In The Reactionary Mind, Corey Robin talks about what drives conservatives, who he proposes we call reactionaries. Namely, a desire to silence and repress (or, as academics like to put it, deny voice to) others. In this, they are motivated in part by a strong conviction that their putative 'inferiors' have no right to speak (or to be heard), in part by fear of the personal and political consequences of the latter being heard, or of their organizing themselves. And they tend to justify this stance, and any actions they take to maintain hierarchy and inequality, using claims such as that the world can only function if everyone 'knows their place' (and submits or obeys). I found his argument quite thought-provoking, and it led me to wonder what analogous desire and world-view animated those who in the media are called 'the (center-)left' -- and who in the US self-identify as liberals, elsewhere as liberal or social democrats --, but who don't subscribe to the ("radical") egalitarianism and belief in solidarity that I see as the foundation of left politics and democracy.
Overview for education
As I've argued elsewhere, while most of us are unaware that we've been taught (and are taught, and are teaching) this lesson, just about everyone alive today has been raised to believe that the weight of someone's needs may depend on how we value them. By the time we're adults, this idea and logic are deeply rooted, though though people differ in how broadly they apply it. Sadly, most of us apply this logic to our thinking about non-nationals, and people with a different ethnic background. Elites think this way about non-elites (esp. the unemployed, the indigent and the "less educated"). Most of us tend to victim-blame. And so on.
A large part of the reason I started this blog is to introduce others to Marshall Rosenberg's nonviolent communication. I ran into his work about a half-decade ago, shortly after going vegan. It resonated with me very strongly, because he and his work showed me not just why it is so easy to lose sight of the fact that everyone's needs have equal value, but also how we can learn to listen for and express what's alive in ourselves and in others, and how to separate the strategies we come up with to meet our needs from the needs that we try to meet that way, and to always focus on the latter. Briefly put, NVC showed me how language enables and reinforces domination structures and inequality, both inside our heads, and in the societies we produce through our actions.