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Saturday, August 4, 2018

Ah, the Tricks the (Leftist) Mind Plays...On Itself



Friends, feast your eyes on my latest article, which appears in Townhall. It's about the leftist critique of President Trump as childish and prone to bullying. I deconstruct this critique and show how it very often applies to...Trump's critics! I think you'll be amused and edified.

https://townhall.com/columnists/nicholaswaddy/2018/08/04/is-trump-emerging-as-the-grownup-in-the-room-n2506252

14 comments:

  1. Dr. Waddy; An acquaintance a few years ago bade me understand that "American leftists are driven mostly by their emotions".It follows from that observation that their emotions, when frustrated, react much as a faucet does when the thumb is applied. Leftists, like water, act in predictable manners. Their unendurable hated for the one who unforgiveably denied them their summit of triumph in 2016 has that as its essence: the consuming emotion of hate itself. Those who reflexively and presumptuously trumpet their hatred for "hate", yet embrace it as a prodigal son and physically enact their conviction with relish.

    As more and more of the electorate perceives this, the clser its progenitors creep to the laughable political margin they emerged from in the 60's. Dr. Waddy, you are right, our President is a formidable leader and the left is assaulted daily with increasingly convincing, enervating and demoralizing evidence of this truth.

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  2. Hear hear, Jack! It is indeed ironic that the Left inveighs against hate while practicing it so wholeheartedly... They are so sensitive to any negative messages received by their favorite constituencies, and so determined to unload invective against those who don't make the grade. It's downright baffling. Truly, they live in an alternative universe -- one which you and I will never truly understand.

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  3. Dr. Waddy: With respect, I'd offer this explanation for their counterintuitive behavior. Marx, or Lenin, in interpreting Maxism, gave leftists leave to adopt whatever standards seem to them to be meet as long they were counter to "bourgeosie" (i.e. live a constructive life and expect those benefits for which your efforts qualify you) And this license has been passed down to the present left at such an historical distance that its origin is irrelevant to them. To them its gospel.

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  4. Is that so, Jack? I can imagine Lenin endorsing almost any tactic, no matter how violent or dishonest, to further the goal of socialist utopia, but Marx seems, well, a little too bourgeois himself to countenance such underhandedness. It would be interesting to read what Lenin had to say about propaganda. I wonder how frank he would have been about the merits of dishonesty or cognitive dissonance...

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  5. Dr. Waddy: I'll try to locate the work in which, I think it was Lenin, declared that it was impossible for the bourgeosie mind to comprehend far leftist thought. I think the left has interpreted this as a license to get creative; after all, they have been freed of the sanctions and moral strictures of centuries of civilization (even from the fear of God's wrath). I think Marxism-Leninism is the ideology which set the left on its murderous course in the 20th century and Maoism, Pol Pot, Mengistu Haile Meriam in Ethiopia and even the profundity of baby boomer sages in their smoky '60's dorm rooms all offer evidence of a sense of freedom to create policy (and to enact it ruthlessly) out of whole cloth. Marx may well have been appalled had he known what his thought wrought. Would that he had never lived.

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  6. Quite, Jack! No Marx, no problems? Certainly I think the world would have been a far better place in the complete absence of his poisonous creed, although I suppose some other dunderhead would have come along with utopian drivel, inevitably... You're right that the danger of Marxism comes partly from its TOTAL rejection of past verities. The other thing that strikes me is that Marx assumed that all poverty and misery is a consequence of oppression and exploitation...and the modern Left similarly sees oppression and exploitation everywhere. This gives them license, in their own minds, to battle the forces of evil with absolute ruthlessness, if necessary. The lefties are, in their way, moralists par excellence -- they just don't see themselves that way. And maybe that's the scariest thing of all about them: their utter ignorance of their own nature and frailties.

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  7. Dr. Waddy: I see irony in the thought of grubby activists who saw or see themselves as the vanguard of the future venerating icons of a 19th century philosopher. Never saw such types putting 20 foot high portraits of, say, Kant, on crumbling five year old housing blocks.

    The wrongheadedness of the left put 100 million to death and so very many more to misery in the 20th century. Was Marx, through his murderous avatar, Lenin, a unique cause of such catastrophe? Its only modern equivalents (in evil intent if not in impact) are Naziism and the now contained crusade to return the middle east to the middle ages. Military power was enough to defeat them. But the curse of unrepentant leftist idealism has infected our polity, though not yet with corporal sanctions against all apostates. In 2016 we realized that we have been lucky in that up until now.

    I THINK Marx saw oppression as organic to capitalism and not due to any conscious immoral willingness on the part of the bourgeoisie to take advantage of those Marx saw as oppressed. (Don't know if the concept of the "sociopath" had by Marx's time been posited by those who studied the psyche). But not so the modern left. They draw great strength and determination, (which can only be countered by equal conviction) from their perception of themselves as morally empowered avenging angels licensed to use "any means necessary" to right the wrongs willfully committed by those who endorse personal responsibility and reward individual effort. So, I think, I agree with your view except that I attribute their obtuseness to arrogance rather than ignorance. Who else but they could ignore the Promethean lessons of the 20th century?

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  8. Jack, an interesting question is...for those inclined to totalitarian utopianism, will any ideological pretext do? Fascism and communism are highly distinct, but in many ways they appealed to the same sorts of desperate, ruthless people. Anyway, I ask myself: was there any sort of historical inevitability in the FORM that communism took? Could Marx have propounded an equally unrealistic, but utterly distinct, set of ideas, and would arrogant intellectuals and social misfits have taken up THAT cross just as eagerly? Do "fundamentalists" of all stripes ultimately agree, in the main, on methods and even social end states, differing only on trivial details like the name of the deity or the wording of slogans? I don't have answers to these questions. I just wonder whether Marx, had he read Hume instead of Hegel, say, would have been just as dangerous... Who can say.

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  9. Dr. Waddy: I know next to nothing about Hume. All I know is that he predated Rousseau (with whom all the real trouble started). I brought up sociopathy because I wonder if Marx considered the possibility of inhuman fiends like Stalin enacting the dictatorship of the proletariat he considered to be a necessary tranformational step. Perhaps if Marx had advocated anarchy it would have been embraced by the same types who thought Marxism was just. Maybe his antisemitism would have won him a following; though Hitler would never have tolerated any icon other than himself, a Hitlerless Germany might have looked to such a Marx's ideas for deliverance from its post WWI woes.

    In freshman political science we read Eric Hoffer's The True Believer, in which he constructed a model of those attracted to millenial isms. He posited several parameters in his definition of the True Believer (I think he coined the term and I think those who use it should cite him); the only one I can remember is that such a person is driven to seek something to believe in wholeheartedly. His book could provide a plausible answer to whether a Marxless history might still have given us a catastrophic utopian curse.

    I think Hegelian dialectics may have inspired Buckminster Fuller in his development of the concept of Mistake Mystique, which has been used in the development of the sophisticated ideas around which NY's Shock Incarceration program was founded and was used in the very positive and constructive training we all received when we worked there.

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  10. Most interesting, Jack! I assume the decline of religion has much to do with modern man's penchant for ideology, and his seemingly endless search for "meaning". Say what you want about traditional religion, but I think we've proved beyond any reasonable doubt that, when you take it away, what replaces it is very often worse!

    I don't know much about Hume either. I chose him mainly for alliteration! What little I know, though, I like. He was a common sensical empiricist, I believe.

    Did Marx ponder what would happen if a nut like Stalin got hold of his ideas? Good question. I suppose you and I should probably ask ourselves the same question -- not that anyone is likely to slaughter millions in the name of Waddyism, or Stengelism, but you never know... Anyone who pontificates in the public domain has a responsibility to consider the consequences of their words and ideas.

    In the end, I would say Marx is responsible for a lot of nonsense, but it's Lenin, Stalin, and Mao who are responsible for all the killing. Not to mention the actual killers, of course. No dictator would get far without them.

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  11. Dr. Waddy: Could Marx have known how profound his influence was to be? He did address himself to the world. I think that we who seek to protect the precious heritage of freedom and material well being our way of life has produced against a movement which has enacted theretofore unimaginable inhumanity, are supported by the findings of the (again) laboratory of the 20th century. I think the idea that history has culminated in liberal democracy and well regulated free enterprise having proven most likely to ensure well being, is very plausible. No less than the past President scorned that thought but even Marxists believe in an end to history.

    I couldn't agree more - religion is probably vital. Surely Hoffer supported the concept of a human quest for meaning in life, though I don't remember what he said about religion. The rejection of the idea that our actions have assured consequences is the source of incalculable casually done evil.

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  12. Dr. Waddy: I've started reading a history of communism and have found the following quote cited to p.103 Communist Manifesto: communism "abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion and all morality . . . it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical (sic) experience". Pretty cheeky stuff and deadly in practice.

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  13. Jack, that is indeed a chilling quotation! What audacity. An ideology that starts on that basis is fated to end badly...

    Hmm. I'm not sure I believe that history has culminated in democracy and capitalism. I think you may be giving humanity entirely too much credit! I'm more inclined to think that this interlude of freedom and prosperity will be brief, in the grand scheme of things, and we'll return to oppression and paternalism in due course, though perhaps not to poverty, as mankind used to know it. But hey, what do I know??? When it comes to the future, rather than the past, very little.

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  14. Dr. Waddy: What lamentable misfortune that so many lives were wasted simply by the accident of their birth in nations cursed by this hellish wrongheadedness. Imagine having lived in Russia from, say, 1910 to 1985. A fairly long life and one probably devoid of hope for something better.

    Sometimes I try to imagine life as an Egyptian in 1500 BC. or even a Roman Brit in 200 AD. Their way of life must have seemed eternal to most of them. Will ours be a similarly prolonged but ultimately limited era? What might follow? Surely not that thoroughly discredited vision advanced by Marx. He has been proven just bloody well wrong and for those who today find merit in his thought and ignore its now understandably inevitable inhuman consequences - their fundamental ethical soundness must be seriously questioned. Frankly, Marxism is now just as reprehensible as Naziism and its devotees (including those who ought to know that their convictions originate in Marxism) deserve the same opprobrium afforded those who look on Goebbels and Hitler as other than detested historical curiosities.

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