From time to time, thanks to the carelessness of someone charged with the safekeeping of the Mysteries, we unworthies catch a glimpse of what goes on inside the Temple of Progressivism. In some cases these inadvertent revelations are the result of unforced errors on a Keeper’s part, such as when Nancy Pelosi frankly told some reporter at her party’s convention that God, guns, and gays keep white heterosexual men from thinking clearly. In other cases, the Initiated are filmed or recorded saying things they would never have said had they known they were being filmed or recorded; an obvious example of this was Hillary Clinton’s infamous pronouncement concerning America’s “Deplorables” who, with any luck, will have put the kibosh on the coronation of the ex-First Lady by the time we all wake up on Wednesday morning.
In still other cases, ostensibly unremarkable remarks point to an important principle of the Progressive catechism. For instance, our consummate rhetorician of a President recently discharged this half-articulate appeal on Hillary’s behalf: “I want every man out there who’s voting to kind of look inside yourself and ask yourself, if you’re having problems with this stuff, how much of it is that we’re just not used to it?” (By “this stuff” our modern-day Demosthenes referred to the prospect of being governed by a president who, some have argued, is a female human being.) It stands to reason that all sorts of “Progress” made during Obama’s presidency could be explained by a felt obligation on Obama’s part to “teach” us that all sorts of things to which we offered reasoned opposition were really just so many things that we “weren’t used to.”
That people really do “get used to things” is certainly the case. Sixty years ago Elvis Presley’s gyrating hips were deemed unfit for television. Eighteen years ago our noble news media worked tirelessly to keep America abreast of President Bill Clinton’s Oval Office Onanism. Then again, last week a certain premium cable program sparked a moment’s moral outrage for its depiction of an orgy. “Don’t worry, though,” one might advise the show’s producers; “we’ll all get used to it soon enough.” The point is this: the normalization, by means sometimes insidious and other times imperious, of all manner of things that had been deemed indecent or else otherwise unworthy of publicity from time immemorial may be the most remarkable, and certainly is among the most harmful, accomplishments of postwar Progressivism.
The irony here is that Obama routinely complains on the campaign trail about Trump’s “normalizing” of what had hitherto been deemed “crazy.” But rather than try to persuade thoughtful Americans that the things he would have us get used to would be good things to get used to, or, on the other hand, that the things Trump is getting us used to are bad things to get used to, takes for granted the goodness of the causes he promotes and assumes that we will do so, too, on his authority. His causes are Progressive causes, after all; promoting them puts Obama “on the right side of history”–that is, on the side Marx took. Don’t we all long to join him there?
That the final victory of Progress could be neither inevitable nor desirable seems to be a possibility beyond the power of Progressives to consider. Arguments against the desirability of Progressive proposals are met not with better arguments in favor of those proposals but instead with either exhortations or commands that we get used to whatever Progressives see fit to have us get used to.