How young ‘liberals’ could become racist right-wingers | Fusion


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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6 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    What is a dogmatic centerist?

    Interesting article but it does not supply any evidence that young people attracted to far right politics in Europe would be in the center-left but for immigration and diversity.

    Evidence for the most part suggests that people form their politics early and it stays. So white liberals will remain liberals and white conservatives will remain conservative. I am not a full throttled fan of some of the modern issues on the left or an apathetic at least but this is not causing me run to the Right.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      This is totally anecdotal, but on another huge forum I post on that’s largely about video games, but has a large Off-Topic section about politics, movies, and the like, it’s largely a fairly left wing forum (due to being full of people under 30 and a lot of non-US participants) anytime Islam or refugees come up, there’s some real ugly stuff that comes up that sounds like it could’ve been part of a Trump rally or a Stormfront post.

      Now, it could be people who are otherwise right wingers finally speaking up because it’s a “safer” issue to bring up on this specific forum than say, gay rights or health care, but it is a little disconcerting.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Also anecdotal, but I recall witnessing a lot of 60’s hippies who turned rightward, and suddenly.

        Its easy when you’re young to form opinions in abstract detachment, from what you read and hear vicariously, without personal experience or involvement.

        But seeing people as abstractions means they can flip from pitiable victim to menacing threat in a heartbeat. Both viewpoints miss their complexity and nuance and contradictions, and lets us remake them into whatever makes our world more comforting and safe.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I suspect that if you used to be really radical, then it’s possible to get to a point where you view yourself as radical by definition – any opinion you hold must be the radical and progressive one, because you are you. Once you do that, then you can stop examining your own opinions, and can become quite conservative without having to give up the “radical progressive” identity for yourself.

          Also, the landscape moves around you – an overall world view that was primarily noteworthy for being radical and progressive in the 1960s became centrist in the 1970s and 80s as the formerly radical parts got normalized, and are way regressive now. The opinions haven’t changed, the climate of ideas around them has.

          Some combination of these, I think, can account for Gloria Steinem’s amazingly unself-aware piece about young women who support Bernie Sanders.Report

          • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to dragonfrog says:

            I don’t think it is just opinions from the 1960s becoming conservative. Plenty of stuff that the left believed in during the 1960s is still on the left.

            I once saw a Robert Frost line that went something like never dating to be radical when young lest it make him conservative when old.

            Lots of people see liberalism as being squishy and this repulses them. They want politics and ideology to be about grand ideas, purity, and philosophy. They don’t want some hash of programs aimed at making everyone happy. They also don’t like modern liberalisms ease with consumerism and materialism. These people are always going to drawn to extremes.

            Me? I am afraid of extremes. I don’t want to become heart broken. I also don’t think politics is about proving my purity and righteousness. Politics is about getting stuff done.Report

  2. Avatar Art Deco says:

    Neoconservatives—many of them former socialists—

    Seymour Martin Lipset and Irving Kristol were members of a Trotskyist discussion circle at City College of New York ca. 1940. I think Nathan Glazer ca. 1955 considered himself a ‘radical’ of sorts, as did Norman Podhoretz for an interlude around about 1965 (not before or after). Maybe if you could find an old membership list of the Committee for the Free World, you’d find some others. There was a Schactmanite auxilliary to this circle (Penn Kemble, &c), but they regarded themselves as current, not former, social democrats.Report