Hi, I'm Josh.

Ever since high school I have been fascinated with world and in particular US politics.

At University I studied the social sciences, philosophy, politics, sociology, psychology and quickly found myself as a hard left supporter.

I marched against the reductions in family benefits and again against the Iraq war in 2003. I even wrote and received a response from then Prime Minister Helen Clarke asking her not to bring New Zealand into this unjust war.

I moved to London in 2006 and again missing politics I joined a Barack Obama supporters meetup group in London. I was a little out of place being A) Under 40 and B) Not actually American. But they were a great bunch and it was fantastic to have people to talk to about this amazing senator who seemed like the complete antithesis of George W Bush.

I remember staying awake all night watching the election results come in. It was amazing the good guys were finally back in power, time for some change, YES WE CAN!

Well then the financial crisis hit and that put the handbrakes on everything. I think Obama did well guiding the USA through that period as did New Zealand's own John Key who although I never voted for him or liked him; I could not dispute his record of making the New Zealand economy an absolute solid rock in a world churning from an economic storm.

Things were bad but at the same time good. We had good people in charge. The world seemed to be becoming more progressive. Gay marriage was legalised in many countries, socialised healthcare was brought into the States. Great advancements in diplomacy with Iran and Cuba and most importantly the All Blacks finally winning that elusive 2nd World Cup.

The digital age marched further, social media entered our lives and everyone's opinions suddenly had a voice. It was beautiful so many people connected all over the world, instant communication, shared ideas what a wonderful world....except something underneath was very wrong. Trolling became a thing, people were saying the most horrible things. Legislation created to combat or control it. The development of outrage culture and offense taking. More controls. The decline of traditional media. Terrorism on the rise. Click baiting. Fake news.

Suddenly social media was a breeding ground for contempt. Offense was the new currency and if you didn’t completely conform to an idea you were immediately buried under a mountain of outrage. Even slight differences of opinions were no longer tolerated. Identity politics. You are no longer an individual. You are a representation or stereotype of a particular group be it religious, racial, sexual or gendered.

I started being left out of the conversation. “You can’t talk about that, you are a white, straight male!” “You are racist and sexist, don’t you know that?”

What was happening? I was left and the world was left... but the left kept going left and now suddenly ideals which I held dear, like free speech and judging people on their character were no longer leftist ideals.

The far left and the far right on a political spectrum actually closely resemble one another.These extremes lead to authoritarianism, the removal of basic freedoms and some of history's most devastating regimes.

This worries me..and as I'm starting to discover, I am not alone.

Why I Left The Left

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