Alt-Left
According to James Wolcott of Vanity Fair, "disillusionment with Obama’s presidency, loathing of Hillary Clinton, disgust with “identity politics,” and a craving for a climactic reckoning that will clear the stage for a bold tomorrow have created a kinship between the “alt-right” and an alt-left. They’re not kissin’ cousins, but they caterwaul some of the same tunes in different keys." The alt-left can’t match that the alt-right for strength, malignancy, or tentacled reach, but its dude-bros and “purity progressives” exert a powerful reality-distortion field online and foster factionalism on the lib-left. Its outlets are many and varied. According to Dan Gainor of FoxNews, we are living in ‘alt-left’ world. The traditional media are obsessed with tying conservatives to the “alt-right.” There have been more than 50 major news network mentions this year alone as journalists try to do what they always do — paint conservatives as racist, sexist, and a few other words that end in 'ist'. All in the name of “tolerance.” But when it comes to the left, there is no alt-left. They are not alternative. Their mainstream is radical and out of the American mainstream on almost everything. This was quite obvious as liberals bemoaned the death of Fidel Castro, a man his own daughter called “a tyrant.” The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. summed up years of devotion, recalling how, “the oppressed the world over joined Castro’s cause of fighting for freedom & liberation.” This is what we must start thinking of as the “alt-left.” “Alt,” not because they are out of the liberal mainstream. They aren’t. Alternative because they are out of the mainstream of an America where 37 percent are conservative and 35 percent are moderate. Just 24 percent are liberal. The alt-left is everything bad the left claims about the right. It is extreme and doesn’t want compromise. It wants to demonize or destroy opponents and intrude into every aspect of our lives. Media outlets that bemoan Trump turning America to the right forget the alt-left support a Socialist had running in the Democrat primary. Good, old-fashioned liberalism has been replaced by a far-more radical brand.

When cultural arbiters try to silence a thinker, you have to assume he is saying something valuable.

1/28/18
By Peggy Noonan,
from The Wall Street Journal,
1/25/18:

When a British interviewer tried to shut Jordan Peterson up, I knew he had something interesting to say.

I saw the interview this week between British television journalist Cathy Newman and clinical psychologist and social philosopher Jordan Peterson. It burned through the internet, in part because she was remarkably hostile and badgering: “What gives you the right to say that?” “You’re making vast generalizations.” He seemed mildly taken aback, then rallied and wouldn’t be pushed around. It was also interesting because she, the fiery, flame-haired aggressor, was so boring—her thinking reflected all the predictable, force-fed assumptions—while he, saying nothing revolutionary or even particularly fiery, was so interesting. When it was over, you wanted to hear more from him and less from her.

I wondered when I first read the headlines: What could a grown-up, seemingly stable professor (former associate professor of psychology at Harvard, full professor for 20 years at the University of Toronto) stand for that would make a journalist want to annihilate him on live TV—or, failing that, to diminish him or make him into a figure of fun?

He must have defied some orthodoxy. He must think the wrong things. He must be a heretic. Heretics must be burned. I had not known of his work. The interview was to promote his second book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.” Mr. Peterson is called “controversial” because he has been critical, as an academic, of various forms of the rising authoritarianism of the moment—from identity politics to cultural appropriation to white privilege and postmodern feminism. He has refused to address or refer to transgendered people by the pronouns “zhe” and “zher.” He has opposed governmental edicts in his native Canada that aim, perhaps honestly, at inclusion, but in practice limit views, thoughts and speech.

It is a good book, blunt and inspiring. We live in a time when so many young (and not so young) people feel lost, unsure of how they should approach their lives, or life in general. Mr. Peterson talks about the attitudes that will help find the path. It is not a politically correct or officially approved path, but it is an intensely practical and yet heightened one: This life you’re living has meaning. Back to the hostile interview, and the labeling of Mr. Peterson as “controversial,” which is a way of putting a warning label on his work. When people, especially those in a position of authority, like broadcasters, try so hard to shut a writer up, that writer must have something to say. When cultural arbiters try to silence a thinker, you have to assume he is saying something valuable.

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