Why I Left the Left and the Right - My Trump Era Story | TaraElla Films

 

A twisting journey through the polarized landscape of contemporary Western politics, which reveals the source of this apparent polarization to be the elites on both sides, and not the everyday people. All hope is not lost.

It starts like this: a liberal who supported then-candidate Obama in her college days was growing increasingly disillusioned with the direction of the so-called progressives a decade later. She eventually discovered the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) and sort of 'took the red pill'. She learned all about how problematic critical theory and postmodernism were. She developed a new found respect for the Right (even while remaining relatively progressive), and even became open to giving President Donald Trump a more open minded treatment.

But that didn't last very long. She eventually began to ask the hard questions, about the new style right-leaning commentary of the Western world. Why were the IDW people seeing SJW everywhere? Why couldn't the Right embrace big-tent unity like Andrew Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Marianne Williamson, Pete Buttigieg, and several other 2019 Democrats did? Why was the Right OK with people cancelling liberal politicians? And most recently, why did the Right treat President Trump and Joe Biden with such different standards?

An Intellectual Exercise: Would 'Court Packing' Really be the Worst Thing Ever? | TaraElla Report S7 E9

 

Welcome back to TaraElla TV, where we examine cultural and political issues from a truth-orientated and constructive problem solving perspective. Today, I want to begin my post-IDW phase by trying to think about a controversial issue from a truly above left vs right, a truly fair and pro-liberty perspective. I'm going to try to do what the IDW couldn't. I thought, where else to start this exercise, but with the current controversy, the very controversy that has tainted the IDW in my view. Of course, as of right now, things have already dramatically changed since a few days ago. Mitch McConnell has now secured the numbers to push through the new Trump nominee, and most people now expect it to be done rather soon. Therefore, discussion has moved on to what might happen next. There's a lot of talk about whether the Democrats may pack the court with new justices, should they be in a position to do so next year. In response, there's been dire predictions about the end of respect for the Supreme Court or even American democracy itself from opponents of court packing. Now, let me offer some independent thinking, a possible balanced solution to this mess. Remember that we are doing this right now as an intellectual exercise, no more, no less, and from an impartial perspective as much as possible.

Firstly, we need to identify where the core problem is. Assuming that Trump and McConnell successfully fill the seat, the core problem would be that they achieved a win based on blatant hypocrisy, comprised of two bad-faith moves from McConnell in 2016 and this year, respectively. And this is not just any win: it's a win for the very long term, given that Supreme Court justices have lifetime appointments, and typically sit on the bench for decades. Plus there's the fact of moving the balance of the court to 6-3 in favor of the Republicans, after the balance being 5-4 for as long as many people can remember. Given that the Republicans don't actually represent 66% of the American population, there is a good case that this is an imbalanced outcome. For people to accept an imbalanced outcome, especially those on the losing side of the imbalance, the outcome must have come about via a process that the vast majority of people would consider fair. Of course, there will always be sore losers who won't accept clearly fair outcomes they don't like, but what matters is that a clear supermajority of people agree that the process has been fair, even if begrudgingly. Given that this outcome would have been the result of the bad-faith double standard moves from Mitch McConnell, I don't think there could ever be a supermajority of people accepting this particular outcome as fair. And if you look at the people crying foul right now, I think it's clear that most of them won't ever come to accept this particular outcome as fair. Therefore, as long as this outcome still stands, the core problem will still be there. It wouldn't go away without some form of remedy.

Opponents of court packing have asserted that, to increase the number of justices in any way would set the dangerous precedent to open the way to even more court packing from both sides going down the road. They imagine a slide down a slippery slope, where the Court could end up with 100 justices one day. So, for them, its either 100 or 9, and they clearly prefer 9. Except that the sacred number 9 is no argument that would ever calm down those who feel wronged. There is indeed a strong aspect of human nature where, if a blatant injustice has occured, remedy needs to be sought. If this isn't provided for in the system, the pressure would just transfer towards other points of lesser resistance, which would likely be the culture wars, given that cultural conflicts are not governed by any laws or norms. Therefore, if Trump and McConnell's controversial gain is allowed to stand, and no remedy could ever be given because of the need to keep the sacred number 9, then you can expect an escalation of the culture wars across America to a whole new very toxic level, with major flow-on effects to the rest of the Western world.

Let me tell you what I'm sincerely fearing: every hot button issue would become an intense battleground, where the middle ground would become no-man's land. Cultural politics in the Western world could come to resemble the intense, non-negotiable conflicts in parts of the world where religious and ethnic rivalries rule over the everyday lives of people. Of course, things like free speech, independent thinking, and rational debate, indeed most of the Enlightenment classical liberal values, would likely be buried in the dustbin of history for good. It's clearly a very dystopic future. Therefore, it is very clear to me that a cycle of court packing is far from the worst thing that could result from the current crisis.

Which would logically mean that, at least from what I see, having some remedy would be much preferable over having no remedy at all. The next question then becomes, is there a way to implement a satisfactory remedy, which would not create a precedent for future cycles of court packing? And there apparently is. Let's start with the fact that it is McConnell's hypocrisy that has led to the current crisis. That hypocrisy is made up of two decisions: firstly, his refusal to let Merrick Garland be confirmed in 2016, and secondly, his decision to allow Trump's nominee to be confirmed this year. The crisis could be fixed by remedying either one of these two actions. Assuming that we are talking about a scenario where the seat of RBG has already been filled, there is no way to remedy McConnell's second action, because Supreme Court appointments are for life. However, there is a way to remedy his first action, so that it would be as if it had never happened: that is, to expand the Court by the minimum amount so that Merrick Garland can be immediately processed for possible confirmation to the court. Given that it is unwise to have an even number of justices, the new number of justices would have to be 11. A Biden administration would appoint Garland, and one more moderate judge, to the benches. The Republicans would still have a 6-5 majority, which would be functionally equivalent to the 5-4 majority they would have had if McConnell had not been a hypocrite. This would also set no precedent for future court packing, firstly because there would be a need for a similarly strong justification for any further expansion, and secondly because the prior status quo is effectively restored and the Republican majority is left intact, which gives the Republicans no justification at all to seek retaliation.

Of course, this is all an intellectual exercise only, and the way reality proceeds can depend on many other things. But then, if more people were willing to engage in intellectual exercises like these, I think our world would be a better world, because there would be more independent and critical thinking, and less identitarian-based fighting. In turn, there would be more fair and effective solutions that would bring people together rather than tear society apart.

The IDW's Reputation is Gone. Sacrificed Everything for Trump. What's Next? | TaraElla Report S7 E8

 

Welcome back to TaraElla TV, where we examine cultural and political issues from a truth-orientated and constructive problem solving perspective. Today, as we are speaking, I'm sorely disappointed, like I haven't been in a long time. As I told you a few days ago, I believe the Intellectual Dark Web, the IDW, could prove its integrity or lack thereof during the current Supreme Court battle to replace RBG. It would be a test that would make or break the IDW's reputation for good. And in just the 48 hours after I said those words, the IDW appears to have failed, spectacularly. They came out and ruined their reputation for good, before the battle even began, before Trump even made his nomination. As such, I believe everything they ever said before is now hollow and on very shaky ground, and those of us who were true believers in those ideals will have to decide how we can move on from here.

Let's start with how it all unfolded. After Trump and McConnell announced their intention to rush through a replacement for RBG, many principled conservatives tried to restrain their party from this irreversible folly. Towering conservative figures such as Jonah Goldberg and David French suggested fair compromise solutions, and two Republican senators honorably stated their intention to stand by their principles. In particular, French, who wrote a piece in Time, argued from a point of genuine concern about what's at stake, his concerns about the rising negative polarization and the placement of power before principle, which is going to damage the social and cultural fabric for good. Here is a man who is truly concerned about preserving the integrity of democracy. His actions are geared firstly towards the preservation of consensus around democratic norms. You know, stuff that I would have expected the IDW to support enthusiastically, given their stated values.

Yet I don't see any David French style arguments from the IDW. Instead, all I saw was a lot of kowtowing to Trump. Firstly, we have Ben Shapiro. Shapiro and I have had many disagreements over the years, but I thought he would at least abide by the legacy of John Locke he so champions, and the conventions of liberal democracy that arise from that legacy. But no. He has instead chosen to argue that Trump should fill the seat simply because he can, and the difference between 2016 and 2020 is that the Republicans have the numbers in 2020. Well, think about that. I guess anti-free speech activists on college campuses can equally argue that they should de-platform speakers they don't like, because they can, because they have the numbers. If you are someone who believes in doing whatever you like whenever you can, I guess you don't get to complain about things like cancel culture at all!

Next up is Dave Rubin. He, too, is completely on board the 'fill the seat' bus. His justification? Politics is the quest for power. Politics is dirty. Yes, someone who championed the values of classical liberalism just a few years ago, is now going full postmodern. Back in 2018 or so, I spent some time defending Rubin, and I feel almost cheated now. Let me say this: a person who thinks politics is about power isn't a classical liberal in any way, shape or form. Rubin is clearly not a fellow traveller of mine. From now on, if Rubin calls himself a classical liberal again, I will call him out, every single time! Again, if you think politics is power, you really have no business complaining about cancel culture. After all, cancel culture is just another way raw power is exercised in an unfair way to crush the opposition, so if you're OK with power being exercised this way, then you don't have any ground to stand on regarding cancel culture.

And then there's Bret Weinstein, one of the more widely respected IDW figures. His take? The seat should be filled before election night, lest there be some imagined chaos. Except this is not a genuine concern, given that no Republican felt that this was a concern just four years ago! Weinstein did call for Trump to nominate a moderate, which is always a good idea, but still, I can't believe that he is promoting right-wing media talking points to justify Trump and McConnell's betrayal of principles.

And so, the IDW, as an ideal, is dead to me. Seriously. They chose their usual political allies over their true values, and they took a position that would, like David French said, damage the social fabric, to the point where their ideals won't be able to thrive. They dealt a fatal blow to their ideal society, just to please their political friends. Words can't describe my disappointment right now.


So, what's next? I guess, while the IDW didn't live up to its values, the values are still sound. It's just that the people in the IDW betrayed those values. I'm still a free speech absolutist, and I'm still a free speech warrior. Going forward, I will try my best to live up to the values that the IDW didn't live up to. I will aim to listen to 'high level interesting ideas' coming from all sides, and yes, that includes the Left too, an area where the IDW has long neglected, perhaps deliberately. I will stick firmly to the Enlightenment inheritance of Locke, Smith, Mill, and others, and will do my best to support a fair marketplace of ideas, where all ideas are heard, and can be judged on their soundness. I will continue to question everything, across the political spectrum. The IDW surely questioned the Left a lot, but they remained blind to the Right's flaws, and that was their undoing. I promise to be much, much more balanced than then IDW in the application of my skepticism. Finally, I will look for solutions that will make the promise of liberty true for all. While I don't support identity politics, I won't ignore racism or other forms of bigotry either. And while I still believe in a market economy, I can't just pretend the material conditions are OK for the average worker, when families are falling apart due to economic stress. There are so many questions that the IDW haven't explored, that are worth a lot more attention. It is good to question, it is good to debate, and perhaps now it is time to take it beyond the short-sighted boundaries set by the IDW.

The Supreme Court Battle that will Make or Break the IDW | TaraElla Report S7 E7

 

Welcome back to TaraElla TV, where we examine cultural and political issues from a truth-orientated and constructive problem solving perspective. Today, as we are speaking, the Intellectual Dark Web, the IDW, is facing what I believe to be the biggest existential challenge in the history of its existence. If they pass this test, then their creidibility is assured, and their critics are left without much to stand on. But if they fail the test, it will prove that most of what their critics have said was correct all along, that there was never much principle in the IDW to begin with, let alone intellectualism. I truly believe this test will make or break the IDW for good.

I'm of course talking about the looming US Supreme Court battle, arising from the death of RBG. Given that the IDW is not made up of US Senators, why would it be relevant for them? Well, Western politics, particularly American politics, has always been relevant for the IDW. But more specifically, many IDW figures did weigh into the discussion over the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh back in 2018, with Jordan Peterson's controversial comments being perhaps the most memorable. So they have indeed established a precedent that discussions of this nature are part of their scope. Furthermore, some IDW figures have expressed their reluctant support for President Trump, while promising to hold him accountable. And now is the moment Trump and his allies must be held accountable.

While it's been less than 48 hours since the death of RBG, President Trump, Mitch McConnell and many Republicans have already clearly stated their intention to rush through an appointment, possibly before November 3rd. Of course, this stands in contrast to McConnell's stance back in 2016, when a Supreme Court vacancy similarly arose in an election year. That year, McConnell famously argued that, given it was an election year, the voters should be allowed to decide, so he declined to hold a hearing or a vote for Merrick Garland, who was nominated by Obama. He famously argued that it would have to be the next President who would make the appointment. And surely, Trump won, and he nominated Neil Gorsuch, who was promptly confirmed.
Now that this is the commonly agreed upon precedent, set up by Republicans no less, the Democrats are demanding that precedent be followed, and the winner in November be allowed to nominate the new judge come January. Except that McConnell is now weasling his way out of the precedent he set, arguing something about opposing parties. Now this is very dangerous, because the judiciary is supposed to be a separate branch of government that is above partisanship, at least procedurally. And given that many Democrats feel that this is extremely unfair, they have demanded their party take retailitory action, should Biden win in November. All this has many IDW fans fearing the rise of a new era of procedural radicalism, things like packing the courts, that could sweep away the norms of American democracy, and would inevitably have similar flow-on effects to the rest of the Western world.

Given the IDW's commitment to Enlightenment values, including notions of fairness and argument in good faith, and given the importance of strong and respected institutions in upholding Democracy, you would think IDW-ers would be very worried about this development. And all it takes to avert disaster would be for Trump and McConnell to back down, to agree to let the nomination happen in January. If Trump wins, he gets to nominate, fair and square. Same for Biden. That way, while not everyone would get what they want, the vast majority of people, across the political spectrum, would at least consider the process fair and just. If the IDW is sincere about its values and concerns, they would hold Trump accountable, and strongly demand that he do the honorable thing. Logically, Trump-supporting members of the IDW would of course also have to reconsider their support of him, if Trump refused to do the right thing.

I believe that, if the IDW takes this principled, even if uncomfortable stance, then their credibility is assured for years to come. But if they don't, if they simply kowtow to the MAGA people loudly calling for the seat to be filled immediately, or even if they simply stay silent in the face of blatant hypocrisy, then their reputation would be seriously tarnished, and deservedly so, in my opinion. After all, if the IDW didn't mind Trump and McConnell pissing on liberal democracy to get what they want, they wouldn't have much ground to stand on when complaining about college radicals de-platforming speakers they don't like, which is essentially just another form of pissing on liberal democracy to get what they want.

As I often say, Enlightenment liberal values don't exist in a vacuum. You can't pick and choose when to apply Enlightenment values and when to make it all about power. You can't have some John Locke and some Michel Foucault. Politics is either about sound arguments in a fair free market of ideas, or it is about power struggles. You either believe in procedural fairness for all, or you believe that fairness doesn't matter in the face of power. It really is that black and white, with no shades of gray in between. In this clash of worldviews, you got to pick a side and commit to it. The moment you head down the path of Foucault, there's no more Locke or Mill to return to. You simply slide down the slippery slope, and the death of things like free speech become a forgone conclusion. By disrespecting procedural fairness, and playing language games to justify their position, Trump and McConnell have essentially chosen the way of Foucault over the way of Locke. I hope the IDW doesn't end up doing the same. It would be peak irony if they ended up becoming Foucauldians themselves, after all they have said about Foucauldian postmodernism.

On the IDW for Trump Mentality: It's A Trap | TaraElla Report S7 E6

 

Welcome back to TaraElla TV, where we examine cultural and political issues from a truth-orientated, non-factional, and constructive problem solving perspective. Today, I want to talk about something that has been noticed by more and more people: the Intellectual Dark Web, the IDW, seems to be leaning more towards supporting President Trump then they did back in 2016. You see it in the changing attitudes of Dave Rubin, Ben Shapiro, arguably even Joe Rogan and the Weinsteins. You also see it in the fanbase: the IDW reddit now has a strong army of Trump supporters. It's certainly a big shift from just four years ago. So what has caused this shift?

It seems to me that many IDW people have been pulled into the culture war dynamics. Based on what I have heard from IDW fans who are Trump supporters, they seem to think that Trump is on their side in these culture wars, that Trump is on the side of supporting free speech and being against critical theory, and by implication, the other side, Biden, the Democrats, the Left, are for the opposite. I also see this thinking broadly reflected in the attitudes of some IDW leaders, particularly Rubin. I know it's ironic, but even IDW people, who are supposed to appreciate higher level ideas, who are supposed to see the nuances beyond black and white, have fallen for black and white thinking here. You know, if AOC were representative of the entire Left these days, then they would probably be right. I am deeply worried about AOC's refusal to acknowledge cancel culture as a real problem, and her DNC speech contained so many critical theory buzzwords that I just couldn't even bear to sit through that one minute. Needless to say, if AOC were the Democratic Party leadership, I think everyone should worry. But she's not. In fact, AOC wasn't even friendly with Joe Biden during last year's primaries. I seriously don't think AOC would have any influence in a Biden administration. On the other hand, reasonable leftists like Andrew Yang appear to be on much friendlier terms with Biden, which is a very good sign.

Maybe the IDW is getting desperate because things are getting worse. And things are getting worse, rapidly. Four years ago, concerns about free speech were mainly coming from the Right. But nowadays, even people in the far-left are getting worried about cancel culture. Just two months ago, an open letter in support of free speech, the so-called Harper's Letter, was signed by prominent left-wing icons like Noam Chomsky and Margaret Atwood. But the cancel culture mob still wouldn't respect it. They have gotten so brazen that they are now openly challenging Noam Chomsky, arguably the most respected intellectual on the Left. If this isn't a sign of things spiralling out of control, I don't know what is. However, what you've got to consider is that all this has been happening under Trump's watch. Trump's us-vs-them leadership style has served as a catalyst for the growth of the cancel culture critical theory faction of the Left, which is why it's no coincidence that the Trump era has culminated in the biggest crisis of free speech in the Western world in living memory.

Furthermore, Trump's divisive approach has meant that a cross-party, cross-factional alliance against critical theory and cancel culture just can't be built. This dynamic has allowed the critical theory Left to grow unchecked. It works like this:  whenever people on the Right want to start a conversation about this stuff, moderate liberals in the center-left are wary that it may serve to help Trump, and refuse to take the conversation further. This 'liberal silence' is important because ultimately, conservatives don't share an audience pool with critical activists, so the only way critical theory will be challenged is by moderate liberals speaking up against it. As long as Trump remains President and he doesn't change his ways, I don't see how this dynamic could shift.

The other thing is, many people on the Right are not being honest political actors, to put it mildly. Now, I consider myself above the whole left vs right thing, that is, I consider myself neither left nor right. I believe that, to be a true classical liberal committed to the truth and only the truth, I think you just got to remove yourself from that culture war struggle. From my vantage point, I see a major concern with the rise of critical theory on the Left, and I'm trembling with fear for our future. However, I also see an emerging major concern on the Right: they aren't so much interested in defeating critical theory, as they are in making a culture war out of it. Just like how they made a culture war out of gay marriage 20 years ago, with all the misinformation, all the scaremongering about how gay marriage would destroy family values. It's really getting that crazy again. Now, this is a very dangerous move, because it plays right into the hands of critical activists, who thrive on intense conflict, and the inevitable resulting disrespect of classical liberal institutions and norms.

Right now, in the service of the culture wars, elements on the Right are busily building up a biased narrative in support of their position. We can find plenty of examples just in the past 2 years. An Australian election fought solely on economic issues was spun as a defeat for SJWs. I mean, Australian SJWs didn't even like Bill Shorten! Later in the same year, during the Canadian election, some people on the Right, including some in the IDW, made a big fuss about long-ago 'blackface' costume photos of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. I thought the Right wasn't into woke virtual signalling, but apparently it's different when it's liberals who are in trouble. The trend continued with the astroturfed outraged over Biden's 'you ain't black' comments earlier this year. Again, the Right opposes virtue signalling and political correctness, except for Democrats. And now, right-leaning media has sought to paint all BLM protests as motivated by far-left ideology. Now, I don't deny that there are some extremist elements in there that I'm worried about, but there are also many people who simply want police reform. Yet the Right are painting all of them with a broad brush. I guess if one consumes too much of all this biased coverage, one is going to have the illusion that a high stakes culture war is being played out everywhere, and Trump could be the savior we need right now. Of course, this is all a deliberately constructed illusion. You know, like in the Matrix.

A commitment to procedural fairness, truth seeking, empathy for each other, and building up social trust in general, provides the best defense against critical theory argumentation, but these things are hard to achieve under culture war conditions. They are literally impossible when the truth is so disrespected that people end up inhabiting different realities. When you make reality itself sound Foucauldian, it's just natural that young people would turn to Foucauldian thinking. This is why we need to call out dishonest actors on the Right much much more, including President Trump himself.

Saving BLM and Racial Justice from the Neo-Marxists | TaraElla Report S7 E5



Welcome back to TaraElla TV, where we examine cultural and political issues from a truth-orientated, non-factional, and constructive problem solving perspective. Today, I want to talk about the growing concern about the co-opting of the movement for racial justice by elements that are effectively undermining public support. I first talked about the neo-Marxist co-opting of the current wave of Black Lives Matter back in June, and since then, such concerns have only grown. Even long time staunch supporters of BLM are now worried that scenes of property destruction could turn the public against the movement, or even help President Donald Trump make the law-and-order case for his re-election. For his part, Joe Biden has also unequivocally condemned the violence. There's a feeling among many of us that, if things continue down the current path, there's a good chance that things won't end well, and we are deeply concerned.

As I said back in June, there are those of us who believe in racial justice through rational discussion, evidence gathering, and consensus driven reform, and then there is the minority who are taking a very ideological approach, trying to fit everything into a neo-Marxist analysis and praxis. In the past few weeks, I've discussed how the dismissal of calls for civility as 'tone policing', unproductive discussion about abolishing the police, and bringing irrelevant issues like capitalism or the 'nuclear family' into the discussion of racial justice, all stem from highly ideological neo-Marxist critical theory, and that all this appears to be astroturfed into the mainstream by committed neo-Marxist activists, speaking over the real grassroots voices who want a more peaceful and hence effective movement for reform. It also hurts the goals of the movement by making everything simply too complicated and difficult, and also creates unnecessary distractions, like how Joe Biden and other Democrats now have to answer questions about 'defunding the police' despite their clear opposition to these ideas, a situation which certainly delights the Trump campaign.

Another problem related to the increasing neo-Marxist influence is that liberal means to justice are increasingly being abandoned in favor of Marcusean or postmodernist methods, which certainly alienates many potential supporters. The liberal method of achieving consensus for reform and justice via free speech and rational debate has been supplanted by illiberal methods like safe speech, de-platforming and cancel culture in many parts of the activist establishment. We're living in a time where Republicans at the RNC talk about free speech all the time, while so-called progressives avoid that topic altogether. We're living in a time that has enabled Donald Trump Jr to paint the Republican party led by his father as the best defender of free speech, something that honestly would have sounded crazy just 15 years ago. However, it is certainly true that so-called progressives have dropped the ball big time when it comes to free speech, as evidenced by the reaction to an open-letter for free speech from 150 progressive intellectuals published by Harper's magazine in July. In the world I grew up in, that letter's message would have been part of a common sense consensus across the political spectrum, anyone disagreeing with its premise would be rightfully seen as extremists. Nowadays, the extremists clearly hold much more sway. It's certainly not the world I grew up in anymore, and to say the truth, I'm extremely worried about this.

The overall picture is really pretty bleak. On the progressive side, courageous intellectuals, like the people who signed the Harper's letter, try to push free speech back into the center of progressive politics from time to time, only to be shouted down by the now-dominant neo-Marxist forces in activist establishment circles. The activists who now control progressive discourse keep using distractions to beat around the bush, using lame excuses like how the presence of JK Rowling's name on the Harper's letter somehow means that it is transphobic (the letter didn't even mention trans issues at all), thus refusing to allow a proper discussion on the issue of free speech. Meanwhile, the materialist, or 'class reductionist', faction of the left tell us that all cultural issues are distractions and not worthy of attention, as if a world with Medicare For All but no free speech is a world worth fighting for. On the conservative side, Trump and his allies are using the free speech issue as a cultural baseball bat to hit the Democrats with again and again, knowing that the left is so easily wedged by this issue that they won't fight back. Such an approach is of course all about helping Trump win, while making progressives even more reluctant to have a discussion about free speech, for fear of letting Trump succeed in dividing them. The end result of all this is that free speech continues to suffer. As I've said multiple times, the Western world is going through a major crisis of values over free speech and other classical liberal values, and this is the greatest moral challenge of our time.

Is there a way out of all this? There certainly is. As the saying goes, there are often simple answers, just not easy ones. The answer is simple, because it's actually common sense. But it's not easy, because it requires us to let go of all factional alliances, and any pretense of one side being holier than the other. The answer is to listen to the concerns of the people, address the questions of justice being asked, but also to unwaveringly fight for the liberal values like free speech we so cherish, because we have to remember that freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction. We also need to remember that the only way freedom can be guaranteed in society is by building a strong consensus around classical liberal values. A culture war attitude of 'us' being the defenders of free speech vs 'them' being the enemies is counterproductive. Going further, I actually believe that we need to dissolve the polarization by actively disrupting the polarity in the culture wars. The simplest way to do that would be to actively listen to people on all sides, forget whatever ideological position we are coming from for the moment, and find common ground and agreement wherever we can. Of course, there are many more things we can do to disrupt the cultural polarity, but this would be a good start.

Finally, we need to show that classical liberalism is effective, and classical liberals are serious about tackling issues around racial justice. To just sing the praises of free speech while not actually trying our hardest to come up with practical solutions that address people's grievances, is not going to be effective in stopping the neo-Marxist takeover. Instead, we need to sincerely address issues of long-standing injustice and grievance, whether it is unequal treatment in law enforcement, inequality of opportunity, an economy that works against family values, or anywhere else. Of course, we will address these issues only using means that are compatible with liberty, rationality, and individual-level fairness. But address them we must. Through addressing the real issues that impact people's lives, those with long-standing grievances will come to see that the classical liberal way is the way of justice, and only then will the growth of support for neo-Marxist ideas be stemmed. Only then will the cries for the defence of free speech and other classical liberal values gain the necessary broad-based support across society that will enable them to succeed. Classical liberal values cannot exist in a vacuum, and they can't be effectively defended in a vacuum either.

Is It Biden 2020 vs Trump 2016 Now? | TaraElla Report S7 E4



Welcome back to TaraElla TV, where we examine cultural and political issues from a truth-orientated, non-factional, and constructive problem solving perspective. Today, I want to reflect on the recent Democratic National Convention, where many speeches were given, and Joe Biden received his nomination.

My take is, I really liked it. I mean, I didn't like every single speech, nor did I actually watch every single speech, but overall, I liked the vibe. In 2016, many people were talking about the Democrats skewing heavily into culture war territory, and they had become at least as culture war-orientated and divisive as the Trump Republicans. Meanwhile, polls were suggesting that many people were no longer seeing the Democrats as the working people's party. That was actually historically unique, because the culture wars had always favored the Right, and as such it was always Republicans playing up the culture wars while the Democrats avoided them. This was certainly the case back in 2004, when John Kerry ran on bread and butter issues and Bush 43 played up the culture wars a bit. I was certainly happy to be on the side of not playing the divisive culture wars back then. I don't know what exactly happened in 2016, but it was clearly a bad move, and it is especially clear in hindsight.

A bitter defeat and four years later, the Democrats appear to have gone back to basics, back to what made them strong in the first place. From Joe Biden to Bernie Sanders, from Andrew Yang to Cory Booker, most people were talking about the bread and butter issues that a party catered to working families would be expected to focus on. And then, there was the overall theme of unity, stated again and again by the majority of the speeches across the four days, and further reinforced by the lineup of the speakers, featuring everyone from socialists to conservatives. It's really unusually positivity and light and all that. I still remember, just two years or so ago, Jordan Peterson and other right-leaning commentators urged the Democratic party to learn the lessons of the 2016 defeat, and I said in response, I believed they were already well on the way to doing so. I believe this conference has shown us that the Democratic party has truly learned its 2016 lessons, and it has built itself up better, to borrow a phrase from the Biden campaign. The Democrats of 2016 and its 'basket of deplorables' attitude are no more, and from now on, the focus will be on building the social fabric, looking after working families, providing a strong economic safety net, and so on.

On the other hand, President Trump and his supporters seem to be refusing to see this change. During the same week as the Democratic conference, in a speech Trump painted a picture of a Biden presidency with rioting, chaos and disorder everywhere. While Biden is treating everyone with good faith, Trump is trying to paint Biden as beholden to extremist elements that he is clearly not even on friendly terms with. In other words, while Biden wants unity, Trump wants another culture war based on the propagation of fear and misunderstanding. And he's doing this because he thinks it will work to his advantage. I've heard many Trump supporters say that they still support Trump just because they think he will stop the extreme elements causing social destabilization. What I say in response is that, firstly, there's no evidence that Biden and the Democrats won't do a better job to put a stop to all this, especially since they are so focused on helping working families, and Biden has always been a pro-order guy; secondly, Trump is trying to turn this into a culture war, which history tells us can only make things worse. You know, it's not 2016 anymore, and the Democrats are clearly not as guilty of running a culture war campaign anymore. So if Trump runs a campaign heavily based around culture war themes, he would be the only one doing so this time, and I don't think most people would like that at all. Being a unity guy, Biden also isn't very vulnerable to the culture war style attacks; Trump is already finding it much harder to get his base to hate Biden the way they hated Hillary.

If everything continues to stay on the current track, then I guess a likely outcome in November, when they do the post-mortems and soul searching, would be that team Unity scored a sound victory against team Culture War. This would effectively undo much of the post-2016 shift in views, and consign the 2016 election, during which both parties ran heavily on the culture wars, to being a historical anomaly. Instead, going forward, all sides of politics are likely to abandon the culture wars for the foreseeable future, in America as well as many other Western countries. And we will be the better for it.