Progressivism’s Macroaggressions

Progressivism’s Macroaggressions, by Michael Warren. The goal of postmodern progressives isn’t universal truth, but power, which is presented in the guise of equality and social justice.

How did liberals become so hopelessly illiberal? In “The Closing of the Liberal Mind,” Kim R. Holmes suggests that “the loss of historical memory as to what liberalism was is actually a key to understanding what it is today.”

Today’s postmodern progressives have only superficial similarities with these liberal forebears.

They are more accurately the descendants of radical abolitionists … radical egalitarians… and egalitarian anarchists…. Like those radicals, postmodern progressives “sanction the use of coercive methods, either through legal means or public shaming rituals, to deny certain people their rights and civil liberties . . . in ways that undermine American democracy and the rule of law.”

Just as political correctness stands against reality, it perverts truth and reason:

Perhaps the fundamental difference between yesterday’s liberals and today’s postmodern progressives is each side’s conception of truth. Liberals believe truth is external and can be determined through reason. A good liberal uses his reason to achieve justice and equality for all.

But postmodern progressives are moral relativists. For them, truth is internal, discerned by and specific to particular individuals. Today a good progressive defends the individual’s internal truth—particularly if the person is an “oppressed minority”—against all foes, including reason. Small wonder that the postmodern left has turned on its own.

Political correctness has become a grab for power, motivated by power and the privilege, or merely the feeling of moral superiority for those in the cheap seats:

The competition between individualized truths—“an unending conflict between identity tribes trying to capture the state for their own narrow group interests”—is what Mr. Holmes believes makes postmodern progressivism a cousin of radical libertarianism. …

The goal of a postmodern progressive isn’t universal truth, which supposedly doesn’t exist, but power, which is presented in the guise of equality and social justice. The left’s quest for power isn’t of the goose-stepping, arsenal-building kind employed by 20th-century dictators, Mr. Holmes takes great pains to insist. But, he allows, progressive liberals are “willing to dip into the totalitarians’ illiberal tool box.”

Look no further than the effort to gain power over language and debate on college campuses, through concepts like microagressions, trigger warnings and safe spaces, which police the expression of ideas. This is done in the name of inclusiveness and diversity, but in reality it’s a demonstration of power over those who think differently.