The ideology which has gripped the youth left, of western society, is well documented and spoken of by commentators across the political spectrum. It only requires five minutes of listening to Jordan Peterson in speech, to stumble upon his now well-recited rhetoric. ‘Well there’s oppressed people, and the reason they’re oppressed, and suffering is because the oppressors are oppressing – ‘ Peterson espouses with mockery, in a video on his Youtube channel titled: Identity politics and the Marxist lie of white privilege.
Peterson describes the ideological faction, of postmodern neo-Marxism as a plague which has wrought the humanities disciplines and university campuses. Such criticism of this growing political minority draws retaliation. Such is the shared experience of Jordan Peterson, and other popular intellectuals like Sam Harris and the often well received Richard Dawkins.
A favourite course of action against criticism, and ideas which are challenging to their ideology is de-platforming – i.e. censoring – speakers at university events and public forums.
Earlier this month The University of Western Australia, defended its decision to allow controversial paediatrician, Quentin Van Meter, to speak at an event which was scheduled to be hosted by the conservative Australian Family Association. This decision drew heavy criticism for the university online, and by students.
Two days later, The University of Western Australia cancelled the event, stating that the organisers had failed to provide a requested risk assessment in time. The university said in a statement, ‘ – the risk surrounding the event has been elevated to a higher level, which mandates a more robust event management plan,’ of which the AFA failed to provide.
Though the university reiterated and maintained its position on freedom of expression – which it had propagated days earlier. Ultimately, its fears of setting a precedent for the cancellation of future events by speakers with objectionable views were not enough. The student protestors, with their petitions and loudspeakers, reigned supreme.
Whether you view this particular situation as a victory or defeat, almost wholly depends on your political leaning – and I dare say your ideology. But, what is far more interesting is not whether Quentin Van Meter, is a credible intellectual with relevant views, of modern validity; but that the university saw the cancellation of the event as a sign of darker times to come.
The same fear which is pontificated by the likes of Jordan Peterson. And, less moderate commentators – such as Andrew Bolt.
Moral outrage has taken a stranglehold of the left, on a global scale. Even the eminently popular youth vote, Jeremy Corbyn, has not managed to escape unscathed. As recent claims that antisemitism is rife throughout the British Labour Party, have forced the leader into defensive mode for his pro-Palestinian views. And, have stirred internal upheaval within his party.
It would appear that the left’s obsession with the identity politics of the right, has left them blind to their shortcomings and without self-assessment. It would also seem the left have forgotten how to think critically. With the preferable option over bi-partisan discourse, being a denouncement and no platforming of views which contradict their dogma.
Following the leadership spill in September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull claimed that the Liberal Party was not ‘ – run by factions. – ‘ to which he received laughter and jeers from party members. The recent spill which took place on the 24th of August has proven with certainty that this claim was false. And, has given the advantage to the left of Australian politics.
If the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens propel themselves with the momentum created off the back of the 2016 campaign; then there could be an opportunity for the seizure of power. But, it would require discipline.
They would need to band together, and unify rather than move into further division – such as the division which is now self-evident within the coalition. It would require a unification on renewable energy, tax reform, education and environmentalism policies. And, an abandonment of strategies involving identity politics.
There may be plenty of strong support for further reconciliation with the First Nation peoples. But centring this, or, immigration policy at the forefront of the next election campaign will most certainly do the left a disservice.
The left – and presumably, Bill Shorten and the Australian Labor Party – will only seize the next election if they present competence and stability. Something the left on a global scale is failing to do. But, with a departure from global rhetoric and certain idealogical infringements. And, clear-cut policy frameworks for pressing issues in the domains of energy, sustainability and tax reform – there could be a real opportunity for success.