The University of California’s “Students of Color Conference” ended in disarray earlier this month with various racial, ethnic, and religious groups vying for the “Biggest Victim” prize. Though it was intended to foster thoughtful discussion about issues that affect minorities, the conference devolved into a “safe space gone wrong” according to The Daily Bruin’s Jacqueline Alvarez.
Rather than hating white people, the various groups turned on each other. “[T]he conference eventually turned into a kind of ‘oppression Olympics,’ where students argued over which minority group was oppressed the most rather than finding solidarity and understanding amongst each other,” wrote Alvarez. One point of contention was the conference’s theme: “Fighting anti-Blackness.” The whole conference was geared toward America’s premiere victim group, blacks, which displeased some members of other groups. When one student asked why other groups’ issues weren’t being discussed a black student replied that blacks were the most oppressed which elicited a negative response from a Muslim student who said that her people were being bombed in the Middle East.
I don’t know about you but I find this whole story very entertaining. It’s a nice change to see the victimhood pathology eating away at the grand coalition of the oppressed rather than at our nation as a whole.
Modern progressivism is an identity politics stew consisting of divergent groups that don’t always agree. What binds them together is a visceral hatred of Western civilization which they associate with white people, Christianity, capitalism, individual rights, and “the patriarchy” (men). They’ve shown great progress in vanquishing all of these things.
The Left has an obsession with tearing down the status quo, a task it has been engaged in for more than two hundred years. Armed with rhetorical sledge hammers they go about smashing everything they see. Smash monogamy! Smash the patriarchy! Smash capitalism! Smash this! Smash that! Smashing is what they do best and for that the Left deserves to be called a demolition crew.
Leftists won’t admit this of course. In their own minds they are building a better, more egalitarian future. But in order to usher in that future they must first demolish Western civilization and sweep away the wretched rubble. This task has become their fixation. So focused are they on undermining the current order that they’ve almost lost sight of their supposed long term goal of building an earthly paradise in its place.
In all likelihood, they never will get around to the construction phase of their strategy because the demolition phase will never be complete. Consider for a moment their obsession with racism. Leftists perceive it everywhere and concoct phony examples of it where it doesn’t exist. Here’s a good example: Just before the election, a black church in Mississippi was torched and spray-painted with the words “Vote Trump.” Police have since arrested a man named Andrew McClinton for the heinous act. Who is this scoundrel? A klansman, perhaps? Nope. McClinton is a black member of the church. This man actually burnt down his own spiritual home just to make a point about the imaginary racists who live in his head.
In order to sustain our hysteria about racism the Left needs to provide teachable moments from time to time. The Mississippi church burning was one such moment. The lessons they wanted us to learn from it were that white supremacism still reigns supreme and that we must continue smashing it with all due ferocity. Therefore, demolition is still called for—and always will be. There’s never a good time to declare victory in the war on racism.
Unfortunately for them, a movement so tightly bound up with destruction runs the risk of devouring itself from within. Until recently I was of the opinion that this Left-on-Left cannibalization would likely happen after they had destroyed Western civilization as we know it. I imagined it going down something like the French Revolution when Jacobins sent each other to the guillotine once they had murdered the monarchy, raped the nuns, and desecrated the churches. But could I be wrong? I have no doubt that this coalition of victims is going to self-destruct; it’s only a question of whether it will occur before or after their scorched earth campaign against the rest of us has concluded.