Belmont Club

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Progressives call themselves that because they see history — led by themselves — as moving toward an end point. The cultural components of that future world permeate every policy the administration announces. “Reproductive rights”. The reservation of gun ownership to agents of the state. The proliferation of “advanced” Green technologies as exemplified by battery operated cars, windmills, public transportation and zero-carbon buildings. That is what the future looks like. Yet another aspect of this new world hove into view recently.

The Atlantic describes The Obama Administration’s Bold but Risky Plan to Make Africa Gay-Friendly.

Last December, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a landmark speech at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, proclaiming that “gay rights are human rights” and announcing the U.S.’s first government-wide policy to push for the decriminalization of homosexuality overseas (the speech coincided with a memorandum issued by President Obama). She vowed “to ensure that our foreign assistance promotes the protection of LGBT rights” but was light on specifics. Within days, newspapers in Liberia — one of America’s closest allies in the region — were condemning the policy in particular and homosexuality in general.

But neither Hillary, nor the LGBT lobby in Washington would be moved. The Atlantic article says that is only right and proper because “most African laws against homosexuality did not originate in Africa. Western colonial powers put them in place long ago, reproducing the laws they’d had at home but have since largely abandoned … Some evangelical Christians, many of whom are Western, are today continuing this tradition by supporting anti-gay movements in Uganda and elsewhere.”

So it’s really a kind of cultural affirmative action; removing the stain of white wowserism and returning the continent to its pristine LGBT state. But the Atlantic’s narrative breaks down almost immediately.

From the Atlantic’s own account Africa had its own ways of coming terms with and living in peace with homosexuals consistent with their own value and religious traditions. By putting pressure on Liberia to openly embrace what is anathema to many they issued a kind of cultural ultimatum. If you want our aid money, enshrine these specified values.

Ultimatums have a way of engendering resentment, maybe not among Republicans, but in many other cultures.

Members of Liberia’s LGBT community say that, for the most part, they had previously been able to live in peace — unaccepted, sure, but underground and unmolested. The recent backlash against this new U.S. initiative, however, has manifested as a backlash against Liberian gays, leading some in the community to wonder if the American plan to help them could actually leave them worse off …

Liberia’s backlash was remarkable not just because the country’s government makes it a point to disagree with the U.S. as rarely as possible, but because it brought unprecedented local attention to the issue of gay rights.

Nowhere is the possibility that the Africans might wants things the way they currently stand recognized.  But surely everyone must want what the most advance cultural thinkers of the Left desire. How could they not?

This assumption is nothing new. The President’s domestic requirement for Catholic hospitals to provide ‘reproductive services’ are exactly the same thing in a domestic setting.  Just another campaign against 2,000 years of bigotry. And it has produced exactly the same kind of backlash. The problem has been characterized by Newt Gingrich as “religious freedom” issue. But it is broader than that.

The real question is whether a state-sanctioned moral orthodoxy should govern every facet of life or whether there are issues which are best left to individual cultures or communities to settle among themselves according to whatever idiosyncratic rules they devise.

The progressives like to talk about a “war on women” or a “war on gays”. But nowhere in their lexicon does the phrase “war on liberty” appear. For liberty properly understood, isn’t something you get from the Creator, who doesn’t exist. It’s something decided upon by the narrative, which you must duly follow.

To progressives, the clear answer to this question of whether any anyone should be left out of the state sanctioned network of declared behavior is “no”. Implicit in their struggle towards a “better world” is the requirement that we must all live in it, whether you like it or not. It wouldn’t be a “better world” if some child, adult or culture could be “left behind”, even by choice. That is what is wrong with home schooling — you are missing an “opportunity”. That is what is wrong with being, like Sarah Palin, a c**t — who would want to be that? The new world beckons. Everybody in the door folks, and then we lock it forever.

That is why progressivism, taken to its logical extreme eventually becomes totalitarianism. Afterbirth abortions, LGBT rights, individual mandates, the eternal guilt of whiteness, as propounded by Derrick Bell the President’s favorite professor — all become mandates.

It begins slowly. Liberia was probably selected as a place to start because it is poor, close to the United States and led by an American educated president. It is vulnerable. But it can hardly end there. The question must be how these progressive policies differ from the colonialism of another era.

In form they do not; any more than in form 20th century Communism differed from Nazism. It was the same dog with a different collar. What excuses the progressivism always is that they “mean well”. Doubtless they do. But it is not impertinent to add that so did all the tinpot authoritarianisms that ever paraded through history.


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