Existential Threats and Progressive Scaremongering

(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

“The terms, they are a-changin’” – S.T. Karnick

In this day and age, thoughtful college students are besieged by the intellectual left.

I suppose it begins when a supposedly woke professor, quite like his or her counterpart government functionary or mainstream media talking head, chooses to avoid punishment.


With conscious willfulness, he or she, in vague, veiled terms, portrays free-market ideas of the intellectual right as existential threats to each student, without specific explanation.

In an effort to defraud taxpayers and parents, many professors cloak conservatism, capitalism, and/or climate skepticism in a dark and condescending epithet, such as neoliberalism, globalism, and climate denialism.

Sadly, many leftist professors’ instructional strategy is to saddle the young adult with existential threats, rather than merely teach the classics and empirical science.

Certainly, such leftist tropes as climate catastrophe, identity grievance, and voter suppression have no place in the teaching of either the hard or soft sciences.

When I grew up and went to school, this fraudulent behavior was known as cowardice, and this condescension was just plain prejudice.

Notwithstanding the menschitude of Noel Coward, cowardice is caused by an unexamined fear.

Prejudice is just that: a pre-judging, an assumption or provision of unearned guilt on someone.

Such professors are caught in a language sinkhole, in which a leftist term for itself often means its opposite, and a leftist complaint about the right often better describes leftist inadequacy.

Colloquially, the use of the term capitalist was initiated by Karl Marx.

The right has since assumed the mantle of this moniker as a true adjective describing those championing the free market.

More recently, the right has seen its former appellation of liberal, or classical liberal, appropriated by the left and placed on its head.


The left is continually devising new terms, either to bless a leftist meme, or to denigrate a virtue of the right.

Current rally-cry terms spread by the left refer to concepts that leftists purport to believe in: sustainability, social justice, diversity, inclusion, equity, and systemic racism. Each term is sparsely defined, if, indeed, it is defined at all.

For instance, the term colonization is meant to display disdain of the right, in reference to Western hegemony in the Third World. (As if unfettered immigration is not colonizing.)

An acolyte of the left will also use code words to merge with another leftist, such as: frame, critical, lean-in, people of color, “let me be clear,” and “come on, man.”

The choice on the part of each leftist to use such a codeword is aptly termed “virtue signaling,” to portray the person’s supposed holiness or wokeness to another leftist.

Another language tactic a true believer leftist will semi-consciously use is to promote an official, alarmist “narrative” of the current news, which has almost apocalyptic importance, but then is completely forgotten a few days later.

Even the term “progressive,” denoting a denizen of the fashionable socialist left twilight, is not really an apt moniker. Socialism, with its inevitable dystopia featuring the equality of poverty and the universality of misery, is more properly named “regressive.”

Many times, a leftist’s specious use of terms such as “science” or “settled science,” is merely an attempt to support tenuous political claims with shaky “facts,” a dark, religious scientism.


A truly awakened leftist ideologue will realize that his or her personal and social liberty derives directly from his or her individual freedom.

For instance, an actually improved natural environment derives mainly from each business saving time and money, making an honest profit by each employee working to improve methods and to cut costs through industry, ingenuity, and frugality.

Similarly, improved gender and racial harmony is actually achieved through the ordinary working of universal suffrage (one person, one vote) and economically and politically free television, radio, and internet.

Whether feared or embraced, the looming end of a student’s college career will offer freedom that he or she will enjoy upon inevitably entering the capitalist working world.

For the world does run on capitalism. One can’t get away from it. Capitalism is like water and air, a resource for humanity’s survival. May each snowflake, cupcake, and intellectual newbie embrace capitalism as the good which makes dreams possible, and keeps nightmares at bay.

Joseph Davis ([email protected]) is the head librarian at The Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank located in Arlington Heights, Illinois.


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