Let's Play Who's the Victim?!
Why then are leftists so incredibly, gleefully judgmental? Because, as Polanyi pointed out, one of the defining characteristics of leftism is the subversion of traditional morality. But since you cannot eliminate the moral impulse, it ends up becoming unhinged, that is, uncontained by any transcendent moral boundaries. Therefore, the moral impulse "fuses," as it were, with what is below instead of what is above, and becomes a dangerous vehicle of the most base passions. This is why leftism is associated with the greatest mass murderers of all time -- Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, et al.
In a lengthy essay entitled Hitler Was a Socialist, John J. Ray makes reference to the notoriously "slippery standards" of the left, writing that they "have no fixed principles. If a principle suits their rhetorical needs of today they will proclaim their loyalty to it -- and then cheerfully adopt the opposite principle tomorrow if that happens to suit the rhetorical needs of that day."
Regarding the absence of fixed principles, I can remember on many occasions hearing liberals insist that Saddam was "our creation," and that, like the Shah of Iran or Marcos in the Philipines, we were morally responsible for him. If true -- which it wasn't -- then it would follow that we would be responsible for removing him and "restoring" freedom.
Since that is exactly what President Bush did, the left had to fabricate ulterior motives for the liberation of Iraq -- Haliburton, big oil, imposing theocracy in America, etc. Because of the traumatic cognitive dissonance of President Bush putting their vacant ideals into action, the left had to detach from reality and enter a parallel looniverse of political discourse, in which Bush was and is condemned on wholly fantasized grounds. This is what I mean about the fusing of the moral impulse with the unconscious "primary process," the latter of which is rooted in wish fulfillment rather than the dictates of reality.
In a passage that encapsulates volumes that could be written about the left, Ray discusses the deep structure of leftism, which is always the same, even while the surface content changes from era to era, year to year, day to day, and even moment to moment (as anyone knows who has tried to engage in rational debate with a leftist -- you can't do so, because the rhetorical ground keeps shifting under your feet). Like the borderline personality, they possess a kind of "stable instability" that is their only enduring structure:
"The political content of Leftism varies greatly from time to time. The sudden about-turn of the Left on antisemitism in recent times is vivid proof of that. And what the political content of Leftism is depends on the Zeitgeist -- the conventional wisdom of the day. Leftists take whatever is commonly believed and push it to extremes in order to draw attention to themselves as being the good guys -- the courageous champions of popular causes. So when the superiority of certain races was commonly accepted, Leftists were champions of racism. So when eugenics was commonly accepted as wise, Leftists were champions of eugenics -- etc. In recent times they have come to see more righteousness to be had from championing the Palestinian Arabs than from championing the Jews so we have seen their rapid transition from excoriating antisemitism to becoming 'Antizionist.'"
Which brings us to soon to be ex-Senator Larry Craig. What exactly was his crime? It was doing what homosexual men have always done, which is to compulsively seek anonymous sexual encounters in order to diminish anxiety (the anxiety has specific causes that we needn't get into here, but it usually has to do with a defective sense of masculinity and the need to primitively incorporate the male essence of another; this is just one possible explanation among many -- sexuality is a much more complex and nuanced issue than any doctrinaire leftist imagines).
The left would have you believe that only "closeted" gays engage in this sort of compulsive behavior because they are victimized by society, but any honest homosexual can tell you this is pure nonsense. If anything, it is the possibility of AIDs which put a damper on this kind of behavior. And now that AIDs can be controlled with drugs, we are indeed seeing a resurgence in the kind of compulsive anonymous sex that was responsible for AIDs to begin with.
In any event, how can Craig be homosexual? He obviously wants to be married to a woman. Why should he be defined as a "homosexual" just because he is compelled for unconscious reasons to seek a certain kind of sexual encounter? Because that is the extraordinarily simplistic understanding of sexuality promulgated by leftists. Similar to the "one drop" rule that mandated that one was excluded from being white if one had 1/16 or 1/32 "black blood," leftists believe that if one ever engages in a homosexual fantasy, impulse, or act, one is automatically homosexual. (Which is an especially cruel belief as it apples to adolescents, who are often confused about their sexuality. For the leftist, this confusion is redefined as normative, and the child is told that he or she must "accept" their homosexuality.)
Or I suppose one could also be "bisexual," but that is equally naive in positing a fixed "essence" for what is almost always a psychologically confused and conflicted person whose identity is anything but fixed. Indeed, that is usually the problem in such an individual -- the failure to achieve a mature sexual identity. I personally have not encountered a bisexual person who didn't have a deep boundary disturbance and identity confusion.
Remember a few years back, the celebration on the left when the Supreme Court overturned the sodomy laws in Texas? This was on the premise that sexuality is an entirely private matter, and that the state had no business legislating what people do with their bodies behind closed doors. Fair enough. Why then is it the government's business to target homosexuals who like to pick up men in public restrooms? On what possible basis can they object to this? They're not hurting anyone, right? After all, all he did was tap his foot and brush his hand. I don't like the idea of being propositioned in a public restroom, but why do leftists object?
Normally they wouldn't. Again, I think it's the unhinged moral impulse of the left, that has no traditional boundaries and no fixed standards. Therefore, they blindly lash out in an incoherent way, based upon the needs of the day. They say that they are offended by Craig's "hypocrisy," but the obvious hypocrites are the leftists who would normally see a homosexual being persecuted by the state as a quintessential victim.
The question of "who is the victim" is always the key to understanding the leftist dialectic. One of the reasons they have no fixed principles is that it all depends upon whom they can define as the victim. One could well imagine circumstances in which Larry Craig would become a cause s'lob in the struggle against a marauding, out of control police state persecuting homosexuals just because, say, they oppose President Bush's policies!
But Craig cannot be a victim because he is a conservative white male. In fact, in the economy of the primitive leftist imagination, the conservative white male is always victimizer, even when he is the victim. This is how someone ends up being gleefully stoned by the leftist mob merely for expressing a homosexual impulse.
Dr. Sanity has a similar diagnosis of the left's meta-hypocrisy.