What I, as a Liberal, Think We Can Learn From Right-Wing Media
Why we all need to "diversify our sources of information and engage in free thinking"
Panav Minocha is a sixteen-year-old writer, author and speaker from India. Having a keen interest in government and politics, they enjoy discussing political theory and ideology. Through their writing, Panav often attempts to address the issues of religious minorities, marginalised castes and the LGBTQ+ community. You’d find their writing to be conversational, while still carrying the crucial elements of analysis and verity.
What I, as a Liberal, Think We Can Learn From Right-Wing Media
I’ve… been consuming a lot of right-wing content lately.
While this has undoubtedly been an excruciating experience for the most part, riddled with an inspiringly hideous amount of transphobia, racism and casual sexism, this was also unexpectedly accompanied by a hint of, dare I say, admiration.
Let me explain myself.
While most right-wing media falls under what one can define as “conservative media”, that is, the media which I just described, there also exists an entire world of media that is not excessively conservative but is, nonetheless, right-wing. Made up of many independent YouTubers, bloggers and writers, this world of media often speaks of issues that should, in fact, matter to us liberals but are rarely addressed. The lack of response or awareness of these issues is often labeled by these creators as “Liberal Hypocrisy”, or something along those lines. While I am no stranger to the incessant hypocrisy which undoubtedly exists in some neoliberal circles, I personally am ashamed to admit that I simply wasn’t aware of these issues and incidents. Moreover, I’m saddened to admit that this lack of awareness was in part, if not in total, due to the ignorance of these issues by the left-leaning / liberal media that I used to exclusively consume.Allow me to provide an example. While watching a video of one such YouTube channel, I came across a clip that truly baffled me. For context, the YouTube channel in question is owned by an individual creator who makes several videos about politics and current affairs in my country- India, usually through the point of view of the majority religious community. In my country, people who socio-politically lean left, including me, have concerns about communalism and the mistreatment of religious minorities. The clip I saw was one of a famous politician from a prominent religious minority community, making a derogatory speech where he was using an infamous homophobic slur and his audience responding breezily, rather gallantly laughing to his crude “joke”.
This baffled me for two reasons. The first being that I had never come across this clip in any left-leaning media outlet, or even, for that matter, in any so-called “non-partisan” mainstream media house. None of the social justice magazines or LGBTQ+ rights columnists seemed to have said anything about this speech, which is so clearly derogatory and demeaning. The second reason why this baffled me is that this politician is, in fact, revered in some leftist/liberal circles and is deemed by them to be “modern”, “progressive”, and “brave”.
As I went on consuming more right-wing media, this cycle kept repeating. Legitimate incidents of violence against innocent members of the majority by members of the minority (that received no attention from any prominent liberals), insolent vilification of festivals of the majority community, and numerous instances of double standards being used for assessing aspects of the minority community which are rigid, dogmatic, and most of all, intolerably illiberal.
This taught me the first important lesson that I learnt from right-wing media, which is equal analysis. I still believe that the aforementioned religious minority community is oppressed in my country. Several stats and studies provide proof of this claim. However, in my activism against the oppression of this community, I somehow turned a blind eye towards its own flaws.
In an unfortunate irony, I allowed my mind to carry a hint of what I was trying to destroy - prejudice. In my outlook on the negative aspects of the majority community (which happens to be the one I belong to), I was critical, as I rightfully should be. However, at the same time, I developed a prejudicial and lopsided sense of leniency, which resulted in me condoning negative aspects of the minority community. Right-wing media thus taught me to remove this prejudice born of empathy, as it is harmful and partial, and instead to condemn oppressive features of all communities, even the ones I myself consider oppressed.
The second lesson I learnt from right-wing media is that of unity. Even the most conservative and fundamentalist right-wing creators carried a sense of pride (ironic), honour and oneness that is missing from people on the left of the political spectrum. The modern left and liberal community is so vividly divided into specific aspects of politics and policy, that there is barely any sense of unity among its members. While the very basis of liberal philosophy is encouraging independent thinking, people often become so invested in their specific worldviews that they absolutely forget their common goal, causing more harm than good as a result of the same. The staunch economic leftists want nothing to do with the social liberals, and the libertarians are blissfully content with their distance from the socialists. I am reminded of a conversation I was having with a dear friend of mine about the possible recognition of same-sex marriage in my country. We spoke about “The Marriage Project”, which, created by Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju, is an attempt towards legal recognition of same-sex marriage in India. While we were talking about their speech in the Oxford Union, the very speech in which they unveiled this project, we discussed a rather humorous hypothetical situation. She proposed the idea that, due to the multiplicity of opinions in the left-leaning community, some radically-thinking Gen Z person might go as far as to reject marriage completely, discarding the entire institution as “patriarchal” or “heteronormative”.
“What if one of those people interrupted their speech and went on about how we should just ban marriage completely because they think it’s a patriarchal institution?”, she said.
It may seem farfetched, but with some people genuinely believing exactly that, Menaka and Arundhati’s moving and important speech about a basic human right which has been denied for far too long could be vilified and ridiculed to disdainful extents by someone who is, apparently, on the same side of the political spectrum as them.
It seems like the right-wingers, on the other hand, are able to agree on certain common goals and decisions. The diversity within the left-leaning community is its strength, make no mistake. However, excess of this, coupled with complete adherence to one’s particular ideology, often works against liberalism itself. The left-leaning community should therefore perhaps be more open to conflicting viewpoints and united in their common goals. Perhaps a broad left-leaning socially progressive identity is the need of the hour.
Well, that’s about it. These are the lessons that right-wing media taught me. While I still proudly call myself a Liberal and still identify as being politically left-of-centre, I do admit that there can be fault in my views. My relationship with right-wing media thus strengthened my liberalism, making it more just, impartial and bold. It is important to state here that the lessons I mentioned may not necessarily be qualities of the right-wing, but are certainly things I’ve learned from my interactions with it. Finally, it is of paramount importance that we diversify our sources of information and engage in free thinking, as opposed to surrendering our existence to the altar of our ideology.
Content Disclaimer: The views & opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of VoiceBox, affiliates, and our partners. We are a nonpartisan platform amplifying youth voices on the topics they are passionate about.
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