Why the Categories of Left and Right are Worse than Useless

The idea of a political “left” and “right” originated in revolutionary France around the turn of the 19th century when members of the National Assembly who were more supportive of the throne sat on the right, while those who supported revolution sat on the left.  Analysts employ the concept of a political left and right every day.

A continuum is often drawn between the political left and right:

Left/Progressive <————————————————> Right/Conservative

Placing the left and the right on a line for analysis is worse than comparing apples and oranges.  It’s like creating a continuum between kumquats and Volkswagens; it makes no sense and causes confusion.  They are very different ideologies in several fundamental ways.  Unless one compares those critical differences, not the amalgamation of ideas that comprise each ideology, confusion reigns.

Political analyst David Nolan (among others), frustrated with the inadequacy of this one-dimensional analysis, created a two-dimensional graph to better explain political ideologies.  Nolan believed that the amount of government control advocated was the crucial difference between political camps.  He further distinguished between government control in the economic and personal realms.  The Nolan Chart maps ideologies on a chart with two axes: one measuring economic freedom and the other personal freedom.

Nolan Chart – Wikipedia

The Nolan Chart is a political spectrum diagram created by David Nolan in 1969. The chart divides human political views into two vectors-economic opinion and personal opinion-to produce a type of Cartesian chart. It expands political view analysis beyond the traditional ” left-right” line, which measures politics along a one-dimensional line, into a graph with two dimensions: degrees of economic freedom and personal freedom.

As I’ve asserted in my book Newthink: The Hidden Logic of Progressivism and the Usurpation of the Traditional American Worldview, because of the nature of worldviews, the three foundations of progressivism are atheism, group struggle and big government.  Likewise, the three foundations of conservatism are God worship, individual struggle and small government.  Comparing these three qualities makes the differences between ideologies clear.

Unfortunately, comparing three factors like these requires a three-dimensional graph with three axes that only a geek or a social scientist could love.  Luckily, for practicality’s sake, because group/individual struggle and the big/small government factors are highly correlated (ideologies promoting group struggle tend to favor big government), we can eliminate one of them.  That leaves us with a manageable graph tracking just two factors: the level of (monotheistic) God worship and the level of government control.

Analyzing political groups or societies by their fundamental features, which I assert are their levels of God worship and government control, rather than worn-out and irrelevant historical labels clarifies the relationship between “left” and “right.”  Progressives often regard America of the 1950s, which was more religious and had a smaller government than today’s America, as a prototypical right-wing society.  But as the chart above makes clear, it was worlds away from the totalitarian and more secular society of Nazi (National Socialist German Workers’ Party) Germany, which is often, in a manner slanderous to conservatives, characterized as right-wing.  This ideology chart also clarifies the direction America is moving as it becomes more progressive over the years.

The notion of political groups having either a leftist or a rightist ideology is less than useless – it obscures the true nature of those groups. Further, this conception causes confusion, doubt and inaction among those on the right because it ignores their principles and unfairly bunches them with repugnant groups with which they have no real affiliation.  So, conservatives: Forget left.  Forget right.  Call yourselves conservatives or traditional Americans.  And call the left what they are: secular, victim group-oriented statists.

Different Worldviews, Different Virtues: Honesty vs. Utility

Different worldviews promote different virtues.

Under the traditional American worldview, honesty was honored.  From the fable of young George Washington confessing to his father that he chopped down his cherry tree to the tales of Honest Abe Lincoln, we taught our children to revere truthfulness.  Everything we did was exposed to the omniscient view of God.  Under Americanism’s Universe Metaphor, Americans unconsciously believed that the Universe was a Home and God was the Father.  Maybe we could fool other people, maybe we could fool ourselves, but we could never fool God.  In traditional America, we achieved moral merit by what we did, not what we said.  God could see the good in our actions over a long lifetime.  In such a world, honesty was the only policy.

Under the progressive worldview, God has gone missing.  There is no omniscient Being watching and judging, so what is actually true is less important than what works.  (And, by the way, since progressives accrue virtue by what they say and the positions they hold, they constantly virtue signal.  Virtue signalling, a fruitless endeavor under God’s all-seeing eye, increases your progressive virtue among your fellow human beings; there is no need to worry about God’s opinion since he is out of the picture.)

It’s almost hard to remember, but traditional Americans – more akin to the Bushes than  Barack – dominated the left in the mid-twentieth century.  These classic liberals tended to believe in government social programs, but were generally religious rather than humanist, family-oriented rather than victim-group-oriented, and at least somewhat aware of the importance of balancing government with the private sector.  Right-and-wrong, more than political correctness, governed them.

Enter former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who seems to be more a classic liberal than a progressive.  Dershowitz understands and honors the principles of the Constitution, which lead him to defend President Trump in some situations, like Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.  Dershowitz seems to be a man of principle who honestly and evenhandedly applies those principles, even to those he doesn’t like.

Dershowitz: My Liberal Friends Say My Trump Defenses Are 100 Percent Right, But I Should Also Shut The F**k Up

Politico wrote about a few top media and political figures and how they dealt with being mentioned by President Trump on Twitter. For one Hillary Clinton supporter, liberal Democrat Alan Dershowitz says his family has seen better days.

But the progressives who surround him deal in utility, not honesty:

My really, really close friends say, ‘You’re 100 percent right in your analysis, but can’t you just shut the f–k up and not talk at all,’” he said. “They tell me, ‘This is a time for selective silence.’ My nephew thinks I’m helping keep in office one of the greatest dangers in American history. I tell him I’m just standing up for principle. He tells me that I don’t have to stand up so loud. (Politico)

Were all traditional Americans honest?  Are all progressives Machiavellian schemers?  Of course not.  But honesty was valued higher under the traditional American worldview; pragmatism in achieving one’s social goals is valued higher by progressives.  This utilitarian attitude among Dershowitz’s leftist friends is typical.  For them, the struggle always comes first; honesty is way down the list.

For more explanation of this perspective, read my book Newthink: The Hidden Logic of Progressivism and the Usurpation of the Traditional American Worldview.

Tavis Smiley: Presumed Guilty – When the Pseudoppressed Become Pseudoppressors

Tavis Smiley may or may not be guilty of sexual harassment.  But, under the progressive worldview, he is definitely guilty of being male and powerful.  And that’s enough — certainly enough to toss out due process.  The progressive virtue he has accrued from his status as a black and part of the progressive elite didn’t spare him.  As Smiley says, “The PBS investigators refused to review any of my personal documentation, refused to provide me the names of any accusers, refused to speak to my current staff and refused to provide me any semblance of due process to defend myself against allegations from unknown sources.” When the pseudoppressed become pseudoppressor, they make the journey from presumption of virtue to presumption of guilt.  That must be a surprising and difficult trip.

Tavis Smiley fires back at sexual harassment allegations: ‘PBS made a huge mistake’

Talk-show host Tavis Smiley defended himself again against sexual harassment allegations today on “Good Morning America,” saying, “PBS made a huge mistake here.” PBS suspended the distribution of his eponymous talk show earlier this month after an investigation, noting “multiple, credible…

For more explanation of this perspective, read my book Newthink: The Hidden Logic of Progressivism and the Usurpation of the Traditional American Worldview.

Virtuous Violence

To progressives, violence by the oppressed against their oppressors is virtuous.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief goes like this:

• Society is a Battlefield
• Social interaction is war between groups.
• Warring groups either dominate or are dominated.
• The dominant group ruthlessly oppresses and exploits the weaker group.
• The oppressed tend to be virtuous.
• The actions of the oppressed are generally virtuous.
• Traditional tenets of behavior don’t apply to the oppressed.
• Violence by the oppressed against the oppressors is virtuous.

WorldviewTree_p115

 

virtuous violence n : violent behavior which a particular worldview sanctions and honors

Progressives see violence by the various pseudoppressed groups as a righteous rebellion against oppression and exploitation. Violence by the poor exudes progressive virtue because they are felt to be fighting their wealthy exploiters. In some neighborhoods, police are perceived as tools of the rich or of European-Americans, and become targets. Violent behavior by women, whether Thelma and Louise fantasy style or in real life, tends to be seen in devoutly progressive circles as a legitimate tool of liberation, or an understandable reaction to years of abuse by a man or men in general. Similarly, violence by non-European-Americans tends to be seen by newthinkers as righteous rebellion by ethnic groups oppressed by European-Americans. For instance, progressives depicted the Rodney King disorders as an “uprising” caused by a difficult social and economic climate* Violence by non-Christians tends to be progressively virtuous because it is believed that they have faced historical oppression by Christian culture. And violence by non-Americans tends to be progressively-virtuous because of America’s perceived exploitation of foreigners. Fascist dictator Fidel Castro, who is documented to have murdered 14,000 people by firing squad, and that just a fraction of his complete murder toll on his own people, was lionized by newthinkers such as Norman Mailer, who called him “the greatest hero of the century!”**

To be fair, the traditional American worldview has its own virtuous forms of violence: the homeowner defending his family against an intruder, the policeman arresting a criminal, the soldier fighting for freedom. But the progressive worldview’s virtuous violence takes a different form: that of the pseudoppressed battling their pseudoppressors.

The traditional American worldview has its own virtuous forms of violence: the homeowner defending his family against an intruder, the policeman arresting a criminal, the soldier fighting for freedom. But the progressive worldview’s virtuous violence takes a different form: that of the pseudoppressed battling their pseudoppressors.

The more extreme Progressive Crusaders may use progressively-virtuous violence in their battle against their perceived oppressors. To devout progressives, even jihadists are righteous (although perhaps overzealous) warriors whose violence against their Christian oppressors is justified. As President Bill Clinton pointed out 58 days after the 9/11 attacks, “In the first Crusade, when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem, they first burned a synagogue with 300 Jews in it, and proceeded to kill every woman and child who was Muslim on the Temple mound.”***

These violent Progressive Crusaders are very diverse, ranging from Al-Qaeda, Black Panthers, urban gangs and radical environmentalist groups to the Weather Underground, Castro’s fascist rebels, Nazis, Russian communists, and others. On the face of it, they all seem very different, and some such as Al-Qaeda are influenced by more than one worldview. But omnimarxism creates strange bedfellows. These groups have much in common: their certainty in their own virtue, their struggle against their perceived oppressors, and their violent tactics. The ubiquitous oppressor/oppressed dynamic of omnimarxism is clear in a statement by al Qaeda’s former number two, Ayman al-Zawahri, “I want blacks in America to know that when we wage jihad in Allah’s path, we aren’t waging jihad to lift oppression from the Muslims only. We are waging jihad to lift oppression from all mankind.”†

The perceived legitimacy of newthink’s brand of virtuous violence feeds thug culture. For instance, the African-American prison population is being converted from non-religiosity or Christianity to Islam on a large scale based on a narrative of oppression and a sanctioning and honoring of past crimes as virtuous violence. The fastest growing religion in American prisons is Islam, with about 200,000 followers, mostly African-American men.†† Malcolm X talked about how Muslim prison recruiters worked on black inmates: “When one was ripe – and I could tell – then away from the rest, I’d drop it on him, what Mr. [Elijah] Muhammad taught: ‘The white man is the devil.’ ”††† Thus the burden of guilt and self-responsibility is lifted: crimes against “the devil” are not crimes at all.

Why has virtuous violence flourished under the progressive worldview? Omnimarxists tend to believe everyone is either oppressor or oppressed. The pseudoppressed see themselves as oppressed, which leads to a feeling of righteous anger, and often to violence. After violent acts, even thugs may need rationalizations to soothe their consciences. Newthink provides them.

 

* Lou Cannon, Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the riots changed Los Angeles and the LAPD, (Westview Press, 1999), p. 348.

** Humberto Fontova, “Historians Have Absolved Fidel Castro”, NewsMax, August 15, 2006, http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/8/14/172147.shtml, accessed July 8, 2011.

*** Dick Morris, Off With Their Heads, (HarperCollins, 2004), p. 134.

† “Obama Blows His OBL Moment,” Investor’s Business Daily, March 8, 2007, p. 13.

†† “The New Face of Terror”, Investor’s Business Daily, June 28, 2006, www.investors.com/editorial/IBDArticles.asp?artsec=20& artnum=4&issue=20060.627&rss=1.

††† Malcom X, as told to Alex Haley, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, (Ballantine Books, 1992), pp. 199-200.

The Progressive Worldview: Opening Pandora’s Box

As the progressive worldview takes over, traditional conventions — perceived as tools of the oppressors — start to break down.

For instance, the traditional value of honesty deteriorates among the pseudoppressed. If one is being exploited, it’s fair, even virtuous, to cheat to counterbalance that exploitation. Robert D. Putnam in Bowling Alone talks about social capital and defines it as “social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them.”* What group of people has less social capital and a lower sense of social reciprocity and trustworthiness than the pseudoppressed, who believe that society is a battleground and that their group is being oppressed and exploited? As Putnam argues, those who trust others also tend to be more trustworthy and better all-around citizens; those who distrust others are “civically disengaged” and less constrained regarding honesty.**

Newthinkers justify stealing by the pseudoppressed poor as a reaction to poverty caused by oppression. Because they are taking from what the newthinkers see as an oppressive system, it is morally justified and maybe even an act of liberation. The poor in progressive society tend to have a lack of respect for private property because they believe it was unfairly earned by their wealthy exploiters. Their motivating thought is, “I have the right to steal because I’m a victim of the rich.” For instance, the non-traditional shopping which occurred during the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles was not confined to one ethnicity. It was the poor of many ethnicities taking an opportunity to get their piece of the pie. As Lou Cannon relates in his book Official Negligence, “Thousands of needy people could see that looters were unopposed by the police, and they rushed to join in the pillaging . . . The looting had nothing to do with Rodney King. A useful Los Angeles Times study of 694 court files found that King’s name was invoked only once during any of these incidents – ironically during the robbery of an African-American grocer by a white and a Latino.”***

Progressives see most bad behavior as misunderstood struggling. Criminal law, which evolved from traditional notions of right and wrong, has increasingly become a hollowed-out shell as more and more people view it as a tool of oppression rather than a necessary and just feature of a civilized society. So, as newthinkers take over, the traditional emphasis on crime-fighting and incarceration decreases. This leads to higher levels of crime; in the four last decades of the 20th century, starting in 1960, violent crime in the U.S. increased 226 percent.† Furthermore, progressive areas tend to have higher crime rates: the murder rate for counties carried by Obama was 6.56 per 100,000 inhabitants, while the rate for counties carried by McCain was 46% lower at 3.60 per 100,000.††

Criminal law, which evolved from traditional notions of right and wrong, has increasingly become a hollowed-out shell as more and more people view it as a tool of oppression rather than a necessary and just feature of a civilized society.

Progressives tend to ignore misbehavior by the pseudoppressed. When it can’t be ignored, they excuse it. When it can’t be excused, they minimize it. For instance, violence by pseudoppressed African-Americans is commonly perceived by newthinkers to be a justified reaction to oppression by European-Americans. During the Rodney King riots, television commentators watched as an African-American man they referred to as a “gentleman” stopped Reginald Denny’s cement truck at an intersection, pulled him out, slammed him in the skull with a brick and pranced around in celebration. Such raw barbarism couldn’t be ignored or excused, so it was reflexively minimized.

The pseudoppressed justify thuggery against their pseudoppressors. Their motivating thought is, “It is righteous for me to seek revenge against my exploiters.” The National Socialist German Workers’ Party of the 1930’s participation in kristallnacht and other pogroms against their perceived Jewish exploiters created a historical prototype of pseudoppressed thuggery which should be noted. The German thugs, incited by Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda, thought they were economically and racially exploited by the Jews. The pogroms were essentially pseudoppressed thuggery in an advanced stage, exacerbated by the vicious racial theories of the National Socialists and a vulnerability caused by the small percentage of Jews in Germany’s population. Through it all, the thugs believed they had virtue on their side.

 


The breakdown of traditional social conventions against sloth, dishonesty, theft, violence and murder has unexpected consequences. Like vices that escape from Pandora’s box, they are not easily shut away again. They become habits.

…sloth, dishonesty, theft, violence and murder… like vices that escape from Pandora’s box, they are not easily shut away again.

The victims of these vices, because they are close by, are more often fellow pseudoppressed than the hated pseudoppressors. Thus you have black-on-black violence, the poor stealing from the poor, and an underclass with an entitled attitude that will not work hard to improve its situation.

* Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), p. 19.

** Ibid., p. 137.

*** Lou Cannon, Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the riots changed Los Angeles and the LAPD, (Westview Press, 1999), p. 338.

† Mona Charen, Do-Gooders, (New York: Sentinel, 2004), p. 7.

†† DAngelo Gore and Brooks Jackson, FactCheck.org, “Unreported Stats,” posted January 5, 2009, http://www.factcheck.org/2009/01/unreported-stats/, accessed July 8, 2011.

The Omnimarxists’ Struggle – In their Own Words

Devout progressives want to dominate, destroy and replace what they view as the unvirtuous and exploitative social systems of the oppressors. Thus they are always fighting an existential battle, permanently at war against the various pseudoppressors. They call it the struggle:

• Lenin and Trotsky continuously referred to it: “But the struggle [my italics] is not at an end . . . Should the Soviets retain supremacy, the struggle will break out anew between the Revolution and all Imperialism . . . ”*

• In their 1968 pamphlet, Beverly Jones and Judith Brown condemned male chauvinism, “giving the struggle [my italics] between the sexes priority over the struggle between the classes . . . The Women’s Liberation movement was born.**

• Che Guevara, speaking to his little daughter, said, “You too will have to fight. I may not be here anymore, but the struggle [my italics] will inflame the Continent.”***

• As one of Stalin’s more sympathetic biographers said, “Remember that the struggle [my italics] against religion is a struggle for socialism.”†

Omnimarxism has expanded the struggle. The battlefield is no longer just bourgeoisie vs. proletariat. It is also, for instance, America vs. the rest of the world; America is the Great Satan to enlightened progressives. Devout newthinkers even believe that there is a struggle between humanity and the environment, and that a human-dominated ecosystem is unvirtuous. No matter who the pseudoppressor — the rich, America, men, European-Americans, heterosexuals, humanity, or God the oppressor — omnimarxists are driven to fight them all.

* Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, The Proletarian Revolution in Russia, (The Communist Press, 1918), p. 327.

** Ginette Castro, American Feminism: A Contemporary History, (NYU Press, 1990), p. 21.

*** Jon Lee Anderson, Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life, (Grove Press, 2009), p. 196.

† Emilian Yaroslavsky, Pravda editor and Chief of the Union of the Militant Godless, “Godless Jubilee”, Time Magazine, Feb. 17, 1936.

The Struggle

Progressives believe that the oppressed are in a righteous and historic battle against their oppressors: the struggle. The struggle’s fighting rules don’t conform to the dictates of traditional morality except by necessity to avoid the penalties of law. Under newthink, traditional tenets of behavior don’t apply to those perceived to be oppressed.

The unconscious logic supporting this tenet goes like this:

• Society is a Battlefield
• Social interaction is war between groups.
• Warring groups either dominate or are dominated.
• The dominant group ruthlessly oppresses and exploits the weaker group.
• The oppressed tend to be virtuous.
• The actions of the oppressed are generally virtuous.
• Traditional tenets of behavior don’t apply to the oppressed

The unconscious logic branching out of this tenet is:

• Violence by the oppressed against the oppressors is virtuous.
• Stealing by the oppressed from the oppressors is virtuous.
• The oppressed can abdicate any responsibility in maintaining traditional cultural standards because they are tools of the oppressors.

 

 the struggle n : a long-term fight for liberation by progressives against perceived oppressors which is unrestrained by traditional morality

 struggling vt : fighting by progressives against perceived oppressors which is unrestrained by traditional morality

Saul Alinsky
Saul Alinsky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dishonesty, theft, violence, even mass murder such as the 9/11 attacks – these may all be considered necessary tactics, even progressively-virtuous tactics, in the context of the oppressed struggling against their oppressors. Though progressives view themselves as compassionate to all, they are ruthless to their enemies. The Enlightened are fiercely opposed to those who purposely reject their moral code of political correctness. The newthinking pseudoppressed can be remorseless against their pseudoppressors. Saul Alinsky, the father of leftist “community organizing” and author of Rules for Radicals, stated that “in war the end justifies almost any means.”* He went on to say, “In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt.”**

The struggle is waged not just against the wealthy.  Devout progressives unconsciously perceive society as a battlefield.  Their unconscious omnimarxism compels progressives to struggle against every type of oppressor they see through the filter of their worldview. The rich, European-Americans, heterosexuals, men, America, Christians, God — all of these, as ruthless oppressors, must be endlessly fought.

* Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals, (Vintage Books, 1989), p.29.

** Ibid., pp.129-130.

 

Progressivism’s Flower-Strewn Path

Progressives believe that the virtuous intentions of the oppressed will necessarily lead to a utopian future.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief goes like this:
• Society is a Battlefield
• Social interaction is war between groups.
• Warring groups either dominate or are dominated.
• The dominant group ruthlessly oppresses and exploits the weaker group.
• The oppressed tend to be virtuous.
• The intentions of the oppressed are generally virtuous.
• The virtuous intentions of the oppressed will necessarily lead to positive results.
The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:
• As long as the oppressed keep acting together, the future will be virtuous.

 

Newthinkers tend to believe that their virtuous actions will necessarily reap virtuous results. The idea is obviously naive, but in a worldview where external evil isn’t thought to exist and where all true believers are thought to be selfless and virtuous, it’s a logical attitude.

This progressive naivete leads to hubris. Because all problems are thought to originate from pseudoppressors, newthinkers see a flower-strewn path into the future once they are defeated. They don’t foresee the difficulties that will inevitably arise from the actions of the self-interested and evil. Progressive naivete and hubris combine to form utopianism. Newthinkers believe that as long as the oppressed keep acting together, the future will be virtuous. Vague progressive utopias inspire and motivate the progressive movement.

Virtuous Villains

Beyond a crimp on traditional good behavior and a brake on personal responsibility and positive determination, the surfeit of progressive virtue among the pseudoppressed creates even more havoc: it causes an increase in bad behavior.

Virtuous Villains:
Those pseudoppressed who justify their traditionally bad acts as caused by oppression, or even think of them as virtuous acts of liberation.


http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/459550636

Virtuous Villains rationalize their wrongdoing as being created by oppression. It’s a license to be bad. The thinking is, “Why should I worry about doing wrong since I’m overflowing with virtue?” or even, “I am fighting for what is right.” If a tinge of conscience does become conscious, everything can be justified because bad behavior is perceived to be caused by victim-hood, not by free choice. In addition, in the mind of a Virtuous Villain, it’s not really bad behavior: it’s righteous payback. During the 1992 Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, one African-American rioter, who was taken into custody after using a car for batting practice with the European-American passengers inside, said repeatedly in the squad car, “This is right, this is right, this is right.”* It was right – but only by the code of political correctness. His act, while clearly not good under traditional morality, was filled with progressive virtue.

Virtuous Villains rationalize their wrongdoing as being created by oppression. It’s a license to be bad. The thinking is, “Why should I worry about doing wrong since I’m overflowing with virtue?” or even, “I am fighting for what is right.”

The Enlightened have a guilty conscience due to their perceived oppression of the assorted pseudoppressed groups. This “liberal guilt” filters through to the rest of society in various degrees and leads to a coddling and non-confrontational relationship with the pseudoppressed. The rest of society tends to treat the pseudoppressed with kid gloves. For example, because the poor are thought to be generally more virtuous than the wealthy, and because their condition is thought to be due to oppression, progressive society has a diffident attitude toward them, and little inclination to promote self-improvement and self-responsibility among them. Liberal guilt and the kid-gloves treatment it encourages solidify the dysfunctional relationship between the pseudoppressed and the rest of society.

* Lou Cannon, Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the riots changed Los Angeles and the LAPD, (Westview Press, 1999), p. 283.

A Progressive Belief: The Oppressed Tend to Be Virtuous

Progressives believe that the oppressed tend to be virtuous.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief is as follows:

• Society is a Battlefield
• Social interaction is war between groups.
• Warring groups either dominate or are dominated.
• The dominant group ruthlessly oppresses and exploits the weaker group.
• The oppressed tend to be virtuous.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• The intentions of the oppressed are generally virtuous.
• The actions of the oppressed are generally virtuous.
• The oppressed tend to be wise.
• The oppressed tend to be compassionate.
• The oppressed tend to be courageous.
• The oppressed tend to be fair.
• The oppressed are fashionable.
• We should try to fit in with the oppressed.

 

Progressive virtue accrues to those who live by the rules of progressive morality, otherwise known as political correctness. Politically correct behavior increases one’s progressive virtue. But all individuals do not start out with an equal balance in their progressive virtue bank account. Recall the Accounting metaphor which cognitive psychologists say structures our moral thinking in financial terms. Under newthink, the opening balance in one’s virtue account depends on whether one’s social group is oppressor or oppressed. Members of pseudoppressor groups begin with a big debit which they must always work to overcome if they wish to be progressively virtuous. Members of pseudoppressed groups begin with a big credit, which means they are able to do nothing at all if they choose and still maintain moral superiority over almost all pseudoppressors. This is one reason newthink pseudoppressors are often so devout in their political correctness. Progressive virtue is vital to the self-esteem and social power of progressives. Pseudoppressors have a big moral debit to overcome and must constantly work harder to be progressively virtuous.

Progressive virtue is vital to the self-esteem and social power of progressives. Pseudoppressors have a big moral debit to overcome and must constantly work harder to be progressively virtuous.

Acts of political correctness do help raise one’s PV bank account. But people in progressive societies are increasingly judged by their wealth, sex, citizenship, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religion rather than their behavior. Newthink’s logic in this matter is simple to the point of monotony: the wealthy tend to be unvirtuous, the poor tend to be virtuous; males tend to be unvirtuous, females tend to be virtuous; Americans tend to be unvirtuous, non-Americans tend to be virtuous; European-Americans tend to be unvirtuous, non-European-Americans tend to be virtuous; heterosexuals tend to be unvirtuous, homosexuals tend to be virtuous; Christians tend to be unvirtuous, non-Christians tend to be virtuous. The less intelligent the assimilated newthinker, the more these guidelines will be used without nuances.

Traditional Americans, raised in a world where they were judged by their actions, are often bewildered by progressive society, which judges one largely on one’s pseudoppressor or pseudoppressed group affiliations. To further confuse them, when they are judged by their behavior it is increasingly by the foreign standards of political correctness rather than the familiar standards of traditional morality. (Unfortunately, the supposedly nonjudgmental inclination of progressives only applies to the progressively virtuous.)

If you’re oppressed, you don’t have to gain progressive virtue through actions: you are already virtuous because of your oppressed status. This surfeit of progressive virtue causes a decline in traditional good behavior. It is, for instance, one reason why the percentage of income given to charity by individuals declined from 2.26 percent in 1964 to 1.61 percent in 1998.* That’s 29% less charity in 34 years – years that saw great increases in real income and in the scope of progressive culture. In the early 20th century, through the booming 1920s and the depression years, Americans grew steadily more generous. But, as Robert D. Putnam documents in Bowling Alone, since 1960, American’s generosity has steadily shrunk.** The 1960s, that landmark decade of progressivism, coincidentally marked the point when American generosity abruptly began its decline. It’s perfectly logical: as progressives increase in number, more people gain virtue by identifying with an oppressed group rather than through traditional good works. Progressives don’t feel the need to engage in traditional good deeds because they already possess a great amount of virtue due to their oppressed-group status – and almost everyone can identify with at least one victim group.

Progressives don’t feel the need to engage in traditional good deeds because they already possess a great amount of virtue due to their oppressed-group status – and almost everyone can identify with at least one victim group.

The surfeit of progressive virtue among the pseudoppressed also leads to a decline in self-responsibility and positive determination. Self-responsibility, the belief that one is primarily responsible for one’s own situation, and positive determination, a can-do attitude dead set on success – the primary engine of production among any group of people – are attitudes which flourish under Americanism and wither for the pseudoppressed under newthink.

* Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), p. 123.

** Ibid, p. 123