Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Leftism as a low information phenomenon
Exit interviews with voters leaving the ballot box have repeatedly shown huge ignorance and misunderstanding among Obama voters -- so much so that ignorance must be held to be one of the major forces behind Leftism. Hollywood actor Jon Voight has found that too:
Voight, previously a staunch left-winger and anti-war protester, has performed a spectacular U-turn. “I regret being caught up in the hysteria of the Sixties,” he says now, revealing a glimpse of the intensity I more readily associate with him. “The left have blood on their hands and I do too.”
He publicly backed Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election. “I think he would have made a wonderful president,” he sighs. “He is a man of great character, but they demonised him, as they have done with other people before him.” He also spoke out against Barack Obama, in an open letter to The Washington Post in 2010, calling him a liar and accusing him of promoting anti-Semitism, leading many to denounce Voight as an inciter of hatred. Two years later he called the president a Marxist, compared him to Hugo Chavaz, and accused him of controlling the media.
Do his politics cause him any grief, in the left-leaning Hollywood community? "I have found that I have too much information for anyone to want to sit down and talk to me," he says. "They usually leave early. But it’s a family out here, we all respect each other. If people disagree with me, that’s no big deal to me, except that it is a very important disagreement.
"I will say: 'Would you like to talk about it?' And they say: 'Oh yeah, sure.' But then we get into it, and they will then say: 'Well, you know John, I don’t really know that much about it.' He smiles, benevolently. ‘And I understand that, because I was like that at the end of the Sixties. I thought these people were cool and I thought I knew a lot of things, and I knew nothing. So, I ask everybody to get educated. And as you get educated, you see things much more clearly.’
He was a great admirer of the late Baroness Thatcher, calling her "a great woman, the most influential since Catherine the Great". I wonder if he might ever consider following in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan and Schwarzenegger by taking up political office? “Oh, I think I am better as a fella on the sidelines,” he shrugs. “I think there are others much better equipped for office.”
The Royal Baby Is a Rejection of the Family Chaos Liberalism Feeds Upon
The birth of Prince George creates a problem for liberals. They love the idea of royalty because it validates their vision of an anointed elite with a divine right to the obedience of their subjects. However, this wonderful couple has created a traditional nuclear family that provides a powerful counterpoint to the kind of freak show dysfunction that liberalism requires to survive.
If families actually stayed together and raised their children, well, who would need the liberal elite?
Sure, the royal couple gets paid out of the British treasury, but it isn’t as if Prince William sits around being fanned and fed grapes. Besides cutting ribbons and promoting charities, he is a warrior who has proved his courage by seeking service on battlefields he could have easily avoided. Royalty is a bizarre concept, but he does work for a living.
By contributing to society, Prince William repudiates the basic premise of liberalism. If you vote for liberals they will redistribute free stuff to you from the people who contribute to society. This will allow you to wallow in the cesspit of social pathologies that led you to expect handouts in the first place, and thereby guarantee another generation of liberal constituents.
Liberalism depends on people continuing to do the things that ensure they will be poor. The most obvious among these bad decisions is to have kids out of wedlock. Yeah, we all know the single mom who is prospering or the gay couple with a great kid. That’s awesome, but it’s an anecdotal irrelevancy. The simple, unarguable fact is that the epidemic of broken families means a broken society, and liberalism feeds off the wreckage.
Society should stop being coy, and it needs to stop worrying that people will be offended. It should say, loudly and unequivocally, that you shouldn’t have kids if you aren’t married to a guy who’s not going to disappear when things get real.
A recent Huffington Post article buried the lede when it talked to a woman named Irene Salyers, who is currently living off of government disability checks while working at a fruit stand with her current boyfriend. Leaving aside that this makes her not disabled at all, Ms. Salyers was married and divorced three times. Her jobless, single-mom daughter, is living off her boyfriend’s disability checks and hoping “that employers will look past her conviction a few years ago for distributing prescription painkillers, so she can get a job.”
I’m guessing they all vote Democrat.
Liberalism, of course, must be in denial about the true causes of the poverty it exploits. “Marriage rates are in decline across all races,” the article notes. But in the very next paragraph it quotes some Harvard professor who “specializes in race and poverty” who says, “It's time that America comes to understand that many of the nation's biggest disparities, from education and life expectancy to poverty, are increasingly due to economic class position.”
Hmmmm. Maybe their “economic class position” comes from having multiple illegitimate kids and dealing Oxy, Professor Einstein. But identifying and addressing that problem would result in academics who specialize “in race and poverty” having to get real jobs.
Instead of validating this kind of lifestyle chaos with “understanding” and “help,” we ought to apply that ancient, time-honored means of enforcing positive social values: Shame. You should be ashamed if you are a jobless felon shacked up with some deadbeat sperm donor who is milking Uncle Sucker while your kids wonder what it’s like to have a real father.
You’re not a victim. You’re a loser.
Concurrently, we need to model good behavior. Prince William and Kate Middleton should use their position and their visibility to hammer home the truth that solid families are the model to be emulated instead of merely one option in a smorgasbord of equally valid familial arrangements.
Let me be clear: Having some random dude move into your Section 8 flat so you can get a cut of the SSI check he gets because of his bogus anger management disorder is not a valid familial arrangement. It’s a petri dish for growing future inmates and welfare cheats.
President Obama should step up, but he won’t. The only thing conservatives appreciate about this neo-socialist disaster of a president is his obviously close-knit and lovely family. He occasionally pays lip service to the importance of intact families, but the fact is that his party supports the status quo.
As Dr. Helen Smith observes in her terrific new book Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream - and Why It Matters, government policy, the legal system and society have conspired to undercut marriage by making it unattractive to men. On the policy side, the welfare system has utterly cut men out of the picture by making their income unnecessary. Fathers are superfluous; for millions of Americans, government is their baby daddy.
Family courts are so tilted against men that when I was taking the Bar Exam, the joke about how to pass the family law question without studying was, “Give the kids to the mother.” Which I did, and I passed the first time.
Socially, radical feminist influence has led to men being viewed as incompetent buffoons when they aren’t violent exploiters. All men are either Homer Simpson or Ted Bundy. The only approved males are liberal icons, and they get a pass for over-enthusiastic hugging, genital sexting, Oval Office intern tapping and leaving women to drown in icy water.
No wonder, as Dr. Smith observes, men are simply opting out of the whole family thing. After all, what’s in it for them? Instead of changing the incentives that lead to this sorry result, Obama’s course of action is to chastise men even more. Apparently the floggings will continue until morale improves.
This is a huge opportunity for the GOP. It could fix the tax code so that getting married doesn’t cost people a fortune. If my wife started working, for example, her income on top of mine would be hit with a 50%+ marginal rate. Maybe in GOP states they could fix family law so that the man doesn’t lose before he walks into court. Maybe it could work to reduce welfare benefits so that having a man around actually means there is more money rather than less. But this is the GOP, so it will undoubtedly blow it by focusing on something else, like importing zillions of Democrat voters against the wishes of its base.
We need to make it so that the novelty of the birth of someone like Prince George is that he is part of a royal family, rather than that he is part of any family at all.
Liberalism Makes It Easier to be Bad
There are many liberals who lead thoroughly decent lives. And there are conservatives who do not. But that is not the whole issue.
There is something about liberalism that is not nearly as true about conservatism. The further left one goes, the more one finds that the ideology provides moral cover for a life that is not moral. While many people left of center lead fine personal lives, many do not. And left-wing ideals enable a person to do that much more than conservative ideals do.
There is an easy way to demonstrate this. If a married -- or even unmarried -- conservative congressman had texted sexual images of himself to young women he did not even know, he would have been called something Anthony Wiener has not been called -- a hypocrite.
Why? Because conservatives -- secular conservatives, not only religious conservatives -- are identified with moral values in the personal sphere, and liberals are not. Liberals rarely called Bill Clinton a hypocrite for his extramarital affair while president. George W. Bush would have been pilloried as such.
Simply put, we do not generally judge personal conduct the same when it comes to liberals and conservatives.
Both liberals and conservatives know this. As a result, as noted, liberal social positions can provide moral cover for immoral behavior in a way that conservative positions cannot.
Though there are many sincere liberals, it is likely that this ability to provide moral cover for a less than moral life is one source of liberalism's appeal.
I first thought about this when I saw how the left-wing students at my graduate school, Columbia University, behaved. Aside from their closing down classes, taking over office buildings, and ransacking professors' offices, I saw the way in which many of them conducted themselves in their personal lives. Most of them had little sense of personal decency, and lived lives of narcissistic hedonism. Women who were involved with leftist groups have told of how poorly they were treated. And one suspects that they would have been treated far better by conservative, let alone religious, men on campus.
My sense was that the radicals' commitment to "humanity," to "peace," and to "love" gave them license to feel good about themselves without having to lead a good life. Their vocal opposition to war and to racism provided them with all the moral self-esteem they wanted.
Consider the example of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. He had been expelled from college for paying someone to take his exams. His role in the death of a woman with whom he spent an evening would have sent almost anyone without his family name to prison -- or would have at least resulted in prosecution for negligent homicide. And he spent decades using so many women in so public a way that stories about his sex life were routinely told in Washington. Read the 9,000-word 1990 article in GQ by Michael Kelly, who a few years later became the editor of the New Republic.
When this unimpressive man started espousing liberal positions, speaking passionately about the downtrodden in society, it recalled the unimpressive students who marched on behalf of civil rights, peace and love.
It is quite likely that Ted Kennedy came to believe in the positions that he took. But I also suspect that he found espousing those positions invaluable to his self-image and to his public image: "Look at what a moral man I am after all." And liberal positions were all that mattered to the left and to the liberal media that largely ignored such lecherous behavior as the "waitress sandwich" he made in a Washington, D.C. restaurant with another prominent liberal, former Senator Chris Dodd.
In addition to knowing that liberal positions provide moral cover for immoral personal behavior, liberals know that their immoral behavior will be given more of pass than exactly the same behavior would if done by a conservative.
Women's groups provided Bill Clinton with enormous moral capital because he supported their feminist agenda. One leading feminist famously said she would be happy to get on her knees and pleasure Clinton thanks to his pro-choice position on abortion.
Conservative politicians have the same sex drive as liberal politicians, the same marital problems and the same ubiquitous temptations and opportunities. And some will therefore engage in extramarital sex. But every conservative politician knows that should he be caught, his positions on issues not only do not provide moral cover for his conduct, those very positions condemn it. There is no benefit to the conservative sinner in being a conservative. There is great benefit to the liberal sinner in being a liberal.
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Posted by JR at 12:35 AM