This insightful essay by Malcolm MacKinnon, retired Professor of Sociology at the University of Toronto, was forwarded to us by our reader and commenter Cogito.
We quote it in full with permission of the author:
Unlike conservatives, progressives will stick with their side even when they profoundly disagree, or more likely appear to disagree with that side on core issues. Witness progressive Kirsten Powers who recently wrote a book (The Silencing) that was heavily critical of the progressive onslaught on speech freedom. Shortly after that book was published she left FNC and went to work for the Clinton News Network (world headquarters of Newspeak) [aka CNN] where she professes daily her undying loyalty to Hillary Clinton who, in turn, is a dedicated opponent of the First Amendment.
And if gentile progressives are tied at the hip to the Dem Party, just consider the case of Jewish progressives. They will support the Dems with big money and big votes even when the progressive party is anti Jew and anti Israel. Take the case of Bill Maher. A few months back Breitbart News could hardly hide its jubilation when Bill Maher sternly criticized “liberals” for their undying support of Islam, and that in so doing – in Maher’s words – they are in violation of their own most deeply held principles of equality.
Fast forward six months and we have two candidates running for the presidency: Progressive Hillary Clinton and conservative Donald Trump.
Hillary has has made no bones about it that she wants the First Amendment changed to reflect and protect progressive interests, and apparently this is just fine with Kirsten Powers. Progressives have gone to extraordinary lengths to paint Trump as an enemy of the First Amendment but this is the classic case of “the pot calling the kettle black”. The greatest threat to speech today comes from political correctness which is the attack arm of progressivism, used to silence critics of progressive policies. It’s worth recounting that political correctness is a term born under communist regimes where it was used by dissidents but also by party die hards and apparatchik to depict the absolute authority of the Party to dictate reality. Now, reality may profoundly disagreed with the party’s version but this disconnect can never be stated. Dissidents were of course appalled while apparatchiks by way of resignation had to deal with the bureaucratic problems created by the Orwellian lie. The point is that it’s progressives in today’s world who champion political correctness and it’s only natural that Hillary Clinton heads that charge. When Trump says that illegal immigration brings with it crime and drugs he’s told in no uncertain terms that he can’t say this. What Trump states may be true, says the progressive apparatchik when you’r not listening, but you can’t say it because when you start presenting reality as it exists, instead of the reality proposed by the Party, that’s a threat to our power and we won’t allow it!
As for Trump, he isn’t an apparatchik he’s a dissident. He will state reality as it exists despite the howls of protest those that promote party lines. And for stating reality as it exists Trump is called a “racist” much in the same way that communist dissidents were called “bourgeois reactionaries” or “enemies of the people.”
What’s a bourgeois reactionary?
“Someone who’s winning an argument with a communist.”
“What’s a racist?”
“Someone who’s winning an argument with a progressive.”
Like the dissident, Donald Trump presents reality as we apprehend it. He makes no bones about his distaste of political correctness and has attacked it at every turn which is why progressives evince such a visceral loathing towards him; for without the “battering ram” of political correctness (Lenin writes on using the proletariat as a battering ram), modern progressivism would be cut off at the knees. Thus it’s the Donald who’s the friend of open expression, of telling people what the world is really like, rather than hewing to the party line backed by progressives die hards and apparatchiks.
When progressives cast Trump as an enemy of the First Amendment they are doing exactly what Marx recommended:
“Slander your class enemy with your own worst sins.”
Like Kirsten Powers, Bill Maher is another example of the progressive apparatchik. Maher is Jewish and recently said that he doesn’t care if Hillary is corrupt, he doesn’t care if she’s a criminal, and he doesn’t care if she murdered Jonbenet Ramsey, he will still vote for her: “Anything but Trump!” Further, Maher will vote for Hillary despite the fact that Maher has serious misgivings about Islam while Hillary, in the starkest of all possible contrarieties, is a stout defender of Islam and all its works. Hillary tells us that she will import hundreds of thousands undocumented Muslim refugees from the war torn Middle East, events that Hillary as Secretary of State helped cause with that precipitous withdrawal of America forces from Iraq, an untimely withdrawal that created a power vacuum into which a marauding ISIS marched.
As a progressive die hard, Hillary naturally toes the party line when it comes to Islam. Indeed she wrote the book on it. As such, her politically correct line is completely divorced from reality. Over and over she states that “terrorism has nothing to do with Islam” and “that Islam is religion of peace.” What’s going on here is that the ultimate source of such gross misrepresentations is political power, that Islam is a big financial supporter of progressivism, wedded to the fact that Muslims represent a solid voting block for progressive parties. Progressives ape their communist exemplar when imposing a version of things at odds with reality which has become the stock in trade of today’s progressives. Make no bones about it, they will go to the wall to defend their unreality.
Meanwhile dissident Trump will have none of it. He has told Christians, gays and women that he will be their protector from the Muslim threat, inasmuch as that is what Islam is all about: It’s a threat to democracy and equality. How do we know this? Because Islam tells us so! And not only does Islam tell us so, it acts on its convictions, the results of which are repeatedly manifest in the grossest scenes imaginable. Dissident Trump further tells us that he will either halt, or place insuperable roadblocks in the way of Muslim immigration.
As for the equally tawdry case of Bill Maher, stooge, flunky, apparatchik of the progressive party line – whatever! Maher can’t vote for Trump yet Trump, unlike Hillary, isn’t corrupt, he isn’t a criminal, he doesn’t murder little girls and he tells us the truth on Islam. None of these matters to Maher, who is, in the last resort, not opposed to the game plan of Islam but is, in actuality, one of the sponsors of it.
What to make of progressives like Kirsten Powers and Bill Maher who for a brief and fleeting moment raise voices of protest against the sacred cows of progressives, but who, in the long run, come back to the bosom of the party based on speech restriction and the unreality of Islam narrative? both – I might add – profoundly at odds with their previously held positions? One is almost tempted to think that Powers and Maher are following party orders to make “us” seem less illiberal than we really are on free speech, and to be not so manifestly stupid as we appear to be with our other worldly – nay “phantasmagorical” – depictions of Islam.
Speculation is one thing and reality another. In the end, Powers is actually not a defender of free speech but its enemy. Maher isn’t a critic of Islam but an apostle of Islam. Ominous here is the larger undertow, that speech suppression is ineluctably linked to selling implausible versions of the world. You can’t have the second without the first which is precisely why progressives will go to the wall on speech suppression because you can’t make concocted versions of reality stick, when you have dissidents like Trump with speech protection walking around telling people the truth.
Thus a word to the wise for conservatives: Don’t start celebrating next time you hear a progressive criticizing fellow progressives. Hence closer to home, when the Toronto Star criticizes the UN for refusing to certify Rebel Media for an upcoming UN conference on the climate, don’t start clapping your hands with glee that the other side has miraculously come around to your way of thinking as defender of free speech. Progressives care most about the power that comes with winning elections and if supporting freedom of expression here and there obtains that end, then they will say and do what it takes. When was the last time you heard the Toronto Star criticizing the University of Toronto for restricting the speech rights of Professor Jordan Peterson?
This is the progressive mantra on free expression: “We believe in free speech, BUT ….
The Social Justice Warriors – now apparently so established as to be commonly alluded to as the SJW – are an enemy army. The enemy of justice. They are a worse threat to our civilization than Islam (with which they are tacitly allied).
The feminists are the worst of the army’s regiments.
The SJW – aka the Left, or “progressives” – must be constantly engaged in battle until totally defeated.
Some rational thinkers have been fighting them for years. May they be heard above the weeping and gnashing of teeth of the self-pitying enemy!
The academies are major battlefields. There the young, quiveringly sensitive warriors are falling spitefully on their “progressive” elders who launched the war in their own student days.
In a splendidly stinging article atFront Page, Bruce Thornton fights the good fight. He does not name the SJW, but his attack hits the warriors – especially the feminists – hard. Here is most of it:
Recently several progressive professors have publicly complained that their students are hounding them for failing to consider their tender sensibilities by straying beyond the p.c. orthodoxy on sexual assault, sex identity, linguistic correctness, and a whole host of other progressive shibboleths. Northwestern “feminist” professor Laura Kipnis found herself in a Title IX star chamber for an article she wrote decrying the immaturity of her legally adult students. … Another progressive confessed (anonymously, reminding us that academics are an invertebrate species) he was so “scared” and “terrified” of his “liberal” students that he self-censors his comments in class and has changed his reading list.
These incidents follow the complaints of other progressives like Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Chait that the intolerant ideology at the heart of progressivism is now getting out of hand – something that many of us have been writing about for nearly 3 decades. That these progressives should now be shocked at such intolerance and persecution after decades of speech codes, disruptions of conservative speakers, campus inquisitions which ignore Constitutional rights, cancellations of commencement speakers, and ideological litmus tests imposed on new hires and curricula, bespeaks not principle, but rather indignation that now they are on the receiving end of the bullying and harassment long inflicted on conservatives …
Indeed, the campus intolerance progressives are now whining about is the child of the progressive ideology many of the complainers still embrace. Modern progressivism is at heart grievance politics, the core of which is not universal principle, but identity predicated on being a victim of historical crimes like sexism and racism, and on suffering from wounding slights defined as such by the subjective criteria of the now privileged victim who is beyond judgment or criticism. Once acknowledged by the state, victim status can then be leveraged into greater political, institutional, and social power. The mechanism of this leverage is the state and federal laws that empower students whose feelings have been hurt by their teachers’ challenging or provocative questions and ideas.
Sexual harassment law, for example, with its “intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment” language, guarantees that subjective, irrational, or even lunatic standards of what constitutes an “offense” will be used to justify limits on academic freedom and expression, and to punish transgressors. The overbroad and elastic language of Title IX, the law used to haul Kipnis before a campus tribunal, likewise has invited subjective and fuzzy charges from anybody who feels that “on the basis of sex” she has been “excluded from participation in” or “denied the benefits of” or “subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”. Finally, the Department of Education’s 2011 “dear colleague” letter, which instructed schools investigating sexual assault complaints to use the “more likely than not” or “preponderance of the evidence” standard of evidence rather than the “clear and convincing” one, ensures that any complaint no matter how preposterous or irrational will have to be investigated, and the “guilty” punished.
Yet the obsession with the victim and his suffering, and the need for everybody else to cater to his sensitivity, reflects wider cultural trends. … In this therapeutic vision, the cultural ideal now is Sensitive Man, who revels in his superiority to others based on his sensitivity to suffering, and his public displays of what Alan Bloom called “conspicuous compassion” for state-anointed victims.
Consequently, as Charles Sykes writes in A Nation of Victims – which in 1992 detailed the cultural shifts that have led to today’s hyper-sensitive and litigious students: “One must be attuned to the feelings of others and adapt oneself to the kaleidoscopic shades of grievance, injury, and ego that make up the subjective sensibilities of the ‘victim’. Everyone must now accommodate themselves to the sensitivity of the self, whose power is based not on force or even shared ideology but on changeable and perhaps arbitrary and exaggerated ‘feelings’.”
In my 1999 book Plagues of the Mind, I drew out the implications for higher education of this cult of sensitivity, which has made “infants of people, particularly college students, who are led to believe that the world should be a place where they will never feel bad or suffer disappointment, where they will be coddled and indulged and mothered, and where their already overinflated estimation of themselves will be continually reinforced . . . No one seems concerned about what will happen to these adults when they have to enter the real world and discover that it can be a cold, uncaring place where their anxieties and psychic fears are not the prime order of business”. Sixteen years later Kipnis made a similar point in her article when she observed, “The myths and fantasies about power perpetuated in these new codes [of sexual behavior] are leaving our students disabled when it comes to the ordinary interpersonal tangles and erotic confusions that pretty much everyone has to deal with at some point in life.”
As Kipnis’s troubles show, today this obsession with the feelings of students and their demands that they be protected from anything unpleasant or “hurtful” has manifested itself in the hysteria over an alleged epidemic of sexual assault of female college students. (Professor Kipnis got into trouble for calling this phenomenon “sexual paranoia”.) Yet this is nothing new either. In the late 90s commentators were warning of the “New Puritanism”, and the “New Victorianism” – the title of Rene Denfeld’s 1995 analysis of this corruption of feminism.
In our view, feminism is a rotten ideology to start with. It can only go from bad to worse.
… The proliferation of “codes” governing courtship and sexual encounters in order to protect fragile women, the ever expanding list of prohibited words that might traumatize the “oppressed”, the establishment of tribunals judging the accused without the benefit of Constitutional protections, and the noisy protests, shaming, and invective like those aimed at Professor Kipnis, are all in order to enforce orthodoxy through fear and self-censorship a la the poltroonish professor mentioned earlier.
Worst of all, the spread of this intolerance throughout universities makes impossible the very purpose of higher education: to broaden students’ minds by allowing what Matthew Arnold called “the free play of the mind on all subjects” and by familiarizing them with the “best which has been thought and said in the world”. That ideal has now become scarce on our campuses. As Sykes wrote over 20 years ago, “Once feelings are established as the barometer of acceptable behavior, speech (and, by extension, thought) becomes only as free as the most sensitive group will permit.” This is precisely the state of affairs in American universities today, where the old notions that truth is a liberating force and that suffering teaches, and the great classics that embodied these and other verities of the human condition, have been sacrificed on the altar of victim politics and its aggrandizement of institutional power. So our universities now produce “snowflakes”, as some have called them, students with fragile psyches and empty minds. …
Now the progressives’ children are devouring their creators, the inevitable outcome of revolutionary passions and utopian goals that lack coherent principle and intellectual rigor. That’s why progressives suffering the wages of their ideology deserve no sympathy.
Why would the government of a country bring large numbers of its sworn enemies to live in it, and forbid entry to its friends who are in dire need of asylum?
What possible explanation could there be?
This is from Moonbattery:
DHS Buses In Somali Colonists Who Enter US From Mexico
… The U.S. is bringing in 100,000 Muslims every year through legal channels such as the United Nations refugee program and various visa programs, but new reports indicate a pipeline has been established through the southern border with the help of the federal agency whose job it is to protect the homeland.
Turning over homeland security to the likes of Barack Obama and Jeh Johnson is the ultimate example of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.
They are coming from Somalia and other African nations, according to a Homeland Security official who was caught recently transporting a busload of Africans to a detention center near Victorville, California.
For a variety of reasons, colonists from the failed state of Somalia are the least assimilable people on the planet. Importing Somalis means importing the three things Somalia is known for: poverty, chaos, and terrorism.
Somalia is the home base of al-Shabab, a designated foreign terrorist organization that slaughtered 147 Christians at a university in Kenya just last month. It executed another 67 at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013, and has put out warnings that it will target malls in Canada and the U.S. Dozens of Somali refugees in the U.S. have been arrested, charged and convicted of providing support to overseas terrorist organizations over the past few years. …
So when Anita Fuentes of OpenYourEyesPeople.com posted a video of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security bus pulling into a Shell station in Victorville, on the night of May 7, admitting he had a busload of Somalis and other Africans who had crossed the southern border, it raised more than a few eyebrows among those concerned with illegal immigration and national security.
A man who appeared to be a Customs and Border Patrol agent was filmed at the gas station at 10:30 p.m. When questioned by Fuentes, he informed her that his large touring bus was full of Somalis and other Africans being transported to a nearby detention center. …
“Well they’re coming in asking for asylum,” he said.
“That’s what it is, that special key word huh? That’s a password now?” Fuentes said.
“That’s what the password is now,” he responds.
From that you can deduce how long the Somali welfare colonists will be incarcerated at the detention facility before being distributed throughout the country as part of Obama’s fundamental transformation of the American population. If DHS were doing the job it explicitly exists to perform, these people would be stopped at the border rather than brought into the country. How many of them are affiliated with ISIS — which is said to have a presence just over the border — is anyone’s guess.
Writing in April in USA Today about the murder of 12 Christian migrants thrown into the sea by Muslims for praying to Jesus instead of Allah, columnist Kirsten Powers stated that President Barack Obama “just can’t seem to find any passion for the mass persecution of Middle Eastern Christians or the eradication of Christianity from its birthplace.”
The president’s response appears to be United States policy. Evidence suggests that within the administration not only is there no passion for persecuted Christians under threat of genocide from the Islamic State, there is no room for them, period. In fact, despite ISIS’ targeting of Iraqi Christians specifically because they are Christians, and, as such, stand in the way of a pure, Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East (and beyond), the U.S. State Department has made it clear that “there is no way that Christians will be supported because of their religious affiliation”.
An Anglican bishop revealed that this policy position presented to him in his most recent interaction with State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). The Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs, bishop of the Diocese of CANA East (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) is an advocate for persecuted people worldwide. On this occasion, Dobbs was appealing on behalf of a group of Assyrian Christians desperately in need of rescue from northern Iraq.
The serious nature of the threat against these Assyrian Christians is evident because not only do they have permission from their own bishop to leave the country, they have his blessing and urging, as well. Until recently, church leaders have almost uniformly asked the people to remain, fearing that the Middle East will be emptied of Christians. But many church leaders have now concluded that the only way for Middle Eastern Christians to survive is to actually leave.
How bad is it for Christians in northern Iraq at present? In the words of Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Northern Iraq:
Christianity in Iraq is going through one of its worst and hardest stages of its long history, which dates back to the first century. Throughout all these long centuries, we have experienced many hardships and persecutions, offering caravans of martyrs. Yet 2014 brought the worst acts of genocide against us in our history. …
In June 2014, with cooperation and assistance from local Sunni Muslim extremists, ISIS took over Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and home to many Christians and other religious minorities. Christians, Yazidis, Mandeans and others were targeted for destruction, and within just the first week of ISIS’ occupation, more than 500,000 people fled the city. The homes of Christians were marked with the Arabic letter “nun,” standing for Nazarene. Christians were threatened with death if they did not convert to Islam, pay jizya and live as a subjected people — “dhimmi” — or flee immediately.
As dhimmi they would have to pay to live.
Nazarenes, to this day the Arabic word for “Christians”, was the name of the first followers of “Jesus”. They were all Jews, and did not cease to be Jews. They believed that he was the Messiah, was crucified by the Romans, rose from the dead, and would come again to save them from Roman domination. Non-Jews of the region made no distinction between them and later followers of “Jesus Christ” – the converts of St. Paul – whom we know as “Christians”. The Nazarenes died out. The Christians came to be a majority in the region of Mesopotamia until the Muslim conquests of the 7th. century. They have lived there continuously until now. Archbishop Warda says: “We now face the extinction of Christianity as a religion and as a culture from Mesopotamia [Iraq].”
Two months later, ISIS seized control of Qaraqosh, “the Christian Capital of Iraq,” and the neighboring Christian villages, all in the province of the Biblical landmark of Nineveh. Christianity Today reported that the siege displaced one-fourth of Iraq’s total Christian population. According to a March 26, 2015 article in Newsweek, as many as 1.4 million Christians lived in their ancestral home of Iraq prior to 2003. Now the number of Christians is estimated at anywhere from 260,000 to 350,000, with near half of that number displaced within the country. Newsweek explained that Iraq’s remaining Christians have mostly fled north to safer areas under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government. “But now ISIS is threatening them there, too.”
Dobbs … informed US State Department officials of a plan by one well-known Christian international aid agency to provide safer housing for Iraqi Christians. … The State Department advised him against setting up emergency housing for Christians in the region, saying it was “totally inappropriate”.
Also inappropriate, it seems, is the resettling of the most vulnerable Assyrian Christians in the United States. Donors in the private sector have offered complete funding for the airfare and the resettlement in the United States of these Iraqi Christians that are sleeping in public buildings, on school floors, or worse. But the State Department — while admitting 4,425 Somalis to the United States in just the first six months of FY2015, and possibly even accepting members of ISIS through the Syrian and Iraqi refugee program, all paid for by tax dollars – told Dobbs that they “would not support a special category to bring Assyrian Christians into the United States”.
The United States government has made it clear that there is no way that Christians will be supported because of their religious affiliation, even though it is exactly that — their religious affiliation — that makes them candidates for asylum based on a credible fear of persecution from ISIS. The State Department, the wider administration, some in Congress and much of the media and other liberal elites insist that Christians cannot be given preferential treatment. Even within the churches, some Christians are so afraid of appearing to give preferential treatment to their fellow Christians that they are reluctant to plead the case of their Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters. …
On April 30, The Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom director, Nina Shea, wrote about the State Department’s refusing a non-immigrant visa to an Iraqi Catholic nun. Sister Diana Momeka of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena was to come to Washington and testify about what ISIS is doing to Christians and other religious minorities (all the non-Christian members of the delegation were approved). She received a refusal letter saying, “You were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the United States would be consistent with the classification of the visa.” And she was told at the U.S. consulate in Erbil that she was denied “because she was an IDP [Internally Displaced Person]”. In other words, Sister Diana would use her non-immigrant visa to remain illegally in the United States. …
In a follow up article on May 3, Shea revealed that the State Department requested that she revise her article. Shea refused, and wrote, concerning the State Department’s actions:
Those who decided to block Sister Diana from entering this country on a visitor visa acted in a manner consistent with the administration’s pattern of silence when it comes to the Christian profile of so many of the jihadists’ “convert-or-die” victims in Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya and Iraq. In typical U.S. condolence statements, targeted Christians have been identified simply as “lives lost”, “Egyptian citizens”, “Kenyan people”, “innocent victims”, or “innocent Iraqis”.
As such, don’t they have a better case for being granted asylum than Muslims, in the present state of the world?
The nun was finally let in on a visitor’s visa, and testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
I don’t suppose her testimony, or anything else, will change the immigration policy of the administration, which remains the puzzle of the age.
(Hat-tip for the Moonbattery article to our contributing commenter liz)