TAG | progressives
That’s the title of John McWhorter’s excellent piece at The Daily Beast. He looks at the rhetoric of the Blacks Lives Matter movement and its acolytes and finds all the trappings of a new and only nominally secular religion. It’s essentially liturgy, as he explained in a recent Bloggingheads convo.
Fans of writer Sarah Perry and her musings on the sacralization of politics will see similar themes at work in McWhorter’s article.
But of course this is the trouble with basing your political value system on things like authority and tradition. It’s always changing! William F Buckley’s determination to stand athwart history yelling stop led him to a robust defense of apartheid as a system of government for the American South. At times in different countries, authority and tradition has meant backing absolute monarchy or vicious dictatorships. Or maybe conservatism means women can’t vote. Eventually, you wind up defending the United Federation of Planets just like Captain Picard. Earlier this week TNR did a fun look back at various instances of social progress that the right swore would doom America. By Picard’s time, it’s bound to be a much longer list.
The question then shifts: have all the enthusiasms of the Left since the Enlightenment been unmitigated goods which they would accept wholeheartedly? No errors where a few eggs were cracked to create a progressive omelette? The Left is wont to critique the unsubtle and manichean vision of the Right which divides the world between Good & Evil, but when looking at themselves all such necessity for subtly and moral complexity is lost. History marches on!
Matt Yglesias says, White Men Are Not Very Progressive:
I would say that another message is that progressive politics is badly disadvantaged by a situation in which the overwhelming majorities of political leaders and prominent media figures are white men. There are plenty of white men with progressive views, but in general the majority of white men are not progressive and the majority of progressives are not white men. Drawing from the relatively small pool of white male progressives means drawing from a shallow talent pool.
This is not really right. From the GSS:
White non-Hispanic Men
|All||Bachelor’s degree||Grad school degree||Smart (WORDSUM 8-10), graduate degree|
Here’s a chart which makes the issue clear: