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Friday, 22 July 2016 09:00

Millennial “Liberals” Across the Globe Shocked at Martin Schulz’s Tolerance of a Different Viewpoint

Written by
Nigel Farage
Photo: European Parlament (flickr) Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

A few weeks ago, in Brussels, an unpopular fellow named Nigel Farage flouted his Brexit victory in the face of his fellow Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). After boos from Europeans of many persuasions, Martin Schulz reminded the MEPs that “a major quality of democracy is you listen to those even if you don’t share their opinion.” British and American “liberals” are aghast that such tolerance would take place.

“Is that what democracy’s about? I thought it was about protecting the institutions of the EU, no matter what the people say,” a Labour supporter in London reported to your correspondent. He declined to be named for this article, describing himself as “a voice of the people.” When asked if the votes of 52% of British citizens should be overruled, he said, “Yeah, that’s right.”

They're racists, they have nothing to contribute to society but hate, and I can't help but wonder why you, a white male, are apologizing for English racism.

In Santa Cruz, California, a haven for progressives and liberals on America’s West Coast, a self-described progressive named Ned offered his two cents: “The hatred and racism of Boris Johnson and his cronies only shows how ignorant the British are. We cannot tolerate this sort of prejudice.” A purple-haired girl who said she was Ned’s partner agreed. “These people should be shot.” Such a casual suggestion of violence in the political realm shocked your correspondent.


“That might be extreme. Surely, the Labour Party over in the UK could have made a more passionate case for European Union. Or, maybe, a more detailed, rational argument for—”


“That doesn’t work with these people.” Ned’s partner interrupted. “They’re racists, they have nothing to contribute to society but hate, and I can’t help but wonder why you, a white male, are apologizing for English racism.” It appeared that I was part of the problem.


After an awkward pause, I asked, “Just out of curiosity, what party do you affiliate with here in the United States?”


The woman told me that she was a feminist. “As a woman of mixed ethnic background—I’m literally, like, African, mixed with Caribbean, mixed with Mexican, mixed with white - I understand that the powers that be don’t want me to be a member of their party. So I’m an intersectional feminist working within the framework of anarcho-syndicalist Communism.” She smiled at me. Her partner nodded her head as if he were saying, right on.


I decided to ask another resident of Santa Cruz for an opinion because I assumed that anarcho-syndicalist feminists were a rare phenomenon. Oliver James Stuart, an Irishman doing a PhD in modern European history at University of California, Santa Cruz obliged me.


“The millennial generation hold such paradoxical beliefs, but it might just be the influence of academia here that distorts things,” he said. “We love Uber, airBnB, Apple, Amazon, but we hate ‘capitalism’… It’s bizarre too with the recent problem of police brutality—African Americans seem torn to either love or hate America with absolutely no middle ground. You can’t call for police reform without first labeling the whole issue of systematic oppression of women and POC—”


“People of Color?”


“Yeah, People of Color—you first have to engage in identity politics, then hate America, then you start talking about ideas. But only certain ideas.”


As we spoke, an African American student wandered over, eavesdropping on our conversation. “Hello,” I said, “do you have any thoughts on the word ‘liberal’? Do you think it necessarily entails being open to different opinions?” I threw these questions at the young woman with colorful clothing and braids while trying to jot down everything the young Irish student had told me.


Mr. Stuart tried to subtly shake his head at me and signal some sort of warning, but it had not registered.


“I heard you mention capitalism and America.” She looked at me with fierce resolve as she said this. “You two white males should first acknowledge that both those constructs would not have succeeded if it weren’t for racism, slavery, and a concerted effort by white Europeans to destroy our culture. You two are privileged and owe me more than you can imagine.”


Puzzled at first, I ventured to provide some context: “Oliver here started talking about millennials’ political beliefs because recently, the head of the EU Parliament, Martin Schulz—”


“White man, right?”


“Um—yes, Martin Schulz is a white man. From Germany.”

Do you think liberal democracy should allow for conservatives, progressives, and liberals to come together and talk?


“Why should I care about anything he says?” She said angrily.

“Because he’s powerful?” I suggested. She turned and walked away. “He’s the President of the European Parliament.” As she departed from our brief exchange I heard her muttering to herself, “Fucking white males trying to tell me what to think. Fascists!”


I looked at Oliver James Stuart and wondered what to say. He shrugged and said to me,
“We’re fascists, dude... She's a well-known black feminist on campus. One of the more aggressive ones.”


After a long pause, I asked him, “Do you think liberal democracy should allow for conservatives, progressives, and liberals to come together and talk?”


“Like, a marketplace of ideas?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.


“Yes!” I got excited hearing a fellow millennial invoking John Stuart Mill.
He scratched his scraggly, orange-brown beard and hesitated. “Yeah… Well… I think so... Is that the right answer?”

I was encouraged by Mr. Stuart's invocation of the marketplace of ideas but discouraged by the exchange with the black feminist. Most discouraging of all, though, was him asking me if he got the right answer, as if I was testing him. Maybe we should just censor people who we disagree with.

Last modified on Saturday, 23 July 2016 12:10
Richard Culp Robinson

Richard C. Robinson just received his BA in History from UC Santa Cruz, spending a short stint in Paris. Before that, he grew up in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa. He has a distorted worldview because he does not blame all political problems on the West. See more of his work here.

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