Month: April 2017

When Ideology Invades Politics; In Other Words: The Importance of Theory vs. Practice

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So, if you’ve been reading, you’ll have noticed this post about my political views, where I touched on my stances on political issues as a whole.

At the end, I noted that, according to the test I took, ideologically, I fall “right on the line of Anarcho-Communism and Anarcho-Syndicalism/Collectivist Anarchism“.

Politically, however, I’m much more moderate. Though still in the bottom left quadrant, I’d be much more near the middle, simply due to the fact that, in addition to the fact that I’m an idealist, I’m also a realist.

If I could craft the world, I’d make it fit my ideological views, because, ultimately, I have too much faith in the positive nature of humanity.

However, since I can’t, and since humanity isn’t as great as I’d like to believe, when it comes to voting, politics, what I’ll stand for in an intellectual perspective, I take a slower, more methodical, approach.

While I do agree that a more aggressive approach is best to get things done, I also understand that progress, of any kind, is made in steps. Going 0 to 60 in three seconds is great, but if you do that, you can’t see the car coming up right behind you fast enough to react properly.

If you try to make a big change before taking the proper steps to implement those changes, you could have harmful consequences that impact more than you thought.

Whereas if you go in steps, you can deal with those consequences as they arise, making the proper changes needed to combat them while still working towards your overarching goal.

One of the problems, if it’s not the foremost problem, in the United State’s current political climate is that people lack either the intellect, the capacity, the will, or some combination of the three, to discern hopeful ideology and what the harsh reality of the world and just how much power we have over it actually is.

As I’ve stated before, people dislike hearing bad news. They go to such high lengths to avoid it that things that sound nice, no matter how false, are more believed, simply because they don’t want to face the fact that reality kind of sucks.

Those who are more intellectually inclined, realists, or even just cynics, know the world isn’t as good as we’d like to believe. Those who deal with depression, abuse, discrimination, and many more issues, have been through a great deal and have had to work through it, all while dealing with everything else in the world.

They, and I include myself when I say ‘they’, understand that the world isn’t fair; that things don’t always go your way; that everything isn’t always good. Life has made them realists.

Some people, like myself, manage to still be hopeful, to believe in the good.

It’s difficult being an optimist and a pessimist; a realist and an idealist. To be quite honest, it’s infuriatingly irritating and stressful.

On one side of the argument, I know exactly how things are in the world and can plan accordingly to deal with the consequences of it.

On the other side, I hold a fancifully positive outlook on life and the world, to the point that, though I know that things may not go the way I want them to, I’m still achingly disappointed when they turn out that way.

This shows up in my posts often. I, somehow, manage to keep hope that maybe, just maybe, someday in the future people will be as good as they can be. That the Rebellion, the Resistance, whatever you want to call it, will succeed.

After all,

Rebellions Are Built On Hope

To get back to the point, it’s possible to be both an idealist and a realist. It’s not easy, but then, nothing worth anything ever really is.

If you can recognize that the way you view the world isn’t how everyone else does, you can realize that ideological views can’t always align with your political views.

As I’ve stated before, a vote isn’t just an opinion, it is an action. When you have idealistic views, that’s just an opinion, but when you transfer those same views over to your politics, meaning who you vote for, what you stand for, etc. so on and so forth, that’s an action, because it’s directly affecting other people’s lives.

Hillary Clinton caught a lot of flak when she mentioned ‘a public and a private position’.

“You just have to sort of figure out how to … balance the public and the private efforts that are necessary to be successful, politically, and that’s not just a comment about today. Politics is like sausage being made. It is unsavory, and it always has been that way, but we usually end up where we need to be. But if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”

While I can understand the sentiment behind the controversy, and even the issue behind the controversy, I don’t understand where why people objected so hard to the ‘public vs private’ part specifically.

Any intellectual knows that reality doesn’t always align with what you want it to be and that you have to compromise in order to get closer to your goals. That’s exactly what she was saying.

While I agree on principle that, no, we shouldn’t have to compromise to get important things done, I understand that it’s necessary in the world we live in.

Again, it’s about theory vs. practice.

We need to take a step back, take a breath, and look at things as objectively as we can, separating ourselves from the issue for a moment.

Rather than just applying it wholly without thinking of the consequences, we need to implement our theory in a practical way.

Elitism Is A Problem, But It’s Not A ‘Coast vs. Rust Belt’ Issue

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So often, I’ll see or hear the term “coastal elites”, referring to celebrities or other people who live in large coastal cities such as Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, etc.

The term is used as a way of saying that, because these people are largely, or wholly, unaffected by issues due to their success or wealth, their opinion or voice is invalid and unwanted.

The people who say this are the true elites, not the coast-dwellers.

Yes, the so-called “coastal elites” are largely unaffected by the policies they’re fighting against, but that doesn’t mean they’re not on your side. I would argue that would mean they’re more on your side because they don’t have to fight for these things.

Let’s take Susan Sarandon and her appearances on talk shows and news media outlets.

Every time she speaks, the blowback from people, democrats specifically, is astonishing.

She, on one occasion, said that people are now ‘energized’ by Trump’s electoral win. She also said that if Bernie didn’t win the primary, there should be a revolution, which I’m very split on.

On the one hand, Bernie was the most progressive candidate, the probable best way for us to move forward as a nation on our policies.

On the other hand, revolting before ensuring the election for the Democrats was/is stupid.

Going back to people being energized, I’m wholly in support of this statement and here’s why: it’s true.

She’s not saying that him being elected is a good thing, but she is saying that it has brought about a good thing. People on the left are now, to use her word, energized to fight.

People who didn’t feel the need to fight before are feeling it now.

However, getting back to the topic, people, let’s call them activist elitists, on the left are focusing on the “people who didn’t feel the need to fight before” and “they’re largely unaffected, so their voice doesn’t matter” parts, rather than focusing on the fact that they’re fighting now.

Look, I get it. I’m with you; they should have been fighting to begin with; but not everyone has the will or desire to constantly fight for everything, for more, against every injustice. And I don’t wish that on them, no matter how irritating it is that I can’t do that.

I have to stay informed and, to a degree, active in politics. My safety depends on it, like so many others’ does.

Since, for my own wellbeing, I have to stay informed and at least circulate information, why wouldn’t I keep up to date on other issues that don’t directly affect me and circulate that as well? It’s reading another article or three or watching a few more videos, and circulating is as easy as a tweet, which is what I do anyway.

This is where, I believe, activist elitists’ frustration comes from: it’s so easy to do, why wouldn’t you do it in the first place.

The answer is easy: celebrities and other “coastals” are affected, just not in the same way as we are; they’re affected by being ostracized in their job field and unable to get consistent work.

We like to believe that celebrities are all extremely rich, but that’s not always the case. Actors especially are affected by a very temperamental market.

If someone better, or someone who’s slightly more attractive and just as good, comes along, they’re out of a job. They’re not the hottest thing out there and, in the entertainment industry, everyone wants the next hottest thing.

Actors have to tread carefully. If they become activists with their platforms and that may, not even will, but may, cut into profits, they’re out of work unless they’re well-established. And if that’s the case, they don’t have to worry about not having work in a lot of cases.

Look at athlete activist Colin Kaepernick: he peacefully protested against racial injustice and inequality. He was respectful: he didn’t incite violence, destroy property, or disrespect anyone. But he can’t get a job in the field he’s worked towards his entire life now.

He used his platform and is now paying for it.

The problem isn’t the people in fear of their jobs; it’s the people making them lose their jobs due to controversy, one way or another.

The elitists aren’t those who are just becoming activists and aren’t affected by the issues directly; the elitists are the people who demand the past be changed or everything stay compartmentalized.

We need to stop the infighting; we need to unite.

The activist elites need to stop creating new problems and accept the help to fight on the actual problems.