Dear Butch: Am I a Leftist?

BrightAbyss replied to my Dodging Leftward post. I thought it would be easier to respond on a new post than to put a longish response in the reply. I have responded inline.

“I like that you did your homework.

Couple things:

Just because I support gender equality, revolution, re-engineering society to mitigate climate change, and i’m against the plunder and domination of vulnerable populations by dominant institutions doesn’t mean in “leftist”, at least not how I understand it. Why? Because I don’t see the world through the prism of high school poli-sci heuristics. Those are your labels and lists, and that is the simplistic framework upon which you want to demarcate things and people to create your in-group. Yeah for you. But ‘Left/right’ is meaningless to me, and so I refuse your categories and rhetoric and all the bullshit antagonisms and logics (decisional binary sets) that go with it. Ideology is not my focus and ultimately meaningless to me – although unavoidable in subtle ways.
I’m a pragmatist and an empiricist. So I’m ‘against’ all things damaging to the human (and other) species and ‘for’ all things that might lead to a more health inducing arrangement of populations. Those are my guiding commitments. So I’m not lying I’m just refusing your game. Period.”

Hahaha! Now this is amusing: you are not sure you’re a Leftist!

Personally, I don’t buy it. You’re retweeting articles from Marxists calling each other ‘comrade’ where they emphasize the importance of building a New Left to fight the capitalist crisis. But you’re not a Leftist? Come now. Let’s drop the pretenses.

You claim to be an empiricist. Are you telling me that you have never done an empirical analysis of your own beliefs? Let’s say you did a cladistic analysis of this idea of ‘plunder and domination of vulnerable populations by dominant institutions’. That means you would try to figure out where that idea originated, because you are definitely not the originator. That sounds identical to the Marxist idea that ‘the bourgeoisie (owning class) dominate the proletariat (working class) by controlling capital (the means of production)’. And you are an anti-Capitalist. Doesn’t that mean anything to you? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that what you are against is what Marx was against. Again, I’m not buying this bullshit.

You can refuse my labels and lists, call it simplistic and refuse my categories. The truth is you don’t like the labels. You don’t want to be labeled a Leftist. You’re fine with thinking and acting like a Leftist, just so long as you’re not labeled as such. That’s your entire point. Sorry. Words have meanings. If you walk like a Leftist, and you talk like a Leftist, then you are a Leftist, whether or not you like that label. That’s why your bullshit is so petty. You understand clearly that we have norms of language, and that by flouting those norms, by refusing to use the words and their actual meanings, that you degrade our commons. When you refuse to label something that clearly deserves that label, because the application of that label would make you uncomfortable, then that is the same as lying. I’m sure cigarette manufacturers don’t like the labels either.

“I’m against the Koch bros because they put profit over ecosystems and do some in illegal and brutal ways. I’m against Marxism because it puts bureaucracy and ideology over people. I’m for reorganizing the economy to decrease carbon emission in order to mitigate global warming. I’m against involuntary taxes (socialism) because it consolidates money in the hands of wayward institutions. I’m for small government. I’m against financial oligarchy. I’m for valuing the family and individual responsibility. I’m against identity politics and the culture of blame. I’m for collectivising modes of production (for efficiency). I’m against fundamentalism.”

Collectivising modes of production? Probably you were thinking ‘means of production’. Collectivism, as in socialism, communism, fascism… consolidating the means of production into the hands of the state. Got it. But you’re against involuntary taxes because it consolidates money in the hands of wayward institutions. As though consolidating the means of production into the hands of government institutions is not exactly the same as consolidating money into the hands of wayward institutions. The lack of logical consistency and awareness of what you are saying is astounding. Amazingly empirical.

Also, you’re not against fundamentalism, you’re against Christianity. Please stop with that bullshit. Remember: I’ve read your Twitter feed.

And I draw from a lot of sources – left and right, but mostly empirical studies. Doesn’t mean I am committed to every organization or theoretical stance I re-tweet or draw from. Life is messy and so is one’s intellectual growth. SO where do these commitments put me on your color by number chart? Left-right? 

Where does that put you on my chart? Let me see.
[Beep boop beep bop… ping!].
Yep. As I suspected. You’re a Leftist.

Look, I suppose it’s possible (in the same way that a coin landing on its edge is possible) that you are so immersed in Leftism that you think you understand the sum of all things that might lead to a more health inducing arrangement of populations, but you don’t know that the aggregation of all those things has a name, and that name is Leftism. You just think it is common sense. Of course, you would be wrong in that assessment.

I also suppose you think you are some rational atheist. You should read RadishMag’s Reign of Reason article. Or maybe Free Speech, you know, so you can do an empirical cladistic analysis of your ideas to find out from whence they originate.

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