or: WHY I STOPPED BEING A PROGRESSIVE: A RAMBLING CRAPFEST BY LARSEN HALLECK
Chapter 1: My background
If you’ve read the About Page, and the Introduction post (and really, why wouldn’t you?), you’ll know my name is Larsen Halleck, a graduate student studying in California, and born and raised in New Jersey.
As you might have assumed, this philosophical treatise (I’ll avoid calling it a manifesto because I’d rather not be put on a government watchlist) will essentially explain my own personal reasons for why I abandoned modern leftism/modern progressivism/the “New Left”, or whatever you would call it (I will explain later what I mean by “modern leftism”).
I went to public school in the 1990s and early 2000s, so white guilt/historical guilt indoctrination and general “cultural cringe” (to quote an Australian writer who I don’t feel like looking up) were already well in effect at that point. I distinctly recall moments when I was about 11 years old where I was quite literally crying at night, tearfully ruminating over the evils of the pale-skinned devils in general and my nation in particular. “There has never been a font of evil greater than the USA”, I’d think, delightfully spelling ‘America’ with 3 K’s, “and I have to grow up and do something”. Guilt, cultural cringe, repurposed noble savage ideologies, all of these were taught to me. I also got it into my head that I was the only one that understood how terrible the USA was-everybody else were the guttural-voiced drawling, pseudo-fascist, ultra nationalist inbred savages, those awful Americans. And I certainly didn’t want to be one of THOSE Americans.
We were not told that we were superior to all other nations, a charge that is frequently thrown at us. Quite the contrary, we were constantly compared unfavorably to other nations, even going back to elementary school: “(X NATION)’s students study for (x) amount of hours a day, Americans only study half that! (X nation) has such a smaller amount of vacation time than the US! Why can’t you work harder?”
It was when I was a freshman in high school that I began to question what I had been taught-mostly because about 60% of my fellow students also completely hated themselves and their country, and, more importantly, every single one of them was convinced that they were unique in these thoughts, and that they all had to “do something” about this horrible problem. Clearly, we were all less unique then we thought.
Cognitive dissonance then set in-this psychological phenomenon is when one holds a belief or set of beliefs, and is confronted with evidence that debunks that belief. Two things can occur, either you rationalize it away and believe in the first set of beliefs harder than you had before (a well documented effect), or you begin to analyze it and maybe, your beliefs can change (a much less likely phenomena). I chose the latter-not immediately, it took several years, during which more evidence against progressivism was presented to me through various means. This evidence constitutes the bulk of this treatise, and gradually, I got to where I am today.
(But not before I joined my high school’s social justice club for a few months, where major cognitive dissonance set in with regards to the club’s anti-white, anti-corporate message…preached entirely by self-pitying rich white people. But I digress)
Another one of the major reasons my opinions changed was, believe it or not, college. Studying both biological anthropology (AKA the field of study most likely to make a progressive break into a cold sweat) and history presented me with both sides of this little ideological conflict raging around us all.
I have debated many, if not all of the issues that you are about to read, with a fairly large assortment of my 20-something peers (the overwhelming majority of whom profess to be of a leftward persuasion), both in person and via the internet, from classrooms to dinner parties. In writing this, I hope to condense my mental maelstrom into a relatively coherent work that will, in effect, help me streamline my thinking process, provide answers to the most common progressive arguments and dogmas (so these debates won’t have to be endlessly retreaded), as well as provide a “Stepping off” point for anybody who is beginning to go upon the same philosophical path I have gone, but doesn’t quite know where to begin.
Seeing as a sizable amount of modern orthodoxy comes from the field of Anthropology, I feel that I have as good a vantage point as anybody else to debunk these talking points. And so, if you’d like to continue reading, please read Chapter 2