Dennis Prager has been saying for as long as I’ve been listening: Movements don’t close shop when they’ve achieved their original aims; they radicalize.
It’s certainly true of feminism, which went from winning the vote for women, to burning bras in the streets, to bitter hatred of men, to the NFL Halftime Porn Show “empowering” women to . . . pole dance for a national audience including children? I think I’ll pass on the new empowerment if it requires pornographic sexual objectification or defines womanhood as being more like men. Like coaching an NFL team? Seriously 49ers? Turn in your man-cards.
The same could be said about the civil rights movement, which started with the abolitionists, went through MLK, and ended up with Black Lives Matter. What the heck?
Or, how about the environmental movement? Conservation was a good thing as was the goal of cleaning up the polluted air and water in our cities (I grew up playing near the infamous burning Cuyahoga River and remember seeing detergent suds floating down the feeder creeks). It worked. We improved air and water quality, so now what? Groups like ELF (Earth Liberation Front) and Earth First grew up and started bombing science labs, and elected representatives proposed commie takeovers of the entire energy sector (energy = life) and they’re taken seriously!
Andrew Klavan has been making similar observations in his podcasts over the past weeks. Progressives take no account of the progression of time. The 1619 Project is all about teaching our kids that America is as racist and oppressive to blacks as it ever was. Trump hatred has people believing nonsense like we’re living in Germany in 1939, or we’re going down the path of Venezuela — because of Trump(!) and not the socialists in the Democrat party, according to Anne Applebaum (post).
R.R. Reno has a nice synthesis of what’s happened in the introduction to his new book, Return of the Strong Gods: Nationalism, Populism, and the Future of the West:
A young friend in Australia sent me an essay that read like a flaming indictment of the status quo. It ended with the arresting sentence, “I am twenty-seven years old and hope to live to see the end of the twentieth century.”
He explains that the driving forces of a given era don’t neatly line up with aughts and we’re still living in a continuation of the 20th century:
The violence that traumatized the West between 1914 and 1945 evoked a powerful, American-led response that was anti-fascist, anti-totalitarian, anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist, and anti-racist. These anti imperatives define the postwar era. Their aim is to dissolve the strong beliefs and powerful loyalties thought to have fueled the conflicts that convulsed the twentieth century.
…But, as my young correspondent recognizes, the fall of the Soviet Union did not bring the postwar era to a close, for it marked not the end of the anti imperatives but rather their intensification [emphasis mine].
The death grip of the anti imperatives on the West is plain to see. After Donald Trump’s election, a number of mainstream journalists collapsed in hysterics: He was an “authoritarian” of one sort or another. The same goes for European populism. A specter is haunting Europe, countless journalists and opinion writers warn — the specter of fascism. Tract after tract has likened our times to Germany during the 1930s. Indeed, it is a sign of nuance when a member of our chattering class compares Trump to the Spanish strongman Francisco Franco rather than Hitler. Today’s intelligentsia compulsively return to the trying decades of the early twentieth century. It is as if they desperately want to keep the last century going, insisting that the fight against fascism remains our fight.
This is absurd. It is not 1939. Our societies are not gathering themselves into masses marching in lockstep. Central planners do not clog our economies. There is no longer an overbearing bourgeois culture bent on “exclusion.” Bull Connor isn’t commissioner of public safety in Birmingham. Instead, our societies are dissolving. Economic globalization shreds the social contract. Identity politics disintegrates civic bonds. A uniquely Western anti-Western multiculturalism deprives people of their cultural inheritance. Mass migration reshapes the social landscape. Courtship, marriage, and family no longer form our moral imaginations. Borders are porous, even the one that separates men from women. Tens of thousands die of heroin overdoses. Hundred of thousands are aborted. Of course my young friend wants the twentieth century to end. So do I.
By denying the progress that’s been made, progressives have become what they claim to hate: fascistic, totalitarian, culture colonizing, credentialed authoritarians, and, yes, even racist. Look at how they treat blacks who are not in lockstep with their agenda.
I agree with Reno and his young friend. #Endthe20th already.Published in