Tuesday, June 22, 2004


I do from time to time get emails from Leftists -- mostly consisting of screams of rage and abuse. I am sure that most conservative bloggers will know what I mean. Amid the abuse and insults, however, there is the odd glimmer of intelligent comment and the chief such comment seems to be that Leftists are not all the same. American "liberals" in particular sometimes claim not to be Leftists at all! ("If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then ..."). It is certainly my view that the motivations for Leftism vary widely and I have a large article on the net which goes through those various possible motivations. And the article emphasizes that the motivations and thinking of those who vote for Left-leaning political parties at election time can be very different from the motivations and thinking of Leftist intellectuals. And it is overwhelmingly the thinking of Leftist intellectuals and preachers of Leftism that interests me. They are the ones who get their hands on the levers of power if they win an election. Even among leftist intellectuals, however, there seems to be a variety of motivations -- from the naively idealistic at one extreme to the elitist haters who want all power, success and fame for themselves at the other extreme.

To understand Leftism, however, it seems essential to me that one NOT accept the Leftist's own account of what his/her motivation is. In the case of the naive idealist, the account may be fair and accurate but in the case of the ruthless lovers of power (Stalin and the Communists anyone?) it would clearly be foolish to do so. Lies and dishonesty are a necessary subterfuge for the power-seeking haters so we have to judge them by deeds, not words. The problem, is, of course, that one can not usually know what sort of Leftist one is dealing with. To judge from what one can see of history and current events, hiding the most dismal motivations behind a mask of "compassion" seems to be only too commonly Leftist. So claims of humane motivations must in my view always be treated skeptically. And I do just that, of course. I assume that the Leftist I am dealing with is one of the dismally motivated kind. Sometimes I will be wrong of course. Some Leftists do move rightwards as they get older (Ronald Reagan for example) and it is my view that all of the idealistically motivated Leftists will eventually make that journey given sufficient information about the world.

So I don't think that Leftists are all the same but they have done so much evil and destruction in the world that I think we have to assume the worst of them until proved otherwise. We CERTAINLY cannot believe their own account of their thinking. And coming to realize that is an important thing for conservatives to do -- which is why I spell it out repeatedly. If you assume that the Leftist is motivated primarily by a desire to make himself look good rather than by a desire to do anybody else any good, all the shallow thinking that they come out with will become a lot more understandable. I have an extended discussion here of what Leftism is and what Leftists have in common with one-another.


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