Much digital ink has been spilled over the recent #GoogleMemo incident: why former Google employee James Damore should have been fired, why he shouldn’t have been fired, what this says about political correctness, what this says about conservatives’ hypocrisy and fitness for the tech industry, etc.
But precious little has been said about what the incident reveals about the core nature of the Left, and why it’s so urgent for us to grapple with and come to an understanding of the political implications of that nature.
For this, we turn, perhaps, to an unlikely source: Pope Benedict XVI’s 2005 encyclical Deus caritas est, in which he discusses the pernicious “philosoph[ies] of progress.” (In his view, Marxism is the most radical of these.)
Such ideologies have as their central tenet the necessity of sacrificing people “to the moloch of the future—a future whose effective realization is at best doubtful.”
The former pope’s rejoinder? “One does not make the world more human by refusing to act humanely here and now.”
This, I think, captures a (perhaps the) fatal flaw of Progressivism: its utopianism—which by its nature is insatiable in its chosen ends and indiscriminate in its choice of means in pursuit of those lofty (and ultimately unattainable) ends.
Progressives, particularly those of the “social justice” variety, insist that we must take drastic actions today to overturn existing power dynamics. And such actions are often pursued—perhaps must be pursued—contra both established, effective procedures (like due process) and existing, longstanding concepts (like the rights to free speech and association and religious liberty).
James Damore’s fate is exactly of a piece with this view. Differences between the sexes—differences obvious to every normal person up until yesterday (still blindingly obvious, I think, but people are terrified to say so)—are denied, and those who publicly acknowledge them as non-trivial, as Damore did, are made into pariahs, sacrificed as necessary offerings on the Altar of Androgyny.
Damore’s right to free expression, something that Google encourages, must be denied so that the end goal—a workplace free of “bias” (capaciously defined, of course, and always superior as a good to older rights like free speech)—can be attained.
Some additional examples will be helpful in revealing the subversive and revolutionary aspirations of the Progressive Left’s “social justice” worldview:
- The unborn must be sacrificed for the comfort of born people in general and the autonomous self-determination, self-actualization, and economic liberty of women in particular.
- To prove a theory about racist policing, hundreds of innocent people in Chicago are annually sacrificed to rampant, anarchic gang violence.
- People in the here and now see their job and college admission prospects diminished drastically or derailed altogether to satisfy the god of “diversity.”
- Schoolchildren post-Brown v. Board (1954) were often bused more than an hour away from their homes—one way!—to satisfy a theory about racial parity in public schools.
- Actual children are denied the right to be raised by their biological parents—who, by virtue of their differences as male and female, bring complementary and necessary gifts to child-rearing—to satisfy both a notion of “marriage” which sprang into the public’s consciousness only a couple decades ago and the destructive dictates of expressive individualism, backed by the inane constitutional theory of “substantive due process.”
- Families are torn asunder by the lie of divorce, namely that children in a split home with less conflict will be better off than they would be in a home where there is conflict (and the parents, via social pressure, try to work out their problems to keep the family intact).
- Society now teaches that there is nothing at all meaningful about our embodiedness and that we can easily change who and what we fundamentally are simply because we will it. (This is the self-creation fantasy at the heart of the transgender ideology and the source of so much pain.)
- To maintain the anthropological façade that all religions and peoples are the same—that is, equally benign—the source and reason for most of the terrorism that the West suffers must be denied.
- White men are castigated in precisely the same type of language with which they once castigated African Americans. (But it’s not at all racist to do this; in fact, it’s a great good because it’s done in the name of “equality.”)
And so on.
The Left’s modus operandi is always to strive for the perfect world, a world free of oppression and want—the liberated world—regardless of who must be crushed on the journey.
No number of slaughtered babies in the womb or racial minorities in cities; no number of shattered dreams or upended private lives; no number of isolated, confused people milling about society in a postmodern fog, unsure of their purpose and despairing as a result, is ever too many, so long as the goals are “inclusion,” “tolerance,” “equity,” “diversity”: Utopia.
This is why I am not a man of the Left. It is also why we should strenuously resist the Left’s ambitions: because real people, people we share a country and a world with, are discarded without even a second thought for a future that is hard pressed to justify itself in the abstract—and is even more pernicious as it sits perched atop the ruined existence of people in the here and now.