The dehumanizing left

There is a worldview which goes by the name of regressive left these days, but is really quite old. I’m realizing that this worldview isn’t just about fighting the oppressed, but is also about a fundamental assumption that the oppressor class is sub-human while the oppressed are fully human. The purveyors of this worldview might object at framing it like that, but when you consider the consequences of their words and actions, that is the only conclusion you can draw.

While an oppressor, say like the USA might rank some people as less human than their own citizens when calculating collateral in a war operation, the regressive left too ranks people on a similar scale. The result of this ranking is that since the oppressed are the only full humans, moral good lies only with them. Moral evil is with the sub-human oppressors. So an evil act can always be traced back to the oppressor.

So an an attack like the Orlando massacre, at its root is not the fault of Islamic homophobia (plus other things), but is the result of the USA via its foreign policy creating ISIS and so on. You see the same reasoning whenever there is talk about FGM, hijab etc…

And the classification of moral good and moral evil is an absolute. So if an ex-Muslim or a Muslim reformer were to point fingers at their own community, they’ve violated the fundamental axiom of moral evil lying solely with the oppressor class. So these ex-Muslims and reformers become traitors to their own people. They themselves become oppressors, regardless of what they’ve suffered at the hands of the oppressors. They’ve literally made a pact with the devil.

The term regressive left doesn’t do enough justice to this worldview. Given the lofty ideals it professes to, a better name would be The Empathyless Left or The Dehumanizing Left.


  1. Great American Satan says

    I won’t debate that there are a lot of people expressing bad ideas on the left. There’s a lot of foolishness all over the place. Some lefties are moderate “npr” liberals whose main mistakes are buying dangerous woo, defending crappy celebrities, and actually not being progressive enough. The type of lefties you allude to would skew more young, angry, vocal, often college students. Sometimes they do cause people harm in their rush to judgment and reflexive condemnation of everything that comes from the West.

    But the people who most often use “regressive left” as a phrase are very bad people. Antifeminist internet goons and defenders of torture and racism against “muslim looking” people. I can imagine the sort of reading that led you to compose this article and suggest you take a second look at it. But I could be wrong. Take this information or leave it, and I hope you have a better day going forward. Sounds like you’re angry for a good reason.

  2. says

    Yeah, I’m aware of other uses of the term “regressive left”. But I think given a context, it should be easy to discern how the term is being used. For example, if Milo Yiannopoulos uses it, it is almost certainly to justify his bigotry whereas you can’t say the same if Maajid Nawaz uses it.

    And as I said, this particular worldview isn’t new. In the 80s and 90s the Hindu right co-opted the same language to demonize Western academia which was studying Hinduism. Since the West was a colonizer, they had no business saying anything about Hinduism. Of course what this actually meant was that the West can’t say anything critical. Praising Hinduism was very much welcome. If it was Hindus themselves who were critical of Hinduism, they became brown sahibs, coconuts etc…

  3. Great American Satan says

    I’m always glad to hear about the history of other countries with these issues. Definitely not something I know much about.

  4. says

    I think a big part of this worldview comes from the idea of “privilege” as a ladder of sorts. I’ve been bombarded by statements like “male privilege >female privilege” “cis privilege>trans privilege” “white privilege>black privilege”. It’s a worldview based on the broadest generalizations taken as gospel and it leads to inaccurate conclusions.

    I saw this after the Charlie Hebdo shootings. Some usually sensible people suddenly making excuses for cold-blooded murder. “French > Muslim”, therefore the attackers couldn’t possibly be the bad guys, the cartoonists had to be racists, islamophobes, unworthy of any respect and thus deserving of violent retaliation for drawing cartoons.

    Liberals all around would do well to realize that the “privilege” discussion is not an all-purpose tool. You can’t explain away every conflict by placing it’s participants in the “privilege ladder” and checking who’s in the bottom.

  5. Anonick says

    I’m sorry, but this post is full of nonsense.

    I’d be very surprised to see some mildly influential leftist claiming that ‘the Orlando massacre, at its root is not the fault of Islamic homophobia (plus other things), but is the result of the USA via its foreign policy creating ISIS and so on’. What is the source of this claim?

    Perhaps the subtleties of the analysis of power and class escape the author of this post, as I’m sure they escape many leftists as well, but it won’t do to caricature them or to accuse the left of assigning subhuman status to the powerful. As if, firstly, (and this is important and goes to the root of the analysis of power) it is going to make any difference to the actually powerful whether leftists think of them as subhuman. And secondly, no leftist has claimed that the gay people who were the victims of the Orlando shooting were among the oppressors, or associated them with the powerful. Find me one.

    Behind this post is the idea that the ‘regressive left’ does not want to implicate Islam in the Orlando massacre. I don’t think this is true – what I’ve seen on Twitter is the consensus that homophobia is not exclusively Islamic but is common in American society, and that gun control is a necessary means to stop massacres by mentally unbalanced, bigoted shooters. Both assertions are true, in my opinion. It is true that leftist twitter was skeptical of govt claims that tied the shooter to ISIS or claimed he was on a terrorist mission – rightly skeptical, it turns out.

    Even if a Christian had done the crime (possible – Christians have shot up abortion clinics, after all), the left would have had the same response. I suspect Trump would not be issuing calls for banning those he considers barbaric and subhuman, and also Nirmukta would not have a left-bashing post for that occasion.

  6. says

    I do have to agree with Anonick, though.

    While I saw a lot of “blaming the oppressors” on the Charlie Hebdo shootings, I haven’t quite come across such claims over the Orlando massacre.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *