Progressive colonialism must end
By Bill Connor
Though it has received scant coverage, the recent Belgrade “EuroPride 2022” event created a great deal of controversy in Serbia. Serbia is a conservative Orthodox country, while EuroPride is a radical LGBTQ+ parade (the event included marchers showing naked buttocks and other such scenes). Prior to the event, the majority of Serbian Leaders, from Orthodox Church leaders to political leadership opposed the event, along with the majority of the conservative Serbian population. The president of Serbia had promised Serbians, “The parade will not be held, and that decision will not be changed.” The pressure from the European Union and Biden administration leaders was just too much and he had to reverse himself.
Those pushing the parade claimed there would be as many as 40,000 marchers, and yet an estimated 150 showed up, with half being European and American diplomats like Biden’s ambassador to Serbia, Christopher Hill. After the event, Hill tweeted, “Successful EuroPride 2022 (Belgrade) affirms Serbia’s European future.” https://mobile.twitter.com/usambserbia/with_replies. In context, this tweet was a clear message that if Serbia had not given in to pressure for EuroPride, it would not have a future in Europe. Almost every country in the EU or seeking EU membership was basically required to hold a EuroPride march. These efforts are part of the ongoing and increasing progressive colonialism, which is as insidious as prior colonialism and must be stopped. Let me explain.
First, progressive colonialism is seen most clearly in the demands by European and American progressive elites for things like EuroPride. Yet this dynamic goes well beyond forced applauding of gay rights and involves pushing other progressive priorities. Priorities like suppression of conservative speech as “hate speech,” the pushing a radical “green” agenda and pushing progressive “social justice” concepts. It’s become so bad that even some traditionally liberal Western nations have pushed back on hyper-progressivism. For example, the left of center president of France, Emmanuel Macron, has spoken out about France fighting acculturated to “American woke culture that’s racializing their country,” along with other French political and intellectual leaders providing the similar warning.
The most insidious aspect of progressive colonialism has been in heavy-handed manner shutting down all opposition. Those fighting against progressive colonization become vilified and stigmatized as hateful, as happened with the European and American reporting of EuroPride opponents in Belgrade. It goes so far as to threaten opponents with criminal penalties concerning free speech. Former United States Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Janice Rogers Brown put it best in explaining this tactic of destroying opposition to progressive colonization: “If speech opposes that preferred narrative, we are told it is itself an act of violence. So speech is violence. And responding to such speech with actual violence is an act of self-defense. I think that this is at the core of what is happening to us.” https://www.newsweek.com/macron-france-reject-american-woke-culture-thats-racializing-their-country-1634706.
It’s interesting to note the similarities between progressive colonialism and historic imperial colonialism, which included a substantial cultural component. Encyclopedia.com defines Cultural imperialism as “the (formal or informal) effort by powerful states to force their culture and societal systems upon subjugated, or less powerful, people” and goes on to note that “it also brought about the demise of many indigenous cultures … imperial states sought to replicate their legal, political and educational systems within their colonies.” With clear goals “the dominant power seeks to suppress and, in some cases, eradicate other cultures … societal attributes, including language, legal traditions, and family patterns, also are often forcibly changed … Colonial powers often removed or eradicated those groups that held political or economic power … The colonists then elevated other groups within societies to elite status as a means to bind those groups to the colonial power. The imperial powers also developed a series of colonial schools, including universities in some cases, to educate the native population and the colonial elites. At colonial schools, native students were taught the history, culture, and traditions of the imperial state, while their own culture was denigrated.”
The new progressive colonialism fits the pattern of the system we all decry in the modern era. In the case of Serbia’s coercion into EuroPride, we witness the more powerful EU and America applying pressure to force Serbia to progressivism against its conservative and religious traditions. With Serbia’s neighbor, Hungary, we can see a concerted effort to have its conservative president removed from leadership despite his recent election. The EU just voted to deny Hungary billions of euros after conservative President Victor Orban’s election, as he has held fast to promised conservative immigration policies the EU does not like. They have alleged Hungary is not a full democracy. This follows the colonial pattern of removing opponents and elevating sympathizers of the dominant culture. For years, progressives have been turning “elite” educational establishments into the means of progressive acculturation. As happened in prior colonization, the young are taught the glories of progressivism, including things like EuroPride, while conservative cultures are denigrated.
It’s time for progressive colonialism to end, as happened with previous colonialism we all decry as bad. Ancient cultures in nations like Serbia should be respected and not denigrated and forcibly overturned. We should end the threats against non-dominant conservative cultures for not complying with progressivism. We should demand that dissenting conservatives be allowed a say, and not suppressed and destroyed. We owe this to ourselves, and we owe it to the world.
Bill Connor is a 1990 Citadel graduate, 30-year Army infantry colonel (ret.) and combat veteran. He is a writer and attorney and lives in the Charleston area.