Weiss: American Tolerant Pluralism Under Siege

The liberal worldview was one that recognized that there were things—indeed, the most important things—in life that were located outside of the realm of politics: friendships, art, music, family, love. This was a world in which Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg could be close friends. Because, as Scalia once said, some things are more important than votes.

Crucially, this liberalism relied on the view that the Enlightenment tools of reason and the scientific method might have been designed by dead white guys, but they belonged to everyone, and they were the best tools for human progress that have ever been devised.

Racism was evil because it contradicted the foundations of this worldview, since it judged people not based on the content of their character, but on the color of their skin. And while America’s founders were guilty of undeniable hypocrisy, their own moral failings did not invalidate their transformational project. The founding documents were not evil to the core but “magnificent,” as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, because they were “a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.” In other words: The founders themselves planted the seeds of slavery’s destruction. And our second founding fathers—abolitionists like Frederick Douglass—made it so. America would never be perfect, but we could always strive toward building a more perfect union.

… No longer. American liberalism is under siege. There is a new ideology vying to replace it.

No one has yet decided on the name for the force that has come to unseat liberalism. Some say it’s “Social Justice.” The author Rod Dreher has called it “therapeutic totalitarianism.” The writer Wesley Yang refers to it as “the successor ideology”—as in, the successor to liberalism.

At some point, it will have a formal name, one that properly describes its mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality. Until then, it is up to each of us to see it plainly. We need to look past the hashtags and slogans and the jargon to assess it honestly—and then to explain it to others.

The new creed’s premise goes something like this: We are in a war in which the forces of justice and progress are arrayed against the forces of backwardness and oppression. And in a war, the normal rules of the game—due process; political compromise; the presumption of innocence; free speech; even reason itself—must be suspended. Indeed, those rules themselves were corrupt to begin with—designed, as they were, by dead white males in order to uphold their own power. Read more»

Bari Weiss, “Stop Being Shocked,” Tablet October 14, 2020

Resources

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
    Author Image

    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

    More by R. Scott Clark ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


4 comments

  1. Despite Weiss’s unfortunate and unsupported asides about Trump and “Trumpism,” the general thrust of her essay is solid. It’s a good exposition of “critical race theory” and its ideological kin, and of the dangers it presents. Don’t hesitate to share the essay with one’s liberal and progressive friends.

    • Trump and Trumpism was always working and middle class people desperate for some help from the ruling class who, after ignoring them for decades, turned to vilifying them in recent years.

      I haven’t found it possible to discuss things with the Left. Having lived among them for close to a decade, I can tell you they and their public school teachers indoctrinate their own children from a very young age as the Sodomites did with their children. There is no way forward as a nation with them.

  2. “As the Sodomites did with their children”? Wow… why have a Biblical worldview when you can just believe that junk?

    • Genesis 19:4 Before they lay down, the men of the city—the men of Sodom—surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter;

      The kids aren’t driving themselves to Drag Queen Story Hour nor asking their teachers for this.

Comments are closed.