When does someone go so far left they end up on the right?
By Wendi Porter
03/07/2006 edited 08/19/2010
So, when does a person go so far left they complete the circle to the right? Neil Carpenter, a fellow creative writer brought this topic up in a class Monday night. I go to a very leftist school, where the common thought of non-students is, “I don’t know what they do over there but it must be art.” We have a very energetic if a bit patronizing professor who we both feel falls into the militant hippie category.
Militant Hippie, in this context, is a person that believes so much in the individual right to freedom that they become militant about insuring these rights to everyone. Even if it means, “forcing” those rights on to those who don’t desire them. These types of freedom fighters become so rigid in their desire to make everyone match their personal definition of free that they loose site of the fact that every one has the right to not want that same level of freedom. Which ironically destroys their idea of everyone being free, but they don’t’ see it that way. They see your lack of desire for their level of freedom as ignorance and therefore you must be educated.
Lets define the average American’s idea of liberal and conservative or left and right views(please remember that we are discussing mostly Democratic views, but the overall idea between liberal and conservative is the same). The leftist or Liberal ideology is that every individual deserves the right to freedom, freedom of their own choices, actions, thoughts, and words. While the conservative view is more that the “individual” is incapable of making choices that fit with the “moral Majority” and as such that the “masses” need to make the choices for the “individual.”
So, the militant hippie, varies from the freedom loving person, who wants peace and harmony among all mankind, to the person who seeks social justice and reform in every aspect of human life. Now, social justice is all good and well, and maybe a class or two on the topic in a college setting is great maybe even highly recommended. Every aspect of every degree in a college, however, should not be tainted with this militant outlook, no matter how liberal the school. Forcing a particular political slant down the throat of college students for four years or more is excessive for even the most rigid right winged colleges.
College is a place of learning, of higher education, of soul searching and of social growth. Militant hippies can be found in just about every college campus in the US. After all college is all about the freedom to think and learn. Colleges around the US are great places to learn about the varying ideas of conservative and liberal thought.
When we talk about the left and right views, just about everyone should be able to find someone they know that they consider to be conservative and someone they know that they consider liberal. In general we tend to surround ourselves with people that have at least similar views as ourselves, though even among friends and loved ones you will find variances in opinions.
Often the areas that individuals live in taint their points of view. For example, individuals living in say, Killeen Texas, are likely to have more conservative views than those living in San Francisco California. Their over all conservative natures will be different regardless of their choice of label. When Rich and I moved to Nashville Tennesse, we were what was considered conservative individuals, with a few liberal ideas. Yet when we arrived there we were considered so liberal that we ended up having to come up with a phrase that would remove us from political conversations. Quite often all we had to say was, “I am Californian.” which was often responded to with, “oh, that explains a lot!” I am sure that many conservative Californians are considered Militant Hippies is more conservative states and areas when in fact that is not the case when they are in their own locale.
So as a closing note, it is important to realize that while liberals can be far over the deep end to some people, they are not in their own minds and quite often in their own circles. However… no matter how liberal or conservative we/you are it is important to realize that to avoid the term “Militant” you have to remember that your opinion is yours. And while telling others your opinion is healthy and good for everyone involved, pushing your agenda and onions on others repeatedly is what turns you into the one thing you are claiming to be fighting against in the first place. You go from being the liberal open minded person, to the conservative closed minded person your working so hard to stop. So, use caution and ask yourself how you feel about someone pushing their agenda on you before you push it on another.