I don't really care about politics.
Aside from a few Twitter comments, politics occupy very little space in my mind. As far as I'm concerned, as long as you are not posing a threat to me or those I care about, you are free to believe what you like.
That being said. . .
There is a group of people - often over-represented in hostels throughout Latin America - whose political views I find insufferable.
They can usually be identified by one or more of the following characteristics:
1) Dreadlocks (if white), and/or a general lack of personal hygiene
2) A propensity for smoking inordinate amounts of weed
3) Che Guevara shirt, hat, backpack, scarf, dildo etc.
These revolutionary heroes are often drawn to Latin America because of its tendency to flirt with Marxism. That, and it's the birthplace of their idol: rapist and child-killer Che Guevara.
Unfortunately, these individuals feel the need to voice their political opinions whenever they get the chance. A pleasant discussion can easily turn into a policy lecture with one of these little rascals at your table.
This is irritating for everyone, regardless of which way you lean.
Since many people want to enjoy themselves while travelling and not engage in tedious and insipid political discourse, I thought it prudent to create a brief outline for how to deal with extreme leftist backpackers in Latin America.
5 helpful tips for dealing With Extreme Leftist Backpackers in Latin America
1) Avoid Hostels
This will solve 99% of your problems. If you're able to afford an Airbnb or a hotel, you have my permission to stop reading here. Our Marxist globetrotters prefer to stay in hostels for three primary reasons:
1) To spread their doctrine to more people
2) They don't have money
3) They are pretending to not have money (to be fashionable).
I tend to avoid hostels because I value privacy and require a working environment without distractions, but I didn't always have the luxury. Also, hostels can be great places for meeting people, and a solid option for those on a budget. If you prefer to stay in a hostel while travelling or must do so for financial reasons, see item #2.
2) DO NOT Volunteer Your Opinions
OK, so you're staying in a hostel. But fear not! It's still possible to avoid confrontation with your wayward Stalinist bunkmate. The easiest way to do this is to not engage.
Let me say that again: DO NOT ENGAGE.
If, for example, you're relaxing in a hammock and you hear a voice from the communal area praising Cuba's free education and healthcare, you may be tempted to ask our friend how many Americans die each year trying to get to Cuba on rafts made out of inner tubes or vintage cars to escape their oppressive capitalist system. DON'T DO IT. This is what they want. Remember to put things in perspective: would you rather spend the night chasing exotic local girls or arguing the difference between a socialist and social democrat?
3) Know How to Formulate An Argument
There are times when it is simply impossible not to get involved. For instance, say you are sitting with others on the hostel terrace at a large outdoor table. Everyone is having a few beers, maybe caning a bit of weed...all in all having a good time. Conversation is light. Genuinely good banter.
Then, a Bernie Sanders supporter walks up and takes a seat at the table.
Before you know it, everyone is talking about politics. You soon realize you're surrounded by anticapitalists and are caught in the crossfire of a sort of confirmation bias wankfest. Remembering rule number 2, you don't get involved. But then the BernieBro asks your opinion.
What do you do?
As a man, you must remain true to yourself and express your views in a calm and cogent manner. Come armed with a strong opposing argument about an issue that's important, but not too controversial. You could, for example, argue whether or not Sweden ("it's working in Sweden, why not in the US!") is really socialist considering that they have a lower corporate tax rate than the United States. Or, you could suggest that, based on Sweden's free market success story before the implementation of higher tax rates, Sweden is doing relatively well in spite of their reforms rather than because of them. Position yourself as a devil's advocate. Taking this line will still allow you to express your opinions without being particularly inflammatory. You'll see why this is important in point #4.
4) Keep things light
As previously mentioned, make sure to keep your disagreements lighthearted. Immigration is a massive trigger-worthy issue for the leftist, and will likely come up in conversation. If you're slightly skeptical about bringing mass amounts of Latinos and or Muslims into your country whatever you do DO NOT MENTION IT. You will be swiftly labelled as a racist and an Islamophobe and you can kiss your chances of hooking-up with that cute but misinformed anthropology major you're sitting next to goodbye. Also, avoid any issue regarding gay rights, gender fluidity and unisex bathrooms. If asked about these issues, smile politely or excuse yourself from the table. If you choose to not heed this advice, you risk verbal abuse, having your stuff stolen or being spit on.
5) facilitate a peaceful resolution
If you've followed my advice up to now, this shouldn't be too difficult. You've kept your disagreements insignificant and civil, and you've remained calm in the face of ignorance and stupidity. Well done! My hat goes off to you. Now, it's up to you to change the subject. Suggest some more drinks or some food. Ask someone about their travel plans. Whatever it takes.
If the leftist is still desperately trying to engage you with fallacies, simply agree with everything he says and move on. Life's too short.
And there you have it!
Follow these tips and you'll be able to handle even the leftest of leftists. Your's truly has managed to smuggle his way into the pants of more than a few lefty gals whilst travelling abroad by adhering to the aforementioned guidelines, them being none the wiser.
Like my great-grandaddy used to say: "It don't matter if she's left or right, so long as the pussy's good and tight."
Sorry for the language.
Until next time,