Or, put more, ummm, directly: Bug. Fucking. Nuts.
The 2014 death of Eric Garner spurred Black Lives Matter protests. In fact, Garner’s final words — “I can’t breathe” — became a rallying cry for the movement designed to combat overly aggressive police behavior. Garner was approached by police for allegedly selling “loosies” — individual cigarettes sold without the proper tax stamps. He died after being held in a chokehold.
The ensuing national debate — if you can call a series of protests, riots and football-game kneeling a debate — has been remarkable given the degree to which both entrenched sides have avoided discussing the main causes of the problem.
Conservatives instinctively defend the police while ignoring the way police unions (which often back Democrats, by the way) protect bad behavior and bad policies in the same way as teachers’ unions make it nearly impossible to fire incompetent and misbehaving “educators.” Progressives would have us believe that such problems are entirely the product of racism.
And progressives are unable to answer the obvious question: What were police doing arresting someone for possibly selling a few loose cigarettes? It’s simple: New York City and other liberal locales are intent on regulating virtually every aspect of human behavior. The more piddling rules they pass, the more those rules invite potentially dangerous police encounters.
Think of that in the context of New York’s leftist Mayor Bill de Blasio, a harsh police critic who recently held a press conference with the city’s police leadership announcing a crackdown on that budding “menace” of people who ride environmentally friendly electric-assisted bicycles. We’ve reached the point where it’s impossible to tell which things the professional uplifters want to subsidize — and which things they want to punish and ban.
The real hilarity begins when they’ve banned so many things nobody can really keep track of them all anymore. We’ll just leave aside the stunning, self-contradictory hypocrisy of advocating for marijuana legalization even as they’re winding up the final stages of their decades-long Holier-Than-Thou War against tobacco.
But there’s a reason all right. I repeat: Bug. Fucking. Nuts.
Do not be deceived: Leftism is an enigma. We need a theorem that explains not one or two aspects of Leftism, but all their traits.
The theory must explain, first, the honest decency of the modern liberals combined with their astonishing indifference, nay, hostility to facts, common sense, and evidence; second, it must explain their high self-esteem (or, to be blunt, their pathological narcissism) combined not merely with an utter lack of accomplishment, but with their utter devotion to destructiveness, a yearning to ruin everything they touch; third, it must explain their sanctimoniousness combined with their applause, praise, support, and tireless efforts to spread all perversions (especially sexual), moral decay, vulgarity, and every form of desecration; fourth, their pretense of intellectual superiority combined with their notorious mental fecklessness; fifth, it must explain both their violence and their pacifism; sixth, the theory must explain why they hate the very things they should love most; seventh, the theory must explain why they are incapable of comprehending an honest disagreement or any honorable foe.
Umm…honesty? DECENCY? Seriously? John’s being way more generous than I would ever be.
And, while we are at it, if we could also explain why the Rich, who are routinely vilified by the Left number among its most ardent supporters, or the secular Jews, our theory would be very potent in its explanatory power.
There is such an explanation. I make no claim to have discovered this theory. It was discovered by Alan Bloom, back in the 1980’s, in his book THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND, which he wrote to explain why the generation of the 1970’s was suddenly and remarkably stupider than any previous decade of his students.
The theory was popularized recently by Evan Sayet in his book KINDER GARDEN OF EDEN. Roots of this theory go back further yet: you will find an early articulation by C.S. Lewis in his seminal THE ABOLITION OF MAN, written a generation prior. And no doubt he learned his ideas from G.K. Chesterton in his ORTHODOXY, who wrote a generation prior again, and first diagnosed the error involved in Freethinkers (as they were called then) doubting one’s own ability to think.
Let us examine each one in order.
And he goes on to do just that, quite well. Although I do think he misses the mark a little here and there, and leaves a thing or two out, as comprehensive and well-thought-out as this piece is overall. For instance:
Now, having turned their back on reason, evidence, facts and reality, the only thing they have to go on is emotion. And the one emotion necessary to their desire not to think is sanctimony. They must regard themselves as so high-minded and compassionate that even reality must give way.
Sanctimony, certainly; I wouldn’t for a moment argue that they suffer any lack of it. But there are two others that I would insist are of at least equal importance: envy, and resentment. Resentment I covered the other day; envy could be said to be a precursor to that, and their having it in great sloshing bucketloads ought to be plenty obvious to any honest observer of their antics by now. In fact, you could make a good case that envy is a prerequisite for succumbing to full-on Leftism; it inspires it, breeds it, and then goes on to nurture it—right up until such time as the Leftist grows weary of being constantly, inchoately miserable, and of blaming his misery on everybody else.
This bit, too, covers something I’ve mused about here recently:
This philosophy is corrupt and hypocritical to it core.
It is not based on lying, it is lying. It is the very essence of lying.
It is the art of filling one’s thoughts with symbols that have no relation to reality, and with words that make no sense and form no internally consistent statements. If human nature were utterly pliant and plastic, as their theory says human nature is, there would be no reaction nor retaliation from this gross self deception.
But human nature exacts a terrible and divine revenge. You bend human nature so far, and it snaps back.
Exactly as I alluded to briefly in the same CF post I just linked to above, and have pontificated on here at greater length many times over the years. Indeed, the idea of the malleability of human nature (and of the desirability of tinkering with it, and their fitness to do so) has been a core plank of Progressivism right from its inception—its central assumption, and its most fundamental ambition.
Please don’t let my picking of piddling nits with John’s ambitious piece keep you from reading it; it’s a damned fine one, as well-crafted and enjoyable as you’d rightly expect anything by John C Wright to be if you’re familiar with his work at all. He covers one hell of a lot of ground herein, and not one word of it is false or inaccurate. Hats off to him for his effort in putting it all together.