We’re all familiar with the lunacy of the Progressive Left, and its tendency toward insane and downright evil positions. Issues like abortion (now, apparently, including babies that survive attempted murder against them) highlight the fundamentally different philosophical foundations of Progressivism and traditionalism.
That said, one of the more annoying aspects of modern Leftism is its sanctimonious virtue-signalling, which is part of the appeal of Progressivism: you get “virtue” on the cheap, without any real sacrifice.
Case in point: a letter to The Virginia Pilot about the Ralph Northam non-troversy. Readers will know that I don’t much care about what costume Governor Northam wore three decades ago, but I do care that he advocates for infanticide both in and out of the womb.
But the letter in question is a prime of example of Leftist sanctimony in action, full of broad, vapory statements about how Northam can work towards reconciliation. The letter is from Rich Harwood, who runs a policy think-tank of some kind called The Harwood Institute.
I only know about the Harwood Institute because, somehow, one of my e-mail addresses for one of the schools where I teach has ended up on their mailing list. For about a year I thought it was the “Hardwood Institute,” and they were trying to sell me lumber.
Regardless, Rich Harwood, the namesake founder of this fairly bland, center-Left organization wrote a letter entitled “A suggested path toward reconciliation,” and blasted an abbreviated version out to the Harwood Institute’s e-mail list.
The entire letter is an exercise if blathering sanctimony. He recommends five steps for Governor Northam, and how he can become, chillingly, an “instrument for society.” One of those steps is—no joke—to “[m]ake room for deep sorrow.”
I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Here is an extended excerpt to give you the full flavor of Harwood’s virtue-signalling:
[Governor Northam] faces a fundamental choice: Is his reconciliation tour about his own political survival, or can he become an instrument of society?
Choosing the latter requires him to exercise a ruthless humility, where he recognizes his own role is limited. Racial reconciliation cannot be led by a single leader, nor orchestrated by an elected official. It will come through a whole host of big and small actions, emerging over time, that include overlapping conversations, popular culture and music, the writing of new books and the illumination of painful history.
So the governor must ask: What is my contribution in this moment? What can I do? What does it mean for me to be an instrument of society? ….
There may be those who say that Northam has made it past the worst of this crisis and that he should just hunker down and ride out the last of it. Perhaps that’s possible. But, for him, is that good enough? Can he live with that? Will that help him fulfill his personal calling, and more importantly gain a sense of redemption from Virginians?
I urge Northam to choose the path of becoming an instrument of society.
Amid all of this feel-good crap is this phrase “instrument of society.” That’s a terrifying concept, and one that is indicative of the totalitarian Left. No one can just be—every individual must subsume himself into the mass.
Northam may have been an idiot thirty years ago; now, he’s a useful tool for the Left, except that the Left cannot forgive what may have been acceptable under yesterday’s morality. For the Left, there IS no yesterday. Everything that is bad now has always been bad, which is why their positions shift so constantly (remember when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were opposed to gay marriage and supported border control?).
Harwood, too, is a useless tool for the Left, and he probably doesn’t even realize it. He’s no-doubt marinated his entire life in a cloistered, East Coast liberalism that arrogantly believes it holds all the answers—if only we can get those rubes in flyover country to come to heel.
Racial issues in America are overblown and tiresome. Civil rights have been secured for virtually every race and deviant lifestyle choice conceivable. Instead of focusing on these silly side issues, let’s try to stop the mass slaughter of innocents. That’s an area where we can—and should—make “room for deep sorrow.”