Friday, April 14, 2006

My Corrupt and Degenerate Soul: Great Leaping Leftist!

There are a couple things I was thinking of blogging about today... One of them involves the absolutely corrupt and debased state of my soul.

Yes, back around 15-20 years ago, when I was a dyed-in-the woollyheaded leftist. Obviously it is not unusual for a person to leave the leftism of their youth behind as they mature (I can never bring myself to call it liberalism, since leftism is so decidedly illiberal).

But for many people it is a trivial change. They simply went along with the program when they were younger, and now go along with a different program. It's not as if they've thought anything out on a deep level. For a lot of people, politics comes down to a social club.

Yet there are others who remain hardcore leftists their entire lives, as if they have literally learned nothing in their life's journey--Tom Hayden, Jane Fonda, Pete Seeger, Bernie Sanders, Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold, Alexander Cockburn, Paul Krugman, Bruce Springsteen, real-life meathead Rob Reiner, and so many others. What explains them? What exactly is wrong with them? Is it lack of intelligence? Clearly not. Is it psychopathology? As a psychologist it is tempting to reduce it to that, and I could easily do so in a plausible way. But a leftist psychologist could do the same thing with me.

The more I think about it, I consider it a spiritual pathology, a true sickness of the soul.

In the past, people have asked me about how my particular transition came about. I was thinking about it again yesterday on the way home from work. My CD player is broken, so I was listening to the Michael Medved show. Being Passover, it was a rerun. There were two guests. One was David Horowitz, who was discussing his then new book, Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left.

One thing I like about Medved, Prager or Hewitt, is that, unlike, say, the amazingly tedious Air America, they try to stimulate debate by having on worthy proponents from the other side. In this case, it was Daniel Lazar, a writer from The Nation magazine. Back in the 1980's, when I was a subscriber, it was considered a far left magazine. It was actually an alternative to the MSM. Since then the MSM has moved so far left that there is probably no substantive difference anymore on a single issue between The Nation and the L.A. or New York Times. This is what I mean when I say that the Democrats are no longer a liberal party, but a leftist one.

I give credit to Lazar for being unflinchingly candid in propounding his views. Most leftists know their ideas will be unpopular if expressed in an unvarnished, un-nuanced way to the unsophisticated boobeoisie, so they dissemble, deceive, and prevaricate. But Lazar was refreshingly straightforward in expressing his views. Ironically, he confirmed every single point Horowitz made about the far left--that approximately 20% of the population that truly hates America and everything it stands for. Lazar had no qualms about openly comparing President Bush to Hitler, even emphasizing that Hitler had better reasons for invading Poland than Bush did to invade Iraq.

Lazar went on to say that he was entirely sympathetic to the insurgency, since they are simply defending their country from a hostile invasion. He hoped that they would succeed in preventing the upcoming election, since any electoral process brought about by the Americans would be a sham. He dismissed the idea that the insurgents were terrorists, pointing out that the nazis also referred to the French resistance as terrorists. "Terrorism" is just a word we made up to delegitimize what the other guy does.

Lazar said he could easily write a book about the "unholy alliance" between Islamism and American conservatism, since both involve religious fascism, violence, totalitarianism, hatred of women, etc.--all the usual bromides.

As I listened to this man, I tried to understand how someone can be so frankly sick and depraved--not mentally, but within their soul. Obviously it would serve no purpose whatsoever to debate such an individual or to argue with them on the merits of their ideas, any more than you could have a rational discussion with the typical denizen of the dailykos-huffingtonpost world. You're never going to persuade this kind of person with logic or evidence. All you can do is try to highlight your differences as sharply as possible.

I didn't mean to make this post about Lazar. Rather, his presence on the radio prompted me to once again look within myself for answers and to try and understand my own transformation. For there was a time that I would have looked up to someone like Lazar as a brave and outspoken man, a persecuted minority "speaking truth to power." How could I have been so foolish?

By definition it cannot be a matter of intelligence, for I am no smarter today than I was then. Nor do I believe that I was a whole lot crazier back then. Somewhat, but that had more to do with typical neurotic symptoms such as self-confidence, mild depression, relationship issues, etc., nothing really fundamental.

But why was I a leftist? A few superficial answers came readily to mind. One of them falls into the realm of simple ignorance. Back then, before the days of talk radio or the internet, there was no widespread access to conservative ideas. Ever since Goldwater, the MSM had succeeded in branding the conservative movement as a lunatic fringe of irrelevant fanatics. A priori they were not to be taken seriously except as a potentially serious danger. I also encountered this default attitude everywhere in my education, and never heard any alternative view articulated, except in a mischaracterized and distorted way.

I was also completely ahistorical. Or worse, there was a sense in the 1960s and 1970s that history had labored for lo those many dark centuries to finally give birth to our enlightened generation. We were superior to all of the past benighted generations, including our clueless parents. There was no sense whatsoever that the extraordinary economic and personal freedom that began opening up at that particular time had had any cost whatsoever. If only all of the stupid and violent ideas of past generations were obliterated--ideas like war, sacrifice, capitalist greed, Western religion, etc.--the natural goodness of humans would bloom like a flower.

Of course, like all leftists I was economically illiterate--or innumerate. That's the problem with the Left, since Marxism in all its permuations is just bad literature, not economics. Like socialist Europe, I knew nothing about the creation of wealth. I just assumed it. The only problem was its distribution.

Much of it was simple and crude self-interest. Thus, just like the idiot high school students of today demonstrating on behalf of illegal immigrants, I can remember "bravely" ditching my 9th grade class in 1970 to participate in a school wide antiwar demonstration. The sense of childish moral superiority could make you throw up.

I also lacked gratitude. Again, somehow there was no understanding of the extraordinary sacrifices people had made in the past to make my unbelievably easy and pleasant life possible. My father lived through W.W.II and served in the British army, but men of his generation didn't seem to want to talk about their experiences. Perhaps they were traumatized by them and wanted to go along with the ahistorical tenor of the times as a way to foster their own denial--much in the way the W.W. I generation didn't want to face up to Hitler in the 1930s.

Leftism continues to be a children's crusade against the adult world, and we are in desperate need of adults who will stand up to the children and not worry about trying to be their "friends." As a parent, you simply have to do what you need to do, because children don't really know how to raise themselves. (If I had more time, this would be a good place to expand upon this vis-a-vis Will's comment below on the spirit of rebellion that animates the Left. This rebellion is an inevitable artifact of childhood, and is oedipal to the core. To gratify it is to create a monster.)

I remember seeing Saving Private Ryan a few months after it came out. I took in a matinee in an empty theater, and remember being so overwhelmed with an implacable sense of gratitude. As I walked out into the sunlight, it was almost disorienting. What could I ever do in my life to repay those men who made the ultimate sacrifice so that I could spend a leisurely afternoon watching a movie about their sacrifices?

I don't know what I would have thought about that movie in 1985. Probably I would have devalued it. But now I am acutely conscious of the fact that I must, at the very least, live a life worthy of the sacrifice of the men who made my life possible, and to do everything I can to maintain the values of the country they gave their lives for. To do otherwise is to insult their sacred memory.

While harping on my own shortcomings, mention should also be given to my intellectual arrogance and my moral superiority. Scratch any leftist and, and they will sue you; but underneath the scratch you will find a bottomless reservoir of conviction that they not only know more than you do, but that they are a better person than you are. You are greedy, or homophobic, or sexist, or racist, or hate the poor, or don't care about the planet, while I am the opposite of all those things. I am kind, compassionate, wise, generous and tolerant.

The reason why leftist ideas are so devoid of substance is that they often come down to a simple affirmation of these self-flattering adjectives, as in the example a couple weeks ago of Jimmy Carter's abuse of the innocent elementary school student. To summarize, it went something like this: "Are you a nice person?," asked Carter. "Yes," says the girl. "Then you are a Democrat." Easy.

Back when I was a leftist, I just wanted to be "cool." This was not so much a political or even apolitical stance. Rather, it had to do with not being judgmental and not tolerating people who were judgmental. Judgmental people were uncool in the extreme. I don't know about you, but everybody I knew was cool, even most teachers.

But there is something spiritually much deeper about this stance. For what I really wanted back then was for my conscience to be asleep, and the last thing I wanted was to be around someone with an awakened objective conscience. That would have bummed me out. Big time.

This, I believe, is what explains the narcissistic Hollywood left, which increasingly exemplifies the left in general. This is a population of people whose consciences are generally deeply asleep. A disabled conscience is what allows them to lead the sort of frivolous, self-absorbed and morally rudderless personal lives they do.

But the conscience does not go away. Rather, it is simply projected in the form of an oppressive mother government that will keep everyone else from being "selfish." For the Hollywood leftist knows full well about the corrupt nature of the human soul. They know that the individual is powerless to live in the light of a higher source that is not from this world. Therefore, the only hope for mankind is to enforce a collective morality from on high to assuage our collective--not individual--sin.

When the leftist talks about how this is a racist country, he knows of what he speaks. Likewise, his obsession with sexual deviance or human greed lets you know that he is on intimate terms with them. It is a miserable condition of the soul. In deflecting responsibility and pursuing a collective solution to his own personal spiritual demons, the leftist is trying to put you out of his misery.

Your erstwhile leaping leftist, circa 1980-81. Clueless but cool, no? That's a 16 oz. Coors can at my feet, although in real life the relationship was somewhat reversed. How did this affable ne'er-do-well bluff his way into graduate school a year later? Ah, what wondrous feats are possible if you are desperate to extend your adolescence just a little bit longer!


Anonymous Michael Andreyakovich said...

The more we concentrate on other people's failures, the less we concern ourselves with our own. Right on, Bob.

4/14/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Helene said...

Okay, now I'm a confirmed bobblehead! That you have deveoped into someone who can articulate this stuff is another proof that "truth is beauty, beauty truth and that is all ye need to know in life" I even read you before Charles and Victor Davis Hanson this morning.
I impress!
Thank you,
Helene (new to posting)

4/14/2006 08:43:00 AM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Great insight into the "lefty psych" Bob, but I would also add that they have this grand illusion of entitlement. I just can't get over how much I see that in them. It's as if they feel they were born with with some IOU's stuck to their foreheads and they spend a lifetime trying to collect.

4/14/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Hoarhey said...

Bravo Bob,

There is no limit to the twisted depravity that the left will put us through in this country in order to "feel" better about themselves. They play to and coddle the worst in human nature and it is impossible to asuage the demon contained in them. Looking at leftist politicians and their agenda, they have no ideas for how to deal with anything but the arrogance to believe that they'll figure it out if we just get them back in power.
"I have a plan", okay, where is it? "I can't reveal it just yet".
If you want to read a good book about what happens when people with no God higher than themselves gain power and try and figure it out as they go along, read 'The Gulag Archipelago' to get a taste of what's in store.
Thank God (and the Founders) for the U.S.Constitution, The U. S. Military and people with the guts to stand up and fight against what would ultimately result in the collapse of civilization.

4/14/2006 08:51:00 AM  
Blogger JohnR said...

To paraphrase the gospel, The Looney Left you will always have with you.

4/14/2006 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Bob & Bobbleheads inc. -

Such a mysterious topic, made all the more so by today being what it is.

I have spent serious hours - well, actually several decades now - pondering the mystery of entrenched leftism, why it exist, what it offers to those who embrace it, what it ultimately accomplishes, etc. Leftism has so many permutations, gradations, modes of manifestation, psychological bases, that one could easily get lost following the thread back to the center of the labyrinth.

But I believe there is a center; it's probably more appropriate to think of as a pit.

It's the Spirit of, for, and by, Rebellion. Rebellion for it's own sake.

You know, the First Rebellion, courtesy the father of lies, the first "eff you" to the "Establishment."

The First Rebellion still continues, obviously.

4/14/2006 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Philip Marvin said...

You gave me an insight. When in Scripture He says, "Be thou therefore perfect as thy father in heaven is perfect," and also, Thou wilt perfect that which concerneth me," He means perfect in the sense of mature. If Leftism is infantile, then Biblical Christianity is the worldview of grownups.

4/14/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...


You are so right--I should have mentioned rebellion. It is rebellion for it's own sake, for the world is regarded as wrong, so it must be changed by any means necessary.

There is also a spiritual intoxication that is always associated with the rebellion. You see this in the intoxicated, intemperate language that permeates the left.

4/14/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

yes Will...its a rebellion that continues from childhood and grows right into basically the lefty bunch never humbled their hearts?

4/14/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

BTW long were you in a band?

4/14/2006 09:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Let's see... I guess the band must have started in 1979.... I was the worst of the three gutarists, so I was promoted to bass. The band remained together in some form or fashion until about 1982.

After I left, the band eventually transformed into a group called Sun 60, and even released a few albums. But the sound and style of Sun 60 had no commonality whatsoever with the original vision. Not recommended.

4/14/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Well, I love it that you share the pictures with us...I can tell that you were having a good time! I just get tickled at the hair and the clothes...hahahahha

4/14/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Kahntheroad said...

Sun 60? Is this them?

So, we've got these tantalizing pictures coming out - when do we get to hear some mp3s??? (pssst - Gagboy, create a diversion and Gagmom can upload them...well, after she converts them from 8-track)

4/14/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

That's them. Dave was our keyboard player. His brother Eddie was our singer and rhythm guitarist. Eddie switched over to bass in Sun 60. Joan, the lead singer of Sun 60, was not in the original group, as girls were Not Allowed.

I grew up with Dave and Eddie, and their parents still live half a block down the street from me. Dave is now a successful film composer.

Actually in fairness to Sun 60, they would probably not trace their roots all the way back to our little enterprise, because our band bagan with me and Eddie, while Sun 60 was the vision of Dave and Joan.... Still, It's like tracing the Beatles back to the Quarrymen....

4/14/2006 11:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Kahntheroad said...

"Again, somehow there was no understanding of the extraordinary sacrifices people had made in the past to make my unbelievably easy and pleasant life possible. My father lived through W.W.II and served in the British army, but men of his generation didn't seem to want to talk about their experiences. Perhaps they were traumatized by them and wanted to go along with the ahistorical tenor of the times as a way to foster their own denial--much in the way the W.W. I generation didn't want to face up to Hitler in the 1930s."

There's a fascinating site I've been following for the last few years that addresses these issues through a concept called Generational Dynamics.

This guy, John Xenakis, is a mathematician who started studying historical trends in order to predict the stock market. In the process he stumbled upon his theory, called Generational Dynamics, which shows that each culture repeats a near identical pattern every 80 or so years revolving around major wars.

In a nutshell: one generation fights a major war (genocidal war, in his parlance) and so long as those who lived through these horrors govern society they will do everything they can to prevent another such conflict - from appeasement to smaller conflicts. However, as soon as that generation dies off you have the sheltered offspring in power who will more readily enter into such a conflict.

Kind of a Hegelian fatalism backed up by numbers.

He has fascinating data on many social trends and a thorough analysis of the history of several cultures based on his hypothesis - and he's been frighteningly dead on for the last 4 years.

Which, I'll warn you, is pretty sobering in light of his upcoming predictions. When mathematicians and theologians start coming to similar conclusions it might be time to get your house in order. ;)

Anyway, the site is an interesting read.

4/14/2006 11:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Kahntheroad said...

Bob -

Well, you'd better get some royalties once Sun 60 starts using you in their promotional material: "Formerly Affiliated with best-selling author/philosopher/blogger Gagdad Bob!!!"

Kind of like the former back-up singers who go around claming they're The Temptations or The Platters.

Do you still play? We should all start a band. Ah! How about a Do-Wop/Gospel group called Dr. Bob and The Gag-Daddios.

4/14/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

kahn, I kinda remember this guy, because of some things he has said about computers in relation to the future, and I remember then going wwwoooooooo at some of his remarks, because I remember at the time some of us were talking about what if they developed microchips that could enhance our productiviy in our own human bodies, and then asking if they did manage to do so--- would we then allow such a microchip to be inserted into us since how would we be able to compete with others that had taken them? Anway, thank you so much for his site, because I wasn't aware of it being online!

4/14/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I wouldn't say I exactly play. When I switched over to bass, I traded in a beautiful blonde Telecaster for the Rickenbacker 4001 bass you see in the photo. Then, about 15 years ago, I traded in the bass for a Strat with the intention of taking lessons, so I would know more than a few rudimentary chords and scales.

I actually began taking lessons in 2004, but I was just to busy to devote myself to practice.

Therefore, when I'm in the mood, I simply crank up the gain on my amp to 11 (so that the guitar distorts like Neil Young's & I can cover my mistakes) and wail way. I play along with various songs that have no more than three chords, say the Baba O'Reilly Factor, by the Who. Plus I can play various blues leads, since I know the pentatonic scale by heart, and that's about all I know.

But you should see me when I windmill into Baba O'Reilly: BROMMMM, BROMM BROMMMMMMMMMM!

4/14/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael Andreyakovich said...

Quoth Bob: "You are so right--I should have mentioned rebellion. It is rebellion for its own sake, for the world is regarded as wrong, so it must be changed by any means necessary."

Quoth Imam Wahdan: "Reality is a mistake, and it is our duty to rectify it."

In other words, at the heart of both radical Islam and radical leftism lies the same selfish mind parasite first incubated by the Adversary: SOMEBODY ON A HIGHER LEVEL FUCKED UP AND WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO CAN FIX IT.

Didn't someone say that the first sin was the sin of pride?

4/14/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps it might be expressed more succinctly thus: We are the only ones that can fix your mistakes.

Michael A.

4/14/2006 01:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Dave Reaboi said...

Hello, everyone:
Yesterday LGF linked to this post from the HuffPo; it's an attempt by the left to generate some kind of meme against an attack on Iran.
Everyday for years I've been asking myself when these people will wake up. They won't I guess, when they prefer a nuclear holocaust to waiting-out Bush's term. Every day they show me a kind of depravity I'd no idea was possible the day before. How I wish I could travel ahead in time to 2009-- just to see what they'll do with all this venom.

4/14/2006 01:45:00 PM  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

It is difficult to see danger when it is not in your neighborhood. For all of our applauding ourselves about our perspicacity in divining the affairs in the world, we are actually designed to treat "somewhere else" as Somewhere Else. As a consequence the personal issues of trying to be independent of our parents or wise before our peer group loom larger than they should.

I was a sensitive acoustic folkie when I was a leftist socialist. I passionately believed that something other than reality should be true.

When the exercise of listing the 10 Worst Americans went around a few months ago, I included Pete Seeger in my list.

4/14/2006 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

AVI, what was it about seeger that made him such a bad American? I really am not aware of him...he musta been before my time.

4/14/2006 02:19:00 PM  
Anonymous ben usn (ret) said...

Good post Bob and an essential supplemental Will.
"Debating" with leftists, if you can manage to find one that will debate, is a waste of time (I know, I have tried, as have countless others).
It's like trying to show evidence to the sleeping jurors in the OJ Simpson trial.
The right is awake and objective, and the left is asleep and subjective.
The evidence of the left is the stuff that dreams are made of, and in many cases nightmares.
Only when true reality is accepted, can mind-changing debate begin.
I was fortunate to join the Navy at 17.
I was immediately immersed in glorious, horrific reality; Ben meet reality, reality this is Ben, go easy on him (snicker).
Kind of like jumping in an ice cold river (with real ice, and yes, I did that once); OKAY! I'M AWAKE NOW! BRRR!
I thank God that I was inspired to make that leap into reality (though I thought it would be like the movies).

4/14/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous larwyn said...

No better response to Good Friday than Confession.

There will be long lines at Catholic churches into the evening. It is truly one of the great institutions/Sacraments of the Catholic church - even those "holiday" church goers (Christmas & Easter) have at least 2 opportunities to wipe their slate clean.

Love the photo!

4/14/2006 03:11:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Ben -

Reality-introduction - and if there's a decent definition of "Enlightenment", it would be "extreme sobriety" - always requires a trauma somewhere along the line.

I think we always think it's gonna be like "in the movies".

4/14/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Afternoon All,
My motherboard shorted out last night. I guess all this insight is too hot too handle for a Dell!

I have given up on trying to help lefties see the light. They are in denial of history and facts. It is like trying to have a conversation with a toaster. Unfortunately, most of my oldest friends are stuck in the leftist downward spiral. I really don't even care if I hang out with them anymore because I don't feel comfortable speaking my mind. We can only reminisce about the good old days. I have made some new friends that I have more in common with. I am finding that the older I get, the smaller number of people I consider to be good friends. Sometimes I wonder how I gradually changed from a rebellious apathetic lefty and my friends still view the world the same exact way they did when we were kids. I know 9/11 was a major eye-opener for me. I also had to give up on my fantasy of everyone having good in them and accept and correctly identify that there is evil in the world.

4/14/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Kahntheroad said...

Okay, I know I'll get blasted, but I've got to stand up for ol' Pete.

C'mon, of all the people to pick on as a dangerous American?

Sure, he's about as naive a lefty as you can get, but - from all I know of him - he's a sincere and decent a human being. He's got his fantasy world of love and peace and la-de-da, but, unlike many, he has expressed himself in a positive and respectful way - not like the bile merchants we're subject to today.

Okay, so even if he inspired militant commies, the guy sang fricken songs about flowers and puppies. Should we loath the Beatles because of Helter Skelter's influence on Charles Manson? Or a whole generation of drug use?

Also, for all his peace songs, lets not forget Seeger's noble contributions to the civil rights movement and, many may not know, that Seeger - along with Woody Guthrie (and don't even think about slamming Woody!) - was part of a group called The Almanac Singers who recorded patriotic anthems during WWII.

Finally, while today's incarnation of the labor movement, - Seeger's original passion - has devolved into corruption and extortion it served an not entirely unreasonable purpose in the context of the 1930s (after which, of course, it went overboard).

My point is that I think we need to make a clear distinction between people who are vitriolic, deceitful and hostile towards respectful discourse and those who may be wrong, or even foolish, but are, at the least, honest participants in the civil exchange of ideas. The later can be easily refuted given a fair playing field.

I while back I recall an exchange here about Martin Luther King where I contended that his respect for working through the system and civil commitment to our nation's ideals far outweighed the fact that he happened to have a socialist philosophy.

I think we're better served focusing our ire on the hateful cancerous voices on either side.

4/14/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Pete Seeger:

"MOST Americans readily understand, after experiencing the horror of the 9/11 attack on our nation last year, that evil exists, and that those seeking to destroy what we hold dear are indeed the epitome of evildoers. But not the radical academics and Hollywood celebrities, who are trying their best to resurrect from its coffin the old '60s anti-Vietnam War coalition.

"Thus, coming to the ad pages of The New York Times will be what they call "A Statement of Conscience," calling on the "people of the U.S. to resist" American policy, which they claim shows "grave dangers to the people of the world," who want us to join them in resisting "the war and repression that has been loosed on the world by the Bush administration."

"What leads these '60s relics to make the most preposterous of arguments? To in effect argue that we face no danger from any nation or any group of terrorists, that the danger stems from American imperialism?

"THE reality of our new situation makes not one dent in their ingrained world view. The petition-signers seem unaware of the dangers posed by radical Islam, al Qaeda, Saddam Hussein and other powers which form what our president has rightfully called "an axis of evil." Indeed, they mock the view that a simple contest exists between "good v. evil," when the real issue is the effort to wage "war abroad and repression at home."

Included in their list of such horrible acts of aggression are what they call the "attack" on AFGHANISTAN, the "trail of death and destruction" caused by ISRAEL and the blank check the U.S. government wants to kill and bomb whomever it wants.

"Their description of America today: a country under the thumb of "repression over society," with free speech "suppressed," groups falsely called "terrorist," a nation they hint sits on the edge of totalitarianism. Their answer: Refuse orders, resist a draft if instituted and support all "resisters." The "machinery of war" has to be stopped.

This old heated rhetoric and '60s-redux arguments can easily be ignored - that is, if one does not pause to look at the luminaries in our intellectual life and the entertainment community that have signed on to the campaign.

They include directors Robert Altman and Oliver Stone; actors Ed Asner, Ossie Davis, Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover; singers Ani DiFranco and PETE SEEGER; writers Kurt Vonnegut and Gore Vidal; radical cop killer Mumia Abu-Jumal, and scores of others - a virtual Who's Who of the leftover Old and New Left activists, writers and artists.

4/14/2006 04:55:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

On September 10 I knew nothing of the Taliban. I had some vague notion about islam being one of the three big world religions which put it on a par which Christinity and Judaism- that is to say not worthy of my interest. The first time I heard of al qaeda, was when George Bush identified them as the 9/11 perpetrators. I did a lot of catch up learning very fast.

When I heard we were going into Afghanistan it was beyond the scope of my imagination that anyone in America would oppose it. After all- look at what they did to us. islam was antithetical to every liberal idea on the books. Look at the way they treat women. Look at the way they treat homosexuals. Look at the way they treat freedom. The Taliban was the distilled essence of everything that liberalism stood against.

Imagine my surprise when my leftard friends directed their rage, not at islam, not at osama bin laden, not at the taliban, but at George Bush for being the evil bastard who started a war. It was simply jaw dropping.

I only got into one big argument over the whole business, and that was at my fiftieth birthday party. The woman had been a close friend. She had written a song for my wife and me for our wedding. She sat there in my living room, and ripped off a comment about what a fucked up country America was, and what a fascist Bush was...
I saw red. You know how it is- sometimes rage can leave you mute; sometimes it can spark you to eloquence. I let her have it with both barrels. She still despises me.


4/14/2006 05:07:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Kahn -

With respect, isn't that a slice of the "well, he made the trains run on time" argument?

If we hadn't allied with the vile USSR during WW2, Seeger wouldn't have been singing patriotic songs, bank on it. Seeger was 100% against any action against Germany while the Hitler/Stalin pact was in effect. After Hitler reneged and attacked the Soviets, Seeger did what the rest of the lefties did, he supported our war effort. His political compass swung with Stalin's wishes.

He more than "inspired militant commies", he IS a militant commie. Please, if Pete Seeger had his way, you'd be in a re-education camp tomorrow, awaiting summary execution. Yeah, Seeger really is and has been that far left. (Guthrie never tilted that far left)

All the commies were behind the labor and civil rights mvts - they cynically exploited them, it suited their purposes. Why do you think these initially noble mvts went so terribly wrong? Because people like Seeger appropriated them. Just like Lenin and his gang of thugs appropriated the Russian revolution.

ML King might have been a Socialist Light but he believed in democracy and the democratic ideal. Seeger doesn't.

4/14/2006 05:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Like Jimmy Carter, Pete Seeger strikes me as the photographic negative of a real man: instead of being hard on the outside and gentle on the inside, he's soft on the outside, hard and mean on the inside.

4/14/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

First, here is my original comment on why Seeger deserved such exalted status as one of the 10 Worst:

I can well understand why you would think my criticism of Seeger disproportionate, kahntheroad. I hesitated for some of the very reasons you mentioned. I worried that I might be overvaluing the particular evils of my own generation, or reacting against my own past.

I came to the Seeger conclusion by proceeding from the other direction. I looked at the current leftist comentary, with its sneers and social control arguments, its knee-jerk anti-Americanism, its self-righteousness, and its apology for violence and totalitarianism and asked "Where does this come from? If I had to pick one person to trace this back to, who would it be?"

There are many nominations, and you might have a better answer to that question. I'm open to suggestions. You may well identify someone who was a more dangerous influence. I can assure you won't find anyone more self-righteous.

Additional points: I still have about 20 Seeger LP's, and was the geeky sort who devoured liner notes, but I am not aware of the Almanac singers playing much that was patriotic. I agree that Woody was cut from a different cloth -- well aware of how brutal a life of poverty was, and grateful for things like the TVA and the Grand Coulee Dam. He thought the improved life from technology and machinery was just fine, thank you. Many of his songs are a great embarrassment to current lefties.

4/14/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Change of topic: Reviewing your site, Bob, I am reminded of the several illnesses that neologisms are a symptom of. We're watching you.

4/14/2006 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Mr. Spog said...

Hello, great blog.

All those motivations behind leftism are accurately described. In addition there is leftism's role as a surrogate religion for philosophical materialists. If heaven does not exist, it must be created here on earth—now, in this generation. (This is related to the "rebellion" theme. I rebel against those traditional sources which claim that an invisible spiritual realm exists because I have never perceived such a realm. If anyone else has perceived it, he is obviously deluded, for how could he have greater perceptive abilities than mine? Meanwhile, all those mystics of the past never had the advantage of modern critical scientific thinking, so it's understandable why they they might fall prey to such delusions...)

Another factor is that leftists, including many religious liberals, see nothing wrong with bringing about this heaven on earth by forcing everyone to act philanthropically, e.g., by throwing them in jail if they refuse to contribute half their income to supporting the welfare state. The element of personal moral choice is discounted, the outward results are all that matters. The more illiterate leftists seem to lose sight of the underlying coercion entirely, apparently believing that government money comes out of nowhere, or can be drawn from the bottomless coffers of "the corporations".

4/14/2006 07:58:00 PM  
Anonymous John Hinds said...

Isn't leftism simply a generational/cultural/societal mind parasite generated out of bad parenting on the part of the masses? Isn't it narcissism run amuk? If conscience isn't asleep, as you say, then it is moribund. This is the essence of the crisis of civilisation in our time and can perhaps be viewed as a generalized resurgence of the daemonic in nature.

4/14/2006 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger LiquidLifeHacker said...

Wow AVI, thanks for pointing this dude out to me, like I said, I really hadn't heard about him before...You are always teaching me stuff.

4/14/2006 09:03:00 PM  
Anonymous John Hinds said...

Robert said "There is also a spiritual intoxication that is always associated with the rebellion."

This intoxication can be seen as the courting of annhilation. Rebellion is a covert or subliminal desire for the assimilation of the soul into nothingness. The rebel flutters over the abyss on wings that can never soar. Not understanding the mystery of existence as something to revere and embracing the futility of solving that mystery he rebuffs existence as mute, dumb, unknowable.

4/14/2006 09:11:00 PM  
Blogger Dan Spomer said...

RE: liberals.

Don't forget impatience. For some reason, everytime I debate or converse with a liberal, they are always in a hurry to either 1) make a stupid point or, 2) leave.

4/15/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

dan -
Why should they stay around if they're not going to listen? They might hear something.

4/15/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Anonymous max said...

First time poster, so let me first say this is a great site with excellent comments.

As to the topic of this thread, I think another reason for leftism (at least in the US) is that a fair amount of its support comes from groups who feel 'apart' from the mainstream - many, but of course not all, blacks, gays, feminists and others who for whatever reason regard themselves/perhaps are regarded as different from mainstream America.

These people who feel apart from the rest of us either (i) accept their feelings and try to focus on what unites them with the rest of us and then move on to lead their lives in as productive a manner as possible, or (ii) they at least in their rhetoric, rebel, against the United States and since their rebellion is primarily motivated by their sense of apartness, the merits of the case they are making against the country they are rebelling against is irrelevant. That is one reason so many leftists arguments don't make sense, but somehow never die.

In other words, the left is still here in part because of 'apartness', or if you want, alienation from the mainstream of American life.

And it is for this reason that the rhetoric on the left so often echos that of another group which insists on its apartness from the United States - radical Muslims.

4/16/2006 07:03:00 AM  
Blogger Mr. Spog said...


Yes. A sense of apartness from and superiority to the rest of civilization is a part of leftist identity. The last thing a leftist wants to do is to agree with the stupid majority on anything, e.g., on their choice of political leadership. This attitude can generate constructive criticism, but it can also produce treason.

It also explains an observation made by Jean Raspail in the novel The Camp of the Saints: The Left needs the Right to exist, e.g. in the form of an obscure conservative newspaper (in the novel), in order to preserve its sense of being a superior beleaguered minority. Even if the Right is actually the minority.

4/16/2006 07:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Coop said...

James Lileks posted a good one on Leftist psychology, via some remarks on Hunter Thompson:

"Thompson has less hope than the Islamists; at least they have an afterlife to look forward to. All we have is a country so rotten and exhausted it’s not worth defending. It never was, of course, but it’s even less defensible now than before.

"He can say what he wants. Drink what he wants. Drive where he wants. Do what he wants. He’s done okay in America. And he hates this country. Hates it. This appeals to high school kids and collegiate-aged students getting that first hot eye-crossing hit from the Screw Dad pipe, but it’s rather pathetic in aged, moneyed authors. And it would be irrelevant if this same spirit didn’t infect those on whom Hunter S. had an immense influence. He’s the guy who made nihilism hip. He’s the guy who taught a generation that the only thing you should believe is this: don’t trust anyone who believes anything. He’s the patron saint of journalism, whether journalists know it or not."

I'd add two more characteristics: Cowardice ("Pleeeesedon'tmakemefight!) and Jealousy (Thosebastardsdon'tdeservetohaveitifIdon't!)

I heard a middle-aged whitebread dude in Manhattan this evening wondering if he'd "be deported, with all this Immigrant Persecution" going on. The level of muddle-headed paranoia here is truly mind-boggling.

Another woman I know, also around 50 YOA, is putting on a piece of "performance art" in SoHo honoring Timothy McVeigh, because "he was really SINCERE in what he believed." I was gobsmacked. They really are insane.

--Disaffected Democrat

4/21/2006 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

Found your site via Neo Neocon.

The Hollywood rich, are in their heart of hearts, guilty of being rich. So, who do they blame, themselves or Bush?

And yet, if they poverty went away, what would they then feel guilty and thus morally superior over?

It is only the fact that Hollywood has money and saves the poor that alleviates their guilt. What if there was no poor, what if everyone was as rich as Hollywood, what then? Would Hollywood millionares really tolerate such a situation, after having sold their soul to salve their conscience?

I think not. It seems that they think they are being virtuous by proclaiming that they will help the poor, rather than actually conserving their use of lear jets or whatever.

I fear that they can no longer can tolerate the absence of causes to trumpet, for it would at once leave them defenseless to their inner guilt, and that they will not tolerate.

4/22/2006 09:07:00 AM  
Anonymous PMain said...

I, like the gentleman before me, found your blog via neo-neocon & can completely relate to your experience. For me the transformation began when I noticed how childish or reactionary the left was despite its insistence it wasn’t. I do not necessarily agree w/ the spiritual portion however, or would at least argue that isn't a necessary component to achieve a more thoughtful, conservative perspective - since I am an atheist, but I never-the-less followed a similar path to you. For me it was the combination of the intellectual combined w/ reality that the right focused on vs. the pure abstract terminology or beliefs that the left clings to that eventually won me over. They don’t bother w/ consequences or results, intentions define the basis of understanding & motivation. For example, if you point out that communism killed 120 million people, their response most likely will be it was because it wasn’t true communism practiced. If you say that people on welfare generally don’t succeed, improve or aren’t motivated, it is because enough money wasn’t given. It seems to me that the left’s view of the world is directed at them, like a child, & that they don’t have the ability to look beyond themselves or their perceptions – much less truly question themselves - & everything is a reflection on to & of them. Similarly, a child views the world in direct relation to themselves… this is my street, my home, my cookie, etc & can’t conceive of a world that isn’t directly related to them. Concepts like death can only be looked at through pure abstract, non-related terms & are treated as concepts, not realities. It is those concepts that define their beliefs, not what the concepts actually represent. This is why they can dismiss anything that would normally question there stance. Most moderates, conservatives & those leaning to the right have the ability or at least attempt to view the world in abstract terms but only in direct relation to reality, to what would work, to what is pragmatic, etc. In a way it reminds me of the intellectual development of a child & it is only as they get older are they able to perceive of a functioning existence outside themselves. Could the clinging to of the leftist meme, actually be a sign of an under-developed ego or psyche? Here is where I can see the concept of God being of use, for the focus becomes something that is abstract, has consequences of action, but is outside of the person; outside his or herself & in a way forces them look beyond themselves for an understanding. For me I think it was the concept of accountability that was literally beat into me that finally got me to focus on the consequences of applying my world view & its impact in the real world. When I compared what I experienced to how I thought things should be, I questioned myself & the beliefs I held & didn’t immediately look to something else as the cause.

Well enough of that, great blog, wonderful points & you have definitely gained another reader & fan. Don’t be too hard on Sun 60, I saw them in the early 90’s & still have a couple of their CDs. Since I don’t see your name on the ones I have, I am going to assume that you had already left the band. They were pretty good, had some good songs, but were missing that something that takes a band to the next level. It always seemed to me that there was never any real focus or concept to the band. The sound was a combination of what was popular at the time & a potential showcase for the talent or hook – more specifically the lead singer - there never really seemed to be any real backbone or drive to the music or performances.

4/22/2006 06:58:00 PM  

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