “the other side” on issues like vaccinations, Flat earth, whether the Bible relates the true story of the creation of mankind, Aquatic Apes, and the whole host of other equally bad ideas. If you want to talk about Soros, you’re probably an anti-semite trying out arguments that are older than The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. I don’t need to look at it. Have an Epstein theory? Great, keep it to yourself.

You could waste your whole life looking at these viewpoints. And, you’d be a lot dumber at the end of your effort.

Diversity of viewpoints is a great idea. You just need to look at the whole spectrum rather than pretend the Overton window is all there is and that the fringe right of allowable discourse – with its attendant racism, sexism, and other X-isms – is somehow under-represented or worth spending much time reading rationalizations in their favor. These are the default, gents, and diversity would be looking at viewpoints critiquing them, and those are found primarily by reading thinkers on the left.