A Glossary of Progressive Ideas: Part One
Today, I begin slowly compiling a collection of warnings and explications concerning the modern socio-political climate, roughly conceived as a handy glossary of progressive bromides and euphemisms for the benefit of any possible visitor to late modernity from a more civilized time. The collection will be developed in no particular order; but just to annoy the social justice crowd, I shall begin on the old-fashioned gentlemanly principle, “Women and children first.”
When feminists say they are fighting for women’s rights, they mean primarily the right to forsake every quality, characteristic, or virtue that made the feminine an important and life-enhancing principle. They are fighting for the right to be uninteresting and banal. They are fighting to erase the legacy of the women history has portrayed with the most luster, and to prohibit such glowing stars from ever moving through our skies again. Why would persons who claim to be women want to do this? It doesn’t take any special insight or intellect to understand. It takes only a passing acquaintance with the normal dynamics of female rivalry. Feminism merely seeks to universalize and legitimize female envy as a state-sponsored political position, to the benefit of nature’s losers.
When men claim to be feminists, they are not only joining their female comrades in rejecting the memory of great women, but also implicitly denying the legacy of the masculine and all of its prime examples. In other words, they are proving the relative power of the feminine over the masculine by sacrificing their very dignity and right to live in a desperate and pathetic attempt — the last play of a losing match — to get women to sleep with them.
There is a platitude peculiar to democratic eras, to the effect that the young are braver than the old. But a platitude, as Mencken pointed out, is “an idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone, and (b) that is not true.” Thus, though there will always be rare and notable exceptions, the young are not generally brave. On the contrary, had they not the legitimate excuse of being incompletely developed, it would be closer to the truth to say that the young, as a rule, are cowards. What is mistaken for courage in the young is merely rashness, which is the vice of acting with precipitous bravado due to not fully understanding the situation. Hence, as Aristotle observes, the rash often appear quite brave until the full truth of a danger dawns on them, at which point they typically run away in fear.
The reason, then, that, as is often noted, the young tend to be more progressive in their political views and behavior, is not because they are bold enough to embrace the future, which is Marxist nonsense promulgated by totalitarian adults who wish to exploit youthful fear by flattering it. The reason is that progressivism is by definition paternalistic, and the young are particularly susceptible to one fear above all: the fear of soon having to make their way in the world without the parental safety net. Thus, they reflexively cling to the political approximation of parental security, parental provision, and the parental assumption of responsibility for directing the child’s life on his behalf. (This fear-induced political tendency is buttressed, of course, by the indoctrinated amorality that allows the young to see only the security benefits of progressivism, without a qualm about its obliteration of other people’s freedom of thought, action, and property.)
“Young people deserve to have their voice heard,” say all the best progressives when they see the strategic value of using the innocent as the face of their more tyrannical ideas.
No; young people deserve to be taught how to listen to the voices calling from far beyond their transient moment — beyond their public school indoctrinators, their career-driven specialist “researchers” in the university classrooms, and their propagandizing popular culture. They deserve what today’s world is deliberately calibrated to deny them, namely the chance to have their minds opened to wonder, to the enormous mystery of being, and to the vague sense that there is an ultimate truth waiting for them somewhere, whispering to them in the dark, if only they can learn to train their ears to listen perfectly, at just the right moment. They deserve the opportunity to experience the painful, almost hopeless, awareness that hearing this whisper in the dark, and somehow deciphering its secret, is the difference being whole and being incomplete, between being fully alive and being largely dead.