I am 100% with Will Leitch when he says that the internet has made it easier to live in enclaves, and that this is a political and social problem with profound negative consequences. However.
“this is now accepted public policy. You don’t have to find anyone to contradict you, if you don’t want to.
This isn’t just common practice now: This is how you win. The entire strategy for succeeding at anything, whether it’s winning elections, selling a product or attracting visitors for your Website, revolves around pitching yourself as loudly as you can to those people on your side and turning those who disagree with you into the worst version of themselves, demonizing them into something subhuman and venal. Nuance is tossed out, even if you know a situation is desperately nuanced, in favor of quick points and splash; we’ve all become the New York Post.”
First: “the New York Post” is a dog-whistle too. Just because your signals may have a more cultured pedigree does not make them any less a matter of preaching to your choir.
More importantly: there is no value, for anyone, in not being the New York Post in the way Leitch means. It does no good for us. It does no good for anyone. And since people are literally dying in the streets, it is perhaps time for progressives to recognize that their decade-plus sighing spell has to come to an end, for the good of progressives and the constituencies they speak for. I’m reminded of nothing so much as Jon Stewart’s tepid, directionless Rally to Restore Sanity, a performance of exasperation that pitted a vague, cranky proceduralism against any definition of a positive, actionable agenda around which human beings could actually rally. The genre of the put-upon liberal brow-furrower has this fussy quality, like an actual agenda is too coarse, too indicative of the sordid state of modern affairs. It’s like politics by Andy Rooney. Personally, I’ve always liked the cranks more than the cranky.
Maybe, someday, when substantive change has been achieved, through hard work, then we can futz. There’s time for futzing, after all, and many of Leitch’s complaints are ones that I endorse in a vacuum. But we don’t live in a vacuum, and more importantly, the oppressed among us don’t live in a vacuum. If this is the way you win, now, then let it be the way we win, now. Let 2015 be the year we put liberal sighs to bed.