The Left and the Near Enemy

An anonymous reader of Instapundit, in writing about the Left and Libya says:

I’ve really been enjoying your take on things since the bombing in Libya started this weekend, even more than I normally do. For eight long years, well-meaning people on the right have been accused of all manner of hate, dishonesty, stupidity, and wickedness, from a bunch of people who believe their own neighbors are the primary cause of suffering in the world.[emp added]

That is Leftism in a nutshell. Leftism is nothing but a continuously shifting series of excuses for why Leftist should have the right to use the violence-based coercive power of the state to dominate and control their own neighbors. For the Leftists there are no true external enemies, every problem in the world is ultimately caused or controlled by someone within our own society. For Leftists, there is only the near enemy, the people they see everyday.

No where is that more clear than in foreign policy. Every event in the world is turned into some kind of internal criticism. To hear the Left tell it, the US has never had a legitimate external threat since WWII. The entire Cold War and the nuclear arms race, Vietnam, Afghanistan, both Iraq wars, 9/11 etc all utterly unnecessary and all ultimately caused by Western, and usually American, non-Leftists. Leftists will claim (at one time of the other) that all the chaos, blood and death in the last 60+ was utterly avoidable if only the American Left had been able to control the evil American non-Leftists!

Their psychological motive is quite clear. If all the major problems in the world are caused by American non-Leftists, then the only people who can actually solve all the major problems in the world are American Leftists. After all, they are the only people in the world who have a hope of controlling the dastardly deeds of the American non-Left. If only they can get enough political power, they can fix everything! That means that the American Leftists are the most important people in the entire world!

And that is why they see their neighbors and fellow Americans as evil, because if non-Leftists Americans aren’t evil and don’t cause all the trouble in the world then American Leftists just aren’t very important to anybody or anything. They stop being the most important and influential people in the world and become just ordinary individuals with no special influence or capabilities. The world will roll along and great events will occur and the Leftists will not be a part of them.

That is the pattern we see today with the Left and Libya. The Left’s only possible role in these events, the only way they can insert themselves into these events, is to try and interfere with the Western military operations against Gaddafi. They don’t like or support Gaddafi nor do they have any special feelings for or against the Libyan people but since the rest of the West is out to get Gaddafi, the only role remaining to Left is to advance Gaddafi’s interest under some humanitarian guise. Only by helping Gaddafi can they inject themselves into events in which otherwise they are not needed and have nothing to contribute.

Just as they have for the last 60+ years, the Left will chose to advance the interest of the most brutal and murderous dictators rather than admit to themselves that Leftists just aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things. Cambodia proved that is nothing else did.

Trying to argue with Leftists over issues like Libya and Israel is pointless because they are driven by ego emotion instead of any concern for facts or reasonable consequence. All they care about is exploiting such events to make themselves seem important. Nothing can convince them they are wrong because they are not motivated in the least to actual fix the problems. Instead of trying to argue facts, I suggest we just start pointing out the selfish pattern in their behavior. Of course, they will deny it but if we just keep bringing up the pattern over and over again, many non-Lefitsts will see the truth of the matter and Leftists will lose influence.

Reducing their influence is all we can do. Leftists themselves will never change unless that have individual personal awakenings of their own emotional awareness. Until that happens, they will always view their neighbors with hatred and contempt and try to saddle the rest of us with the blame for all the troubles of the world.

17 thoughts on “The Left and the Near Enemy”

  1. The leftist program is tailor-made for the narcissist. It promises the narcissistic mind the dream of forcing other people to conform to its own vision. The leftist puts through a government regulation and other people are forced to dance to its tune. He is the puppet master and the great unwashed will be the puppets.

    That’s the dream. The dream of the adolescent mind. All the rest – all the programs and entitlements – is a smoke-screen.

    On the other hand it’s hard for someone involved in a market system (where the road to success is to better serve other people) to be a narcissist. A system where success involves focussing on other people’s wants will very quickly snap someone out of any reserve of narcissism they may have carried over from adolescence. Every customer is your boss. The narcissist who tries to play puppet master with his customers is going to find himself short of customers in no time.

    That’s why leftists hate the market system: It has no use for narcissists; it forces them to grow up.

  2. That’s terrific insight, wish I’d written that.

    It must be a common human trait to transfer blame to someone or something that is near or convenient or safer to blame than the real culprit. Crime victims often blame the cops or their neighbors or something other than the criminal who hurt them or stole their property. I live where there are dangerous bears that sometimes maul people. The victims of these maulings, or the relatives of the ones who don’t survive, will come up with the most astounding explanation for what happened and lay the blame in the most unlikely of places. It’s never just as simple as a grizzly bear is a dangerous animal. I don’t know if they are all leftists but they could be without knowing it. Leftism seems to be the default mindset of anyone who doesn’t fight it off by learning to think clearly.

    I especially like your suggestion that we should start pointing out the selfish pattern of leftist behavior. As every other conservative who lets his friends know it, I’m bombarded with people trying to convince me they vote Democrat out of their concern for “the little guy.” I respond with stories of how Democrat policies hurt the little guy but it’s a waste of time because they have no aptitude for the serious thinking required to comprehend it.

  3. A TV ad for a Wisconsin personal-injury trial law firm (Yes! Trial lawyers! Who troll for personal-injury cases on TV!) quotes Vince Lombardi to the effect, “When you get into the end zone, try and act like you’ve been there before.”

    With recent developments, the Libertarian-Conservative-Right-whateveryouwannacallit Movement if not in the actual end zone, is maybe on the 5 yard-line with a count of first-and-goal? In the red zone? OK, then, maybe just across the 50 yard line?

    In the Right Blogosphere, we are certainly acting as if we have never “been there before.” And with the ability of the Left to bribe majorities with income retribution and the bennies of the Welfare State, maybe the Right constitutes a permanent minority, W F Buckley’s faction standing astride history and yelling stop!? So maybe the Right hasn’t “been there before.”

    But as to the Left believing its own neighbors to be the root cause of suffering in the world, isn’t the Right as of now indulging itself in the same belief? Walker and Kasich and Daniels are enacting the Right Agenda, and the Right Blogosphere is engaged in some gloating and back patting, but mainly the reaction is, “Protests in the Wisconsin Capitol? How dare they! Look, look, we have video, we have audio, these thugs are making threats! Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war and all of that.”

    For however thuggish and uncouth and un-Libertarian we perceive the Democrats and the union people and the protestors to be, they too are our neighbors.

    I mean, what are we afraid of, that Mr. Walker will look outside the window and say, oh my there are a lot of protestors, I better change my program and I had better support Mr. Obama for reelection? Are we so uncertain regarding what we stand for that we are not only taking umbrage of public school teachers blowing off steam about having their pay cut by 8 percent but we are fearsome of those protests?

  4. Paul, none of those people are our neighbors, unless you count the guy down the street who paints his house garish colors, has aluminum foil over all the windows, parks junked cars in his front yard, plays loud music to all hours of the night, has drug dealers and other shady characters coming and going on an hourly basis, poisons the neighborhood cats, and calls 911 whenever someone walks down the sidewalk in front of his house. Leftism, as Brett pointed out, is best understood as being the politics of narcissism. Note here that I draw a distinction between “liberal” and “leftist”. A liberal has his heart in the right place. He and I have the same goals for society; we just disagree on how to get there, and that can be worked out. A leftist does not have the same goals for society as the rest of us. In fact, leftists don’t really have any goals for society at all, other than to be in control of all of it. And those are who your Wisconsin protesters are.

  5. The left didn’t even like World War II until Hitler invaded the USSR. The turn-on-a-dime that took place was a useful way of identifying communists for many years. The Hiss case, while helpful, was not as specific in identifying communists, as opposed to useful idiots.

  6. To those really far on the left (say Communists) even World War II wasn’t legitimate. The U.S. apparently tricked Japan into attacking us, refused to bomb concentration camps (I don’t understand this either), refused Japan’s surrender in order to nuke them, and caused the Cold War be refusing to cooperate with the Communist Bloc.

    And who caused Japan to form an empire in the first place? Why capitalists, of course!

    The Soviet Union, meanwhile, gets a pass for invading numerous countries and killing hundreds of thousands in purges because it was “all for a good cause”.

    (Why, yes, that was an interesting semester.)

  7. Paul Milenkovic,

    But as to the Left believing its own neighbors to be the root cause of suffering in the world, isn’t the Right as of now indulging itself in the same belief?

    Unions are based on hostile view of society, especially public unions. Unionist believe they can’t trust employers and customers to give the unionist a far deal unless they forced to by direct violence or the implicit violence that backs labor laws. Historically, any other workers who dared compete in the free-market for the unionist jobs were labeled “scabs” and “class traitors” and many were killed. Public unions are based on the idea that the electorate will cheat public workers unless the public workers can hold government services hostage.

    Leftists foster hatred, suspicion and social division of all kinds because they benefit when voters see themselves under attack by their neighbors and requiring a Leftists controlled state to protect them those neighbors. What happens to the Left if unionist, minorities, women, the poor, the disabled, the short etc all suddenly decide that the rest of society will treat them tolerably well? The Democratic party will implode.

    It is the unionist who turned an ordinary debate about public finances and public sector union privileges into an operatic duel between good and evil. It is they who shutdown government services, committed financial fraud, disrupted the democratic process and began making threats. They feel justified in doing all those things because they see their fellow citizens of the state as a source of evil whose electoral will can be morally disrupted.

  8. Very nice article. I wish you or someone else with the intellectual where-with-all, maybe Perry from Samizdata, would spend some time at the Volockh Conspiracy. I stop in there to read the various articles and, invariably, the resident leftists turn every discussion into a smug, self-satisfied chorus about their superiority in all things.

    Anyway, thanks for the analysis. I enjoy your postings very much.

    As an aside, I actually think you are much too kind to the left in general, and the far left in particular. They have been a fifth cloumn in this country for over a century.

  9. “refused to bomb concentration camps (I don’t understand this either)”

    It makes sense if you think about the weapons we had at the time… any attempt to bomb probably would have killed most of the prisoners. There was nothing for it until we could get ground troops there to liberate them. Nowdays, of course, it’d be different.

  10. “a bunch of people who believe their own neighbors are the primary cause of suffering in the world.”

    The irony is very powerful here. You create a straw man then accuse him of doing what you are doing.


  11. The left contingent as the straw man here: They may not be responsible for all the suffering in the world but they are responsible for all the suffering (by administering a grossly inefficient and relatively unbalanced systems) WHEREVER THEY HAVE HAD POWER.

  12. “It is the unionist who turned an ordinary debate about public finances and public sector union privileges into an operatic duel between good and evil. It is they who shutdown government services, committed financial fraud, disrupted the democratic process and began making threats. They feel justified in doing all those things because they see their fellow citizens of the state as a source of evil whose electoral will can be morally disrupted.”

    You think this mindset and way of doing things is purely within the scope of the union movement?

    I remember attending one of these “energy fairs” where a certain Madison-based electric power company was promoting their version of “green energy”, namely that as a power customer I would simply pay them an extra five bucks a month to have bragging rights that I was receiving “green power from a wind farm” instead of “poison power from a coal plant.”

    Being of a somewhat independent and perhaps Libertarian bent, I was thinking, why should I pay these guys five bucks simply for bragging rights. I should put up my own solar panel and sell them back my excess power and become green on my own terms.

    This was a while ago because more recently the screws have been tightened on power companies to have such arrangements with customers who want to put solar panels on their roof. Prior to very recently, I can tell you, the power companies wanted to be seen as green, but they wanted to everything they could to discourage customers putting panels on their roof and still be grid connected.

    I know this because I suggested to the local power company guy that I would like to put up my own rooftop panel. It was indicated to me that there were a lot of restrictions on this, including that I would not get paid, or I would get paid the smallest amount, for “backfeed” of power from my panel. I in turn suggested that some form of “net metering” was the law.

    Do you think the local power company representative engaged me in a “civil discourse” regarding my interpretation of PURPA, Net Metering, or whatever and how that differed from the interpretation held by that local power company. No, said representative started to get agitated and proceeded to “get in my face” as it were, pulling the “blue collar guy not going to take any guff from some pasty-faced pencil-necked academic type” routine.

    Guess what. I have come around to the point-of-view of the power companies with regard to homeowners connecting small intermittent backflows of power into their network. What changed my mind was the recent financial crisis and talk about financial Black Swan events. I saw this as an analogy to the vast collection of solar and wind power generators not averaging out but all trending in the same direction of going off-line when there are major regional clouds or calm winds, having the potential effect to bring down power networks. I now think I understand why the power companies are not happy about green power apart from regulatory mandates.

    But the discussion was not “I see where you would like to take advantage of laws where the power company must purchase your green power. But you may not be as green as you think you are because you are not taking the intermittent nature of your solar panel into account and the need to waste natural gas keeping peaking turbines spinning to take up the slack when the clouds roll in.” It was nothing like this. The man in question wasn’t overtly violent, but he started getting into my personal space to dissuade me from putting up a solar panel rather than reasoning with me.

    Yes union people are famous for the tough-guy act. You think that small-business owners never pull the tough-guy thing? People representing big business? You think that labor relations will all be professional and respectful and ethical in the absence of unions?

  13. Paul Milenkovic,

    You think this mindset and way of doing things is purely within the scope of the union movement?

    You are mistaking method for motive. Both the Nazis and the Allies used many of the same type of weapons and tactics in fighting WWII but both had radically different motives. The motives matter. A lot of people get emotional and angry in politics but the important factor is why they believe they have the right to be angry

    The union’s motives are based on the idea of a hostile and oppressive society i.e. that there neighbors are out to get them. They get very angry and even violent when their union privileges are threatened because they have such a dark view of their neighbors that they believe that only the union privileges can protect them from those hostile neighbors.

    You think that small-business owners never pull the tough-guy thing?

    I am at a loss to think of any such occasion. Unions by contrast have a long history of using violence against people and property. Before the union privileges were enforced by law, the unionist were quite murderous towards anyone who dared to compete against them. Even after they became a government enforced cartel, they relied on the mob to see that things went their way.

    Small-bussiness and for that matter large businesses, have never done so on anything like the scale that the unionist have. Unionists have to resort to violence because their entire raison d’etre is to cut a better deal for themselves with violence than they could get by just trading.

  14. This perverse insistence by the people on the left to make themselves the centerpiece of all human action is grotesque, but not all that unusual in the grand scheme of things. They cannot bear to say it themselves, but they wish to become gods. It was very revealing a year+ ago when the editor of Time suggested that Obama was “sort of a god.” That is what these people want for themselves, and what they want from you is a recognition that you believe as well. That as much as anything explains why people of this mentality have left a trail of blood and carnage that indelibly stains the pages of history.

  15. Nowhere did the Instapundit link say anything about the Left supporting Gadaffi, it was all about their silence.

    For a better argument that the U.S is responsible for everything bad, see Mencius Moldbug’s “America: vampire of the world“. Peruse the comments and you’ll see I’m very critical of his theories, but he’s far more informed and thoughtful than most commentators.

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