Issues & Insights

American Progressivism’s Determined Racism

Hamas’ slaughter in Israel has revealed American progressives reveling in racism here.  For racism to be acceptable to them, it need only fit into the ideological justification of self-styled “progressives:” determinism. 

Since October 7, America’s progressives, such as the far-left House Members known as “the Squad,” have proved this repeatedly among our so-called elites — on college campuses, among politicians, and in journalists’ print. They have also implicitly shown that their ultimate target is not just Israel and Jews, but America and its values.

The latest example of progressives’ regression came from within our own house: the House of Representatives.  On Wednesday, October 25, its eight ultra-left members known as “the Squad” refused to vote to condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel.  Six (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.; Rep. Summer Lee, D-Pa.; and Cori Bush, D-Mo.) of the eight voted against the legislation, while two Squad members (Rep. Greg Casar, D-Tex., and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.) just voted “present.”  For progressives, the Squad’s regression from moral clarity to amoral opacity is mild in comparison to compatriots who have been forthrightly anti-Semitic in their expressions.    

The aftermath of the Hamas terror attack has proved that today’s self-proclaimed “progressives” of America’s left are, in fact, extremely regressive.  They willingly embrace age-old racism if this racism will embrace progressives’ current ideological justification for it. Thus blessed, the most atrocious racism is not only not condemned but condoned.  Here within the left’s vanguard, racism finds more than the absence of scrutiny; it finds sanctuary.  

Blinded by their own ideology, America’s progressives refuse to call out bigotry if it is pursued by one of their favored groups. America itself has been willing to ignore myriad examples of this discrimination — explained away as mere words, or that progressives don’t mean it. The problem is that these are not just words and progressives do mean it.  As October 7 has demonstrated, hiding behind progressives’ support for one group has been their virulent hatred for another.  

The October 7 attack by Hamas was unadulteratedly genocidal.  Just because its outcome was less than total annihilation, this does not lessen its underlying intent to be such.  Its goal was to kill as many Jews — men, women, children, elderly, and infirm — in as many ways and for as long as possible.  There was no military significance to their targets, though they were carried out with military execution.  There was no strategy to their onslaught, only slaughter. The tactics to their attacks were varied ways of killing. 

There is no moral ambiguity here.  There is only a negation of morality by those who permit no morals and no principles in their blind adherence to a determinism linked to group membership.  For progressives, the group from which an individual comes is everything.  While the individual is nothing more than a proxy for the group.

Progressives’ social determinism is an offshoot of Marxism: the belief that economic conditions determine all of society’s development — most notably in the final evolution from capitalism to socialism.  For the Marxist, one’s economic class — bourgeois or proletarian — determines the individual. Nothing from the bourgeois class is acceptable, while anything that advances the proletarian class struggle is. The bourgeoisie and all their trappings must be utterly destroyed for proletarians to fulfill their destiny and continue humanity’s development on its predestined course. 

In both simplistically twisted ideologies, one’s group determines who you are: your perspectives, your actions, your very thoughts and beliefs.  Individuals are not merely secondary to their groups; individuals are mere appendages of them.  Thus, the targeted groups’ fate is determined and any mistreatment of them is absolved. 

As we have seen in the aftermath of October 7, the place where progressive determinism most flourishes in its replacement of thought by ideology is academia.  It is notable that nowhere is the evidence of the one-sided assault of Israel more dismissed than in these supposed halls of learning and by those associated with them. 

We should not be surprised at such results where education has been so increasingly replaced by indoctrination at every step.  No places in America more blatantly sift and sort their population into groups than colleges — not only in the process of getting in but once in as well.  Many colleges’ rejection of divergent thought and their pompous promotion of progressive determinism are equally blatant.  For all their loud professions of diversity, equality, and inclusion, none of these is meant to apply where it matters most: in thought.

It is therefore not surprising that college campuses have been hotbeds of today’s anti-Semitism — college students and professors alike, supposedly America’s emerging thinkers and professional thinkers. Yet the facts of the assault on Israel — its premeditation, the scenes of innocents’ slaughter, the taking of civilian hostages — have been dismissed because they involve Israelis, come from Israel, or are immediately labeled by progressives as supporting Israel.  There is no room for facts or objectivity in progressives’ determinism: one’s group determines not only who you are, but it determines your facts too.   

Progressives’ dismissal of Israel and the atrocities committed against it are just the sad, jagged, projecting tip of the far larger iceberg below: the broad dismissal of American and Western values. Yes, Hamas most certainly wants to destroy Israel. But progressives’ support of Hamas does not stop there: they want to destroy the entire value system that Israel shares with the West. Progressives are merely starting with Israel. They do not intend to end there.

Everything progressives profess to love, they reject; there is no diversity and no inclusion, only exclusive inclusion of those they bless — and then only on progressives’ own subjective terms.

There have always been people who do evil.  But there is something even more profoundly disturbing when in our society there are people, like the Squad, who cannot see evil for what it is.  And there is something more alarming still when we have in our midst a group who claim evil cannot exist when it is perpetrated against those on whom they have passed judgment. 

This progressive desire is far more extensive than the Hamas slaughter in Israel or the Cancel Culture at home. Though of incalculably different magnitudes, actual deaths and “cultural cancellations” are no more than a final, singular confirmation; implicit in it is the verdict that the individual’s group has already been sentenced. 

Though the Squad refuses to condemn it, this is what happened on October 7: its victims were the pronouncement of a verdict already passed on Israel.  And it is one progressives also intend to carry out on America and the West.

J.T. Young was a professional staffer in the House and Senate from 1987-2000, served in the Department of Treasury and Office of Management and Budget from 2001-2004, and was director of government relations for a Fortune 20 company from 2004-2023.

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