The Politics of Moral Purity: How Political Moral Purity Leads to Postmodernist Approachs to Truth

A lot has been said about how authorities coddle Gen Z and Millennials and how this generation has not learned how to tolerate the mildest forms of being offended and being made uncomfortable. I would agree, in part, but the issue is not so much that the adults taught them that they were special and that their pain was meaningful, it was that they reinforced the narrative their cognitive biases composed that every time they felt wronged that it was not only true but the offending party was the melodramatic villain of their personal story and never taught them to try to understand or forgive the other side or consider another perspective. They were taught that they were always right and no matter the severity of the crime or lack thereof that their victimizer was a monster undeserving of sympathy or forgiveness.

The helicopter moms, as they are known, did not settle for just getting their children good grades and into the best social clubs but sunk so far as to insist that that their child was never in the wrong. At which point, they slip into postmodernism and begin to mess with objective reality but that’s a rabbit hole I’m not diving into here. Suffice to say, not only must their child be a princess but also an angel. In latter articles (this has been retroactively edited), I note that the arc of Taylor Swift’s canon is self-pity over non-abusive relationships. The idea that whenever her feelings were hurt was a moral violation on the part of the person who hurt them while whenever she used her global power to trash their character, the Golden Rule of treating others how you would have yourself treated was absent.

Ironically, this system, for all of its ostensible sympathy for the victim which that aforementioned canon has (girls love it for reinforcing their own self-pity), and which society employs in contemporary hypersensitivity, makes bullying worse because among the more common forms of bullying, and the most common form I was subjected to, was having my social blindness exploited to amuse and entertain neurotypicals as a “circus monkey” and after it was over, for the most part, my former bullies never apologized but rather kept insisting that they thought I was popular and talented and that’s why they wanted me to preform for them. It’s what I call “dog whistle” bullying and so long as no one said “retard” or committed an obviously physically degrading act then the bullies have plausible deniability.

In a setting where people always must be right then they will take plausible deniability whenever they can and that way leaves no hope for atonement or closure. Which is to say that the system’s insistance on people defending their moral purity precluded them taking responsibility for all but the most obvious of their wrongdoings and led to a system where the denial and bending of truth left victims like myself without even the vindication of admitting that what happened happened. The vitriol and hatred with which the supposed victimizers were regarded and pursued, a natural consequence of of their extreme and merciless self-pity, ultimately defeated their supposed aims of ending oppression.

People don’t seek atonement or reconciliation. Of everybody in the gay-straight alliance I was a member of, I am the only member who sought peace and love with my opponents while the others wanted segregation from them. They saw their opponents as monsters while I saw them as pricks and brats. They wanted their bullies to “leave them alone” while I wanted a truce, a hug, and a handshake. They wanted to work with the administrators to enact punitive anti-bullying policies and I wanted a social struggle without recourse to state power and coersion and I was enough of a civil libertarian that I truly and passionately hated and despised the idea of using the police and the threat of incarceration to scare and overpower a bunch of punk-ass kids.

The victims wanted segregation, lifelong segregation, mind you, since these peple never intended to ever makeup with their erstwhile opponents. The seeing anyone who has ever done anything wrong as a monster and furthermore basing that determination on whether they hurt one’s own feelings, specifically, turns society into a Hobbesian war of all against all. This segregation is sometimes explicit such as with affinity housing on college campuses or the position that any cultural exchange is cultural appropriation. Of course, the most effective means of reducing prejudice, psychologically, is through “contact theory” making segregation of those with prejudice or between people of different groups counterproductive to forging a loving human family.

The anti-bullying movement was not a movement that successfully fought bullying, it was a movement that fought to drive bullying into dogwhistles. The inisistance on moral purity and the lack of any mercy, forgiveness, and the narcissistic position that one is always morally upright led people to deny anything bad about themselves they could plausibly deny. Child psychologists’ consensus on corporal punishment is not that it improves behavior more than less violent alternatives but that it makes children sneakier. Living in the Deep South, most of the hardened conservatives who were switched, belted, and spanked grew up to drink heavily, objectify women, do cocaine, and commit the stereotypical vices associated with rednecks. They respected authority and said “sir” and “ma’am” but the people who were not beaten as children lived cleaner and more stereotypically “wholseome and Christian” lives.

Likewise, being excessively punitive and throwing the book at all misdeeds does not lead to better people, it leads to people better at evading detection. The severely enforced prohibition of most things doesn’t end them, it either drives them underground or makes them subtler but, often, no less consequential. It leads to a postmodernist world where truth is dead. The “election truthers”, the Trump supporters who endorse the idea that Donald Trump won the 2020 election live in a political faction that was given no way to redeem themselves by the left in the world of the truth. As long as they lived in reality and that reality included a past where they were wrong, the left would never let them live it down. If, rather, they left reality, they could possess the purity society has demanded of them. In a world of fallen people that expects perfection, the only way to be perfect is to surrender to a delusion.

The arc of the Taylor Swift canon where she is the victim of non-abusive boyfriends and where effigy-burning level grudges are justified based on the grounds that her feelings are so sacred that to hurt them is a sacralige and people who hurt them deserve a character assassination before the entire planet is, among many other things, a postmodernist denial of truth to support her own moral purity. In latter articles, I use that example to represent the threats to liberalism. In this article, that level of hatred and pettiness is a threat to truth. If she sets the precedent that one’s moral purity must be defended with the extreme weapon of her univerally-heard microphone and that is how relationships evolve then the abused boyfriends who were traumatized by being literally and/or metaphorically burned in effigy will descend into the fascistic nooks of the manosphere. Then that ex-boyfriend will fall victim to the delusions that absolve him of moral liability and turns his ex-girlfriend into a hyperbolized victimizer. Neither side then lives in a world of objective truth.

That’s what happened with the left. Our opponents did the same thing and have crafted a narrative that they are angels, did nothing wrong, and that their opponents were in the wrong. We were the hyperbolic, self-pitied, ex-girlfriend who exacted disproportionate revenge on a non-abusive ex. Turning moderate social conservatives into homophobic monsters, turning guys who did the slightest creepiness into sexual predators, taking down Al Franken and J.K Rowling, both bleeding-heart social democrats with mostly liberal positions. They sent our metaphorical ex-boyfriend who, for his flaws, was not abusive into the abyss of the far-right.

If we live in a world where our opponents are monsters and we are angels then we have created the narrative of authoritarians the world over. That is the way that one group’s flaws are overemphasized and another’s are overlooked. If people cannot break bread with people after what should be minor disputes than one imagines that they could never end the emotions after a war or sectarian conflict and are prone to accept the othering of any particular group. Not forgiving or engaging with one’s opponents is not only wrong but it leads to darkness and dystopia.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: