Also from this morning’s Jolt:
Progressives Suddenly Realize They’ve Created Frankenstein
Jonathan Chait suddenly realizes that what he calls “political correctness” — i.e., the radical Left’s need to demonize, denounce, ban, shut down, and exile anyone who offends them with a contrary thought, a.k.a., “rage-whiners” — is a threat to good progressives like himself:
But it would be a mistake to categorize today’s p.c. culture as only an academic phenomenon. Political correctness is a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate. Two decades ago, the only communities where the left could exert such hegemonic control lay within academia, which gave it an influence on intellectual life far out of proportion to its numeric size. Today’s political correctness flourishes most consequentially on social media, where it enjoys a frisson of cool and vast new cultural reach. And since social media is also now the milieu that hosts most political debate, the new p.c. has attained an influence over mainstream journalism and commentary beyond that of the old.
In a short period of time, the p.c. movement has assumed a towering presence in the psychic space of politically active people in general and the left in particular. “All over social media, there dwell armies of unpaid but widely read commentators, ready to launch hashtag campaigns and circulate Change.org petitions in response to the slightest of identity-politics missteps,” Rebecca Traister wrote recently in The New Republic.
Yes, there’s a Die Hard moment for everything:
You’ll want to read Kevin’s take.
Chait’s fear of the Leftist Frankenstein’s Monster isn’t terribly surprising; the mindset of the Left demands enemies, and will manufacture new ones when the old ones fade away. Progressives now dominate large corners of American life — academia, some media institutions, most large cities, particularly in blue states — and many reside in environments where genuine opposition to their viewpoints, from a conservative perspective, either doesn’t exist or pops up so rarely it’s a non-issue. So they turn against whoever’s insufficiently agreeable:
Storming into bars and restaurants, locking themselves to concrete-filled-barrels and blocking Interstates . . . this is the progressive grassroots of 2015. This is the Left, capital-L. This is blind fury, lashing out at others for having the audacity to drink beverages, eat brunch, or commute in a manner that the self-appointed arbiters of justice on the Left deem insufficiently down with the cause. There is no actual “activism” here. There is no attempt at persuasion here. There is no thought here. There is only resentment and anger and a desire to lash out at anybody who isn’t one of them. There’s no agenda or plan to actually improve things. There’s no call to action. It’s just rage-whining.
Notice that there’s not a single prominent member of the Democratic party willing to call out this idiocy for what it is. Notice that the furies are disrupting life in Oakland, Boston, San Francisco, and New York City, places where Republicans, much less conservatives, are few and far between. The far Left is making life miserable for the rank-and-file Democrats, and Mayor de Blasio, Governors Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown, and President Obama are nowhere to be found, nothing to say. They can’t take the Left on too directly or too loudly.
And Chait comes around and again — all too slowly — recognizes what we’ve seen from Day One: These are miserable people, and very few of us would voluntarily spend any more time with them than we must:
The p.c. style of politics has one serious, possibly fatal drawback: It is exhausting. Claims of victimhood that are useful within the left-wing subculture may alienate much of America. The movement’s dour puritanism can move people to outrage, but it may prove ill suited to the hopeful mood required of mass politics. Nor does it bode well for the movement’s longevity that many of its allies are worn out. “It seems to me now that the public face of social liberalism has ceased to seem positive, joyful, human, and freeing,” confessed the progressive writer Freddie deBoer. “There are so many ways to step on a land mine now, so many terms that have become forbidden, so many attitudes that will get you cast out if you even appear to hold them. I’m far from alone in feeling that it’s typically not worth it to engage, given the risks.” Goldber wrote recently about people “who feel emotionally savaged by their involvement in [online feminism] — not because of sexist trolls, but because of the slashing righteousness of other feminists.” Former Feministing editor Samhita Mukhopadhyay told her, “Everyone is so scared to speak right now.”
That the new political correctness has bludgeoned even many of its own supporters into despondent silence is a triumph, but one of limited use.
Ace of Spades, back in 2012:
As I’ve said so many times: There is a subset of “politics” which isn’t politics at all, but some very dark and twisted psychological baggage which would be anti-social to vent, except in a supposedly “political” context. The supposed intellectualization, abstracted nature of the discussion renders what would otherwise be the rantings of the mentally unwell into something fit for polite company.
Except sometimes this doesn’t work, and it’s all too obvious that We’re Not Really Talking About Politics Here Anymore, Are We?
Or to quote another action movie — because most of life’s great lessons can be found in action movies! — “What is wrong with these people, huh? Mason? Don’t you think there’s a lot of, uh, a lot of anger flowing around this island? Kind of a pubescent volatility? Don’t you think? A lotta angst, a lot of ‘I’m sixteen, I’m angry at my father’ syndrome? I mean grow up!”