Today I was told of an event run by a group called “Demilitarize McGill,” a group that is so incredibly anti-war, that their sole purpose is to advocate for the complete divestment and dissociation from the military, including military research – because somehow militarism means colonization. From their website:
Demilitarize McGill organizes to interrupt the University’s history of complicity in colonization and imperialist warfare by ending military collaboration at McGill.
Sounds like a noble goal to anyone just skimming the surface. But when you actually think about it, you realize that for the most part, nowadays, western countries and their allies are conducting military research for defense purposes. So that, you know, if any of the countries who don’t share our values, who want to destroy our way of life, decides to attack us, we will be prepared, and fewer people will die.
Canada, the U.S., and Israel are good examples of settler colonial states, as they were built on land stolen from respectively the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island and the Palestinian people.
Notice they are tying Israel to something totally unrelated to it, and inverting the reality to paint Palestinians as indigenous because they decided to change their name from “Arab” to our old name “Palestinian,” (a term that referred to Jews before 1948). Nothing new here. Moving along:
We oppose research, recruitment, and other activity for military purposes because they are local manifestations of imperialism. By imperialism, we mean the process by which western states, and the networks of economic and political interests they represent, extend their power over other territories through the organized use of force. Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Israel, and their allies use the pretense of “terror” to wage wars that give western corporations control over natural resources and violently enforce authority over all spheres of life in targeted regions.
Wait, wait back up. This reads like this came out of a jihadist handbook or a radical recruitment tool. So you’re saying that terror – or at least the threat thereof – doesn’t exist? That 3000 people on 9/11, 50 people in a nightclub in Orlando, 12 in San Bernardino, and the additional thousands so far in Israel, were killed as a fluke by errant mentally ill people, or people “resisting Western imperialism”?
The fact that these people think terror is just a “pretense” is extremely scary to me, and downright offense to anyone who has survived terror or has relatives who have survived terror. They don’t understand cultural differences and think we are all “the same.” Any belief deviating from that is a gigantic PC faux-pas, immediately labeling you as a “Bad Person” – a.k.a. “Racist.”
What these people don’t understand is that we are all not the same. We do not share common values of brotherhood and all getting along and living in peace. To some people, living in “peace” and ‘justice” can only happen when everyone who is of a different “tribe” they consider blasphemous are all chopped into pieces.
Does that sound racist and xenophobic? Probably. But it’s true, and I learned it from experience. It was two years after my senior year of university when a friend of a friend defended the objectives of ISIS, claiming that the world would be a better place if everyone lived under Islam, and if they have to be forced then it will be “better for them in the long run anyway.” It was then that my idealistic leftist worldview came crashing down. He basically saw forced conversion as “doing them a favor,” even though coercion is against Islam.
I used to also believe we are all the same, that we are all human and made of the same flesh and blood and organs so we must all think the same way and have the same goals. In that one moment, I realized that thinking this way is not only ethnocentrist, but also stemming from egocentrism.
I think the main thing that entices people to join the left in their youth is the egocentric nature of adolescence, in addition to the left-wing “priming” with the belief of universal sameness that frequently occurs in high schools in order to keep the peace and prevent prejudice between students. Basic adolescent psychology reveals that teenagers and young adults, without realizing it, see themselves at the center of the universe and have a hard time escaping. Due to their egocentrism, they can’t imagine that any good person could think any differently from them, and if they do then they must be bad people who should be eliminated from the discourse by virtue of their apparent “opposition” to their views – in other words all that is good in the world.
They can’t put themselves in someone else’s shoes and realize that a differing opinion often comes from a good place, or from a totally different cultural worldview than the one which they grew up with. Believing in the existence of different cultural worldviews through a non-Western lens, which might explain certain antisocial behaviors, is therefore racist. This is the mentality that has given birth to rampant censorship, safe spaces, and trigger warnings. It also leads to bullying and ostracism of people who are brave enough to come out as conservative, centrist, libertarian, or even pro-Israel.
Another quality of youth that stems from egocentrism is an obsessive desire to be loved and admired. Adolescents feel that all eyes are on them at all times – typical adolescent egocentrism – which causes them to be easily embarrassed, try very hard to fit in, and desperately try to get everyone to like them. A prerequisite for this is political correctness – not standing out with any type of controversial, alternative, or unpopular ideas that are not already widely embraced by the average young adult. Political correctness reinforces these beliefs and makes them all the more difficult to topple or debunk publicly. As a result, eventually, ideas start to homogenize within a peer group in order to avoid rocking the boat and standing out, and it becomes even harder to fathom that anyone else with good intentions can think differently due to lack of regular exposure to differing points of view.
Since these people either believe, or want to believe, that everyone thinks and feels the same way regardless of where they grow up in the world due to egocentrism, they are also therefore ethnocentric. In other words, they are only capable of seeing the world through their own Western lens; the only reason for terror they could logically conclude is desperation, like the type that led to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 (which leftists often compare to the Intifada), because that is the type of condition under which they themselves would engage in terror, which would be excused in Western culture.
Their ethnocentrism also causes them to immediately sympathize with people who do heinous things, under the pretense of “We are all the same.” They automatically resort to thinking “Imagine how desperate that person is that they feel they have to resort to terror” instead of “This person is engaging in terror because they were culturally socialized to believe that martyrdom is the highest honor.” Saying the latter is not only taboo, it’s also considered racist, and will incur the wrath of any leftist who hears those words uttered.
Actual terror sympathizers who go to universities know about this idealisim-borne-of-egocentrism-and-ethnocentrism, so they take advantage of it. They camouflage themselves to appear as if they think like the progressive students do. They don labels like “queer” and “feminist” and dress like them, to reinforce the idea of mutual sameness. This is the same method by which ISIS recruiters entice young people to join the terror group: by feigning similitude and using friendliness and relatability to draw people in.
Eventually, most people leave the far left and become pragmatic centrists like myself or even conservatives. However, the ones that stay behind often do so because it makes them “feel good.” These people are usually artists and dreamers. They don’t live in the world according to how it is, but choose to live in the world according to how they want it to be, which helps nobody but themselves.
I know that many young and naive people, when they see military men, think of colonialism and starvation due to war, and destroyed houses and tent cities and refugees. They think of carnage and destruction, bloodthirsty warriors, subjugation, rape, and pillaging.
What they don’t think of is defense. We have to defend ourselves not only to ward off opportunistic attackers, but to deter them from attacking us in the first place. If we just opened our borders, as many of these idealistic leftists think, it won’t turn into a kumbaya fest. Because contrary to leftist universalist belief, not everyone is the same. Different groups around the world have different values, and some of these values are so drastically different, that most young adults with limited exposure to them (when they’re not trying to put on a show for Westerners) simply cannot fathom them.
I’ve lived all over the world – four countries in the last three years, for starters, and I’ve visited around 36 more – so I’ve seen people slip. I’ve seen people utter, to my face or within earshot, sometimes in a language they didn’t know I understood, that they want to destroy the West, because it is depraved, immoral, frivolous, superficial, and blasphemous. There is simply no logic to terror, and it is not something the average Westerner could understand unless they are taught it very well by an expert in cross-cultural differences while experiencing it firsthand.
I used to be anti-war. I used to feel war was inherently evil. However, with time I learned that like most other things in life, the matter is not black and white. Meaning, when push comes to shove, war can be warranted when we want to protect the ones we love, and sometimes the only way to do that is to destroy those who are trying to destroy them. I acknowledge that war is an industry, and many wars are fought needlessly because of it, but there are also just wars. There are existential battles, like the many Israel has been forced to fight since her inception due to mortal danger.
War is terrible, devastating, and destructive and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary, but if we have to choose between war and death – between war and the death of our civilization and culture and all that we hold dear – we must choose life, our lives. The popular saying – that a leftist is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged yet – seems to ring true on a more macro-level. Those who think that killing someone who is in the midst of trying to kill you is wrong and that you should just submit to dying instead of waging violence, obviously haven’t been the victim of a crime yet. Similarly, those who haven’t been directly threatened by an enemy military may not realize that when an enemy army is trying to destroy you, the only way to survive is to destroy them first. We must choose a future. That choice should be a no-brainer. If there is even a small chance that it is under threat, we must do everything in our power to defend it, not with the purpose of destroying, but protecting.