It takes two to fight: Why the left needs to up its game.
The right has upped the game of political domination, the left is in risk of getting kicked out of contest until it ups its own game.
There are always two sides to an argument
For the sake of our argument, let us define the left and the right as follows:
- Right: Socially dominant groups: Males, dominant race / caste, asset owning, older adults, invested in religion and symbols of social status.
- Left: Socially marginalized groups: Marginalized race / caste, non-male, youth, seeking jobs, assets, power. Start at the bottom of the social pyramid.
If society is a pyramid, then there are far more people on the bottom, than on the top, so there is always a drive to push change so that power and wealth is transferred from the dominant to the non dominant, but numerous groups. This has been the broad arc of human history till now. The pyramid does get flatter with time.
The rise of welfare and big government
Post WWII and colonialism, people championing the cause of the left have had it really good. Governments have become humongous entities that claim to help the people. Slowly and surely, we are living in the most safe, prosperous and productive era of humanity.
But governments have also become slow and bureaucratic. While they collect massive amounts of taxes in various forms, power is firmly kept in the clutches of elite bureaucrats, and capital fed politicians. This, along with the rise of technology and the internet as a massive equalizing force, is turning the world upside down.
“It has taken us hundreds of years to create culture, don’t think we are going to give it up so easily”
This sudden change of order, means that the people on the top are sliding heavily. The socially and religiously dominant groups found themselves lesser and lesser liked and respected. To rub it in, the youth has expressed their new found freedom by soundly rejecting the culture of the previous generations. Under the current education system, youth is always more modern, independent, atheist and rebellious.
This sudden loss of influence has made the older dominant groups desperate, and they have gone back to their basics: identity and order. Their dominant narrative has become that of injustice.
“We are being crushed under the power of modernism, corrupt, big government, and materialist, nihilistic values. Ugly looking, amoral, foreign and inferior people are taking reins of power and we need to fight back”.
This narrative of injustice found many takers, and slowly all those who where in the middle, and have themselves found at the wrong end of the system, have started aligning with them. To justify the injustice, every mistake by the left has been placed under scrutiny as the evidence of their hypocrisy, completely disregarding the phenomenal progress made by humanity under the liberal system.
Aggression, victory and power
The most disaffected among the right, found great resonance in the people and have become national leaders. The anger and frustration is genuine. They were losing their power, their identity, their faith and have started becoming more aggressive, and are tearing down the rules that have kept them away.
Under this aggression and onslaught, the left has wilted. They have no idea what has hit them and they have under-estimated depth of motivation of those who want to preserve the old order. This phenomenon is not just Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist societies have had it much worse in the neighbourhood. To be completely honest, the Hindu right appears mild compared to the rise of Islamic nationalism under the ISIS and Taliban. From their perspective, they are just rising to the challenge posted elsewhere.
To compound this, after having it so good for almost half a century, the meritocratic systems of the left had started becoming slow and bureaucratic. Instead of addressing the ballooning bureaucracy, the left has continued to maintain status quo, putting fuel to fire and made them even more distant.
A new aggressive left must rise
The old left is dead. The brainy ivy league bureaucrats can essentially do only one thing: Keep the complex order in place. But the current system has massively slowed down and it’s time for a refresh. At the moment, the left it seems, is out of answers.
Thankfully, religion and nationalism are not the only source of morality. Morality can be shown through exemplary personal sacrifice, like how Gandhi did with his own struggle to end British colonial rule.
Today, on the left, the torch of morality lies in the hands of the youth.
The young are the most systematically locked out of the power system. They are the ones who:
- Have bleak career prospects due to rise of automation.
- Are locked out of home ownership.
- Are going to pay for climate change.
The youth have the most to lose if the current system does not change. Whether it is the returning dominance of religious powers in their life or the battle to survive in the face of a changing climate. They have the energy, fresh ideas and motivation to fight, and they will also need the time to grow and be more mature.
The left for its part needs to accept that the game has changed. They need to start taking the battle to the opposition with the same energy and aggression before its too late. The game is much more competitive than they think and there is no middle path anymore. Most people are sheep and are going to align with the more powerful. The question is, will the left stand up?
The best way to do it is to hand over the baton to the next generation.