Progressives and Learned Helplessness

Sargon of Akkad’s video Illiberal Progressives is an eloquent explanation of where progressives have become authoritarian and have gone against liberal principles. No matter your political leaning, this is a gem in help to understand today’s progressives.

The thing that bothers me the most about modern day progressives is their spreading of misinformation. The aim is not to help people make better decisions as individuals, but to gain influence, entrench tribalism and buffer followers from reality.

To illustrate using an example on the micro-scale, say you want to quit smoking. To succeed you need to turn your mind away from the urge to smoke as it comes up. Progressives want to take issue off of race and gender, yet instead of turning away from it, they pick at old scabs and focus in like a laser on genitals and skin color, exhausting it by endlessly talking and writing about it, starting censorship campaigns against perceived hate speech and creating policy aimed at fixing it. It is like the wannabe-non-smoker talking endlessly about the desire to stop smoking more than distracting from it or replacing the habit.

To turn the mind from it, would be to face bias and take it off the table. What seems to be beneficial in my own mind would be to encourage a system based upon the individual’s character, skills and merit, allowing people of different backgrounds, perspectives, physical attributes, etc. to have the opportunity to participate. That is, individualism, not based on a collective group identity or stereotypes.

Ultimately, even if you have a group of people whose identity is partially based upon oppression a generation or so ago, there are really only a couple ways to solve a cultural inequality post-conflict. 1) Create a progressive stack so that the oppressors now become the oppressed, that is, go on the warpath, and 2) taking the identity politics off the front burner and treating everyone as individuals.

Say we want to get more women into CEO positions as they aren’t there currently. The narrative that insists it is because women are being held down is in itself destructive. Not only does it put women in a place of perceived victimhood, but it means that the people who currently in those positions are racist and/or sexist oppressors. You take the power away from the “oppressed group” and grant more agency to the other group, often the “privileged” white men.

This is ridiculous and leads to ass-backwards campaigns like “ban bossy” and he-for-she. It undermines female agency, accomplishments and merit. Women too have the autonomy to choose. Often they do not make the same decisions as men. This is likely more of an outcome of biology then social constructs, though I am sure that socialization plays a role.

This thinking also inaccurately attributes an inhuman amount of agency to men, especially white men, which can lead to a lack of acknowledgement of their vulnerability. Many modern feminists believe you cannot be sexist towards white men- because they are “the patriarchy”, yet more men are homeless and have a lot less opportunity to seek help and shelter.

The sexes are different. Equality shouldn’t be about leveling out the playing field, but rising together with our own unique traits and skills. I hope that these authoritative progressive ideas gets called out more and more for what they are- prejudice. It brings people down for the sake of equality.

“A final point with which you will undoubtedly disagree: Electing people to corporate boards based on racial preferences is demeaning to the very board members placed under such conditions, and unfair to people who are qualified. A prominent friend of mine hired a partner who is a brilliant, black Ph.D. from Berkeley. The woman is constantly insulted by being asked if she got her job because of preferences; the system that creates that institutionalized insult is fundamentally wrong.”
– On quotas, Cypress CEO Responds to Nun’s Urging a ‘Politically Correct’ Board Make-up

People need opportunities to succeed, not opportunities to cash in on entitlements. The progressive stack teaches “oppressed groups” learned helplessness instead of empowerment on the individual-level.

Learnt helplessness occurs after an animal is repeatedly subjected to pain or discomfort that it cannot escape and stops trying to avoid the unwanted stimuli. Once this behavior is learned, even when given opportunities to escape and avoid the stimuli, learnt helplessness will prevent action.

One can easily (and inaccurately) attribute emotional discomfort to being part of an oppressed group. A women could, instead of being empowered by feminism, be full of fear and sadness after being repeatedly told she is oppressed by the patriarchy, more likely to fall prey to domestic violence, rape, catcalling and pay discrimination. She then may sense any criticism or challenges as evidence of her oppression, leading to inaction (beyond a new hashtag campaign) instead of opportunities to grow and be the change she wishes to see.


Jump that fence, bitch.

Affirmative action and quotas reinforce the perception of victimhood and suffering due to identity, that is, something one cannot change. Taking away the challenge, constructive criticism and opportunity to succeed through adversity is to eat away at individual responsibility and empowerment and ultimately the connective tissues of human relationships.

Seeking information about our reality helps us make better decisions as individuals. Those that are making their race or genitals the most significant part of their identity could be just as likely to be seeking power through with prejudice as those they claim to be fighting. In conclusion, we should confront bias and turn the mind away from such physical attributes because it limits our conversation and understanding.