And power, and control.
I’m sure that somewhere there are reams of paper written on this topic. But, while discussing abortion with a rather liberal coworker of mine I was struck by an observation. The leftist mindset is firmly rooted in the idea of prior constraint. There are of course other driving ideals among leftists, but this is the one that really struck me as I hadn’t really considered how much it colors the worldview of people like my intellectually benighted coworker. As we were getting to the heated part of the discussion, he went for the ad absurdum argument of “You want women strapped to a table and forced to take their pregnancy to term”. Notice his careful wording that carefully avoided the phrasing carrying her Baby or Child to term. Intellectual mendacity is another hallmark of leftism, but I digress.
In choosing this particular argument he explicitly shows his own preference for governance. Rather than making something illegal and allowing someone to make their own choices as to whether or not to follow the law, and accept the punishment for breaking it, he would simply make everyone do what the government wants. Even to the absurd length of strapping a woman to a table and forcing her to take her pregnancy to term. Now this could charitably be considered taking the point to its logical extreme, or it could give a more complete view into the inner workings of the left’s mindset. By choosing the “logical” extreme that involves strapping someone to a table we see a difference in first principles. Preventing any sort of bad choice vs living with the consequences of a bad choice. This is the essence of prior constraint writ large.
If we examine this more closely we can see it playing out in other areas of the leftist playbook. The two most obvious examples are Guns and Free Speech. To prevent undesirable outcomes they want to simply ban all guns. The range of undesirable outcomes in their minds can vary from keeping those scary brown people from robbing me to the horrifying thought of a Deplorable getting uppity and thinking they have the right of self-determination. Both are equally loathsome to the agenda of leftists. This could be argued to be simply a childish case of Hoplophobia, or a well-meaning wish to keep crime in check. But I would argue that it is something deeper. It is my contention that it is that leftists believe in the perfectibility of man. If only they can control all of the variables, limit enough of his choices, protect him from his own worst nature, they will create a perfect man, and by extension, the perfect society. To bastardize a horribly overused saying “You can’t have your Utopian omelet without breaking a few individualist eggs”.
Free Speech is much the same. Rather than risk people making bad choices, and by bad I mean any that the leftists don’t approve of, they simply limit the debate to the leftist’s approved ideas. Any ideas outside of the approved orthodoxy must be shouted down. The offending ideas must be stopped before they can take root in the Prole’s mass consciousness. This has played over and over in the last few years as conservative speakers in universities have been subject to the Heckler’s Veto. Time and again speakers have been shouted down, attacked by mobs, or cancelled at the last minute by leftist fellow traveler administrators. This constraint of the free exchange of ideas is anathema to the purpose of a university, truly to any institute of learning. Any strain of thought that must be protected from heterodox ideas injected from the deplorable masses must invariably lead to a great degree of intellectual flaccidity. This flaccidity has created an entire generation of people that, left to their own devices, can do little to the people that they disagree with but resort to name calling. I guess that creating the sort of people to populate Utopia requires that no one be able to muster the intellectual firepower to question the Philosopher Kings running it. Prior Constraint must be considered the preferred tool to keep impurities from taking root in the perfectible man. This pure vessel must be protected at all costs. Stop any act and crush any idea that may take hold in this person. Utopia must be protected at any cost.
Our old buddy and CF lifer Sam sends that, and he’s onto something big there regarding what really makes Lefty tick. I hope to expound on the theme a bit myself soonest; there’s just so much out there of late to post about, and so little time in which to do it.