Several weeks ago, progressive writer John Pavlovitz wrote an article objecting to the idea that he is part of the “radical left.” He doesn’t think he’s radical at all. In fact, he prefers to see himself as part of what he calls the “human middle.”
He writes, “I’m pretty sure that most people reside here in this place alongside me: the desire for compassion and diversity and equality and justice; that these things aren’t fringe ideologies or extremist positions — but simply the best way to be human.”
The implication is that those who disagree with him desire cruelty, uniformity, inequality, and injustice. He didn’t imply it for long, however. He concluded with, “I suppose humanity feels radical to inhumane people.” Ouch.
I don’t know Pavlovitz, but I have used the term “radical left” before. Since I agree people often use labels too casually, I think it’s appropriate to define the terms. Speaking only for myself, when I talk about to the “radical left,” this who I’m referring to.
Profile of the Radical Left
They went from, “Ask not what your country can do for you” to demanding a universal basic income provided by your neighbor.
They went from, “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” to “speech is violence.”
They went from talking about a crisis at the border to saying anyone who believes there is a border crisis is a racist.
They went from adoring Barack Obama despite his public position that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, to passing laws preventing the opening of chicken restaurants because the deceased owner held the same position.
They went from “coexist” bumper stickers to suing grandmothers who preferred not to decorate a same-sex wedding.
They went from defending women’s autonomy to demanding women wax the genitals of men claiming to be women.
They sued a convent of nuns to force them to pay for birth control.
They went from e pluribus unum to intersectionality.
They went from encouraging people to be good, to incentivizing people to be victims. Now, some people want to be victims.
They passed new legislation clarifying that if a woman wants to kill her child the day before her due date, she can. If the baby somehow survives the attempted abortion, the adults are permitted to deny treatment to the baby. They can just let it lie there and cry until it’s dead, I guess. Women’s rights and stuff.
Did I mention the nuns they sued?
They went from the War on Poverty to war on anyone who believes someone with a penis is always a man.
They went from fighting for freedom of expression to fighting for safe spaces.
They went from being the biggest defenders of free speech to passing laws that punish people if they use the “wrong” pronoun.
They passed laws claiming it’s always harmful to tell a boy with gender dysphoria he’s a boy, but they say it’s never harmful to give him puberty blockers, sterilize him, and cut off his penis — as long as he says wants to.
They convinced themselves that loving their neighbor gave them the right to another neighbor’s property.
They went from “believe women” to saying any woman who doesn’t want to share a shower with a man who says he’s a woman is a bigot. Then they went back to “believe women” when they thought it would help them oust a Supreme Court nominee they didn’t like.
They talk inalienable rights but mock faith in a Supreme Law Giver from whom inalienable rights might come.
They actually booed God.
They said they wanted everyone to love their neighbors, but when their neighbors created faith-based organizations for that purpose, they mocked and ridiculed them, then passed laws preventing them from placing orphans or housing foster kids, and protested those who were feeding the hungry because of their religion.
In some states, they passed laws telling churches they had to pay for abortions. In those same states, they made it illegal for a 13-year-old to go to the tanning bed but legal for her to get an abortion. Her parents don’t even have to know. The law also allows her to surgically remove her healthy breasts after her abortion, but sun beds are just a step too far.
No Room for Disagreement
Somewhere along the way, they also lost the desire to understand those with whom they disagreed. They claimed “the science was settled” and “the debate was over,” so they stopped listening. It seems they decided they had nothing left to learn.
So they started interrupting speeches, town halls, and public meetings held by anyone who disagreed with them. Rather than trying to listen and find common ground, they shouted and agitated mercilessly to prevent the expression of ideas they didn’t like.
A few of them even started running around cities with masks and clubs, violently attacking demonstrations they opposed. They lacked the awareness to call themselves anti-fascists. They’re like a steakhouse that claims to be vegan.
It’s crazy out there, and when I talk about the “radical left,” this is what I mean. This isn’t to say the right doesn’t have its own set of challenges, but anyone who denies the existence of an influential, mainstream, radical left in America today simply defines “radical” differently than I do. Does that apply to Pavlovitz? I hope not.