Thursday, August 16, 2007

Leftism is a corrosive hatred of the world around you

My academic background is chiefly in the psychology of politics and in 2002, I wrote: "That permanent and corrosive dissatisfaction with the world they live in is alone what makes people Leftists. That is all they have in common". In other words, I have for a long time been saying that Leftism can only be understood as a psychology, not as a philosophy or a coherent set of ideas. The article below points out that too

"Everything must be different!" or "Alles muss anders sein!" was a slogan of the Nazi Party. It is also the heart's desire of every Leftist since Karl Marx. Nazism was a deeply revolutionary creed, a fact that is always denied by the Left; but it's true. Hitler and his criminal gang hated the rich, the capitalists, the Jews, the Christian Churches, and "the System". They went through their Leftist phase early in life, and then went on to discover Aryan racial purity as their beau ideal. (As a swarthy Italian, Mussolini preferred to appeal to ancient Roman imperial glory).

Nazism was hatched in the same little intellectual cafes as a myriad of Leftwing ideologies, like social-democracy, anarchism, the Socialist Workers' Party, Trotskyism, Proudhonism, the lot. Peter Viereck writing in 1941 saw fascism's origins clearly. In the back streets of European cities you can still find the local anarchist or Leninist storefront, with old guys wearing 1900 laborer's caps and big mustaches, and fierce revolutionary posters of Lenin tacked on the walls. You can also find them in Berkeley, California.

"Everything must be different!" is the core psychology of Leftism, and has little to do with reasoned political beliefs. Most Marxists in the English Departments of America have never read Karl Marx's giant tome, Das Kapital, which parades as a work of economics and history, but is in fact a ponderous update of the Prussian philosopher Friedrich Hegel, who is even more unreadable than Marx. Instead of going to the fount of all Marxist wisdom, our academic "Marxists" have read the 1848 Communist Manisfesto and some hero-worshipping Leftist magazines. They are what Lenin, with magnificent disdain, called "vulgar Marxists" -- that is, proletarian dupes who just don't understand the deep philosophical roots of the real thing.

There are only a few ideas in Das Kapital. One is that human history is driven by class struggle between the rich and the poor, a wild oversimplification of history's rich and colorful tapestry. The other idea, borrowed from Hegel and flipped upside-down, is that the inevitable culmination of History in a state of Paradise is a material and this-worldly society, the condition of universal Communism, instead of an other-worldly condition, as Hegel predicted. Hegel believed that the Prussian State was a model of Paradise to Come. But since Marx was a "scientific" materialist, his version of history was called "dialectical materialism."

The final idea in Das Kapital is that economic profit (called "surplus value") belongs only to the workers, and not to the providers of entrepreneurial capital, nor to entrepreneurs who start and run businesses, nor to the inventors and developers who build intellectual capital all the way from Silicon Valley to Shanghai. Naturally, the radical Left gets to control what the workers produce. That's it. There's nothing else; it's a huge and ponderous rationalization of the impulse to overthrow whatever exists.

At bottom, the key political idea of Marxism is "Alles muss anders sein!" --- Everything must be different. The workers are supposed to be the revolutionary engine of Marxism, but of course they must follow the "guidance" of the Party, which is the intellectual vanguard of the proletariat --- the Party ruling elite, who are inevitably the same gang of parasites who were hatched in the same backstreet cafes in which Lenin and Hitler learned their craft. If the workers and peasants don't follow orders they must die or be sent to Siberia, as a logical matter of policy. It's all for the good of mankind. Naturally the real beneficiaries are the Leftist apparatchiks, who happily end up stealing anything the workers produce.

The craving that "Everyhing must be different!" begins in personal psychology, and then becomes articulated in political beliefs. That's why the same people can turn into anarchists or Nazis, Communists, or today, Post-Modernists, Deconstructionists, Radical Feminists, Socialists, Hillary followers, Islamo-fascists, you name it. It is why the ACLU chooses the worst criminals to defend; they secretly adore criminals, who are the ultimate rebels against society.

In teenagers the spirit of rebellion is perfectly normal, but it has its pathological extreme in what the psychiatric manual calls "oppositional personality disorder." The most psychologically acute philosopher in Western history, Friedrich Nietzche, called this oppositional personality syndrome the "reveral of values," and attributed it to Christianity (and its roots in Judaism two millenia ago). Christianity does tell us that "the poor shall inherit the earth," but like any other two-millenium religious phenomenon, it also includes far, far more than that. The wish that Everything must be different! is not limited to any faith or race, but is part of the human condition, to one degree or another. It's a normal part of growing up for most people.

But in some people it goes to murderous extremes -- such as the young Adolf Schickelgruber in Vienna, or the exiled Vladimir Ilyich Lenin not far away in Zurich. A young Cambodian named Pol Pot learned his version of Everything must be different! in Jean-Paul Sartre's Paris, was recruited as a promising candidate by the Soviet KGB, and then went back to Cambodia to kill three million people -- to create Paradise on Earth back home. Again. It's a predictable career path on the Left. Hugo Chavez today may follow the same logic as his model Fidel Castro.

What most conservatives don't understand is that the Left has reincarnated itself since the Soviet Union died. Conservatives think that obviously false beliefs should change; but that's not the way it works. Oppositional psychology is still at the core of the Left, and the mere crashing of the Soviet Empire and Maoist China hasn't changed a thing. The human condition is not that susceptible to reason or evidence. Oppositional personality just mutates and breaks out in other ways, like some insidious virus.

Marx thought that class struggle was the engine of history, but "deconstructionism," postmodernism, and the like have now generalized the class struggle to include race, class and gender, plus post-colonial revenge against the West, anti-rationalism, anti-scientific and anti-technology hatred, multiculturalism, militant Gays, transsexual gender benders, radical feminism, Afrocentrism, anti-Americanism, "man-boy lovers," the cultural assault against the traditional family, anti-Zionism, militant atheism, and all the other rabble-rousing "isms" of the Left. The key to all these movements is just one basic craving, that Everything must be different! ....

Oppositional personality syndrome explains a lot. When Yasser Arafat was asked who his personal hero was, he answered with a broad smile, "Mao Zedong!" That should have told us everything we needed to know. The Palestinian movement never builds anything, because its overriding impulse is to destroy, not to build. That famous Hamas-TV Mickey Mouse character didn't teach little kids to build a wonderful new Palestine, but only to kill Jews. Islamic Fascism is therefore just another revolutionary creed, with radically different beliefs from atheistic Marxism, but driven by exactly the same craving that Everything must be different!

That is why the Soviet-Nazi pact of 1939 was a natural alliance. It is why Islamic Fascists in London get along so well with the Socialist Worker's Party in the Respect coalition, fronted by "Gorgeous George" Galloway in the British Parliament. A radical's beliefs are only on the surface. It is the personal psychology that is always the same, and it always hankers to break down whatever humanity has built to date.

More here



There is a generally insightful post here which tries with only partial success to explain the fact that the Jihadis are only a small minority in the Islamic world. Most Muslims just get on with their day-to-day lives as we all do and ask little more than to be left alone.

So where do the Jihadis come from? The answer is really simple. The Jihadis are people who are frustrated enough to act upon what Western Leftists say. A corrosive dissatisfaction with the world they live in is what characterizes Leftists and they express that dissatisfaction vociferously day in and day out. And the Jihadis are usually educated people who have often heard that constant angry wail.

And Muslims have got more to be angry about than most. By most criteria, Islamic societies are the anus of civilization. They are brutal, backward, stifling, sexually repressive and poor. They contribute nothing to the world and function principally as parasites on the West. But it is a great human failing to blame others for your own problems and the Jihadis grab with great satisfaction what the Leftists say: That all the ills of the world (including the ills of the Muslim world) are the fault of America and the West.

That is of course a thoroughly stupid message and it is notable that you usually seem to need a Western university education to believe it. The 9/11 bombers and the British doctor bombers were all highly educated people who had lived for years in the West. They were not Egyptian peasants.

So the Jihadis are simply people who are dumb enough and frustrated enough by their own societies to put into practice what the Left preaches. Leftism is the real enemy egging them on, not Islam. It is no wonder that the Left does all it can to protect them.



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"Why should the German be interested in the liberation of the Jew, if the Jew is not interested in the liberation of the German?... We recognize in Judaism, therefore, a general anti-social element of the present time... In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.... Indeed, in North America, the practical domination of Judaism over the Christian world has achieved as its unambiguous and normal expression that the preaching of the Gospel itself and the Christian ministry have become articles of trade... Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist". Who said that? Hitler? No. It was Karl Marx. See also here and here and here.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party".



iridescent cuttlefish said...

What you miss in your diatribe is that the only meaningful political disctinction is not between "Left" and "Right" but between elitism and egalitarianism. Soviet communism and German fascism were very similar, but not for the reasons you state; they both claimed to be egalitarian while they both actually institutionalized a very severely hierarchical system, a tremendous gap between those with money & power and those without, kind of like what you see happening in the US right now. My wife grew up in the old East bloc and can't get over just how different things are (and that was satire, btw--she never joined the Party over there and won't over here, either, for the same reasons.)

You really have to learn to make a distinction between what people say about themselves and what they're really up to.

If you want to find out where things are headed from here, look back at the history of the manipulation of scarcity. That's a clue, btw--hmmm, now what would the opposite of an economy based on scarcity be...? All of your "opposites" are based on the same thing, Bud.

Incidentally, before you make enough room upstairs to imagine a world based on abundance & equality, you might also want to revisit your Nazi/Commie model to find who it was that financed, enabled and otherwise empowered both movements: why, it was the bankers, those ubiquitous defenders of Liberty.

Try the standard "leftwing" interpretation, just for laughs. (Pay special attention to the later sections detailing the ongoing relationship between the Nazis and the Republicans.) Then, maybe as an after dinner treat, you can wax nostalgic about The Good War--what was old Winnie saying about that smart little chappie with the funny moustache just a few years before Britain's "finest hour"? Oh, wait, he wasn't a leftie, he was a social Darwinist...Maybe those are both the same thing, too, right?

Come to think of it, you might need some stronger medicine if you believe there really is such a thing as a Left at all in the modern world--or don't you fear imperialism, either?

(If that last link was too strong, try
this one--it was written by a conservative, for whatever that distinction is worth.)

Soldier on, in any case, soldier on.

West Stand Upper said...

So yo'd prefer "everything must be the same!".

Everything IS different.

JR said...

O supercilious cuttlefish:

You need to do some reading. Start here:

iridescent cuttlefish said...

I need to do some reading, Sir, while you don't because you see it all so clearly? All superciliousness and silly antagonisms aside, did you even catch my disdain for "the Left" in my abbreviated diatribe? It doesn't arise out of the same ideological grounds as yours, to be sure, but that's precisely what makes it more valid.

When I say that history is the story of the manipulation of scarcity, you can't brush aside the argument by falling back on tired old partisan rhetoric. If we follow your "reasoning," then there is never any justification for revolt, nor can we ever hope for any such altruistic dreams as equality and/or representative democracy.

Economically speaking, it's very simple. 2/3rds of the 21st century serfs have no assets, no future. If you took the time to read that short link from Norbert Blüm, you'd see the Naked Facts unadorned by your edifice of conventional political philosophy.

Is it "hate of the world as it is" which causes the dispossessed and those who empathize with them to want to change the world? Should a slave enjoy his lot in life and leave it to his "betters" to see to his destiny? Is Tolstoy's wish for the emancipation of the serfs really the same thing as Stalin's elite-administered "communism"?

How would you counter the argument of the monarchists which tells us that the hierarchies of the world must needs be preserved at all costs?

Again, and to recapitulate: Left & Right is a meaningless dichotomy, for many, many reasons, some more apparent than others. The real question is the dynamic of egalitarianism vs. elitism--where do you place your "philosophy" on that continuum? (And can you discuss this dynamic without the usual Left/Right props?)

Most interested,


JR said...

You appear to have the brain of a cuttlefish

You have clearly NOT read the short paper I referred you to.

Mental sclerosis will impress nobody

Here's another link to the same paper in case the other link did not work:

iridescent cuttlefish said...


Whence the need to resort to snide comments about the sort of brain I might have? This is enlightened dialogue?

So, yeah, I read your paper and...surprise! I agree with its premise, although it's more fully developed over at the Political Compass, but that leaves me even more puzzled by your bizarre willingness to fall back on the sort of shabby, mono-dimensional they-hate-our-freedoms conventions of the so-called Right. In other words, if you know that Left and Right are a misleading and ultimately empty dichotomy, then why in the world do you choose to embrace one half of it?

Moreover, what your paper and the similar analysis from the PC crowd I linked do not go far enough to analyze is this point I've been trying to make about the real dichotomy at play here. Sure, adding an authoritarian/libertarian axis to the old model makes it at least two-dimensional, but we live in at least three, if you haven't noticed.

It's really all about egalitarian versus hierarchical.

Why do you suppose the US used to have this (mostly erroneous or misplaced) appeal as the land of unlimited opportunity? Because, obviously, its constitutional framework was supposedly based on the notion of equality: in the eyes of the law and on the "level playing field" of life. And yet, any idiot can tell you that the rich man gets more "justice" than the poor man with his duly appointed public defender; any historian worth a damn will tell you that the Age of the Robber Barons really happened. (Those few with even keener sight will tell you that the much-heralded anti-trust legislation that "ended" the Gilded Age did no such thing.)

So...please justify the depredations of the wealthy, the excesses of Empire. I'm all ears. Just out of curiosity, what's your score on the Political Compass Test? Not that this will even begin to prepare us for the discussion I had in mind, the possibility of economies of abundance. (Autonomy for all really is a scary notion for those who already have it...hence the inevitable manipulation of scarcity, whether by Stalin's Commissariat or Wall Street. It's all the same imperative.)

JR said...


You have obviously done only a quick skim of my article

Try REALLY reading it

You might then understand