Why They Simplify The Issues
Imperium Press, for those unaware, is a new and rather obscure publisher selling various culturally conservative books. Sadly, their original Twitter account has been suspended so I cannot get the direct quotes, but one thing these guys loved doing was muddying the water between them and their critics. One Tweet said classical liberals are basically engaging in imperialism because they don’t like ideas that aren’t classical liberalism, another said that opposing authoritarianism means you oppose the police stopping a murderer, and yet another declared the term “totalitarianism” meaningless because “society is by definition ‘totalizing’”.
It should also be noted that, even if classical liberalism is indirectly authoritarian, Imperium Press is directly authoritarian. They have, on many occasions, defended ideas like absolute monarchy, authoritarianism, and full-on fascism. It seems like when they’re not strongly defending it as what America means, they’re saying that it’s what America already has — odd this idea that we already have and which will solve all our problems has failed to solve all our problems.
On 8/11/2020, the website Revolver published an article titled “The New American Colonialists: The Anti-Imperialist ‘Woke’ Left Exports Cultural Poison to the Entire World.” The word “colonialism” likely makes you think of events like the British rule of India or the imperial ambitions of Nazi Germany. Here is an example the article gives of the left engaging in this:
When a country comes under the protective American umbrella of either NATO or some program akin to it, one of the first requests by the State Department is for that state to hold a Gay Pride Parade.
It should be noted that their source for this is an article from the BBC reporting on Ukraine holding their first gay pride parade — it also never says the NATO nor any state department is the reason why they’re doing this. The organizer of this event was Olena Semenova, a Ukrainian national and LGBT rights activist. Oh, and the government of Ukraine arrested thirteen people who took part in the rally because of the local culture of homophobia, which means if NATO is forcing Ukraine to be more accepting of gay people, someone should really tell Ukraine.
But let’s talk about what this article says without saying it, that Ukraine being more excepting towards homosexuality is bad. (It should also be noted that Revolver has been praised by both Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson — but Ric Grenell says there’s no homophobia among Trump supporters.) Once again, this is “colonialism” — which gives the image of complete subjugation of the population and authoritarianism of a foreign people. The only subjugation at play (which isn’t even at play, I should note) is the lack of ability of local governments to subjugate their homosexual population — basically, it is oppression to stop someone from oppressing others.
This attempt to say that everyone is the exact same has been one many on the right have been trying to pull for years. Here’s Dinesh D’Souza on Hannity on 3/31/2015 talking about Mike Pence’s attempt to allow discrimination based on religion in the state of Indiana:
We talk about toleration a lot. In fact, the whole gay rights movement for decades has been appealing to toleration . . . But toleration, Sean, is a two-way street. If we’re going to extend social tolerance to homosexuality, to transsexuality, how about a little toleration for Christians who are just trying to live by their code of beliefs?
Of course, this argument is nonsense. I cannot say that I’m intolerant of conservative Indian immigrants who are convicted felons and who blame American culture for 9/11 before asking that Dinesh D’Souza — who is exactly that — tolerate my intolerance of him. However, it’s the attempt to throw both forms of “intolerance” into the same boat that’s notable. For those wondering, D’Souza has never been tolerant of gay people — he infamously outed gay classmates along with Laura Inghram while writing for The Dartmouth Review in the 1980s and blamed the 9/11 attacks on America being too excepting of homosexuality.
The most popular example of this idea is horseshoe theory, or the idea that the left and the right are basically the same the more extreme you get on either side. Now, in some cases, this is true (I myself have pointed out the connection between religious-right extremists and trans-exclusionary radical feminists), however, this usually tends to rely on vague tactics or ideas advocated by people across the entire political spectrum. If you look at Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, you’ll find a few similarities — they are both loud-mouths with vocal fanbases who talk about “elites” and, up until recently, they both had the same views on immigration — however, saying putting these two people in charge would lead to the exact same outcome would be insane. (Here’s a question: If both ends of the political extreme are the same, why do the extremists of both sides hate each other so much? Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders hate each other, Tucker Carlson and Cenk Uygur hate each other, and so on and so on.)
We see this in the real-world, Adolf Hitler’s fascism and Josef Stalin’s communism are typically seen as the best examples of horseshoe theory in action. Yet, while both of these leaders were authoritarians, both of them used their authority in highly different manners and created very different countries with their policies. And while the two leaders briefly had an alliance, when push came to shove they ended up on opposing sides of World War Two. (It should also be noted that neither of these leaders lines up with what people in the United States would consider “right-wing” or “left-wing” — but that’s beside the point.)
So the question is less “is horseshoe theory real?” and more “why are so many people dedicated to convincing me it’s real?” And the answer to that question is simply: Moral relativism. The ideologue who throws around Horseshoe Theory — as Imperium Press did at the start — does it not so they can wake you up, but so they can num you to their authoritarianism. After all, can one really condemn authoritarianism if condemning authoritarianism is in itself an act of authoritarianism aimed against authoritarians?
The obsession with this has caused society to lose sight of one important thing: Not all actions are equal. Even if NATO is forcing a country to be less homophobic, it is still dishonest to compare that to the imperial rule of India because what the British did to India is rather different from what NATO would be doing. Not tolerating a man choosing to discriminate against homosexuals is different from not tolerating someone who born a homosexual. While you can disagree with how power is used in the first situation, or think the second one involves one side making a mountain out of a molehill, it should be undeniable that the two things mentioned in both examples are not the same and should not be treated as such.