Talk About Cognitive Dissonance

Count up the innocent dead. Measure human misery, pain, and despair. Pile the corpses high.

The accounting makes it very clear that Communism is the greatest tragedy, the most murderous blight, in all of human history.

And yet, for some reason, the Left doesn’t seem to care. Liberal ideology is always worthy no matter the body count. It seems that the only real crime is in opposing their pet political philosophies.

Joseph McCarthy is a demon in their eyes, an odious and insidious monster. The fact that history has proven that some of his charges were valid is carefully ignored, as are the mountains of stinking corpses left behind by their favorite dictators and totalitarian regimes.

To be completely candid with you, dear reader, I have a hard time understanding why. How obvious does it have to be, anyway?

A recent article at The American Thinker sheds some light on this puzzle. It seems that the majority of educators, people who should be smart enough to know better, simply refuse to mention these undeniable historical facts to their students.

“This stuff isn’t rocket science. It is easy to teach, if the professor desires. The problem is that it isn’t being taught. Consequently, Americans today do not know why communism is such a devastating ideology, at both the level of plain economic theory and in actual historical practice. It is a remarkably hateful system, based on literal hatred and targeted annihilation of entire classes and groups of people.”

The author of the article, Paul Kengor, also explains why this refusal to pass on important details concerning the recent past has done much to create the situation we find facing us today.

“What does it all mean for November 2008? It means that millions of modern Americans, when they hear that Barack Obama has deep roots with communist radicals like Bill Ayers and Frank Marshall Davis, don’t care; they don’t get it. Moreover, the leftist establishment — from academia to media to Hollywood — will not help them get it. To the contrary, the left responds to these accusations by not only downplaying or dismissing them but by ridiculing or even vilifying them, given the left’s reflexive anti-anti-communism. The left will create bad guys out of the anti-communists who are legitimately blowing the whistle on the real bad guys.”

I never had a problem telling good from bad. It is a pity the Left does.

16 thoughts on “Talk About Cognitive Dissonance”

  1. The article ignores the overwhelming bearish effect of the Presidential primary campaigns and the current Presidential campaigns. For 2 long, long years, every candidate for office has assured us that the US economy is in deep trouble and on the verge of collapse, that US citizens are losing their jobs and their health and that all our jobs are being sent out of the country.

    The markets collapsed because people people lost confidence that their jobs would be around tomorrow, that their homes would retain value, that they could afford to get sick. So when a small disturbance occurred, it quickly snowballed into catastrophe because everyone could say “Obama told me so!”, or McCain/ Clinton/ Romney/ CNN/ ABC/ NBC told me so!”– a they told me so not just today but every day for 2 very long years. This collapse was caused by politicians who manufactured a crisis just so they could scare people into voting for them.

    There is no solution to this problem. It will occur every 4 years until the end of our Republic.

    There is a nest of scorpions in the room and everyone pretends they are not there.

  2. At the heart of socialist theory is the basic belief that if people work together for the common good , then they can produce paradise on earth (or the next best thing). Conversely, they believe that if everyone works to maximize his/her own good, everyone suffers.

    Liberals hold these beliefs as self-evident truths. If they believe in God, then these notions are divine law.

    When communism produces famine in place of feast; misery in place of joy; paranoia in place of camaraderie, liberals blame the meddlesome jealousy of capitalist forces.

  3. The fundamentals of Communism (Marx) and lefty philosophy are based on a high respect for technology and science. Marx felt that all reasonable needs would be automated by the Industrial Revolution, leaving the public to push a few buttons to get goods and services.

    Current lefty politics is based on the magic of wealth. The technologists wave their wands, produce wealth, and then want to keep it all for themselves. This is not right. Short term, any policy that distributes that wealth is OK. Long term, the technologists will just produce more to make it up. Businessmen are intermediaries, keeping the technologists organized, and taking a large skim off of the top of wealth production.

    Only the technologists and businessmen seem to know that this all takes work and discipline, and that it can be upset by public policy. Only they seem to know that life is made poorer by routinely stealing what they produce, and that their insight and organization is what keeps everyone employed. Forget $1000 distributions before election; people are going to be out of work.

    Long term, redistribution is a disaster. Short term, “we want the money”, and “it will all work out OK”. Marx was wrong about how the future would work out. Why is Marx and his policies still important in discussions?

  4. Someone, perhaps a chicagoboyz blog admin, has translated Fred’s comment into palin, I mean, plain English. I have heard that this is what sometimes happens when commenters ignore requests to stop commenting here.

    Now let us stop discussing this topic and return to James’s post…

  5. A rather common reaction to cognitive dissonance is simply to remove or ignore the source of the dissonance. Given the title of this post, the above flap with Fred is ironical indeed.

    Are liberals not welcome here? That’s a serious question, actually, not a rhetorical one. Its perfectly fine to want to create an echo chamber, as a new commenter I’d just like to know so I’m not wasting my time unnecessarily offending this community.

  6. Liberal commenters are most welcome. I wish we had more of them, and indeed more commenters of all ideological stripes who disagreed with prevailing opinions here. Groupthink is a problem in blogs with partisan leanings, be they Left or Right, and this blog is no exception.

    What we don’t want are commenters who start quarrels for sport, or who habitually drive discussion threads off-topic. Fred falls mostly into the latter category. Most such commenters on this blog are Left-of-center, maybe because it’s difficult for them to get noticed on lefty blogs. Some blogs do well with a laissez-faire policy on flame wars but in my experience this blog does not. I don’t think we have enough commenters for commenter self-policing to be effective. So the contributors here handle comments on their own posts as they see fit, and I occasionally intervene to delete comments from people who seem to be incorrigibly destructive. Some of the contributors here are more tolerant than are others, but you shouldn’t worry about offending anyone as long as you are civil.

    I apologize for diverting James’s post. Anybody who has additional questions about comments issues should email me. I may open a discussion thread on this topic if there is enough interest.

  7. Liberals are in fact welcome here, and I have to say I have been quite surprised with the quarter they are given when they do wander in from time to time. I don’t mean that is a bad thing, but post a thoughtful conservative point of view on DailyKos/HuffPost and compare that to the flavor of the response you receive here.

    Post a thoughtful rebuttal stating why do indeed think that more gun control is a good thing and you will get a mini dissertation from Shannon, Lex, or James with a well thought out argument disagreeing with you based on their personal persspectives on the subject with more than a fair mixture of historical perspective thrown in.

    Post one of their defenses of the 2nd ammendment at DailyKos/HuffPost/ and see what you get…you get that Bush stole the 2000 election, that you are a horrible human being for driving and SUV(even if you don’t) and if you are LUCKY….that you are a hypocrite for being pro-guns and pro-life(even if you aren’t pro life)

  8. > The fundamentals of Communism (Marx) and lefty philosophy are based on a high respect for technology and science. Marx felt that all reasonable needs would be automated by the Industrial Revolution, leaving the public to push a few buttons to get goods and services.

    This is so wrong it’s gibberish. The Industrial Revolution was largely brand new when Marx was writing, and far from clear as to its effects. In most, if not ALL, places, the majority of the human population was still involved in agricultural activities, with mechanized agriculture still in its infancy. I would like to see you cite actual comments from Marx which justifies this patently absurd interpretation.

    That may well have been the idea and position of someone like Eugene Debs, but Marx? Gimme a break. I suspect you have no idea what you are talking about and are making it up to justify a notion that’s inherently defective.

    The fact is, modern marxism supports redistribution because it appeals to the greed and envy of the grasshopper for the possessions of ant and the ant-queen.

    Karl Marx is to economists what Khalil Gibran is to philosophers. In the real world there is no Marxist program, but inside the human brain he tickles the mood centers.
    – Alexis A. Gilliland, ‘Long Shot for Rosinante’ –

    “Marxist truth!”, sneered Skashkash. “Marx himself didn’t believe it!”
    “[Prove it!]”
    “Very well,” replied Skashkash. “First, Karl Marx held two values above all others — the revolution and scientific truth. Second, Marx, a man of undoubted genius, died without ever finishing his magnum opus, ‘Das Kapital’. A genius does not die without finishing his life’s work – I could cite you examples as nauseum – but Marx lingered for years without finishing ‘Das
    “So what? He got old and sick and couldn’t write, but what he wrote was the truth.”
    “No, the reason that Marx never finished his work was that his two prime values, revolution and scientific truth, were in conflict. He had, as you will doubtless recall, set up a progression of social orders, from chatel slavery, to feudalism, to capitalism, to what he called socialism – a kind of unspecified utopia. In fact, there was another step after capitalism available for his study, but he suppressed it, because it was incompatible with his notion of revolution. He called it the ‘Oriental Mode of Production’ and it was amply demonstrated in Chinese history. It is capitalism made subordinate to the state by means of innumerable petty regulations. You could
    describe it as enlightened petty despotism, or as symbiosis of the individual and the collective. Had Marx elected to follow scientific truth instead of revolution, he would have predicted what happened in the U.S. after the Great Depression. He would have been a major prophet.”

    – Alexis A. Gilliland, ‘Long Shot for Rosinante’ –

  9.’s been awhile since I’ve read Marx, but certainly the leftists of the era 1900-1960 were pretty positive about science and technology, and this is true of a broad range of ’em. For example, both American New Dealers and Soviet Stalinists were enthusiastic proponents of building hydroelectric dams; today’s “progressives” are more interested in destroying them.

    Aldous Huxley: “In the field of politics the equivalent of a theorem is a perfectly disciplined army; of a sonnet or picture, a police state under a dictatorship. The Marxist calls himself scientific and to this claim the Fascist adds another: he is the poet–the scientific poet–of a new mythology. Both are justified in their pretensions; for each applies to human situations the procedures which have proved effective in the laboratory and the ivory tower. They simplify, they abstract, they eliminate all that, for their purposes, is irrelevant and ignore whatever they choose to regard an inessential; they impose a style, they compel the facts to verify a favorite hypothesis, they consign to the waste paper basket all that, to their mind, falls short of perfection…the dream of Order begets tyranny, the dream of Beauty, monsters and violence.” (Ape and Essence, 1948)

    I continue to believe that modern “progressivism” is, in its essence, as much fascist as it is Marxist.

  10. For over a century, Marx and his claims for socialism and communism have captivated and enthralled several generations of true believers, engendered volumes of analysis, both favorable and critical, and been the putative basis for several variations of social/political/cultural movements which have attempted to put these theories into practice.

    These latter social experiments are now acknowledged, by all but the most devoted marxists, to have been disastrous failures. And yet, a two-fold mystery remains.

    First, why do things arranged ostensibly for such noble motives go so horribly wrong?

    The answer is in three parts.

    One—The fundamental definition of “human being” in marxist theory is incorrect. Marx postulates people as being constructs of the economic forces around them. This view is profoundly wrong, and leads to the grotesque attempts by various marxist regimes to create the new “socialist man”.

    It is no accident that the utterly wrong biological theories of Lysenko were found to be ideologically correct, and supported by Stalin with a ruthless repression of those who attempted to dispute them. Lysenko’s theories are a manifestation of Marx’s inability to correctly describe or allow for the actual nature of human beings. Marxist regimes behave inhumanely because their basic tenets describe something other than human beings.

    Two—Marx’s economic theories mistakenly equate the ruling aristocracy of Europe with the newly rising industrial leaders as being the same ruthless exploiters in nature, acquiring wealth and power by illegitimate means.

    Marx is unable to comprehend the difference between wealth gained by inheritence from a former warlord with the wealth created by creative economic effort; in fact, he cannot understand the value of economic effort in any but the most fundamental, physical modes.

    His economics fail because he does not correctly define the nature of economic activity, not because people aren’t good enough to put the theories into practice.

    Three—Marx adopts as his ultimate value the need of the members of society instead of the creative energy which is the only source of that which satisfies those needs. Here also, he is not only wrong, but inverted, elevating a “black hole” to the supreme position, which only consumes creative energy, instead of the human equivalent of the “sun”, the creative human mind which energizes and radiates value into society.

    In this, as in many other areas, Marx was not a revolutionary thinker, but merely a misbegotten step-child of the reformation. Marxism is merely another form of gnosticism, a poorly constructed christian heresy, trying to proclaim itself the new scripture, and the promised utopia the new Eden.

    And this latter point, of course, resolves one of marxism’s most vexing mysteries—why can’t the devotees of this lunacy understand what they are advocating? Because, for all its talk of science and modernity, marxism is that oldest of all human beliefs—a mystery cult. One might as well try to convince an Aztec not to sacrifice any more beating human heats to Quetzecoatl. The primitivism, and deep seated lunacy, is pretty much the same.

  11. I hope it is clear that the last paragraph above is point two, and that the correct word is hearts, not heats, which would be another body part, or parts, altogether.

  12. Veryretired, Thank you for your comment. It is helpful & thoughtful. The assumptions are not true, so little that flows from it can be true. Lysenko’s theories seem representative and you’ve shown how. Totally depressing, of course. And the fact these assumptions still are believed to be valid (well, at least in certain political groups in the world and probably far more English departments) is even more depressing.

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