Monday, June 27, 2016

Progressivism

.... A faith has been shaken, illusions shattered, pieties punctured. This is what happens when a life-orienting system of belief gets smashed on the rocks of history.

The name of that shattered system of belief? Progressivism.

I used to be a conservative. I now consider myself a liberal. But I have never called myself a progressive. There's a reason why, and it has nothing to do with policy.

Liberals believe in the rule of law; in individual rights to speech, worship, assembly, and private property; in an independent judiciary and civilian control of the military; in representative institutions founded on the consent of the governed; in democratic elections, not as ends in themselves but as checks on the power of government and as a means of gauging and forging popular support for policies pursued by public officials in the name of the common good.

Progressives believe in all of that, too, but they add something else: a quasi-eschatological faith in historical progress that gives the movement its name. This belief has many sources, and it takes many forms. One stream flows from liberal Protestant theology on down through Woodrow Wilson's hopes for moral advances at home and an end to armed conflict abroad — with both of them realized by an elite class of public-spirited experts. The same theologically infused faith informs Barack Obama's frequent invocation of an "arc of history" that "bends toward justice." ....

Whether or not it's expressed in explicitly theological terms, progressivism holds out a very specific moral vision of the future. It will be a world beyond particular attachments, beyond ethnic or linguistic or racial or religious or national forms of solidarity. In their place will be the only acceptable form of solidarity: humanitarian universalism. ....

.... The big questions of politics will already be answered, the big disputes settled once and for all. Everyone will understand that all particular forms of solidarity are morally indefensible (just various forms of racism) and that all strong political stands against humanitarian universalism in the political realm are politically unacceptable (just various forms of fascism).

It would be one thing if progressives understood their universalistic moral and political convictions to constitute one legitimate partisan position among many. But they don't understand them in this way. They believe not only that their views deserve to prevail in the fullness of time, but also that they are bound to prevail. ....

...[W]hat if progressivism isn't inevitable at all? What if people will always be inclined by nature to love their own — themselves, their families, their neighbors, members of their churches, their fellow citizens, their country — more than they love the placeless abstraction of "humanity"? In that case, the act of ignoring or even denigrating this love will have the effect of provoking its defensive wrath and ultimately making it stronger. .... [more]
From Wikipedia
In political theory and theology, to immanentize the eschaton means trying to bring about the eschaton (the final, heaven-like stage of history) in the immanent world. It has been used by conservative critics as a pejorative reference to certain utopian projects, such as socialism, communism, and transhumanism. In all these contexts it means "trying to make that which belongs to the afterlife happen here and now (on Earth)" or "trying to create heaven here on Earth."
How Brexit shattered progressives' dearest illusions