Last Saturday hundreds of thousands of high schoolers gathered across the country in a “March for Our Lives” rally. Organized and financed by anti-gun nuts and other left-wing outfits, and ornamented with Hollywood celebrities like George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey, the spectacle was filled with the emotional exhibitionism and juvenile policy recommendations one would expect from the most pampered and worst-educated cohort of young people in American history––the perfect shock troops for progressive propaganda.
Progressivism, like its totalitarian cousins, is an ideology of melodrama and moral exhibitionism. The complexity and mystery of a flawed human nature and its actions are reduced to Lenin’s simple analysis: “Who, whom.” In the fight between righteousness and evil, who will win, the oppressor or his victim? The revolutionary is strengthened by his perceived own moral superiority, his certainty that he on the side of history’s angels. After all, he is struggling for the brave new world: heaven on earth, the utopia of radical equality and social justice, and the final banishment of misery and oppression. In such a cosmic battle, who has time for critical thought or empirical evidence?
This leftist melodrama has always been attractive for the callow young, as the hinge-year 1968 showed. Teenagers are prone to grandiose self-regard, impulsive behavior, and a preference for feeling rather than thinking. They are attracted to sentimentalism and melodrama, the emotion that validates their inflated egos rather than the thought that challenges their exaggerated self-importance.