This country faces a serious threat from religious zealots, and they are winning. Ask a Conservative who they think it is, and they will probably name the Islamists. The same question posed to the Radical Left will probably get the response of Christians. Both answers are wrong. To summarize the previous chapters in this “The Mind of the Leftist” (yes, it took me this long to come up with that name) series:
But lost in all of this is the burning question behind all of this – “Why?” I’m about to engage in a practice that I hate, and that is of making a broad generalization about a group. Usually, when sweeping statements are made trying to “prove” that one side is made up of stupid people, the author almost always comes out looking like the fool.
That said, while anecdotes are hardly research, I’ve debated the Radical Left over different mediums, and argued with opponents with varying intelligence from very bright but misguided to complete idiots (Note to my lefty Facebook friends who may be reading this – if you’ve read this far you’re probably not one of the idiots). But one thing I’ve noticed that has consistently applied across the board is how almost every leftist reacts when faced with facts that contradict their beliefs: 1) Ignore them 2) Change the subject, often incorporating some straw man argument 3) name calling, or 4) some combination of 1-3.
My moment of clarity was actually a fairly recent FB debate over The Federalist’s Ben Domenech’s very good explanation of how President Obama’s manner of governing helped to contribute to the rise of Trump. Faithful readers know that I have no desire to see Donald Trump do for America what he helped to do for Atlantic City, but I understand the reasons why many support him. A few of my lefty pals took exception to this article and attributed the rise of Trump to… you guessed it, racism! Wondering how they could have gleaned that from the article I asked them which specific points they disagreed with and the response was… racism. For all of the years of beer infused debates, sparring in comments sections and lengthy FB food fights, this was the moment where the clouds parted and I finally gained insight into the leftist mind:
They do not understand our arguments because they are incapable of understanding our arguments.
Now there’s an incendiary statement that needs some clarification! Obviously that remark doesn’t speak to every Democrat, but in general you will see almost every argument with them fall under this umbrella. But why? Becuse for them, politics takes on far greater meaning in their lives than ours – via David Horowitz:
…think of progressives as a species of religious fundamentalists planning a redemption. Like fundamentalists they look at the world as fallen – a place corrupted by racism, sexism and class division. But the truly religious understand that we are the source of corruption and that redemption is only possible through the work of a Divinity. In contrast, progressives see themselves as the redeemers, which is why they are so dangerous. Because they regard those who oppose them as the eternally damned. Progressives are on a mission to create the kingdom of heaven on earth by redistributing income and using the state to enforce politically correct attitudes and practices in everyone’s life. They want to control what you do, and who you are, and even what you eat. For your own good, of course.
The fact that they see themselves as saving the world – or “saving the planet” as they would prefer — results in a fourth key characteristic of their politics, which is that they regard politics as a religious war. This explains why they are so rude and nasty when you disagree with them or resist their panaceas (and of course if they had the power, the punishments would be more severe); that is why the politics of personal destruction is their favorite variety, why they are verbal assassins and go directly for the jugular, and why they think nothing of destroying the reputations of their opponents and burying them permanently. And that is why they can perform their character assassinations without regrets – or did I miss Obama’s apology to Romney for accusing him of killing a woman with cancer during the campaign? Why apologize when you did it for the good of a world transforming cause?
To sum this up: Progressives see themselves as an army of the saints, and their opponents as the party of Satan; and that will justify almost anything you can get away with.
This also explains the vitriol with which Leftists persecute non-believers, via NRO’s Mary Eberstadt:
You might say that the U.S. isn’t the U.K. But a few months ago, I met a young woman who spearheads Catholic Charities in one of the U.S. archdioceses now under legal and public-relations siege by progressive activists. Call her Jen. She was every inch a Pope Francis–style Catholic: earnest, self-sacrificing, and pulled closely into the Church’s orbit by the sheer gravity of her desire to help society’s castaways.
Much of her own time and that of like-minded colleagues, Jen lamented, is now spent not where they want to be, in soup kitchens or hospitals, but in parrying constant maneuvers by activists intent on closing their foster-care and adoption services — for the sole reason that traditional Christian teachings about the family infuriate sexual progressives.
Jen fretted about the work they couldn’t accomplish — and most of all about the children waiting to be adopted or otherwise brought into a family. “I know the time is coming when we’ll either close our doors or decide to keep up our work regardless — in which case we’ll end up in jail,” she said matter-of-factly. “But who will take care of the children? Not the people who have sued us out of existence — they’ll move on. Who will take care of all those kids?”
It’s a fair question. And so is this: If today’s progressives really care so much about the poor, why not cease and desist in their enthusiastic efforts to obstruct such manifestly good works?
That perfectly sums up the Radical Left’s view on the world: For all of their favorite talking point of “For the Children!” it will never enter the thought process of any of these agitators to try to help the kids who are stuck and might otherwise be adopted into a loving home. Destroying someone who they don’t like is far more rewarding to them than actually constructively helping someone, not to mention easier. As Robert Stacy McCain neatly sums it up:
“What inspires the Left’s rage — the source of their constant accusations that ordinary Americans are racist, sexist homophobes — is simply that the Left expects the rest of us to accept their authority as Our Moral Superiors™ and they become angry when we refuse to do so.”
During the few years I spent living in the semi-Southern city of Tampa, one of the more annoying characters I would encounter was what my old roommate referred to as “Bible Thumpers.” You’ve probably met one at some point – the kinds who find a way to slip the words “my church” somewhere into nearly every conversation. And that will lead to the inevitable “How about if you come on down to one of our services some time?” Basically, they need to wear their faith on their sleeve and flaunt it wherever they go.
That’s not to disparage all people of faith – I have plenty of respect for people who use their religion as a source of strength and morality. In fact, one of my old bosses was a great guy to work for, fun person, and a devout Christian. But he was never in your face about it – At lunch time he was often in his office with his computer turned off and reading his Bible, and when invitations to join us for a happy hour were declined with a “Can’t – have my Bible Study group tonight,” it wasn’t bragging – his tone was the same as if he was picking up a friend from the airport. Although we haven’t spoken in over a decade, we swap Christmas cards and the occasional e-mail. And despite how long we’ve been disconnected, he’s the kind of person who, if I were to get a call right now from him saying, “Hey Bob, I was planning on marching on the gates of Hell later today and was wondering if you’d come and stand behind me?” the first words out of my mouth would be “What time, and what do you need me to bring?”
That last story is an aside, but it’s important to mark my distinction between people of faith and Bible Thumpers. And I’d still rather spend a month locked in a cell with a Bible Thumper who also sells insurance and can sing the entire Dave Matthews song collection from memory than a Radical Leftist. Why? Because Bible Thumpers will eventually take “F*** off” for an answer and walk away. The Radical Leftist might walk away, but that will only because xe has decided to organize some online hate campaign against you, file some civil rights lawsuit against you, or otherwise find some way to ruin your life for the sin of being an infidel. And this takes us to how my assertion differs from their studies that they wish proved that Conservative disagreements with them stem from being mentally inferior.
The Leftist’s inability to understand conservative arguments comes not from the fact that they lack the mental capacity to do so, but because they lack the spiritual capacity to do so.
The Radical Left’s spiritual attachment to their beliefs is why they become so angry and viscous over disagreement – it not only insults their opinion, but it also insults their scripture and their gods. Think abut this, a Left Wing Extremeist can no more say “The New Deal really did cause more harm than good” and more than a Christian could say “The 10 Commandments just don’t work in today’s world”. Or a Leftist can no more acknowledge that President Obama or Hillary Clinton are the nasty, viscous, incompetent people that they are any more than a Christian could say that “You know, Jesus was really a jerk.” Granted, there is ample evidence to support my assertions about The New Deal and the Radical Left’s two leaders, but I think you get my point.
Again, not to say that all Leftists are incapable of logic or reason, but when you see them falling back on one of their three defense mechanisms, like telling us that the reason people aren’t watching some smarmy Obama colon-licker on late night TV because we’re just not smart enough for him, don’t waste too much time trying to talk reason with them. When you’ve reached that stage it’s much more satisfying to just drop some remark that will annoy them and move on. So keep in mind when you the the many, many ways that the actions of the Radical Left seem to contradict their beliefs, this is why. If you wonder why they regurgitate White House press releases as facts when what they’re saying is so outrageous even the most basic questioning would show that it’s wrong, now you have insight as to why an otherwise intelligent Leftist mind immediately shuts down and becomes incapable of critical thinking as soon as it comes across something that it wants to hear.
To close this out I want to leave you with a reason to be very fearful for the future, and three reasons for hope.
The most disturbing thing I’ve noticed is the rise of the Leftist Fascists on campus and wonder what happens when we have an entire generation of these unshakeable religious fanatics start moving into positions of real power in a few years? I know that I’ve officially hit “cranky middle-aged man” stage when I start repeating the refrain that every generation does when it sees the next wave grow up. But I don’t remember any previous generations having this one’s love for tyranny. However…
Like most kids, I was given the standard indoctrination that FDR saved our economy via the New Deal. Then in my Senior year at Delaware I took Econ 419: The Economics of the Great Depression“, and what an eye opener that was. It’s not every day that you have something you had believed for years completely turned on its head. I like to think I’m not that much brighter than today’s students, and if I can grasp something where I’m going in with an opposing view there is hope that they can, too.
The second reason for hope is a great article that Glenn Reynolds had in USA Today, Socialism is not as Hot as its Spokesman:
Even though young Americans say they like socialism, they also say that they don’t like redistribution of wealth. Writes Silver: “It’s possible that Sanders will trigger a shift toward more support for economic redistribution in the future, but there hasn’t been one yet.” The percentage of young Americans who support redistributing wealth is almost the same as it was in 1996.
And finally, I’m sure that everyone reading this knows the results of the Iowan and New Hampshire Democratic primaries. I virtual tie in Iowa became a victory for Hillary Clinton, while a landslide victory for Sanders in NH was transformed into a tie by Super Delegates loyal to Hillary. So basically voter inequality that was created by Sanders’ hard work in getting the citizens to vote for him was countered by delegate redistribution to someone else in greater need. If that is not the most perfect lesson for young supporters of Sanders how Socialism really works I don’t know what is!
And really, is there anything more delicious than watching Leftists be given good and hard exactly what they vote for?
That concludes the series, but before I wrap up I need to make a few acknowledgements:
I need to thank Chris Wright of Liberato.us. He gave me a few ideas that you saw in these chapters (pointing me to Horowitz being the biggest), but most importantly, he lit the fire under me after I mentioned a few of the points from these chapters in a conversation and he asked me to write them down. These ideas had been kicking around in my head for a few years and without Chris they might still be.
Most of all, I want to thank everyone who’s read, and especially those who joined the conversation in the comments here. Yes, even you guys, Greg & Rich Wheeler – for as much as we disagree, these forums become boring echo chambers without opposing voices.
This was my most ambitious project since my Economics for Politicians that I wrote four years ago, with hopefully more to come when inspiration strikes. Happy Presidents’ Day, everybody.
Cross posted at Brother Bob’s Blog