United by Hatred: Left, Right, and the Horseshoe Theory

Being from Europe, I find American politics absolutely fascinating. They resemble more of an entertainment event, rather than a careful process where the fate of the country is decided. Plus, the dichotomy between Left and Right is more distinct (by design) and this bleeds in the general populous. It became obvious to me during the last elections and I started recognizing the same phenomena in Europe with Brexit. Could this be the famed Horseshoe Theory at work?

Divide et Impera

Divide and conquer. This phrase means that you divide a group and consequently the power of the group and thus you control it easier. It seems like an accurate way to describe what we see with politics (and every other social phenomenon for that matter).

Imagine a world where the public was united, regardless minor differences, against major political decisions, like the war in Iraq or certain bills. Now, the question is are we divided by temperament or do politicians divide us on purpose?

Still, I believe that there are fundamental issues most people agree with. The problem is we disagree on what method we should use (keep that in mind). That’s not always the case when we’re talking about the extremes.

The Horseshoe In the Room

“The Horseshoe Theory asserts that the far left and the far right, rather than being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political continuum, in fact closely resemble one another, much like the ends of a horseshoe.”

This Horseshoe Theory was proposed (popularized would be more accurate) by Jean-Pierre Faye. When I first encountered it, I was surprised with the accuracy with which it described the current political spectrum. It’s important to make a distinction here though. While many use the Horseshoe Theory to claim that extreme left and right are the same, this is scrutinized under careful investigation.

They clearly don’t have the same end goal, but they incorporate the same tactics.

The extreme left (SJWs, Antifa, etc.) will use shaming tactics, demand apologies for the most unimportant things, public humiliation, fire people over tweets, and become outraged for things that are totally disconnected from reality.

The extreme right (alt-right, white supremacists, etc.) will, again, use shaming tactics, become paranoid, create conspiracy theories, use pop-psychology, and evolutionary psychology to exemplify themselves and their positions.

The Horseshoe Theory: Comparing Left vs. Right

  • Both the extreme left and right judge people by their color.
  • Both the extreme left and right ignore the monstrosities of religions if that means to score debate points.
  • Both the extreme left and right keep playing the victim card.
  • Both the extreme left and right won’t accept personal responsibility.
  • Both the extreme left and right will discriminate based on if the person belongs to the in-group.
  • Both the extreme left and right believe that group identity supersedes individual identity.
  • Both the extreme left and right rally will turn violent in an otherwise peaceful riot.
  • Both the extreme left and right will create a straw man of their respective opposition.
  • Both the extreme left and right go against the democratic status quo.
  • Both of these groups will use “moral superiority” to assert influence to the general public, holding others accountable for all the disasters in this world, without actually looking at the facts.

Meanwhile, the people who hold real power play the puppet masters, as it’s easier to control homogenous groups than true progressive and novel thought.

Get Your Shit Together Left

Instead of praising the primacy of subjectivity, go back to your roots. I remember once upon a time when the left cared about the working class and economic injustices. They understood that privilege was rooted in the difference of class. They sought to make real change in the world. Now all you do is fluff. You capitalize trends, play the victim card far too often and you have lost the sense of what’s important. You’ve become what you once tried to wake up: the sheltered, fragile middle class, who only consume what the state gives them.

Get Your Shit Together Right

Tradition, family values, and hard work used to be admirable values. What the hell happened? Now, it’s all about weird conspiracy theories, pop-psychology, watching red-faced e-celebrities fear-mongering on youtube. Scientism is your favorite weapon and you use it all the time. Also, what happened to the individual? You’ve become consumed by appearances and forgot what it’s like to be your own agent.

In the end, it doesn’t matter. Right, Left, and the Horseshoe Theory are relics of the old, rotting political theory. New technologies will deem this regressive dynamic obsolete, as the internet is allowing more people to voice their opinion without having any limitations…

Actually, scratch that! They have our data already, so we are fucked. Cheers!

About Giwrgos Kourakos

Giwrgos is currently a student at the University of Patras in Greece, majoring in mathematics. He has a degree in musical theory and about to take his degree in classical guitar. Giwrgos is also a journalist who writes news articles about current affairs, events and parties around the country. He loves to read books and hopes to write one some day. As a proud Greek, he also loves debates, conversations about politics, religion and so much more!

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