Sunday, August 09, 2009

Liberal Fascism and Omniscient Stupidity

A random post from two years ago. As always, I've edited it, applied some of its insights to current historical tragedies and farces, and tossed in some fresh insultainment.

You might say that this verticalisthenic exercise of revisiting my past allows me hold a conversation with myself, almost like dream interpretation, in which one mode of consciousness dwells in another for the benefit of both. In this case, I'm trying to learn something from the old Bob, even while gently correcting his errors.

One of the enduring defects of leftist thought is that it habitually tries to change the world before it has understood the world -- which is one more reason why it is so cute that they refer to themselves as the "reality based community." Children and leftists say the darndest things!

For the left, politics comes down to one after another failed experiment against reality -- economic reality, historical reality, psychosexual reality, geopolitical reality, and spiritual reality, to name a few. (Speaking of which, this book, Economics Does Not Lie, is highly recommended. Bottom line: it doesn't. I'd love to say more, but I left the book at the office. Virtually every page brims with insights that every free citizen -- in order to become or remain free -- needs to know. But since leftists control education, the last thing they want citizens to know about is the science of economics. Rather, they need you to be innumerate in order to exert economic control over you and thereby expand the god of the State.)

When you think about it, at least half of our "lived freedom" comes in the form of economic activity. Therefore, to engage in economic activity without understanding how economics works is like.... engaging in some activity without understanding how it works. Notice how eager leftist are to, say, educate children about homosexual activity, when so few of us will ever engage in such activity. I'm trying to think back.... No, I've never put any of that stuff they taught me about homosexuality into practice.

Anyway, this compulsion -- and it is a compulsion -- to radically change the world before understanding it has been true ever since Marx, who believed that philosophy had theretofore regarded its task as interpreting the world, whereas its real mission and duty was to transform it. Allied with this cavalier attitude toward understanding reality is an equally ironic "progressivism" that has no stable ground and no transcendent purpose, and therefore easily becomes an arbitrary, anti-human tyranny whose elites march us forward directly into the past.

Look at the current healthcare debate. In America, we have developed the finest healthcare system in the world. How did we do it? Mainly by getting out of the way. In a way, we cannot understand how it happened, because that's how the free market works. As Hayek taught us, there is a near infinite amount of information dispersed throughout the market, which no government and certainly no person could ever grasp, and which is why the "fatal conceit" of top-down leftist economics never works in practice.

But does that stop the statists of the left from wanting to appropriate 17% of the economy? Of course not. They intend to instantly transform the medical system without having a clue as to how and why it has developed the way it has. Think about it. Something that evolved over hundreds of years, and yet, they want us to toss it all aside in favor of a bill that no one has even read yet! Madness.

Part of the madness is based on the idea that people have a "right" to healthcare. But how can one have a right to something that doesn't exist until someone produces it? I'm a doctor. No, not the kind that can tell a perfect stranger to take off her clothes. But you can bet that the left will try to get mental health treatment into universal coverage. What this means is that American citizens will be "entitled" to my labor. It's a right! But how is this different from me being a slave of the state?

When this post first appeared two years ago, I reviewed a laughable Report From Yearly Kos: The Intersection of Science and Progressive Values. In it, the author caricatures science, as if it could possibly arbitrate moral and political issues that intrinsically lie outside its strictly limited purview. See of you can detect the giant epistemological hole the left creates in order for them to slip in the fascism:

"[I]t has fallen to those of us who oppose the direction the country has been heading to simultaneously champion a way of thinking that would have averted so many blunders and disasters: empirical thinking. Scientific thinking. Critical thinking."

This is always the mode of the left: 1) create crisis. 2) insert "experts."

"... [N]ow more than ever before, we're finally waking up to the fact that the practices of science themselves encode a set of values -- a way of approaching the world, understanding it, and acting within it. At its core, it's a world view that is humble about what we know and don't know, flexible about what we do and don't decide to do, and open about admitting past mistakes and listening to contrary opinion. In short, it's the utter opposite of Bush's stubborn, inflexible, unwavering certainty about everything."

Yes, as that fascist President Bush said, "I don't want people who disagree with my takeover of the economy to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way, and I want my fellow patriots to turn their names into the state so they can be properly dealt with."

Ah, humility. Flexibility. Openness to admitting past mistakes. Will the left now humbly admit that their grandiose "war on poverty" has failed, and that, trillions of dollars later, they have no exit strategy for this senseless quagmire? Will they finally concede that economic principles are universal, and that their porkulus bill did nothing to stimulate the economy? Will they acknowledge that the surge in Iraq worked? Will they admit that none of the predictions of the global warming cult are panning out? Will they admit that it's August in southern California, and I'm a little cold right now?

Here is a fine example of the deep scientific humility of the progressive mind. The author opened the panel by "airing some lessons" from his new book, which explores "the scientific relationship between hurricanes and global warming." Hmm, just what is that scientific relationship? Well, it "remains murky and incompletely understood," another way of saying that there is no known scientific relationship.

But that forms no barrier to the leftist, who believes in... science! And... progress! And, most importantly, that manmade global warming causes hurricanes, whatever the evidence shows. Therefore, the absence of proof "hardly means that we ought to throw up our hands and ignore the subject, or simply wait for more research to come in. On the contrary, we have quite a lot at stake." As such, "we have every right to be worried that storms might be getting worse, and ought to move now to better protect ourselves against them."

Remember Marx's dictum about changing the world -- if he were a meteorologist, he might have said, "everybody talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it!"

So let's get this straight. Science is a humble exercise in which we employ empirical thinking and listen to contrary opinion. But in this case, we can't wait for research to come in! There's too much at stake! We must ignore contrary opinion! We have every right to be worried that storms might be getting worse, even though they're not! We must move now to better protect ourselves against them! (I wonder if the author would be gracious enough to allow President Bush this attitude vis-à-vis the far more compelling evidence for Saddam's WMD?)

What lesson does the author draw from his stated need to urgently act on his scientific ignorance? This

"highlights a fundamental truth about most science policy issues: the inescapable fact of both science and reality is that we never know everything, and never will. Yet this pervasive state of uncertainty hardly lessens the moral imperative to take whatever it is that we do know and use it to improve our lives..."

That pretty much sums up the attitude of the left, whether we're talking about global warming or radically transforming the healthcare system: omniscient stupidity. It reminds me of Bion's three characteristics of the psychotic mind: 1) omnipotence, 2) stupidity, and 3) curiosity. Not healthy curiosity, mind you, but a kind of bovine curiosity about things that are perfectly settled and no sane person would question.

If this man's morality is grounded in empirical thought, how does he arrive at an urgent moral imperative based upon murky evidence? Shouldn't it be a murky moral imperative, or moral murkiness? To suggest that we have an urgent moral imperative to act on our scientific ignorance is again about as good a summary of the leftist mindset as you could imagine, for it combines a radical cynicism that destroys traditional values, with an insane moral passion.

Another speaker at Yearly Kos spoke of the distinction between "mundane ignorance" and "virulent ignorance," the latter of which is "the willful disregard for contrary knowledge and opinion in favor of a set of dubious 'facts' that are the result of ideology and indoctrination." Ahem.

The above statement about the limits of science also conflates science and theology. Yes, it is an inescapable fact that "we never know everything, and never will," but that is not the purpose of science. Of course science can never "know everything." As Schuon writes, it is not problematic for science to study a "fragmentary field within the limits of its competence." Problems only arise when "it claims to be in a position to attain to total knowledge" and "ventures conclusions in fields accessible only to a supra-sensible and truly intellective wisdom, the existence of which it refuses on principle to admit."

By definition, science cannot know the Ultimate Real because "it replaces the universal Substance by matter alone, either by denying the universal Principle or reducing it to matter or to some kind of pseudo-absolute from which all transcendence has been eliminated." They forget that information is vertically anterior to matter, and that mind is anterior to information.

Science, properly understood, is an inherently conservative (i.e., classically liberal, not leftist) endeavor. It operates under the metaphysical assumption that there is a hidden order in the cosmos that may be uniquely disclosed to the human intellect, but it proceeds cautiously, builds on its past, respects its own traditions, and is slow to accept radical innovation in the absence of extraordinary proof. But secular progressives are never truly scientific, let alone humble. Rather, they nearly always adhere to the pseudo-philosophy of scientism, which conflates what may be known by the scientific method with the totality of what may be known. And as Schuon points out, scientism redounds to

"a totalitarian rationalism that eliminates both Revelation and Intellect, and at the same time a totalitarian materialism that ignores the metaphysical relativity -- and therewith also the impermanence -- of matter and of the world. It does not know that the supra-sensible, situated as it is beyond space and time, is the concrete principle of the world, and that it is consequently also at the origin of that contingent and changeable coagulation we call 'matter.' A science that is called 'exact' is in fact an 'intelligence without wisdom,' just as post-scholastic philosophy is inversely a 'wisdom without intelligence.'”

The radical change promised to us by liberal fascists is rooted in intelligence without wisdom. If that.


Ricky Raccoon said...

I heard a wise man once say, never give a monkey your hand gun. He will laugh at all your banana juice.

Gagdad Bob said...

One more reason why I disagree with the traditionalists' romantic idealization of the Red Indian.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Bob, about yesterday’s post. I agree with all of it. Especially about the purpose of Jesus, or rather God’s sacrifice for our sins. In this act of sacrifice, was Jesus relieving us of our projection of sin onto him; our burden? I think so.
But as far as the left, I do not think it explains the motivation of their leaders, only their cult members. The leaders are not so ignorant but otherwise wish to and think they are helping “the little guy”. Maybe they did once…
Let me put it this way, it’s no fun to be King if everyone else is doing as well as you. No one needs you. No one wishes they were you. This is why I think they identify with someone like say Castro.

Abdul said...

You see that you are well that is, where somebody you must participate and explain that this is false mainly. Widens the truth and he pretends that one like that one of the part of the left here that is false people. In the opposite it would have that more will disturb this person, because the mentality group does not convince to the null to the words and he does not obstruct the end to introduce my throat, my face of the later one nevertheless, furrow of mediates them. Did you approximately think everything about me like his better friend? That the teeth can be difficult, accumulates a freezing in its mouth and is difficult to strangle, the end to recommend it, the end to play above, Abdul

julie said...


goddinpotty said...

Science, properly understood, is an inherently conservative (i.e., classically liberal, not leftist) endeavor.

This study looked at the political affiliation of university faculty. They found that Democrats outnumber Republicans in the hard sciences by a factor of 6.3. In humanities it's a factor of 10; in engineering 2.5.

Here's another poll which shows an even bigger imbalance. Looks like scientists skew left, especially if you define the left as broadly as you do. I wonder why that is. I guess they all lack a proper understanding of their profession. Thank goodness there are crank psychologists on the internet to set them straight.

Petey said...

I love the smell of steamed troll in the morning!

Ricky Raccoon said...

If a liberal teaches you to drive that means you understand the mechanics involved?

Ricky Raccoon said...

If you don't understand what Bob means when he uses the word science, you have no business being a scientist.
However, you will find employment.

Cousin Dupree said...

As usual for the left, they argue not from truth, but from power. Over the past 30 years the left has taken over academia, therefore, ipso facto, they are ideologically correct.

But truth is true irrespective of what some tenured hack believes.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Anyway, those polls just show how bad things have become. I know. I work with a number of young engineers.

Gagdad Bob said...

Don't even mention psychology. It's a vast sissypool.

Gagdad Bob said...

As Buckley said, I'd rather be governed by the first 100 people in the Boston phonebook than these tyrannical statist pinheads.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Sissypool and the Phantom Sh*tter.
Do I hear Broadway?
Quick, call the NEA..

Anonymous said...

Dupree notes that leftists argue from a position of power, and I don't really see anything wrong wtih that.

Power and where it accumulates is the way things are decided in this world. So why not wotk with it rather than bemoan it?

If you want to counter leftism and advance raccoonism, acquire some power, or you'll be left whimpering on the sidelines of the game of life.


Ricky Raccoon said...

Great Steyn article. First half is the best. Thanks Julie.

I have a question. If Obamacare passes, will I be treated like those GM dealerships who didn't support him?
Or not?

Cousin Dupree said...

In the outstanding Book of Absolutes there are several chapters devoted to the ideological enforcement of an insane "absolute relativism" in academia. People who challenge the dominant ideology, such as Edward O. Wilson, catch hell. Look at Lawrence Summers -- fired from Harvard for suggesting that there are innate differences between men and women.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Put down that anon and come out with your hands up!

julie said...

Nony, truly, it's astonishing how long you've been here and yet how little has penetrated your cranium.

Ricky, for us little folk I'm guessing we won't get anything like the kid glove treatment they gave GM - it'll be the goon squads or the Ministry of Love for us...

Ricky Raccoon said...

I meant the dealerships. The healthy ones, mom & pops that were sent packing.
Or treated like Ford. As in, Ford who?

goddinpotty said...

Yeah, I've heard its so bad in academia that chemistry departments won't even hire someone to teach Intro Organic without them having a minor in post-colonial studies or queer theory.

Francis Albert said...

How little we know / How much to discover / What chemical forces flow / From lover to lover

Francis Albert said...

And I do mean cats & chicks, not cats & cats. That ain't chemistry, baby, that's science fiction.

julie said...


Ricky, good point. I was thinking initially of the death threats called in to the bigwigs, but what happened to the dealerships is probably not at all different from what they'd like to see happen to the average dissenter. Namely, here today, gone tomorrow. Preferably without much of a trace.

Susannah said...

"Pauketat said that the vast collection of data from the mound excavation included reports from the original archaeologist who found finger bones extended deep into the sand below some of the skeletons, evidence that victims were alive when buried." [Shudder]

Susannah said...

I was truly shocked at the anti-Americanism put into practice against the dealerships. I couldn't believe it was happening in what I've always considered a free country. Really didn't think they could get away with something like that.

Gagdad Bob said...

In California, it is against the law for children in public schools to so much as hear anything negative about such savages -- or any other group, for that matter. No wonder they grow up to be liberals.

Gagdad Bob said...


FDR did the same thing, lavishing cash and favors on battleground states in order to consolidate power.

Susannah said...

As for the supposed "humility" referred to in the article you quoted, my mind went right back to a time when a lefty commenter said that people like me (i.e., with more than 2 children) are irresponsibly forcing the hand of the population controllsters (like the one who is now Obama's science czar). I.e., someone with no regard for my children and apparently no moral compunction about telling others how much childbearing is "responsible" claimed I have no regard for "the earth," whatever that means. I hope they will inherit it, personally. But they kinda have to exist in order for that to happen. That is how "humility" looks on the left, I suppose. In the old days, such "humility" would earn you a well-deserved punch on the nose.

Gagdad Bob said...

Obama's science advisor "advocated forced abortions, mass sterilization through food and water supply and mandatory bodily implants to prevent pregnancies."

Why not, if science is where you get your values?

julie said...

Okay, this has nothing to do with anything, but it's Sunday. And it's probably not healthy to dwell on the impending destruction of everything we hold dear all day long. Anyone want to go for a bike ride? (Several pages - keep clicking the "next" link at the bottom).

Susannah said...

WaPo! Speaking of stupidity, check out this stunning bit of reasoning: Is the Senate what the Founders had in mind?

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

One of the enduring defects of leftist thought is that it habitually tries to change the world before it has understood the world -- which is one more reason why it is so cute that they refer to themselves as the "reality based community." Children and leftists say the darndest things!"

Ha ha ha! That is an outstanding (and accurate) description of leftism.
Always tryin' to force reality to bend to their will.
It never works, and worse it does a lot of damage, even resulting in death, but hey! They believe!
What a waste of faith and energy.

Skully said...

I will say this about leftists:
They do full retard better than anyone else.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Speaking of Obama's advisors, Ezekial Emanuel, Rahm's bro, who will be a key person in setting rationing, I mean healthscare standards, wants to "slow technology down" to reduce high costs.

Now, I admit, slowing technology down may very well lower costs, but that also means that no advancements or cures or better treatments are taking place.

I mean, if some enterprising doctor came up with a cure for AIDS do you think that most AIDS patients will say "we can't market that cure, it'll cost too much. Let's wait another few decades until more people, or better yet the government can afford it."?

I seriously doubt that most folks would want to virtually stop all medical advancements (or drastically slow it down) to obtain cheaper healthcare.

BTW, Ezekial Emmanuel also thinks that doctors take the hippocratic oath too seriously.
This guy (and the goofy pseudo-science guy) that Obama picked, put Dr. Death (Kavorkian) to shame.

Van said...

"A science that is called 'exact' is in fact an 'intelligence without wisdom,' just as post-scholastic philosophy is inversely a 'wisdom without intelligence.'”

The radical change promised to us by liberal fascists is rooted in intelligence without wisdom. If that."

Interesting to note that the founders generation was about the last one taught in the 'scholastic' method, of having to understand and debate proposition - not to score points, but to show understanding.

Proregressives, high on rousseau's new method came to rescue mankind with an onslaught of new methods, fads, and ... well... ya know what is no longer known - all that they No today.

bob f. said...

Watership Down...Fiver...Bad feeling.

Unfortunately, leaving the warren is not an option.

Van said...

From the article on the senate that Susannah linked to,

""One would hope that people would support the Constitution of the United States," said Conrad, who was reelected with 150,000 votes in 2006, when Virginia's Jim Webb needed 1.2 million votes to win. "This was the grand bargain that was struck when the Founding Fathers determined the structure and form of the United States Congress." He added: "Are you proposing changing the Constitution?"

Well, maybe. Regardless, there's nothing wrong with taking a closer look at how things came to be the way they are..."

Sometimes... 'hatred' is just... inadequate.

goddinpotty said...

The all-seeing voice of wisdom declared:
In America, we have developed the finest healthcare system in the world. How did we do it? Mainly by getting out of the way.

Reality with its well-known liberal bias begs to differ:
The U.S. health care system ranks last compared with five other nations on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes...It is pretty indisputable that we spend twice what other countries spend on average.

Oh dear, who to believe? The opinion of just about everybody who actually knows something, or a crank psychologist with a blog? That's a toughie!

Plus, see here.

Also, a word of advice: use of the term "liberal fascism" is sort of like chewing gum -- no matter how intelligent a person may be, it makes them seem about 20 IQ points dumber.

Van said...

gulpingpotty swished "...use of the term "liberal fascism" is sort of like chewing gum -- no matter how intelligent a person may be, it makes them seem about 20 IQ points dumber."

Not to worry, you couldn't possibly seem any dumber than you already are.

Cousin Dupree said...

The truth about socialized medicine.

Gagdad Bob said...

Let's see, a liberal fascist wants me to stop calling him one because it makes him look good.... wait a minute, it's a trick!

Susannah said...

So GIP, you are really going to assert that we do not have the best healthcare available in the world? Heads up: these organizations (WHO and others) who look at infant mortality rates get skewed results because many more infants in the U.S. survive very premature birth longer, due to the higher quality of neonatal care here. Other countries do not count very tiny babies (below a certain weight) as live births (in fact, they are left to die in some countries--they aren't even counted as people). Stillborns are counted here. (Those vestiges of recognizing human dignity do stubbornly persist, much to your disappointment, I'm sure.) Furthermore, the supposed "progressive" concern over infant mortality is a bit surprising, considering that partially delivering a child and sucking its brains out, then crushing its skull doesn't seem to bother them. Nor does deliberately leaving a baby to die in a linen closet bother their progressive-in-chief. Having experienced a stillbirth in a hospital setting, I have nothing but praise for the care and sensitivity I received from the staff. I assert that yes, indeed, we have the finest healthcare available. It was a Catholic hospital though. Those'll probably go the way of the dodo under Obamacare's taxpayer funded abortions (bye-bye freedom of conscience). But keep googling...

Susannah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

It's aknown fact here that Bob is a "knee jerk" reactive type...he'll stick to his anti-left rhetoric no matter what. Even if the"left" comes up with a good point, he'll be honor bound to refute it because he's taken up a hardened position about politics. Oh well, so be it.

The real thorny problems come form a non-political (or non intellectual ) axis. Can Bob adapt? That is the question.

julie said...

No, the question is "has the left come up with any good points?"

So far, the answer is a resounding no.

As to socialized medicine, as Ben can attest we already have some perfectly adequate examples in the form of the VA hospitals. Sometimes, they're great. But it's hard to feel much confidence in them after watching my stepdad (with 100% service-connected disability) languish in his bed after an extended stay, during which time if my mother didn't come in every day to take care of his basic hygienic needs (turning him, bathing, etc.) he would probably have died of bedsores and/ or MRSA. There were a couple of decent staff members, but most on his floor were there killing time, watching tv and basically ignoring anybody who didn't have a vocal advocate or the means to otherwise demand their attention. And the benefits? Sure, they were great - if you knew somebody who knew somebody who knew the super secret codes and handshakes. And were willing to wait a couple months or years. Otherwise, you were just SOL.

If that's what we can all look forward to, thanks but no thanks. And it's shameful that any of our veterans have to put up with that crap.

Magnus Itland said...

Americans put more money into their health care than any other people, but on average they are less healthy and have a lower life expectancy than some of their poorer cousins elsewhere. OMG THAT'S JUST WRONG. Or perhaps not.

In the USA, the level of health care you receive depends to some extent on how much money you personally can spend on it. This means that for instance an old millionaire may spend a million to live a couple months longer, while the same money spent on a large number of destitute poor might have added a decade of lifespan. LET'S KILL HIM AND TAKE HIS MONEY! That is, in a few words, the whole point of socialized medicine.

But how did some people get more money in the first place? Was it by lottery, or perhaps by stealing from the poor? I suppose that happens occasionally, but let's look at an everyday event: Spending money. I strongly suspect that in all your economic dealings, apart from with the IRS, you always spend your money on what you think is giving you the most value for your money. Even if you just spend your cash on booze, you still do so with implicit belief that it will make you happy for a while. If you did not believe you made the best transaction available at the moment, you would simply not have gone through with it.

Now, once you have paid your money, it is in the hands of someone else, who also spends it with the express purpose to get the most value for it. The next person does likewise. Therefore (again, barring intervention from the government) the money will necessarily flow to the people who have enabled the most happiness for others.

This does not imply that they have personally gone around comforting the sorrowful, healing the sick and encouraging the despondent. They may be greedy bastards with a heart of stone, or perhaps not. It does not matter. These people are enablers, who have made it possible for others to make it possible for others to make it possible to deliver you the goods and and services you valued the most.

Therefore, not only is it perfectly reasonable that they live longer and healthier lives than those who don't have such an effect. It also means that by killing them and taking their money, you reduce the sum total of mercantile satisfaction (people getting what they want by trade). This is unavoidable, by the one basic rule of all commerce since the dawn of time: People always seek to trade for that which is worth more than what they have.

wv: fiscol

Susannah said...'s a known fact that you and GIP et al. will forever shift the argument when you can't prove Bob wrong.

Susannah said...

What Julie said. Come talk to us when you've left off supporting the party of death.

Van said...

aninnymouse said "Even if the"left" comes up with a good point..."

Heh, I like a bit o humor in the morning.

A relativist using a term (Good)that can have no meaning outside of an absolutist world... gotta love Good comedy!

Ricky Raccoon said...

Even if a broken clock is right twice a day, it’s not broken you know!

Ricky Raccoon said...

10:22 Anon you're right, that Bob is one stubborn sonofab*tch.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong, just matters how easily you can throw truth under the bus when the other guy’s feelings are hurt.

Ricky Raccoon said...

Would you call a mathematician who can instantly identify the error in this equation: 2+2=5, a knee-jerk reactive? Or the person who calls him one?

Gagdad Bob said...

There is no question that we need reform -- not revolution -- mostly in the direction of free market solutions. But Barry's folly will only make matters worse.

Susannah said...

It's irritating how politicians regulate and regulate and regulate some more, and then turn around and blame the free market for their failures. It's almost as if they actually intend to ruin the economy with idiotic measures like this and this, and of course, recent government takeovers of major segments of the economy. Almost as if....

Ricky Raccoon said...

"There is no question that we need reform -- not revolution"

Which is why they changed the name to "reform". Who could be against that?