The selective outrage of the left

The Left has spent the last years in a state of constant moral outrage. In their world consisting of victims and oppressors, unfairness is everywhere. Free market policies are devised not only to enrich the rich, but to purposefully undermine the wellbeing of the poor. The Tories are not out to reform the welfare system but to murder the disabled. Opponents are called out as sexists, racists, white supremacists, Nazis… Before the 2015 general election, the Mirror actually ran a headline saying ’Remember those killed by Tory austerity when you cast your vote’. Peruse the comment section on the Guardian’s opinion pages and see the vitriol literally spilling over.

The right has a different approach, often ridiculing the left for its naivety and childlike emotionality. Rarely does the right find reason to be morally outraged, except over the naivety and disingenuity of the arguments on display from the left. Lately though, they have had reasons to disapprove of the behaviour and motives of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn: in light of recent events, his past sympathy for the Venezuelan government seems even more misplaced than before and he has been widely urged to make a public condemnation of the authoritarian crackdown. Of course, he didn’t. But instead of acknowledging the moral dubiousness of his position, his supporters reacted with an outrage of their own. Where most saw a leader so blinded by ideological loyalty that he couldn’t bring himself to condemn the regime, the Corbynistas saw a conspiracy. On Twitter, the hashtag #CorbynMustCondemn was devised to allow lefties to use humour to imply that the expectation that Corbyn should condemn the behaviour of the Venezuelan regime was not only unreasonable, but another proof of a smear campaign and conspiracy by a biased mainstream to undermine his leadership: the hypocrisy of his position is unapparent to them – the man is not of dubious moral character, he’s the victim of unfair treatment.

This is the mindset of the Left: they are always the victims, the opponents always the oppressors. The victims’ cause is righteous; the oppressor tries in vain to hide his immoral motives behind a façade of respectability.

The leap of faith required to occupy this self-righteous bubble is perfectly illustrated in the racism debate. Legitimately calling out white supremacists and other Caucasian racists, the left completely exonerates racism directed towards whites. To justify this, they have redefined the term, no longer accepting the usual definition of ‘prejudice based on a belief in the superiority of one’s own race’, but coupling it with the ubiquitous concept of ‘privilege’ to mean ‘prejudice plus power’ – only someone enjoying ‘white privilege’ and the accompanying power can be racist. Racists of their own ilk are hence automatically exonerated.

The left and the right increasingly occupy different realities. Residing in an echo-chamber, the nauseatingly sanctimonious left has nothing to say to their opponents except the incessant shouting of abuse. Further polarisation of the political landscape seems inevitable at this point. The stakes are high and the eventual victor is hard to pick – but one battle has found a winner: the right may lose elections, but the left has already lost its sanity.

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