Saturday, 17 November 2018

We are all partisan hacks now

When I was younger, I thought the internet would improve political discourse, as it would take away the stranglehold of the mainstream media. Information wouldn't be filtered through a few agenda-laden voices, but there would be more of a focus on facts.

It's fair to say that I was extremely naive, and spectacularly wrong. Instead, as we all have come to learn, the internet has exacerbated the polemic nature in us and pushed us into even more tribal positions to the point we don't even feel the need to engage in substantive rhetoric.

But the problem is worse than that. We can now see others as mere mouthpieces of certain political rhetoric. In other words, they are biased, and all we need to do is point out how they are biased in order to dismiss them.

I've seen right wingers use the accusation of being left wing against fellow right wingers, and left wingers do the same against left wingers. The accusation is often confusing because those criticisms are often valid, but their use is disappointing because it shows how lazy we've become in our political rhetoric. We don't feel the need to address the substance, but immediately and indiscriminately try to cast the criticisms as extensions of a political identity we don't share.

It doesn't matter why we hold the positions we do. It doesn't matter about the underlying substance. It doesn't even matter where we actually sit on the political spectrum. When we are online, we are avatars of whatever politician / pundit / celebrity and need to be attacked as such.

Let's face it, we don't know nor need to know anything anymore. We don't need to have informed opinions, or be able to think through an issue. What matters is which side of politics closest resembles the view being put forward, and we need to remind ourselves that we are mere puppets of those views with no values or beliefs of our own.

No comments: