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.