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Tolerance is Democratic, ‘Social Justice’ is Totalitarian

de la tolerancia democrática a la "inclusión" totalitaria. Imagen: Unsplash

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The systematization of tolerance is one of the greatest achievements of modern times. It has made possible both the consolidation of our republican and democratic systems, as well as the coexistence and joint work between people of different ideologies, cultures and worldviews, which in turn allows us to enjoy technological advances at a pace that was previously unimaginable. That’s the good news.

In recent years, a new paradigm of inclusion and “social justice” has been promoted from the progressive left, which is disguised as a love for diversity, but builds a totalitarian, utopian, and deeply anti-democratic system.

At first glance, the inclusion and social justice promoted by progressivism seems the natural and desirable next step for democratic systems. Including diversity and doing “justice” for the oppressed sounds very nice. Who could be against it? Behind the concept, however, lurks a dangerous veer toward totalitarianism. Let’s see why.

Tolerance implies that you “tolerate” those people, ideologies or ways of life with which you disagree. A political system based on tolerance doesn’t require you to accept, applaud or assume in your life those things that seem wrong to you; it simply asks you to live and let live.

That’s why tolerance makes modern party democracy possible, based on the idea that different political and ideological positions can exist within the same country, even radically opposed, and that all have the right to coexist in the same country, each respecting the space of the others.

On the contrary, the inclusion and social justice proposed by progressivism go much further. It is not enough to ask you to tolerate those who propose values, ideas or ways of life different from yours; you have to accept them and assume them as valid. Tolerance respects your right to think that X, Y or Z are idiots who are wrong. In inclusion, the standard is much higher: not only are you required to affirm that X, Y or Z have the right to believe what they believe, but you must accept their beliefs as valid and integrate them into your daily life.

This is particularly noticeable in the case of gender politics. A tolerant system would recognize the right of each person to dress as they please, even to change their name; but it would not imply an obligation for everyone else to celebrate them, celebrate their change and adapt to it.

It is a subtle difference, but very profound in its implications. Tolerance is about respecting what others do, progressive inclusion obliges us to celebrate it and submit to it.

The paradigm of inclusion and pro-green social justice states outwardly that the life projects of each human being should be accepted and celebrated. However, such an approach has at least two very serious problems.

The first is that the supposed generality of inclusion is a lie. It is the ecosystem of the left that decides which behaviors or identities are “included and celebrated”; those sectors that it considers useful to its cause are elevated to an almost heroic status, while religious, conservative or right-wing identities are ridiculed, systematically excluded and increasingly banned by law.

This brings us to the second problem: human beings are not islands operating in isolation. Our identity, ideology and life projects necessarily involve interaction with and influence on other people.

For example, for transgender people it is not enough to simply define themselves as such, it is not even enough to undergo a painful operation to assume physical characteristics similar to those socially ascribed to the other gender (despite the fact that gender is supposedly a social construct), but it is necessary for institutions and the rest of society to modify their behavior to refer to them as members of the gender they have decided to assume.

At the bottom is the Muslim activist who patrols the streets of some European city to combat indecency, the vegan who seeks to impose eggplants on his or her neighbor, and the transgender activist who pushes for laws to force the rest of humanity to refer to him or her under their new gender, are all acting from the same paradigm: the idea that the outside world should not only tolerate them but celebrate them and adapt to them.

In other words, their personal longing, identity and life plan is only fulfilled through the active participation/submission of others, and the same goes for any of the other projects or identities we encounter in our society.

It is itherefore mpossible to simultaneously and fully “include” all these identities, some will be imposed at the expense of others. Thus, the paradigm of inclusion and social justice, taken to the political and specifically to the legislative sphere, results in totalitarian systems.

It essentially implies that the groups whose inclusion is decreed are given the right to force others to live as they wish, eroding along the way the freedoms others have to openly criticize them, or even to disagree within their own home.

That is the spirit that animates quota laws for sexual diversity, reforms of educational systems to prohibit teaching that goes against LGBT ideology, and even to limit the leeway of parents in raising their children. It is the forced “inclusion” of legally privileged groups, at the expense of the freedom of the rest of human beings.

The personal is political and the political is personal

By placing so much emphasis on the political dimension of personal identity, the pro-green paradigm of social justice drastically blurs the boundary between the two spaces of coexistence. In a tolerant democracy, politics is something that is talked about in elections, if at all. The rest of the time, for the common citizen, there are other interests and the political hobby is something that is only shared with family and close friends.

Grandmothers used to say that discussing politics, religion, and soccer was bad manners; they were wise. Ironically, this segmentation of the spheres of coexistence allowed much greater freedom of political action: it benefited those interested in politics, because you could vote for and support whoever you wanted, without fear of suffering reprisals, losing your job, and being left out of the social group; and it benefited the rest because those who were bored by politics could just vote and then disengage from the issue until the next election.

On the contrary, by turning the personal into the political and the political into the personal, it submerges us permanently in endless electoral battle in which we are not even allowed the refuge of “non-intervention”, because the only acceptable behavior is the full and enthusiastic adherence to the creed of progressivism, which is also advancing faster and faster to the left. Everyone else is a traitor, unworthy and evil.

Like all other totalitarian political utopias, progressivism is not content to rule, it wants to radically transform society and result in a “new man” (well, in this case, a new creature of undefined, non-binary gender). This new person has left behind any allegiance and is defined exclusively by his service to the agenda of deconstruction.

In a first stage deconstruction focuses on destroying gender roles and traditional hierarchies (nation, civilization, culture); there the enemy is the Western, which oppresses the non-Western. In a second stage the enemy is the social, which oppresses the individual. Finally, in a third stage the enemy is the human, which oppresses the animal. At the end of the day it is the old nihilism, in a new disguise.

Before reaching nothingness, the goal of pro-green totalitarianism is to conquer the State, to use its violence to destroy any counterweight to its domination, and from there to build utopia, similar to how old communism spoke of a dictatorship of the proletariat that would precede the paradisiacal “classless society.”

Therefore, let us not deceive ourselves. The inclusion and “social justice” proposed by progressivism is neither liberal nor democratic. It is a totalitarian pretension, which demands submission and absolute commitment in a supposed race against oppression that has much more in common with the Trotskyist permanent revolution than with democratic principles.

The most serious thing is that it is a very attractive discourse. It sounds nice and advances faster and faster, conquering consciences, legislations and nations; taking advantage of the sweetness of its slogans and the indolence of politicians or journalists who like to feel like the good guys in the movie in exchange for ceding, step by step, freedoms of expression, hiring, opinion and action that we will later cry with tears of blood in the desperate silence of our own complicity in the destruction of democracy.

And to prevent it, the first step is to understand it.

Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”

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