The issue is never the issue, the issue is always the revolution.

The process and the way it manifests

About a month ago, I was requested to put together a longer piece on the process I can summarize by term “permanent progressivist revolution”.

I was spoilt for choice right at the beginning. How to select from the spate of events illustrative examples in a way that they collectively demonstrate the essence of the phenomenon but at the same time they do not provoke a likely endless debate on the particular examples?

The analysis then revealed the secondary, albeit robust, Protean character of the process. This gave meaning to the original profusion I faced, as well as to the ideological-argumentative trick of unifying particular events under the concept of “intersectionalism.”

A number of examples could be listed from the various movements and demands which put the broadly interpreted ‘social justice’ on their banner:

  • the way political correctness has been turned from polite etiquette to more and more savage cleansing of words and thoughts;
  • the restriction of freedom of opinion which spread from university campuses to many other scenes of public life, or the humiliation and self-critical penance of people who were accused of “wrongful thinking”;
  • the tragicomedy that led from the equitable demand of ending the discrimination of sexual preferences to the ban on opining that biological gender exists;
  • the turning of intelligent worries about climate change in an anti-capitalist direction, the seemingly compulsive – in fact, ideologically necessary – linking of the epidemic and the climate change by a moralizing generalization about Mother Earth (not unlike the other power-ideological bloc links the epidemic to migration);
  • the way women’s equality and dignity has been turned into the politically selective public lynchings of #metoo, explicitly rejecting the need for proof;
  • the racism themes of identity politics, where “racism” is used as an accusation not in its original meaning but the way it is deduced from the ideological construct of “prejudice + power”, therefore making it possible within the ideology (typo: “idology”) that racism can be committed only by those with “white privileges” who are racist at least in the depths of their consciousness (these depths, of course, cannot remain hidden before the vanguard of progressivism, who can deduce it from ideological axioms just like – in a similar context – “class limits”).

However, I can stop thinking about the most suitable examples after the events of the last two weeks. Today, one can observe with bare eye how fast the permanent progressivist revolution can escalate, and how global and rapid it can create idols, spread ad hoc interpretations, and mobilize for street fights.

The permanent progressivist revolution is, first and foremost, revolution. Its essence is to turn an initiative that is perfectly legitimate within the framework of civil equality against the idea of democracy and the equality of rights. The starting point is always a position aimed at changing social relations regulated by law and matured in free debates, so it can be considered acceptable or supportable from a civil liberal point of view. However, the revolution transforms the need to change social relations governed by law into a demand for the enforcement of claims that are considered to be indisputable on the basis of “justice” and thus above the law. This authoritarian turn makes the initiative revolutionary: an activist minority who consider themselves legitimized settle down and gradually distort initiatives. In their original form, these initiatives are legitimate and may be sympathetic even to a classical liberal observer. In the end, they are turned into means of eliminating civil equality.

The permanent progressivist revolution is, secondly, progressivist. Its movements see themselves and their referenced groups of identities as warriors of absolute moral truth justified by “progression” (as in the unchanging wheel of history), and demand their self-determination to be accepted by the outside world by particularly impetuous means. If it does not happen, the goal is to demand silence, verbal lynching, and public penance – as the famous philosopher of the Frankfurt school, Herbert Marcuse, also articulated as a strategy for the movement in his quite eloquently titled work Repressive Tolerance.

Finally, the permanent progressivist revolution is necessarily permanent. The ever-increasing authoritarian radicalization of claims, detached from their original goals, can never end. Every day, new moral and behavioral and worldview demands are made to maintain activist mobilization and extend the scope of the movement to more and more areas. Simply put, the starting point in these demands is bait for pious souls, while “exaggeration” is the strategic point.

The description of the process just given is predictive by intention, i.e. to be accountable in the process of events. In the following, I present how to use this framework to understand recent American (and global) events, and the conclusions to be drawn from the identification of the phenomenon of the permanent progressivist revolution.

Statue removal and demonstration as permanent progressivist revolution

In recent days and weeks, statues of increasingly esteemed and centrally accomplished figures in the common consciousness of Euro-Atlantic society have been demolished, and more and more central symbols and public agreements have been called into question. From the confederate generals we have already reached Columbus and Churchill, and we will also reach South Park, Julius Caesar, and the “slaveholder” Socrates.

If we interpret these statue removals as a permanent progressivist revolution, we must see that it is completely pointless to criticize or support them on the basis of some credible historical analysis. For this is not their foundation, but the struggle for power and ideological monopoly. When I hear honorable people of historical interest arguing about the role of Columbus or Jefferson, or try to set up wise and prudent rules for the correctness of statue removals (considering the issue of removing statues like those of Stalin), I am reminded of Hungarian writer István Örkény, undisputed king of the tragicomical reframing and his absurd short story about an intellectual in a forced labor camp. Based on the presumed cultural foundations and common humanistic values, the intellectual attempts to converse with a German camp guard, asking him whether he knows the poetry of Hölderlin. “Yes,” the soldier replies, and shoots the intellectual. .

This is not about the subtleties of expert historical interpretation. It is about ideology of power and current “politics of memory,” that is, a specific power-political situation and mobilization. And such is not known for following normative rules. Rather, it is like wild predators revolving around the chosen carrion: the choreography of their dance does not display aesthetic content, it is not about “fairness” but only about the result. Hic sunt leones, we could say.

The foundation of real and figurative statue removals is indeed an unhistorical, superficial, and intellectually untenable dichotomous ideology that presents history – based on well-recognized antecedents – as a liberating struggle against “oppressive structures.” The fact that ideological foundation is explicitly recognized as a means for combat mobilization and it does not even seek the appearance of profoundity – unlike its great predecessor who has also fallen victim to so many statue removals – may seem like a decline and setback. In fact, this is targeted streamlining and optimization based on the results of contemporary political science, social psychology, and political communication.

The formulation of the demands of the permanent progressivist revolution uses ideologically burdened and not at all hidden mobilizing presuppositions. If one tries to argue with allegations intended to substantiate the demands – such as “systemic racism,” “domination of intersectional oppressive structures,” “blaming the victim” – they already assume acceptance of ideological presupposition and terminology. That is a losing game in the first place. A significant part of the “issues,” in order to increase mobilization and confrontation, either thematize past grievances formulated from a certain narrow ideological starting point and in a way that they are deliberately irreparable (“1619 project”) or it is completely general and does not involve any realistic or feasibility idea (“change”). Moreover, the movements explicitly see it as a betrayal for their members to come up with some sort of agreed idea of feasibility, as this would lead to an interruption of ongoing escalation and mobilization.

All this leads to the issue of protests. Of course, not even this article can avoid the clearest possible condemnation and demand of lawful sanctioning of unprofessional and cruel police action, as well as the recognition of the phenomenon of social and ethnic profiling. However, in my interpretation, the real cause and content of current events is not Floyd’s death as a result of unprofessional and cruel police action, nor the other black and non-black victims who died or whose business was looted during the riots. These events can be understood in the process of permanent progressivist revolution.

When using or interpreting the term “racism,” care should be taken that the cultural Marxist academic elite and other pressure groups in the wake of it do not use the term “racism” in its default meaning, i.e., as presuming genetically determined negative traits. Essentially, the term is used as the keyword of a class-struggle structured ideology, in which any presumed sociological criterion of “oppressed” groups paired with “situation of power” is “racism”. Thus, “dispreferred” groups or their members cannot be racists in this ideology, as their possible prejudices are not associated with “power.” This is why the term “systemic racism” is used instead of simple racism, with a wide range of interpretations: “white-dominated society” and “capitalism” are inherently and systemically racist, so the solution is to radically transform society and eradicate capitalism, rather than a reasonable change in schooling, housing, or other conditions.

That is, if one signs in good faith or circulates messages that say, “racism is never okay,” they become a useful disseminator of a manipulative ideological foundation rather than basic human integrity. All content in politics is a means of political gain, the promise of participation in lofty action for the common good is a false illusion. How, I will explain in more detail later.

Based on the description outlined above, I make the following accountable statement: today, when a crowd driven by spontaneous outrage over police brutality occupies a quarter of Seattle; builds a barricade or barrier; forms a violent organization in a matter of minutes; asks for the “consent” of the owners of shops in the area and so on, and the majority of Democratic officials drift with events, we are just taking another step. This might be followed by a temporary setback, but the demand for “defunding the police” and “eradicating systemic racism through street fighting” will be the main language of the progressivist activists who will move on from here next time. The infotainment elite will also produce a heroized depiction of events, similar to that of the cannons of the battleship Aurora, the partially fake history and the extremely glorified symbol of the October Revolution in Russia. Then, scrutiny will be targeted to find who dares to deviate from this canonized interpretation, as in this way it can be identified who can be accused of disrespecting the memory of the new idol or denying the “right to peaceful protest.” In this way, racists “hiding in the dark,” retrograde saboteurs, leaners and the deceived who might be still worthy of absolution for penance can be exposed.

I derive this statement from the fact that the escalating demands of a series of demonstrations that tend to degenerate – but are currently only described as mobilizing huge spontaneous masses in the media – are joined by forces with significant self-interest, advocacy, and press support. This includes less or more left of center elite of the Democratic Party, whose members still have the opportunity, under the current circumstances, to steer the process toward promising outcomes from the perspectives of elections and power in general.

The criteria of the progressivist revolution: how to recognize authoritarian thematization

Discussing current events is essential, but the permanent progressivist revolution always engulfs newer and newer issues and turns them in an authoritarian direction. Thus, it is worth briefly discussing how it can be recognized that an otherwise (or seemingly) noble issue has already been incorporated in the arsenal of power-political aspirations, bypassing civil rights and the institutions of procedural democracy in the short term and disintegrating those rights and institutions in the longer term.

I identify four such clearly discernible criteria:

  1. Certainty about the absolute moral truth of the current issue and its current slogan. As a result, any opponent or “deviator” is obviously on the wrong side, i.e., either “Nazi” (and synonyms) or deceived.

  2. Uncompromising, dichotomous worldview. The “good” as recognized by internal motives or suggested from the outside – in short, the “virtue ethics” approach – is more attractive to the masses prone to mobilization than the so-called consequentialist approach, which considers the consequences of action individually and responsibly. The reason for this is that the former provides the illusion of pursuing clear goals for “goodness,” i.e., social acceptance and a meaningful life. It follows that mass mobilization and action of the permanent progressivist revolution always requires a worldview in which the “good” is on one side. And as part of authoritarian thematization, the worldview must also be dichotomous: one that is indisputable, on which no compromise is possible, because – as has been clearly acknowledged during the epidemic, for example, where “life” and the “economy” or a “utilitarian approach” have been falsely dichotomized – the “good” is always about ‘incomparable’ base values.

  3. Impossibility of comparing different aspects. It is inherent in the dichotomous worldview that it is completely impossible to compare the various legitimate aspects in a proportionate and consequential manner. For there is and cannot be any other legitimate aspect other than the absolute truth of progression. Thus, this static representation of the world cannot include impact assessments: it is always required to take a position from the presumed point of view of an actor designated as “good,” “oppressed,” “dispreferred” or “poor” in a given situation, and therefore this position is necessarily true (“Wer für das Recht kämpft, hat immer Recht” – as the hymn of the state party of the German Democratic Republic and its context illuminate it very precisely). Therefore, it is justified to require guilt, “change,” reparation, self-sacrifice, rituals of cleansing, kneeling etc. from the “society.”

  4. Very frequent change of demands. Although certain demands easily follow from the nature of the progressivist revolution, due to the permanent nature of the process, the target, i.e., the demand, must always escalate and become more general, and its practical solutions must appear in less and less manageable forms (“eliminate prejudices,” “give back dignity”). This is necessary in order for the mobilization to be maintained at all times, which would not be possible if the claim could be the subject of conciliation or consideration.

We also saw this last point in connection with the American riots, as the demand for the dissolution of the police surfaced. This, of course, is also communicated as “not to be understood that way,” while articles are published to clarify that that is exactly how it should be understood (“Yes We Mean Literally Abolish the Police – because reform won’t happen” ). This will be commented on by knowledgeable journalists, who will say it should not be understood that way. At any rate, the recurring element is that claims always contain unverifiable statements made only by the ‘oppressed’, ‘saddened’, ‘injured’ party: how deeply offended by a phenomenon, a statue of Columbus, or a word that “can only be heard from the mouth of the darkest racist.”

Possibilities of resistance on the plane of political communication

From what has been said, it can be seen that the permanent progressivist revolution is not only an effective ideology for believers but is, so to speak, “prepared” for attacks on it. It has answers to arguments that question its legitimacy or extremism.

To avoid the simplest traps, we need to understand the logic of political communication, which is very different from a rational discourse based on a fair deliberation of arguments.

I offer the following points for consideration:

  1. It is meaningless and misleading to judge political phenomena without aspects of power, on some ideological or moral basis. “Liberalism,” “anti-racism,” “racism,” “world trend” – these are not political actors. The assertion of power considerations, goals, and interests determine processes, not the consummation of the world spirit, the love of freedom, the dialectic of socio-economic contradictions, or similar metaphysical abstracts. As soon as any social initiative, which may seem noble at first, is placed in a political-power context, it will sooner rather than later be used to achieve political-power goals. After a few steps, there will no longer be a difference between whether the initiative was originally launched for a lofty purpose or as a product of explicit political manipulation.

  2. In politics, every text leaves its original linguistic context and becomes part of a political context, that is, it becomes an instrument of the struggle for power. Its meaning and the purpose of its presentation thus become primarily situational. Simply put, it is not about what it seems to be about. It is a political product that is promoted in order to “rule the moment” or longer processes. Accordingly, for the permanent progressivist revolution, all matters or “issues” are interesting insofar as they serve to achieve power-political goals, and not in their own merits. We can find this to be justified, among other things, in “intersectionalism,” which is the idea that in fact all repression is interconnected, and consequently the aim is not to improve the relationship seen as repression but to abolish the “global network of oppressive structures” – meaning the competitive, “capitalist” social order of civil equality and democracy. In this line of reasoning, a solution to climate change that builds on technological development is unacceptable because it does not attack “capitalist repression” at its roots.

  3. The decisions of the electorate or the opinion-following masses are not determined by “facts” per se, but by the framework of interpretation. In essence, this is an information “package” in which, in addition to emotional and individual historical moments, the reception of facts and thus the decisions based on them are determined by consciously or spontaneously developed interpretive frameworks for the masses. These usually contain hidden ideological presuppositions: when we accept or even deny such a question, or even ponder “what a good/bad thing it is,” we have already accepted and internalized the contents of consciousness wrapped up for us.

  4. In politics, there is no initiative that – going beyond a smaller community – undertakes interest representation without hidden compensation. Tempting goals such as radical climate protection policy, social equality, the elimination of racism, zero growth, replacing “capitalism” with fair trade and a loose network of small producer communities – these are always presented as a chance that arises as a result of the strengthening of mass movements and independently of power rearrangements, whereas the heroes of the process are always the activists themselves. Accordingly, they do not outline the steps of what kind of power rearrangement would be required by the set goal – more precisely the named one –, what interests it promotes or violates, and on the basis of which power-political structures it achieves this rearrangement. Nor is there a word about the authority and power the leading elite of activists would acquire during the “revolution of the pure in heart.” The point is, if a larger movement proclaims itself to be “civil” and its goal, driven by the common good, the rescue of Mother Earth, human rights, anti-racism, anti-fascism, selfless promotion of equality, or any consideration that seems to offer unquestionable moral superiority devoid of power considerations, we should be just as suspicious as with the European joke parties who promise “free beer and eternal life.” For we can be sure that the goals can actually be identified in a completely different space than the achievement of the ideal states they set – and then I put it very mildly.

The stakes of resistance: the goal of a permanent progressivist revolution

An article like this, however long it may be, may represent only a fragment of the aspects of the permanent progressivist revolution. In a more detailed study, it would be important to discuss, for example, the foreign policy implications of the present thematization and process. Above all, the role the permanent progressivist plays in the ideological and power strengthening of the most terrible despots. It is clear that whoever portrays the United States as inherently and “systematically” corrupt and racist, a state that can ultimately be traced back to “capitalism,” they serve the interests of the world’s most determined enemies of liberty and authoritarian regimes, even unintentionally. Let it suffice here to quote the statement of Hassan Rouhani, the spectacularly satisfied President of Iran, on the events in the United States: “We broke the knee of America that was on our throat”…

However, there is one more issue that I cannot ignore, especially as I mentioned power-politics as a fundamental aspect of understanding the process at the beginning of my writing. This issue is none other than the goal of the permanent progressivist revolution. It is invalid to object that questioning goals would necessarily lead to conspiracy theories or presuming a “secret society weaving its net in dark hiding places.” On the contrary, the agents of the permanent progressivist revolution do not necessarily coordinate but act in a more network-like manner, often driven by the “Zeitgeist.” They act in a spontaneous, mutually reinforcing way, extending from the nodes of networks.

What needs to be seen, briefly summarized, is that the academic intellectual elite and the infotainment celebrities – people who gain much of their income and social status outside the private sector, i.e., in a political environment – have accepted and developed into a moral absolute a post-Marxist ideology, in order to achieve their goals regarding power, distribution, and acquisition of social positions. In doing so, they successfully capitalize on Marxian-type arguments which have been accumulated in the last one hundred and fifty years and are therefore readily available and bear great mobilizing potential, resonating with anti-capitalist ideas deeply rooted in society. Keeping the “masses” in constant motion, the academic intellectual elite and the infotainment celebrities effectively gained a bargaining position vis-à-vis the political elites of fundamentally and formerly liberal, democratic states.

The aim of all this is to legitimize over-taxation, over-redistribution, and concentration of power along the developed ideological basis, and to gain control over the free market through moral pretexts. Idols and martyrs as well as infotainment celebrities serve as an excellent tool for this. Meanwhile, the mobilized masses only see that here some kind of movement of justice and remediation selflessly embraces their cause, raising its word and fist against “arbitrary police officers, corporations and big banks, speculators, and multinationals” in the name of morality.

Indeed, if I am right, the permanent progressivist revolution could in the short term increase redistributive state intervention and national or supranational over-regulation to levels hitherto unseen, realizing an increasingly significant reallocation of resources for the political and other purposes of the elite by appealing to morally unquestionable goals. In the longer term, if this process is not stopped, it will prepare for the abolition of liberal democracy and the free market economy and its replacement with totalitarian regimes.

And those who are “humiliated” and “oppressed” will, despite their initial hopes, again end up the same way as in the wake of any victorious attack on the competitive diversity of the political, economic and ideological environment—that is, on freedom.



I was born in Hungary. Nowadays I live in Italy, Trieste. I studied philology, rethoric and linguistics. After a few years I left the academic environment and became a businessman but never left the studies. My particular field of interest: argumentative and cognitive structures of the political communication.


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