Writing in the National Review in an article entitled “Its Arrogance and Condescension Finally Catches Up with the Left”, Rich Lowry argues that it is progressive arrogance that contributed to Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the US presidential elections.
Lowry says, “Progressives continuously harp on about being on the right side of history and this put them on the wrong side of everyone else”.
When Barack Obama first came to power, he promised to bring hope and change to the United States of America, and heal racial divisions. His election as the first black president – or some might argue the first mixed-race president – was undoubtedly an incredible achievement. Obama’s magnificent oratory filled many people with a sense of hope and optimism for the future.
There were voices at the outset of Obama’s presidency who warned that his vision was utopian idealism and an example of progressive arrogance which disregarded the realities of human nature. Thomas Sowell, a well renowned black American economist at Stanford University and thinker, was one of the voices who urged caution.
Sowell wrote a book entitled, The Vision of The Anointed – Self Congratulation As a Basis For Social Policy in which he argues that many of the ideas espoused by the progressive elites who he labels the “self-anointed” are shallow and superficial, and we should be weary of those who believe that they can perfect mankind and create a utopia on earth as it is arrogance of the highest order.
Sowell charges Obama as being among the ranks of the self-anointed elite who perceive nation state democracy as a barrier towards them fulfilling their goals, and favour supranational institutions so they can order the affairs of humans free from too much democratic accountability in order to create their vision of social justice and utopia on earth.
During Obama’s recent speech in Greece in the wake of Trump’s victory, he said that “history does not move in straight lines; sometimes it goes sideways, sometimes it goes backward”.
The arrogance displayed in Obama’s speech has been a hallmark of his presidency. The idea that he is on the right side of history, and everyone who doesn’t subscribe to his grandiose vision is on the wrong side of history is simply “missionary politics”.
Lowry says, “Progressives wield history as a weapon, and make it an occasion for constant self-congratulation. But there is a downside in the accompanying sense of smug inevitability that is off-putting at best and blinkered and self-deluding at worst.
Right across the Western world, liberal-leftist political parties are losing the support and trust of working class voters outside high-density urban and metropolitan areas, and the progressives’ adherence to many of its dogmas including identity politics, as well as a failure to respect small-c conservatism has contributed to a breakdown of trust.
Hillary Clinton did not bother to address the concerns of the white working class and blue-collar workers and Lowry argues that this is due to missionary style politics. He says, “It assumes that certain classes of people are retrograde. Why would Democrats bother to try to appeal to working-class white voters if they are stamped with the disapproval of History?”
In identity politics, intersectionality is used and Blacks, Latinos, LGBT, Muslims and women are placed in the victim class; white men are classed as the oppressors, told to check their privilege, and blamed for all the ills and challenges facing minority ethnic communities and society. The victim class are told to place their hopes for liberation in large supranational style institutions, overseen by the self-anointed who will guarantee them safety and social justice.
The progressives assumed that they could disregard concerns around weak and porous borders, believing that their coalition of voters would be in favour of immigration amnesty and open borders. However, polls have showed that legal Latino immigrants are concerned about illegal immigration and Trump achieved 31 per cent of the Latino vote, which is a higher vote share than Mitt Romney.
Trump also received a larger share of the votes of white women than Hillary Clinton, as well as a larger share among all whites in all socio-economic categories.
Of Obama’s attitude towards immigration, Lowry says: “Obama never imagined people might consider it progress to tighten our borders rather than render them more porous.”
During Obama’s speech in Greece, he warned of the rise of a crude form of nationalism. Ben Carson, a black conservative as well as many other black and minority ethnics who don’t subscribe to the group-think set down by leftist social justice warriors, are often called derogatory terms like “Uncle Tom”, “sell-outs”, and are accused of acting white. This to me is a crude form of nationalism which Obama has never rebuked.
Dr Carol Swain, a lecturer and black conservative wrote a book in 2002 called The new white nationalism, in which she argued that identity politics would result in the rise of white nationalism. Carol Swain’s words of caution were dismissed and she was deemed by social justice warriors as being among the ranks of sell-outs who were working against black liberation.
Rather than bringing society together, Obama’s arrogance and Hillary’s aloofness have contributed towards the Democrats’ loss of support amongst white working class voters, and rather than healing racial divisions Americans appears far more divided than when Obama first took office.