As independent journalists like Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss release Substack pieces and Twitter threads on the Twitter Files, some may expect a type of reckoning. I mean, the evidence for numerous things we should be upset about is overwhelming.
All of the complaints from self-described conservatives that were being gaslit as conspiracy theorists in reference to social media bias and banning were true. Even worse, government officials were deeply and regularly involved in directing the process. We can even read the internal discussions around deplatforming a sitting president. Many of the stories, especially those around COVID and Hunter Biden’s laptop, were smeared as disinformation, but today we know that they were true from the start. Even during interviews about this very subject, Twitter executives lied about doing it.
Case closed, right? Outrage, right? Wrong. The coverage in the mainstream media has been incredibly light and sometimes absent.
Maybe on a smaller level you can hope that your left-leaning friends have some type of revelation in which they admit there’s a problem and hope that moving forward, everyone gets a fair shot at publicly expressing their ideas.
That’s not going to happen. You don’t understand progressives.
Progressivism is an idea that human societies can “advance” as a consequence of political action. And there of course is some truth in that. But the rub is in how you define “advance” and towards what we are advancing.
Progressives have an abstract concept of what that future looks like that is not based on the reality of the past. They believe in goals over principles.
The difference seems subtle, but it’s important to understand:
- Progressives have an abstract idea of how the world should be and take action in order to reach that goal. Any evidence of inequality, oppression, etc., is evidence of errors in our societal structures and we need to take political action in order to rectify any of those errors.
- Traditional American ideals use history to understand the nature of humanity and set up institutions as guard rails that prevent too much transgression against the expressed rights of each individual. Any inequality or oppression is seen as a consequence of humanity that cannot be eliminated but can only be reduced by laws and well functioning institutions.
It’s the different reaction and view of societal problems that is the key difference here. Progressives see problems as evidence of the errors in the structure of society where traditional Americanism expects problems in society because human beings are innately flawed. That is deeply imbedded in the nature of humanity. But to believe that, you have to believe that human beings have a nature. Progressives don’t believe in anything so trite as “human nature.” That’s why they are so insistent that silly things like gender categories are only means of oppression and white supremacy. Everything to them is a social construct.
Because there is no human nature, they have no need to review the empirical evidence of the past and learn from it as a means to understand what is and what is not possible for humanity. History is used simply as a means to find examples of transgressions with which to batter their ideological opponents.
A perfect example is in this interview of Daniel Bessner by Glen Loury. Daniel challenges famed professor Thomas Sowell’s ideas by challenging the very idea that we can know human nature. A progressive has to challenge the concept of human nature in order for any of their ideas about the world to make sense. And if there is no human nature, then we don’t have to abide by the foundational principles of the past as a model for what is possible. We can focus on an abstract goal and do away with the principles as they are only barriers to our progress.
This is why they didn’t get upset when Fauci admitted lying about mask use. His reasoning was progressive in nature. It was what progressives think of as a “noble lie.” A noble lie is one that the liar uses to reach an ends without regards to the means. They forgave him because they believed his intentions to be solid. He had a vision of how the humans in his nation should behave and he crafted a means to get them there.
Or why the authors of the 1619 project feel no shame when a light is shone on their blatant historical inaccuracies. Nicole Hanna Jones isn’t concerned with objectivity and has said exactly that. She wants to frame a historical narrative that creates a future she believes in. And that is why progressives are ok with her lying to do so. They see it as another noble lie. Alex Haley, author of Roots, said the same when asked about the historical inaccuracies in his depiction of slave trading in Africa. He stated that he was “just trying to give my people a MYTH to live by.”
And this is why the Twitter Files will not matter to progressives. If censoring and bias are done with the goal of shaping elections in the “right” (correct) direction, then it is serving a goal. That goal is to move society in the “correct” direction. Any American principle like individual rights or free speech and individual equality are only barriers to that goal. They are only useful when serving the correct ends and not fundamental principles to apply regardless of the outcome.
Cognitive dissonance in service to a personal bias is a characteristic of any person of any belief system. We all have to be careful to not protect our ideas from inconvenient facts. But progressivism is unique in its denial of human nature in service to goals over principles. Principles are derived from examining human nature and those foundations must take a back seat to their goals.
I appreciate the sentiment and the reporting done by these independent journalists. But I am not hopeful that it will make a difference. Progressivism doesn’t care. And when progressives are in charge, why would they bother?