I could swear I've brought this up a couple times already: Left & Right are useless terms; instead we should use Collectivist & Individualist.
Old habits die hard. In an attempt to change those habits, I thought it would be worth trying to apply this idea to a post by John Jay on one of his blogs:
LeftistsCollectivists don't understand much
LeftistsCollectivists are people who know and understand a lot less than they think they do. The classical example of that is of course in economics. Even when they gained unfettered control of such vast countries as Russia and China, they made a hash of it.
At the time of the 1917 revolution, Russia was a rapidly modernizing country with railways snaking out across the land and a flourishing agricultural sector that made it a major wheat exporter. After the revolution agricultural production dropped by about one third and right through the Soviet era Russia never managed to feed itself. Europe's subsidized food surpluses were a Godsend to it. A lot of those food surpluses went East.
And in China, Mao's Great Leap Forward was an unmitigated disaster that achieved nothing but millions of deaths from starvation. An understanding of economics as poor as Communist economics could hardly be a better proof that
LeftistsCollectivists are people who know and understand a lot less than they think they do.
And what libertarian said this? “The bureaucracy is a parasite on the body of society, a parasite which ‘chokes’ all its vital pores…The state is a parasitic organism”. It was V.I. Lenin, in August 1917, before he set up his own vastly bureaucratic state. He could see the problem but was quite incapable of solving it.
LeftistsCollectivists understand people so badly that they judge everyone by themselves (projection) -- leading to the generalization that to understand what is true of LeftistsCollectivists you just have to see what they say about conservatives. That is even true of LeftistCollectivist psychologists (i.e. around 95% of psychologists).
For example, a book by
LeftistCollectivist psychologists called "The Authoritarian personality" (under the lead authorship of a prominent Marxist theoretician) was a huge hit among psychologists in the '50s and '60s and is still well-spoken of among them to this day. The basic theme of the book was that conservatives are authoritarian. What a towering example of projection! It was written while the vastly authoritarian regimes in Russia and China were still extant and just after another hugely authoritarian socialist regime had collapsed, Hitler's. Yet it was conservatives who were supposed to be authoritarian?
The fact of the matter is that
LeftismCollectivism is fundamentally authoritarian. Whether by revolution or by legislation, LeftistsCollectivists aim to change what people can and must do. When in 2008 Obama said that he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America, he was not talking about America's geography or topography but rather about American people. He wanted them to stop doing things that they wanted to do and make them do things that they did not want to do. Can you get a better definition of authoritarianism than that?
And remember Obama's 2008 diagnosis of the Midwest:
"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
That Midwesterners could be sincere Christians who need guns for self defence and hunting clearly did not figure in Obama's understanding of the Midwest -- and the remarks have become a byword for
LeftistCollectivist incomprehension. To this day conservatives often sarcastically refer to themselves as "bitter clingers". As all the surveys show, conservatives tend to be happy people, not "bitter". The uproar caused by his uncomprehending remarks led Obama himself to backpedal.
And the stock
LeftistCollectivist explanation for all social ills -- It's due to poverty -- got really hilarious in the aftermath of the 9/11/2001 attacks on America by Osama bin Laden and his followers. LeftistsCollectivists insisted that bin Laden's hatred was also due to poverty. It took some months before they could get it into their brains that bin Laden was actually a billionaire
LeftismCollectivism is the politics of rage. They see things about them that seem wrong to them but rather than seek to understand why that state of affairs prevails, they simply condemn it and propose the first simplistic solution to the problem that comes into their heads -- usually some version of "MAKE people behave better". They are incurious and impatient people and the destruction they can cause as a result is huge.
German philosopher Leibniz proposed many years ago that we live in "the best of all possible worlds" as a way of drawing attention to the fact that some good things necessarily have bad effects as well. So stomping on the bad things will also destroy good things. The whole ofThat's not a bad start, but it might take some more practice.
LeftismCollectivism is an example of that in action. To improve the world you first have to understand it. LeftistsCollectivists don't.
My youngest is home on break. He was looking over my shoulder as I prepared this post. His comment was, "that's a very opinionated piece." I replied, "yes, but it's not wrong." He agreed.