Wednesday, March 6, 2013

An Oddity of The Left?

I have many friends on the academic Left. These span the gambit between ultra-revolutionary classical Marxists to tame Habermasians that only want to cultivate communicative praxis in political discourse. In this post, I ask that you allow me to indulge in thinking there are soft Leftists and hard Leftists. Hardly anybody in my experience is a Hard Leftist. Hard Leftists were perhaps famous during the 1960/70ss when counter-cultural politics occupied a height unparalleled since that time. Now, Hard Leftists are simply novelty, an interesting oddity on campus, and I have come to think that even the very successful academic careers tend to tame Hard Leftists into Softer Leftists. To be a hard Leftist requires a constant passion to address systemic wrongs or a series of wrongs usually through an overarching unified explanation (Marxism of some variety), and the constant ire of their philosophical and political passion is unnerving to many. You may have observed this when they teach, but then the same professor goes home in their Bentley they bought from what they make at a tier 1 research school.

Softer Leftists simply only want to engage in a critique. They see their efforts at clarifying existing power structures, but often they do not live what they teach. The disconnect, however, is explainable by their softer attitudes and the want to open the eyes of whom they teach. They are affecting culture in a slower way. The Hard Leftist desires revolution of some variety; the Soft Leftist would welcome a revolution of awareness. Both, however, never have any productive positive solution to offer.

Strangely enough, the only philosophers that offer solutions as part of their routine are applied ethicists and thinkers of a pragmatic bent. This strikes me as odd. Some of my Leftist friends in both camps are so upset at the world that they continue on upset in the maddening fixation fueled by critique, but they never reach beyond critique or when they call for revolution, they are constantly calling for activism about something different each time.

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