The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Published Friday at Quillette, and much worth reading; an excerpt:
Progressive liberals are blind to the fact that there is a regime take-over apace everywhere in academic institutions. A new ruling elite is taking over academic institutions by using its "minority status" to exercise a "soft" coup and is appealing to the minoritarianism of progressive ideology to legitimize its coup—or, if you like, to "manufacture consent." I will call the adherents of this ideology the "progressoriat."
The reason that challenging any aspect of this dominant ideology is taboo is because it leaves you vulnerable to the charge that you are uncomfortable with the project of empowering minorities—not just the transfers of power from traditional elites to historically disadvantaged groups that has already begun to take place in the academy, but further transfers of power. The only acceptable response when confronted by any aspect of the ideology that has facilitated this coup is to enthusiastically endorse it—to celebrate it. If you're not a minority, anything less risks being interpreted as dread at the prospect of your own imminent loss of status—or, if you are, as evidence that your soul has been "colonized" by white supremacists. As I said, virtue as the other side of dread.
The position of the progressoriat in relation to this coup is akin to that of communist activists in relation to a communist takeover. At first they see it as representing what they always fought for; then with time they find themselves having to decide whether its first atrocity is to be criticized or understood as necessary; then, when the next atrocity takes place, they feel they must tolerate it because they didn't object to the first atrocity and, before long, a time comes when any objection can only be made at a huge cost to themselves. The unfolding history of the new coup is being written every day across the domain of academic institutions in the US as the progressoriat watch muffled, hesitant objecting in private, and then, when someone makes their reservations public, finding themselves at risk of being suspended or losing their jobs.
The new elite taking over academic institutions has at its disposal an arsenal of tools to perpetuate its rule. It not only postures as representative of others in the way communists did—the "intelligentsia" representing the worker or the peasant in the latter's case and representing victim groups in the former's. The new elite can also represent itself as victims, an opportunity even communists would have baulked at. Members of the new elite have no hesitation at weaponizing their feelings, silencing opponents by claiming they've offended them. And, of course, such claims are readily accepted by the progressoriat because of their acceptance that minorities are necessarily oppressed.
In this way, the new power elite can present itself as being victims, as well as representing victims. In other words, it has the power to make itself The Cause. This is why the insistence on the ubiquity of unconscious bias is important: it allows the new elite to consolidate their status by continually self-referencing as victims. Bias being everywhere means that the new ruling class, in spite of having seized power, can continue to present themselves as being oppressed. By constantly claiming to be offended, triggering Pavlovian apologies and vows to "do better" from the progressoriat, who appear to have endless reservoirs of self-abnegation, the new elite establishes rituals that renew its rule and solicit ongoing consent to this rule….