We have come to the end of this little series of observations and reflections on the Resistance. Perhaps a little retrospect is in order, before concluding with Socrates.
Every so often our politics produces something relatively new, something worth watching and thinking about.
John Fonte’s groundbreaking analysis of the new version of humanitarianism details its privileging of racial and gender categories and divisions in its vision of Humanity. He refers to it as “Transnational Progressivism.” It is very much an American phenomenon (although with European collaborators, as we might suspect).
Fonte’s 2002 article, “Liberal Democracy versus Transnational Progressivism: The Future of the Ideological Civil War Within the West,” begins with his own eye-opening phenomenon: the 2001 “United Nations World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance” held in Durbin, South Africa, shortly before 9-11.
We can’t help it, we’re human, we necessarily have worldviews. Everybody does. The Resistance does too, rough hewn, in the aggregate, and tacit as it may be. Now it is time to take a look squarely at the Resistance’s main object of concern: Humanity itself. The Resistance declares itself “inclusive” and it hates “exclusion.” Its vision and its concern encompass all of humanity. But not all “humanisms” are created equal. But what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Who is to say that Resistance humanism is unquestionable?
In a first installment (“Resistance, in the light of 1776”), following the lead of Pierre Manent, the Resistance came to sight as a way of looking at things characterized by 1) a binary view of legitimate and illegitimate views (in keeping with Hilary Clinton’s “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic – you name it” litany); 2) a quasi-religious cast (“political orthodoxy” and “heresy,” observed Manent); and 3) a novel form of democracy characterized by terms such as “diversity,” “multiculturalism,” and “inclusion,” but with its own blind spots and exclusions. As I put it: it is “rather exclusive in its inclusivity and monolithic in its view of diversity.”
Recently, I raised the issue of the worldview of the Resistance to President Trump (“Resistance, in the Light of 1776”). I would like to delve further into the matter. It will take a few installments. Basically, what I hope to do is to put order in some readings, observations, impressions, and overhearings (I live in a university neighborhood, and one establishment I regularly eat at is the aptly named “One World Café”). This effort is neither scientific nor conclusive. Call it “political” in the sense Pierre Manent employs when he says les choses politiques arrivent en gros (“political things first come to sight in rough outline”).
What a year it has been. “Trump wins and the Resistance begins,” might sum it up. Into this maelstrom steps our annual “What would the Declaration say?” reflection. We could turn in three directions: toward Trump; toward “the Resistance”; toward the people who fall outside his devoted followers and fierce opponents, who wish to make some contribution to the commonweal in the midst of low-intensity civil war.
In response to: Pierre Manent’s Defense of the Nation-State
Perhaps the nascent Manent fan club can meet in Paris at the Café de Flore later this summer? There we could raise un verre or two to Manent, expound on our views, and hash out whatever differences we might have. Who knows, perhaps the man himself could join us? Pending that reunion, a brief response to my gracious respondents will have to do. We all agree that Manent is a first-rate thinker, but we do not agree as to how best to characterize his thought. Aurelian Craiutu quotes Manent saying that he moves intellectually within a triangle of politics, philosophy, and…