Notes From Babel

Creeping Progressivism

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Allan Bloom on the almost century-long intellectual hijacking of the American right of self-rule:

The reaction to this problem [that enforcement of legal equality did not result in enforcement of social equality] was, in the first place, resistance of the notion that outsiders had to give up their “cultural” individuality and make themsleves into that universal, abstract being who participates in natural rights or else be doomed to an existence on the fringe; in the second place, anger at the majority who imposed a “cultural” life on the nation to which the Constitution is indifferent.  Openness [i.e., the deconstruction of absolutism, and thus, unwittingly, of rights] was designed to provide a respectable place for these “groups” or “minorities”—to wrest respect from those who were not disposed to give it—and to weaken the sense of superiority of the dominant majority (more recently dubbed WASPs, a name the success of which shows something of the success of sociology in reinterpreting the national consciousness).  That dominant majority gave the country a dominant culture with its traditions, its literature, its tastes, its special claim to know and supervise the language, and its Protestant religions.  Much of the intellectual machinery of twentieth-century American political thought and social science was constructed for the purposes of making an assault on that majority.  It treated the founding principles as impediments and tried to overcome the other strand of our political heritage, majoritarianism, in favor of a nation of minorities and groups each following its own beliefs and inclinations.  In particular, the intellectual minority expected to enhance its status, presenting itself as the defender and spokesman of all the others.

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind.


Written by Tim Kowal

August 24, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Posted in Progressivism, Quotes

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