Watching or reading anything in society is a chore. Between the left crying racism and sexism on anything and anyone they don’t like, and the right always railing against political correctness and identity politics, it is downright exhausting living in the western world right now. The two ends of the traditional political spectrum appear to be more polarized with each passing day. As they both seek to crush the other side, their extremism only gets worse, and we all suffer as a result.
The left’s influence on the media and film is increasingly obvious. How many films have been remade with an all-female cast and yet deliver a mediocre rehashing of the original movie? Or how often do we see the race card being played in society? This doesn’t mean that sexism and racism don’t exist, but the ferocity with which the left seeks to find them under every rock looks more like McCarthyism and virtue signaling than true care for minority groups.
The right isn’t much better. Anytime the left angers them, they are quick to shout them down and decry the left’s actions as political correctness and identity politics. Even when the left has a legitimate reason to be outraged (perhaps over indisputable evidence that a cop shot a young, black man without just cause), far too many on the right play down the justified anger towards that injustice. As a side note, it is interesting to note that many left-leaning comedians also denounce the political correctness of the left because it has ballooned out of control and has become anathema to free speech in its supposed moral crusade against anything the left doesn’t like or want to hear.
As both sides become more extreme, or at least have their collective voice overtaken by the more extreme elements on their end of the spectrum, we see them becoming more militant. Violence against those you oppose is starting to become more common. Antifa is only one example of this extremist militancy. What’s interesting about them, and other more militant elements on both sides, is that they adopt the rhetoric and tactics of the very types they claim to oppose. Antifa is all about being anti-Nazi (a term losing all meaning with its overuse), and yet, using tactics that Hitler would have approved of (*see Mein Kampf). Despite not using such militant actions themselves, many on the left and right seem to openly approve of the chaos, or offer consent through silence.
What is the solution to the increasing madness? Those of us outside the traditional spectrum know what the answer is. Libertarianism offers a mindset and way of life that doesn’t lend itself to extremist beliefs and militancy. With a belief in non-aggression, the militancy of groups like Antifa is never considered acceptable. Civility and peaceful solutions to society’s ills are the way of liberty. Aggression is only acceptable when someone has aggressed against you first. This is not the case with these militant factions.
Collectivism allows for the “us vs them” mentality that makes the moral outrage of the left and the right possible. It is what makes increasing polarization and militancy possible. Libertarianism focuses on individuals and their property rights. Libertarianism doesn’t get caught up in tribalism and collectivism. A liberty-minded worldview seeks justice without virtue signaling. It calls out inequality without force and militancy. It allows free speech even if that speech is offensive. Liberty is neither vindictive nor is it about moral crusading. Liberty is the only answer to the extremism being offered by the left and the right in our society.