If you were to believe the outcry coming from persecuted white males across the country, domineering progressives have risen to power with the intent of censoring your freedom to express objectively dumb opinions. Ink has been spilled from the pens of conservatives and liberals alike on how the left has become a proto-fascist cabal of easily offended academics seeking to shame anyone who runs afoul of their draconian standards of propriety. Forgive me for not pitying the likes of Jonathan Chait and Bill O’Reilly. Chait condemned political correctness as “a style of politics in which the more radical members of the left attempt to regulate political discourse by defining opposing views as bigoted and illegitimate.” O’Reilly, similarly, recently posited that it is “open season” on Christians and white males in the United States. While it is inspiring to see liberal and conservative pundits putting their differences aside to fight persecution, it would be nice if that fighting was being done on behalf of anyone other than white males prone to saying ignorant shit.
Chait cites the mass appeal and profitability of stories covering race and gender bias as a cause for the escalation of political correctness in American public discourse. This seems to be a rather cynical reading of the natural progression of societal attitudes regarding race and gender. He further decried the “p.c. left” as a “philosophically threatening … undemocratic creed.” According to Chait, well-intentioned liberals are becoming alienated from social justice causes as a result of the “slashing righteousness,” to borrow the words of Michelle Goldberg, of the left.
O’Reilly, on the other hand, minces no words. Men and white Christians are under attack. The power dynamics have irrevocably shifted and O’Reilly, a multi-millionaire television pundit, is more vulnerable than ever.
Is it possible, however, that Chait and O’Reilly’s pushback against the monstrous left wing is a result of their fear of their own inevitable irrelevance? The democratization of media has not been kind to old media types such as Chait, with his nationally syndicated column in New York Magazine and O’Reilly, whose target demographic is literally dying by the day.
It is disheartening to witness this process in action. I have no doubt that Chait’s intentions are good, but watching him resist the left’s progress to a more enlightened plateau is unfortunate. For him to frame this evolution as stifling well-meaning liberal voices suggests that he himself has failed to grow with the ideology.
To answer the critics from the left and the right who frame new progressivism as oppressive, let’s get real for one moment. No one is stopping anyone from speaking out however they so choose. There may be increased accountability from various angles thanks to the democratization of media, but I fail to see how that is a negative.
If I could speak to Chait and O’Reilly, I would encourage them to continue to speak their mind without fear of criticism from the left. They have every right to do so as Americans. Whether they still have jobs afterwards is another matter, but for now, keep talking and let freedom ring.