I’m Not Right, Left or Center – I’m a Free Thinking Human

I’m Not Right, Left or Center – I’m a Free Thinking Human, by Michael Krieger.

Once you decide, “I’m a socialist” or “I’m a libertarian” you’ve voluntarily placed yourself into an established political sect. This sect will invariably have its very own unofficial rules of conduct, virtue signaling etiquette, and defined positions on virtually every major issue.

Worse, the other members of your new tribe will demand total conformity on all issues. If you deviate meaningfully from any element of the doctrine you’ll be ostracized. It’s this peer pressure which then leads to self-censorship. Everybody who decides to identify strongly with a well defined political ideology becomes a victim.

The only way to avoid this mental trap is to not self-label. The fact I don’t belong to any political tribe gives me total flexibility in my mental thought process. I don’t need to wonder “will my fellow libertarians (or socialists or conservatives) approve” before voicing an opinion or tweeting something.

This isn’t complicated, the moment you self-label you’ve willingly and destructively given away your mind to the crowd. Sure, it’s a crowd of your choosing, but it’s a crowd nonetheless, and the crowd will demand intellectual conformity. The moment you self-label is the moment you’ve decided to outsource your critical thinking to a mob. You’re no longer a free thinking human.

Why is self-labelling so common then?

We’re a tribal species and uniting into tight bonds for self-preservation is part of our evolutionary history. We seem to be hard-wired for tribalism. …

It simply makes political life much easier to join an established group. You no longer have to think for yourself on all issues, but can simply consult your new tribe’s position on a topic and embrace it like everyone else. …

Self-labeling also makes you feel better than those outside your political tribe, you know, the ideological heathens who must be permanently ostracized and only derisively discussed. In other words, you and your brethren discovered truth and are morally superior to the members of all other tribes. Being politically tribal simply makes you feel good.