The New Ugly

Bari Weiss writes at Tablet (a Jewish outlet) that American liberalism is in danger from a new ideology — one with dangerous implications for Jews. I know many of you are not Jewish, most of you are not, but it’s worth reading because it bodes poorly for our entire society.

Source: The New Ugly

American liberalism is under siege. There is a new ideology vying to replace it.

No one has yet decided on the name for the force that has come to unseat liberalism. Some say it’s “Social Justice.” The author Rod Dreher has called it “therapeutic totalitarianism.” The writer Wesley Yang refers to it as “the successor ideology”–as in, the successor to liberalism.

At some point, it will have a formal name, one that properly describes its mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality. Until then, it is up to each of us to see it plainly. We need to look past the hashtags and slogans and the jargon to assess it honestly–and then to explain it to others.

The new creed’s premise goes something like this: We are in a war in which the forces of justice and progress are arrayed against the forces of backwardness and oppression. And in a war, the normal rules of the game–due process; political compromise; the presumption of innocence; free speech; even reason itself–must be suspended. Indeed, those rules themselves were corrupt to begin with–designed, as they were, by dead white males in order to uphold their own power.

…Critical race theory says there is no such thing as neutrality, not even in the law, which is why the very notion of colorblindness–the Kingian dream of judging people not based on the color of their skin but by the content of their character–must itself be deemed racist. Racism is no longer about individual discrimination. It is about systems that allow for disparate outcomes among racial groups. If everyone doesn’t finish the race at the same time, then the course must have been flawed and should be dismantled.

….

America is imperfect. The past few years and the problems they have laid bare have rocked my faith like no others before. But the ideas this country is based on truly are exceptional, worthy of our relentless defense and more. They are under siege by Trumpism, but also by those who suggest that the solution to our problems lies in obsessing on race; in suggesting that some Americans are more righteous or more cursed than others by dint of the circumstances of their birth; and in tearing down rather than renewing. That leaders and philanthropists charged to protect and nurture our community are entertaining, and at times embracing, such nihilistic and anti-American ideas is a scandal.

It is not by chance that Jews thrived in a world in which liberalism prevailed. The idea that we should judge each person not by their station or their family lineage but by their deeds; that human beings have agency–these are revolutionary ideas that are, at root, Hebrew ones. We should never be shocked that any ideology that makes war on these true and eternal values will inevitably make war on us.