Shrill, hyper-liberal bullies dumb down every debate, and even yesterday’s liberals now look like heretics
Progessive thinkers of the recent past are starting to appear reactionary, as the emergent radical “liberals” use university campuses and social media to intolerantly shout down any dissent.
If we park Covid-19 for a moment, we will be able to identify another spreading virus that is just as damaging to us all and likely to have equally long-lasting consequences.
The shrill voices of those oh-so-liberal that they are now illiberal will attempt to drown out any dissent at the plinths and pedestals of historical statues and monuments. This is the new hyper-liberalism, and it’s spreading rapidly.
If you disagree you are wrong. And if you continue to disagree then they will shout and shout and shout until you agree with them. In action, it might manifest itself in the decapitation of a bronze statue of some historic entrepreneur who profited from the once-fashionable business of slave trade. Or it might be the bullying of an avowed feminist who refuses to espouse the most radical ideas of the ‘trans community’.
While claiming the mantle of the new social progressives, these hyper-liberals are nothing of the sort. They despise the progressives who preceded them as too soft, not radical enough, reactionary old fogies with no idea.
This battle largely plays out on social media, totally unnoticed by many of us, but all-consuming to those involved as they bait, troll, and egg each other on, in a battle for the crown of righteousness.
So intolerant, so self-righteous, just so goddamned shouty!
He suggested that the economic pressures of globalisation had given rise to an insecure middle class, and on university campuses, many academics live on the fringes of the middle class but have no grounding in the world outside their own bubble – their friends are academics, they have no connection with the working classes of society – and this morphs into an attitude of “bourgeois careerism with virtue-signalling self-righteousness.”
And this is all passed on to their students. The self-righteousness is particularly dangerous to true liberalism.
It has manifested itself into safe-spaces where students won’t be upset by facts or ideas they’d rather not hear, no-platforming, empty-chairing, disinviting guests who hold opinions contrary to the preferred line; course books have been discarded because of the views they contain, staff have been sidelined or sacked because they don’t hold with the prevailing view of the consensus.
Universities and colleges both here in Britain and in the US used to thrive on the much-needed injection of dissenting thought from visiting lecturers, renowned contrarians, and those with views outside the norm. Not any longer.
One post on social media sums up how quickly this development has occurred, from Laura, self-identifying as “adult human transsexual” on Twitter:
I transitioned in 1998. At the time, my politics on trans issues would have been considered radical. By 2011 or so, my views had become part of mainstream liberalism. In 2020, I think I might be a borderline reactionary. My actual views haven’t changed at all over these 22 years— Laura, adult human transsexual (@lpriccio) June 11, 2020
“I transitioned in 1998. At the time, my politics on trans issues would have been considered radical. By 2011 or so, my views had become part of mainstream liberalism. In 2020, I think I might be a borderline reactionary. My actual views haven’t changed at all over these 22 years.”
From radical to reactionary in less than a generation. And there is not a thing that Laura can do about it.
The current level of trans debate operates at 11 on the dial. No tolerance exists. Whatsoever. Ask JK Rowling.
Of course, the ongoing statues row is also a shrill, take-no-prisoners affair. And this particular battle is not as current as some might try to make you think.
Our philosopher friend Gray suggests:
The complex and at times contradictory realities of empire have been expelled from intellectual debate. While student bodies have dedicated themselves to removing relics of the colonial era from public places, sections of the faculty have ganged up to denounce anyone who suggests that the legacy of empire is not one of unmitigated criminality.
Bearing in mind Gray wrote this in 2018, doesn’t it sound awfully, I dunno, contemporary?
Disagree with the hyper-liberals over race, refuse to take the knee or be too slow to voice regret over a blackface comedy routine from 15 years ago, and you are branded a heretic.
Old liberalism is up against it. It is up against a new hyper-liberalism – so liberal that it’s illiberal – which insists that everyone must be and think the same. However, at the same time it is demanded that we all celebrate one another’s differences.
It’s an infantile, “we want everyfink,” selfish view of the world.
But the saddest thing about this current state of affairs is that those pushing this intellectually-bereft social shift into hyper-liberalism are actually winning the argument.