The Consequences of Progressive Bubble-dom
Some may be wondering why I’m not being even-handed about the issue of bubble-dom. In particular, why focus only on “progressive bubble-dom?” The answer is that, although it is theoretically possible for a conservative, libertarian or other politically positioned person to live in a bubble, the fact that Progressives dominate our culture (mainstream media, Hollywood, etc.) and institutions (education, unions, high tech industry, professional organizations, etc.) means that non-Progressives have a much more difficult job of maintaining a bubble’s boundary. Certainly many non-Progressives withdraw into groups that share their beliefs. However, even within that group it is neigh impossible to avoid the onslaught of Progressive ideas and policies as they move through everyday life.
With regard to consequences, this has been a major theme of this Blog since it’s beginning. Some of these consequences were introduced in the previous post, including moral contempt for, refusal to engage in discussion with and inability to utilize persuasive argumentation with non-Progressives. These issues were examined in my recent posts on immigration policy, most directly in this concluding post (emphasis added).
There is, however, a general consideration that may be of use to explore as we exit this particular topic. Although it has been indirectly referred to, it has not yet been specifically addressed. That being Progressive Christianity’s all too common presumption of a moral, intellectual and theological superiority that excuses them from engaging as peers with those holding opposing perspectives. I certainly am not claiming that this problem is uniformly the case as I personally know numerous members of this group who engage on the merits.
However, I believe the argument can be credibly made that, due to their undeniable success in occupying most key positions of social and organizational power, the Progressive movement has become far too dependent on intimidation at the expense of persuasion.
This strategy is pursued by never acknowledging opposition as being legitimate and by insisting that opposing points of view are motivated by moral defects. Thus they are not seeking to persuade peers to see their point of view, but rather using social and/or organizational force to obtain submission. Those who have been following this blog will have no trouble recalling cases where senior leaders in the PC(USA) have aggressively utilized these tactics.
It is the accumulation of these defects that has led to our current sorry state, in which any disagreement on policy degenerates into cruel name-calling.
“The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.”
This irresponsible descent into character assassination over the slightest deviation from Progressive group-think has seriously torn our nation’s social fabric. The recent tragic events in Charlottesville VA laid bare this damage.
There was a time in my (more distant) memory when the epithet “racist” was reserved for application to only those who identified themselves with or vocally aligned their opinions with groups that were openly racist in their ideology. Yes, it was understood that all people develop stereotypes and preferences that are unfair to or stigmatize others, with the victims most often being black. However, these moral failures didn’t rise to the level of “racist.” That is, the assumption was that a person existed within acceptable moral bounds unless something that they said or did clearly proved the opposite.
Although there were steps along the way, the major break in this social assumption occurred with the election of Barack Obama to the Presidency. For, to our shock and dismay, those of us who opposed his administration’s policies found ourselves regularly accused of racism because the head of that administration happened to be black.
In fact, so out of control did this situation become that the accusation of racism didn’t even have to be connected to a racial issue. I’ve already documented the use of this vile tactic in writing by a Presbytery of the PCUSA in the debate on the definition of Christian marriage. I must add that I was personally accused of being a racist (by an Elder in the PCUSA no less) while arguing for the position that Christian marriage is defined by Christ Himself to be the union of one man and one woman.
So, when a few hundred KKK and other white-supremacists gathered in Charlottesville to publicly demonstrate for their evil, hateful beliefs, and, one of these people committed murder, there was great need to discuss the issue of racist ideology in numerous public settings. Many honorable, well meaning leaders and people did just that.
However, the problem is that, with the epithet of “racist” having been applied so indiscriminately and carelessly to literally millions of people, and, current Progressive leaders explicitly using the tragedy in Charlottesville to do this very thing, when many people heard the word “racist” they reasonably wondered if it was being directed at them. So, when this topic was discussed, it was done within context of a “poisoned well” situation.
Thus, our nation’s ability to reasonably discuss what is surely an important issue has been undermined by irresponsible use of the very term required to hold that discussion. This is one tragedy among many that have rendered our Republic incapable of making progress in so many areas.
Yes, there is plenty of blame to go around for this current political and cultural collapse. Many others have made excellent critiques of conservative and other group’s failings. They should be listened to and carefully considered. However, until the Progressive Left, including the PCUSA’a leadership, exits its bubble and rejoins the rest of humanity on terms of mutual respect the healing process cannot begin.