VIDEO: A New Book By Leftist Ben Burgis Explores Why the Left's Political Culture is So Alienating
Central to "Canceling Comedians While the World Burns" is the question of whether the western left wants to win. Watch my 50-minute discussion with the author.
The philosophy professor and writer Ben Burgis is as much on the political left as it is possible to be. A writer at the socialist magazine Jacobin, vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders, and advocate of socialist economic policies in the name of stopping corporatism and neoliberalism and elevating the quality of life for the working class, the bona fides of Burgis’ leftism are impossible to contest.
Yet his new book takes critical aim squarely at the political faction in which he resides. Entitled Canceling Comedians While the World Burns: A Critique Of The Contemporary Left, the book explores the numerous recent developments in leftist politics in both the U.S. and the West generally — particularly new cultural dogmas — which he argues are driving away and repelling the very people leftist politics ought to be attracting and representing. The portrait Burgis paints of dominant sectors of the left is one that is often dreary, joyless, repressive and intolerant. The book signals not Burgis’ renunciation of the left but his attempts to argue how it can attract rather than repel people.
I spent roughly fifty minutes in the video below discussing with Burgis his new book and contemporary leftism. It was a wide-ranging and candid discussion that examines whether the political left really wants to win or prefers its narrative of persecution, grievance, and victimhood, whether there is more overlap than people realize between the populist or anti-establishment wings of the left and the right, whether contemporary leftism can be meaningfully reformed without jettisoning its fundamental principles, and whether these categories of "left” and "right” now obfuscate more than illuminate. Burgis is an honest and insightful thinker, which is why I found both his book and this discussion so worthwhile: