Monday, November 9, 2009

A Brief Psychosocial Analysis of the Leftist Mentality

It is quite clear that leftists do not think like the rest of us. They fashion themselves as pragmatists, even though they are completely impractical; sophisticated, though their schemes always end in failure; compassionate, though their policies often lead to misery at home and suffering abroad.

But how can this be? How can the so-called "wizards of smart" on the left be seemingly misguided on virtually every issue? The answer is that they are not misguided at all. They simply hate Western Civilization and seek to usher it to collapse. And the keystone to the leftist program is the removal of the capitalist, pro-freedom United States as a world power.

The mental block that prevents middle class Americans from better understanding the leftist worldview is the tendency of the (Judeo-Christian) American middle class to give people the benefit of the doubt. Americans tend to believe in such concepts as forgiveness, and especially for people who have supposedly good intentions.

But what all people need to comprehend is that leftists do not think like normal people rooted in objective reality. Leftists perceive "freedom" much differently than mentally well-grounded people; this is demonstrated by their arguments for "freedom from want," and the associated freedom to seize property to promote their agenda. Obviously, this is an authoritarian point of view that leads leftists to intolerance for those who do not submit to their will. But the leftist point of view is much worse than authoritarian; it is totalitarian.

Leftists also perceive freedom as a nihilistic rootlessness - where no social institution, tradition, or convention is valid - even the "dictatorship" of logic and rationality is refuted. Thus leftists seek to obliterate or co-opt all institutions, sully all traditions, erode all conventions - and promote irrationality and moral relativism until the country is a pristine wasteland on which the left can pursue its paradise project.

But what would the left's paradise look like? One where men, women, and even animals all live in perfect equality. That this vision is literally impossible can be elucidated with concise reasoning.

The fundamental aspects of the leftists' mindset essential to understanding their radical worldview are totalitarianism, rootlessness, and equality.

Of Totalitarianism
Totalitarianism is an integral hallmark of the leftist mindset. Obviously, this is a controversial statement that bears some elaboration.

Leftists scoff at the suggestion that theirs is a totalitarian mindset; leftists believe that their notions of tolerance, diversity, multiculturalism, and moral relativism insulate them from any such epithets. Shot through its own prism, one can see how the American left considers itself the antithesis of Germany's infamous National Socialist party. But from the standpoint of the student of history, the left's narcissism and lack of historical awareness leads it ineluctably to mimic past totalitarian movements such as that of the Nazis; good intentions and all.

As Allan Bloom describes in The Closing of the American Mind, the nihilistic cultural atmosphere of the Weimar Republic resulted in reckless economic policies and social rootlessness. The result? Unchecked hyper-inflation and a demoralized nation desperately calling out for a dictator to restore stability. The Weimar Republic, with its unpopular and indecisive legislature, reckless economic policies, and demoralized society, makes for fascinating comparisons with present-day America. (For those interested in exploring those similarities, I highly recommend Professor Bloom's book.)

From a systems analysis point of view, the left seeks to remedy the anomalies of the capitalist system, which is overwhelmingly successful in comparison to its rivals, by seeking total control over "the system." This is why leftists constantly argue for radical change by appealing to anecdotes. But the idea of overhauling a fundamentally successful system because of various anomalies is nonsensical on its face. Is there anything to suggest that leftists can run a system completely free of undesirable anomalies? Of course not. Anyone who deals with a government agency understands that the unexpected, the unforeseen, and even the ridiculous is par for the course.

But how do leftists, and specifically, Marxists, counter criticism of progressive policies? By saying that no criticism is valid because the international Marxist left has never been granted total control over the world. By this standard, I would like to point out that free market capitalism, in its ideal-form, has never been implemented as a world economic system. States on the average do not respect private property rights (the United States being the closest to approximating this ideal), and the dollar is a creature of government fiat - money is not a store of value but rather a representation of exchange-debt.

How do we characterize the current state of the leftist mentality? It is a synthesis of pseudo-scientific pragmatism and transcendental collectivism; in other words, the left sees men as infinitely manipulable, numbers to be run in equations until the goal of paradise on earth is achieved.

On Rootlessness
In some ways, America is a victim of its own success. The economic prosperity provided by its implementation of a market system has provided the upper middle class with leisure time to concoct or adopt half-baked theories. In many ways, the self-described intelligentsia bite the hands that feed them; even as the middle class is the engine of the economy that gives them the cushy jobs decoupled from manual labor, they loathe and attack the middle class mercilessly. Why is this?

The main reason leftist yuppie elites hate the middle class is because those who hold down real jobs have a much different view of freedom than the upper-middle class or the lower class. While the middle class simply want freedom of opportunity and the right to self-determination, the upper middle class argue for the universalization of the type of economic freedom they experience; to have pointless, disposable jobs and to buy whatever they want whenever they want. Just like Marxists have no real sense of resource scarcity, neither do urban elites who live luxurious lifestyles. These leftists' perspective stems from their affluence (while the leftist perspective of the impoverished stems from their desperation). The elite's view of freedom feeds a false sense of nobility that stems from promoting paternalistic programs - of course, they are not willing to give up money, their own sense of economic freedom, in order to fulfill them. They would rather dictate that others "sacrifice" in order to achieve their goal of perfect economic freedom.

The rootlessness of the left can be illustrated by the parable of Daedalus, who flew so high that the sun melted the wax on his wings. By extension I agree with Schumpeter that (if it fails) capitalism would ultimately fail due to its own successes. And I also agree with Schumpeter that utopian socialism in no way is guaranteed to await on the other side (in fact, totalitarian dictatorship surely awaits).

The left divorces people from objective reality (in some ways meaning the presence of economic scarcity) and fuels the "Daedalus effect" (meaning a feeling of radical disassociation with reality mimicking the feeling of freedom) by: providing easy credit from the Fed; defying economic reality with organizations like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; enacting massive social entitlement programs; subsidizing non-governmental organizations; destroying industry with environmentalist policies; growing the government bureaucracy; supporting unions; and extending the period of education as long as possible. This promotes a feeling of social rootlessness and feeds radicalization on behalf of continued "economic freedom." The inevitable result is economic implosion.

Of Equality
It is obvious to any reflective person that we live in a world, indeed, a universe, of amazing heterogeneity. The DNA of organisms contains trillions of blueprints for creating amino acids and synthesizing them in a functional self-sustaining life-system. This heterogeneity of life takes place within the world - or what leftists refer to (in typical totalitarian fashion) as the environment.

Individualists acknowledge that the world is exceedingly complex and cannot be predicted, let alone controlled. As biological organisms it is necessary to adapt to an ever-changing environment; including the interaction with other organisms. Climate, natural disasters, disease, and countless other phenomena that are non-conducive to comfortable life (or in the left's conception "freedom") are integral aspects of the world that cannot be prevented or controlled.

Yet leftists argue that they can make the world more comfortable for us organisms if they are only allowed control over "the environment." If given political control over "the environment," leftists argue that they can scientifically control an infinite number of variables and lead the world to social and economic equality. This, by implication, is a necessarily permanent gig. In the spirit of Mises' Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis let us put the truth to this lie.

Let us presuppose that progressives can control the uniformity of housing, food, leisure, etc. There is still the matter of labor. Since certain forms of labor, such as that of the doctor, vary in quality and the quantity of people able to perform them to a greater or lesser degree; obviously, even in a world of equal pay, there will be different outcomes for different people working different jobs. Some people will be more or less productive. Some jobs will hold more or less prestige, regardless of the presence of capital. The Marxist confuses the absence of private property with the absence of social hierarchy.

Furthermore, once the socialist gains control he acts like a fascist because he confuses the absence of private property rights with the effective property rights of the government that comes from the command of the use of property. Thus socialism is a ruse; it is not an abolition of private property but rather an expropriation of its control to an oligarchic intelligentsia that refers to itself as a government.

How Do Conservatives Respond?
The right cannot counter the left's strategy for collapsing capitalism and ruining the United States as a world power (the leftist view is totalitarian, again, and the organizing principle is equality) without realizing that the battle is being waged on the left's terrain. The left have captured or founded the economic institutions necessary to conduct war on the capitalist system and the economy of the United States. What economic institutions do Americans need to fear the most?

The key economic institutions of the progressive income tax, the corporate tax, and the Federal Reserve, which gives rise to easy credit policy and dollar devaluation, are institutional bastions from which the Marxists conduct structural warfare on the economic base. At the same time, the Gramscian neomarxist tactic of progressing through the key cultural institutions, such as the schools, the universities, the news and entertainment media, and the courts, reinforce the class warfare narrative and insert vital assumptions into the culture, such as: capitalism naturally experiences big booms and busts; recessions and depressions are caused by greed and "speculation"; and socialism is compassionate, while capitalism is naturally cold and selfish.

It is important to realize that the left's grand strategy for transformational change is to conduct economic warfare on the middle class and to reinforce selective moral messages through the cultural media. This interaction is self-reinforcing and causes the rootlessness of the people to become ever more heightened, pushing the left further in its quest for "economic freedom" and chimerical "equality."

The counter-strategy for the conservative is jujitsu - to pull the left forward toward its perceived epiphanal moment of national self-destruction as quickly as possible; this discredits the leftists (for at least a generation) and gives the middle class time to rebuild. What the conservatives ultimately need to do is to restore institutions conducive to organized liberty; namely, abolish the Fed, the graduated income tax, and the corporate tax.

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