Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jeff Goldstein -

For the progressive agenda to ascend, the ideals of classical liberalism — those concerning individual autonomy, natural rights, Enlightenment notions of truth and the foregrounding of logic over rhetoric as a bulwark against the will to power — need to be deconstructed and then de-legitimized. Identity politics must replace individual autonomy, with the various factions within identity groups vying for what will become that group’s sanctioned narrative (with the losers in that battle cast out as inauthentic, or race-traitors, or sufferers of false consciousness, etc.); natural rights need be “separated” from the secular rights that are then decided upon by the ruling class; truth must always be “contingent,” subject to perspective and narrative frame for its relative rhetorical power, and never absolute; interpretation becomes such that the message of an individual becomes the property of an “interpretive community” whose own intentions then take precedence over the intentions of the individual — and are allowed moreover to determine the intentions of that individual.

To beat back the progressive agenda is to beat back the kernel assumptions of leftism itself — to reaffirm the very principles upon which this country was founded, and which the left has been steadily hoping to erode through an institutional takeover of language, be the offshoot of such a linguistic coup the idea of a “living Constitution” or identity politics as reinforced by such benign terms as “diversity” and “multiculturalism.