More needs to be said about the self-identity of western progressives. I would maintain that the defense of this identity (and its virtue) explains most of the insanity coming from the left today.
I notice two tricks, in particular, being used by leftists here.
First trick, linguistic, is the creation of loose words for their own political radicalism. These words are used to organize and galvanize when new, when discredited however they disappear and seem to apply to no one. We can see this in labels like “AntiFa” which the left has defended for years but now seems to be a figment of our collective imaginations. It also applies to general terms (“SJW” and “woke”). Who coined these? The left. But to hear their account they are right wing smears. This is process is complemented by the second trick, historical, that defines “progressive”, as by its essential nature, to be good, honest, and always winning. As such their history curves around counter examples and a self flattering triumphalist narrative is constructed. Whereas real identities (religion, ethnicity, and nation) refer to real things and therefore have real messy records of good and bad actions, the progressive identity need not worry itself with such troubling nuance. Any evil doer who called themselves a “leftist” or “progressive” in the past is vetoed from their history by definition. The inquisition & crusades will forever be part of “Catholic history”, but Eugenics and the Gulags are not and never will be part of “progressive” history. Progressivism is of course a religion. But these deceptive tactics give it the ability to do things we don’t usually allow. The first is the construction of impossible to meet historical moral standards. Since the left can never be held to account this is a fun excercise.
The second is an ability to shift standards in order to maintain its dual illusions (“always right and always wing”). For this reason neither the progressive moralist nor prophet ever need to doubt their work. But also as a consequence, the ideology itself is mercurial. Many have said that progressives see “progress as God” (e.g. it cannot fail it can only be failed) but the problem is deeper. The “God” the progressives worship has no nature, it is shifting, and ephemeral. There is no there there. Progressives have created for themselves and identity that always wins and that is always good, but the price they pay is that this identity is entirely EMPTY. It has nothing in it.
As such the progressive is the culmination the ne plus ultra of the rootless and stale modern condition, as sad as that is.
Can we not all strive something more authentic in our own identities?