Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

When Liberals and Conservatives Are Two Sides of the Same Oppressive Coin

What do liberals and conservatives have in common? According to this article by Dr. Bruce E. Levine, when their goal is to control a disruptive personality, get rid of their uniqueness, and mold them into something that fits their worldview, they’re really just two sides of the same coin; it’s an oppressive form of behavior control, any way you slice it.

For many people I know — especially many young people, Native Americans, and others alienated from American dominant culture — the difference between liberals and conservatives is only in technique used to coerce conformity and gain control.

My friend Roland Chrisjohn is a psychologist and a professor in the Native Studies Department at St. Thomas University, and he is also an Oneida of the Iroquois Nation. Roland says, “Protect me from my ‘friends’.” While his enemies on the right murdered indigenous Americans to steal their land, Indians’ so-called liberal “friends” forced assimilation through boarding schools that prohibited the use of tribal languages and customs, which made it easier to divide and conquer and then “legally” rip them off. While the right favored massacres, the liberals preferred “curing” indigenous Americans and came up with sayings like, “Kill the Indian to save the child.”

I spend a good deal of time with non-Indian kids who are also not fitting into American society, specifically its schools. A few of these kids are manipulative, exploitative caricatures of a manipulative, exploitative society. But most of the kids I see are a pleasure to hang out with precisely because they don’t fit into their schools and society; and for these kids, liberals and conservatives are also two sides of the same oppressive coin.

When I write articles or give talks questioning the wisdom of prescribing kids speed in order to get them to shut up in a classroom, pay attention to a boring teacher, and do their meaningless homework, I get superficially different — but essentially the same — reactions from self-identified conservatives and liberals.

The conservative reacts, “Yeah, these kids don’t need medication. They need their parents to get tough with them and show them whose boss. These teachers have their hands tied by liberals. Too much coddling has ruined America.”

The liberal reacts, “While I agree that some children are incorrectly diagnosed and improperly medicated, my son was getting Fs in school until he was prescribed Ritalin, and now he is going to college next fall, every parent’s dream.”

Similar to America’s liberal-conservative “Indian problem” debate, something is missing from the liberal-conservative “problem child” debate. What’s missing is the possibility that nothing is essentially wrong with these kids. What’s missing is the possibility that they simply don’t fit into the dominant culture that has opted for efficiency, bureaucracy, and corporate feudalism at the expense of meaningfulness, diversity, and genuine democracy. What’s missing is the possibility that perhaps there is something admirable about their rebellion against authoritarian hierarchies and manipulative relationships.

Read the whole article here.

 

Related Articles


Chelsea Green Weekly for May 5, 2017

Ever wonder what your favorite Chelsea Green authors do between writing groundbreaking–both literally and figuratively–books? Here are the best links and resources for your weekend reading pleasure. Let’s start with The Alzheimer’s Antidote. The Alzheimer’s Antidote Amy Berger has been making the rounds on the health, wellness, and fitness circuit, explaining the theories behind her revolutionary […] Read More

Q&A with Kate Raworth about her radical new book, DOUGHNUT ECONOMICS

Q: First things first: Why did you want to write this book? A: I studied economics at university 25 years ago because I wanted to make a difference in the world and believed that economics – the mother tongue of public policy – would best equip me to do that. Instead, its theories left me […] Read More

Revisiting Naomi Wolf’s Call to Patriots–10 Years Later

Reading Naomi Wolf’s book The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot today is an eerie experience. Written in 2007, it detailed the ways in which the Bush administration was beginning to chip away at the freedoms of American citizens. It outlined the ten steps dictators or would-be dictators take when their […] Read More

Chelsea Green: In the Media 2016

Oh, 2016. Where did the time go? Each year, Chelsea Green receives hundreds of mentions (well over 1000 in 2016) in the media both big and small. From interviews, to excerpts, to opinion pieces by authors we’re always working to make sure that the mission and message of each book is spread far and wide. […] Read More

Yes, America We Can Make It … Really

Uncertainty got you down? The political world may seem like it’s crumbling around us, but this we know: We can make it, America. Literally, we can make things. Houses. Gardens. Food. Below we’ve selected some of our classic how-to and DIY books (and some new favorites) to help you sustain your self, family, and community. […] Read More
+1
Tweet
Share
Share
Pin