Progressive chauvinism: A key to the leftist mind

America has for some time consisted of two parallel nations: those who think of themselves as Photo: Oleg Atbashian

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2013 ― There is a reason why snobby elites on the Upper West Side of Manhattan generously donate to leftist causes and support leftist politicians.

Snobs and radicals often act in accord because they are not opposites, as some believe, but rather spiritual cousins ― equally despising “the bourgeoisie,” sharing a low view of humanity as herd animals, and sorting people not on their individual merits but by color, income, occupation, ethnicity, gender, and any other characteristic except the content of their minds.

Elitists share the presumption that people of the world cannot think for themselves and have no room in their souls for individual ambitions and achievements outside of what the government is giving them. Short of stating it explicitly, elitism implies that “the masses” are mindless, spiritless creatures without free will, always in need of the largesse of the state. So for their own good, the state ought to nationalize the country’s resources in order to feed its brainless subjects.

While the road to tyranny is paved with elitist beliefs, it still takes a nation to take this road, and a self-appointed vanguard to convince, organize, and lead them.

The term “elites” doesn’t do justice to such a vanguard, which in addition to its powerful snobs has its share of drug addicts, bohemians, housewives, union workers, and students, drawing its members from all classes, ethnicities, and professional backgrounds.

The trait that unites this diverse demographic is their smug and prejudiced belief in the superiority of their own ideology, often accompanied by malice and hatred towards those they deem inferior.

Perhaps, it’s time to introduce a new term to the national discourse: Progressive Chauvinism.

My empirical observations have led me to conclude that Progressive Chauvinists are almost completely devoid of self-awareness, assuming the right to control the lives of others out of confidence in their higher mission to help the welfare of less fortunate, “backward” people who have miraculously been left without any ability to govern themselves.

In this sense, the United States has for some time consisted of two parallel nations: those who think of themselves as “progressives” and those who don’t. 

Progressive Chauvinism is marked by a strong belief in the divine right of their kind to hold all key positions in society for society’s own sake, forcing the “lessers” to comply with superior progressive ways. Believing that their condescension and pity towards the lower beings are a sign of benevolence and compassion, they ignite with righteous anger whenever those “ingrates” dare be displeased with their enlightened dominion. 

An example of such a malicious lack of gratitude is the existence of blogs, talk radio, and Fox News, all of which pose a threat to the progressive hegemony in the media ― an inalienable part of the Progressive Chauvinist cosmology.

Remember Barack Obama’s secretly recorded “bitter clinger” remarks at an exclusive San Francisco fundraiser in 2008? The controversy that followed was mostly focused on the “guns and religion” portion of his comments, even though a much more disturbing glimpse into our future president’s mind was Obama’s assessment of the source of the bitterness itself: government neglect.

“You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

In other words, without a powerful central government plugging every proverbial crack in every wretched small town, no one can ever be happy or achieve self-fulfillment. The silly little people need enlightened masters to lead them to happiness. They need government-approved guidelines, complete with permitted activities and instructions of what to do with their worthless lives in their degenerate flyover towns.

Accordingly, the main obstacles to happiness are personal freedoms and responsibilities. Once government controls remove that obstacle, the ensuing happiness becomes universal and mandatory, while all bitterness becomes inexcusable antisocial behavior and a crime against the state. The oppressive variety of freedoms is replaced by a single liberating choice: The federal government can make you happy, or it can make you unhappy. Which is it gonna be?

The aforementioned private fundraiser for Obama included the richest and most powerful people in San Francisco, all very different from the candidate and complete strangers to him. How had he quickly become so intimate with them, saying things he’d never have said before in public? Apparently, there was something in the air ― the aura, vibrations, ambience ― that screamed, “We’re Progressive Chauvinists just like you!” Chauvinists say the damndest things when they think they are among their own.

Meanwhile, the rest of us can’t help but bitterly cling to our guns and religion in bewilderment: How can these people possibly function, let alone win elections, with minds so devoid of logic and jam-packed with inconsistencies, contradictions, and straight out absurdities?

How is it possible to hold so many mutually exclusive beliefs?

To preach tolerance and be so intolerant? To grieve for terror victims and justify terrorism? To stand up for workers and destroy their jobs? To march for peace and defend the militants? To denounce corruption and vote for the corrupt? To espouse non-violence and commit violent acts? To speak of liberties and promote government dictate? To bolster feminism and deride successful women? To cheer gays and aid the gay-bashers in the Middle East? To champion minorities as a group and hold them down as individuals? To care about the children and condemn them to intellectual mutilation? To denounce guns and hire armed bodyguards? To support the troops and side with their murderers? To demand love and be full of hate?

The bad news is that these are not contradictions for Progressive Chauvinists. Worse yet, sensible people will keep losing ground to those whom they dismiss as bumbling sacks of absurdities, for as long as they don’t understand that the above paradoxical statements aren’t oxymorons, but contain a very consistent if perverted logic.

The best key to unlocking the mystery of the Progressive Chauvinist mind, breaking the leftist code, and discerning their collectivist morality is a statement attributed to Karl Marx, which, regardless of whether he wrote it or not, is perfectly aligned with the moral philosophy of Progressive Chauvinism:

“The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism”

Let’s start with the last item on our list: How is it possible to demand love and be full of hate?

According to scientists studying the physical nature of love and hate, both emotions originate in the same nervous circuits in the brain. This kinship is even more pronounced on the metaphysical level, since love and hate are merely two sides of the same coin: one can’t love something without hating that which threatens to destroy the object of affection.

Just as there can’t be a coin with one side bigger than the other, the amounts of love and hate in any given person are always equal ― because these two are, in fact, not separate but one and the same natural human emotion, only with different integers. Thus, the bigger the love, the bigger the hate. Conversely, the smaller the hate, the smaller the love. A complete absence of hate would also mean a complete absence of love: the apathetic indifference of a vegetable.

The typical leftist appeals for greater love and the elimination of hate are easy to shrug off as well-intentioned naïveté. They wouldn’t seem so innocent, however, once we realize that such demands originate in the “progressive” concept of the human mind as a pliable social construct, resulting in a compulsive obsession to improve human nature by criminalizing normal human behaviors.

The pleas for obligatory love may seem broad and generic, but they have very specific targets. Their melodrama is always limited strictly to the reduction of hate and the opening of hearts towards the socialist frame of reference. I have yet to hear a melodramatic plea to stop hating and start loving enemies of socialism.

At the same time, the “love crowd” shows no restraint in hating anyone and anything they perceive as a threat to their mythical notion of “progress,” as they wield conveniently subjective terms like “hate speech” and “hate groups,” and coordinate their efforts to demonize and dehumanize their opponents.

Given that the difference between love and hate is the matter of a subjective integer, it may as well be argued that one man’s “hate group” is another man’s “love group,” one man’s “hate speech” is another man’s “love speech,” one man’s “hate fest” is another man’s “love fest,” and so on.

This may seem like an exercise in moral relativism, but it’s not. While moral standards exist on both sides, they are direct opposites of each other. That doesn’t mean, of course, that one side’s “hate crime” is another side’s “love crime.” According to the objective moral standards on the conservative right, a crime is always a crime, regardless of the motive. In contrast, the subjective moral standards on the left, make a distinction: if there are “hate crimes” that require additional punishment, that means there can also be “love crimes” that call for a lighter punishment, or can be excused altogether - for example, Bill Ayers’ youthful terrorism in the 1960s.

So then, is moral relativism a substitute for the leftist moral and ethical standards? Not at all.

Moral relativism is more of a logical trick the leftists are using to great advantage in any discussion on culture, education, or foreign policy to undercut and discredit the other side’s moral standards while covering up their own, as well as to confuse and demoralize the unprepared.

As soon as the tables are turned and the left gains political power, all moral relativism ends ― as it happened in the USSR and during every Marxist dictatorship since. The trick they used to subvert the existing authority becomes an immediate liability, since it can be just as effectively used against their power. Thus, the Soviet propagandists, who furthered the idea of moral relativism in the West, stamped it out at home. Collectivists have always been thorough in protecting their cultural hegemony, which cannot be said about their carefree individualistic opponents.

The left’s real moral standards, whether or not their bearers realize it or are prepared to admit it, are consistent with the logic and ethics of class struggle as outlined in Marxist moral philosophy: anything is good and moral that benefits the revolutionary cause, while anything that hinders it is evil.

There are no moral absolutes except this revolutionary cause, which can be summarized as the historically inevitable transition of humanity from the unfair, individualistic capitalist system to the collectivist bliss of socialism, eventually evolving into the altruistic paradise of communism. This process, which leftists also call “progress” or “history,” is the only standard against which all things are tested and all values judged. Thus, nothing that furthers “progress” can be evil, and nothing that delays “history” can be good.

So, if in the course of events a certain idea, activity, person, or a group stop being beneficial to the cause of “progress” and become a hindrance, they stop being good and become evil ― and vice versa. With the rise of Progressive Chauvinism in the 20th century, that notion had been extended to entire classes of people, ethnic groups, and even nations, whose elimination was deemed beneficial for “human progress” and “the greater historical good.” The end always justifies the means.

Granted, not everyone on the left is a communist. Many of them would love to settle for a democratic socialist system with elements of private economy (they would just as much hate you telling them why this is yet another unsustainable utopia). In the meantime, they always end up siding with Marxist fanatics, whom they see as a powerful engine pulling in the same direction and capable of taking them to their destination sooner.

Such fellow travelers suit communist goals just fine. According to Marx, true communism cannot be built while the world is still polluted by capitalist exploitation, inequality, greed, and need. There has to be a transitional period of socialism ― and it has to win globally, with all countries having more or less homogenized and equal economies, peacefully sharing the same ideas, and coordinated by one global governing body ― an ideal construction site for the builders of communism.

The troubled European Union is living proof of why this is a terrible idea, but don’t tell that to a Progressive Chauvinist.

In for a penny, in for a pound: By accepting the Marxist concept of historical progress, “progressives” must also accept its militant morality. The latter is best exemplified by Karl Marx himself: When someone asked him, “What is your idea of happiness?” his one-word answer was, “Struggle.”

Grand utopian fallacies are known to inspire their adepts with a high moral purpose while absolving them of the responsibility for their actions. That is a deadly mix.

The idea that furthering “historical progress” is a moral obligation of all people of good will, has allowed existing Marxist dictatorships to engage in a wholesale export of revolution world over. The accompanying gore, violence, and depravity in violation of international norms and agreements never failed to enjoy moral support from the self-appointed advocates of “international peace.” Of course, in the book of Progressive Chauvinism “international peace” has always been defined as uncompromising attacks and subversion until any opposition to socialism is vanquished.

Reimagining Marxism in the 1960s, American radicals coined the phrase, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.” Different words, the same militant message: the revolution is the only constant value, with all other issues relative and subordinate to it.

Ever since then, a typical war cry at any American “peace” rally has been “No justice, no peace!” This isn’t a contradiction: War is only to be opposed if waged by the enemies of socialism. This vision of peace implies strictly the defeat and surrender of the United States, while the other side is free to invade and murder without a peep from the “world community.”

The brainchild of Joseph Stalin, the Western “peace” movement of the Cold War era was organized, trained, coordinated, and financed by Soviet intelligence with the purpose of weakening the worldwide resistance by the U.S. and its allies to the Soviet interference in world affairs.

Every time a Soviet-backed Marxist group staged a coup, a terror act, or a guerilla attack against a legitimate government anywhere in the world, the “peace” movement would spring into action, denouncing U.S. or NATO efforts to defend their allies. On command, the streets around the world would erupt with self-righteous “anti-imperialist” protests and demands of “peace” ― meaning the end of the opposition to Progressive Chauvinism.

The plan succeeded, most famously, with the U.S. abandoning South Vietnam. America was defeated, not on the battlefield, but in its own streets filled with leftist protesters, with the help from Progressive Chauvinists in the media who willingly promoted made-in-the-USSR propagandistic narrative. Soon afterwards, the Communist North, backed and financed by the same USSR, invaded South Vietnam, slaughtering, jailing, and sending to re-education camps millions of formerly free people who opposed their brutal dictatorship. That, in the language of the leftist “pacifists,” was peace ― something they celebrated by “making love, not war.” One of them was John Kerry, the former “peace” activist who is now in charge of America’s foreign affairs. Hopefully, this clarifies his idea of peace and, for that matter, of war.

Today’s Democratic Party seems to be re-enacting the old Soviet playbook, practicing the tactics and strategies developed by the Soviet Communists during the Cold War. This includes planting disinformation; rewriting history; preemptively demonizing the resistance; acting through allegedly neutral proxy organizations; provoking conflict with relentless and simultaneous attacks in multiple areas while blaming the opposition for a hostile reaction; using the media to disseminate prepared supportive narrative; discrediting “enemy” media sources; promoting class warfare; stirring strife and division among citizens; advancing the notions that the furthering of “change” and “progress” is a moral obligation of every well-meaning citizen; spreading the perception that the opposition delays the inevitable historical progress by bitterly clinging to the past, and so on.

This badly conceived illustration made by a Democrat activist exemplifies the progressive chauvinist notion of Republicans standing in the way of historical progress.

In the meantime, the Republicans are forced to play the role of the anti-communist Western governments: They are constantly caught unawares, ducking the accusations, hectically putting out fires, rushing around and trampling their own, trying to avoid taking the blame but taking it anyway.

On top of it all, the White House, State Department, and DoJ overtly and covertly export revolutions and arm insurgents in the world’s hottest conflict zones, with John Kerry playing the role of U.S. Secretary of State.

The Democrats may as well change their name to the Progressive Chauvinist Party.

The game of “War and Peace” however, is only the most immediate, literal implication of their chauvinist moral principle. Tolerance is similarly a one-way street.

Progressive Chauvinism assumes that everyone must be tolerant of their opinions and actions, while they retain the right to self-righteous intolerance. Even questioning such a right in polite company is inadvisable lest one be treated as a lower being.

Progressive Chauvinists have thus been able to establish their dominion over all aspects of civil society ― from forcing unionization on individuals and private companies like Wal-Mart to intimidating the banks into issuing subprime mortgages to boycotting Fox News channel to harassing donors so they would stop supporting non-progressive causes - all without any significant pushback. There’s no such thing as an angry mob picketing the front lawn of a Chicago community organizer.

The chauvinist attitude, of course, is not limited to the left; it is characteristic of any expansionist totalitarian ideology throughout history. A force that rivals Progressive Chauvinism in today’s world is Islamic Supremacism ― also known to its victims through the effect upon the world generated by the “religion of peace.” The attitude is almost identical: in the book of Islamic Supremacism the meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to Islam.

Islamic Supremacists similarly dream of an ideal, egalitarian society of the future ― a global caliphate that will govern over a peaceful world populated by a Muslim majority, while the remaining non-believers would be too intimidated to oppose their Muslim superiors and prefer to pay the jizya ― a special Muslim tax on non-believers, or “protection money”― as a condition that they be left in peace.

This allows the Islamic Supremacists to claim with truthful self-righteousness that they stand for peace. An appropriate modifier ― “eventual peace” ― would give a more complete picture, however, of what they hope to achieve after the holy jihad wipes out all opposition to Islam.

The worst mass murderers in recent history didn’t think of themselves as haters or evil men. They were devoted to their mission and believed that violence was justified by the common good. The issue is never the lack of love; it is always the object of affection.

The National Socialists of the Third Reich were driven not just by their hatred of Jews and other Untermenschen, but by an equally strong love of the fairy-tale narrative of the Aryan Supremacy, which inspired them to a higher mission of ruling over the “inferior” nations. The eventual plans to exterminate some of the Slavs and drive the rest of them out of Europe were only caused by their resistance to the “gift” of Germanization.

Today’s Islamic Supremacists are motivated, not only by hatred of the nonbelievers in general and of Israel in particular ― they have just as powerful love of their religion; it inspires them with a higher mission of bringing peace to the world by subjugating all of humanity to Islam. It also entitles them to rule over those unenlightened ignoramuses who can’t govern themselves since the only correct form of government is by Sharia law. Terrorism is only an indignant reaction of the righteous. Violent jihad is a just punishment to those ingrates who have rejected the light of Islam and, therefore, no longer deserve to live.

Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, Che Guevara, and other notorious communist mass murderers passionately believed in historically inevitable progress. It was this passion that justified, in their minds, their right to control the lives of others. It also sent them on a higher mission to help the downtrodden by means of dictatorship.

Millions of their victims were merely human obstacles on the way to a utopian world of historical progress that sparkled just beyond the mountains of dead bodies. It was the victims’ own fault; no one can obstruct history and live.

Different stories, one common denominator: a fairy-tale collectivist narrative that inspires its adepts with a higher mission, relieves them of personal responsibility, and brings forth a messianic superiority complex complete with narcissistic, chauvinist attitudes. The stronger one worships this mythical vision, the stronger one hates the real world with its lowly material concerns that threaten to deflate and discredit the dream.

It’s the chauvinists’ world. We just live in it.


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Oleg Atbashian

With a whole lot of humor and an eye to the absurdities of poltics and politicans, Oleg Atbashian brings the news and views from The People's Cube to the Communities and you.

Born and raised in Ukraine, Oleg Atbashian has been a teacher, translator, construction worker, satirical journalist, and at one time a propaganda artist, creating visual agitprop for the local Party committee in Siberia. In 1994, he moved to the US with the hope of living in a country ruled by reason and common sense, and whose citizens were appreciative of constitutional rights and capitalist prosperity. To his dismay, he discovered a nation deeply infected by the leftist disease of "progressivism" that was arresting true societal progress. He started writing satire again, this time in English, publishing a large number of essays, political parodies, and cartoons, in various media in America and around the world.

In 2005 Oleg Atbashian started ThePeoplesCube.com, a forum-based spoof of "progressive" ideology with a loyal conservative/libertarian following, which he runs under the name of "Comrade Red Square, People's Director, Department of Visual Agitation and Unanimity." Rush Limbaugh described it on his show as "a Stalinist version of The Onion." The site contains thousands of hilarious, original satires and graphics by contributors from all parts of the US and the English-speaking world.

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