WHY does it take people so long to stop doing something that is demonstrably immoral, destructive and harmful to their own interests? This was the question that I asked myself as I caught up on the Covington Catholic High School scandal after missing the whole thing whilst on holiday.

Donald Trump is the president of the most powerful country in the world. As I have written before, I believe we get the leaders we deserve. They don’t appear out of thin air. The Left don’t share this belief and think that unexpected, unwanted events are the result of other people’s latent evil. It can be the Russians, the racists, or simply the white people.

It’s always puzzling to see intelligent people so incapable of self-reflection, but then again, Jeff Bezos has just left his wife of 25 years after an affair and will have to pay out billions. Picking through the wreckage of another concocted, confected, corrupted moral outrage, my abiding thought was ‘When will they learn?’

The damage done to those young boys disgracefully smeared by the media is difficult to quantify. Will it harm their university prospects? Career prospects? Relationships and friendships? Then there is the psychological impact of having powerful individuals condemn you because the story fits their preconceived ideas, biases and agendas.

Yet the damage to the Left’s popularity is similarly difficult to quantify. Trump and Brexit were supposed to be wake-up calls. The remarkable growth of parties such as the AfD in Germany, the League and Five Star in Italy and Austria’s Freedom Party, is more obvious evidence that the Left need to change tack. The tactics they have been employing – with disgusting vitriol such as Covington – are not popular.

No Road to Damascus moment has been forthcoming. Instead the Left have doubled down. It’s not going to work and they are alienating more people who might vote for them. How many Labour voters have been driven away by the party’s obsession with identity politics? How many decent, honest Americans want to vote for people who will ruin a child’s life because they don’t like his politics?

When I was growing up I was told that the best way to deal with bullies is to ignore them. What happened with the Covington Catholics was bullying, as it was with Tim Hunt,  Dr Matt Taylor, and Justine Sacco. The list goes on. What fruits has this strategy yielded for the Left? People will turn their backs on them.

We’ve had a Conservative-run government since 2010, Trump is in power, the country voted for Brexit, Merkel is wobbling. This list goes on, too.

So what is the answer to my initial question? Why did we have another public shaming which in the long run will harm those who were complicit? Perhaps this is one for the psychologists, but I’ll give it a go.

So many people have lives of such atomised inactivity and loneliness that politics is one of the ways they shoehorn meaning into their existence. It’s one of the ways they assure themselves ‘I am a good person’. However, unlike other hobbies such as football or sewing, politics has a global importance and lives can be ruined.

As ever my answer to this malaise is simple: Jesus Christ. Although it does sound a tad trite, since bad people have always existed. It just so happens that they gravitate towards politics.

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Fionn Shiner
London-based writer who has written for spiked-online, the Huffington Post, Private Eye and the Daily Mirror, amongst others.