Regressivism: Let’s Call Them What They Are

Tribalism has really gotten out of hand, hasn’t it? Everything must be on one side or the other in the Culture War, no front line is too remote.

Flaming Cross

Oh, no – They found me!

But tossing everything in two huge piles throws together things that have no business anywhere near each other.

The simple dichotomy of Conservative = RepublicanProgressive = Democrat has shown itself inadequate for a while now. For one thing, a ‘conservative’ is someone who wants to conserve things as they are. But this makes the Biden administration’s Back-To-Normal schtick a little weird, doesn’t it?

Repulsive as they are, Republicans are the ones getting creative. They filibustered more bills during the Obama years than in all of US history up to that point put together. Not exactly traditionalists.

No, the Dems are the ones pretending it’s 1996 forever. Bernie Sanders’ offer to bring us into the modern world was crushed, then swept aside as if we didn’t all see it happen.

But words mean things. A ‘progressive’ is someone who works for progress toward an egalitarian ideal. To create a new world, you have to shoot for the moon – Even if you miss, things will improve here on earth.

The US doesn’t have a Progressive party, the Democrats have made sure of that. Those who are agitating for change don’t want progress.

The so-called ‘conservatives’ are dragging us backward. Who would have guessed we’d be going up against actual Nazis 80 years after they lost? The MAGA slogan calls back to an imaginary time, yes, but Progressives can only imagine a safe, democratic world.

MAGA’s mistake is looking backward – If only we could return to our ignorant past, things would be better! is an absurd statement on its face. That hollowness is the ring of fraud. We all know what returning to the 19th century would mean for most of us.

Things like progress and conservation are pretty self-evident when the sheen of Marketing is scoured off. ‘Progressive,’ ‘socialist’ and ‘liberal’ have become dirty words in some places, but these are just descriptors for schools of thought.

Modern life has forged eager students.

Candelabra

I hear these woods are haunted, but someone salted the field!

It’s time to call out those who want to strip us of our hard-won rights for what they are: Regressivists. They don’t just want to conserve the status quo – They’re talking about a pre-modern era, winding the clock back over 100 years!

For our own good, of course.

Naming a problem shines light into dark corners. A Regressivist is anyone who clings to the Neoliberal ideals that have burned up the beating heart of our society.

The Regressivist is the one torpedoing change with Culture War firebombs. That social safety net might help someone you don’t like!

Regressivists are the ones so wrapped up in their identity – Be it Trans, Christian, Libertarian, Marxist, whatever – that they lose touch with material reality. 

They’re the bad-faith debater with the preconceived notion that somehow always comes back to women’s subjugation.

Most importantly, calling a Knave a Knave walls them off in their own toxic little corner.

Not everything about modern western culture is garbage, and change for no reason isn’t progress. Some things are worth conserving. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

But with only two categories, this kind of talk gets you the side-eye even from your friends. You’re not secretly Conservative, are you?? Fear echoes in the chasms of relentless political earthquakes. These days, you never know who’s gonna say something crazy next.

Even questioning any of the cascading changes can get you accused of heresy, but not all change is good.

And no one trying to roll back abortion and voting rights is conserving anything!

Let’s call Regressivists what they are! Let’s claim some space to discuss what actually needs to change, along with what’s already working. It shouldn’t be controversial to say I don’t think society needs to abandon everything that existed before 1960.

This will also make it easier to tell who’s who – Drawing a line between vanilla-lovers and chocolate-haters makes the difference obvious. Preferring a traditional lifestyle doesn’t have to mean judging how anyone else lives.

But having only two categories makes shallow details feel deep. It pits people against each other based on personal choices that are actually irrelevant to collective debate.

Ladies In Masks

Oh come on, since when did collective action ever help anything… right??

Those of us who want to move forward can come together in mutual hatred of Regressivism. Let’s wall the reactionaries off, away from the rest of civilization where they belong.

The US is lost in a funhouse of corporate prisons, lobbyists and apathy. I’ve heard that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results but, as the American Dream slides into myth, eventually frustration will spill over into action.

Unless the egalitarian left pulls itself together, that action will take the form of more authoritarian power grabs. The quickest way I know to unite a group is against a common enemy.

We’re facing off against people who use language as camouflage.

Calling them what they really are lets us see who we’re really up against, as well as who we’re not.

Comments

    No comments found.

Leave a Comment