Healing Liberalism Through Apparatchiks Anonymous
No time for a new post, since I have to leave earlier than usual for work. However, I think I have time for a repost. I wish I had more time to edit it in light of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, but the book is so packed with historical detail that that would be impossible. I'm more of a big picture or wide screen guy anyway. I'll be blogging about it in more detail in the future, but in such a way that it is woven into the Grand Metacosmic Narrative, for Goldberg is dealing with "intrinsic truth," even if he doesn't realize it.
What an excellent question asked by James Lewis at American Thinker, Why Isn’t the Whole Left Neoconservative? Leftism is such a discredited ideology, so intrinsically wrong, so at odds with higher human nature, so cruel and unworkable in practice, so retrograde in its results, that one can only wonder at the persistent hold it has on millions of minds around the world.
Some day Leftsim will be rejoined with its twin ideology, fascism, which no one takes seriously anymore (consciously, anyway; as Goldberg demonstrates, the program of the left is indistinguishible from fascism). Why is that? In fact, fascism is not a “right wing,” much less “conservative” ideology, but a competing from of socialism. It was the communists who tried to discredit “national socialism” by labeling it “right wing” merely because it wasn’t what they wanted, which was international socialism.
In a two-body system, it is impossible to say which body is moving. As I've mentioned before, in many respects, my own "journey" to so-called conservatism hasn’t been a journey at all. In reality, I am more or less the same even-tempered American (classical) liberal I have always been. It’s just that, over the past 30-40 years, liberalism has been hijacked by the Left, thereby becoming a thoroughly illiberal movement. Bizarrely, liberalism and liberty are now antonymous, for the state can only take with two hands what it gives you with the Finger.
To cite just one example, when I was in college in the 1970’s, being liberal meant being tolerant toward homosexuals. But for the Left, if you merely “tolerate” homosexuality, you are a bigot, something they call a "homophobe." No, you must celebrate and even encourage it. You must never suggest to children that certain sexual arrangements are better than others. If my son wants to marry a man or a woman, it should make no difference to me -- just flip a coin, as it were.
Needless to say, I regard such “thinking” as not only devoid of wisdom, but frankly abusive, narcissistic, and unscientific, completely at odds with what we know about both psychosexual development and the soul of man. It is a horror to even contemplate confusing a child in this manner.
Leftism can never be enunciated in any philosophically consistent and coherent manner -- hence the ubiquitous lies and deceit -- and unavoidably truncates the most vital aspects of man’s being. Like Lewis, I wonder why my entire generational cohort hasn’t evolved in the same way I did -- why there is anyone my age who is still clinging to the magical mythology of Leftism:
“After the Soviet Union crashed and no one could possibly ignore the bloody mess the Left kept making over seventy long years. So why didn't all the decent Leftists just read their Milton Friedman and grow up?” So-called neocons (i.e., former Leftists) merely saw "how wrong they had been. They grew up. My question is: What happened to all the others?”
Amazingly, surveys in such “liberal” places as Canada or Europe indicate that the clueless majority of their citizens regards the United States or Israel as the greatest threats to world peace. Lewis notes that in Britain, a recent BBC survey revealed that "the greatest philosopher of all time is considered to be... Karl Marx? A hate-filled parasitical scribbler who spent his life in the British Museum, stoking the fires that killed 100 million people in the 20th century? What is wrong with British education that the plain facts do not shout out for themselves?”
I think it’s the wrong question to ask “what is wrong with British education.” Instead, I think we have crossed the line into genuine soul pathology -- not psychopathology, mind you, which may or may not be copresent, but a disease of the human heart. Indeed, I believe the heart must be diseased to embrace such a profoundly inhuman and anti-human ideology. Marxism is not human, but specifically demonic -- even, one might say, the quintessence of demonology, in that it is the last word in fallen man’s promethean rejection of reality, whether it is economic reality, historical reality, psychic reality, or suprasensible reality.
One of the most salient characteristics of the Left is that it is peculiarly incapable of learning. In my lifetime, it has been ridiculously wrong about virtually everything, but it is as if facts and reality don’t matter. The same people who successfully curtailed nuclear power plants in America are now insisting that we must be “energy independent.” The same people who argued that Reagan’s tax breaks would destroy the economy enjoyed a quarter century of economic growth. The same Democrat party that accommodated southern and northern racists for decades continues to argue that race is all-important and that government should be engaged in the task of dividing people by race and gender and giving special privileges to some groups. And of course, the international left is now the main repository and champion of mankind’s most ancient and vile prejudice, anti-Semitism.
Lewis agrees that “The fact that the Left never, ever learns gives the lie to all its high-falutin' claims of ‘idealism,’ ‘progressivism,’ and superior morality.” Yes, but why are they never blamed for their failures? Why does the bill never come due? Lewis provides one obvious key: the left "still controls the organs of propaganda.... Thus some 90 percent of our media functionaries are left wingers. A predominant percentage of professors and teachers are, too.”
It’s the same old Marxist idea: “who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” Lewis points out that “To hold on to their beliefs leftists must shut down any competing ideas, which is precisely what they do. Just take your favorite leftist friends, and tell them some obvious fact they don't want to hear. You can see it working right in front of your eyes: They just won't hear it.... As long as they control the dominant media, our society will keep teetering at the brink of destruction.”
One of the greatest conceits of the Left is that they are “intellectually curious,” “open-minded,” or “reality based,” when it would be difficult to find minds more parochial, narrow-minded, and hermetically self-enclosed people than those responsible for the idiotorial pages of the New York Times, or NPR, or CNN, or virtually any MSM outlet.
It is even worse in Europe, where their press is not nearly as free as ours and there is little access to competing views such as on talk radio. As Lewis notes, European thought is absolutely stifled by the Left, which "doesn't see any respectable alternative [to itself]..., since conservatism is constantly and deliberately confounded with fascism." And since these hidebound and intellectually inbred reactionaries live in such an echo-chamber, "if one fairy-tale of Earthly Paradise is seen to crash, another one must instantly take its place." Thus, "the commissars of Post-Modernism and Multiculturalism suddenly rose to power all over the West in the 1970s and 80s. The faithful had to find a new way to justify their idee fixe.”
Lewis notes the patent irrationality of this “mental fixedness,” and again wonders why they would continue “peddling the same toxins.” Why are they stuck?
Again, in my view, this is not a psychopathology but a pneumapathology -- a disease of the soul. Since leftism is a faux religion, you really need something closer to cult deprogramming. This is why conventional psychology is powerless to explain it or to do anything about it.
In a way, it is analogous to addiction, another problem of the soul that psychology is generally powerless to remedy. I don’t know if it’s the same way now, but when I was in graduate school, I was even taught that it would be unethical to try to treat alcoholism with psychotherapy alone. By far the most successful approach is the 12 step program, undoubtedly because it addresses the underlying soul pathology at the heart of addiction.
Perhaps we need a 12 step program for leftists, Apparatchiks Anonymous.
1. We admitted we were powerless over the intoxicating dreams of socialism, and that our lives and governments had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a power far greater than our own omnipotent little egoic fantasies of total control could restore us to true liberalism.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the Creator and Guarantor of our Liberty.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of the well-intentioned failures and frank evils of socialism.
5. Admitted to the Creator of our Liberty, to ourselves, and in a live phone call to C-SPAN, the exact nature of socialism’s wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have the Creator of Our Liberty remove all these defects of ideology.
7. Humbly asked Him to cancel our subscription to the Times.
8. Made a list of all races, genders, and classes our government programs had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all by realizing that these constructs of race and gender are irrelevant to begin with.
9. Made direct amends to such people by switching parties.
10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were again tempted to abuse ideology for the purposes of blotting out reality, promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer, meditation, and listening to Rush Limbaugh, to improve our conscious contact with the Source of our Liberty, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other Leftists, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.