My experience teaches me that the online left abides by certain unspoken rules that help everyone to remain as woke and unproblematic as possible. At the risk of breaking the code of silence, I will list the most important rules as I have come to understand them:
- The correct position is always already known.
- It’s never your responsibility to actually explain or even state the correct position.
- Failure to hold the correct opinion must be treated as tantamount to actively harming people.
- Outrage and exasperated impatience are the only acceptable rhetorical stances.
This is the strategy that has led the left from strength to strength in recent years. We should all be proud to belong to a group that understands so perfectly exactly what needs to be done and how everyone should behave.
5 thoughts on “Online leftist activism: A beginner’s guide”
I find this critique frustrating because it collapses all the many complicated things that go on online into ‘the thing’ that ‘the left does’. Like, I’ve seen all the things you mention, but I’ve also seen people kindly and patiently explaining the stakes of disagreements to others; I’ve seen people tweeting out 101 introductions to issues so much that I got bored and unfollowed them; I’ve seen people defending all sorts of really vile and damaging things on the grounds that it’s just speech. What’s achieved by collapsing all of the many different kinds of conversations that play out online into a set of Bad Things The Left Does that are to blame for the fact that we’re not winning? Why don’t we blame the liberal left concern trolls, the sexual abusers and their defenders, the cops, the racists, the homophobes and all the other people who are doing far worse things than getting exasperated on the internet?
Because I believe that leftists who do this stuff might be capable of self awareness and try to change their behavior, while the same is probably not true of the other groups you mention?
I also do include myself. The “white mass suicide” fiasco grew out of me following this playbook in the offending conversation.
I try not to be quit this much of a shit-fuck in online discussion. Am I doing it wrong?
Look, it’s not my job to educate you.
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