Proceed with caution, young progressives

Food for thought. A word of caution to both the left and the right, bringing together an impressive list of signatories, from Noam Chomsky to J. K. Rowling, Wynton Marsalis, David Brooks, Salman Rushdie, Gloria Steinem, and many more.

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21 thoughts on “Proceed with caution, young progressives

  1. This is an important statement and a most impressive list.
    Where I’ve found myself disagreeing with you is that I’ve had the sense that you’ve found those on the left to be THE danger (apart from trump and the extremists who follow him).
    I see no way to address the inequities in our society without trying to address real grievances, which means not pretending the fissures now more apparent than ever don’t exist. We need to overcome them—together.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Annie. My ideological opposition to Trump has never wavered. He’s a terrible president representing terrible policies. If I seem to focus more on the danger coming from the other side (the new authoritarian left), it’s because over the course of my (liberal) life, I’ve never expected much from conservatives, politically speaking, but I DID expect more from the left, and watching them abandon the moral high ground is more disturbing to me than watching the conservatives do the same old thing conservatives have always done to impede progress. It’s like having a horse in the race, even though you’re not always winning, and then realizing you no longer have a horse in the race. I realize there are other perspectives worthy of attention besides my own, but that’s the psychology behind your observation.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I can understand that, Gary. But I still think that just as “back in the day,” the left was a varied group with widely differing goals and philosophies, so, too are there very disparate groups today—some more open to dialogue and compromise than others.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for pointing this out.

    As someone who used to love politics, love a good debate and generally believes in order to solve a problem or at least understand one we need to see and hear all sides I’ve seen this coming for a long time. And it’s pervasive being a book blogger you see it more and more in the publishing reading world. And I’m not even talking about the extremists I’m talking about the middle of the road people if people don’t feel like their concerns are even being listened to without being demonized or even seeing it happen to other people I think it only causes them to dig their feet down and be just as unmovable and perhaps even vote against their interests. But there’s a lot to unpack and I don’t want to ramble 🙂 Again thanks for the link.

    Liked by 3 people

    • No doubt, being demonized for expressing an opinion can lead to resentment which can lead to voting against one’s own larger interest. That’s the point we’ve come to in our political discourse. But I hope the threads are still varied enough within that discourse (as Annie suggests above) for us to work our way out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Being one of those outsiders, not much interested in anything “politics” or mainstream journalism, and trying not to get involved with these “middle of the road people” who are in my eyes the most hypocritical, having lived on the “fat of their ignorance” for the last forty years while the modern prophets like John Ralston Saul, David Suzuki and many others tried to slow down the runaway train of rampant mindless consumerism. Did it make any difference? So any one who is now crying wolf, should remember Nietzsche who waned us of the coming of these con artists, who would be the twentieth century heroes in politics and industry. Well history speaks for itself!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Police reform is long overdue.

    Police have to be allowed to use force to take people into custody who are resisting arrest and to use deadly force in self defense and to prevent the escape if murders and felons.

    Liked by 1 person

              • I found it somewhere, Annie. On the up side, it was, for the NYT, a suprisingly unbiased report on what’s going on. On the down side, it didn’t have much info beyond what’s in the letter (and the well-known basics of the debate), other than some additional name-dropping of who’s who in the debate. Most interesting to me was the comment section, in which most commenters agreed strongly with the letter (over and against the woke twitterverse which the NYT typically placates [e.g., in recent scandals about retroactively changing headlines, firing the op-ed editor who made young reporters “unsafe” in their Midtown offices by allowing a Republican senator to publish an editorial letter, etc.]). Perhaps progressives are closing the gap somewhat between my position and yours 🙂 . In any event, I enjoyed the read. Thanks.


  4. Quoting Jesse Singal (one of the signatories): “The leftist writer Freddie de Boer’s take nicely clarifies the obvious: ‘Please, think for a minute and consider: what does it say when a completely generic endorsement of free speech and open debate is in and of itself immediately diagnosed as anti-progressive, as anti-left?'”


  5. Every time I think of a way to compromise and find peace with the “rightist” other side, I read another mindless tweet or blatant lie from Trump and dispel any notion to soften my rage.

    Liked by 2 people

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