One of my biggest questions about cultural progressives is why they make so many other whites feel as if they’re tremendously racist. (Yet cultural pro’s are the first to accuse Christian conservatives of being judgmental.) The book mentions that a significant number of cultural pro respondents thought of the Christian right as racist.
Racism is part of all cultures. Many other people groups haven’t fully admitted that they’ve wronged others–for example, the Japanese haven’t taken much responsibility for the Nanking Massacre. So, in absolute terms we all fail, but relative to other people groups whites do fairly well.
So why the white bashing (especially since if cultural pros really cared about race relationships they would realize that such bashing might lead to bitterness and hence a MORE racialized society)?
Okay, here’s the dynamic I came up with:
Cultural pros are irreligious and hence must put a very high value on rationality. Hence, they funnel their energy and time into what they value–rational pursuits (doctoral studies, etc.). Hence, they’re overrepresented at the top. (I should note that, ironically, focusing only on rationality doesn’t get one where one wants–since emotion has so much to do with where we end up with our reason.)
Now: the more layers of government you have the more likely it is that those with credentials will float to positions of power. A referendum on gay marriage–the people say no. Give it to the Supreme Court–it will probably find in favor of it.
So a united world government would mean a top-most layer–the layer they would dominate. BUT such a government wouldn’t work if cultures didn’t get along because of significant differences (that can’t entirely be blamed on the “dominant” culture). So, a precondition for big government is easy governance of all peoples. Which means atomistic individualism and hence no resource struggles among people groups which aren’t easily resolvable by referencing some simple algorithm (such as: those who have more have so because of racism and consequently resource distribution is appropriate).
No culture is more productive than another. No religious culture is more peaceful than another. (I say this in contradistinction to “religion” since I leave interpretation of religion to the eye of the beholder.)
If one race is doing better socioeconomically, it must be because that race has oppressed the other–which can be corrected by command from the top (–as opposed to allowing matters to correct themselves from the bottom–which is not a process that can be counted on to work in a timely fashion). So no complicated justice problems and, ultimately, no envy among people groups.
Necessarily, those who want small government and independence and believe in human nature which is sinful and very imperfect (often white Christian conservatives) are racist. We stand in the way of cultural progressives’ success on a grand scale–their grand vision–themselves at the top. A utopia, as it were.
One of my problems with sociologists: They’re often cultural pro’s, themselves (which the book in review here even points out). And so they engage in A LOT of leftist racial idiocy and then strut around with their noses in the air. To the authors of this blog: Tell me that ain’t you, will ya?
[Addendum: One other reason cultural pros tend to be so accusatory and judgmental particularly on racial issues involves their political utopianism brought about by their general lack of belief in God. In essence, they've dropped the God of Christianity but, in desperation, had to pick up another: Cause-tianity. Then they run their "rationality" up the flagpole, forgetting all about the crucible of powerful existential forces pushing, shaping, and molding the emotional matrix on which they start their reasoning. Those who aren't utopians such as myself have fewer problems acknowledging that different cultures aren't equally productive and that this arrangement can certainly lead to problems. [Allow me to add at a later date that I do think this should be treated in a sensitive manner; perhaps, the less specific talk the better. No one wants another to say something critical of his or her own culture. And all should try to respect that sentiment. What sometimes makes it impossible, though, is when the left forces the issue when it attributes a difference in outcome to white racism when such a difference doesn't stem from that factor. --Not that differences due to white racism don't exist. But the left over-attributes white racism as the reason.] At best, in my world, we’ll be able to just muddle through. Forget entirely about utopia–let’s just try not blowing ourselves up. –And in some ways, I’m pessimistic about even this.
–Second addendum: George Yancey, the sociologist responding to me in this post (and the writer of a book on cultural progressives), in a response to another person commenting on the Patheos blogsite, brilliantly noted that because rationality is a core value for cultural progressives, they tend to have a difficult time acknowledging that they might not always be thinking rationally. He analogized the situation to Christians and faith–since faith is a core value for Christians, some Christians have a difficult time admitting that they have struggles with faith and may be responding to certain situations in a “faith-less” manner. I think that Yancey’s spot-on. But, also, perhaps the larger problem for cultural progressives is that not only do they tend to view themselves as rational because rationality is a core value but they tend to view the world as rational–in other words, they tend to view the world as constructed and “designed” in such a way (even though many don’t believe in God’s design) so that their rational thought can impact the world and eventually perfect it. After all, what’s the point of believing oneself to be rational if one doesn’t believe the world, also, is amenable to rationality? If one divorced one’s rationality from the world’s, one would be in the difficult situation of owning up to the self-hazardous fact that one could see many of the problems of the world–yet wouldn’t be able to do anything about them. Imagine the horror: It’s one thing to run a business into bankruptcy but not know it until the end; it’s another thing to run a business and all along know that one is headed for bankruptcy. –That’s emotionally quite difficult to take. And hence for the cultural progressive there’s an emotional pull to view the world as amenable to rational “instruction,” as it were. Which necessarily means coming up with simple “justice” algorithms to solve seemingly intractable disputes between people groups. Hence the villification of white people, even though many cultural progressives are white. No, it’s not about love. And it’s not about justice. It’s about following through on a rigid ideology. It’s about their religion–that thing that allows them to wake up in the morning, put one foot in front of the other, and tell themselves that it’s all worthwhile.]
Funny that the issue of race is what caught your attention. For the record, I do not automatically link racism to a predominately white environment. I believe that some cultural progressives are mistaken by making that conncetion. The reason why I think they are so white is that African and Hispanic-Americans tend to have higher religiosity than European-Americans. So even progressive Blacks and Hispanics do not tend to accept the seperation of church and state argument of white progressives. So the venues by which they protest conservatives tend to be different than through these types of social movements. They will work with cultural progressives a lot but in their own organizations. As to the motivation of cultural progressives I will do a little more on my next blog on that. But given what we know about social movements we know that these movements will meet the needs of those in it. Your explanation does that although it is not the only way to make that explanation. Sorry about you experiences with sociologists. Most are progressives. I will not speak for any but myself. I am a political independent. I have taught race and ethncity for a long time. I do not agree with the most radical theories surrounding racial issues but I am not a supporter of a color-blind philosophy either.Hi says:
By the way, I didn’t realize that the author of the book was the one writing the article, as I found the link to this article on Google and then just skimmed the article.
Just wanted to add that I downloaded your book and read it on Kindle yesterday and the day before and really liked it. I had my idea on why cultural pros throw around accusations of racism so much prior to reading your book, but as I was reading your book I kept thinking about my idea–since both your book and my idea revolved around cultural progressives.
I’ll admit I harbor some anger toward cultural pro’s. In college my freshman year as an 18 year old I went from feeling like a fine, upstanding member of the world to being made to feel like a racist “white guy” simply because I was pro-life and voted Republican. Cultural pro’s had a lot to do with me being made to feel this way, I believe. And I was stumped: If a black professor was saying this stuff I could attribute it at least in part to anger over past injustices, group identity, etc. (I wouldn’t necessarily agree with a black prof who tried to make me feel like a racist white guy for being a Republican, but, actually, I do have an understanding of why African Americans might be upset with whites–given the hell of slavery, etc. So there’s an understandability about that action, even if I don’t agree with his conclusions.) But, as you indicate, most of the cultural pros are white. And this left me puzzled: I couldn’t attribute their reaction to bias in favor of their own group (–they were, after all, from the majority). And, typically, we tend to look highly on people who, if anything, are a little bit more biased toward the Other than toward themselves: think of the little league coach who refrains from starting his son off as pitcher–even though he might be able to justify such an action–instead he gives the other guy’s son the first crack.
So it’s been a longstanding question of mine to try to explain cultural pro’s behavior–at least explain it in a way that wasn’t to their liking (since their explanation would be that they behave the way they do–including their frequently accusing others of being racist–because their more moral and more rational than everyone else).
I should also add that I’m not completely against redistribution. I do believe in a progressive income tax. Also, I do think that racism–particularly past racism–is partly responsible for differences in socioeconomic levels. But where I differ from them is that I don’t assume the worst–racism–when cultures are at different socioeconomic levels. For example, I don’t assume that Germans have oppressed the Greeks simply because Germans have a higher standard of living than the Greeks. And I don’t assume that Germans are “naturally” smarter than the Greeks. (And isn’t what’s going on overseas right now going to be a tough nut to crack–how to structure the Euro? What’s good for the Greeks isn’t good for the Germans, and vice-versa. Definitely NOT soluble via some simple algorithm.)
But cultural pro’s are absolutely ruthless in enforcing the notion that differences MUST be because of racism.
As I tried to indicate, ironically this very attitude stirs up a lot of racism. It has the effect of racializing society: If whites feel they’ll only be judges as non-racists IF they conform to the far-left version of who’s non-racist, then a certain percentage of whites will decide that they can’t win and that that shows that this is a tribal world, after all–so why not “tribe up” themselves.
Lastly, I feel sorry about the last paragraph–the one in which I write, “One of my problems with sociologists: They’re often cultural pros, themselves. . . . And so they engage in A LOT of leftist racial idiocy and then strut around with their noses in the air. To that authors of this blog: Tell me that ain’t you, will ya?” As I indicated, I didn’t realize you were the author of the book and this article. I assumed the author of this article was some random sociologist reviewing the book. (And as you mention in your book, many sociologists are cultural pros themselves.)
After reading your book, I got the feeling that you weren’t the type of sociologist to tow the cultural pro party line. Thanks for that.George Yancey says:
There may be a good book, or at least research article in how cultral progressives deal with raical issues. I no longer do research in the race/ethnicity area so I guess I will have to find a grad student to write it. lol. By the way I do not consider myself a cultural progressive nor a member of the Christian right. I think both groups have some things right and some things wrong. But there is no one I agree with 100 percent. I am too much of an independent thinker to agree with anyone all the time. As the character Monk use to say “It is a blessing and a curse.”