I read earlier that Donald Trump’s son has now written a book called Triggered, apparently about ‘owning the libs’. It was mentioned at the end of a Guardian article about Trump’s state of the Union speech, by all accounts (well, all that count) one of the most aggressive, vitriolic, hate-ridden tracts of absolute bullshit ever spouted. It occurs to me that that just about sums the modern political right – particularly the American Right – up: they seem to want to wind those of us on the left up. They want to wind us up; they want to do and say things which they know will infuriate us. Why?
They seem to think it’s a sign of strength and dominance, but the truth is they do it because they cannot counter our arguments in any other way. Culturally, the liberal left now has the upper hand: we now live, for the most part, in multicultural, inclusive societies; everyone has rights and we are all, theoretically, equals. Any form of discrimination is frowned upon. Those are liberal, left-wing values that the vast majority of people now just accept as the way things should be.
Only, there are those who still don’t: those on the right who refuse to accept they have lost the argument. The problem for them is, they have no counter argument, no way to oppose the logic underpinning tolerance and acceptance. Deep down, they know everyone is equal and discrimination is bad, but they still want to think of theirselves as superior, so like children deliberately misbehaving, they break the rules to cause a reaction. These straight white males resent the diminishing of the social dominance they think should be their birthright, yet lacking the intelligence to understand the logic underpinning modern egalitarianism, they lash out by saying and doing things they deep down know they shouldn’t. They have no other way of countering liberalism other than to wind us up.
Theirs is a simplistic, immature worldview. After all, it takes a certain level of intelligence to see beyond one’s immediate needs to realise that, when we see ourselves as members of a wider society which we can contribute to, everyone benefits. By working together as equals, by contributing to society through taxation or otherwise, we can make the most of everyones abilities, irrespective of class, background, education or whatever. Put this to a conservative, though, and they’ll just accuse you of spouting Marxist propaganda, without being able to give any sort of counter argument. They would rather hoard their wealth, not caring about others, and lacking the intelligence to see the wisdom in working as a community, or indeed to realise they are only in the positions they are in through blind luck and selfishness. Thus when their social positions are threatened, their only recourse is to lash out with jibes and insults, baiting and enraging us rather than trying to engage with our arguments.
They may think they’re being big or brave or clever by spouting all this bilious bigotry, but like trolls on the internet, it betrays a deeply insecure person at odds with – and resenting – modern society. What they say may enrage us with it’s arrogance and bluster, but we must remember that they say it, not because they think they actually have a chance of resetting social values, but to lash out at a world they do not understand and feel disenfranchised by. Their bluster and arrogance are displays of power these men think they should have, but are in fact signs of deep insecurity, inadequacy, and an inability to accept, or comprehend, modern, liberal society.