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Oct 29, 2021 - 9:28am

Jump the paywall:

Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. were among the great champions of progressive ideas in the 20th century. But they didn't exist within an insular, self-validating community whose values and assumptions were often at odds with those of the rest of society.

Increasingly, that cannot be said of modern progressivism.

Modern progressivism is in danger of becoming dominated by a relatively small group of people who went to the same colleges, live in the same neighborhoods and have trouble seeing beyond their subculture's point of view.

If you want a simple way to see the gap between this subculture and the rest of the country, look at Rotten Tomatoes. People who write critically about movies and shows often have different tastes than the audiences around them, especially when politics is involved.

"Hillbilly Elegy" was a movie in which the hero was widely known, in real life, to be a Republican. Audiences liked the movie fine. It has an 83 percent positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Culture writers frequently loathed it. It has a 25 percent positive critics' score. That's a 58-point gap.

Dave Chappelle recently released a comedy special that took comic potshots at almost everyone. Audiences adored it. It has a 96 percent positive audience score on Rotten Tomatoes (though admittedly it's unclear how many of the raters actually watched it). A small group of people found it a moral atrocity and the current critic score is 44 percent positive. That's a 52-point gap.

A more significant example of the subculture gap recently occurred at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Seventy-three percent of American adults believe race or ethnicity should not be a factor in college admissions decisions, including 62 percent of Black adults, according to a 2019 Pew survey. And yet Dorian Abbot, a geophysicist, was recently disinvited from giving a lecture at M.I.T. about climate science because he's publicly defended this majority point of view. In other words, the views of the large majority of Americans are not even utterable within certain academic parts of the progressive subculture.

Recent school board wars have been a battle of subcultures.

American educators have been gradually finding ways to teach American history that both honor the nation's achievements and detail the horrors of slavery, Jim Crow and systemic racism. For example, Georgia's "Standards of Excellence" for social studies explicitly refers to the suppression of Reconstruction-era Black office-holding. Mississippi's standards devote a section to civil rights.

On behalf of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Jeremy Stern reviewed the 50 state history standards in 2011 and then again in 2021. To his pleasant surprise, he found that the standards were growing more honest. States were doing a better job at noting America's sins along with its achievements. The states that had the best civics and history standards were as likely to be red as blue: Alabama, California, Massachusetts and Tennessee (D.C. scored equally well).

In my experience, most teachers find ways to teach American history in this way, and most parents support it - 78 percent of Americans support teaching high schoolers about slavery, according to a 2021 Reuters/Ipsos poll.

But the progressive subculture has promoted ideas that go far beyond this and often divide the races into crude, essentialist categories.

A training for Loudoun County, Va., public school administrators taught that "fostering independence and individual achievement" is a hallmark of "white individualism."

A Williams College professor told The Times last week, "This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated."

If you want to stage a radical critique of individualism and intellectual rigor, be my guest, but things get problematic when you assign the "good" side of this tension to one racial category and the "bad" side to another racial category.

It is also becoming more common to staple a highly controversial ideological superstructure onto the quest for racial justice. We're all by now familiar with some of the ideas that constitute this ideological superstructure: History is mainly the story of power struggles between oppressor and oppressed groups; the history of Western civilization involves a uniquely brutal pattern of oppression; language is frequently a weapon in this oppression and must sometimes be regulated to ensure safety; actions and statements that do not explicitly challenge systems of oppression are racist; the way to address racism is to heighten white people's awareness of their own toxic whiteness, so they can purge it.

Today a lot of parents have trouble knowing what's going on in their kids' classrooms. Is it a balanced telling of history or the gospel according to Robin DiAngelo?

When they challenge what they sense is happening they meet a few common responses. They are told, as by Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, that parents shouldn't tell schools what to teach. They are told they are racist. Or they are blithely assured that there is nothing radical going on - when in fact there might be.

Parents and legislators often respond with a lot of nonsense about critical race theory and sometimes by legalizing their own forms of ideological censorship. But their core intuition is not crazy: One subculture is sometimes using its cultural power to try to make its views dominant, often through intimidation.

When people sense that those with cultural power are imposing ideologies on their own families, you can expect the reaction will be swift and fierce.

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Oct 29, 2021 - 6:13pm

I'm actually a squirrel

A Williams College professor told The Times last week, "This idea of intellectual debate and rigor as the pinnacle of intellectualism comes from a world in which white men dominated."

Absolute comedy.

cc: CRE [Alt-Ctr-Left] financeabc

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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Oct 29, 2021 - 11:59am

I agree, even though Joe Manchin's politics are pretty bad (making WV residents pay tons of money for coal to enrich himself) he shows how someone whose politics are something other than "make Bezos richer, you get nothing" can get elected in a red state that Trump won by 25%.  Dems have a lot to learn from him.

Oct 29, 2021 - 12:07pm

This isn't critism.  This is nanny statism trying to get the children to quit acting out so much.  The nannies know that the children running the lefts cultural push are severly damaging the broader worlds view of the nannies.  This is nothing more than an attempt at self preservation. 

Oct 29, 2021 - 12:13pm

Oh look, another neocon grifter who suddenly cares about the threat faced to society when it affects him personally. David Brooks is not offering any new insights, nor is his critique advancing any "conservative" causes (Wikipedia says he is apparently a conservative). Notice that the bulk of his critique is that progressives aren't doing enough to uphold liberal capitalism, not that he generally has a problem with their vision of society.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

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Oct 29, 2021 - 1:02pm

Use of that term is used my the right and the neo-left, hell it is even used by democrats that want the status quo.  Brooks has always been a democrat, albeit a more conservative one, that was framed as a conservative.  Read his shit from 15 years ago it is basically indistinguishable from blue dog democrats then and now.  This is a common media tactic to frame the overton window. 

Also it isn't a conspiracy theory.  Quoting wikipedia doesn't make something true.  Wikipedia says that Tim Pool invented Zeplins.

Oct 29, 2021 - 6:18pm

Check the page about gulags. It's all minimizing, denying, dismissing. One of the main editors is nicknamed as Lenin.

In a way, it's understandable. Colleges overproduce unemployable mentally ill sociopaths, who then have nothing to do all day and thus become activists on wikipedia. At the same time, it just further shows the intellectual rigor among liberals is simply non-existing. No shit they call it a white supremacist thing. Anything less than lying to cover up the genocide of millions in the name of equality is white supremacy. Scum of the earth.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.

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  • Associate 1 in ER
Oct 29, 2021 - 1:15pm

PEarbitrage

Do you know how many neo-nazis there actually are in the USA?  I bet you are way off.

Can to share your upbringing if you don't mind? Ie, northeast suburb and private school, etc 

I ask that because I'm from a bumfuck rural town in the south.. and the racism has increased exponentially since the maga moron got elected.. it's almost as if they feel empowered now. Have had multiple classmates start posting alt right hitler sympathizing memes on the various social media channels, and even got called a race traitor lol.. these are white dudes I've known my entire life, and who I thought were normal and cool people.

All until the last few years..

Oct 29, 2021 - 1:21pm

How dare rural poor people not have the sensibilities of stuck up wealthy Northerners.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

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  • Intern in PE - Other
Oct 29, 2021 - 1:40pm

WTF is this supposed to mean. Your sarcastic comment is implying that you believe that you're better than people from the south or rural people just bc you're wealthy and went to a prep school? The fuck is wrong with you. 

Funniest
Oct 29, 2021 - 1:55pm

Learn to read dumbass. I'm implying the opposite. That wealthy liberal Northerners are pretentious shits.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn

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Oct 29, 2021 - 1:40pm

Well you didn't even answer the question.  The answer is a few thousand at most, not the idiotic 22M that the media claims.

As for where I am from it is not from the Northeast even though I live in that area now.  The people I have met here are far more racist than those where I spent time growing up.  For the record I have lived in the South, West, and Upper Midwest.  There are very different kinds of racism that exist in each area.  Each area has its own type that is wildly misunderstood by those who live in different areas.  The racism to which you speak is likely not due to Trump, but rather a reaction to racial tensions being driven by the media and culture.  You don't overcome "racism" by openly calling for theft from an entire race to placate another race.  Guess what happens in that case?  Those whom are suffering financially become discontent at the percieved attack on what little they have.  The source of racial tensions in this country have always been put in place to cover up the class differences so that people ignore that and focus on skin color.  

Regarding the point about people sharing hitler memes, those people don't actually believe that shit.  They do it specifically to make people like you uncomfortable.  Poor people are far more likely to live among minorities than upper class people do.  Im honestly blown away by how many well off people are completely blind to their own racism.  At least the poor people are honest about it.

Oct 29, 2021 - 6:35pm

PEarbitrage

Do you know how many neo-nazis there actually are in the USA?  I bet you are way off.

Can to share your upbringing if you don't mind? Ie, northeast suburb and private school, etc 

I ask that because I'm from a bumfuck rural town in the south.. and the racism has increased exponentially since the maga moron got elected.. it's almost as if they feel empowered now. Have had multiple classmates start posting alt right hitler sympathizing memes on the various social media channels, and even got called a race traitor lol.. these are white dudes I've known my entire life, and who I thought were normal and cool people.

All until the last few years..

I am not sure if the rise in bias incidents can be attributed solely to Mr. Maga or the news media outlets like Fox News, Breitbart, etc or may be both.  I have witnessed the rise of bias in my local community in the northeast.  Our school board which happens to be all dems has been the victim of some anti immigrant and anti Semitic verbal attacks.  The school board is comprised of 9 members including three Jews and one Indian.  On top of that, the board has received threats of physical harm and sexual assault mostly due to the board's decisions regarding masks and vaccinations.  

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Oct 29, 2021 - 1:31pm

Intern in PE - Other

thoughts? He's supposed to be a leftist so this is interesting.

David Brooks is not a leftist.  He is the most right wing voice at the NYT which makes him a centrist in my opinion.  Culturally, he is in the same social circles as the New York liberal elite so they tolerate him as a "different" voice. Just wanted to clarify that.

Oct 29, 2021 - 2:22pm

Oh so now the far left starts caring that they're starting to fray society & realize it's their own necks on the line so it's time to start 'caring' about the consequences of their actions...

This country is already in the phase of governing becoming damn near impossible (and will only become worse). Civil war is a material probability somewhere down the line, at if not it'll just be death by a thousand cuts. 

At the end of the day, the homogenous societies will simply do better -- China / Japan / Vietnam / etc (specifically from a governance standpoint, each country here has its own challenges) -- as people don't perceive actions as benefitting another group (race / religion / etc) but rather their 'own' people. Tribalism has been encoded in our DNA for many thousands of millennia, this will never change 

Controversial
Oct 29, 2021 - 2:36pm

Fuck off with this civil war garbage.  It's never going to happen.  The endless worship of "decline" is used by far-righters to seize power.  And when they take power, they don't do shit, other than cut the taxes of Zucc, Bezos, etc. who censor their own base

China had the great leap forward, the mass murder of 40 million or so because the government forced them to melt down farming equipment for steel and kill pest-eating birds.  And right now minority groups are subject to sterilization, organ harvesting, and other crimes against humanity.

Japan had WW2, where they killed tens of millions of people in an attempt to take over Asia, ending with the detonation of atom bombs.

Vietnam went communist and had a brutal system of re-education camps and killings.

Meanwhile the United States has a stable, democratic government for the past hundred years, so your thesis couldn't be more wrong.  Japan grew faster in the 80's and China and Vietnam are growing faster today because those three crises set their development back decades.  It just goes to show that the "patriot" types really hate this country, or anyone that doesn't look like them in this country.

Oct 29, 2021 - 3:01pm

LOL, you really don't ever pay attention to what anyone outside of your beloved Morning Joe crowd says do you?

Also your entire screed about Asian countries had zero to do with the point made.  The person you were answering said DESPITE their governance issues.  He wasn't appluding their governance.  They were talking about how the homogeneity of the racial makeup of the countries makes them less likely to fracture on racial lines.

Oct 31, 2021 - 11:43pm

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