In the turbulent world of contemporary Western politics, one is increasingly becoming forced into dealing with issues one might desire to bypass or avoid entirely. I include myself in this category. When I think back to the political issues that deeply concerned me two short years ago, they are markedly different from what concerns me now. Even the wording of the last sentence is quite telling. I mentioned political issues, not cultural issues. I count myself among the increasing number of people becoming aware of the importance of culture and its unbreakable link with politics. The cliché “Politics is downstream from culture” is true.
Back two years ago I was comfortable in my “libertarian bubble”, discussing politics at an arms-length level in the realm of theory. Not dealing with concrete political realities doesn’t just make everything easier, it also allows you to maintain your position on the moral high ground while looking down condescendingly on the people in the fight. That is no longer the case. The US Presidential Election of 2016 in many ways forced the issue. Standing on the side-lines on principle condemning both Trump and Clinton equally would have been easy. It would also have allowed Clinton to easily snatch a victory. The consequences on American politics, and thus Western politics in general, on free speech/outrage culture/SJWs/political correctness and so on couldn’t be ignored in good faith.
One of the key realizations I came to was that “bad” people want you to stay out of the fight. Staying out of their way allows their shenanigans to take over the political system unopposed. Trump is far from perfect, nor would he claim to be. But the concrete consequences of a Hillary win were so abhorrent that I could no longer stand unengaged in the shadows. I didn’t necessarily like it, but I had to deal with the realities. This principle goes for many contemporary issues we are all dealing with as societies at the moment. The European Migrant Crisis forced me to re-evaluate the seemingly blind open borders posture common within libertarianism. The consequences of non-Western immigration couldn’t be ignored. Not taking a stand or choosing a position isn’t a viable option. Not opposing it is giving tacit support to the nefarious schemes of Merkel and her ilk.
This “conflict” of having to take a position on issues I could previously skate past is perhaps most clear when it comes to the Alt-Right. Coming from a libertarian tradition elevating individualism, hearing the arguments in favor of a more collectivistic approach has been intellectually stimulating. Perhaps more than the Alt-Righters stating their case in favor of white identity politics, the unrelenting focus on ethnic identity pushed by the left made it easier to swallow. If I as a white person and if white people in general don’t start to consider these issues, the inertia and mechanisms of our political systems will have some consequences due to changing demographics. Clinging to obsolete egalitarian sentiments like MLK’s “judge content of character, not color of skin” is becoming less relevant as our political enemies have changed the rules for us. Not adjusting to the new political realities isn’t a viable path forward.
So, while I didn’t think of myself in terms of my ethnic identity previously I’m increasingly forced into consider such matters as a direct response to the focus of the left. Another example of this is the debate surrounding genetic modification. East Asian countries, particularly China are steaming ahead in this field. China is on the cutting edge of “designer babies” and are investing significant resources into research and application. This is something we have to deal with. If we do nothing, the Chinese will produce throngs of intelligent babies with a noticeable boost to their IQ. This will have consequences to global trade, political affairs and military matters. The debate you see in Western newspapers over whether designer babies are ethical or not kind of becomes moot when the other side is doing it. An analogy could be nuclear weapons. If your country’s mortal enemy acquires such weapons and you don’t…well.
While I didn’t care about cultural debates two years ago, now I see the politics under the surface and the ever-increasing encroachment on traditional cultural values seen on every front. My message to others is that staying on the side-lines shrouded in principles is a deliberate choice. You cede the battlefield to those who wish to encroach on your freedoms and ability to choose your own direction in life. The battle is taking place right now, staying home is almost indistinguishable from showing up in the trenches amongst our enemies wearing their uniform. The time for turf battles and petty squabbles can some after the fundamentals are secured. You may not like it, but you still have to deal with it.