Arts & Living, Society

Jim Goad and the Passover Syndrome

Over at Taki’s Magazine, Jim Goad writes about ethnomasochism and the conformist mindset of today’s progressives:

A common delusion among Passover Syndrome sufferers is that they represent the cusp of some bold revolutionary cultural vanguard rather than modern mainstream society itself. They seduce themselves into thinking they are rebels against an oppressively racist society, yet there is nothing dangerous or career-threatening in anything they say. In truth, to disagree with what they say is to court ostracism, assault, and possible legal action. So rather than being mavericks in the Nat Turner mold, their personalities more fit that of the obsequious and conformist House Negro who toes the party line with a wide, bucktoothed grin. They seem cognitively incapable of grasping the fact that their personalities are indeed so fundamentally conformist, they may have participated in lynch mobs a century ago.

Similarly, in an engaging piece about the lack of ideological diversity in American theater Harry Stein makes the following  observation:

Like liberals everywhere, its creators imagine they’re speaking truth to power—when, in fact, they are the power, and guard it as jealously as any of the right-wing, American-allied dictators of yore they grew up protesting against.

One of the most fascinating questions about contemporary political culture is how long progressives  can keep claiming that they are fighting the status quo before recognizing that they are the status quo. During the 20th century the United States has seen an almost uninterrupted  victory of those who want to use the power of the state to alter the unequal and “prejudiced” outcomes of individual choice and free markets. This ideology has become so widely accepted among those who seek power that even Republican candidates like Sarah Palin feel they need to play the “sexism” card to win a debate.

There are those on the Hard Left (labor unions, for example) who never had problems  recognizing that egalitarianism requires massive coercion. But this identification with power is not comfortable for those whose political ideals where shaped in the 1960s. The history of how the libertarian socialists and radicals of the protest generation gradually degenerated into advocating the worst kinds of censorship, elitism, and authoritarianism still remains to be written.