Regressive left

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This article was considered for deletion at Wikipedia on December 30 2015. This is a backup of Wikipedia:Regressive_left. All of its AfDs can be found at Wikipedia:Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Regressive_left, the first at Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Regressive_left. Purge

Template:POV check Template:Use British EnglishTemplate:Dmy Template:Discrimination sidebar The regressive left, also called regressive liberalism,[1][2] is a political term, a neologism coined and popularised in the early 2010s by British liberal activist Maajid Nawaz[3][4][note 1] to describe a section of the left that has "an inherent hesitation to challenge some of the bigotry that can occur within minority communities [...] for the sake of political correctness, for the sake of tolerating what they believe is other cultures and respecting different lifestyles."[6]

The term "regressive left" was used earlier in somewhat different contexts by American conservative journalist Chuck Morse[7] amongst others.


Maajid Nawaz popularised the term "regressive left".

Nawaz mainly applies it to left-leaning people who, in his opinion, defend Islamism, which he defines as "an ideology that seeks to impose any version of Islam over society" and which he opposes on the ground that "any desire to impose any version of Islam over anyone anywhere, ever, is a fundamental violation of our basic civil liberties."[8] According to Nawaz, such sympathizers of Islamism include "atheists who are on the side of the Islamists, defending Islamism in the name of cultural tolerance."[9]

According to Nawaz, the notion that Muslims cannot cope with criticism or mockery of Islam and only react violently, is "patronizing, self-pity inspiring mollycoddling" of the very Muslims it claims to serve and emancipate, because it does not expect them to be civil and control their anger.[8] This "racism of low expectations" lowers the moral standards of people within minorities, seeking excuses if they happen to express, for example, misogyny, chauvinism, bigotry, or antisemitism, whilst holding members of the majority to universal liberal standards.[6]

Modern usage


New Atheist activist, author and neuroscientist Sam Harris, who co-authored the book Islam and the Future of Tolerance (2015) with Nawaz, has adopted[note 1] the term, claiming the greatest danger is that regressive leftists are willing to give up free speech "out of fear of offending minorities", which will lead to censorship imposed by those minorities, citing American journalist Glenn Greenwald's comments on the Charlie Hebdo shootings as an example.[10] Reza Aslan is also considered by Harris to be a member of the Regressive Left.[11]

Earlier similar expressions for Islam-favouring left-wing politics are Islamo-Leftism by French philosopher Pascal Bruckner[12] and the "pro-Islamist left" by Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain chair Maryam Namazie.[13] Spiked writer Elliot McArdle adds that some "so-called liberals/leftists" treat liberal Muslims like Nawaz and ex-Muslims like Namazie as "native informants", "traitors" or "not real Muslims", because such critics of Islam(ism), who have a Muslim background themselves, don't fit the desired narrative of Muslims as a homogenous and oppressed group.[14]


In March 2015, Conservative MP and London Mayor Boris Johnson opined that a LabourSNP victory in the May 2015 general election would result in "[taking] this country back to the Seventies" in economic terms, and "consigning [it] to five years of the most negative and regressive Left-wingery, larded with a ghastly finger-wagging political correctness."[15]


Dave Rubin has helped popularize the term "regressive left" using it on his talk show 'The Rubin Report.'

American comedian and show host Bill Maher and British biologist and New Atheist author Richard Dawkins also adopted the phrases "regressive leftists" and "regressive liberals", with Maher noting that these people are willing to criticise anything except Islam, excusing it as "their culture", to which Dawkins responded: "Well, to hell with their culture."[1][16]

Liberal talk show host Dave Rubin has helped to popularize the term regressive left, using it throughout many of The Rubin Report show segments, once saying: "The reason I feel like naming them is so important, is because I now view these regressives as the left's version of the Tea Party. The Tea Party went unchecked by the right until it was too late, and now the Republican Party is a fractured mess often only held together by its worst beliefs. I really believe these regressives are doing this to the left, and if we don't have the courage to stop them, then a year or two from now, we'll wonder why our system is screwed up even more than it is now."[5]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 On 2 October 2015, Bill Maher credited Sam Harris for coining the term "regressive leftists" that week, but five days later Dave Rubin corrected him that Maajid Nawaz used it at least as early as 2012.[5] In a dialogue published on 4 July 2012 in New Statesman between Nawaz and Mehdi Hasan, the latter reviews the former's book Radical, writing “regressive left” in quotation marks, indicating he is citing from Nawaz' book.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Real Time with Bill Maher: Richard Dawkins – Regressive Leftists (HBO)". Real Time with Bill Maher. HBO. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  2. Kellan Howell (3 October 2015). "Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins blast ‘regressive liberals’ giving a ‘free pass’ to Islam". The Washington Times. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Nawaz, Maajid; Hasan, Mehdi (4 July 2012). "Age of extremes: Mehdi Hasan and Maajid Nawaz debate". New Statesman. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  4. "Maajid Nawaz and Dave Rubin Discuss the Regressive Left & Political Correctness [Full Interview"]. The Rubin Report. 2 October 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Dave Rubin: Regressives are the Left's Tea Party". The Rubin Report. The Rubin Report. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Maajid Nawaz (18 November 2015). "Je Suis Muslim: How Universal Secular Rights Protect Muslim Communities the Most". Big Think. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  7. Morse, Chuck (2002). The Gramsci Factor: 59 Socialists in Congress. iUniverse. p. 100. ISBN 9780595253579. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Maajid Nawaz (8 August 2015). "The British Left’s Hypocritical Embrace of Islamism". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  9. Tony Jones (28 October 2015). "Lateline: An atheist and a Muslim on the future of Islam". Lateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  10. Chris Beck (21 October 2015). "Sam Harris Unloads on the Regressive Left". Splice Today. Russ Smith. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  11. Chris Beck (21 October 2015). "Sam Harris Unloads on the Regressive Left". Splice Today. Russ Smith. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  12. Bruckner, Pascal (2010). The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism. Princeton University Press. p. 25. ISBN 1400834317. 
  13. James Bloodworth (28 June 2013). "Why is the left so blinkered to Islamic extremism?". The Independent. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 
  14. McArdle, Elliot (4 December 2015). "The liberal racism faced by ex-Muslims". Spiked (Brendan O'Neill). Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  15. Boris Johnson (29 March 2015). "Regressive, sarcastic and pious – welcome to Britain under Ed Miliband and the SNP". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 December 2015. 
  16. John Worthing (27 October 2015). "'To hell with their culture' - Richard Dawkins in extraordinary blast at Muslims". The Independent. 

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