Being that leftists pretend to despise hierarchy and inequality, this alone is sufficient to account for their intellectual superficiality. But they just replace a complex hierarchy with a simple duo- or bi-archy, i.e., state (including its clients and cronies) and subjects.
As we've been saying, an orthoparadox is a fruitful and salutary cosmic complementarity. To slightly modify what Dávila says above, the first misstep is in seeing it as a contradiction, the second in trying to make the contradiction go away by either ignoring one side or reducing one to the other. This is done by religious people no less than the scientistic mob. And it is done most flagrantly and explicitly by leftists and Islamists, neither of whom are good at tolerating ambiguity, complementarity, and hierarchy.
About that term, hierarchy: it is not to be confused with tyranny, since tyranny is not only entirely compatible with the elimination of hierarchy, but usually necessitates its attenuation in order to consolidate power. A hierarchy is an articulated, organismic, multi-leveled whole, whereas -- well, Dávila expresses it perfectly: "Leveling is the barbarian's substitute for order." You can try to rid the world of "exploiters," but you will just elevate the self-styled exploited -- or victim -- to the new exploiter. See Ferguson for details: when the left confers victimhood, it christens a bully.
Which reminds me of something I've been meaning to write about: the function of the Negro in the white liberal imagination. Now, the term "Negro" is meant to be offensive: not to blacks, but to the white liberals who reduce the humanity of blacks to their skin color, so as to -- in their imagination -- cleanse or purify themselves of sin, and to render themselves superior. Like, say, Chris Matthews, they turn a man into a Negro in order to feel superior to another white man. The black person is just an anonymous placeholder for a psychic process in the white liberal imagination.
First, he writes of how man doesn't live in "the world," but "in idea." For example, what is a longing for celebrity but an unacknowledged wish to take up space in the minds of a bunch of anonymous nobodies, the more the better? It's the idea of being an idea in the minds of other idiots who live in ideas: a fantasy at both ends, which results in "a conspiracy for the destruction of paper" -- or film, or bandwidth, or airtime.
Johnson observes that censure is "willingly indulged because it always implies some superiority." This is so much a part of daily life as to be a banality, but one must never forget that there are two ways to censure and condemn, only one of which is healthy.
One must of course recognize, condemn, and fight what is evil, but only if and because it is evil. It is obviously evil to call a good evil, but on a more subtle level it is a kind of moral evil to get a secret thrill from the condemnation, because, as Johnson suggests, it covertly implies a moral or intellectual superiority in the one who indulges it.
So we really shouldn't take pleasure in the condemnation. We can have fun with it, as we do here at One Cosmos, but the moment you begin using it as a tool of superiority, you are rendered inferior. You know, humility: if you don't have an abundance of it, you're just wrong. For "an individual can ease his guilt by magnifying or dwelling on faults that seem different from his own." It's like going to confession, only you're confessing someone else's sin.
Bate writes that "In all this a fundamental motive is the desire to relieve our sense of unfavorable disparity between ourselves and others." We are always jockeying for position in an imaginary hierarchy, at least if we are not careful.
Of course, it is not intrinsically wrong to regard oneself as "higher" than another, so long as the judgment is both objective and disinterested. I am in some senses "higher" than my son, but it is just a banal matter of fact, and does nothing to boost my self-esteem, covert or otherwise. Furthermore, if I am lucky, he will someday surpass me, so there is no personal interest in somehow freezing the superiority in place.
Instead of lowering others in our imagination, we should of course "try to raise ourselves." But "to lessen others" is just far too easy, plus it becomes addictive after awhile. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but I think this goes to the literal compulsiveness with which white liberals deal with race: they simply cannot get past it, because it feels too good to obsess over it.
Truly, you can't get away from it. For example, this weekend I was trying to enjoy the Little League World Series, but the announcers simply wouldn't let you forget that the Chicago team was made up of ALL NEGROES! And they were from the JACKIE ROBINSON Little League. And once upon a time Jackie Robinson couldn't play major league baseball because he was a NEGRO! But look at us! We're white liberals and we LOVE NEGROES! We're not like those old WHITE CONSERVATIVES who hated Negroes, even though they were DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVES! Truth and history don't matter, because it's all about using Negroes to feel MORALLY SUPERIOR!
It's all so inappropriate -- as obnoxious as the constant boner pill ads -- but like I said, it's a compulsion.
I would advise you to read the article linked above, for Williamson demolishes the myth that southern Democrats were "conservative." Rather, they "were practically indistinguishable from their non-southern Democrats" on the vast majority of other important issues: "Contrary to the myth of the conservative southern Democrat, the sons of the Confederacy voted en bloc with the GOP on a vanishingly small number of issues." Rather, they supported the progressive agenda 87% of the time.
But that doesn't matter, because the myth feels too good, and the white liberal relies upon it to elevate himself over the rest of us. That his policies are destructive to blacks, both individually and collectively, is of no consequence whatsoever. Nor does he care if he elevates toxic sociopaths such as Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson to the status of "leaders," so long as doing so provokes that tingle of superiority. The latter is the very source of any power wielded by the race hustlers, from Eric Holder on up.
You could say that Chris Matthews' infamous tingle wasn't caused by Obama; rather, vice versa: Obama is the product of millions of such self-deceptive moral tingles.