White Progressive Democrats And The Death Of The Left
White progressives can’t handle even constructive criticism, have no viable strategy to win elections, and fail to build working alliances.
It is fair to say that the Progressive Left, as Pew groups them, are — along with Faith and Flag Conservatives — the most useless yet damaging political grouping in America.
What’s hilarious about white progressives is that they act identically to their ideological opposites. They follow a religion rooted in a deep misreading of Marx, their own opiate of the masses that promises utopia on Earth if only we all believe.
To be clear, if forced to choose a side in America’s diseased political system I am solidly with the Outsider Left. I recognize most progressive policies as plain simple good sense, proven effective in many countries, particularly Scandinavia.
But for all their talk of helping people, the American white Progressive Left is nothing more than a subservient wing of the Democratic Party brand. Their function is to get young people who haven’t had enough life experience to realize when they’re being lied to by authority figures to donate time and money to the party.
They are footsoldiers in the two-party doom loop, promising young Americans stuff like free education, student loan relief, and climate action if only enough of them will turn out to offset the more reliable older — and more conservative — chunk of the electorate.
It never happens.
White Progressives always lose and drag the broader left down with them because most are or hope to be wealthy. Their concern for the poor in America is craven, part of a moral superiority complex American suburbanites desperately cling to.
If you read any for very long — Jessica Wildfire on Medium is an excellent example of this, but don’t call them on it in comments or you’ll get blocked, as I discovered— the fundamental weakness of their ideology quickly comes into view. When asked what they will actually do to achieve their aims the only answer they can ever give can be summed up as believe what we say, accept us as the priests of American morality, and all shall be well, child.
Folks — especially those of you still young enough to have the energy required for the kinds of futile fights the white progressives want to get you in — this isn’t a political strategy or movement. It’s a moral crusade, not all that different than the one that put Prohibition into place back in the day.
White progressives don’t really care about you, they care about feeling good about themselves. They are an evolution of the old idea that wealthy people should become patrons of deserving poor — which is nothing more than moral whitewashing.
Real left thinking rejects authority — white progressives want to claim and expand it in America, just like their right-wing counterparts do. They aren’t honest with their backers, ginning them up with antiquated to the barricades rhetoric that was obsolete the moment the Paris Commune was destroyed.
White progressives are so self-absorbed they think their feelings are what matters in life— you’ll note that most of the people who go out and aggressively cancel those they disagree with are not Black or Brown or Indigenous folks, but white progressives. It is this group that obsesses with ideological purity, goes on Twitter to shame whichever clueless celebrity steps in a manufactured controversy.
Meanwhile, the real monsters are still in power, getting away with literal murder. White progressives also tend to be as obsessed as the hard right with finding a foreign enemy to fight — Russia is their favorite hate object at the moment, and China is getting there.
Jessica Wildfire canceled me on Medium, which is rather ironic, because plenty of the comments on their stories are by outright haters, and mine were made in the spirit of academic discourse, offering contrasting perspective where it seemed useful. But white progressives like thinking they’re under attack, so haters are acceptable, but critics not so much.
Trouble is too many people started to agree with me, making my comments more visible thanks to the dumb way Medium displays comments. Had I ever been asked to stop commenting I immediately would have — my background is in academia, where you’re supposed to offer constructive thoughts. I try not to comment where I don’t think I have anything useful to offer a discussion — though I am drawn to make a statement when I see stories creeping into rank bigotry territory, which sadly became common in recent months on Jessica Wildfire’s account.
But see, white progressives need to have an echo chamber. Basic questions like so what are we gonna do if fascists take over cannot be asked and answered, because they reveal the hollowness of the entire progressive movement.
It isn’t about making things better, but feeling like you are on the right side of history. White progressives don’t care about making the world better, they care about making you accept their belief system.
And this is why in America and the United Kingdom, the Left is losing. It will keep losing because white progressives lack the ability to bring people into any kind of lasting organizational unit. They depend on young people who don’t realize they’re being lied to until a new crop is ready to replace them.
One of the biggest ironies of the panic over critical race theory and anything woke is that it is white progressives who do the most damage to the cause. When Black Lives Matter was bringing people into the streets they were there working to co-opt it, adding to the politicization that has sparked yet another whitelash because they insist on focusing on cultural and moral fights and not the material conditions Black Americans experience every day.
White progressives are useful idiots for the right, not a real, viable political movement, and if you want proof look no further than Pew’s political typology. Despite years of insisting they’ve been on the rise, the Outsider Left — people who lean progressive but don’t like the Democratic Party establishment very much — is still far bigger than the Progressive Left.
Classic for a faith-based system. For diehard white progressives all that matters is being seen to hold the right beliefs. Meaningful policy change or improving people’s lives? Strictly secondary — no matter what actually happens, they will claim to have won.
The ultimate irony is that these white progressives are clearly in it to make money off our fear and angst. Bernie Sanders is supposedly a socialist, yet boasts a net worth of over a million dollars. Jessica Wildfire, if my own Medium numbers are a reliable indicator, must make a few hundred to a few thousand bucks with every doompost.
Which made it kinda funny the other day when they wrote a post complaining that Medium’s new model, which is presently prioritizing subscriber growth that has apparently cut into their earnings. Funny how white progressives are all in it for the collective and promoting diverse voices, except ones that might detract from their brand, eh?
But demonizing the hated right and anyone who uses the wrong language is what white progressives have to offer. They’re like wealthy suburban kids who get into punk music and put lots of catchy buttons on their backpack but wind up becoming jerkwad authoritarian bosses.
Going to college at UC Berkeley, I was constantly struck by the number of gutter punks who hung around begging money for weed. True homelessness is pretty obvious — People’s Park was a permanent homeless encampment in 2005.
But for most gutter punks, getting grungy and smoking weed in public wasn’t a necessity, but a lifestyle choice. Many had parents living in mansions in the Oakland hills, where they’d head back to in winter. Funny enough, when I later went back to visit during a hometown recruiting stint after my initial Army training, it was homeless guys who were the nicest to us.
More than a few were veterans themselves can’t say the same for the gutter punks.
The brazen hypocrisy of the white progressive left is why I will have nothing more to do with them. When Trump is back in power and they’re demanding we take to the streets, I’ll kick back and play some Grand Theft Auto.
Why? Because they will already have failed. The protests will be about them, not fixing the broken system that Trump exploited in the first place.
Nothing destroys a cause like having inept, self-interested allies. White progressives simply can’t be trusted — whenever they get involved in a movement, it dies.
Occupy Wall Street is a perfect example. Starting out as a unique and powerful protest movement, once white progressives got involved it turned into theater. Same thing happened with Black Lives Matter — where you saw progressive-leaning types engage in violence it undermined the entire cause.
White progressives can’t accept true diversity in their secular church. They are deeply racist in their own way, needing minorities to be repressed but never advocating for the kinds of meaningful change that would give them the ability to live life as they choose.
This is, of course, why white progressives are obsessed with hero figures like FDR, despite him not being anything like the left-leaning champion they dream he was. They create their own history, ignoring evidence just like the hard right does.
Many wind up becoming professors, who don’t admit to their students how constructed history is and instead repeat the same myths they grew up with, like the self-serving Boomer myth that the Civil Rights Movement was all about giant peaceful protests white people could join. White progressives as a group have embraced what scholars call the post-modern cul-de-sac in social science, unable to reason across paradigms because theirs is the only one they recognize.
Whenever they lose — almost always — they spin it as if they actually won. White progressives will cite Chomsky and Foucault to insist history is actually on their side, but in the real world most people don’t care about history or what anyone believes — they just want to get by.
Anymore, as America’s idiot twin parties drag it over a cliff, the majority of people don’t care that much about ideology. When they see progressives insist inflation doesn’t matter, they lose trust in everything they say because people feel the inflation when they buy anything. When the people who were heavy into Occupy Wall Street insist it changed the world, the majority of Americans roll their eyes — the rich are more powerful today than they were ten years ago.
For white American progressives, politics isn’t about helping people, it’s simply another opportunity to demonstrate their personal moral supremacy. Just like their right wing foes they have their own list of deserving and undeserving groups drawn from their preferred political party’s approved hate list.
White progressives will freak out if someone stereotypes a foreign culture, but you know who they’re always happy to demonize?
Most white progressives don’t know any and don’t want to. People who live far from their cozy suburbs are portrayed in media and politics as stupid, violent, racist thugs — or brought in as a sympathetic but still stereotyped token like Kenneth Parcell in 30 Rock.
White progressives are perfectly happy mocking and denigrating people who speak or act like they are affiliated with that culture. Despite its heritage in abject poverty, rural culture is seen as inherently barbaric just as the ancient Greeks and Romans saw most of their neighbors as stupid subhumans worthy of enslavement.
I spent a decade in academia, and not a day went by that I didn’t feel the threat of being outed as a redneck. I changed my natural speech patterns and dress to fit in — not that it worked, because the white progressive church is always updating the rules to make sure those not in the know can be singled out and ejected.
Conservatives like to think they’re the main victims of this, but that’s just not true. Ironically, as the necessary monster white American progressives need to animate their apocalyptic Christian worldview, their opposition to the True Faith is taken as a given, tolerated, even elevated in order to create a false impression of balance in classroom debates.
The primary victims of impotent white progressive rage are progressives’ own allies. Those like myself who are just as feminist, anti-racist, and pro-equality as any die-hard Chomsky-quoting leftist wind up deeply alienated — as do the majority of Black, Brown, and Indigenous Americans, which is the key reason progressive politicians usually lose.
They know too well that white progressives are the type of people who start a riot then disappear the moment the cops arrive and bust people caught up in the mess. There is no trust, because white progressives speak the language of conflict but use any actual outbreak of violence to claim their enemies are inherently evil — just like their right-wing opponents.
I was out there with my spouse in our small Oregon town demonstrating in support of Black Lives Matter. Every week one to two dozen of us would be out there holding signs, shrugging off insults and threats from locals in this hard-Blue state, being forced to defend the actions of the few who used the nationwide demonstrations to pretend they were fighting some kind of revolution.
And you know what? When I’m with family, my speech reverts. I drop lots of ‘g’s, don’t trust authority, and express my loathing of the cultural imperialism embedded into America‘s suburban consumer oriented society. If a white progressive heard me speak, they would immediately assume I was with the racist anti-vaxx anti-mask brigades even though I’ve been double-masking for months and can’t wait to get a booster shot. I’ve convinced my white, rural, religious parents to follow my lead on the pandemic, too.
And yeah, I grew up hunting and fishing. I served in the military. I don’t fear violence like suburbanites do — and I know full well their entire lifestyle is predicated on it and reject their rank self-serving hypocrisy, which they hate me for pointing out.
My life experience has been very different than the norm white progressives subconsciously assume everyone else with their skin tone has had. But to be accepted among this tribe, you must not only accept their belief system but publicly behave correctly, too.
White progressives believe everyone alive is part of some sort of mystic uniform We in the same way most Christians believe we’re all siblings with God as our mystic invisible father. This is why they can’t stand any idea, action, or person who doesn’t conform to their particular view of what this mythical We needs in life.
Read any of them, and you’ll see this royal We show up. But who is this we? Who defines membership? What does this We actually do?
Nada. Nothing. Nil. Zip. Zilch.
Because it doesn’t exist. That isn’t how real people work — the white progressive fantasy of the mass of people rising up as a unified force is a utopian myth, their version of the Christian promise of a Paradise for the True Believers.
That’s why they can’t and won’t tolerate dissent from someone who agrees that racism, inequality, climate change, and violence are epic global problems that must be solved — but doesn’t accept their prescription. They are working hard to co-opt every issue of importance, drawing it into their vision of political utopia the same way the Faith and Flag Trumpists do.
They can’t handle nuance and demonize all perceived opposition, making monsters of their opponents. The entire white progressive ethos is ultimately obsessed with a kind of collective martyrdom, which is why the solutions to global problems people like Jessica Wildfire advocate amount to personal morality cleanses.
Consume less, grow a garden, don’t travel, and vote Democrat. That, if you read these people closely, is what they think we have to do to save the planet.
It’s a disgusting attempt to abdicate responsibility for getting things done. A kind of learned helplessness that allows white progressives to more or less shrug and say they did all they could, so remain blameless for what happens in the future.
This selfishness accomplishes nothing, saves no one, and represents not collectivism, but a weird form of individualism predicated on moral purity. It’s a strange form of secular Christianity no less un-Christian than the Evangelical obsession with their filthy dear leader Trump — I suspect this why Bernie Sanders has been around so long.
The bottom line is that white progressives in America don’t care about you, just being part of the noble We that isn’t at fault for the world sucking. When the hard right resorts to violence to keep its hold on power, white progressives will throw up their hands and say we can’t stoop to their level.
Which, of course, the hard right knows. That’s why they’re considering violence themselves. They know they can win by casting their opponents as tools of white progressives and threatening violence to bully the left into submission. The left will surrender to preserve their moral purity, which most Americans know — that more than anything else is why they don’t back white progressives politicians.
It’s happened before — go read some of the history of Weimar — and can happen again. History is driven by patterns and processes rooted in real world systems. America is no more immune to them than Covid.
The Left is all but dead in the English-speaking world, and the Right ascendant, because the leaders of the Left are inept self-absorbed fools. White progressives are the death of hope for progress, because for them, the fight itself is what matters, not the victory they secretly know isn’t possible, because they believe people to be too stupid to live without firm leadership.
The truth about the world is that it’s complicated. There are no simple answers or solutions, only more and less effective efforts to fix what breaks. To quote Arch Enemy — there is no sacred place, no perfect world.
White progressives want to control us. Read them, follow them if you wish — in truth, I kind of envy your hope.
But me, I’ve studied systems long enough and been subject to too many different forms of power to have any faith left in ideology. I really enjoyed reading Jessica Wildfire over the past couple years, their perspective taught me a lot.
Mostly, that white progressives have nothing to offer the future.