Progressives believe that the oppressed tend to be virtuous.
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