Ingredients of political evil

  1. The incapacity to reason from any perspective but my own is ideological narrowness.
  2. The need to explain the complexity of life by reducing them to simple concepts is intellectual stuntedness.
  3. To undermine beliefs, judgments, feelings or actions of others using theories which I do not accept when used to cast doubt on my own beliefs, judgments, feelings or actions is intellectual hypocrisy.
  4. To judge others by different standards than those by which I judge myself is moral hypocrisy.
  5. Indifference to pain except that which I and my kind feel is empathy failure.
  6. The desire to make myself feel better by making another person feel worse is sadism.
  7. To listen only to those who agree with me, and to revile anyone who disagrees with me is tribalism.
  8. To attribute concealed malevolent motives to others despite their claims to believe and intend the opposite is paranoia.
  9. To see myself as exceptional, endowed with exceptional abilities, and entitled to exceptional treatment is hubris.
  10. To believe my own faith is ultimate and that there is nothing I can learn from my enemies is spiritual blindness.

These are all the ingredients of political evil I can think of.

6 thoughts on “Ingredients of political evil

  1. Wow, your blog is fantastic. I’m glad I stumbled upon it. I’m no expert in politics so I’m trying to expand my information/reading I have on these pertinent topics. Of most interest to me has been the descent of madness I’ve seen on Twitter and other social media sites that primarily target straight white males (as the biggest evil) along with the acceptance of racial based judgment (on whites) that is pushed on social media. I am on the left myself but not a PC authoritarian and I don’t think justification for demonizing people based on being white should be acceptable. I have a friend who’s more on the left than me (trans as well) who brought up some points to me that I wanted to further study. She brought up that the right also engages in identity politics of their own form and that people should criticize the right as much as the left. I disagree with the latter since societal states can dictate which sides have prevailing ideology on the internet. Plus, context matters and there’s specific issues coming from the left that should be heavily dug into. Eventually I am going to do a write up on the fallacy of relative privation, identity politics from the left and right, the potential danger of bad ideas, the difference between supremacy and nationalism, cancel culture/speech codes, colonialism and how it isn’t just unique to Europe, and inner and outer group differences. I’m going to read more on your blog including re-reading “Leftist Identitarianism is an identity.” It is a breath of fresh air and much needed.

    1. Hey, thanks for the kind words.

      Regarding your dispute with your friend, I see progressivist illiberalism and alt-right illiberalism as twin components of a single illiberal movement, a two-stroke illiberalism engine. Each claims to be the opposite of the other, which, in a sense is true, in that they are mutually-oriented in opposition to the other. But they both fail to grasp the fact that liberalism transcends their opposition and views them from outside as locked in a fixed and politically stunted antithesis. They can’t see beyond their opposition, and that is what makes them structurally alike and dangerous to liberal democracy which depends on pluralistic sensibilities.

      So, from this view, the whataboutism of your friend is just the fuel in the tank of the two-stroke illiberalism engine. This is why I call myself a neithersiderist, because both sides of this conflict think they are on one side of a conflict with only two sides, where you can choose to be on the right side or the wrong side, or noncommittally stand on both at once. I prefer to turn the conflict on its side and oppose this entire illiberalism-generating view of the conflict from a standpoint of liberalism.

      I tried to diagram out a model of this way of seeing the oppositions:

      1. You’re welcome.

        I agree with everything you’ve said. It is very ironic to see both sides clinging to identity while simultaneously saying the other is bad for having the “wrong” identity. Both will engage in the very things they accuse the other side of (bigotry, narrowness).

        Also, for the term alt-right, I have seen people call anything that isn’t politically correct “alt-right.” This group has become so extreme in some of their views that ANYTHING different from their view point is considered “right wing.” Jordan Peterson was told he was “alt-right” and “too right wing” even though he’s stated his dislike for right wing identity politics and nazism. He isn’t fond of supremacy in regards to actual identity (black, white, LGBT, etc).

        I see no problem with someone enjoying parts of themselves related to identity, but the line gets crossed when there’s inane levels of virtue signaling.

        1. That goes with being a one-siderist: whoever isn’t on my side can only be on the other! Because there are only two sides, and I know they’re not on mine.

          Re: identities — the big issue for me is who is assigning those identities to other people and expecting them to conform to it. In a liberal democracy, each person picks their own identities.

          Sure — we’ll always categorize other people and try to deduce things about them in our own minds — that’s how thinking works — but that category is our problem, not theirs. If we expect another person to adopt an unfelt, unwanted identity we think they “are”, that is a pretty good indication we have (or at least believe that we have) the power to force them to accept it and perform it. Which kind of makes it more likely we are oppressing, not being oppressed however much we want to identify with the oppressed.

          1. This is a website you should look at. It’s great and a helpful resource:

            Yes, there’s a lot of “us versus them” false dilemmas flying around.

            Yes, those who wield the so called power to pigeonhole others are doing the very things that can be used to oppress, not the other way around.

            I think the biggest issue is what categorizations people are prioritizing or using as broad explanatory potential when in reality it isn’t. The oversimplification seems to be a lazy approach because it requires less thinking and you’ve got all of the answers, therefore looking further isn’t needed. It’s also an endless loop of confirmation bias. Everything you find can be tied into the specific group (the oppressor you’ve designated a specific identity too). It’s dangerous thinking that doesn’t set a good precedent. It isn’t a slippery slope but it can lead to the objectification and dehumanization of your opponent when you consider yourself to be of superior human quality.

  2. This was the comment to me from the friend. It was their response to a article where Gad Saad discussed the dangers of identity politics.

    “People on the Right also participate in identity politics in which they do the same thing.

    They say, “Democrats are X, Y, Z”
    These people are X, Y, Z.

    They do the same thing but get away with it because they’re not theorizing ways in which identity are important. They’ll claim color doesn’t matter and then ignore the ways in which it does matter.

    They’re more likely to be racist and misogynistic.

    Identity is integral to culture and individuality. Saad seems to be pushing the idea that identity is tribal and therefore not necessary, kind of implying the idea that we should be a collective and ignore our roots and identities and selves.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that people are tribal, and Saad seems to be a critic of the left while ignoring the same sins in the right.”

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