Why Do Progressives Hate History?

Progressives and progressive movements are notorious for whitewashing, censoring, and attempting to re-write history. The recent statue controversy is just one example among many.

Why is this a progressive impulse? History in general is the best argument against progressive ideals, so there’s that motivation. But I think there’s something deeper involved.

Their endless charade of constructivist theories suggests that at the heart of progressivism is a repudiation of the fixed and unalterable. Progressives disdain anything that is beyond their control, for they cannot choose for such things to be present in their utopian vision of the future.

The complexity and multifarious expression of human nature has made human beings their chief laboratory experiment, of course. But the fixed and unalterable nature of the past is much more obvious, and hence is much more difficult to reconcile with progressivism. The events of history are indelibly etched into time, forever beyond our control.

Progressives have attempted to sketch constructivist theories of history, too, to be sure. But is anyone really fooled by such palpable nonsense? Probably not. Hence, such theories have had much less purchase on the progressive imagination. And arguably, constructivist views of history are incompatible with much else progressives believe. If the past were just a construction of the present with no objective reality, for instance, then the well of historical grievances from which progressives obsessively draw would dry up with a little revision.

So what do they do? They attempt to control our beliefs about the past by whitewashing, censoring, and promulgating revisionist histories. A statue represents, among other things, history. So when an Antifa thug defaces a Confederate statue, I think the target of their ire isn’t just “racism,” but the fixed and unalterable nature of history itself.

Perhaps the progressive disdain for the fixed and unalterable also explains their disdain for God and religion.

Federal Philosopher

Federal Philosopher is a philosophy graduate student in New Jersey. She was awakened from her political slumbers after reading biographies of Margaret Thatcher. She loves philosophy, but thinks the profession has been hijacked by a bunch of leftist bullies who are little more than partisan journalists that happen to know philosophical jargon. She carries a recurve bow and quiver full of arrows at all times, so as not to trigger leftists by saying she packs a .380 in her purse.

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  1. “Their endless charade of constructivist theories suggests that at the heart of progressivism is a repudiation of the fixed and unalterable.”

    Exactly. Because they want to deny reality, it must be suppressed in all its form, so even history itself must be dispensed with.

    Also, it bears mentioning that it is much easier to control a populace of individuals who lack any sense of themselves as historical beings situated in a horizon extending beyond the immediacy of their own personal lives. There are, for instance, university students today who do not even know about the Korean War. If I don’t know about Inchon and the Chosin Resevoir, I am much more likely to think it would be a worthwhile thing to fight North Korea, because I am unaware of the fact that it proved to be a vain endeavor the first time around. Does anyone think that those who died did so for a worthwhile cause? I don’t think so. My point, then, is that students today living in this state of ignorance–and not in the good sense– are easier to manipulate and indoctrinate because they have no context for appreciating what is literally right before their eyes today. Even if as a matter of fact nothing is new under the sun, to them almost everything is new, because they are totally in the dark about history.

    So, in a way, erasing history is a propaedeutic for brainwashing. If I don’t know anything about the past, I cannot really understand the present, so I will accept anything the future might bring, even if it is straight from the pits of hell.

    • Ah yes, the glory of personally dying in a war 99% of your own countrymen today have never even heard of, all to safeguard a foreign economy.

  2. Personally I think the disdain for the fixed and unalterable comes as a result of their disdain for God, rather than the reverse direction.

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