I consider myself economically progressive and social conservative. It’s a slightly rare combination in the public, but when considering the background of the person, it’s understandable why you don’t hear much from them. Firstly, they are usually middle/high class educated from a conservative family, meaning that making a big deal about your opinions is frowned upon (hence why we don’t have a large voice in the media). In contrast, economically conservative but social progressive people are rampant as I will write about in a future blog post, particularly due to a socialist upbringing, but with no real substantial education behind them (hello liberal arts degrees).
My stance and upbringing allow me to understand that a valuable democracy hears voices from either side, and respectfully discusses these issues. I like having a conservative party to help understand the strength of already established ideals, while also having a progressive party that can look forward and take those daring leaps to develop the community. As an Australian, I am fortunate enough to be able to witness this in action. Well at least I used to. This was before the rabid leftist (social) media tribe of fresh uni-grads decided to tell me that everything I had achieved was not valid because I was one or all of the following: cisgender, heterosexual, male, white, private-schooled, middle/upper class, educated.
And this is exactly why Donald Trump (US), Theresa May (UK), and Malcolm Turnbull (Australia) were elected and Marine Le Pen (France) was nearly elected.
So let me first reduce some of my “privilege”. I’ve had to argue this more than once, often publically, when I was told that I should give up my place in medicine for someone more deserving of the position.
- Yes I am cisgender (sorry).
- I’m heterosexual (barely 100%). Most people sit on the spectrum of sexuality somewhere even if they don’t want to admit it.
- I am male yes (sorry again). It was luck of the draw. Just if you’re wondering, it means I have a higher chance of getting cancer, dying in the workplace, committing suicide, among many other things.
- I am not white, I am Turkish. Just because my skin is pale doesn’t mean I am a savage Anglo-Saxon.
- Yes I am private-schooled. If you are wondering, I earned my position with a full academic scholarship. As for getting there, I worked my ass off and my parents helped (they struggle with English and are first generation immigrants).
- I am certainly middle class here in Australia and I live a fairly comfortable life. My parents came to Australia in 1988 with $4000 and a blanket I still use to this day. They made very wise investment and financial decisions which were not overly risky, and within the limits of their skills. Hence why we live comfortably. No one should be punished for the decisions of their parents (good or bad).
- I am educated. This is such a terrible thing isn’t it? Well yes it is, because it means I can formulate opinions and have a way of reasoning that involves logic rather than emotion.
Now that we’ve got those banalities out of the way, let me explain why saying that I don’t deserve my position in medicine, leads to conservative leaders being elected. Let us pick some of those “insults” that were hurled at me and create a fictional but all too familiar anecdote. I’ll even make it American to make things easier. Cisgender, heterosexual, white, private-schooled, male. This is a very common character. Being private-schooled does not immediately suggest wealth. I know plenty of people who went through private-schooling with barely enough to make ends meet, because all the money went into the schooling. The parents valued that education, and I respect that. Let’s take this man, let’s call him Robert.
Robert had loving parents and grew up in Detroit where his father was a laborer in a nearby Ford factory. During the 70s there was great work there and he was able to work his way up to management, but still stay on the floor. Because the family valued a Christian education, they sent Robert to a private school nearby. He grew up going to church there, and after leaving high school and going to university he started dating someone he met at church. He quit university because it wasn’t what he wanted to do, and chose to follow in his father’s footsteps. He was 20 when he got a job at another car manufacturer factory nearby. His father died of a stroke a few years later. Robert married the girl he had met, and they comfortably had 2 children. The eldest was 16 when the factory went into receivership and was prepared to shut down. Now Robert who was 45 had no other skills other than putting cars together. That was all he head done his life and all he knew. Suddenly, he had no job, and no way to feed his family.
As everyone did, Robert got Facebook and Twitter. Just scrolling through, he started seeing interesting articles such as “Dear White People”, or “Do this quiz to see how privileged you are”. It struck Robert that he fit into this highly privileged category, which was apparently a huge sin. He looked at what he had: no criminal record, a roof over his head (barely being able to rent), a happy family which was slowly breaking apart due to financial issues, and his own health. He realised he did have it quite good compared to other people who didn’t even have that.
But then he read that what he had, he did not deserve, because of his privilege. This made him infuriated, particularly since it was written by a Yale graduate who looked as young as his firstborn. She had died purple hair, a nose-piercing, horrendous tattoos up her white pasty skin, and thick black glasses. This broke a circuit in Robert’s head. And so he voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, even after he thought maybe Bernie Sanders was a good option (universal healthcare and universal basic income could help him in the long run). All because Hillary said he was a “deplorable” and her entourage of young upstart twenty-somethings with too mcuh “knowledge” to safely store in their heads, said that he was not worthy of his life.
Surprisingly, this is what the majority of people in the US ended up doing. Large populous spaces such as California and New York obviously bucked the trend, but that’s because they aren’t part of the trend at all. That is where young people are and getting jobs in the changing economy. Most of the US is still adjusting to a post GFC world. It’s slow and incredibly painful.
By reducing media to blanket statements, sweeping generalisations and click-bait news, has lead to a huge proportion of the community to become alienated. It’s not just the men, but it’s also the people who are around them, support them, or they support. It’s the mothers, wives, children, colleagues, friends and family who watch as people they care about struggle, and then are pushed down even more by a young culture of believing that they are brilliant and all-knowing. It’s sad to see, and sad to experience.
All around the world this has happened. And left-leaning leaders are not helping the cause. Justin Trudeau (Canada’s heart-bleed) is a prime example. There is a not a single substantial policy he has put in place in Canada, even though he is loved by the youth so much. The reason is that he is very smart at playing the game (as much as Trump). He understands that the only way to win is through reactionary politics, or what I call Twitter politics. When a large social media event occurs, Trudeau would be one of the first to jump on the train and metaphorically change his profile picture to include a watermark. Completely superficial statements that look great temporarily if you are the first one in on it, but quickly evaporate away with no accountability or responsibility. This is normality now from the left.
A final note however is the frustration that I face (particularly here in Australia) where the left and the right simply cannot agree. It’s not because they don’t actually agree, but it’s because they believe that there is a stark dichotomy between the two ideologies. That’s complete bullshit frankly. Just because someone that is your opposition had an idea, doesn’t automatically make it bad. Even just a decade ago, it was normal for both sides of politics to agree on issues and simply get the job done. These days, it’s all about opposition, and in such a way that you can get that 5 second soundbite onto the evening news. It’s depressing, and nothing gets done, simply rollbacks on the work of the previous party in office.
A perfect example is with the NBN (National Broadband Network). Labor (the lefties) wanted a full fibre-to-home setup, while the Liberals (the righties) argued against this saying it’s a waste of money and simply what Labor always does. Malcolm Turnbull certainly did not believe this. He’s a very smart man and wise leader, who unfortunately was pulled back by the extreme end of his party (who are no better than the left-wingers who are saying that I don’t deserve to be in medicine). Fibre-to-home is obviously the smart option, and long-term option, but that would mean that he agreed with Labor. What a travesty. That is why we settled with fibre-to-the-node, and now fibre-to-the-curb. If only they were able to put differences aside, it would have ended much better for everyone.
A take home message from all of this is that extremes on either side of politics are very harmful, and it’s important to respect and understand the opinions of everyone. More importantly, to belittle and reduce someone’s value because of their lives or the way the simply are is an illogical and simply rude way of trying to have things your way. It’s effectively shooting yourself in the foot.
tl;dr be nice to everyone.