I’ve written before about not feeling at home on Left or Right. Even so, I have historically associated with the Left more than the Right, and am still partial to many leftist positions. The issue, of course, is that the Left has become (or maybe it always was) a poor excuse for a meaningful, promising movement. Instead, it is filled with psychopaths and narcissists.
Naturally, recoiling against the Left makes swinging the pendulum to the other side look appealing. And so exploring the Right, which has been significantly more welcoming on a personal level in many cases, seems like a good idea.
My chief reservation with the Right is as follows: we will always disagree on much, and that’s okay, but in the moments and issues we do agree, I have to determine if our agreement is sincere or if the Right is simply playing by the rules of friend/enemy politics or some other cynicism. An example:
I'm quite sure all of you have heard of the "100 or so business leaders" who got together to discuss how absolutely atrocious the new voting laws are in Georgia and elsewhere.
I don't need to tell you that corporations have been major players in running our country for a very, very long time, and that this certainly is not the first time a bunch of powerful elites got together in a smoky room to plot out how to more effectively plunder the country.
What I find fascinating in this event is the response to this, especially when understood through the lens of friend/enemy politics. There is a fundamental divide between two groups of people based on an extremely foundational element of our worldviews: can the prominent institutions that run our lives be trusted?
So when it comes to the business boycott issue, we have two sides: the oversocialized versus the kinda-skeptical-of-the-market-but-still-liberals.
I've discussed the oversocialized before:
There are individuals, institutions, and groups that we interface with, and through which we learn the rules of society.
Socialization hands you a packet of ‘Goods’ that the society recognizes and expects you to internalize as your own ‘Goods’. Failure to do so can lead to exclusion, punishment, etc.
…someone becomes socialized when they internalize the goods of society into their moral space. BUT someone becomes OVERsocialized, when they either elevate those internalized goods to a status of “higher Good(s)” or they have no other goods at all.
In this scenario, the oversocialized trust the dominant institutions who tell them the Republicans passing voter ID laws are evil fascists and must be opposed. Of course, even if you were never a fan of corporations, they are fighting the good fight now! So they must be applauded! This is the dilemma of the oversocialized. They are neck-deep in friend/enemy politics with no way to get out:
The problem here is simple: people select a person or label, assign it a moral value, and make that one of their higher goods. Rather than allowing my moral values to decide who my friends and enemies are, I have allowed my friends and enemies to determine what my principles are, what I support and oppose.Thisis derangement.
Derangement is basing your view of good/evil based on what someone does.
Oversocialization in this context can best be understood as unthinkingly accepting the framing of an issue by a perceived authority, and using that framing as a good.
Much of the Left is oversocialized, which perhaps goes quite a long way in explaining why these so-called “rebels” end up supporting the system they claim to despise. How can one oppose a system when one’s understanding of the system is provided and shaped by the institutions in control of that system?
The Media and Tech elites are so adamant about defending “democracy” because democracy is the system in which they can propagandize and manipulate the people to support elite interests and then legitimize those interests via voting. “Disinformation” plays a similar role in terms of “narrative defense.” Certain ideas, sources, people, etc. are declared off-limits/hazards. The oversocialized simply take the map of the World handed to them by Blue Empire and then wonder why their rebellions don’t break anything. Perhaps because the map you are using isn’t telling you the right places to rebel if you actually hate the system…
But here we encounter a problem: the oversocialized do not appear to be the only ones playing by the friend/enemy politics rules. Recently, Josh Hawley has gone on yet another "crusade" against Big Tech.
But we have a question now: Is the opposition to monopoly claimed by Hawley limited to Big Tech? Will it expand to companies that are also dominant but give Hawley money? Will Hawley (and Cruz?) be willing to take on the companies that donate to other Republicans? Do they have the institutional backing and personal fortitude to do so?
Conservatives talk about principles quite a lot, but herein lies the question: will their opposition to the oversocialized be ruled by friend/enemy politics, or will it develop out of sincere commitment to a new set of values that genuinely holds that the Public Square, Virtual and Physical, must not have access limited to it? That e-commerce and social media sites should not be allowed to prevent individuals and institutions from using their sites (in effect, accessing the virtual public square) unless they engage in harassment, illegal obscenity, or otherwise break a law (and "hate speech" is not breaking a law). If Mr. Hawley is serious and sincere about his claim that monopoly is the enemy of liberty (and he should be since he is correct), then he is beginning to develop a set of principles that would allow him to escape the market fetishism and Liberalism the Conservatives have been suffering under for far too long.
Because I still wonder if people are really skeptical of the market. Many seem to believe that some outside force has perverted it and that “real capitalism/liberalism” is out there as a perfect system if only we could discover it, implement it, and then get out of its way.
This is where I remain hesitant about declaring some kind of alliance with the Right. If the Right has begun to sincerely and meaningfully abandon its market fetishism, then we can have a discussion. Small segments of the Right are indeed doing this. And small remnants of the non-oversocialized Left are worth engaging with. But if these positions are not driven by sincere principles, and instead are driven by cynical pandering or friend/enemy politics, any discussion will be pointless.
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