Have you ever considered removing rhetorical tricks from your political opinions? There are many things that don’t sound so good anymore. If we are going to divide the rhetoric into “left” and “right,” the “right” has far more damaging rhetoric, but that doesn’t mean that the “left” is guiltless. Consider the following.
Many nationalistic slogans are popular among the right wing. “America first” is among them. This slogan only sounds good if there is no thought involved. Asking a few questions will change the color of “America first.” Who is second, third, or fourth? Do we even care? Why should America be put first before any other nation? How will this affect the other nations of the world? Does “America” include those who immigrated here? How should we deal with other nations if we consider ourselves above them?
This motto discards the needs of all other cultures and nations. It is overtly xenophobic. Foreign policy cannot be shaped around this motto. If a foreign diplomat hears this slogan uttered by a leader in the US, they will deal with us as a condescending or nationalist state, and if “America first” is our slogan, they are correct to do so. However, as previously stated; the left is not guiltless.
The left wing, after decades of seeing US politics drift steadily to the right, has begun to assert itself. This has caused a resurgence of interest in campaigning for civil rights, environmental protection, free and fair elections, as well as many other issues. However, this reawakening has had a dark side, particularly in civil rights. The damaging version of this is inherent in one single word: “mansplaining.”
“Mansplaining” is a reaction to bossy men who are often over-opinionated. It is based in fact. I know many men who fit this description. However, in this ideological stance, sexism and racism have not been erased. Sexism and racism have remained intact, but been pointed in a different direction. If someone is male or white, they can do no right. If they agree that they are inherently wrong because of their race and gender, they still will not be praised in any way, but they will be berated. There is no defense.
There is no opposing “womansplaining” to accompany this slur. There are many women who share this trait, but they are never targeted or belittled by this irrational left-wing perspective. Moreover, a man’s expertise is outright irrelevant. If the conversation is astrophysics, and a man is the only astrophysicist in the conversation, it makes no difference, he is still targeted. I do not have the time to address the related “safe space” culture that has become pervasive on college campuses, but I will say that it is a form of left-wing authoritarianism which crushes both conversation and decent.
“Personal responsibility” is possibly the most ghoulish phrase in modern rhetoric. I will apply it to economics: when translated into economic terms, this means “if you do not have money, you should die.”
The most obvious place that this may be applied in economics is the preposterous state of US healthcare. The idea that healthcare must remain privatized because some people would willingly choose to remain uninsured is clearly ridiculous, but this view becomes even more heinous when “personal responsibility” is applied.
“Personal responsibility” blames the victim who dies because he or she could not afford insurance. The whole idea that the deceased party somehow opted out of treatment is so outlandish that it can’t even be considered. So now, the misanthropic right suggests that the deceased was just irresponsible and could have fixed the problem at any time. It doesn’t matter if the damaged party had to choose between food or insurance, the victim somehow dug his or her own grave and will not be forgiven for it. This results in the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans every year. It justifies negligent homicide by the US government and multinational corporations.
Still staying within the economic realm, “personal responsibility” continues to be atrocious. If a person or that person’s children starve to death, it was their fault for not “applying themselves” (whatever that means). If someone loses their home, it is their fault for not making more money. Apparently, people choose to die from exposure. Applying it to the realm of geopolitics, if a person is murdered by a dictator, it is their fault for not moving. It does not matter if that person is forced to cross a desert and refused asylum by other countries (like the US). Applying it to criminal behavior, the violation and murder of a young woman will be blamed for wearing too short a skirt and drinking in a bar, as well as not being an expert in fitness and hand-to-hand combat. The justification for suffering and death continues to be morbid and absurd.
Essentially, “personal responsibility” is used to make excuses for a preventable heap of corpses and human misery. It is thoroughly disgusting. When a politician (which is arguably the most irresponsible 21st century profession) starts speaking about “personal responsibility,” they should immediately pay a political price.
Sometime, listen to politicians and pundits speak (regardless of whether they are on the left or on the right) and subtract the coded rhetoric. You may discover that they are saying something morbid and shocking.