Thoughts

Conservative Snowflakes

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.

Frank Wilhoit

Urban Dictionary defines a snowflake as “a very sensitive person. Someone who is easily hurt or offended by the statements or actions of others”. Urban Dictionary then clarifies that a snowflake can be a liberal or conservative, which is true, but for different reasons. It goes on to say that it “has nothing to do with politics”. Except that it does!

Politics today has a lot of mud slinging: calling your opponent names. The worst of this is found online.

Leftists are labelled ‘social justice warriors’ or ‘snowflakes’ who need ‘safe spaces’. All of those labels might be true, but they’re missing the point. And, worst of all, hiding the real truth.

As Wilhoit’s quote above states, conservatism is all about in-groups and out-groups. In-groups that create a system that protects them and doesn’t hold them accountable. (Google ‘Trump insurrection’ for a great example of this.) And out-groups that receive little to no protection from this system.

Out-groups have cause for their anger. They have ligitiment grievances and reasons to be hurt.

In-groups don’t have this right. They don’t have honest grievances when they are the ones who created the unequal system. They don’t have honest reasons to be hurt or offended. (Google “Karen calls the cops” for endless examples of this.)

These conservative snowflakes are finally facing accountability for the system they created and accountability for their actions. It’s time to break them out of their safe spaces, and into the real world.

Political Snowflakes

Conservative Move is a real estate company helping fragile conservatives run away from liberals who might have a different opinion. Literal safe spaces for conservatives to hide from debate.

This is conservative fragility: having an ideology that is too delicate to defend.

In the video above, Sarah and Tamir Barkan say they’re “fed up” and “tired of being surrounded by liberals”. Their three most important conservative issues are:

  1. Guns;
  2. Taxes; and
  3. Abortion. In that order.

“That’s not how California aligns,” Sarah Barkan exclaims. Except…California does align with conservatives.

In the past half century — the past 54 years — California has seen 32 years of Republican governors, including 8 years of Ronald Reagan and 8 years of Arnold Schwarzenegger, and 22 years of Democratic governors. The vast majority of California politics — 3 out of every 5 years — was lead by a conservative.

Even with this conservative advantage, people like the Barkans cut and run. They fear that other people — the out-group — may at some point in the future have their say, politically, and the Barkans can’t handle that potential future. So, they ran to a literal safe space.

This says a lot about American conservatives and their feelings towards “minorities”. They fear that they might become a minority and fear that the hatred they have been spewing for 250-plus years might come back to bite them.

Economic Snowflakes

Billionaires have nothing to complain about. So, why do they cry when people look at them negatively? Maybe it has to do with their wealth hoarding and the god-like level of power that comes with it.

Economic snowflakes, like their political cousins, have created a system — capitalism — that they profit from every single day. Yet, we hear people like Elon Musk complain from behind his billions of dollars.

Conservatives use their power to distract the majority of society from their ill-gotten gains. They created a system where they profit from our labour and write laws that protect that profit.

They use their media companies to brew hatred amongst the people so that they don’t wake up and see who really is in control.

Religious Snowflakes

The most dangerous of all the conservative snowflakes are the religious ones.

As the clip above from the 2006 documentary Jesus Camp shows, many Americans are afraid to send their children to school to learn ideas outside their religion. This rejection of contrasting ideas limits the ability of children to think for themselves. It makes them more likely to follow people in charge and less likely to have their own beliefs.

Religion is the strongest conservative element because churches, mosques, and temples are able to reinforce these beliefs in their followers every week.

Extreme Snowflakes

In Pakistan, 97 out of oevery 100 people are Muslim. The other three are likely Hindu or Christian.

Yet, the leaders of Pakistan feel the need to pass blasphemy laws to protect their religion from debate. As the video shows, extreme conservatism leads to violence, even daytime lynching by vigilante mobs.

These laws don’t even protect Muslims, as they are the biggest group of victims. So, why do these laws exist?

What Do Conservatives Fear?

Pakistan and the USA are not the only nations where conservatism rules through religion, politics and economics. Any nation that values the ideas of the past more than the potential of the future is at risk.

I read online that “conservatism doesn’t look forward. It is inherently a lazy ideology.” I would have to agree. They fear change.

All three forms of conservatism — political, economic, and religious — look backwards and try to conserve the past or the status quo.

The best tool we have to fight this anti-progress ideology is dissent. Dissent means speaking truth to power and holding people to account.

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Political conservatives want to hold onto power. This is why white men prevented women and people of colour from voting for so long. This is why ‘legal’ marriage in the West banned inter-racial marriage, then same-sex marriage, for so long. Conservatives will limit civil rights for as long as possible, so they can maintain power.

Economic conservatives want to hold onto capitalism for as long as possible. Capitalists use government and religion, as well as media, as tools to maintain this power.

Religious conservatives are probably the worst of them all, since it pretends to have the blessing of God. Racism, homophobia, sexism, and transphobia can all be legitimised thanks to their holy book.

But counter these conservatives with a different opinion — even a mild dose of dissent — and they melt like little snowflakes, running back to their mansions, or behind their police goons.

People in power use words to their advantage. Conservative politicians will call ‘leftists’ snowflakes to silence debate on civil rights. Rich people will call socialists snowflakes to silence discussion on workers’ rights. And, religious groups will call anyone (even people that believe in the same God) snowflakes to silence discussion on equality outside of the Church.

We need to recognise their hypocrisy and call it out. We need to recognise this hypocrisy as a tool of the powerful.

We need to speak up and stop remaining silent.

We need to fight back.

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Documentaries, Society

Masculinity Unmasked

Masculinity is defined as the possession of the qualities traditionally associated with men. But, what type of men?

In the documentary The Mask You Live In, director Jennifer Siebel Newsom explores the masculine qualities found in the United States today, asking the viewer to question the harm they are causing to boys. (The film is available online; click here to watch.)  This is Newsom’s second film as part of The Representation Project, following the documentary Miss Representation, looking at depictions of women in the media. Although the discussion and research for The Mask You Live In is focused on the U.S., the film’s message is important to millions of boys and men around the world. Continue reading

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Books, Society

Down With The Royals, Up With Democracy

Pandas and royal persons alike are expensive to conserve and ill-adapted to any modern environment.

This comparison of British royals to zoological specimens by novelist Hilary Mantel is but one of many ideas presented in Joan Smith’s book, Down With The Royals.

In three parts, Smith dissects the arguments for maintaining the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the arguments in favor of moving towards a republic. Continue reading

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Society

The Powerful Need to Invalidate Social Movements

tumblr_mu4239ywbb1r0cemdo1_500As a white man, I rank very high on the ladder of privilege. My skin color and my gender are just two aspects of my identity, which have been prioritized by Western society for centuries. I also benefit everyday from my sexual orientation (heterosexual), my nationality (Canadian), my level of education (two university degrees), my mother tongue (English), my lack of disability (whether physical or psychological) and my age (28). It took me some time to understand this but now I know that, in almost every aspect of my identity, I have immense privilege, which many do not. Unfortunately, many people don’t see it that way. Many people with a similar attributes to myself have not realized their privilege and fight against any evidence to that effect.

The two cases examined below show this backlash and are similar for a number of reasons. First, they are social movements fighting inequality in society – one on the basis of race, the other on gender. Second, they both utilize the Internet and social media as tools for communication and organizing, including Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Third, both have been met with criticism from privileged people outside their movements trying to invalidate their message. This point has far-reaching importance as invalidation by outsiders can be found across nearly all social movements and includes acts of denial, shame, ignorance and faux compassion. Fourth, they are largely centered in North America and Europe. Finally, each of the two cases below shows the difference in understanding between outsiders with a cursory understanding of the field they are questions and academics who rebut them. Continue reading

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Society

A Theory on the Conspiracy Theory

In my early years of undergraduate, conspiracy_theory_1672775I got swept up (like many impressionable youths at that age) into the subject of conspiracy theories! It’s a somewhat embarrassing admission, but I have learned a lot, looking back now. So, I’d like to take a moment and share some reflections.

First off, a bit of hard science.

Within the Scientific Method, a theory is the end point following observation, questioning and testing hypotheses. A theory is the hallmark of scientific inquiry and defined as:

A supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principle independent of the thing to be explained.

Continue reading

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