Trump is now more progressive than the left, by Brendan O’Neill.
Something striking has happened in recent weeks: Trump has joined the culture wars with relish. And he’s joined on the side of those who want to live in a post-racial, free society that cherishes the leaps forward made by revolutionaries in the past.
You don’t need to be an expert on 1930s and 1940s Europe to know that this isn’t what Hitler was about. Post-racial? Hitler was all about race. He loved it. He saw everything through its noxious prism.
Trump, in contrast, has set himself up as an opponent of racial thinking in its entirety. In a striking intervention last week, he attacked the racial myopia of the new left and the identitarian set. At a White House Conference on American History, he ridiculed critical race theory — the fashionable, academia-spawned outlook that says America is an inescapably racist country and that all white people are privileged and all black people are oppressed. It is a ‘horrible doctrine’, he said, which, ‘by viewing every issue through the lens of race’, risks imposing a ‘new segregation’ in American society. …
So where are Harris, AOC, Pelosi, Biden, and the rest of them?
The question isn’t ‘Is Trump being opportunistic when he criticises the poisonous new politics of race?’. It’s ‘Why hasn’t Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders or the apparently high-minded, left-leaning writers at the New York Times done likewise?’.
The modern left has so thoroughly abandoned its old universalist principles — its rejection of racial thinking and its preference for character over colour — that it now falls to Trump to make these good, decent, liberal points. It’s no good people saying he’s just pretending to be an anti-racist, unless they also explain why so much of the contemporary left has fully and dangerously bought into the rehabilitation of racial thinking and the replacement of the MLK outlook with a wholly regressive view of whites and blacks as irredeemably different beings.
Who are the authoritarians now?
In relation to the ideology of political correctness that insists that everyone must adhere to correct-think on race, gender and other issues, Trump said: ‘If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras, and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished.’
He’s right. It used to be the left, especially the countercultural left, that bristled at any ideology that demanded unflinching conformity. Now, much of the left imposes just such an ideology, or denies that it exists (‘cancel culture is a myth’), while it is left to Trump to stand up for the freedoms of thought and speech.
Trump is an old style leftie. He was a registered Democrat, and his positions mostly agree with those of Bill Clinton while President. But, starting in the 1990s, the left moved on to identity politics, and all the bigotry and postmodern craziness that entails.
The author above, Brendan O’Neill is also from the old left. If, like Brendan, you regard the values of the old left as “progressive,” then Trump is indeed more progressive than the new left.
All that “Trump is Hitler” stuff from the modern left is just projection. They are obsessed with race and bossing people around, and Hitler was a socialist (but less socialist than the only viable alternative in 1930s Germany, the communists, who are supported by Antifa and today’s left).
hat-tip Stephen Neil