I used to be a Social Justice Warrior. To paraphrase Peter Hitchens, in some ways I’m rather glad for it, because having already caught the disease, I’m now immune to it. People like me are in a rather unique position, because we know exactly what it’s like to think certain things and we understand why certain people do what they do. As such, I’m going to share a few observations about my time as an SJW in the hope that it will offer a little insight into the mindset and psychology of people like my former self. To set the scene, I was in Sixth Form, and a raging Corbynite who wafted around with a copy of the Socialist Worker and attended whatever marches and rallies I could find. These observations are all based on my own personal experience which will inevitably be different to other people’s, but from conversations with others I have found that many people have discovered the same things as me.
The first, and I think most important, observation is perhaps the most controversial. Whether people want to admit it or not, people on the left generally do feel morally superior to people on the right. It’s something hard to articulate and can be best described as just an innate knowledge that you are right, and they are wrong. You just know that the Tories are intrinsically evil. It seems so obvious to you that those people are stupid racists and that you’re the one fighting the good fight. You can’t really understand their position or point of view because it seems so glaringly obvious to you that they are wrong.
I think this stems from the public perception of the left as being the ones who fight against injustice. In all the media and publications from left-wing parties, politicians and commentators, they continually emphasise the idea that, throughout history, it has been the Labour party which has paved the way for social reforms and the fight against injustice. Similarly, nobody has any idea of what the Conservative party has actually done, or what it is even trying to do. When you are surrounded by an overwhelmingly left-wing environment, you completely absorb the idea that the left fights for justice and equality and that, by extension, you are automatically morally superior to those evil right-wingers who do not fight for justice and equality as you do. Having internalised this, you being a subconscious process of de-humanising the perceived enemy – to the point where friendly and mild-mannered people can swiftly turn to abuse and violent threats to those of a different political ideology.
My second observation is one not specific to the left but more to human nature in general. You see, we tend to overwhelmingly believe what we are told by those in authority. When I hung around with the people from the Socialist Worker’s Party, or any other people I met at events, if they told me things, I would accept it as gospel truth without any critical thought on my behalf. If they told me that Margaret Thatcher was literally the Devil incarnate, then I would believe it without question, simply because I held these people in high regard and assumed that as they were older than me, they were automatically therefore wiser. This is dangerous, because with the constant proliferation of left-wing politics and bias in our schools, universities, and media outlets, we are raising a generation of people who will just regurgitate the same opinions that they have been spoon-fed by their teachers and come out of the education system without the ability to critically think for themselves and with no knowledge whatsoever of what Conservative political philosophies actually are or the great advances that the Conservative party has brought about in Britain in our long political history.
My third and final observation is again more of a general comment on human nature and behaviour. The philosopher R. M. Hare coined the term ‘blik’, which is an essential yet unfalsifiable belief of a person which is meaningful and core to their identity. This belief is such an essential part of them that it is highly unlikely that they will accept any criticism of it or be dissuaded from it. He used the example of a lunatic who believed that all the professors were out to get him, and who rejected every piece of evidence to the contrary as it did not match his world-view that the professors were all conniving and plotting against him. When you have an opinion so core to your self-identity, any attack on the opinion itself is taken as a personal attack on you, even if an effort is made to separate the two. This helps to explain why online debates quickly descend into vitriol and mud-slinging, as some people cannot bear to have their world-views attacked. As such, it is often better to avoid than to interact.
These are just a few of the observations I have made about my time as an SJW. I hope that they provide some insight into the ways that these people think and so be of use when it comes to interactions with them.