Left Outside: Why are Liberals Suddenly Social Pariahs?

Dressed in shiny armour, she rides a chestnut coloured stallion. The Social Justice Warrior strikes fear into the hearts of trolls. With her razor-sharp broadsword of liberal truth and her hefty shield of block button, she rides into battle against an army of egg-avatared assassins. Their arsenal is heavy with rape threats, feminazi memes and the term “snowflake” screamed at an ear-splitting pitch. But she is brave, for she is the Social Justice Warrior, fighting for freedom and equality.

“I see these terms spat out with venom. They are used with the same ferocity as one might use the C word”

Language is funny, isn’t it? There are certain words which, to me, sound pleasant and positive. Liberal. Do-gooder. Feminist. Left wing. But these words are quickly becoming insults. I try to avoid reading “the comments” – the dirty lower half of the Internet where no one can say a good thing about their fellow humans – but when I look, I see these terms spat out with venom. They are used with the same ferocity as one might use the C word (yep, THAT one).

As you can see, I’ve painted one of my most hated terms, Social Justice Warrior (or SJW) in a positive light. If you’d never heard the term before, you might think from my description, it’s a powerful, positive, fun title to hold. But don’t be fooled. On the internet, it’s one of the biggest insults going.

“Educated is an insult. It’s like being back at school…”

For a long time, since the election in 2015 actually, my heart has felt heavy because people like me are becoming a minority. People who are proud to call themselves liberal. Believing that people deserve equality, this is now considered something worthy of ridicule. Educated is an insult. It’s like being back at school; people who are clever are sniped at, bullied and seen as “uncool”. When, in the adult world, did it become undesirable to be clever?!

While I write these very words, Donald Trump is being inaugurated as the President of the United States. Media meat puppet Piers Morgan posted a tweet about his speech, saying the “smart crowd will hate it” – and the smart crowd is an insult. The freaks – not like the “ordinary people” I always wanted to be in the smart crowd. The Daria Morgendorfers, the Lisa Simpsons, the Willow Rosenbergs, the Leslie Knopes. Extraordinary. Proud to read and articulate myself. Fuelled by passion to move forward in the world rather than go backwards. Fighting for equality. Why do people get so angry about equality? Who does it hurt?

Liberals are seen as enemies of free speech. Not enemies, no. But questioners of language that oppresses, belittles and hurts. “It’s all PC nowadays” – what? Because it’s frowned upon to use racial slurs and to suggest someone should be tortured and killed because of their sexuality? Why does anyone want to do that, even if they are free to? Why does making another person feel like their place on the planet is less worthy than someone else’s fill their heart with joy? And why is this nasty, exclusionary behaviour now seen as the desirable state of mind?

“Why does making another person feel like their place on the planet is less worthy than someone else’s fill their heart with joy?”

I’m also disheartened by the number of people casting blame for the current political climate on the people on the left and that we need to change. We should all be changing and growing and progressing – all of us. Not just the people who believe in a woman’s right to choose. The fashion was great in the 50s, but the attitudes were not. The world will not be better if we take huge steps backwards – back to the “good old days”. We will be closed off, lonely and miserable.

The other argument is that we need to win people over to our side – I have as much chance of winning  conservative over to my point of view as they have of convincing me that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Their opinion is as valid as mine, and I would hate them to try and “educate” me. I’m happy to listen, agree and disagree when necessary, but I will never be convinced by some of the viewpoints on the right. My brain is not programmed that way. And no amount of nasty names aimed at my Twitter handle will change that.

These are frightening times for liberals. Trump is in power even though his views on anyone who is not a straight, Caucasian male are pretty rubbish. The Brexit nonsense moves full steam ahead with Theresa May seemly offering nothing to the 48.1% of the population who voted against it. There is a very real possibility that UKIP could replace Labour in British politics. I love 1950s fashion but I’m not crazy about how society was back then.

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