In The Reactionary Mind, Corey Robin convincingly argues that a large part of what drives reactionaries is the desire to silence and repress anyone they consider inferiors. This partly from a strong belief that ‘such people’ have no right to speak (or to be heard); partly because they fear loss of personal status if the latter are heard, or if they successfully organize themselves; and partly from a conviction that society can only function properly when everyone 'knows their place'.

This argument struck me as correct, and it led me to wonder what would be the analogous motives and world-view of those who the media refer to as 'the (center-)left' (called liberals in the US, liberal or social democrats elsewhere). This because I knew that the overwhelming majority of them in no way subscribe to the ('radical') egalitarianism, inclusiveness and pro-emancipatory solidarity that I consider as central to 'leftism' (and generally to being human).

On Myths, Religion and Innocence

As I've explained elsewhere, the society we live in today strongly encourages people to reason meritocratically, and to embrace notions such as that someone's moral value depends on whether and how others view them. In extreme cases, this leads to people dismissing others and their needs wholesale (e.g. when they categorize those others as property, a pest or relic). 

Marshall Rosenberg, Walter Wink, and Walter Kaufmann have made compelling cases that humans have to be actively taught both this general way of thinking, and that it's okay to employ violence to 'put people in their place,' or to realize a desired outcome. And Rosenberg in particular has also offered strong evidence that even though most people alive today reason this way, pretty much everyone values helping others without hurting them, meaning that we all have the same basic needs and moral psychology.