The one commonality that we all can embrace is the rejection of “victim mentality” pandemic so prevalent throughout the modern West. Yet many progressives (SJWs, feminists, etc.) embrace it, are defined by it … perpetual victimhood.
The Doctrine of Individualism, a core tenet of classical liberalism demands otherwise. Indeed, it is the primacy of the individual that stands at the root of all liberal ideals – free speech, free markets, due process, self-determination, and so forth.
The reality is that we could all claim being victims of something or someone … we’ve all had our share of disadvantages or misfortune. There is always someone out there who has it better than you, someone who has it worse. Someone richer, better looking, smarter, more athletic, better family, etc. We can let that define us, blame others for our problems, or we can choose to raise ourselves up. Self-improvement and self-mastery. This life is a gift … one which, when we are set free as individuals, can be embraced to its fullest.
Liberalism, at its core, is about pragmatic solutions. About the alignment of individual incentives with those of the greater good. Extreme political viewpoints are not really congruent with that. They are about pointing the finger at someone else, blaming, playing the victim. Indeed, many of the ideals spouted by illiberal progressives are the complete opposite of individualistic solutions – they instead embrace collectivism and identity politics. The idea that only the group can save the individual. It is a doctrine of hypoagency, a doctrine of the weak, a Doctrine of the Minority. The view that we, as individuals, lack the ability to raise ourselves up, to overcome challenges. That we are reliant on others to do it for us. It is a completely illiberal view of the world. Of people.
A true liberal understands that the true enemy is structural changes that limit our freedoms as individuals, or that create perverse incentives for particular behaviors. The irony of things like Political Correctness and the various “isms” (Sexism, Racism, etc.) is that they are often wielded as shaming language intended to stifle actual debate. A limiting of freedom in the “interest” of freedom. But in a true liberal society, everything should be open to debate. The only thing that should be limited are actual calls to violence. Anything else is totalitarianism at its worst.
And make no mistake, my friends, totalitarianism is not unique to the Right or the Left. It is forever and always the tendency of the biggest bully on the playground, regardless their stances or positions. This is the enemy of a truly liberal society, regardless the direction from which it comes. And it is the enemy within that is the most insidious.