|Montreal, December 21, 2002 / No 116|
by Ralph Maddocks
There's a mouthful for you. It meant nothing to me either, until recently when I came across a rather lengthy article by John Fonte, written in 2001, and entitled "The Future of the Ideological War Within the West."(1) To make a very long story short, Fonte claims that elite institutions ranging in size and influence from the National Council of Churches to the United Nations are pushing the notion that "the nation-state and the idea of national citizenship are ill suited to deal with the global problems of the future." They propose abolishing nations and replacing them with a single, global government. Fonte says that, for reasons that are still not completely clear, practically every government in the world appears to have embraced Transnational Progressivism and is working around the clock to make global government a reality.
It was David Carr, a London-based Libertarian, who provided the memorable nickname for Transnational Progressivists when he called them "Tranzis." He explained, "A lot of us have known for some time there was something wrong in the world but it was difficult to pin down and put our fingers on. It was something that has no face and no name. Like fog it swirled all around us but not being corporeal we lashed out in all directions, landing blows on nothing. It was like an itch we could never scratch." We used to call these people "the left," and still do I suppose, but many of those pushing this apparently "left-wing" agenda seem to be high-level statesmen, the wealthy and the heads of multibillion-dollar corporations. Their behaviour cannot be explained away in terms of the Marxist "Class struggle." If the Tranzis are indeed leftists, they are so only in the sense that a frog was once a tadpole, having emerged long ago from its pond and jumped on to dry land.
Fonte is quick to forewarn us that this coming global administration will be no respecter of our freedoms and suggests that some form of racialist police state will be imposed. A state where the elites will encourage the historically oppressed to get even with their former oppressors. He claims that "dominant" groups will be obliged to yield power to "oppressed" groups, with the former being displaced from their jobs in the economic sphere until each category of task reflects the proportion of "oppressed" people in the population. Fonte believes that this will not be the end of it either. The proportion of "oppressed" people in the population will grow constantly. That's because another tenet of this Tranzi-ism holds that "dominant" countries must welcome immigrants from "oppressed" countries in unlimited numbers. Furthermore, if any "dominant" people protest, they will be jailed for "hate speech."
Looking around our world we can see this beginning to happen with all kinds of laws being enacted to punish those who offend, even just by thinking something the authorities think you shouldn't. It is becoming clear too that these laws are applied to the native "dominant" population rather than to the "oppressed" new arrivals. Examples abound of assaults by "oppressed" people on the persons of "dominant" people being ignored by police. Even replying in kind to a racist comment from an "oppressed" person brings instant arrest and the imprisonment of the offender. The "hate" laws apply to crimes against other groups and to quote a senior policeman, "homophobic and transphobic crimes are seen as particularly serious because they are motivated by prejudice, discrimination and hate, and undermine people's right to feel safe in their sexual orientation and gender."
As defined by the UK Crown Prosecution Service, "homophobic" means "a fear of or dislike directed towards lesbian, gay or bisexual people, or their perceived lifestyle, culture or characteristics." Incidentally, the word "homosexual" is no longer to be used, apparently because it is seen as offensive. "Transphobic" was not a term I had ever heard before. Apparently, it means "a fear of or dislike towards trans people." And what might they be? "Trans people," again according to the CPS, is "a phrase which is intended to include transsexual, transgender and transvestite people." A "transgendered" person is someone "whose biological gender is not the same as the gender they own as theirs." So now you know, although how you will ever be certain remains a mystery.
Perhaps it is all an outcome of Tony Blair's Third Way view as an international response to the end of Thatcherism and a philosophical claim which he asserts brought the centre-left back into government across the world. Third Way actions though seem to be more like those we saw in Stalin's country, to say nothing of Hitler. It isn't surprising that even comments mentioning Hitler are now found offensive let alone direct comparisons. Judging by the way oppressive "hate" laws are applied in the UK, using the police to investigate your home for evidence to support government paranoia the future does not look promising for any of us who believe in such archaic concepts as "free speech."
In the UK, a well known TV presenter and Daily Telegraph columnist, Robin Page, was arrested on suspicion of using insulting words that were likely to stir up racial hatred. His supposed crime? He told a rally in September that the rural minority in favour of hunting (a subject of great political interest in the UK these days) should have the same rights as blacks, Muslims and gays. As Mr Page himself pointed out, after six burglaries and break-ins on his farm – when no policeman was prepared to travel the four miles from Cambridge to his farm to take a statement – he found it odd that a policeman was prepared to travel nearly 200 miles to his home to investigate an incident which the policeman seemed reluctant to discuss on the telephone. The policeman then arrested him because Mr Page refused to answer questions without his solicitor being present, questions about what he was not told at the time. Mr Page was then taken to the local police station and thrown into a cell. Unable to feed his cattle from a cell, Mr Page had to agree to be interviewed because his solicitor could not arrive until the next day.
The interview began with the policeman alleging that Mr Page had "...started your speech with racist comments." When Mr Page asked what these comments were, the policeman could not supply them but said that they had received a complaint from someone in a nearby town. This is the new Britain, the country where a man was presumed innocent until proven guilty; now – through the power of political correctness – a man is assumed to be guilty until he proves himself innocent. Regular readers will not be surprised to read this since I have been saying this for some time. It is truly surprising though how quickly a supposedly free country can slide into the habits of a police state and how easy it has become to intimidate those who object. As Pierre Lemieux has remarked, in an article written in 1994, "Giving public policy goals – like anti-racism – precedence on individual rights amounts to admitting that individuals have no rights but the ones that are congruent with the government's, or the majority's, agenda."(2)
Our southern neighbours aren't much better when it comes to the pursuit of those they presume offensive. In 1999, there was an incident in Washington D.C., when one David Howard, an aide to the mayor, was pressured to resign because he uttered the innocuous word "niggardly" to describe a fund he was administering? People, however, chose to be offended by the word's phonetic resemblance to the "N Word," despite Howard's insistence that he "would never think of making a racist remark." As even those with limited literacy skills know, the word's meaning is totally unrelated to the one denoting a racial slur. "Niggardly" means "grudgingly mean about spending or granting," or "stingy." The N word (spelled differently anyway) is a pejorative to describe blacks.
Any etymological dictionary would have revealed instantly that there is no connection at all between the evolution of the two words. Yet, presumably showing his own ignorance or perhaps settling some old score of his own, D.C.'s Mayor Anthony Williams accepted Howard's resignation, explaining to reporters, "I don't think that the use of this term showed the kind of judgment that I like to see in our top management." Williams added that he was "committed to representing all of the people of our city and making sure my administration truly reflects the city's diversity." Our Mr Williams' views on diversity are surely not niggardly.
The recent clamour over Trent Lott's encomium at Strom Thurmond's retirement party proves – if proof is needed – that the First Amendment has been replaced by the race-based privileges of the so-called "oppressed" groups. Ignored in all this furor, in which the Republican pundits and the President were quick to take part, was that Thurmond's main party plank was in favour of "State's Rights." As the libertarian writer, Lew Rockwell, pointed out, fundamentally states' rights are about the Tenth Amendment, not segregation. Strom Thurmond's political movement was looking for a return to the enumerated powers guaranteed to the states by the Constitution. If Thurmond had won, then we may not have to witness today the spectacle of people being incarcerated by the Federal government for using marijuana to quell their cancer induced vomiting when their home state has legalised its medical use. One is constantly being reminded of Napoleon Bonaparte's remark that, "In politics, stupidity is not a handicap." Nor, apparently is ignorance of history.
Canada's Criminal Code imposes sanctions against publicly and wilfully promoting hatred (section 319) against an identifiable group. It also allows judges to seize hate propaganda (section 320). But the primary criminal provision available to combat hate propaganda is Section 319 (2), which prohibits the promotion of hatred by "communicating statements, other than in private conversation." This has resulted in a man being fined more than $6,000 for running a newspaper advertisement in which he quoted a verse about homosexuality from the book of Leviticus.
Among the main concepts of Transnational Progressivism is the notion that the key political unit is not the individual who forms voluntary associations and works with his fellow citizens regardless of their race, sex or national origin, it is the ascriptive group – racial, ethnic or gender – into which one is born. It is from this concept, Forte notes, that we find this emphasis on race, ethnicity and gender leading to group consciousness and a corresponding de-emphasis of the individual's capacity for choice and for transcendence of the above ascriptive categories, joining with others outside the confines of social class, tribe and gender to create a cohesive nation.
Many will have noticed the rise in the number of "victim" groups emerging into the national consciousness. Groups such as women, blacks, Muslims, gays, Latinos (in the USA) and immigrants or any conceivable combination thereof. This too is part of the "oppressor" groups versus the "victim" groups philosophy espoused by the Marxists, the privileged and the marginalised. As one philosopher remarked, "Multiculturalism is not ‘multi' or concerned with many groups, but ‘binary' concerned with two groups, the hegemon (bad) and "the Other" (good) or the oppressor and the oppressed." This means that "equity" and "social justice" mean strengthening the position of the victim groups and weakening the position of the oppressors – thus justifying group preferences. Equality under the law is replaced by legal preferences for victimised groups. This is illustrated by a recent decision of the US Equal Opportunity Commission which ruled that illegal immigrants as a class are discriminated against, thereby giving them victim status and entitling them to preferential treatment as a group.
Complicating all this is the assumption that the "victim" groups should be represented in all institutions of society in rough proportion to their percentage of the population. So theoretically, if women represent 51% of the population and Spanish speakers represent 10% of that same population then 51% of all executives, doctors, salespersons, professors, etc., should be women and 10% of them should be Spanish speakers. Introduce other variations such as sexual preferences, colour and physical characteristics and it is not hard to imagine the complexities which may result. Even the US Park Service has expressed concern that 85% of all park visitors are white, although whites are only 74% of the population. No consideration apparently being given to the possibility that many of those visitors do not belong to the US population in the first place. The Park Service has announced that it is working on this "problem."
The "Tranzis" insist also that it is not enough to have proportionate numbers of minorities (including illegal and legal immigrants) and women in major institutions, if these institutions continue to reflect the "white Anglo male culture and world view." These ethnic and linguistic minorities, they insist, have values and cultures which must be respected and represented in these institutions and they should not be expected to conform to the dominant culture. At a conference promoting bilingual education, SUNY professor Joel Spring was quoted as saying, "We must use multiculturalism and multilingualism to change the dominant culture of the United States." He added that, unlike Anglo culture, Latino culture is "warm" and would not promote harsh disciplinary measures in the schools.
Fonte's paper was rather lengthy and contains a great deal more material explaining how the Transnational Progressivists are challenging the existing world view, so reviewing his remaining points will have to be done in a second article to be published later.
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