We truly live in a strange world. I don’t know whether it’s because of postmodernism or postpostmodernism, because of the triumph political correctness or the oversimplification of any message in the age of social media and short attention spans. It’s clearly though that only a few years ago, even if it looks so far away now, it would have been impossible to think that a phrase like “All lives matter” could possibly be deemed unacceptable, offensive and deeply racist – and that a majority of intellectuals, people whose sole job should be to take over the burden of thinking for other people who are generally too busy running things would agree with this misleading view.

You would expect intellectuals to have learnt by now. Liberals divide themselves, all the right does is constantly remind us. But it is the same “liberals” who constantly accuse others of using divisive language that in recent years appear enjoying categorising others a bit too much: words like racist, bigot, Islamophobic, homophobic, xenophobic, male chauvinist have become part of the common discourse, a discourse that capitalises on constant outrage. For “liberals”, everyone who disagrees with them must truly be the filthiest scum of this earth.

This constant categorisation of everyone and everything is not predicated on social unity as we are told, but is more about generating a deeper sense of individualism. It’s one of those grey zones where on a superficial level it becomes hard to distinguish neoliberal ideals from those on the left. The difference is in what drives the ideas.

Certain people have not only failed to understand that categorisation can be a problem, that it’s easily weaponised but also that their attitude can be a turn off too. The biggest problem however is they have complete double standards in the way they apply their “outrage”. It’s all highly selective. “Liberals” will dismiss anyone who does not share their credo as uneducated – it may be a surprise to many of them that uneducated lives used to matter until the left became unwittingly neoliberal.

The left should try to make these experiences inclusive, reduce the opportunity for exploiting the language as the right is doing. All the time it’s the same issue. Never should humans who seek unity voluntarily put themselves into groups. Rights debates must always be inclusive in language too. We can all see the language is causing a problem and people are manipulating it. They have been manipulating it for years. Categorising is social priming, it’s social psychology, but on top of it all, there should be none of these fake double standards. Don’t create inner and outer groups. It’s causing a problem.

Governments fear united action. Now they face a bunch of splintered groups all arguing among themselves, all motivated by self-interest. The issue here is that these movements have gone from being a positive force for change to being detrimental to their own causes, precisely because they alienate. It’s not only about Black Lives Matter. There is always a subtle implication levelled at the broader society. There is now a clear counter reaction and we should be very careful about how we go forward. Things must be approached in a way that unites – we cannot continue the current path. And here language becomes essential.

Richard Sattler