The far left have been pumped full of steroids since Jeremy “JEZ we can” Corbyn became Labour leader, and now, more than ever, they’re out for a spoil.
He passively aggressively adopted the ‘we’re a broad church’ line at the Labour party conference. Even Jez was self-aware enough to realise he had little choice but to appease his own. However, when it comes to reaching out to others, he has yet to. Even worse he assumed the catastrophic tactic of his predecessor – bashing the centre left SNP, largely popular because its drive for independence, whose policies roughly mirrors large swathes of his own party and what the wider electorate tends to vote for.
Corbyn’s stance is a prime example of the futility of the far left’s pious, cynical absolutism and the blatant lies and or chimerical arguments being used to justify its message(s).
Attacking the SNP affords the new Labour leadership apparatus a dual opportunity to grandstand – because the ‘Nationalists’ are aligned on many economic issues with most Nu-Labourites, they’re the most effective conduit of attacking the Blairite parts of the broad church that Corbyn dislikes. Poor Jez, it isn’t fair, his own backbenchers can openly dislike him now that he’s leader while he cannot.
Corbyns attempts to goad and ensnare the SNP is a tactic similar to what you’d find users employing on an unmoderated forum, such as 4chan. Just like the far left, 4chan is a symposium of anti-societal mockery masquerading as self-loathing, mixed with the moronic forms of racism, sexism and homophobia that anonymity usually affords. There, in its most extreme incarnate, we find ‘shitposting’, a form of uber trolling that’s designed to elicit abuse from others.
The intention of shitposting, or its grandstanding equivalent, is to create a distraction. They’re a method of control, rather than to justify a position, belief or statement it’s used to attack the validity of other beliefs, either stated or implied, in reaction to an initial provocation or accusation. If played out successfully in the public domain it can engender sympathy among weak minds through perceived victimhood or injustice.
There are a number of steps required to achieve the desired result; it starts by making an assertion that’s clearly false, then shifting the goalposts when the argument threatens to be exposed, before ultimately using the strawman tactic as a means of deflection.
If parties like the SNP react to such provocations they could become aligned with the Westminster neo-liberal mass in its distaste for Corbynism. It further supports the far left’s self-perpetuating delusion of suppression, or even oppression, which is now crucial in underpinning the narrative of the far left’s economic and ideological goals. By attacking those who capitulate to any form of this kind of capitalism, deride Corbynism as a solution and or choose any means of compromise, they can be painted, and those who vote for them, as trying to stunt the far left’s progress to “a fairer society”.
This all or nothing template is one that the far left have utilised a lot recently debating many different issues, whether it be Corbyn and his entryists, militant feminists, anti-capitalists, the occupy movement, or the anti-American imperialists who blame its foreign policy as solely responsible for the current wave of Islamic terrorism. But by using crude arguments, and the techniques that accompany them, none of these movements achieve what they want – change.
Just why has the far left been unable to neutralise the neo-conservatism that hijacked the Labour party? Indeed this targeting and baiting of centre right values (aspiration), so woven into middle class values, is aiding the Tories counter narrative of prudence as necessary. It even emboldened Gideon to openly, brazenly, woo Labour voters at the Tory party conference recently.
While tapping into a feeling of disenchantment at the political classes and ‘their’ austerity got Corbyn the gig, sticking to this simply won’t be enough to win votes. In this all-encompassing media age more people than ever are informed. Broadly speaking it’s why the Tories and SNP have been succeeding while UKIP and the Greens are getting more votes. Whether you agree with their policies or not, they have a reason and or philosophy for existing, and they’re open about what they want to achieve. Under Miliband Labour stagnated because there was no plan and no message beyond ‘we’re not the Tories’. Now Corbynism faces a similar problem, standing on a far left manifesto, with purity in opposition, and talking of a fairer society appeals to those of the faith, but to voters outside that bubble, who are the majority, it provides little incentive to place their trust in far left political concepts that are viewed as unproven.
That means the far left have to change, accept compromise and think of how and why those who disagree with them do, but they refuse to, and that’s a hallmark of authoritarianism. I had my own experience with this nonsense earlier this year, with the keep Ched Evans out of football campaigners. They took a stance so illogical it had the scope to turn Evans into a victim, which under no circumstances should he have become. All because they arbitrarily decided the criminal justice system hadn’t punished him enough, adding the straw man argument as justification that him playing football again was encouraging rape culture. Does rape culture exist? No evidence was provided, so I suspect not. It’s another example of a diversionary argument – saying some people are prepared to rape, and most others aren’t, while truthful, doesn’t help make your argument sound so empathic or convincing. And of course it failed to tackle the actual problem, that the legal means for prosecuting the crimes and the current prison tariffs for committing the offence are wholly inadequate.
Now when I used the same tactic against them, constructing a strawman argument to counteract theirs, crudely comparing the self-serving idiocy and ineffectiveness of their approach to the opposite, equally futile, extreme of ideologically motivated murder, it made them uncomfortable, and some lashed out.
Those who were a bit more self-aware noticed the sheer conceit in refusing to consider the opposing view. Some actually defended their position in a considered manner, which I respected, as that was far more likely to change my own opinion than being told to fuck off, or have my argument refuted by being called a misogynistic dickhead when I wasn’t being one.
And that’s the problem, these days people are too reticent to challenge far left attitudes, particularly when the constructs of their arguments are flawed. Nobody wants to be accused of being a homophobe, a racist or being against a fairer society, when it’s clear they aren’t. This inability and unwillingness to engage has succeeded in creating a mainstream aversion to debate, allowing small ‘c’ conservatism to become the default position in political discourse.
Historically the far left, when motivated and prepared to debate its merits properly, has wielded a lot of influence for the better, but now, like Corbyn, they’re just a pointless distraction. Meanwhile the ongoing austerity war on the have-nots continues. Still, at least if you’re far left, you’re right, right?
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