(OPINION) The Superiority Complex of the Left
Contributor: Jack Carlson
Being conservative on campus makes me subject to ridicule, disdain, and overall meanness.
In my first three months on campus, I have had the opportunity to engage in respectful conversations with people that disagree with me politically. At least, that is what I would like to be able to say.
I am grateful to say I have so many friends that I disagree with politically in almost every way. For the people that don’t know me, it’s a different story.
Leftism has always tried to tie itself to free expression, liberalization of society, and acceptance of others. These values are all wonderful things; I would not be able to find any intelligent person on campus who would disagree with them. If we accept this fact, then these values cannot be exclusive to leftism.
So what sets leftism apart from conservatism or any other ideology, other than policy disagreements?
Part of the uniqueness of leftism is its hypocrisy; the contradiction of these values and the way many leftist students practice them. It is an ideology that claims to support freedom of expression, but is the architect of “bias workshops,” and culture policing Halloween costumes.
Second, is the predominant trait of leftism on campus; a sense of moral superiority. I would like to clarify that this is not true of all leftist students on campus, most of whom I know to be intelligent, decent and reasonable people. But the only group I have found on campus to have any sense of a superiority complex is leftism.
This complex shows in their activism, and contributes to an overall sense of arrogance. I cannot think of a better example of this than the backlash I received over a recent article about a #ClimateStrike panel held in James Madison College.
After publishing it, I’d been told that my article was inaccurate, slanderous, and a range of other adjectives. What struck me most was the tone of these comments, that came not from one person, but from a number of people I didn’t know. They collectively argued I was doing wrong by simply reporting on the event.
My supposed wrongdoing was explained by them as a rehearsed “how can you even?” line of condemnation. It is interesting to see that this sort of reproval of anything conservative comes from strangers who seem to be under the impression of leftism.
Conservatism is much different.
Conservatism in its nature, does not appear to be an ideology that causes students to strike out at their peers and hold a tone of superiority towards others. Perhaps this is because conservative students are constantly subjected to the moral indignation of leftism enough to realize it is not good to do in return.
Conservative groups on campus do their best to avoid “how can you support/believe that” indignation, which may also explain their rise and success on campus. This pathway could bring leftist groups to be more successful.
Knowing the culture of some groups on campus, this piece will likely be construed as a victimizing of myself and other conservative students. Hopefully, those that understand my point will be left with a different interpretation.
Going forward, it is important to recognize the stark contrast that leftism has from its supposed values. An acceptance of others doesn’t mean a middle finger to a conservative student group tabling. Rather, it accepts the notion that we are all different and have the ability to express our differences.
Our ability to display, critique, and analyze differences should be rejoiced, not squandered in moral indignation. Leftism has plenty of space to improve.
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