A plea to the few remaining good progressives

solidarity

Let this image illustrate what progressives think they’re doing.

Following the recent victory of Donald Trump, I’d like to talk yet again about the progressives, but this time, I want to take a different approach. In my more recent posts, I have been absolutely cruel towards progressives (with good reason, namely I’m an ex-leftist who got sick of all the nonsense). In university I’ve met good people who consider themselves progressives, and surprisingly enough, are actually willing to hear my case.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I disagree with progressive ideology, and as I’ve demonstrated previously, I’m still a strong, vociferous critic of feminism in its current form, but I care less about the ideology and more about the people act. Of course, I’ve called progressives and feminists out in this site for basically treating ordinary people like absolute crap because they disagree with them.

Thankfully I haven’t found any of those characters on campus (for now at least, I’ve been sort of steeling myself for the past two months), but it remains crystal clear to me that these “good progressives” and “good feminists” aren’t making their voices heard loudly enough. I don’t doubt that they have good intentions. Of course they do. But the problem is that the movement is clearly dominated by the reprehensible social justice warriors, and many of the mainstream progressives (celebrities, politicians, artists, etc.) aren’t even trying to distance themselves from the bad actors, often because they’re trying to pander to them.

This and the many other failures of the progressives practically ensured Trump’s victory, and now even other progressives (the one’s who aren’t still pouting and pooping their diapers over a Trump presidency) are starting to realise that it’s partly their fault, along with the media, and which point we’re finally on the same page. Realising that there’s a problem in the movement is a good start, but I think it’s going to take a lot more than to get the public back on their side, and if you’re one of the good progressives, like the ones I know in real life, I’m willing to help, if that is you’re willing to listen. Let’s break this down into a few points.

1) Don’t shut down the conversation by calling the opponent “racist”, “sexist”, or any other “-ist” or “-phobe” you feel like.

Seriously, that’s one of the biggest gripes people have with progressives right now. They’re not willing to have a conversation on meaty issues such as immigration, black-on-black crime, radical Islam, or the biased family courts, probably because doing so would mean taking off the ideological lens, if only for a while.

If you didn’t want Donald Trump to win because you thought he was a racist, or a sexist, or a xenophobe (neither claim holds up to scrutiny by the way), then that’s too bad. Calling him those things didn’t work, and trying to shame his supporters with the same tactic definitely didn’t work. You can’t persuade people to side by telling them they’re bad people if they aren’t. It didn’t work when conservative Christians tried it, and it isn’t working today.

Besides, by abusing these very words, you effectively reduce their value. If every trivial thing is racist, it means nothing because the word “racist” has lost meaning, and it’s nothing other than a disservice to people suffering from actual racism around the world. Same with sexism and sexual harassment. It’s only baffling how a dad joke can now be considered “sexual harassment”, but the consequence is that it might end up being harder for people to take genuine sexual harassment claims seriously.

2) – Kick Marxism out of the movement

Today’s progressives get much of their ideas from Marxist theory, as well as critical theory as prescribed by the Frankfurt School. Such nonsense must be purged from progressivism if you have any hope of winning back public acceptance, and possibly winning elections. Marxism is not only illiberal at its core, but it has repeatedly demonstrated itself as a failing ideology. Every country that has tried Marxist ideals ultimately becomes an impoverished dictatorship where all the wealth, power and resources are concentrated in the hands of the ruling class.

Critical theory is also pure nonsense. All it teaches you is to deconstruct everything you see, while offering no positive alternative. Today’s modern social justice warriors think almost entirely with critical theory (they’re practically breast-fed with it in universities), and that’s why they see the bedrocks of society – marriage, capitalism, the family unit, – as problematic at best, and enslavement at worst.

Also, in what way does Marxism, or indeed socialism, represent the best interests of the working class? In the 1980’s, the Labour Party began to tilt extremely to far to left, and went full Marxist under Michael Foot. The end result was Labour being kept out of power until 1997. I can see the same thing happening to Jeremy Corbyn. He’s already turned the party into a living joke, and as long he’s continuing down his current path, Labour will be virtually unelectable. To me, it seems as if today’s progressives, by embracing Marxist ideals (to the extent that racism and sexism are redefined through the Marxist framework of “oppressor vs. oppressed”), have isolated themselves from the working class, to the point that progressivism is now an ideal home for champagne socialists like Russell Brand or Owen Jones.

What I’m trying to say is that capitalism doesn’t have to be your enemy. In fact, capitalism is arguably the fairest economic system we have because you’re rewarded based on the effort you put into your work, whereas in a socialist system, everyone would be paid the same no matter how hard they worked, assuming they work at all. Instead of trying to get rid of capitalism entirely, why not focus on reforming the existing system so that it is harder for poor people to be exploited? I’m not saying that I’m advocating this, I’m just suggesting a possible route progressives can take.

3) – Censorship is never justified, no matter who’s been offended

One thing that appals me about today’s progressives is that they find themselves justifying, and sometimes advocating for what is effectively censorship. Usually this takes the form of a progressive arguing that a Christian preacher shouldn’t be allowed to speak in public. Any progressive can make that argument, but that doesn’t make it a morally justifiable one.

The problem with modern progressives when it comes to censorship is that when you take away anybody’s right to free speech, for any reason, it sets an uncomfortable precedent. If the fundamentalist Christian is silenced, then it’s only a matter of time before anyone else can be silenced as well, and for any given reason.

That’s why I think progressives should abandon the whole concept of “hate speech” (which is essentially a secular equivalent to the concept of “blasphemy”), as it is invariably used to justify censorship. In a truly free and equal society, all speech is protected, without exception. The concept of hate speech serves only to demonstrate how authoritarian the progressive ideology has become.

4) – Stop thinking in terms of race and gender

What’s the most effective why to combat sexism and racism? Stop judging people based on race and gender. It’s really that simple, unless you’re a social justice warrior who can’t help but think in terms of race and gender. A consistent problem that many progressives are having today is that they’re thinking of men, women and ethnicities as collective groups, wherein everyone in that box is supposed to think the same way. This is how today’s progressives have been convinced that insulting one woman means that you hate all women, or that only white men vote Republican.

Identity politics, once the preserve of nationalists during the 1930’s, has become a hallmark of the contemporary left, and this has to stop. Nobody is buying into this identity politics crap anymore, because people don’t want to be judged by what they were born as. Most people can see straight away that the identitarian train of thought exhibited by progressives is no different to the very racist thinking that they claim to oppose.

Some progressives and social justice warriors are actually convinced that being colour blind (read: not paying attention to one’s skin colour) contributes to racism, if it’s not a form of racism. This, of course, is nonsense. I would argue that it is more progressive to be colour blind than to continue focusing on race, and therein lies the problem. In today’s world, most people are colour blind when it comes to race, and that’s a good thing because it means most people don’t give a crap about race. This is what Martin Luther King Jr. was talking about when he dreamed of a world where people would be judged based on the content of their character, rather than the colour of their skin. What today’s progressives do, however, is slap to Dr. King’s face.

5) Globalism is not your friend

In today’s world, the overarching conflict in politics is not simply a matter of left vs. right. It is now a matter of globalism vs. nationalism, and nationalism isn’t as bad most people think (it’s only when you have extreme nationalists who think in terms of race that you start getting problems). It’s no coincidence that the progressives have been on the losing side in 2016. In Britain, they sided with the Remain camp, because the EU represents their dream of a borderless Europe. In America, they sided with Hillary Clinton, the epitome of 90’s-era globalist, neoliberal politics, despite the fact that she is overwhelmingly corrupt.

Coincidence? I think not. Today’s progressives are globalists, whether they want to admit it or not. The problem is that the globalist elites don’t give a damn about progressive ideals. It may sound like it because they are centrists, but really, all the globalists care about is enriching themselves at the expense of the rest of the population. The irony is stunning because progressives often claim they are helping the working class, and like to think that they’re going against the establishment. The reality is that globalism is the establishment, and the people on the top don’t care about the working class. They don’t care about the progressives either. To them, you’re useful idiots who can help them propel their agenda.

By selling out to globalism (which I assume they only did because they don’t like the sound of nationalism), the progressives have alienated themselves from the working class, thus ensuring that they will be defeated in the elections and referendums to come, just as they have been defeated this year.

I know this might be a lot to swallow, but if you’re a progressive and you care about the future of your ideology, and if you don’t want to see a whole decade of right-wing governments dominating the west, then the onus is on you to be the change you wish to see. I know there are good progressives who are tired of the antics of those social justice warriors, and if you’re one of them, take my advice to heart. I’m trying to help you get your groove back. All you have to do is talk to people who disagree with you, listen to their criticisms, maybe challenging them. You can either take my advice, and the advice of other good-hearted liberals, or you can continue doubling down on the failures of progressivism, and ensure your continued failure for years to come.

 

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4 thoughts on “A plea to the few remaining good progressives

  1. Great article. I’ll just add some points.

    I think capitalism by itself is not great. The answer is a mixed economy. Capitalism, where everything is privatised, leads to such problems as a deregulated banking sector, which can lead to so many mergers and acquisitions such that only a handful of banks control everything or maybe even one bank controlling just about everything, and if that one bank falls, the entire system falls. There are many who call for banks to be broken up when they are too big. This requires antitrust law, and antitrust law is socialism.

    As for globalism versus nationalism, much of the wealth in the late 20th century came about because of globalization. Cheap goods from China has results in cheaper products, low inflation, and massive economic growth. Nationalism (or protectionism) doesn’t work. The reason why Hong Kong, Singapore, and even the USA, are wealth nations is because of trade with other countries. What is needed is not nationalism but more globalism. Many of the major problems of the world like climate change cannot be fixed if separate nations do their own thing. There needs to be a global authority.

    • “There needs to be a global authority.”

      What you’re saying is exactly the reason why people hate globalism. It is an insult to the concept of national sovereignty. If you need any example of how a global, supranational authority is a bad idea, try imagining the European Union being applied to a global scale. Also, my issue with globalism isn’t an economic one. I don’t deny the economic benefits of globalisation, but my issue is a cultural one, which I believe is ultimately much more important right now. You have European leaders (and Democrats like Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton) who have contempt for the very concept of national identity/sovereignty, thus pushing ordinary people to the arms of the nationalists and the far-right. I don’t identify as a nationalist, but recognise the need for integration and civic nationalism (in which the state derives legitimacy from the active participation of the citizenry with a shared sense of national identity).

      Also, the problem isn’t capitalism. It’s corporatism. Corporatism happens when large corporations collude with and have influence over the state. This is why you have multi-national corporations lobbying the US government, backing political candidates, and generally screwing over small businesses (large corporations can afford to comply with new laws that choke smaller companies out of business).

  2. “capitalism is arguably the fairest economic system we have because you’re rewarded based on the effort you put into your work, whereas in a socialist system, everyone would be paid the same no matter how hard they worked, assuming they work at all.”

    it isn’t. Capitalism is set up to benefit the people who already have the most resources. You have to be daft to think that the people who work the hardest are the best-rewarded. Does a CEO work a million times harder than a wage laborer? Absolutely not.

    Socialism doesn’t mean that everyone is paid the same. In its most basic sense, under socialism the means of production are owned collectively — whether by centralized state control or democratic workplaces. Things people need are produced for use, not for profit.

    I’d also take issue with your use of the word Marxist for progressives. I’m not in England, but my understanding is that the Labour party isn’t socialist at all. Progressives in the US are essentially centrist, with progressive stances on social issues but generally in favor of the capitalist system and aggressive foreign policy.

    • Ideally, the best-rewarded people are the ones who work the hardest. Capitalism isn’t a perfect system, but it’s the best economic system we have right now because it gets the best results. It’s not just for the people with the best resources, that would be a plutonomy. Also, how sure are you that a CEO didn’t work his/her way up to the top? It takes effort to get to such a high position in life.

      Also, I find your assertion that US progressives are centrists to be highly laughable. They’ve drunken the far-left Kool-Aid at this stage, to the point that to them, even a left-leaning centrist could be considered a Nazi. Progressivism has become tribal ever since progressives bought into social justice.

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