I will soon begin a series on my political philosophy that I have been meaning to make for a long time. As that series will not discuss political labels, I wish to briefly do so here.
The left-leaning ideology has a lot of good branding: “liberal, Democratic, progressive.” But what do any of those words mean?
You cannot easily identify a common theme in either left-wing or right-wing thought; there is almost always an “exception.” They’re not internally consistent ideologies.
But I finally figured out the common theme. The left-wing is a specific set of beliefs, while the right-wing is any deviation from those beliefs (and not the other way around).
What I’ll call “leftism” means essentially the prevailing view held by the people in information dissemination institutions: the professoriate in academia, journalists in the media, and scriptwriters in Hollywood.
It is not all too surprising that many people in high places should hold the same politics. I attribute that to the mimetic nature of humans. Most people don’t think through their political views, they copy them from those around them. This affect is only amplified in well-networked institutions.
Because institutional voices promote leftist views, such views are assumed to be a kind of default. People instead identify with the ways in which they reject that institutional narrative.
So, for instance, a man who agrees with 80% and disagrees with 20% of the professor-consensus will nonetheless identify most strongly with that 20%. Contrarianism takes more effort than passive acceptance.
This explains why Conservatives embrace “centrists” while leftists do not. If you agree with half of the professor-consensus, no one cares. If you disagree with half, that is what Conservatism is.
It’s hard to ignore that Leftists (at risk of sounding like Dave Rubin) are not so tolerant of intellectual diversity. I don’t even think they deny this. Conservatives are more willing to talk to people they disagree with fundamentally.
Leftist thought is a tight ball. Diversions are policed. Conservatives are much more likely to surprise me with views I haven’t heard before.
Conservative thought is disparate and fractal. Consider the following conservative stripes: libertarians, populists, corporatist technocrats, war hawks. Some of these groups have almost as much in common with the left as they do each other.
Alone, none of these holds a majority, but they are strongly united only in hatred of the left. They are forced to accept their differences for the sake of that broader mission.
All of this is to explain what I mean when I say I’m a “Conservative.” It may or may not mean that I have anything in common with the aforementioned groups. It just means I reject some premises of the left.
Although different leftist activists place emphasis in different places, have different strategies, and discuss different topics, it it rare for them to disagree overtly with each other. There is a lower threshold for dissent.
There is always going to be a “left” because the elites in our society are always going to believe something. Their uncontroversial beliefs are not considered political issues. Their controversial beliefs, on the other hand, form the various political issues on the basis of which different groups form to oppose the “left.”
The Right Wing Cycle
The most radical conservatives tend to fall in one of three camps: libertarians, ethno-nationalists, and the religious right.
I have noticed a distinct phenomenon in the evolution of Conservative people’s political philosophy on the Internet. People tend to go from libertarian to ethno-nationalist, ethno-nationalist to religious, and religious to libertarian.
This is at least more common than the opposite direction of movement. It is rare to go full circle, but I have seen some people take two out of the three steps.
Shortly after I published this post, my views were greatly expanded by videos by Youtuber Charlemagne, particularly this video. I would place his work on or above the level of my own.