Monday, October 11, 2010
The single most dangerous thing about leftists is their capacity for self-delusion. Most leftists really do believe that they personally know what is best for everyone.And that's just the first two paragraphs...
Beyond their personal intellectual and moral hubris, leftists think they know best because they believe themselves to belong to a line of ideological descent which has always been altruistic, benevolent and always proven correct in the long run. The reason they believe that is because leftists know nothing of their own history. Instead, they take a simplified, cartoonish view of their ideological predecessors that can only be described as hagiographic. Any mistakes or evils perpetrated by anyone that leftists identify with are simply written out of leftists’ history.
Then again, I used to take issue with Hugh Hewitt's book "If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat", written just before the 2004 Presidential election. At the time, I thought the idea of Democrats cheating to win a Presidential election, just because they could, was far-fetched and offensive. These days I'm not so sure.
In any event, we were talking about leftism... and, when Shannon Love's article "The Left's Power of Self-Delusion" gets past its glib dismissals, it actually has some interesting things to say. Using Che Guevara and Kent State as two examples of the Left rewriting history to suit itself, we then get to some interesting conclusions:
Empiricism is the final test of any idea. This is the fundamental idea of science but it holds true in all fields of human endeavor. An idea must manifest in a physical form and interact with the material world before its truth can be truly verified. Business people have ideas of businesses all the time but the only real test of the idea is to create the business and see if it thrives. Generals create weapons, tactics and doctrines only to see them all disintegrate when real war breaks out. Engineers build objects and machines that must work.A good point indeed -- and a sobering one.
Leftists, however, live in a world isolated from physical consequence. They pay no material consequence for the failure of the ideas. It is not as if any of the leaders of the Kent State rioters ever ended up with hands bound, kneeling in the mud of a Cambodian rice paddy waiting for a raped and brainwashed 12 year old to suffocate them by wrapping a plastic bag tightly over their heads. No radical leftwing radical professor of the era lost his job for failing to predict the psychotic nature of the Khmer Rouge or the consequences of the horrific rule of Cambodia. No American leftists has ever paid a serious material consequence for any error, no matter how sweeping. It is always someone else who pays.
It was the Kulaks, Ukrainians, idealistic communists and others who paid the price for Stalin, not the legions of western leftists who ignored his crimes and cheered him on. It was the Chinese peasants who starved to death during the Great Leap Forward and not the college student with the “Mao more than ever” t-shirt. Less dramatically, it is the poor of America who suffered from crime, permanent joblessness and the disintegration of families because of leftists’ policies, not the ivory-tower intellectuals who created those policies.
I'm not sure yet how I feel about this. I welcome comments by my readers, if I still have any.