Streetwise Professor

February 19, 2017

More Contradictions and Confusions

Filed under: History,Politics — The Professor @ 2:12 pm

One could really make a parlor game out of identifying all of the contradictions and confusions in the “thinking” of the identity progressive left.

Further yesterday’s point, how can they possibly win (in the US, anyways)? On their terms, winning would mean the subjugation of the victimizers (e.g., the alleged white patriarchy, including all of those white privileged denizens of Appalachia). How is this to occur? Since those to be subjugated are unlikely to voluntarily agree to become Morlocks, they must be subdued by force or the ballot box. The current correlation of forces, however, is strongly on the side of the alleged oppressors. Re-education camps to get their minds right would also be required, but “elite” liberal arts colleges (the closest thing to such camps currently in operation n the US) have already made plain their unwillingness to admit such people, and coercion would be required to force them into something that Pol Pot could love. And given that those to be coerced have the guns (a fact the left never ceases to bewail), how could that possibly work?

And is victory even possible? The leftist version of identity politics is predicated on the conflict between the oppressed and the oppressors. What happens if the oppressed defeat the oppressors? How could they function if a vital piece of their worldview disappears? When your life is structured around fighting The Man, what do you do when The Man loses/dies/disappears? My guess is that there would be a period of internecine struggle to identify who assumes the role of oppressor, and who gets the prized role of being the oppressed.

This brings to mind the Taoist critique of other (not exclusively, but mainly) western religions and philosophies which posit wars between light and darkness, goodness and evil, and so on, which can be summarized as: “um, what happens when light/good win?” Similar critiques have been applied to progressive thought (cf. Alan Watts): how is progress possible in a world of polarity? This problem is particularly acute for identity leftists, because polarity (oppressed/oppressors) is at the core of their mental model.

Traditional Marxists faced a similar dilemma. Marx was quite detailed in describing the class struggle and its ultimate outcome of a dictatorship of the proletariat, but he was quite hazy at describing just what that dictatorship would look like, and how it would be free of conflict (in the presence of any specialization at all).  I would guess that in the unlikely event of victory that the intramural contests on the left would put the intra-party conflicts among the Bolsheviks post-1917 to shame. (And remember what ended the latter conflict: Stalin killing everybody who disagreed with him.)

One last thing. the focus on identity has led to a category error in interpreting US politics, Trump’s rhetoric, and the appeal of that rhetoric to his supporters. In the identity left’s worldview, nationalism is inherently based in national, racial, and ethnic supremacism (and gender and sexual orientation and on and on). Hence, when Trump or a Trump supporter celebrates or asserts American nationalism, the Pavlovian response on the left is to think of European nationalism of the blood and soil variety. No! American nationalism has always been different, and to equate Trump with a Le Pen or an Orban–or a Putin!–on this issue is fundamentally wrong.

On this eve of Presidents’ Day, a review of Lincoln’s formulation of American nationalism, and his distinction between American and European varieties is quite useful. Sadly, all too many people have forgotten this fundamental distinction, including Republican Senators, notably John McCain, who committed this very category error a few days ago. In a statement aimed clearly at Trump, as well as continental nationalist leaders, he said:  “[The founders of the Munich conference] would be alarmed by an increasing turn away from universal values and toward old ties of blood and race and sectarianism.”

Maybe that’s true in some countries, but it is not what is going on in the United States. Indeed, it is a disgusting insult of tens of millions of Americans to insinuate that it is. McCain’s combination of senility and narcissism is becoming too much to bear, but this remark (and other things he said in Munich) demonstrate how deeply the identity left/progressive rot has penetrated establishment opinion in the US.



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  1. President Trump is the world champion of the grievance olympics. It’s no wonder that he and Bernie Sanders have been fighting over the same electorate.

    Comment by aaa — February 19, 2017 @ 4:36 pm

  2. I’ve always said that if I had been an American I’d have voted for O the first time because McCain was such a woeful candidate. Better to gamble on the unknown.

    Comment by dearieme — February 19, 2017 @ 6:34 pm

  3. @dearieme–Not just a woeful candidate, but an increasingly repulsive person. A living advertisement for term limits and a clinical case of senatitis.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 19, 2017 @ 9:42 pm

  4. When your life is structured around fighting The Man, what do you do when The Man loses/dies/disappears?

    Isn’t that precisely what has happened?

    Comment by Tim Newman — February 20, 2017 @ 3:37 am

  5. McCain commits a lot of errors. He and Trump will never get a long. I don’t agree with many of Senator McCain’s stances. However, Trump made an unforced error during the campaign criticizing McCain using the words, and way he did. If I were McCain, that would have burned me to my core, and it would be pretty hard to get on board.

    Comment by pointsnfigures — February 20, 2017 @ 9:19 am

  6. @pointsnfigures-I really don’t care what McCain says about Trump. What pisses me off is the implications of his statements for tens of millions of Americans, whom he insinuates are racists for supporting Trump.

    And McCain’s constant pounding of war drums, most notably in Syria, is also deeply disturbing.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — February 20, 2017 @ 9:49 am

  7. I will be slightly less joyful the day McCain leaves then the day Hillary was defeated and the day the Berlin wall fell. Slightly.

    I forget the specific piece of legislation but I saw McCain said that he never supported it and had a different recollection so looked for information and found that he was a co sponsor. This was maybe eight years ago and he has gotten worse since. Sad that somoeone that sacrificed much for the US has turned out so poorly in his elder years. One hopes for increasing wisdom with increasing years rather than simply increasing political subterfuge. What crap parties we have with the Republicans and the Democrats-insulated, conceited, priveleged, entitled idiots.

    Comment by pahoben — February 21, 2017 @ 3:56 am

  8. The progressive liberals as well the progressive Republicans
    differ primarily in name for governance. Both have been terrible in keeping our borders secure, not properly managing
    financial resources, dumb in supreme court and circuit court
    appointments, failed by decimating black family life in the larger cities, never should have meddled with public schools from D.C., gave up our space program, caused huge war debt after WW2, tried to be world police. we have survived.

    Comment by George Carter — February 21, 2017 @ 3:21 pm

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