A common theme, both on my blog and similar ones, is that what is commonly referred to as “diversity” or “multiculturalism” in our society are actually “homogenization” and “progress to a singular culture.” Progressivism, masquerading as Liberalism, is fundamentally an intolerant, tyrannical, and often fanatical force*. This is rarely discussed, but recently two articles worth sharing on this subject came to my attention:
…As I’ve made clear repeatedly in my writing, I support gay marriage and am cheered that advocates for it have made such stunning legal and cultural gains so quickly. I consider these gains to be broadly harmonious with recent legal precedents and cultural trends, as well as the deeper political implications of liberal democratic government and theological implications of Christian egalitarianism.**
But I’m also troubled by the equally stunning lack of charity, magnanimity, and tolerance displayed by many gay marriage advocates. This very much includes Mark Joseph Stern, Henry Farrell, and others who are cheering them on.
This quote gets at the core of how I am simultaneously a conservative person, and very tolerant of people with different lifestyles than my own, and absolutely not a Democrat, a “Liberal”, or a “Progressive”. There is simply no political party, other than perhaps a small sect of Libertarians, that truly advocates a live-and-let-live social policy. It is often said that conservatives think liberals are good people with bad ideas, and liberals think conservatives are evil people. That is a serious asymmetry. I often find myself siding with conservatives simply in opposition to left-wing vitriol. I believe that establishing a reasonable common-ground is the place where understanding begins, and the self-righteousness of the Left is almost always a larger barrier to that than the religious beliefs of the Right. To use an analogy, a boxing referee is on no one’s “side,” and if he’s always restraining only one boxer, that’s because he’s the one always kicking the loser while he’s down.
This same theme was tackled recently at HuffPo, of all places:
…When I was at university I realized I was never going to make the cut when it came to being a fully-fledged social activist on a mission to destroy global capitalism….I floundered because I refused to accept something that many of my other like-minded peers already knew: some left-wing people are just really quite annoying.
If you want to know what I’m talking about, try going to a political meeting where you will certainly find someone who will shout at you for wearing jeans BECAUSE IT MEANS YOU ARE COMPLICIT WITH THE SYSTEM!!!
You will also probably find the agenda derailed for 25 minutes as people discuss whether it is ‘problematic’ to use the word ‘pet’ because it might be encouraging the offensive cultural appropriation of northern people.
This article hits quite a few aspects of the problem, but I’ll highlight only one. Note both the dress code, and the extreme moral significance placed upon the dress code. This is not live-or-let-live. Progress demands conformity. Progress leads to a singular, universal, mandated culture with approved answers for all things.
A second bit is worth quoting because it ties into a long-running theme here at iParallax:
It must be said that, inevitably, this behaviour is most common with student activists: they have not had enough experience with the real world to know that adult life is full to the brim with moral and ethical compromises. It’s easy to buy all your veg from an organic farmers market and spend all week putting up aggressive flyers when you have a big old loan and four hours of lectures a week.
Consider that nice, eloquent bit of writing, and see it expanded upon in this long-winded excerpt from my Post-Modernism, Wealth, and Entropy post:
I’ve used a lot of analogies to this point; now I’ll get to a real example of how this plays out in real life. Over the summer I mowed my yard, weeded the garden, and trimmed overgrowing bushes and trees. I didn’t just do this once and quit forever; every weekend I had to spend a little bit of time engaged in at least one of those activities. In order to maintain my yard in a state of low entropy, I had to continuously exert effort. Despite my education, training, and qualifications to do many high-minded things, the task of simply maintaining my home requires repetitive, boring, simple work. No further amount of specialization or civilization on my part is going to remove or reduce the requirement to constantly overcome chaos. Despite my white collar job, I am still very in-tune with entropy thanks to this simple connection to reality via my yard.
Now consider the stereotypical young, urban college student living in a dorm, or a young activist living in a city apartment performing some paper-pushing job and spending his free time raising awareness for organic, pesticide-free farming and against genetically modified organisms. He’s never so much as maintained a yard. He has no appreciation for the amount of effort required to keep it looking nice this week, and he certainly has no appreciation for the fact that he’ll have to do it again the next week. Instead, his world is a constant treadmill of progress; he takes his 100-level classes, then his 200-level, then 300, 400, and on to a capstone course. Maybe he continued on to grad school, and then wrote a thesis. Then a PhD, and a dissertation. He watched fellow socio-political activists secure hate-speech rules. Then he watched “tolerance” become the law of the land. Then he watched the newly empowered Political Commissars intolerantly silence anyone who disagreed with them. (After all, democracy is a vector, not merely a system) Never once did anyone repeat anything. Never once did anyone lose ground to chaos. Never once did someone have to exert effort just to maintain the status quo. And so this individual who knows only life inside a low-entropy system tries with the fervor of a prisoner of Plato’s cave to impose the rules of his low-entropy world upon the farmer, whose entire job it is to create order in of a high-entropy environment. After a summer of home ownership, this activist would come to appreciate Round-Up and drought-resistance grass, and by analogy would probably support moderate pesticide and GMO usage on the part of the farmers who feed him. But his near total-disconnect from nature’s high-entropy state, made possible by the ultra-long supply chain of a major city, has rendered him completely ignorant of the issues upon which he speaks.
Both the HuffPo piece and my example above, as well as the gay marriage article linked at top, highlight the themes that animate the entire Dark Enlightenment movement. Liberalism/Progressivism are neither liberal nor progressive. Those preaching tolerance the loudest are the least tolerant among us. Conformity to a certain worldview is being demanded. Even worse, that worldview has no grounding in the actual world.
The emergence of left-leaning authors, writing in mainstream publications, who dare address left-wing fanaticism, however obliquely, gives me hope that perhaps a higher degree of sanity will prevail in the socio-political arena at some point in the near future.
*Related posts on Progressive intolerance and its goal of human singularity include:
- Categorical Errors and Administrative Morality
- The Progressive Ratchet
- One of These Things is Not Like the Other…Why Religious Freedom in America is Doomed
- …One of These Things Just Doesn’t Belong
- No, Really. Religious Freedom Doesn’t Belong.
** Paging Moldbug and his Ultracalvinist Hypothesis:
The “ultracalvinist hypothesis” is the proposition that the present-day belief system commonly called “progressive,” “multiculturalist,” “universalist,” “liberal,” “politically correct,” etc, is actually best considered as a sect of Christianity.
Specifically, ultracalvinism (which I have also described here and here) is the primary surviving descendant of the American mainline Protestant tradition, which has been the dominant belief system of the United States since its founding. It should be no surprise that it continues in this role, or that since the US’s victory in the last planetary war it has spread worldwide.