Leftist Faith, Ecstatic Moral Inversion, and the Substance of Nothing
It is a truism that ideas have consequences, but even ideas must take a back seat to the unexamined values that shape the ideas one is capable of thinking. As Camus once said, no one became a communist from reading Marx. Rather, first they had an emotional, psuedo-spiritual conversion, then they read the unholy scriptures in order to deepen their faith. And as Tom Sowell writes (quoted in today's outstanding diagnosis by Dr. Sanity), progressives don't really have any genuine interest in actually helping the poor, since victims are their most important constituency. Quite simply, fewer victims means less power for leftists:
"Despite whatever the left may say, or even believe, about their concern for the poor, their actual behavior shows their interest in the poor to be greatest when the poor can be used as a focus of the left's denunciations of society.... When the poor stop being poor, they lose the attention of the left. What actions on the part of the poor, or what changes in the economy, have led to drastic reductions in poverty seldom arouse much curiosity, much less celebration."
One is reminded of St. Augustine's comment that while to err is human, "to persist in error out of passion is diabolical."
One of the greatest benefits of a proper religious grounding is that very early on you internalize the value that your problems are largely your own fault, and that it is wrong to externalize blame onto others. This is one of the sharpest divides between classical liberals and leftists, the latter of whom propagate the doctrine of victimology, i.e., the systematic shifting of blame to others. For the leftist mind, to the extent that your life -- or country -- is a wreck, it is never your fault, but because of racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, white European maleism, whatever.
The point of this exercise is not to identify any real cause (and therefore, cure) but to create a locus of blame, so that one’s existential problems may be externalized and spuriously relieved. The more mature culture is the one that produces individuals who locate existential problems within, and who can both tolerate and transcend them -- for example, tolerating instead of acting on the constitutional envy we discussed a couple of days ago. There is no way to eliminate envy “from the outside,” which, after all, is why it is addressed by one of the Commandments. The Commandment does not say, “you shall try to eliminate envy by empowering a massive government to coerce the envied to give to each envious person according to his insatiable needs.”
The envious person unconsciously says, “if I can’t have it, then no one can. Therefore, I will destroy the object of my envy.” Thus we can see how unhinged envy is at the basis of pure nihilism, and why our enemies are so frightening. Think of Hitler’s scorched earth policy of destroying every square inch of land as his armies retreated. If he could not rule the world, then he would take the world down with him. This is what is so frightening about the prospect of Islamic nihilsts with weapons of mass destruction, for they truly do not care about the world so long as the world does not comport with their fantasies of how it ought to be.
Clearly, the Islamists operate by this principle, and one naturally worries about the extent to which normative Islam is informed by the same toxic attitude. For even if we were to disregard all of the hideous violence that emanates from the Religion of Peace, we would still conclude that this is a religion of perpetual outrage and compulsive lying, based upon the behavior of its most visible and risible spokesholes such as CAIR or Juan Cole.
The constant perception of victimization -- even amidst the outrageous and widespread victimization of others -- must emanate from something deep within Islam itself, unless this is merely a modern deviation. Despite it all, I am still open to that possibility, although I haven’t been able to find a single example of a truly interior Islam outside Sufism (which in my view is more Vedanta than Islam). In proportion to the billion or so normative Muslims, there are only a handful of Sufis, and frankly, even many of them tilt toward the dark side.
The gaspiel of nihilism is in fact a war against truth and therefore a war against the Creator, even though it is fair to say that few nihilists are aware of this fact. But the only reason we have a word called “truth” is because it is a reality that is over- and underwritten by God. Being that we are in the image of God, we are informed by an intellect that may know truth, a will that may choose the good, and an interior “eye” that may perceive beauty. The leftist attacks and undermines all of these things, and in so doing, destroys both man and God. Leftism is ultimately a program of radical immanence that cuts us off from our transcenent roots -- which, as expressed in the Upanishads, are aloft, not below.
For to say that absolute truth does not exist is to say precisely that human intelligence does not exist. To say that morality is relative is to say that anything is permitted and that man is therefore nothing, for he has no essence. And to create new forms of merely human “art” that celebrate ugliness, depravity, and naturalism is to sever mankind from the higher planes that distinguish us from the beasts and make us human. It is to reduce man to his animal nature -- except he becomes a pathetic animal with no nature, truly a nothing. (Excellent piece yesterday at American Thinker on Diversity, Nihilism, and the Anti-Rational Mind.
In this regard, the existentialists were correct in drawing out the radical implications of their "esoterism of stupidity." To return to our original point about values, every man is faced with two, and only two, choices that will determine everything else: essence or existence. For the spiritually inclined "interior" man, essence, or real being, is prior to, and determines, existence. But for the hexteriorized leftist, existence determines essence. You are a cosmic fluke. You have no a priori transcendent essence, much less purpose. Rather, your essence is determined by contingencies such as race, class and gender. For example, this is why the left is obsessed with race, whereas it is irrelevant to the conservative classical liberal.
It is no coincidence that the largest constituents of the left always include the young and unmarried. As one matures, gets married, and has children, one naturally tends to evolve away from leftist ideas, obviously not everyone, but a clear majority. This is because concrete reality has a way of clearing aside so much abstract intellectual theory. There is a reason why Marxism only exists in universities, and that you will never find a businessman who operates his business along the lines of Marxist doctrine. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, "liberals read Marx. Conservatives understand him."
It is one thing for an adult to believe such leftist claptrap. If they want to ruin their lives in their adolescent rebellion, that’s fine by me. But to ruin a child’s life by inculcating him with their dysfunctional values really is an unforgivable sin. For example, to raise a black child in contemporary America to believe that this is a racist country, that white people hate him, that he is a victim from the start, and that his efforts will be for naught, is soul murder pure and simple.
Likewise, to brainwash an Arab child into believing that 15 million Jews in the entire world are the cause of a single problem among the world's billion Muslims -- let alone all their problems -- is an outrageous form of abuse, because when you create a victim, you create a nihilist. Why? Because once victim status is secured, then you are no longer burdened by a conscience. You are sanctioned to abandon yourself to your most primitive instincts, because the order of the cosmos is unfair and illegitimate, so anything you do to set things right is inherently moral, no matter how immoral. And the violence will not end until the Old Order is overthrown and the New Man is created, free of the existential categories that define man to begin with.
Meaning has been vanquished. Man is liberated from himself. The Triumph of the Will and the Reign of Nothingness are complete. God and man are dead. Long live the Beast!
And whoever must be a creator in good and evil, verily, he must be an annihilator and break values. Thus the highest evil belongs to the highest goodness: but this is creative. --Nietzsche
Nothing makes me more certain of the victory of our ideas than our success in the universities. --Adolf Hitler