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.

Here’s Why Everyone Thinks Radfems Are Conservatives

Hey everyone, 

A harried BrazenShe checking in real quick, because I think I’ve solved a little mystery. 

There’s this idea floating around that radical feminists are conservative. More than that, I have seen us called white supremacists with all the authority a Tumblrite can muster. 

Umbrella'

Dafuq you say?

At first blush, this confused me immensely. I’m from Cleveland Heights. Racism does not compute for me. 

Ok, some of us have made appearances next to conservatives recently. Scratch the surface and you’ll find a frustrated liberal abandoned by her friends. 

The only other people in the room not falling in line with gender ideology are the people who want us back in the kitchen.

Then there’s the idea that Male and Female are projections of colonialism, as if indigenous peoples don’t understand how babies are made.

But radical feminist philosophy is not conservative in the slightest. Reading just a few sentences of any resource will inform the reader of this, so claiming otherwise is suspicious. The obvious reason anyone would ignore our clearly stated views in favor of painting us as enemies of progress is to discredit us. 

Lacking any way to discredit our arguments, they try to discredit us ourselves. But if this accusation has such flimsy evidence, why does it have such legs?

Because it calls back to the very roots of knowledge itself. 

There are two main schools of thought about knowledge: Rationalism and Empiricism. Plato and Aristotle argued about it, modern Enlightenment thinkers tinkered with it, and we are still having this argument. Even if we have forgotten what we are fighting about.

Rationalism is a founding principle of liberalism, of education. Rationalism teaches that the world works according to knowable rules. That an educated person can make wise choices and improve her own life. That ideas are the real Truth of existence.

Empiricism teaches us that the Truth is what we can see, hear, and touch. Ideas are only as good as their practical application.

These building blocks have obvious influence on the current culture wars. Rationalism and Empiricism need each other like mind needs body, and the distinction is probably just as artificial.

Classical Confused

How does anyone keep track of all this??

The Rationalist liberals insist their ideas – Their identities – are the most real thing.

The Empiricist conservatives use simplistic understandings of the world to justify selfish short-sightedness.

Radical feminists cross this line. We are progressives – A liberal creed wanting to rewrite the relationship between women and men – whose practical streak falls back on Empiricism in the Scientific Method tradition. 

Neither Rationalism nor Empiricism is inherently liberal or conservative. They are mental tools that can be applied in either direction, depending on the biases of the user.

But our current polarization of thought has attempted to wedge them into one or the other. Conservatives are against education in their gut because they understand the liberals have claimed ideas. Liberals feel betrayed when an educated person disagrees with the accepted orthodoxy, usually because of observations made in material reality.

Radical feminism appears to exist in a dimension that most of modern thought does not. It doesn’t know what to make of us, we’re not following the rules. I can only hope that, as we continue gathering, discussing, and getting the word out, eventually we will reach critical mass.

With persistence, maybe we can at least bring dimension to the debate.

Happy holidays,

    – Sarah