April 5, 2010 - March 29, 2010
Friday, April 02, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The Liberal Mystery
eats the same fruit. But it tastes different to everyone.
MUST BE EASTER SEASON
. Helen Smith (wife of InstaPundit) has an
interesting essay up today at Pajamas Media. The lengthy title is an
honest question: "How
Should Conservatives Deal with the Left’s Disrespect and Lack of
She does a good job of establishing the basis of her argument.
Jonathan Haidt, a professor at the
University of Virginia and author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding
Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, found that conservatives could more
readily put themselves in the shoes of liberals and understand morally
where they were coming from. The reverse was not true of liberals. They
have little understanding of those with opposing views to their own. As
"I think of liberals as colorblind,” he
says in a hushed tone that conveys the quiet intensity of a low-key
crusader. “We have finely tuned sensors for harm and injustice but are
blind to other moral dimensions. Look at the way the word ‘wall’ is
used in liberal discourse. It’s almost always related to the idea that
we have to knock them down.”
Why are liberals unable to sympathize with conservatives? I offer three
The first one's a pip:
I often wonder if this “blind spot” for
conservatives is similar to the psychopath who cannot comprehend the
morality of those who are “normal.” At the present time, there is no
known cure for treating the psychopath. Trying to get someone on the
left to see where a conservative is coming from may be as difficult as
trying to change the mind of a psychopath. Perhaps that will happen one
I am not saying here that liberals are psychopaths, for this would be
incorrect for the most part.
Darn. Just when she was building up some promising momentum...
But seriously, she's right to register the disclaimer. Liberals are not
psychopaths. I'm sure Dr. Smith could explain, if it suited her
purpose, the real defining characteristic of psychopaths, which is
"cannot comprehend the morality of those who are 'normal.'" It's rather
that they fundamentally lack emotions of any kind. The clever ones can
comprehend morality just fine; they just don't experience it
themselves. They are driven by their appetites instead, which can be
powerful indeed but are not the same thing as emotions. For example,
they are capable of manifesting rage, but in their case it's not an
explosion of out
sense of being wronged. It's a simpler thing altogether, the fight part
of the fight-or-flight response uninhibited by mitigating moral
emotions. Hurt them or threaten them and they have no internal governor
to prevent them from killing you. The "Rage to Live" is a nice sounding
phrase, but it's also an outstanding description of the psychopath.
Why would Dr. Smith misrepresent a definition her professional training
as a psychologist guarantees us she knows? The clue comes later in her
Finally, and my third possibility, is
it could be lack of education that allows the left to lack empathy.
They are not exposed to right-leaning and libertarian ideas. For
example, how many classes at school are teaching about the ideas of
Hayek, Friedman, and Rand? If kids grow up without this information,
they may turn into adults who lack the ability to understand other
points of view.
This part of her argument is, of course, facile and empty. The left's
unremitting focus on social justice and diversity are proofs that they
points of view, even to the point of denying their own in favor of
every bomb-throwing minority that might have a grudge against their own
culture and family tradition. The only interesting thing about Smith's
point is the insistence on libertarians as part of the mix, with
specific reference to Ayn Rand, who may be popular now, but she's
popular for the plot of her most famous novel -- the able bailing out
of a system intent on parastically sucking them dry -- not for her
actual philosophy, which is
kind of psychopathy.
That's why seminal modern conservatives like William F. Buckley (not
mentioned by Smith) went out of their way to read Ayn Rand out of the
conservative movement. Ironically, it's also why so many traditionally
raised Christians read, love, and applaud Rand without recognizing that
the biography of their fountainhead bears a closer resemblance to that
of Madalyn Murray O'Hair than, say, Clare Booth Luce, Michelle Malkin,
Ann Coulter, or Sarah Palin. They assume
the existence of a basic human empathy that is nowhere to be found in
Rand's writings, and so they find it easy to look past her atheism as if
it were a kind of social tic. It isn't.
This is also why Dr. Smith's essay ultimately comes up short. It's like
a movie with a great first act, a dud second, and a nonexistent third.
She asks a great question, but she has in the end no answers. Which
suggests that she has misunderstood the parameters of her own question.
I can correct that for you in a way that explains why Dr. Smith was
destined to fail in her essay. I'm not being conceited here. The answer
is obvious. So obvious that only smart people could miss it.
The United States is a Christian
nation. Western civilization is a by-product of Christian
consciousness. The real
difference between conservatives and liberals has to do not with
morality, per se, but the loss of faith in Christ himself.
Liberals are believers in Christian morality who can no longer bring
themselves to believe in personal salvation. This is the explanation of their
extraordinarily vindictive and hateful bile. They are all jilted
lovers. (Why they excuse every manifestation of personal depravity in themselves and celebrate their politicial morality instead. "Teddy Kennedy was a GOOD man..." Really?) They believe in Christ's message but they hate Christ because
he isn't there, didn't exist, didn't rise from the dead, didn't save them
. It's that simple. Every
dreaded liberal apocalypse from nuclear Armageddon to global warming is
just one more variation on original sin. But for them, the new Adam
never came and so they wait, like Noah at the high-tech helm of his
impossible ark, for the annihiliating rains to come.
Interestingly, this is also the explanation of the rise of a kind of
rigid fundamentalism that eschews the philosophy of Christianity in
favor of Jesus as a kind of dashboard totem. I'm saved. You're not. End
of story. The liberals think they're reacting to a simple-minded
version of the faith they've graduated from in their infinite wisdom,
but the truth is they're
responsible for the bogeyman they see in every rural corner of a
country they've learned to loathe. As they grew rigid and progressively
more self-destructive, fundamentalism became the scar tissue of the
common folk, a way of protecting themselves against the soul death
created by doubt.
Everything else that's happened in the last hundred or so years flows
from this elementary observation. Liberals are the people who became
their own version of Christ to save the sinners from themselves.
Socialism, fascism, communism are all attempts by human pretenders to
the throne of Christ to fill what they perceive as a vaccuum. Their
mistakes are all attributable to the fact that men and committees and
political parties are no substitute for Christ. Show me a liberal, a
leftist, a progressive, etc, and I'll show you someone who doesn't
really believe, in his heart of hearts, in the salvation offered by
Jesus Christ. Their hatred for the believers who oppose them is an irrational fury they cannot contain.
Conservatives are the people who choose to believe in the Christ, as
either a human-divine superposition or a parable good enough to be the organizing principle
of their lives. Again, it's that simple. They're the non
-jilted lovers. Yes, they're
also sinners, as we all are, but they accept that. They also accept
that things like poverty, disease, misfortune, endless other awful
things are inherent in life itself and not the fault of insufficient
government control. That's why the most rigidly braindead of them tithe
to their churches.
Men who do not believe in God nevertheless feel the need of God and
seek to become God or one of his factotums. They're the danger. Their greatest fear is the
lack of belief in their own Godhood. That's why they turn ugly,
controlling, violent, and murderous. But they're all still Christians.
That's why they keep trying to expand their power. Their awful,
debilitating secret is that there's no Christ and so they have to fill
in for him.
How should conservatives deal with the left's disrespect and lack of
empathy? By spanking their ass. Like a disappointed Dad. Until it gets
so hot and red they call
out to God to make it stop. That's how you learn there are consequences
for personal choices that can only be called, uh, poor.
one thing, I'm NOT bald. And there's
no bar code or other tattoo on my
was talking about this movie with a friend of mine, and he had the
nerve to say the protagonist reminded him of me. Entirely untrue. I'm
completely not like this guy.
Looking for similarities? Don't look at me. Look at InstaPunk. His bar
code reads "Not for sale." His number? 21 Or maybe 22. Does it mean
anything that he's still alive? Yeah, I guess maybe you shouldn't mess
with him? I know you shouldn't race him with a car or motorcycle or
play him at pool, but that doesn't mean he'll actually kill you. Does
Besides, everything InstaPunk does is justified
good with that. How 'bout you?