I’m beginning to think that the fundamental difference between a progressive and a conservative (in America) is that the former says “that has absolutely nothing to do with me” about the suffering caused by communism, and the latter says “that has absolutely nothing to do with me” about the suffering caused by slavery. And each will insist that the sympathies which come easily to them are natural and appropriate, and the ones they resist are merely a ploy by their enemies to weaken them.

Thus are we all creatures of the specific form our defensiveness and lack of imagination takes.


2 comments on “Hemiplegia

  1. Jacob Hunt says:

    So, the chat we had the other day was framed in terms of how one side hears the other, and I could agree with what was said. But this post assumes that you think both sides are right about the other, which assumes soviet communism does have something to do with modern progressives. This is a claim I don’t understand. Would you fill me in on this connection?

    • poseidonian says:

      Does it assume that? The word I used was sympathy. If a conservative said c. 2016 that slavery is not his fault and thus he has no responsibility for its effects, that’s not crazy. My purpose was actually not to get anyone to own up to anything at all, but rather to imaginatively project themselves into an Other whom they tend to blame by realizing that the Other shares their own sense of innocence. The entanglements, such as they are, are remote in both cases. A current community descends through three or four generations from a prior one. The stories of both of those lineages would be far more complex than I could do justice to in a mere reply to a comment.

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