Friday, October 22, 2004

Apparently only the Right has Whackos...
I'm getting pretty sick and tired of a particular term that seems to be tossed around American left-wing circles pretty frequently, blatantly and with considerable ignorance. That term is "the religious-Right Wing".

Typically, the term has adjectives placed before it. They tend towards words like rabid and extreme, words designed to give the impression that we live under the constant threat of being overrun by some pseudo-Taliban, God-sanctioned, Neo-Nazi-like state that is currently being crafted in the Evangelical Christian churches of America. There is an evil plan afoot to replace the American ideals of personal liberties with a program of forced adherence to the Ten Commandments and the Book of Revelations. Ridiculous.

While it is somewhat provable that most Christians of the most devout stripe often do vote en-bloc for Republican and Conservative candidates and espouse many of the same causes that these political philosophies do, it is never imagined that very often this is merely a marriage of convenience. There is no other viable alternative for people of religious and conservative social views as far as political parties. You will find that Evangelical Christians are every bit diverse in their thinking as anyone else in America. However, they care about social decorum and thus throw their weight behind the party that best (although not perfectly) represents their views. The second premise that I'm trying to get at is that when pointing out that there is a "Religious Right" the obvious existence of a "Religious Left" is forgotten.

There is a Religious Left, and it is every bit as rabid and extreme, or as representative of thought, as their counterparts, but they do have better press. One need only turn on his or her television set to see the anointed representatives of the Religious Left, and their names usually begin with "Reverend" too.

Why is it that Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, et. al. and the people who follow them are never described in the same terms as Jerry Falwell, Donald Wildmon, and the Pope?
The distinction is the same: all base their support on their own social visions and use the authority vested in them by the Almighty as a bully pulpit to advance their agendas, don't they?
All attempt to advance a social agenda based upon their religious beliefs (presumably) and their vision of the world, don't they? Why is it that only the Right Wing of American politics can be burdened with a group of vicious, extreme, rabid and Fascist religionists and the corresponding Left Wing versions discounted?

Because to tell the truth would be disastrous to the Left, that's why. To point out hypocrisy would be to disarm the other side in any debate (when they allow one, of course).

Of course, the left-wing hypocrisy and stupidity are not merely defined by religion either. There are Greens who ascribe to a worldview where we are all returned to our pristine, noble savage state, but in which we somehow manage to keep the cappucino machines running and pay for open heart surgery for everyone. There are Atheists running around who base their world view not on religion but upon their own personal morality, which usually tends to be opportunistic, selfish and cynical, and who espouse the power of another God; the Law. This bunch feels that since they do not believe in religion the rest of us are obliged to surrender any belief we ourselves have, despite the fact that the God of Law says we don't have to. Let's not forget the other bugbears of the Left, the various groups who find it perfectly acceptable to be contrarian as it suits their needs and tastes: capital punishment bad, abortion good. Personal freedom good, owning a gun/driving an SUV/smoking/home schooling bad. People who speak of personal freedom and then attempt to force the rest of us to live under their own regime.

There is a psychological term for someone who is compelled to point at the defects of others while dismissing his or her own, but I'm having trouble remembering what it is. I believe it's called narcissism, but I might be wrong.

However, I think I'm right when I say I believe the "other side" is whackier than some bunch of Bible Thumpers from the interior of Mississippi. At least the Bible Thumpers have access to a philosophy that has existed for more than 20 minutes and which hasn't been focus-grouped.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Why Orwell is Still Relevant...
Writer, poltical analyst and essayist extraordinaire George Orwell had the "liberals" sized up 60 years ago. I have been re-reading my Orwell as of late, because I feel it is important to continue to remind myself just why so-called liberals are dangerous. The following quotations are taken from an Orwell essay entitled "the Lion and the Unicorn".

"It should be noted that there is now no intelligentsia that is not in some sense "Left"....Since about 1930 everyone describable as "intellectual"has lived in a state of chronic discontent with the existing order. Necessarily so, because society as it was constituted had no room for him....The mentality of the left-wing English Intelligentsia can be studied in a half dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power. Another marked characteristic is the emotional shallowness of people who live in a world of ideas and have little contact with physical reality...And underlying this is the really important fact about the English Intellegentsia --- their severance from the common culture of the country.
In intention, at any rate, the English Intellegentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true, that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention at "God Save the King" than of stealing from a poor box. All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping away at English morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist,sometimes violently pro-Russian, but always anti-British...If the English people suffered for several years a real weakening of morale, so that the Fascist nations judged that they were 'decadent' and that it was safe to plunge into war, the intellectual sabotage from the left was partly responsible."

Sums up our liberals quite well, doesn't it? How about this little gem:

"It is clear that the special position of the English intellectuals during the past ten years, as purely NEGATIVE creatures, mere anti-Blimps (a Blimp is middle-class English imperialist -- i.e. someone whose well-being and position are tied up within the Imperial system), was a by-product of ruling class stupidity. Society could not use them, and they had not got it in them to see that devotion to one's country meant 'for better, for worse'. Both Blimps and Highbrows took for granted,as though it were a law of nature, the divorce between patriotism and intelligence. If you were a patriot, you read Blackwood's Magazine, and publicly thanked God that you were 'not brainy'. If you were an intellectual you sniggered at the Union Jack and regarded physical courage as barbarous. It is obvious that this preposterous convention cannot continue...A modern nation cannot afford either of them. Patriotism and intellegence will have to come together again. It is the fact that we are fighting a war, and a very peculiar kind of war, that may make this possible."

Eerily reminiscent of today's situation, isn't it? Of course, Orwell was speaking of his day's greatest threats: Soviet Communism and the Nazis. But this can quite easily be transferred to the modern day with regards to terrorism and Islamonazism. On the subject of pacifism, as practiced by the slackers of Generation X, Orwell had this to say:

"Pacifism is a psychological curiosity rather than a political movement. Some of the extremer pacifists, starting out with a complete renunciation of violence, have ended by warmly championing Hitler...'Pure pacifism'...can only appeal to people in very sheltered positions. Moreover, being negative and irresponsible, it does not inspire much devotion....One need not doubt that a 'peace' movement is on foot somewhere in high places; probably a Shadow Cabninet has already been formed. These people will get their chance not in the moment of defeat but in some stagnant period when boredom is reinforced by discontent. They will not talk about surrender, only peace; and doubtless they will persude themselves, and perhaps other people, that they are acting for the best." If you ask me, that sums it up perfectly: a shallow, emotional philosophy totally detatched from reason. George also had this to say about 'liberal, 'progressive' political parties:

"In England there is only one Socialist party that has ever seriosuly mattered, the Labour party. It has never been able to achieve any major change, because except in purely domestic matters it has never possessed a genuinely independant policy. It was and is primarily a party of the Trade Unions, devoted to raising wages and improving working conditions. This meant that all through the critical years it was directly interested in the maintenance of the British Empire, for the wealth of England was drawn mainly from Asia and Africa. The standard of living of the Trade Union workers, whom the Labour party represented, depended directly on the sweating of Indian coolies. At the same time, the Labour Party was a socialist party, using socialist phraseology, thinking in terms of an old-fashioned anti-imperialism and more or less pledged to make restitution to the colored races. It HAD to stand for 'independance' for India, just as it had to stand for 'progress' and 'disarmament' generally. Nevertheless, everyone was aware that this was nonsense. Once in power the same dilemma would always have faced it (the Labour Party); carry out your promises and risk revolt, or continue with the same policies as the Conservatives, and stop talking about Socialism. The Labour leaders had never found a solution...they had degenerated into a Permanent Opposition."

Sounds just like the democratic party to me. George also had this to say about the continued use of divisive tactics that run along lines of class and race:

"A Socialist party which genuinely wished to achieve anything would have started by facing several facts which to this day are considered unmentionable in left-wing circles. It would have recognized that England is more united than most countries, that the British workers have a great deal to lose besides their chains, and that the differences in outlook and habits between class and class are rapidly diminishing. In general, it would have recognized that the old fashioned "proletarian revolution" is an impossibility. But all through the between-war years no Socialist programme that was both revolutionary and workable ever appeared; basically, no doubt, because no one wanted any major change to happen. The Labour leaders wanted to go on and on and on, periodically swapping jobs with the Conservatives. The Communists wanted to go on and on and on, suffering a comfortable martyrdom, meeting with endless defeats and afterwards putting the blame on other people. The left-wing intelligentsia wanted to go on and on and on, sniggering at the Blimps, sapping away at middle-class morale, but still keeping their favoured position as the hangers-on of the dividend drawers. Labour party politics had become a variant of Conservatism, 'revolutionary' politics had become a game of make believe."

On fashionable liberalism:

During the past twenty years the negative...outlook which has been fashonable among English left-wingers, the sniggering of the intellectuals at patriotism and phsyical courage, the persistent effort to chip away at English morale and spread of a hedonistic, what-do-I-get-out-of-it attitude to life, has done nothing but harm. It would have been harmful even if we had been living in the squishy League of Nations universe that these people imagined. In a world of Fuherers and bombing planes it was a disaster. However little we may like it, toughness is the price of survival. A nation trained to think hedonistically cannot survive amid peoples who work like slaves and breed like rabbits, and whose chief industry is war. English Socialists of all stripes have wanted to make a stand against facism, but at the same time they have aimed at making their own countrymen unwarlike. They have failed because in England traditional loyalties are stronger than new ones. But in spite of all the 'anti-fascist' heroics of the left-wing press, what chance would we have had stood when the real struggle with fascism came, if the the average Englishman had been the kind of creature that the New Statesman, the Daily Worker, or even the News-Chronicle, wished to make him?"

Orwell had democrats, and Kerry in particular, pegged over half a century ago. When you go to the polls on November 2nd, remember that despite what the democrats offer you, it is not new. Never has been and never will be. They have been reduced to the level of permanent gainsayers and molly-coddlers and haven't had a new idea since Lenin. And we all know how that turned out, don't we?