The Fall Of Ideology And The Emergence Of Reason
It was not all that long ago that by and large questions in reference to the social, societal and political were typically thought to exist exclusively within a spectrum of left versus right wing thinking. Since time immemorial, notions of how societies should function and the ways in which governments should operate have largely come down to questions of liberalism or progressivism versus conservatism and vested tradition. While nebulously defined “centers” and those who have either been skeptical or not allied with a particular ideology have always existed within these paradigms, we seem to be at the cusp of what is shaping up to be a considerable shakeup in the ideological landscape.
Consider firstly, the emergence of the hardline progressive left which we’re all quite familiar with at this point. Whether called social justice warriors, intersectional feminists, the regressive left or simply “progressives,” the new face of the political left is increasingly one of authoritarian edicts and narcissistic identity politics. As they strive to ban any speech, literature, entertainment and in some cases even the study of actual science which contradicts their extremist precepts of ‘justice’ and ‘equality,’ many observers of this new, primarily millennial driven ideology are given just cause to worry for the future of our society.
It could even rightly be argued that this very publication exists almost exclusively for that very reason. However another facet of this new emerging absolutism that cannot be overlooked is the vicarious good it has done in respect to broader, more intellectually honest debates and relations. In effect, the quite honestly cancerous growth of the new regressive progressive tyrant who by virtue of their race, gender, sexuality and so on, has insisted on not only a seat at the table, but the seat at the head of it has inspired a backlash which if given appropriate room to grow and be explored may actually serve to propel us into a new age of political dialogue altogether.
Admittedly, on its face such a theory may sound naively optimistic and perhaps to a degree it is. Yet if we pause for a moment and reflect on even the last decade of ideological shifts and swings within just the United States alone, it can be observed that between the peaks and valleys an ideology’s actual, tangible power it seems quite often to lose loyalists with each decline. For an example, the relatively explosive growth of libertarian philosophy being identified as the truer form of conservative in the wake of the neoconservative Bush era speaks strongly to the desires of many a self-identified conservative to find an alternative when the failings of one orthodox form of such become apparent.
This too is observable on the left not only once, but twice in modern decades. Firstly, following what many liberals of the time such as Christopher Hitchens considered a scandalous and corporacratic Clinton administration, the left engaged in a considerable amount of ideological soul searching, seeking to identify exactly when its party the Democrats had become the establishment foot-soldiers they were. While many party loyalists who openly touted themselves as liberals increasingly became seen as centrists in what was regarded as a broader cultural shift towards conservatism, the very label of ‘liberalism’ was soon supplanted almost entirely by the re-adopted moniker of ‘progressive.’ This label itself then later evolving into the neoprogressive or regressive left we see today.
But as these shifts and swings of definition and redefinition continue playing out and do so even now with the evolution of ‘cultural libertarian,’ ‘conservatarian,’ ‘liberaltarian’ and so on, another aspect to what appears to be a modernization of political thought are the falling barriers between those who at one point would have been sworn political enemies. Though not a cause, the consumer revolt and eventual culture war front that is and was #GamerGate can largely be seen as something of a catalyst to this new dialogue. In the pitting of an unapologetic gamer subculture against a media rife with corruption, collusion and political agendas it served both to bring elements of left and right together in a common struggle, while also creating, or at least activating veritable armies of new free speech and ethics advocates.
Yet even within these circles of allied forces, dedicated to stemming the rising tide of the regressive left with its demands for censorship and online brown-shirt style public shaming tactics, there remain deep divisions in respect to the principles and ideals of those making up the coalitions. While such has led to conflagrations between factions, such as the emerging alt-right and progressives of a less radical disposition, the overall tone of debates once held as shouting matches has now subsided largely into civil, spirited and often friendly debates between what are now often friends. In these, concessions to points made in opposition to a speakers given beliefs are increasingly seen as signs of true open mindedness, as opposed to otherwise being viewed as ideological or intellectual weakness.
Within this and within the minds of many a writer and thinker –including many of those bringing thoughts to you here at The Rationalists- have begun themselves to evolve, considering notions once seen as antithetical to their understanding of what was right and good on a deeper level and incorporating such into their broader understandings. Perhaps in the bullishness and strident absolutism of the social justice regressive left, those of calmer, less reactionary minds have been given cause to challenge and reevaluate their notions even more than they had before. Alternately, perhaps due to a generation growing up in an information age wherein observing the rises and declines of ideological hegemonies and fringe movements going mainstream was an almost daily occurrence, the appeal of singular schools of thought offering supposedly comprehensive truths became less alluring.
In any case and most likely a combination of factors altogether, the modern pushback against the aspiring tyrants presently constituting the progressive left has seemed to spur on the fracturing of ideological paradigms, once thought to be absolute and final by many of generations past. Perhaps in this, it is through the collaboration of ‘left’ and ‘right’ that the intellectual shackles such imposes on honest thought may be rusting through. Regardless of where this all leads however it is, to be certain, quite a time to be awake and alive.
Nicholas Goroff is a writer, journalist, actor and Youtube content creator. A former political operative and labor organizer, he holds a degree in Criminal Justice and previously studied Political Science at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. Presently he works as a beer and liquor critic at Everyjoe.com in addition to writing for The Rationalists.org and Occupy.com