The Moral Bankruptcy Of The Progressive Left
Slowly Then All At Once
It is a truism that we live in a world of greys. Not in the sense that the sun never shines or that we don’t experience highs and lows but rather that we are frequently presented with situations that are neither black nor white.
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You should never tell a lie…unless it’s to spare someone’s feelings. Killing is wrong…except in self-defense. Violence is never the solution…unless turning the other cheek will get you killed. These obvious examples underline the extent to which our choices are not always between good and bad but sometimes between bad and worse.
How do we navigate these situations?
If we have been raised right, we possess a moral foundation that assists us with difficult decisions. Some foundations are religious, some are cultural, and some are a mix of the two but all establish a means of determining right and wrong. “Thou shall not kill,” “turn the other cheek,” “do unto others as you would have done unto you” are aspirational rules that are difficult, if not impossible to follow at all times but which apply equally to everyone we meet. If we fail to meet these standards it is due to the situations we find ourselves in rather than the identity of who we are interacting with.
I have concluded that there is a sizable portion of the left who would disagree with this sentiment. I am referring to those on the far left, Marxists, Progressives, anarchists, and the like. These people have exchanged a moral foundation that provides exceptions based on situations for one that provides excuses based on identity.
The progressive left’s slow moral decline began with good intentions. Society has taken great strides to eliminate inequality but has fallen short of complete success. This has caused progressives to exchange beliefs based on equality, such as color blindness, for more divisive practices such as Anti-Racism, CRT, and DEI.
In doing so they have abandoned a creed which demanded that people be “judged on the content of their character” for one that excuses anti-social or criminal behavior not as the failure of individuals, but rather as a result of white supremacy.
This extreme version of identity politics has led to:
Excusing Rioting and Looting as powerful tools “to bring about real, lasting change in society” and questioning “the justice of ‘law and order,’ and distribution of property and wealth in an unequal society.”
Efforts to abolish prisons, defund the police, and eliminate cash bail are based on the belief that racial discrepancies in prisons are due to racism, not crime.
Race-based judicial arguments that seek to reduce sentences for minorities and to establish separate legal systems for indigenous people in Canada on the grounds of “disproportionate harm” and “violent settler colonialism and systemic racism.” are well documented in nearly every area of law.”
Efforts in Australia to undermine the democratic principle of “one person one vote” by creating a separate body - the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice - that "may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples".
Under progressive ideology, it no longer is right and wrong determined by actions, but instead by identity.
This is, at best, a case of misplaced compassion. At worst, it will lead to the creation of different tiers of citizenship requiring some to obey the law while others are permitted to engage in violence to address perceived historical wrongs.
Over the last few years, the progressive left has pushed an ideology that equates words with violence to suppress speech it disagrees with while simultaneously presenting violent resistance as acceptable provided you are “oppressed.”
The left’s increasing use of identity to excuse anti-social behavior, justify crime, and defend claims of white supremacy is evidence of slow descent into moral bankruptcy. While it has been accelerating for some time now, it has taken a turn for the worse recently in the wake of the horrific attacks in Israel. Rather than condemn the horrific crimes attacks by Hamas, a number of progressive individuals have sided with Hamas and justified the violence:
Pro-Hamas protesters at George Mason University chant “they’ve got tanks we’ve got hang gliders, glory to the resistance fighters.”
Zareena Grewal, an American studies professor at Yale University, wrote on social media that “Settlers are not civilians. This is not hard.”
The York Federation of Students and the York University Graduate Students’ Association referred to Hamas’ attack on civilians as a “strong act of resistance” against the “settler-colonial apartheid state of so-called Israel.”
The co-president of the University of Sussex Intersectional Feminist Society and leader of the Friends of Palestine group gave a speech in Brighton, England calling the Hamas attack on civilians "beautiful and inspiring."
A Stanford instructor divided students into two camps: Jews and non-Jews. The instructor then told the Jewish students to gather their things, stand in a corner, and said, “This is what Israel does to the Palestinians.” The teacher then asked, “How many people died in the Holocaust?” When a student said, “Six million,” the teacher replied, “Colonizers killed more than 6 million. Israel is a colonizer.”
By emphasizing Hamas’ use of paragliders, Black Lives Matter Chicago, and UNC Students for Justice in Palestine they supported both Hamas and the attack on civilians.
The concept of settler-colonialism, while developed in the 1960s, has only recently been used by the far left to justify violence. By identifying one group as “settlers,” progressives set the other side up as the victims, justifying them to engage in whatever violence they deem necessary to end their “oppression.”
The progressive left’s slow abandonment of morality has been apparent for some time. Its descent is characterized by a prioritization of identity over right and wrong and the use of history to sort people into oppressors and the oppressed.
This practice does nothing to solve the world’s problems and most likely makes matters worse by encouraging people to view their neighbors as enemies. Despite what should be obvious, it is unlikely that progressives and others on the far left will embrace Western morality and step away from the abyss.
While progressivism may be lost, the left itself can be saved but only if those on the center-left, can be convinced to condemn the beliefs and practices of the radical racists who now inhabit the progressive left.
In the meantime, the conflict in the Middle East will continue and many more will likely die. In time, however, it, like all past conflicts, will eventually end, becoming just one more conflict for historians to debate. In doing so they may question the role that progressives played in the conflict and wonder how so many became morally bankrupt. The answer will be two ways, gradually and then all at once.
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