Let me begin by enunciating a hard truth. This is a truth that most young people involved in politics, such as myself, are already well beyond familiar with, as they have been a part of administering it. It is a truth that many in the current political establishment have failed to recognize, due to the fact that they may have yet to be personally affected by it. However, the ignorance of these corrupted career politicians notwithstanding, this fact remains such; the old “Liberal vs. Conservative” paradigm of American politics is dead. If any substantation of this certainty is necessary, look no further than the massive insurgencies during the 2016 election cycle of Senator Bernie Sanders on the left and President Donald Trump on the right.
No longer is the Democratic Party a unified, grounded front pushing social liberation, individualism, and peaceable foreign policy. No more does the Grand Old Party trumpet its olden-and-golden tune of sensible economic approaches, American exceptionalism, traditionalism, and free trade. These ideals, or at least the way they were approached by the Democrat-Republican binary, have been discarded to the ashbin of history, just as the conflicting policies of Federalists and Democratic-Republicans, or of Democrats and Whigs, were centuries ago. This death of the “Liberal vs. Conservative” archetype has been barreling towards congressional bigwigs and well-monied elitists since the rise of Independent candidate Ross Perot in 1992. It is a long time coming, and should be fervently embraced by all those currently involved in politics and government. In the sumptuous decay and implosion of these two sects of American politics, of liberalism and conservatism, two new ideologies have sprung up to claim the hearts and minds of voters formerly held by the now-dying political establishment; progressivism and right-wing populism (otherwise known as the alt-right).
In theory, such a shift in ideals should bring about positive change and an overall advancement of our governmental process. In fact, however, this political change has not been positive for all sides of the political spectrum, particularly the left. To reiterate, the traditional liberalism of the Democratic Party has begun falling by the wayside within the Party in favor of progressivisim. This ideology of progressivisim is ironically named, given how corrosive and violently regressive it is in actuality. The tenets of progressivism are identity politics, corrective justice, anti-traditionalism, and anti-Constitutionalism. To highlight the downright idiocy and radicalism of the new collection of principles that is 21st-century progressivism, it is best to delve into its basic ideas in full detail.
The root of identity politics is the belief that people should be regarded as a collective rather than as individuals. To the progressive, it is convenient to place people into boxes based on which innate characteristics they are given at birth in order to apply their agenda of corrective justice. The traits they tend to utilise the most are race, gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. The progressive views white people as inherently privileged within American culture and society, and so places all white people below all racial minorities in terms of how much corrective justice they should earn. Furthermore, the progressive believes that modern America is a “patriarchy,” and therefore generalizes all men as more privileged than all women. This patriarchal society, the progressive claims, also exerts its oppressive moral standards over the LGBT community. Therefore, all homosexual, lesbian and transgender people are less privileged than all straight people. The progressive, of course, completely neglects the rate of white poverty being higher than that of Asian poverty, or the statistic that female graduates take home higher wages than male graduates, or the fact that all of their flawed, absolutive ideas on how American society works can be explained away by basic reasoning or the slightest statistical research. They are also completely disillusioned with the idea that everyone has the same chance to make their way in this country, and that those who have not done so are simply not capable or resourceful enough to succeed in a market-based economy. They would much rather dwell in a puddle of ignorance, spouting off new caterogies for their so-called “Oppression Olympics,” including physical and mental disabilities, place and time of birth, left-handedness, and proximity to wealth.
The dogma of corrective justice is itself an offshoot of identity politics, and is how progressives believe that institutionalized oppression of minority groups should be righted. The progressive argues that since African-Americans were enslaved by white Americans some 150 years ago, blacks today should be given reparations by modern whites. No white American alive today has ever owned slaves, nor has any living black American ever been a slave. In other words, no living American is a slave or slaveowner. Yet it is Caucasian Americans who must turn over the wealth and assets which we have earned to the state — simply because of our skin color, no less — in order to correct for an atrocity which was ended by an army almost wholly made up of white men nearly two centuries ago? Simply put, this is lunacy. In radical cases, progressives have also called for the overturning of land and mineral resources to Native American tribes who once owned these lands many years ago, and for the direct enrichment of African countries with resources that they did not create to adequately correct for historical colonization which Americans did not even participate in.
Anti-traditionalism and anti-Constitutionalism both seem to go hand-in-hand in progressive ideology. The two principles stem from an idea indirectly discussed previously; that America is a patriarchy, an institutionally oppressive, racist, sexist, and homophobic nation. Progressives blame this nonexistent institutional discrimination on both the traditional social order and certain Amendments to the Constitution, such as freedom of speech and the right of the citizenry to keep and bear arms. Accordingly, progressives seek to rebrand America socially, economically and politically to fit their worldview. Socially, progressives call for a complete deconstruction of the traditional American way of life. The family unit, private school, national pride, retention and preference for the proper English language, individual success, and personal responsibility are all facets of the traditional and respectable American life which progressives would like to abolish. Economically, progressives view America as far too privatized and economically opportunistic. In turn, they advocate for tax hikes, destruction of any semblance of trade with other nations, and the enroachment of the state on the rights of businesses and private industry. Simultaneously, progressives want taxpayers to subsidize their college tuition, so that they can earn their BA in gender studies, women’s studies, or liberal arts without having to work for it themselves at all (There’s that abhorrence for personal responsibility again). Politically, progressives wish to completely undo fundamentally American ideas, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to own guns. Instead of these ideas, which are so intrinsically American that erasing them would require the erasure of American society itself, progressives want protections from speech which they deem hateful or bigoted, such as at least half of the things I have thus far espoused in this column. They want a federal blacklisting of all words and ideas considered by them and their cronies to be inappropriate. They make such egregious statements in the name of silencing legitimate racists and sexists. Again, this is simply lunacy. In reality, all Americans — yes, even progressives — would suffer from restrictive anti-free speech laws. The reason why is simple; when people are not allowed to espouse the full scope of what they think without fear of federal retribution, the only possible end result is dreaded totalitarianism.
The most ironic part of this whole charade is the fact that most of the principles which progressivism is assaulting — freedom of speech, personal responsibility, and freedom of the press — are classically liberal. This authoritarian bilge of safe spaces, blacklisting of words, identity politics, and corrective justice, is coming from the controllers of the party which once espoused liberalism. Yet, it is a sorry truth that classical liberalism no longer has a home within the Democratic Party. The left-leaning freethinkers, sympathetic white working-class, and traditional Democrats have been forever banished from the banner of the donkey, in favor of Islamists, Marxists, radical environmentalists, black nationalists, third-wave feminists, lazy collegiates, and feeble-minded civilians. In essence, the Democratic Party is now an unholy alliance of the worst sort; the progressive sort.