The Social Dissonance of Neoliberalism and Reality

Now before I begin, I need to outline the definitions of a few terms within the context of this post. As within mainstream politics, ideological definitions and distinction are drawn on a whim, often drawing parallels between dissimilar ideology for the sake of weakening arguments.

Neoliberalism – An economics ideology that believes personal freedoms and market solutions are the optimal methods to address societies’ problems. The belief is that the markets are self-correcting. The idea hinges on consumerism being the key and by adopting individual solutions and progressive ideology, we can solve the much wider issues within society.

Consumerism – Not to be confused with consumerists’ movement, consumer protection or consumer-activism. Consumerism is the concept of consumers should shape the market place, which itself is responsible for ensures social justice. (Note that “the market” or “marketplace” also refers to the media market such as news and more importantly, the internet)

The problem of consumerism is that for it to work, consumers need to be well-informed and impervious to exposure bias. This innate issue with consumerism directly feeds into (get it? :P) neoliberalism. Consumerism takes the progressive ideology of neoliberalism and exposes it to the masses, through this, some consumers then adopt these progressive ideals which then informs the marketplace and on and on it goes. Progressiveness and political correctness handed out by the marketplace, adopted by the consumers, and in turn informs the marketplace which then dishes them back out. Before long, everyone will hold progressive ideas of non-prejudice and non-discriminatory and with this, we’ve solved all of the world’s problems… right? 

No more racism, no more homophobia, no more xenophobia, no more marginalized minority of any kind. Paradise on earth, true equality is here at last! Put on your rose tinted glasses, and the world might look to be a better place in your eyes. But has anything really changed?

The spectacle of inclusion is good marketing. But you would be dreaming of a false paradise when the reality is anything but. Being PC is just a nice false facade to cover a discriminatory reality. It doesn’t mean actual inclusion, it is just a shell of real diversity. There is a difference between spouting gay rights and attempting to ease the tension of homophobia.

The idea of charity cannibalism is nothing new, where other people’s destitution becomes our adventure playground. A great example of this was the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis awareness campaign, never heard of it? What about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge?

Now you might be asking, I don’t see why is this a problem? Political correctness is a good thing, isn’t it?

Well yes and no. Like all forms of ideological thought, political correctness is good in moderation. What our current culture of neoliberalism allows is one of self-glorification through the consumerism of social justice. So no I don’t view our current culture of political correctness as a good thing, it masks and desensitizes the real issues and substitutes them with gestures of goodwill, all in the name of being “progressive”.

As SouthPark puts it best “What is PC, but a verbal form of gentrification“. As a society, we learned to say nice things and by doing so, we sweep the real problems under the rug.

Don’t think the current local culture is ready for refugees, labeled as a xenophobe. Not ready to accept gay marriage, labeled as a homophobe

Now you can label that person a xenophobe all you like, but calling them names won’t change their minds, it won’t solve the core of the problem, and it certainly won’t help that Muslim family find a new home either. There is different between, laying the groundwork for welcoming refugees and a cheap self-gratification through public protests.

When people use these demeaning labels, you devalue their otherwise valuable opinion and rhetoric. Why do these people feel this way? What shapes their beliefs? All that’s created by name calling and disregarding their opinions is tension and anger. Why do you think Trump has so many supporters? We’ve entered a culture of political correctness, where any opposition is shamed and some people are fed up. Unlike the eras of dictators, there is no one person to blame and so, we shift our displeasure to those who do not share our sentiments but this is another topic for another time.

Now some might be asking. Why progressive ideas? why not conservative ideas? Because progressive ideas are marketable, especially given our track record of slavery and racism, not to mention sexism. Progressive ideas are also popular for the same reason and as a result, they are easier to defend from a political standpoint. Let’s face it, it feels good to be progressive, it feeds into the little bit of self-narcissism that is within us all.

I am worried that the current trend of being progressive will corner our society to accept an ideology that we are not ready for. I’m not labeling these ideas as negative. I am just saying that social principles and culture need time to adjust, and forcing ideology onto people through shaming will neither benefit your cause nor improve the stability within our society.

So next time you share that post of the LGBT protest, ask yourself, is this a meaningless gesture to cash in a token of self-worth or is this actually to improve the lives of a marginalized society.


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Hi, my name is Jason Lu, I am currently a first year student studying Bachelor of Architecture Studies at the University of Auckland. So this is gonna be my blog and it's gonna be a AWESOME blog.

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