Why I Left the Left Two Years Ago

“The Left is no longer liberal” — Dave Rubin

In June, 2013, Edward Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations were released to the world. In June, 2013, I had no idea whatsoever about politics. I had voted for centre-right parties prior to 2013, simply because I was promised a tax cuts. But I couldn’t have told you if pro-choice was a Left or Right issue. And I didn’t particularly care.

After the Snowden revelations broke on the Guardian, the NYT, and the Washington Post, I began reading these newspapers, particularly the Guardian. I hung around, learning about the evils of “neoliberalism”, “structural racism”, “patriarchy”, and the usual leftwing talking points.

Some talking points I believed, others I did not. I was especially skeptical of feminism, since I couldn’t see much in the world of what the Guardian’s activists wrote. What’s more, I was told that I — a man, or at least someone who “self identifies” as a man — couldn’t possibly understand patriarchy, and sexism because I could’t possibly see these aspects of the world because of my “male privilege”. Nowadays I see such claims more clearly: Ideological nonsense, passed down through decades of drivel from the Humanities (e.g., “Standpoint Theory”).

In 2013-2014, I now considered myself leftwing. I thought that socialism was good, although I thought that Sweden and Denmark were socialist countries. I was wrong.

Fast forward to 2016, I read an article in the Guardian about a men’s rights film not being shown at a cinema in Melbourne because of a backlash from feminists. I was always anti censorship, but I was busy — I’d just moved to Melbourne, and I was trying to buy an apartment and build a new life — and hence I watched the film about 6 months later.

Given that I had never bought into modern day feminism claims, the film was a complete eye opener. I learnt that the gender pay gap is not because of what Left claims (i.e., “sexism”) but rather a complicated result of women working less hours, women leaving the workforce to raise children, women choosing jobs that happen to pay less, men dominating dangerous jobs, hypergamy, men working in jobs that scale, and many other reasons. I learnt that male suicide was a massive issue, and that no one ever talks about it. I read Warren Farrell’s The Myth of Male Power, which put a lot of my issues with modern day feminism into focus. I was annoyed. I was angry at myself for being so easily manipulated.

Despite my new-found knowledge, I hadn’t put the pieces together. I still considered myself lefwing and continued to take the Guardian seriously.

In January 2018, I saw Jordan Peterson’s interview by Cathy Newman. The ease with which Peterson dismissed Newman’s arguments was impressive. I had no idea about Bill C-16 and “gender neutral” pronouns, I’d never heard of Jordan Peterson, and I had become very skeptical of the never ending man bashing that is now celebrated by society in the West.

I spent the next few months watching all of Jordan Peterson’s lectures and interviews. Strangely, I still felt “bad” for watching someone who I knew was a rightwing professor, because I was told that the Right was evil. Every hitpiece by the media on Peterson made me question the Left. At this point, I had watched everything with/about Peterson on which I could get my hands, and I could spot a lie about Peterson from a mile away.

After many months of reading these articles, I finally had to admit to myself that the Left was not what I thought it was. The Guardian, the New York Times, and even Australia’s ABC were not politically neutral; these news outlets were pushing a blatant leftwing agenda. Worse, these news outlets weren’t even attempting to contend with Peterson’s ideas; these were smear merchants of the highest order, and I was no longer fooled. I found a new online community to follow, particularly Dave Rubin’s show on YouTube. I was comforted to see that Rubin himself was on a similar journey. It wasn’t only me. I quickly found different voices to whom to listen — Ben Shapiro, Daisy Cousens, Sargon of Akkad, and many others. I kept listening to the Left, although I was increasingly disappointed by the Left’s penchant to smear rather than to debate.

I began to re-think why I believed what I believed on many topics: minimum wage, abortion, social welfare, freedom of speech, and many other political issues. However, I did not take what the Right said as gospel.

(Even today, I am against capital punishment, against forcing private companies to uphold freedom of speech on their platforms, and I certainly wouldn’t attempt to ban pornography as many conservatives would like to do.)

Every few months in 2018, I’d take the political compass test. As I was able to identify and understand different political issues, I moved slowly to the political centre. By the end of 2018, I was on the Right. I had many “ah-huh” moments along the way:

  • The Left’s gender ideology, particularly in schools in Australia under the so-called “Safe Schools” and “Respectful Relationships” programmes.
  • The Left’s continual politicisation of children, including climate change school strikes, “transgender” children, drag queen story time, and general indoctrination in schools.
  • Nigel Farage’s debate with Nick Clegg. I remember Clegg calling Farage a conspiracy theorist, claiming that Farage doesn’t believe in the moon landing, because Farage said that the EU wanted to create an EU army. The problem? Farage was 100% correct, and I thought that Farage was basically the devil when I was on the Left.
  • The Left’s push to abolish the Brexit referendum vote in the UK. Only the Tories (eventually) stood up as the only major party to support the will of the people.
  • Dave Rubin’s interview with Larry Elder, in which Elder demolished Rubin with facts, logic, and statistics.
  • Increasing politicisation in the workplace through diversity, inclusiveness, and equity. Companies in Australia — such as Qantas — weighing into political debates such as same sex marriage.
  • The witchhunt that the #MeToo movement quickly became.
  • The Left’s cancel culture, especially when it came for Israel Folau.
  • Universities in Australia refusing to collaborate with Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, then attempting to link the evil actions of one man to western civilization itself.

There were many more “ah-huh” moments along the way. In 2020, I still hold the odd leftwing belief; however, now I believe that the Left has lost its way. The Left now stands for identity politics, the rejection of objective reality/truth through postmodernism, and a complete intolerance for any non-leftwing belief.

Likewise, the Left is fractured: Socialists, social justice warriors, and the old school lefties (who have an ever decreasing voice). The Left has no unifying voice but rather groups that will eat the other groups in a second (e.g., intersectional feminism eating TERFs). This is the nature of the Left: When the underlying values/beliefs aren’t objective (e.g., “equality”) and run up against other values/beliefs (e.g., freedom), one gets neither, as Thomas Sowell points out. The Left’s conception of the world only necessitates endless battles between groups of people based on their group identity. This is the regressive left.

There is nothing behind leftwing values; the application of “equality” either involves massive government involvement in every part of our lives or divisive identity politics, both of which cannot lead to either freedom or equality. Both government involvement and identity politics quash individual liberty, will never lead the the Left’s utopia, and will ultimately harm economies, reduce freedom, and hence negatively impact lives.

The Right’s conception of the world necessitates treating people as individuals, personal responsibility over government involvement, and negative rights that do not impose values/actions upon other people. This is a world upon which we can build, one that promotes true tolerance, freedom, and protects against too much government involvement in our lives. This world produces prosperity, not the world the Left would like to implement.

The rightwing people who have influenced me the most are Jordan Peterson, Thomas Sowell, Milton Friedman, Larry Elder, Ben Shapiro, Sydney Watson, Daisy Cousens, Dave Rubin, and Carl Benjamin. I still listen to leftwing voices (Joe Hildebrand is my favourite), and I certainly don’t agree with everything that I hear from the Right.

My views now are a mix of leftwing, classical liberal, conservative, and libertarian political philosophies. I call myself a libertarian because I think that it’s the best fit. However, if you talk to me about the importance of family, I’d sound like a conservative. Digital surveillance, a leftist. Free speech, a libertarian.