Since I began writing about the Occupy movement, the most common question I’ve been asked by my detractors has been “Why do you hate the left?” Not only is this question a veiled ad-hominem attack- but it is also incredibly presumptuous on a number of levels…
First, it presumes that I hate the left because I criticise people on the left do stupid and hateful things. The truth is that I don’t hate anyone. Hell, I could even learn to love Harsha Walia if she could get past her ego and realize all of the damage she is doing. I have a big OccuHug waiting for her if that ever happens. And, if there were more people from the right in Occupy I’d equally be critical about their foibles!
The next assumption is that the people and organizations I write about represent the left as a whole. I sure hope not, because there are lots of good people out there in the left, and it would be a shame if they were represented by those who act in stupid and hateful ways. In fact, one could easily argue that these people do greater damage to the names of good lefties than all of the right-wing media combined!
Each time some ‘bad’ lefty encourages violence, smashes a window or eschews any form of hate they not only damage their own reputation- but the reputation of the entire left. Remember how they taught us this at school? One kid from a school throws garbage on the lawn of a neighbouring house and the whole school looks bad!
It is time for all of us to realize that there are people on both the left and the right who are hurting the reputations of their lefty & rightie compatriots. There is nothing wrong with criticising their actions- in fact, it is essential we do just that!
But, there is an important distinction between criticising people’s actions and criticising who they are as human beings. So, it’s okay to say that someone is wrong for supporting the use of Black Bloc violence- but, not so okay to say to make unqualified attacks on personality.
Can you see the distinction here?
Regardless, I’ll state my position on the left-right paradigm one last time to make things clear. I’m an Ethicist, I don’t judge the world by left & right, but by right and wrong. Both sides have positive things to contribute to our society – and, equally, both sides bring negativity too.
It won’t be until society can see past left and right that we have any hope to make things better. That’s what Occupy was supposed to be about- to bring together all of the 99% and find a better path to the future.
So, Occupy, are you ready for that? Or are we going to continue fighting the battles of the past?
- Occupy Is Neither Left or Right, But a Movement For Us All! (genuinewitty.com)