Shelby Steele at the WSJ: ‘The Exhaustion Of American Liberalism‘
If you think, as this blog does, there’s plenty of empirical evidence to suggest a trend of radicalized and (dis)organized discontents seeking influence over all of our lives, then it’s reasonable to wonder what results come from such influence. Or course, what kind of authority involves itself in your life, through American liberalism and through institutions of education, politics and law is a similar question to be asking.
Are such folks ‘liberal?’
Steele on white guilt:
‘White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries-racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah.’
Deep-diving the reef of white guilt with popularizing critical theorists as historical and contemporary guides clearly has its drawbacks (if you enjoyed the tour…don’t forget to put some coins in the reparations jar, white devil!).
From The New Criterion: Theodore Dalrymple Reviews Ta-Nehisi Coates ‘Between The World And Me’
Related On This Site: What about black people held in bondage by the laws..the liberation theology of Rev Wright…the progressive vision and the folks over at the Nation gathered piously around John Brown’s body?: Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’……Robert George And Cornel West At Bloggingheads: “The Scandal Of The Cross”…
From The Liberal Bastions-James Baldwin, Often…
Of course, one can still be an intellectually humble and moral person, recognizing the actual injustices and genuine horrors of much American racial history, while still coming to differing conclusions based on different principles about that history and what should happen next.
One can still re-examine one’s own beliefs and choose not to carve up the world into classes, races, genders based on some presumed endpoint to human affairs promised by the same old ideologies (the oppressor is dead, long live the oppressor!)
Most people not immediately being made to suffer injustice, enjoying relative personal and economic freedom have little need to make their personal lives political.
Unfortunately, it seems we live in a time when many of these people are now clearly feeling pressure to signal their belonging/non-belonging recognition/non-recognition of activists’ claims to their freedoms.
Here’s the rub: If you disagree with a principled, reasonable person, you’ll probably both walk away challenged, enlightened, and enriched. They really do think differently from you. Maybe they’ll always be an enemy of sorts, but an enemy for which you’ve gained some respect (and vice versa).
Unprincipled, unreasonable people abound, however, and certain radical ideologies reward and can incentivize the worst in people, while claiming the highest good towards radical liberation. Such ideas also reward worse people without necessarily placing important limiting principles and brakes upon these people (the passion play of radical ‘anti-fascists’ seeks actual ‘evil people’ and ‘fascists,’ in perpetuity).
Many activists don’t respect authority because they don’t believe that authority is legitimate. Of course, what kind of authority they think is legitimate is less often considered. Most simply haven’t bothered to understand the traditions, laws, and duties they believe it is their duty to change.
On that note, a Nietzsche-influenced psychologist discusses his epistemological differences with Sam Harris, a neuroscientist more interested in scientifically accurate and empirically valid truth statements about the world, and our thoughts about it.
The modern project is not only dependent upon both the sciences and the social sciences claims to truth and knowledge (and actual discoveries), but also lies exposed to the dangers of anti-science and anti-social-science ideologues everywhere, especially on the radical Left.
Human nature hasn’t changed so much, after all.