The Fracturing of the West?: A new ideological challenge to liberal democracy ‘transnational progressivism’ is emerging from inside rather than outside Western civilisation. (John Fonte, Spring 2002, Policy)

The key concepts of transnational progressivism could be described as follows:

1. The ascribed group over the individual citizen. The key political unit is not the individual citizen, who forms voluntary associations and works with fellow citizens regardless of race, sex, or national origin, but the ascriptive group (racial, ethnic, or gender) into which one is born. This emphasis on race, ethnicity and gender leads to group consciousness and a de-emphasis on the individual’s capacity for choice and for transcendence of ascriptive categories, joining with others beyond the confines of social class, tribe and gender to create a cohesive nation.

2. A dichotomy of groups: Oppressor vs. victim groups, with immigrant groups designated as victims. Influenced (however indirectly) by the Hegelian Marxist thinking associated with the Italian writer Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937) and the Central European theorists known as the Frankfurt school, global progressives posit that throughout human history there are essentially two types of groups: the oppressor and the oppressed, the privileged and the marginalised. In the United States, oppressor groups would include white males, heterosexuals, and Anglos, whereas victim groups would include blacks, gays, Latinos (including many immigrants), and women. […]

3. Group proportionalism as the goal of ‘fairness’. Transnational progressivism assumes that ‘victim’ groups should be represented in all professions roughly proportionate to their percentage of the population or, at least, of the local work force. If not, there is a problem of ‘underrepresentation’ or imbalance that must be rectified by government and civil society. Thomas Sowell recently wrote-as he has for several decades-that many Western intellectuals perpetually promote some form of ‘cosmic justic’? or form of equality of result. The ‘group proportionalism’ paradigm is pervasive in Western society: even the US Park Service is concerned because 85% of all visitors to the nation?s parks are white, although whites make up only 74% of the population. The Park Service announced in 1998 that it was working on this ‘problem’.

4. The values of all dominant institutions should be changed to reflect the perspectives of the victim groups. Transnational progressives in the United States and elsewhere insist that it is not enough to have proportional representation of minorities (including immigrants, legal and illegal) at all levels in major institutions of society (corporations, places of worship, universities, armed forces) if these institutions continue to reflect a ‘white Anglo male culture and world view’. Ethnic and linguistic minorities have different ways of viewing the world, they say, and these minorities’ values and cultures must be respected and represented within these institutions.

The whole thing is well worth reading, but I couldn’t help but think of this part as Imus wondered aloud this morning how he should feel about affirmative action. His key question was, even supposing, as we must, that some groups (especially blacks) have been discriminated against in the past: does that justify our granting a special benefit to a black student who wasn’t discriminated against, at the expense of a white student, who wasn’t one of the discriminators? In order to believe such a thing is just, you really have to buy into the ideology described above.

Appropriately enough, Imus too used the phrase “cosmic justice” and wondered if we’re required to “balance the scales” of past discrimination against one group by discriminating against another. The idea seems repellant, but you can see why the groups who stand to benefit would support it.

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