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Why progressivism is flourishing in the US
Unherd ^ | 7-21-2020 | Ed West

Posted on 07/22/2020 8:12:37 AM PDT by Sir Napsalot

(snip)

American culture has always emphasised competition more than any other, which was part of its strength, economically and socially, leading to a more meritocratic social hierarchy which allowed talent to rise.

But meritocracy has its dark side, in particular the low esteem it casts on those who don’t win at the game of life, made worse by the erosion of the institutions that once provided a buffer and comfort — family, community, religion. For the poor, drugs are a way of coping with this disaster, a substitute for faith. For many of the middle-class precariat, it’s politics-as-replacement religion. Many are literally addicted to the sense of outrage that the little device in the pocket provides on an hourly basis, and also provides some sense of dignity because they can at least distinguish themselves from the Brexit and Trump-voting rubes below them.

But the over-competitiveness Douthat describes is also one of the root causes of the darkening political intolerance across the water. When a political view becomes a mark of status, then the competition to appear higher status will push politics in an extreme direction.

There are no surrender papers for conservatives to sign; you cannot just accept defeat and move on, because progressivism is a transformative religion that must go forward by its very nature because there is always “so much more work to be done”. But it is not a coincidence that this new form of intolerant politics has found its home in the land of competition and meritocracy.

(Excerpt) Read more at unherd.com ...


TOPICS: Chit/Chat; Society
KEYWORDS: leftists; progressives
I stumbled upon this article purely by accident.

The author Ed West (and most of the Unherd columinsts, I believe) is from UK, and he emphasized too much on David Brooks and Ross Douthat (i.e. NYSlime) crowd. At least in this article.

Progressivism does not ONLY flourish in the US, but the perspective across the pond shed some unique light on foreign views on the US news.

The link in the article "Pity the poor avocado-eating graduates" by Mary Harrington, November 11, 2019, is also an interesting read. She was talking about the British young and Brexit, but the generalization could also apply to the young here in The States.

1 posted on 07/22/2020 8:12:37 AM PDT by Sir Napsalot
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To: Sir Napsalot

I am not impressed by the main argument—and a simple counter-example is Canada.

Canada is not known for being hyper-competitive, but it has become a virtue signaling nutcase of a country.

(btw, the quote about it being impossible for conservatives to surrender, because the left is always pushing, pushing is exactly correct. The left wants us dead—and then they will kill each other. They are a death cult.)


2 posted on 07/22/2020 8:19:19 AM PDT by cgbg (Masters don't want slaves talking about masters and slaves.)
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To: cgbg

Sounds a whole lot like the Aztecs. Tried to kill everyone with their ritual sacrifice, then Karma came to them in the form of smallpox.


3 posted on 07/22/2020 8:22:43 AM PDT by Morpheus2009 (If you want me to be afraid, then be consistent in your logic, standards, and your lies!)
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To: cgbg
Exactly. I find the argument unpersuasive as well.

One of the genius developments of the United States is the ability to find sufficient status in multiple settings.

Indeed, one type of status is in money, another in being valued in numerous small groups, another in becoming expert in any of a large number of activities.

It is the overwhelming leftist emphasis on status only coming from political power that causes most of the problems.

4 posted on 07/22/2020 8:27:43 AM PDT by marktwain (President Trump and his supporters are the Resistance. His opponents are the Reactionaries.)
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To: Sir Napsalot

I also have a hard time blaming competition. As a thought experiment, imagine a “land grant” situation where people (from the inner cities or anywhere else) were given a patch of land and some financial help. Go ahead. Live a quiet life. Raise a family while you grow some tomatoes. No corporate rat race for you. No hyper-competitive atmosphere to weigh you down. Just find your bliss.

How many would step up and take that deal? I say not many. Because the Progressives want free stuff. They aren’t avoiding competition. They are avoiding responsibility.


5 posted on 07/22/2020 8:30:50 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (If White Privilege is real, why did Elizabeth Warren lie about being an Indian?)
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To: cgbg

You provide a good example.

Man is supposed to have a hierarchy of priorities. The easiest example is a belief in God or individual faith. Another for many people is family - especially children. For some, it is the nation or even their job. I am spit-balling my priorities perhaps, but the key to happiness and order in my opinion is to have priorities above “self” on the hierarchy that fulfill our need for purpose.

The left has focused on removing God/faith and even discouraging the nuclear family. The importance of “self” has been elevated along with many constructs of man - government, grievances, environmentalism, sexual identity, etc etc. By attacking God, the family, and country and emphasizing “self” they have removed order from the system and we now see many very unhappy people who are angry and attack our priorities to elevate their own.

Misery loves company.


6 posted on 07/22/2020 8:41:00 AM PDT by volunbeer (Find the truth and accept it - anything else is delusional)
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To: marktwain
From the very beginning of the article:
But meritocracy has its dark side, in particular the low esteem it casts on those who don’t win at the game of life...

I.e., success doesn't turn on initiative and hard work, it depends on how lucky one may be? (I stopped reading the article at that point and went to the comments.)

You list just a few of the many work-arounds for any presumably "unlucky" non-winner and any single one of those or combination has been behind almost every human success.

7 posted on 07/22/2020 8:51:12 AM PDT by frog in a pot (MSM & talking heads have told 24/7, "Floyd was murdered by the police." Where is the evidence?)
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To: ClearCase_guy

I think you’re all missing the point. In a meritocracy you move up by proving yourself. In a progressive meritocracy you move up by constantly proving to your FB and Twitter friends that you are as woke as they are. You don’t have the luxury of allowing yourself time to think about anything logically, you must emote at an ever higher level as quickly as possible. Therefore there is never a bridge too far, a cause to crazy or action in support if that cause to extreme. You gain status by being an aggressive trender. Always needing to be at the fore front of the latest crusade, i.e. BLM. That is why you saw all the corporations jump on board immediately when all this recent foolishness started. You get extra points for being early and lose points as time passes without your joining the mob. For these mindless millennial white girls it just as important as getting in to the right sorority. It’s all about status, how your friends perceive your righteousness. Social media is a cruel world where no one cares about anything but whether you are sufficiently on the ‘right’ side of history.


8 posted on 07/22/2020 8:55:52 AM PDT by redangus
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To: redangus

Good points.

In recent decades we’ve heard a lot about resisting peer pressure, and the problems of bullying, and such. Of course, the “socialization” that takes place in government schools does not seem to generate the results that it claims to seek. We do live in a Progressive world where the only thing that seems to matter is making sure that the Cool Kids like you. FB and Twitter are the tools of measurement.


9 posted on 07/22/2020 9:01:33 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (If White Privilege is real, why did Elizabeth Warren lie about being an Indian?)
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To: ClearCase_guy

I think you’re all missing the point. In a meritocracy you move up by proving yourself. In a progressive meritocracy you move up by constantly proving to your FB and Twitter friends that you are as woke as they are. You don’t have the luxury of allowing yourself time to think about anything logically, you must emote at an ever higher level as quickly as possible. Therefore there is never a bridge too far, a cause to crazy or action in support if that cause to extreme. You gain status by being an aggressive trender. Always needing to be at the fore front of the latest crusade, i.e. BLM. That is why you saw all the corporations jump on board immediately when all this recent foolishness started. You get extra points for being early and lose points as time passes without your joining the mob. For these mindless millennial white girls it just as important as getting in to the right sorority. It’s all about status, how your friends perceive your righteousness. Social media is a cruel world where no one cares about anything but whether you are sufficiently on the ‘right’ side of history.


10 posted on 07/22/2020 9:23:41 AM PDT by redangus
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To: ClearCase_guy

Well said


11 posted on 07/22/2020 9:25:00 AM PDT by redangus
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To: Sir Napsalot
Leftism appears to have widespread support - appears to - because they yell the loudest and have the media on their side.

There's an old saying among lawyers: "If the facts are on your side, pound the facts into the table. If the law is on your side, pound the law into the table. If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table."

They pound the table, loudly. That doesn't mean they are winning.

12 posted on 07/22/2020 9:38:37 AM PDT by pepsi_junkie (Often wrong, but never in doubt!)
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To: Sir Napsalot

I always thought that offshoring manufacturing jobs, jobs the allowed the lower IQ but still good people to survive, was a HUGE mistake. I have been proven correct over time.


13 posted on 07/22/2020 9:43:04 AM PDT by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn...)
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To: Sir Napsalot

“American culture has always emphasised competition...”

There’s the problem right there. Progressivism flourishes in America because, for years, the Right has offered no alternative in the American classroom that offers any competitive/alternative point of view.

We have abandoned the breeding ground of America’s future (the classroom) to the Left and all Free Republic whiners can think to say is, “ I don’t get it! What happened?”


14 posted on 07/22/2020 9:50:22 AM PDT by MarDav
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To: MarDav

We have abandoned the breeding ground of America’s future (the classroom) to the Left
_____________
More complex than that. Consider America from 1860-1960 as a garden. At first the plantings were separated and controllable. As an example, so were schools, principals, school boards, funders, teachers, and educational thought leaders. Then various parts started to encorach and take over. Thinning out was not done. Tending the garden was left by some to hired hands without adequate oversight.
From 1960-2020 the garden has progressively been taken over by 1)power groups like unions 2)corporations and government bureaucrats instead of individuals and thinkers 3)special interest groups, often minority aliens 4)those with malign political motives. My timeframes are general and not totally accurate. But you have to have a workable educational structure, workable standards, workable discipline. The pushback and gardencleaning is up to us. It is now an ugly job with a lot of overgrowth and undergrowth but with courage and a plan we can do it.


15 posted on 07/22/2020 11:00:55 AM PDT by malach (We live in interesting times.)
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To: Sir Napsalot
Fifty years ago Saul Alinsky's disciples decided to take control of education...kindergarten to graduate school.

They've succeeded.

Just ask Bill Ayers,he'll tell ya!

16 posted on 07/22/2020 3:19:35 PM PDT by Gay State Conservative (The Rats Just Can't Get Over The Fact That They Lost A Rigged Election!)
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