This piece is written by a person that believes in eco-socialism and was written for Pravda and is a Pravda Product.
This piece is still as politically objective as possible, but I think it’s important to mention where I stand, politically.
Hello there dear reader! The other day I was thinking about identity, and things we would consider a part of our identity. While I was thinking I realised that we constantly consider our political ideology, as a part of our identity, a part of who we are as people.
But the more I thought about it, I realised how bad that is for our society, political discourse and debate. When we say that we are conservatives, socialists or liberals, we say that we are those things. That is our identity, that is who we are.
And I think that is extremely unhealthy for society as a whole. When we say that we are a part of an ideology or group, it becomes something personal and something that we hold really near and dear.
I believe that is the biggest reason why, when opposing “political enemies” try to talk to each other, it turns hostile and very toxic very quickly. People start calling each other bigots, commies, SJWs and so on.
You can especially see the effects of this in internet political discourse, namely Twitter. People often have their political ideology in their bio, and different emojis have come to symbolise different political groups. Like a globe 🌏 means Globalist, a rose 🌹 means social-democrat and so on. These are also typically used to call out different groups of people and as mentioned earlier, a symbol to show others what idealogy you are a part of.
This can also lead to the much-dreaded creation of “safe spaces”. A safe space is typically defined as a place or a forum, where people can hide from harassment and/or political discourse. These places are usually populated by people that either want to escape politics or feel like they are being attacked by the constant barrage of political non-sense on Twitter.
But people that oppose these safe spaces claim that these areas are for “snowflakes” that can’t handle being constantly debated against. They also claim that these areas become echo chambers where radical and socialist ideas get affirmed and reaffirmed constantly, leading to an unhealthy feedback loop.
In my opinion, these safe spaces, that do turn into echo chambers, are very unhealthy and do create bad feedback loops, but they’re no different than an incel forum, a conservative get-together or a fascist rally. A place where like-minded people go and may get their radical ideas affirmed, which further radicalises them.
But the creation of these areas, these safe spaces, tell us something very interesting about ideology. If these places truly are forums where “lefties” hide from constant political discourse, then that tells us that debate and political discussion, makes a lot of people feel like they’re personally being attacked by people.
The way we debate politics is absolutely unacceptable
If you’ve ever seen or been a part of an argument on Twitter or Facebook, then you would know that people get pretty mean in the way they talk to each other. People get angry and call each other all sorts of inappropriate things. People call each other slurs, make fun of personal stuff and so on. When you’ve been a part of a Twitter “debate”, then you can see that no wonder people create safe spaces where they can get a break from this.
This also brings me to debates. Debates are no longer about, finding out who is correct or coming to an agreement. It’s about who is the most charming and who can win.
In an ideal world, everyone would make good faith arguments for their belief, and be able to be “a good loser” if they were simply in the wrong.
But we don’t live in a perfect world, so people want to win to get into positions of power, gain status or make people like them more, and hate their political opponent.
I believe the best way to combat this, is to stop considering our beliefs and ideologies as a part of who we are. Stop saying that you’re a socialist or a conservative, but rather say “I believe in socialism” or “I think conservatism is pretty neat”. Stop making it so personal, because when you do, no one can have an effective debate. Instead of attacking an ideology, people start attacking each other. I have not seen a single respectable and calm debate in forever. If we want to live in a better world and fight current issues effectively, then we must respect each other and STOP making our ideologies, a part of our identity.