The established order cannot countenance change - but neither can they stop it.

The established order cannot countenance change – but neither can they stop it.

Being offensive seems to be a reaction of the far-right to any number of social movements

By Doug Thomson

Libtard – Part 1

Tradition

The alt-right has taken to using the pejorative term ‘libtard’ to describe pretty much anyone who disagrees with them on most any subject. Of course, the word is offensive on multiple levels, but I suspect that’s the whole point.

Being offensive seems to be a reaction of the far-right to any number of social movements whose only crime is to seek respect and fair treatment from a society that has far too often demeaned, dismissed, and otherwise discriminated against them.

So, what the heck is a “libtard” anyhow? An amalgam of the more publishable of a number of online definitions (some of them are very graphic and not suitable for this publication), suggests it is anyone who is left-leaning politically, liberal in thought and/or progressive.

The latter is particularly puzzling – I always thought it desirable to progress as a society. Regardless, the underlying and frequently stated message is that liberals just don’t understand ‘how the world works’. Of course, that statement is both presumptuous and wrong.

There is no shortage of intellects on the ‘left’ who are only too capable of understanding a world that works in a whole lot of different ways.

Sadly, far, far too many parts of the world operate in ways that we, in a liberal democracy (that’s what we have), would find abhorrent.

That leaves me wondering exactly who we should be emulating. Perhaps our ally, Saudi Arabia, a country that beheads or mutilates more of its citizens than Daesh (Isis) ever managed (mind you they are liberalizing – this year they are allowing women to drive and to go to a football game, so maybe they are simply another part of the libtard world).

Or maybe we should be modelling President Rody Duterte in the Philippines, a self-confessed murderer who has eschewed the rule of law (and he’s a lawyer to boot) in favour of death squads, supposedly to solve the country’s drug problems.

How about North Korea, or China or maybe Russia? And don’t forget about Venezuela or Somalia or, or, or … none of these are ‘liberal societies’ and their leaders are definitely not libtards. So, what’s the message?

Well, there is no message now is there? On a pure gut level, the libtard thing is really about a reaction to change and the fear that change engenders.

Conservatism is, by definition, resistance to change. It’s not about freedom and independent thought, it’s about holding on to traditions and the maintenance of existing orders.

If you want to see this conflict in dramatic form watch Fiddler on the Roof where tradition is the central theme. Tevye, the central character, is torn by change and its intrusion into his life, a hard life that had always been made survivable by traditions.

While he can accept some change, he has limits beyond which he can no longer countenance the disruption change brings to his life. This is exactly the conundrum that conservatives face – the established order is changing and at some level they cannot countenance that change, but neither can they stop it.

All social movements are disorderly and inconvenient to the established order, to greater or lesser degrees, because they are testing its underpinnings and privileges. The Me Too movement, for example, is a response by women to years of abuse and discrimination in their work environments.

It began in the entertainment industry but quickly spread to a host of other workplace environments.

It is an important movement; no woman should have to experience, let alone negotiate the kinds of abuses that have been made public by this movement.

It will take an uncomfortable period of time for men and women to renegotiate the boundaries of acceptable behaviour – so it goes with all human rights struggles. It is the same with Indigenous rights, Black Lives Matter, gay pride, workplace rights, equal pay for equal work or simply protections from hate and exploitation.

While we human beings are social creatures, we sure can treat each other poorly. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes a club to straighten out what should be common sense.

Libtard Part 2 or How to Pay For It All, next time.