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The anti-Biden flat-earthers

A fundamental truth about humans: we crave the feeling of being special.

We crave recognition, membership, belonging.

We want to believe that we are part of the inner circle. The anointed ones.

It’s why we flock to ideas like the flat earth theory. It’s why we believe conspiracy theories. And increasingly, it’s why the hard-left are refusing to endorse Biden in the 2024 election.

On the surface, these trends may appear unrelated. But despite the ideological differences there’s a common psychological undercurrent - the desire to be one of the select few who are "in the know." For those on the fringes, there is immense gratification in believing you have special access to truths that the masses are blind to. That you are part of an exclusive club of free thinkers and revolutionaries.

This concept of "epistemic exclusivity" - the notion that one possesses rarefied knowledge or enlightenment - is a potent driving force. It imbues outlying beliefs with an addictive mystique, making them into badges of identity to be worn with pride.

For progressives disillusioned with the Democratic establishment, there's an anti-mainstream romanticism to being part of the "Never Biden" resistance.

It marks them as a purist, an uncompromising idealist who refuses to settle.

They're not another cog in the machine - they're a rebel with a cause. They aren't peddling an outlandish theory - that electing Trump will somehow “send a message” - they're signalling allegiance to an exclusive worldview and community. Asserting their specialness.

To hold their nose and vote for Biden, then, wouldn't be a political compromise - it would be a betrayal of identity. It would mean relinquishing their status as righteous outsiders and becoming part of the "sell-out" masses.

For some, that is simply too much to bear.

I won't deny, there are principled reasons to criticise Biden's record and demand bolder action from Democratic leaders. Inertia, incrementalism, the coziness with corporate power.

But when the criticism morphs into a point-blank refusal to participate in the political process, it becomes ludicrously self-defeating. In a two-party system, opting out of an election or voting third party has the same practical effect as supporting the opposing fucking candidate.

And it elevates ideological purity over tangible progress. A Biden presidency, however imperfect, would still yield material benefits for marginalised groups through policies like transgender rights, a higher minimum wage, debt forgiveness, expanded healthcare access, and action on climate change. Throwing away those gains in order to maintain one's self-image as a righteous revolutionary is the height of privilege and myopia.

For progressives in 2024, it's time to put away the myth of ideological purity and do what must be done to protect the vulnerable from the ravages of another Trump term.

It may not feel as gratifying as being one of the anointed few - but it’s the only path forward.

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