This blog post is an extract from a book I am writing. I wanted to test this book first online in the form of a blog-post. This is not the entirely of the book. Before you attempt to plagiarise it please note that this blog is copyrighted under a Creative Commons License. If you like the extract let me know. If not feel free to throw virtual tomatoes at me. Do anything you like, but if I see it plagiarised anywhere it will not end well for you.
How NOT to Red-Pill your Comrades:
Advice for the Left (from a former socialist)
Never Talk in Terms of Absolutes
I know- the title of this chapter is itself an absolute. It is reminiscent perhaps of that famous line “only a Sith deals in absolutes”. There’s also the fact that if you know anything about the Star Wars cannon, beyond merely the films, you’ll know that Jedis dealt in absolutes all the bloody time. It was part of their downfall. That is for a blog post though. Talking in terms of absolutes is a strategic mistake.
Ex. Only the Leave side of the Brexit argument attracted racists.
By inference you have just said that there are no racist Remainers. This strikes me from a tactical point of view as the sort of argument you’d want to avoid. Racists are everywhere. They exist in many forms, are from all walks of life, and they hold various different political positions. All you need to do is a quick google search for racist things Remainers have said.
eg. German EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger referring to Chinese business men as “slitty eyed”. This speaks for itself (I hope).
eg. Lord Sugar stating that Gisela Stuart a German immigrant ought not to have an opinion on Brexit because she is an immigrant. (She emigrated to the UK in 1974 by the way, if we were American after over 40 years of living in our country she would just be British by now with German heritage if she chose to identify as such).
eg. Alistair Campbell telling Gisela Stuart to “stop fucking up my country” to which Gisela Stuart replied “it’s my country too”. It is astounding that she would have to point this out, and that Alistair Campbell would think about those who have emigrated in such abhorrent terms.
These are just some examples, found after a quick google search. If you want to have a boring irrelevant argument over whether there is a difference between racism and xenophobia, you are in the wrong place. Go read a different book. For arguments sake let’s say I buy into the premise that racism is solely directed by white people at black people and Asians- the EU privileges immigration from 27 predominantly white countries. How is that not racist? The entire press went mental because it concluded that Trump might do exactly that. (Google “shithole countries” if you don’t know what I’m talking about). It is either racist or it isn’t- but the EU does not have a magical force-field around it that makes racist things not racist. It is not racist when you think Trump might do it, but totally innocent when the EU do it.
As soon as you make an absolutist statement you destroy your own argument. Absolutist statements are rarely true and so easily debunked. The persuasive element of an opponent destroying an absolutist statement is that in the mind of the observer this destroys the entire argument. Even if that logically may not be true- the rest of the argument might be perfectly valid- the effect is that no one will listen to anything else you have to say.
Ex. On the TV show “This Morning” Katie Hopkins says you should never name your child after a geographical location. Holly Willoughby points out that Katie Hopkins’ child is called India. Whether or not Katie had a point about names or not (I think she did) is irrelevant. All you see is the destruction of her absolute statement so that you can’t take any of her argument seriously.
(For what it is worth, Katie never managed to get this across on the TV segment but having recently read Katie Hopkins autobiography I can tell you that India wasn’t named after the country- but after India Hicks. Katie Hopkins also concedes the point. “People call me out on the fact that I said I hate it when kids are named after places, when, quite clearly, India is a place. They have a point. And I will let them score it all day. It’s a fair cop in a literal sense”. It’s a strategic mistake made by both those on the left and the right. When you make an absolutist statement, you make a statement that is easily verifiably untrue).
Let’s imagine for a second that the statement about the Leave side is true- that there are no racist Remainers. The inverse right-wing argument to make in a similar vein would be
Ex. Only the Labour side of the political argument attracts Communists.
No one that I know of is making that argument. That’s easily debunked too. My knowledge of British communists is that they tend to favour the Green Party rather than any other political party, they favour Corbyn’s Labour over Miliband’s Labour but that they have huge issues with any mainstream “reformist” political party. The statement also doesn’t mean anything. It says nothing about whether or not Labour policy would be good for the country. Absolutes are easily spotted by those of any political persuasion that isn’t your own. They are spotted by conservatives, by left-wing people who don’t toe the party line, and by vaguely political people who are just starting to get involved. In my earlier days of getting involved in left-wing politics I noticed at lot of these statements, and they were all quite hard to swallow. I was then under the assumption that I could carry on, disagree with those statements and that would be okay. I was wrong. A lot of these statements were also contradictory, and this created in me a sense, whether true or not, that the ideology behind it was predatory and manipulative.
Ex. I don’t understand why everyone isn’t a Feminist. A Feminist is someone who believes in equal rights for women.
You can’t be a Feminist if you don’t believe in sex workers rights, pro-choice activism, smashing the patriarchy, trans-women, BLM (Black Lives Matter), smashing the kyriarchy, etc.
One of those statements is true. Pick one. To believe in smashing the patriarchy, you’d have to agree that the patriarchy as it is described exists and applies to whatever western country you most likely live in if you are reading this. Many people don’t agree with that unproven theory. This leads me to believe that the purpose of the first statement is persuasive pacing to get large numbers of people agreeing with you. The purpose of the second statement is leading, whereby you insert a number of controversial topics you feel strongly about and pressure or manipulate people into agreeing. The assumption here is that if you don’t agree with BLM you aren’t a feminist and by inference you don’t believe in equal rights for women. Let’s suppose someone doesn’t agree with BLM because they find shouting at cops “pigs in a blanket, fry them like bacon” or “what do we want? Dead cops. When do we want them? Now” abhorrent. Thus you don’t agree with BLM, thus you are not a feminist, thus you do not agree with equal rights for women. So we get to the point of not agreeing with homicidal chanting being tantamount to being a misogynist.
Once people realise this they feel incredibly manipulated. That’s where the hatred for feminism comes in. If you don’t understand it- understand this, the strongest anti-feminists I know are former Feminists. That is not a mistake or a coincidence. A very small minority are in the unlikely position of agreeing with all of the so-called feminist positions on these issues. For most people this contradiction ends with them concluding that of the two statements about feminism the second statement is utter tosh. They disagree that you have to agree with “ALL OF THE THINGS” to be a feminist. These are the feminists that I consider worth listening to whoever you are and whatever you believe. They are people like Christina Hoff Sommers, Cathy Young, Bari Weiss, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Elisabeth Badinter and Camille Paglia. They loathe the perceived consensus of the party line, the vicious infighting that underpins the perceived consensus, and the fact that it would seem grown women can no longer have sensible discussions about their disagreements. That perceived consensus is only possible because they are also, all of them, denounced by the feminist movement as being “not really feminists”- all of them and without fail. Sometimes the feminist movement has the gall to mischaracterise them as “anti-feminist”. I took their view for a long time as well- but this changed after 100 or so arguments with my feminist comrades over why I thought disagreement with the party line didn’t exclude you from the movement. I no longer identify as a feminist and when asked why I will explain. The reason is exactly this- I could not exist in the feminist movement and hold positions contradictory to the party line without a hell of a lot of push-back. If my experience of the feminist movement tells me anything it is that the second statement is true and not the first. I take feminists at their word- if you don’t agree with BLM you are not a feminist. Okay, then I’m not a feminist but I’m not a misogynist either and I will push back very strongly when accused of this. As much as they would like to feminists do not have a monopoly on egalitarianism.
The first statement is verifiably untrue, by the way, precisely because it is an absolutist statement. The inverse of “everyone should be a feminist because feminism just means equal rights for women” is “everyone who isn’t a feminist doesn’t agree with equal rights for women”. That is patently untrue as well as being asinine. According to a survey done for The Fawcett Society (a feminist society) published in January 2016 only 7% of the British public identified as feminists- if the first statement is true then 93% of the British public don’t believe in equal rights for women. Except that this same study asked that exact question and found that 83% of the British public support equality of opportunity for women. One presumes that a good portion of the remaining 17% didn’t understand the question, or have been so bruised by feminism they now hate women. Said people have made a terrible mistake. I do not hate women. I do loathe feminism though.
I remember the gaping mouth of the person in front of me when I first this view of feminism out loud- it was like she’d never even heard the idea expressed before possibly because she hadn’t. This is what happens when you parrot political opinions without thinking about them and surround yourself only with people who agree with you- you may even come to think that your opinions aren’t even really political, and that actually they aren’t even opinions, but just facts. Once that happens when you come into contact with someone who disagrees your facial expression will be the same as someone who has just literally (yes literally) had their brain fried. It is on the one hand quite amusing to me, but on the other hand utterly horrifying. It happens to me with terrifying frequency and this leads me to believe most people aren’t really thinking about what they believe in. They are parroting the beliefs and opinions of those they perceive to be their moral betters- I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument for how this is any different from religious fundamentalism.
Absolutist statements are also often incredibly dehumanising- by which I mean they turn your political opponents from fully-rounded human beings into monsters you can attack with whatever ammunition is available to you. This is right out of the Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals play book- piece of advice for lefties: throw that bloody book in the bin, poor petrol over it, set it alight, shoot it out of a cannon into space, and spend the next year “unlearning” everything you read in it. This deserves its own chapter.
Ex. Everyone that voted for Donald Trump is a racist.
If you can not recognise that this is obviously untrue, I can not help you. You most likely wouldn’t pick up this book anyway, because you’d assume it is right-wing reactionary garbage. I’m going to try anyway- according to NBC Exit Polls 19% of Latino voters would be “optimistic” if Trump won. Presumably they were all secretly neo-nazi or KKK despite the fact that neither the KKK or neo-nazis would accept a Latino in their organisation. The other unlikely scenario is that 19% of Latinos are self-hating. I think not- they saw something good in Trump you find it impossible to see. Fair enough but the problem with making absolutist statements like the above is that they make it physically dangerous to openly admit you are a Trump supporter. In 2017 we seemed to accept that it was okay to punch neo-nazis. We did not, by the way, have an argument about whether it was okay to punch Nazis- a separate discussion considering that Nazis were a genuine present threat to society. Nazis were attempting a take-over of Europe, eventually the world. If neo-nazis manage to take over the local town hall that’s all their Christmasses come early. In 2017, there were no Nazis to speak off only neo-nazis. The justification given for physical violence was that they’re wildly racist and that makes it okay. By extension physical violence against those who you perceived to be racist was also given a get out of jail free card. The absolutist statement above combined with the new consensus that we get to punch racists now means you have a free pass to physically assault nearly half the population of the USA. Congratulations- you are now a degenerate hell-raising punk. I’ve no truck with the far-left who totally accept that they are degenerate. If you’re holding all these positions alongside the idea that you are a decent moderate sort then you’re deluding yourself. This applies not only to calling Trump supporters racist but to a lot of other groups. The term racist seems to apply to a very wide range of statements, thoughts and actions.
Ex. Anyone who disagrees with BLM is a racist.
You see how this works. You can punch anyone racist. Anyone who disagrees with you is racist. You can punch anyone you disagree with. This leads nowhere good folks. Please for all our sakes cut it out. Absolutist statements in and off themselves are bloody awful but the particular array of absolutist statements the left has collected is dangerous and potentially disastrous.
Which leads me to another rather irritating statement I saw at the turn of the new year-
“I hope in 2018 we can all agree that it is okay to punch a Nazi”
No, we can’t because the language is misleading. There are no Nazis in 2018- only neo-nazis. Who do you classify as a neo-nazi? If alt-right and neo-nazi are interchangeable, and I’d mostly agree that they are, then why do you apply the term alt-right to large swathes of the right and even some lefties? Make a decision now. Either it is okay to punch the alt-right, and those in the alt-right are people who are actually in the alt-right or you can call anyone you disagree with alt-right. It can not be both without seriously disastrous and violent consequences. Also stop making ridiculously controversial statements as though they are moderate common sense positions upon which we can all agree. This has the effect of making the reader feel incredibly manipulated, but also alienated, isolated and depressed. Alienated and isolated because they don’t agree, thus they must be a small minority. Manipulated because you started with “we can all agree” and ended with something ridiculous, and depressed at the direction in which our society is headed. Perhaps you are so insulated in your bubble that you aren’t even aware you are doing it. Here are some clues- If you can imagine that someone would disagree with you, or if you are picturing the angry faces of those who disagree as you type- stop yourself, it is quite obviously not a moderate position upon which we can all agree.
As for me I will do my part to crush the notion that we can all agree with ridiculous and controversial statements. I do this not because I hate the people making these statements, not because I want to argue with these people, but because I want to smash to shreds the feelings of isolation, alienation and depression in the people reading with these statements and vehemently disagreeing. I agree with one absolutist position and that is that you should never talk in terms of absolutes. You’ll automatically be wrong, and it will be easy to prove you wrong if a person wants to do so. It is incumbent upon you to follow this advice- if you don’t want to do it for the sake of the cohesion of our society- then do this because these arguments don’t work. They only work if you buy hook, line and sinker the left-wing consensus. As soon as you disagree the illusion begins to fall apart. This is one aspect of how you and your comrades are red-pilling people faster than I can say “Ayn Rand”.