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Thread: AMERICA’S WHITE SAVIORS

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    AMERICA’S WHITE SAVIORS

    AMERICA’S WHITE SAVIORS
    White liberals are leading a ‘woke’ revolution that is transforming American politics and making Democrats increasingly uneasy with Jewish political power

    By Zach Goldberg
    June 5, 2019 • 9:30 PM

    A sea change has taken place in American political life. The force driving this change is the digital era style of moral politics known as “wokeness,” a phenomenon that has become pervasive in recent years and yet remains elusive as even experts struggle to give it a clear definition and accurately measure its impact. Where did it come from? What do its adherents believe? Is it just something happening inside the Twitter bubble and on college campuses or is it really spreading across the social and cultural landscape and transforming the country as sometimes appears to be the case? In reality, “wokeness”—a term that originated in black popular culture—is a broad euphemism for a more narrow phenomenon: the rapidly changing political ideology of white liberals that is remaking American politics.

    Over the past decade, the baseline attitudes expressed by white liberals on racial and social justice questions have become radically more liberal. In one especially telling example of the broader trend, white liberals recently became the only demographic group in America to display a pro-outgroup bias—meaning that among all the different groups surveyed white liberals were the only one that expressed a preference for other racial and ethnic communities above their own. As woke ideology has accelerated, a growing faction of white liberals have pulled away from the average opinions held by the rest of the coalition of Democratic voters—including minority groups in the party. The revolution in moral sentiment among this one segment of American voters has led to a cascade of consequences ranging from changes in the norms and attitudes expressed in media and popular culture, to the adoption of new political rhetoric and electoral strategies of the Democratic Party. Nor has this occurred in a vacuum on the left as the initiatives set in motion by white liberals have, in turn, provoked responses and countermeasures from conservatives and Republicans.

    In a recent Vox article based partly on the dissertation research I’ve been doing as a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Georgia State University, Matthew Yglesias described this ongoing transformation as “The Great Awokening.” In Yglesias’ account: “In the past five years, white liberals have moved so far to the left on questions of race and racism that they are now, on these issues, to the left of even the typical black voter. This change amounts to a ‘Great Awokening.’” There is no simple or single explanation for how this process got started. It appears to be driven by an interplay of factors: preexisting tendencies among white liberals; a series of polarizing events like the police shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent riots in Ferguson, and the migrant crisis; the rise of millenials as a political force, and the explosion of social media and “woke” clickbait journalism. The years between 2012 and 2016 were a watershed for white liberal racial consciousness. But the seismic attitudinal shifts of those years have implications that go beyond race: They are also tied to a significant decrease in support for Israel and—perhaps more surprisingly—a rise in the number of white liberals who express negative attitudes about the perceived political power of American Jews.

    As white liberals have come to place far greater emphasis on racial injustice, they have also endorsed reparative race-related social policies in greater numbers. This is evident across a range of issues: the rapid growth in white liberals who favor affirmative action for blacks in the labor force; in the increase in white liberals who feel that we spend too little on helping blacks, and that the government should afford them special treatment; in the increase in white Democrats who think it’s the government’s job to ensure “equal income across all races”; and in the increase in white liberals and Democrats who think that white people have ‘too much’ political influence.

    At the same time, there are growing levels of support for policies without such obvious connections to race. For instance, between 1965 and 2000, the percentage of white liberals preferring increased immigration levels never deviated far from 10%. From the mid-2000s to roughly the end of President Obama’s term in office, this figure gradually ascended into the 20-30% range. As of 2018, it sits at over 50%. Then, there is the marked shift in attitudes toward Israel. Between 1978 and 2014, white liberals consistently reported sympathizing more with Israel than the Palestinians. Since March of 2016, this trend has turned on its face: Significantly more white liberals now report greater sympathy for the Palestinians than for Israel.

    Some of these changes arguably stem from Trump’s rhetoric and policies on immigration. But a glance at the data shows that, as with their attitudes toward blacks, the percentage of white liberals perceiving “a lot” or “a great deal” of discrimination against immigrants more than doubled between 2000 (29%) and 2013 (57%)—i.e., well before Trump arrived on the scene. Additionally, between 2006 and 2014, the percentage of white liberals saying they feel “very sympathetic” toward illegal immigrants and their families grew from 22% to 42%.

    For the woke and their allies, these rapid changes are heralded as signs of progress, leading at times to harsh criticism of anyone who would stand in their way. This ideological stridency and triumphalist attitude can be powerful weapons against political opponents but are alienating—perhaps deliberately so—to moderates and conservatives. But, in a sense, no one is put in a more strained and problematic position by the politics of white liberals than the white liberals themselves. The woke elite act like white saviors who must lead the rest of the country, including the racial minorities whose interests they claim to represent, to a vision of justice the less enlightened groups would not choose for themselves.

    Consider, for instance, that black and Asian Democrats and liberals are significantly more supportive of restrictive immigration policies and less positive toward racial/ethnic diversity than their white counterparts. Black and Hispanic Democrats and liberals are more sympathetic toward Israel than the Palestinians (likely due in part to the fact that they tend to be more religious). They are also more likely to part ways when it comes to contemporary social and gender-identity issues, including views of the #MeToo movement. In all, though they do converge on some issues, the attitudes and policy preferences of the woke white left are unrepresentative of the “marginalized communities” with whom they are supposed to be allies. And as woke liberals play a leading role in party politics, the Democrats, who are increasingly defined by their embrace of diversity and progressive stances on issues of racial justice, appear to do so, at least partly at the direction of a small white elite.
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    May they continue to eat themselves. They never will figure out why Trump is the winner.

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    I've always thought that most white liberals were to the left of their black colleagues. It comes from that old European sense that they know what's best for everybody. When they get put in their place by somebody not white, I can see them biting their tongue.

    But when it comes to anti-semitism on the left, I see whites and blacks doing that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanie View Post
    I've always thought that most white liberals were to the left of their black colleagues. It comes from that old European sense that they know what's best for everybody. When they get put in their place by somebody not white, I can see them biting their tongue.

    But when it comes to anti-semitism on the left, I see whites and blacks doing that.
    I think that's generally true. I certainly know blacks who always vote for Democrats but by and large, they themselves lead very conservative lives in terms of finances, law and order, faith, aspirations, and behavior. It's not that they particularly like the candidates they vote for so much as it is that they simply assume a Republican is more evil or deceptive. They mostly don't know if this is true or not because like their white peers, they don't really follow politics aside from headlines.

    Blacks don't hate their own race, though. A lot of "woke" whites really do and feel it's their mission in life to make the rest of the whites hate themselves just as much.

    In fact, many white liberals have a lot of missions that involve telling other people how to live, what to think, and how to act and this definitely includes minorities, religious people, people with wildly different lifestyles (people with kids, rural, working class, etc.), people who disagree with them, people who don't agree enthusiastically enough, and so on.

    There's a real proselytizing streak there.

    I'd guess that current liberal Jew hatred is partly because most liberals only personally know secular Jews who also kind of hate Jews, partly because their geopolitical views are informed by European intellectuals (who also hate Jews), and partly because Jews are no longer "exotic" enough to be pet victims. You can't save somebody who is willing to tell you to pound it when you wade in with all your great solutions.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    This is an engrossing piece. The author makes a good case that liberals have become more radical (or "radically liberal") in very recent years, though he's careful to point out that this acceleration predates the political presence of Trump. He also explores pretty thoroughly how "digital media" can distort reality. He adds an important caveat:

    To determine the extent to which these trends are powered by the rise of digital media and hashtag activism will require more robust and longitudinal studies. But the evidence that’s currently available suggests a direct relationship between a person’s level of social media activity and their perception of how prevalent discrimination is.
    At the end of the article he pegs the conservative/liberal divide:

    Due at least in part to digital media, white liberal attitudes that more or less endured for decades have been drastically overturned in the space of months or single years. In contrast, the attitudes of white conservatives—and conservatives in general—have moved at a more glacial pace, if at all. For liberals, the lack of awareness of how fast and far their attitudes have shifted fosters an illusion of conservative extremism. In reality, the conservatives of today are not all that different from the conservatives of years past. And it’s the frustration with white conservatives’ inability or reluctance to keep pace with liberals on the path to enlightenment that is intensifying our political divide. But conservatives tend toward normative and structural stability....
    Up to this point he seems dead on to me. Then he veers toward his own liberal disposition, which he made clear earlier.

    They don’t take well to rapid social change. The perceived imposition and spread of progressive norms naturally elicits psychological reactance—a visceral desire to resist and affirm one’s agency in the face of perceived social pressure. This is the very process that is at least partly responsible for the election of Trump.

    Resentment of those seen as standing in the way of necessary social and cultural change may inspire a commitment to what political scientist Eric Kaufman calls “multicultural millenarianism”: the belief that the demise of a white majority will pave the way for a more racially progressive and just society. Perhaps this is why white support for increasing immigration coincides with more negative feelings toward whites. Whatever the case, such sentiment would have been hard to fathom 10-20 years ago. The digitalization of moral outrage that makes it possible today could, with the pace of innovation, make it even more potent in the years to come.
    The author details the flight from reality of the left:
    The problem is when these moral emotions [liberalism] become hyperactive and detached from objective reality; when they motivate the division of society into ‘allies’ and enemies; and when they generate a level of sanctimonious outrage and judgment that places all political dissent beyond the pale.
    But he's talking about political reality more than a functional reality, I think. That is, he doesn't pause to suggest or argue that the reason the left is resisted, and that "conservatives of today are not all that different from the conservatives of years past," is that the essential conservative values function: they produce the bounty we enjoy and take for granted. Compassion, which the article explores at length, is great at distributing fish and loaves of bread, but does less well at multiplying the supply of those vittles from the five or so they may have had at the started. With a singular exception, increased supply is usually accomplished by pedestrian, conservative values like work and private property.

    Are we left to infer that conservatives just use "digital media" less? I don't think that's the case, and on this point Goldberg at least admits to needing more data (quoted above).

    A rise in "screen time" doesn't mean a whole lot without further dissection. Acres of time spent in pointless chatter doesn't mold ideology, except to invite ignorance that is filled by aggressively evangelical ideologues. My gut says Mr. Goldberg would find the metamorphosis of other institutions very revealing and influential as well. Such as news media. I believe liberal media outlets were not feverish 15 or 20 years ago as they are now. AM radio has become a bastion of conservative chatter; late night TV has morphed from Johnny Carson's gentle equilibrium to a hard-edged liberal platform. Jim Acosta would not have been a White House correspondent when Sam Donaldson was. Likewise college campuses. 15 or 20 years ago ivy league brats would not have surrounded and screamed at a professor about Halloween costumes.

    A Unifying Theory, so to speak, might be beyond the reach of Zach Goldberg, but it would be fascinating and worthwhile, all the more if an accounting were made of the consequences of imposing ideologies that have "detached from objective reality" on society as a whole.
    Last edited by Newman; Saturday, June 8th, 2019 at 4:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newman View Post
    This is an engrossing piece. The author makes a good case that liberals have become more radical (or "radically liberal") in very recent years, though he's careful to point out that this acceleration predates the political presence of Trump. He also explores pretty thoroughly how "digital media" can distort reality. He adds an important caveat:



    At the end of the article he pegs the conservative/liberal divide:


    Up to this point he seems dead on to me. Then he veers toward his own liberal disposition, which he made clear earlier.



    The author details the flight from reality of the left:


    But he's talking about political reality more than a functional reality, I think. That is, he doesn't pause to suggest or argue that the reason the left is resisted, and that "conservatives of today are not all that different from the conservatives of years past," is that the essential conservative values function: they produce the bounty we enjoy and take for granted. Compassion, which the article explores at length, is great at distributing fish and loaves of bread, but does less well at multiplying the supply of those vittles from the five or so they may have had at the started. With a singular exception, increased supply is usually accomplished by pedestrian, conservative values like work and private property.

    Are we left to infer that conservatives just use "digital media" less? I don't think that's the case, and on this point Goldberg at least admits to needing more data (quoted above).

    A rise in "screen time" doesn't mean a whole lot without further dissection. Acres of time spent in pointless chatter doesn't mold ideology, except to invite ignorance that is filled by aggressively evangelical ideologues. My gut says Mr. Goldberg would find the metamorphosis of other institutions very revealing and influential as well. Such as news media. I believe liberal media outlets were not feverish 15 or 20 years ago as they are now. AM radio has become a bastion of conservative chatter; late night TV has morphed from Johnny Carson's gentle equilibrium to a hard-edged liberal platform. Jim Acosta would not have been a White House correspondent when Sam Donaldson was. Likewise college campuses. 15 or 20 years ago ivy league brats would not have surrounded and screamed at a professor about Halloween costumes.

    A Unifying Theory, so to speak, might be beyond the reach of Zach Goldberg, but it would be fascinating and worthwhile, all the more if an accounting were made of the consequences of imposing ideologies that have "detached from objective reality" on society as a whole.
    I think you've nailed some salient points both with the author and in general.

    My positions on most big issues haven't changed since they are primarily functional (as you say) and spring out of fundamental principles instead of feelings or peer pressure.

    There is an appearance that conservatives have become somehow 'more extreme' but that's only in relation to the Left's relentless "wokeness" since its adoption of critical theory.

    I find it both amusing and heart-breaking that I am a very classical liberal by any realistic definition as well as apparently being 'alt-right'.

    Viewpoint diversity and equality (not equity) are now basically 'just like Hitler'. Jesus wept.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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