The term “self-immolation of the left” is obviously a bit melodramatic, but let me tune you into recent events a little bit. So, just as Donald Trump is being elected 45th President of the United States, apparently a protester decides to sit outside Trump Tower in New York City. He sits there for a bit, then attempts to set himself on fire.
Yes, you read that right. This guy, in our era, legitimately attempted to burn himself alive in front of Trump Tower, in order to protest a democratic election. Like, what was wrong with just writing a blog entry or something? That particular brand of self-immolation lasts too long, maybe?
More seriously, though, what’s missing from that act? It seems like a heroic thing to do, doesn’t it? Self sacrifice for a statement? It’s clearly a hearkening back to the Vietnam conflict, when monks from the rural countryside would wander into Saigon and do the same thing in order to protest war—it was their version of non-violent protest against violence, much more imaginative than effective as the war raged on for close to a decade.
What if those monks had been more persuasive, though? What if, instead of burning themselves alive, they’d been able to convince people to stop supplying the war effort? (Because modern wars are always run on the resources provided by the home front.)
Okay yes, that was Vietnam. People who didn’t work for the war effort on either side were branded as traitors and executed. And, actually, most of the world still sort of works that way when it comes to war.
The places in which things don’t work this way include the nation within which Trump Tower in New York City still exist.
A presidential election is supposed to serve as the basis for democratic conversation. I’ll pull that apart a little bit for you.
When you are choosing the leader and the overall direction of your country, with all the tax law, foreign policy, domestic policy and other policy which that entity has some amount of influence over (remember that the United States of America in particular has a lot of checks and balances even on its executive head of state) that’s the perfect time to start talking about your views on politics with people.
My generation, though, probably a lot like most people either a bit older and definitely those who are younger, wound up with this weird, parentally-enforced silence on political chatter in the home and in the dining room. You know, like “mom doesn’t like it,” or “dad gets upset,” or “only your weird uncle thinks about stuff like that.”
One of the origin points of the problem is a lack of ability on both speaker and listener. People are no longer effectively equipped to make arguments, while similarly and therefore no longer being equipped to receive arguments. The root of the inability to get a positive, back-and-forth discussion going without someone throwing a tantrum and thereby getting discussion itself banned because people are naturally scared to ostracise other people is a complete lack of education coupled with zero practice in the exchange of ideas. Yes, practice. Being exposed to counter-opinion and the cut-and-thrust of debate… it’s not something, let’s say, that you’re born into, minus a lucky few. It’s something you work on and build.
Unfortunately, censoring actual discussion at the dinner table, or in the living room, or in the classroom, or in the home… those are the places this stuff is supposed to happen.
You ask, what about the Internet? Review my article on that here, but basically my response is that yes, it can happen there. Can. But what normally happens is that trolls take over and destroy the discussion purposefully and maliciously, or purposefully and jokingly. For whatever reason it happens, it is based on there being no real accountability on the Internet. You’re at a distance, and you can always back up, or turn it off, or not bother to respond, and since there’s no force that can make you accountable to what you’ve said online, any discussion is necessarily cosmetic and artificial. It’s a discussion in the same way as two people with megaphones screaming preset lines at one another and then wandered off to do something else is a discussion.
Therefore, nobody can get any practice, especially with the deplorable, top-down government-run indoctrination-only public schools that we are now beginning to see the effects of in generations that cannot figure out how to do taxes, relate to each other on a human level, or even read: illiteracy is becoming a major problem in the West, and relative statistics are beginning to show it.
As we ban discourse in the home, we begin to ban discourse everywhere. Children who weren’t allowed to have, hear, or share educated, political, and social opinions are replaced by children who ape their Baby Boomer and Gen-X parents’ philosophies, which is conveniently the same philosophy taught in public schools which those generations gradually voted into place.
So now all you’re left with is identity politics. We can only talk about our visible differences. Except, we can’t, because they’re not phrased as differences—they’re justified as moral atrocities. To explain all the public spending through our late history on the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the War on Poverty and various other stalled advances on problems with no fixed fortifications to assault, our parents and grandparents have to cast the groups to which the bulk of public spending has gone as disadvantaged, preyed-upon minorities.
This includes blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, and women.
It’s a way of doubling down. To make their decisions not seem so horrible, despite the burning economy, mounting national debt, and rising racial tensions. Their children, because they cannot engage in any type of civilised discourse, are now forced to agree with these positions so hard, and so disincentivized to discuss those positions so thoroughly and continuously that for them those positions that counter this thoughts no longer exist.
Those positions are Nazi. Or Fascist! Or nationalist! As though conservatism were anything other than one more philosophy among hundreds, with its own pros and cons. The assumption of the mantle of moral authority is the beginning of the burgeoning toxic cloud of censorship.
Do not mistake me.
This is all censorship. Variated, modulated, made polite and happy and family-friendly… but censorship. In the homes, the weapons which destroy all future homes are wrought.
Two takeaways, then.
Number one: children should not be abused in this fashion. If you are not encouraging the omni-directional growth of children, you should not be involved with children. Not as a parent, not as a teacher, not as a daycare worker or mentor or adult friend. If children are the future, and if what shapes them will eventually shape the world, then that world should be of their choosing, or as necessity dictates.
The second? Well, with the second, we can explain more or less everything.
Why is there a man setting himself ablaze outside Trump Tower, for example? Because he can’t figure out how to reach people, and persuade those people of his message even in a nation where such things are supposed to happen.
Because the nature of society has changed to one of rudimentary censorship. Decentralised, but still-authoritarian dictation of conduct. Our would-be living pyre either had reached the point of frustrated, revulsed, stomach-churning violence, or he coldly calculated the best way in which to affect an entire population with what he wanted to say.
If either thought process surrenders, as its end goal, “I’ma light myself on fire,” then you’re looking actually at a society like Vietnam’s instead of one that looks rather more Western.
Could he have just been deranged? Sure. Could’ve. But when you slot him in next to CNN calling Trump “Hitler,” (just as a for-instance of sensationalist trash which carries no argument or rational content) and that goes on to inspire women across the world to “March on Washington” (as another instance of action without any particular thought—go watch Madonna or Ashley Judd’s speech for examples of empty rhetoric). Watch someone punching out Richard Spencer, who is actually Hitler, but gains a following every time he’s acted against in public again because people have no idea how to argue and can therefore be inspired even by Spencer standing against the aggressions levied against him, despite his own insane ideology.
Now, why am I directing this against the Left? Because they’re in control. They’re not the little rebel movement. If nothing’s going to convince you, then every president since Eisenhower being Democrat or military-industrial should. That the school systems don’t teach anything capitalist should. That socialism’s end goal is communism should.
That peaceful revolution being made impossible so that violent revolution becomes inevitable should.
If what’s being taught in our schools, if massive wealth redistribution, if price and wage controls don’t convince you… then sit down and talk to someone. Come talk to me, even, if you know me, and maybe we can reach some kind of understanding.
But for your family’s sake, stop setting yourselves on fire because a different opinion and way of doing things has currently gained primacy in the ephemeral American system.