Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Leftism Further Defined

Dissecting Leftism's Of Interest (2) sub-blog has a brilliant post today of a reader's email on leftism. I have shown it here in it's entirety:

"Why I distrust liberalism:

By Jason Depew

At a brief glance, liberalism appears very noble and altruistic. I believe that people who are liberals truly do elicit genuine concern for humanity. Some common topics of liberal interest are concern for the environment, concern for the welfare of all members of a population, and a hope that all people of the world can have access to certain things in life(food, shelter, education, health care, opportunity, etc..), and be protected from certain things in life(oppression, physical danger, etc..). They believe that in order to improve things as a whole, it is necessary for us to try to correct the injustices, inequities, and dangers that plague mankind and the world. Let me state that many policies that have benefitted the world have arisen from the liberal and progressive political movements. However, I have noticed some glaring weaknesses in some of today's liberals that I cannot ignore.

There are various types of liberals. I have decided to narrow my descriptions to the slight, moderate, and extreme liberals with the hopes that most of the other liberals that populate the world will fall somewhere in between. My descriptions of "liberal" behavior are not confined to views on economic ideas. I think they are applicable to liberal stances on other topics of concern(racial issues, the environment, etc..).

Slight liberals have beliefs that hover more towards the center of the political spectrum. They espouse all of the standard liberal centerpiece beliefs. Ironically, the most recognizable trait of the slight liberal is apathy. They believe in these things and would like to see them instituted so that people may benefit from them, but they usually don't do anything about it. Most of the time their beliefs are purely aesthetic things which please their sensibilities
and idle concerns but that are not powerful enough to elicit concerted and significant action.

As someone gets more towards the moderate and extreme liberal beliefs they have a tendency to impose what I call the "Oppression Dialectic" on their observations of the world.

The moderate liberals use a more muted version of the "Oppression Dialectic". They examine situations and often seperate the participants into two groups; the party that is "on top" who are the winners(who possibly have unfair advantages) and the party that just couldn't succeed in the said situation that deserves pity and sympathy. Moderate liberals don't like to see disadvantaged parties experience disappointment, failure, and hardship(strangely enough they sometimes take pleasure in seeing people fail that they construe as being "on top".). They have a tendency to disapprove of success, because when one party wins there is at least one party that didn't win. Invariably, they side with the perceived loser; the poor downtrodden party.

There are things that I can admire about moderate liberals. They are more energetic than slight liberals and less myopic than extreme liberals. They also tend to be well-informed and optimistic about what they want the world to be like.

I can understand the moderate liberal's desire(which arises out of empathy) to shield people from hardship and to root for the underdog. But, attempting to eliminate failure from the human experience is not natural. I think that failure is a valuable part of life. It has the capability of teaching important lessons such as humility and wisdom. If looked back upon with a clear head, failure can help a person determine what they need to do or change in order to succeed. People were not meant to float through life while experiencing no disappointments. If all that everyone experiences is a rigged and controlled success, where failure is abolished and everyone is equal, it is not true success; it is a sham. You are taking a person's right to pursue what they want and what they want to achieve and you are relegating them to a forced equality with their fellow man. Sure, you raise some people out of the depths of failure, but you also limit other people's access to success and its fruits. This gagging of the human spirit; in the name of politeness, equality, and civility disheartens me. I can think of nothing that is more unnatural, restricting, stifling, and insulting to ambition and self-determination.

Of all of the forms of liberalism, I think I am most qualified to talk about extreme liberalism because I used to be heavily influenced and controlled by it. To put it bluntly; I was young, naive, and I didn't thoroughly question the tenets that I excitedly embraced. Nowadays, this brand of liberalism merits the most scorn from me.

Extreme liberals usually fall into one of two categories: The first contains people who are woefully misinformed and who engage in a slogan-filled, jingoistic, and bombastic exercise of their beliefs. These first types have an avante-garde penchant for conforming to rebellion (the irony here is obvious), and as a result appear pretentious and comical. The second group contains people who are usually educated beyond their intelligence. This second group is filled with people who are sincere but misguided sophists that engage in esoteric and pedantic intellectual masturbation as they immerse themselves in their ideas and theories. They are so enamored with their ideas (that have grand implications and that concern injustices that are often far-off) that they usually fail to objectively observe actual people. When no injustice can be seen they will exaggerate or invent one.

The extreme liberals utilize the "Oppression Dialectic" in a much more shrill and audacious way than the moderate liberals do. They frame every occurrence to fit their ideological tilt and are so eager to correct perceived inequalities that they engage in hyperbolic action and speech. They will examine a situation and seperate the participants into two parties; the power-hungry oppressors who sadistically and tyrannically pursue and wield absolute control and the victimized and oppressed group who have to live under such humiliating and inhumane circumstances. They always disapprove of the people they view as the oppressors and use every chance they have to discredit them. They exaggerate every mistake, shortcoming, and failure of the oppressors. They always side with the perceived underdog and oftentimes sympathize with, attempt to justify, or outright ignore any innappropriate behaviour of the members of the perceived oppressed community. They also exaggerate every hardship endured by, and every accomplishment of, the oppressed. If an extreme liberal determines themself to be a member of a disadvantaged group, they cling to a sense of victimhood(which is oftentimes exaggerated and self-righteous). If the extreme liberal is not a member of the disadvantaged group, they will go out of their way to coddle members of the disadvantaged group. This coddling usually manifests itself in a prostrating and obsequious politeness(which I find to be absolutely nauseating).

They preach a sanctimonious tolerance for everything and everyone. Ironically, this tolerance is almost always selectively applied to ideas and groups of their choosing. All too often, extreme liberals are possessed by a vitriolic, derisive, and arrogant elitism that commands them to become enraged at anybody who deviates from their views. They laud the ideals of freedom of expression and independent thought and they are disdainful of close-mindedness and people blindly following a cause, yet they consistently fail to achieve the things that they espouse and they consistently succumb to the traits that they despise.

The more extreme a liberal gets the more pronounced their simultaneous acerbic pessimism and hopeless idealism is. They have a tendency to view their fellow humans(especially people who happen to not hold their beliefs) in a condescending manner, yet they have undying hopes and dreams for humanity. These hopes and dreams usually translate into obsessive utopian yearnings for Mankind. As with all extremists, they think that only they know what ails the world and only their beliefs provide relief for it. Their unrealistic assessments of the world are followed by unrealistic prescriptions for its improvement. They think that if only the institutions, attitudes, and policies that they deem are self-serving, exploitative, and ignorant would melt away, the world would magically become happy, free, and idyllic. This will never happen and the following paragraph explains why:

For a society to work you need a majority of participants who agree to live their lives in a certain way. In a utopian society where there is no hunger, everyone recieves a basic level of material sustenance (even those that are not physically or mentally capable of producing anything), and there is no greed or vice, people would need to put forth a remarkable effort and sacrifice personal interest. This will never happen. No matter what system people live under, no matter what they strive for, and no matter what they think the world should be like, they will never be able to live up to these unattainable dreams for humanity. Mankind is not capable of making a perfect world. There has never been an idea that originated from Man that was able to lift the human race completely out of its depravity and there never will be. Human beings are too enslaved by their whims. People will always exhibit every possible emotion and motive, from the most caring empathy to the most despicable selfishness. It has happened since the beginning of time and will happen until the end of time. No amount of "enlightenment" will ever change the fickleness and unpredictability of Man's behavior.

The only way to ensure the complete safety, equality, tolerance, tranquility, and "enlightenment" that extreme liberals crave would be to control Mankind mercilessly (which ironically is something that they claim to abhor). I would rather eat dirt and live in my own filth than to live under a system or a mandatory communal attitude that dictated what I should think, how I should act, and what I should be.

We of course must strive to make things as tolerable and as much to our liking as is possible. But, it is pointless to ignore reality and to attempt the impossible; especially if you are armed with something as pathetic as a hopelessly idealistic philosophy. It is like trying to leap up to the top of a mountain in one jump. But, extreme liberals who think that their beliefs contain the answer for mankind attempt it again and again. How can perfection arise from, or be expressed by, such an imperfect creature as Man? Extreme liberals never have an answer for that simple question and as a result their efforts and rantings are nothing but dogmatic exercises in futility.

Extreme liberalism can be summarized as a militant, warped, and misguided egalitarianism that is brought about by disaffected cynicism. It is a belief system that is often (but not always) confined to young people because the impetuousness and irrationality that taint it are also common symptoms of youth. On a certain level, I can admire and appreciate the energy, rigor, and determination of extreme liberalism. But, it is hard to ignore the lack of wisdom and open-mindedness that mark it. These people who seek to impose their ideological whims upon their fellow man are nothing but tumors."

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