There is no doubt that identity politics has become a central tenet of the Progressive Left. It is thanks to them that we have trigger warnings, microagressions, hyper-sensitivity rivaling the old Moral Majority of the 90s and the idiotic encouragement of “speaking your truth” as a substitute for the objective one. In this world, comedy can’t be offensive, thought cannot be deep, and even if a white man speaks the absolute truth, his race will become the focal point of his opposition as a substitute for an argument. Truth now is such an inconvenience, that Donna Hughes, professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Rhode Island declares that “The scientific method is a tool for the construction and justification of dominance in the world…the new methodological techniques were invented by men who were interested in explaining the inheritance of traits in order to support their political ideology of natural human superiority and inferiority”.
In identity politics, science is sexist, math, as an article in CNN a few years ago declared, is racist. If such societal foundations like math and science have been subsumed into identity politics, everything complicated or inconvenient can naturally be washed away by declaring the speaker some kind of pejorative. USAPL is undergoing this when a scientific argument against transgender men competing in the women’s division is met with “It’s true, but it’s intolerant, and that’s what matters.”
I was watching a speech Donald Trump gave in Orlando and saw something I realized doesn’t come from the Left anymore and has not for a while. There were stripes of optimism, hope, patriotism even in his talk. The Left has been so preoccupied with saying the country is a cesspit, that our civilization is equal to everyone else and everything is going wrong because of the evil white male. Anyone who disagrees with this is immediately labeled a white supremacist, racist, sexist, ignorant and other Leftist trademarks.
This relates to something I realized two days ago. It’s a pattern of behavior I have now witnessed in three separate spheres: gun control, abortion and now powerlifting debates. where I am on the side of the child killers (pro-gun), woman haters (pro-life) and transphobic (pro…science, apparently) respectively (except I and my compatriots are of course none of those). There appear to be similarities between progressive activism and a form of abuse I have witnessed and experienced.
When faced with something a narcissist has no answer for, the narcissist becomes extremely angry and begins to get personal. In politics, you will be called racist, sexist, bigoted, homophobic etc. In politics and in life, you will be called crazy, irrational, angry and bitter. In both you will also be accused of harboring secret motives for disagreeing. Perhaps you’re a racist, perhaps you’re afraid of being overtaken, perhaps you’re just insecure. Or maybe, just maybe, you don’t know what you’re talking about and never stopped to consider this notion.
In all of the above cases, you are forced to defend yourself and prove a negative. Making this situation worse is that your accuser cannot be satisfied by even the best logical argument because your guilt is unfalsifiable. Especially if, as he might claim, “you’re wrong, you just don’t know it.”
This is called gaslighting. It’s a form of domestic abuse predicated on taking a stronger target and using their vulnerabilities against them. The only way for a victim to win against a gaslighter is to accept the gaslighter’s view of them and surrender to a better wisdom they do not have.
That is what we have with progressives. Everything is offensive. Everyone is racist, everyone is sexist, and everyone is whatever they want them to be unless you surrender your individuality and free thought to the Liberal orthodoxy, which changes every day just to keep sinners in line. This is especially insidious when you consider how common it is. You’ll notice doxxing and digging into someone’s social media to “unearth” a particularly awful thing a person said and make it the end-all, be-all about who they are are quite popular among progressive outlets, and even the news media.
With progressivism, I am reminded of what Christopher Hitchens said about religion: that it can make otherwise rational people do horrible things. The scariest people, C.S. Lewis are the “those who torment us for are own good.” for they will “torment us without end” and “do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
In reading Ben Shaprio’s latest book “The Right Side of History”,, I saw a different perspective on the problems that plague the nation. To accept them as problems, but not to say those problems are inherent to Western Civilization and therefore concede that the solution is to blow it up. The notion of human perfectibility, that “we are better than this” as the activist slogan goes, has been around forever and has usually had two conclusions in the nations “people can fix themselves if we all (are corrected into) working together” has no transcendent foundation and radicals run the show. It always ends in one of two ways: tyranny, destruction, or tyranny -then- destruction.
Shapiro observes that the West was founded on Greek reason and Jewish thought. The latter infused Western Civilization with the idea that man was made in God’s image and this fact gave humans inherent value above the animals. Greek reason, which discarded the idea that God was active in exchange for an “unmoved Mover”, gave rise to the scientific method, free expression and intense consideration of the human condition. While, as Shapiro states, “the God of Abraham and the God of Aristotle were not identical”, Abraham and Aristotle founded Western Civilization.
Where the Greeks did away with the Jewish God, secular progressivism does away with Jewish thought and Greek reason. Sacrificing both to the will of the collective under the auspices that humans are perfectible if they are forced to be perfect and the chaff are burned away. Karl Marx himself often advocated violence as the only way for the minority to be heard. This explains the joy of the Left in regards to Antifa and why congresspeople, former presidential candidates and journalists are quite content with, and encourage, the harassment and assault of Trump supporters and cabinet members.
Shapiro acknowledges but does not writhe and wallow in the shortcomings of America. However, unlike many progressives, he is not afraid to extoll the virtues of Western Civilization, of which, he states, America is the culmination of. We are, or should be, the home of free thought, open expression, intense, rational debate, dedicated to solving problems rationally in a way that works for all and avoiding the trappings of coercion and infringement upon another’s individual freedom.
There is no question, when taken as a whole, that Western Civilization is the greatest culture the world has ever seen. It is the culture that allowed the ideas of individual freedom to thrive, that birthed the scientific method and the world has reaped the benefits of the philosophies and technologies that came from it. When the ideas that founded the West are suppressed, human flourishing ceases. Instead we get socialism and with it the disasters of the Soviet Union, China, North Korea and Venezuela. It is perhaps no coincidence that socialism’s greatest contribution to end of life care remains the AK-47.
I am not unaware of the history of slavery or the history of racism in America or anything of that nature. But I’ve realized what a Kafkatrap that can be. Because “our culture is no different from other ones”, we are not allowed to take credit for the the idea that we don’t throw homosexuals off roofs, harvest prisoner organs, arrange marriages, slaughter each other for political ends, fight each other over food. We’re not allowed to be proud of the fact that we are a giving nation. Texans are routinely mocked for their independent, strong-willed, down-home nature. If we are proud of any of these things, they are products of privilege or racism or some other systemic evil and we must wallow more deeply in the flaws of our society.
Ours is the only civilization where change can be made. Organically. Without the need for coercion. It’s time to say we’re done with unproductive wallowing. We’re not done acknowledging our problems and flaws. However we are done lamenting them to the point of near total paralysis. We cannot and must not make decisions about how to solve the problems of our age under emotional strain or threat of violence if we don’t follow someone who doesn’t appear to have any good ideas of their own. Major issues deserve major consideration. (By the way, have you ever noticed how the activist is the one preaching sacrifice but the victim is usually the one making the change? Global warming activists live large. Gun control activists have armed security, the guy telling you he’s tolerant is anything but, and so forth. “Change for thee but not for me.”)
A few questions: what has any of this social justice stuff achieved? What has taking an offensive tweet from years ago to further drag the conversation away from the issue done for the issue itself? Moreover, what does it say about us that we judge people by one sentence they said two, three, sometimes 10 years or more ago, when they were teens? It says that in this advanced, progressive and moral society that people are their worst sins and they cannot change. It says that people are irredeemable unless they become robots. It says that we can’t and shouldn’t have deep conversations because that may get uncomfortable.
When someone suggests that an area with no security is inherently vulnerable, how is “well you just want guns so more people die” become a rational, even “better” response?
Things will not get better under the current progressive milieu. As journalist Tim Pool observes “The ends don’t justify the means because you will never meet the end. If you live your life feeling you are justified in doing unjust things to find an unjust future, you will only create an unjust world.” In other words, if you have to break this many eggs to make one damn omelette, you’re doing something wrong.
What must happen is a return to original foundations of the West. The rational discussions of the Greeks, the transcendent morality of the Judeo-Christian worldview and the dreams of thinkers like John Locke that put the individual above the collective. The first pillar is the key to solving problems, the second pillar is the standard by which all must be held, and the third pillar is a bulwark against dangerous actions like coercion and gaslighting.
This is the foundation upon which America was born, it is what made us the global superpower we are and it is what gives us the ability to see our flaws and correct them rationally, without making emotional decisions that, historically, do not end well for anybody. We are, still, the freest, richest country on the planet. The fact that we don’t care for our own people is not an inherent flaw in our society, it is a flaw of our government and the individual being made to feel so weak that he can only think his meager contribution to a charity is worthless, especially compared to the giant brick of government. The individual, especially those who have been subsumed into the collectivist mindset must be venerated again as the source of good in the world.
One final note and a quick addendum on the Founders. I am not saying you have to believe in God, even the founders were, at most, deists. However, they saw the importance of found in the idea that humans have God-given value. Now, I am aware that the Founders did not write slavery out of existence from the outset. This was a product of the politics of the age, not of the philosophy of the founders. Dinesh D’Souza notes in his book Death of a Nation, that the founders desire to abolish slavery collided with a society that would not abide an end to the practice. The abolition of slavery could have meant the death of the new nation. In a previous epoch from ours, the complexity of the birth of America may have been discussed and nuance may have never left the conversation.
Sadly, as far as we know, it was about taxes, the Boston Tea Party, and rah-rah freedom. To miss a detail so crucial to the founding regarding slavery has allowed the idea that America was inherently racist to fester. What else have we missed in our desire to simplify everything into good and evil, black and white, rich and poor, tolerant and intolerant, victim and oppressor? What will truly be the result of policies made after one-sided discussions devoid of complexity? All progressivism has given us is a world devoid of nuance, rationality, joy and curiosity. It must be excised if any tangible progress is to be achieved.