The problem I see with the line of argumentation that’s being made in this piece is the implicit assumption that because right-wing authoritarians actually exist (duh?) and that many representatives of the centrist establishment are scumbags (duh?), that left-wing authoritarianism does not exist, or is somehow not problematic.
By Sean McElwee
The pundit class has remained deeply in touch with the goings on at various college campuses while remaining blind to the rise of white nationalist authoritarianism. Weeks after an explosive New Yorker investigation on the rise of white nationalism under Trump, Jonathan Chait in New York magazine warned of a movement that “regards the delegitimization of dissent as a first-order goal.” He wasn’t referring to white supremacists, but rather, political correctness:
The upsurge of political correctness is not just greasy-kid stuff, and it’s not just a bunch of weird, unfortunate events that somehow keep happening over and over. It’s the expression of a political culture with consistent norms, and philosophical premises that happen to be incompatible with liberalism.
Even after Trump won the presidency, pundits have remained inordinately focused on the goings-on at college campuses across the country. The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart and Conor Friedersdorf and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria at CNN and have all written breathless op-eds about the perceived threat of campus politics. Slate’s Jacob Weisberg took a much-needed break from crushing a union drive to lament the “left-wing authoritarians” on our country’s campuses. Indeed, rather than systematic voter disenfranchisement and widespread racism, “political correctness” and “identity politics” have frequently been pointed to as the culprit in Clinton’s 2016 loss. According to a recent poll from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, “71 percent of Americans believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have.” Political correctness, we’re told, is the real bigotry.