Is there anyone more tiresome than the kumbaya leftist? The kumbaya leftist says that there are no real antagonisms in the world, merely a failure for people to recognize the common humanity of everyone and that we’re all brothers and sisters. For the kumbaya leftist, it’s “us” versus “them” thinking that is the source of antagonisms, not real material disparities, conflicts, and antagonisms. If we would only speak nicely, they say, all these conflicts would disappear. So for the kumbaya progressives, the conflict between residents of Louisiana and BP has nothing to do with the fact that the livelihoods of average Lousianians was destroyed by the oil spill and that BP has millions to lose if its held accountable. No, it’s just a failure to talk nicely to each other. For the kumbaya liberal, the conflict between average working and middle class Americans has nothing to do with a system of deregulation and neoliberal policy that hoovers all wealth to the top four percent and leads to stagnant wages, endless cuts in benefits, joblessness, economic insecurity, and the endless disappearance of social programs. No, it’s just a failure to talk nice. Nor is there any real antagonism between women and religious fundamentalists who would severely restrict their freedom in society. No, it’s just a failure to talk nice. It seems to me that the kumbaya progressive must necessarily be white, economically secure, and male. Only on the basis of gender privilege, racial privilege, and economic security can the can the casual waving away of real antagonism be explained.
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