The character of the Left

I got inspired to write this via a post on Tammy Bruce’s blog, called “The New, Friendly, Bipartisan Democrat Congress”. In it she refers to a post by Dean Barnett on Hugh Hewitt’s blog, talking about an encounter he had with a 60 year old man he had over as a dinner guest. This is the post I am writing about.

Dean Barnett is on to something that Tammy Bruce has pointed out in her books, and indeed Bill O’Reilly has pointed out on his show and in his book, Culture Warrior: the Left wants America to be different, but this requires that Americans think different. For this to happen they must “realize” that their traditional way of thinking is wrong, and accept a whole new set of beliefs and world view.

It can be difficult to talk about this subject without offending some liberals, because they’ll have a tendency to think I’m talking about them. In terms of most liberals, I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about what’s commonly termed these days the “far left”. They might be better described as the ideological left, those who have “drunk the Kool Aid” and have accepted socialist dogma as truth.

A theme that comes back to me over and over again with the dyed-in-the-wool Left is that they are control freaks. They believe in the idea that most people are stupid who don’t know how to run their own lives. They have to be taken care of. This puts people in a subservient position to government. This pervades a lot of their thinking. People must be allowed to do whatever they want…as long as they adhere to the speech codes. Their ideal is as people screw up their lives, kind of like a baby spilling milk on the floor, the government will come in and clean up the boo boo for you. This isn’t to say that people don’t screw up their lives, or that by a run of bad luck people end up in a situation where they could really use a helping hand. The problem with this way of thinking in my opinion is they think most people require the help of government to get through their lives. I’ve gotten this sense that the Left looks down on most people. They don’t see them as equals with the same potential as they themselves have.

On the international stage they believe that America is arrogant, and provincial, and foolish in our prevailing belief that a higher power (as in, God) exists. I think the provincial criticism has validity. Most Americans don’t think about how our actions affect all sorts of things in the rest of the world. We tend to think of things one country at a time. In 2001 it was Afghanistan. Since 2003 it’s been Iraq, with occasional distractions from North Korea.

The way that I see the Left consistently act as a group of control freaks, and it bewilders me to no end, is they’re on a constant guilt trip. They try to put themselves in the position of being the arbiters of balance. How arrogant of them. They see a debt on one side of the social or international ledger, and they believe we can pay that debt by sacrificing something, such as our own national security and interests. Before we went into Iraq, I got the opinion of leftists on the matter: “We have chemical weapons. Why shouldn’t they have them?” Yes, it’s moral equivalence at work, but it also embodies the idea that if they have chemical weapons it’s only because we have them, or it’s because of our evil, aggressive foreign policy. We should allow Iraq to have chemical weapons, because it is a just deterrant against our arrogance. It equalizes the relationship in their eyes. What’s arrogant to them is the U.S. trying to take that away from Iraq, thereby leaving us as the only country with chemical weapons (supposedly). They think we demand the upper hand in all situations, whether our interests are at stake or not, and this of course is not just.

When 9/11 happened, I heard from the Left immediately: “We deserved it”. We have supposedly killed thousands of people in the Middle East because of our greedy, evil foreign policy. This action on the part of the terrorists (er, “freedom fighters”) was only a bit of payback in their eyes. Again, they saw themselves as the arbiters of social justice on the international stage, and the 9/11 incident as an opportunity for Americans to “wake up” and realize what a terrible mistake we’ve made. Apparently we haven’t “learned”… So now they’re gunning for a U.S. defeat in Iraq. Perhaps then we’ll “get it”.

They see themselves as smart, knowledgeable, and world-wise. They feel that they understand the whole world and its problems, particularly its poor and oppressed, much better than most Americans do. But their “world view” is myopic. They think they know the people of the world and what motivates them. They don’t have a clue. They may know about Europe, and maybe some things about the Far East, if they’ve travelled at all, but that’s pretty much it. Even then their view is colored by a desire to be admired, to be the fountain of wisdom whom everyone consults on how the world can be saved, and how justice should be carried out–flaggellating ourselves if necessary. I have a sneaking suspicion they have the desire to dominate others.

I’ve come to discover that when many young people say they want to “change the world” they’re not really talking about the world. They’re talking about the U.S. To them the U.S. is the world. How provincial…

In some ways I do wish that we Americans would take more of an interest in the rest of the world, outside our borders. I think we would understand better the War on Terror, why we’re fighting it, and what we’re really fighting against. In a general sense, I think we could even pick up some good ideas to apply to things in our own country. I’m not necessarily talking about our government. We could learn about other educational systems, business practices, and how other countries handle R&D, for example.

I occasionally check out the foreign press. I am fascinated by the points of view of other cultures. During the war in Iraq I’ve tried to get information from people who truly know something about the region, even a few locals. The difference with me is I don’t apply moral equivalence to my world view. I think it is right to go after a leader if they represent a threat to U.S. security, and in that light, given our horrific experience with terrorism, I think Bush’s policy of pre-emption is the right one. I also think that fundamentally all people want to be free. What “free” means can be different, depending on the culture, but I can’t imagine any human being actually wanting to be oppressed. To me that makes no sense. This doesn’t mean that we should go around using military force wherever we see that people are oppressed, but I think it’s okay to go in and liberate countries that represent a direct or growing threat to us. Consider it a “perk”.

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