Many liberal responses to Trumpism lament “polarization” on all sides. But the call to return to a sensible centrism ignores the real crises we face — falsely equating those who want to solve them with a far right who would make them worse.

By Aurelien Mondon and Evan Smith, Jacobin

Joe Biden’s recent attacks on Donald Trump and “MAGA Republicans” have caused outrage on the US right. What should surprise us is not the strength of the attack — against what are, after all, blatantly antidemocratic forces — but the departure it represents from the approach mainstream political actors have generally taken: that is, one which has tended to euphemize the far-right threat and draw a false equivalence with the forces resisting it.

Conservative people from the far right movement, Proud Boys, and Boogaloo join for a

The concept of “polarization” is increasingly used in mainstream circles to lament the current state of politics. It is a liberal parallel to right-wing moral panics about cancel culture, “wokeness” — or what used to be called “political correctness gone mad.” Such moral panics are generally based on ridiculous nonevents that nonetheless seep into public discourse, often with the help of mainstream media. As Nathan Oseroff-Spicer has documented, the “woke” panic has spread to strip clubs, the military, corporations, medical education, and the British monarchy, among others. While the liberal center may see the right-wing “war on woke” as overblown, they insist on casting it as one side of a duopoly of extremism from both Left and Right. The Right may have indulged extremist and authoritarian tendencies, it argues, but so has the Left. Trumpists and Brexiteers are the flipside of antifa and overzealous woke students.

The solution, we are patronizingly told, lies in a more reasonable middle ground based on tolerance toward diverging viewpoints. Think, for example, of the proliferation of pieces about left-wing people refusing to kiss reactionaries or the need to “build bridges” or “dine across the divide.” Is this not what has allowed our societies to progress to this advanced state of democracy? Who was the great philosopher who once said “there are very fine people on both sides”?

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