Friday, August 26, 2016
What is "regressive left" And Who Are its Examples? "Regressive Left Applied To A Sub Group Within left leaning liberals Who Engage In Apologist for Islamic , Meaning Atheist Civil War Over Islam.
The "Regressive left" is primarily a pejorative term applied to a sub group within left leaning liberals who engage in apologism for Islamic conservatism and extremism. At it's core it is about ideological inconsistency. Liberals typically speak out vociferously against illiberal ideas such as homophobia, misogyny, blasphemy laws etc. when it applies to the majority religion (that would be Christianity in the western world). Some liberals, however, view ideas through a cultural relativistic lens. So when the same illiberal ideas are espoused by minorities, it is explained away as "it's their culture". Everytime there is an act of Islamic terrorism, the default reflex of some liberals is to point out that this has nothing to do with Islam, that western policy is to blame, that minorities are marginalized if their religious ideology is attacked, that there are right wing terrorists upon whom there should be an equal focus and so on. Most importantly, however, the defining characteristic of a regressive leftist is a deep rooted inability to listen to uncomfortable and contrary viewpoints without dishing out accusations of bigotry, racism, white supremacism, imperialism, Islamophobia and so on. The term "regressive left" was coined by Maajid Nawaz, a counter extremism activist based in the UK who also happens to be a person of color and a Muslim who often gets accused of being a lapdog for western imperialist interests. Very recently, Maajid Nawaz co-authored a book with Sam Harris, a vocal critic of Islam. His collaboration with Harris resulted in accusations such as "native informant" and "porch monkey".
Examples of "regressive leftists" include Glenn Greenwald, Reza Aslan, Abby Martin, Cenk Uygur, Chris Hedges, CJ Werlemann and several others. I think what really turns off many sane liberals on the left about the regressives is the constant lying, smearing and dishonesty in their dealings. Cenk Uygur, the host of the online liberal webcast "The Young Turks", produced a series of videos recently, attacking Sam Harris' positions on profiling, nuclear first strike and torture. It's not that he couldn't make videos disagreeing with Sam. Instead, he essentially labelled Sam Harris a bigot after having thoroughly misrepresented all of his views.
More recently the label "regressive leftist" has been extended to those elements on the left who consistently engage in language policing online and on university campuses and seek to shut down honest exchanges of ideas without tossing around accusations of bigotry.
Ironically, it seems like many who latched onto the "regressive left" label have begun dishing it out like candy to everyone that disgrees with their view. Sooner or later there will be a pushback against this group as well.
I think ultimately, as Bill Maher would say, liberals need to stand up for liberal principles. There are undoubtedly real problems concerning racism and anti-Muslim bigotry. But it is unhelpful to shut down conversations surrounding Islamic extremism by name calling every critic of Islam and anyone who dares point out a connection between specific doctrines of the religion and the actions of it's extremists. A clear distinction can be made between ideas and people. Unfortunately, the reality is neither people on the left nor on the right are particularly capable of nuance.