The Power Of Self Delusion

by the left:

Guevara was a vicious, megalomaniacal sociopath who wanted to be the next Stalin or Mao. (Indeed, Stalin in his younger days was a figure very much like Guevara.) He overtly and clearly stated his desire to destroy America and to exterminate millions of Americans in the process.

Yet today he is considered to be a figure worthy of admiration by the far (20% most) left in America. Go to any college campus and you will see admiring posters and t-shirts. Even Robert Redford, one of the few leftists who actually spent tens of millions of dollars of his own money on charitable causes, made a hagiographic movie about Guevera.

The vast majority of leftists, however, know nothing about the real Guevera. All they know is the hagiography that came straight out the Cold War-era Soviet propaganda mill. Worse, they don’t even bother to question the hagiography at all. If you try to confront them about their mindless adoration, they will reflexively change the subject to some real or imagined evil of non-leftists somewhere in the world’s history. They are emotionally incapable of thinking about Guevera in anything but positive terms.

Gee, I think we’ve seen some of that recently, on this very blog.

33 thoughts on “The Power Of Self Delusion”

  1. Did we see this? No one commenting on this blog said anything nice about Guevera, except that the commenter using the name Godzilla pointed out that Che didn’t just supervise, he fought, which is just making a virtue out of necessity.

    So did we “see some of that recently on this very blog”? Well, “that” in this case also involves “reflexively change the subject to some real or imagined evil of non-leftists somewhere in the world’s history.” Andrea criticized this sort of change of subject, and if that was what was happening, she’d be right to criticize, but I’d say that rather than changing the subject, people are just comparing and contrasting, as Leland suggested that we do.

    But even if we didn’t see it on this blog, it is a problem that people on the left tend to admire Che. Fortunately, there is good news: since it is usually out of ignorance, education rather than scorn is the answer to problem.

  2. Fortunately, there is good news: since it is usually out of ignorance, education rather than scorn is the answer to problem.

    I hope that’s true, Bob, but the problem is that, with the educators, it is not the case.

    And BTW, did you read the whole thing? I excerpted. I would suggest reading all.

    So did we “see some of that recently on this very blog”? Well, “that” in this case also involves “reflexively change the subject to some real or imagined evil of non-leftists somewhere in the world’s history.” Andrea criticized this sort of change of subject, and if that was what was happening, she’d be right to criticize, but I’d say that rather than changing the subject, people are just comparing and contrasting, as Leland suggested that we do.

    Yes, no one brought up a single Nazi reenactor to “compare and contrast” to thousands of Che shirts and posters sold in that thread. No one at all.

    Was your sense of irony snipped at birth?

  3. It was here and I remember it, you mad, trend setting, impetuous blogger you!!

    One of my old hippie friends had her, then 5 y/o, daughter in a Che Shirt at a party at my house years ago. I gave mom a hard time about the “crazed murderer” shirt on a child and she stayed mad at me for years.

    Not because I called him that, but because her daughter would never wear the shirt again.

  4. I did only read this excerpt this time. I’ll go back and read the whole thing, on your advice.

    Here’s the truth, believe it or not: I saw the Nazi story first, visited your blog hoping you had commented on it, and not finding any commentary but finding a story about inappropriate clothing, shoehorned in a comment. I wasn’t trying to derail, nor was I really trying to compare and contrast at that point.

    I do appreciate it that you’ve brought to my attention how objectionable those Che t-shirt/flag/etc depictions rveally are. I never thought highly of Che, but I’m sure I’ve learned more about him from reading your various links to him. (I also thought Jim’s comment about the schools named after the KKK guy was educational.)

    Some of the blogs I read have an “open” posting from time to time, where commenters are invited to bring something to the blog owner’s attention. I realize you aren’t eagerly awaiting suggestions from me – either on the format of your blog or on what to read, but I bet you’d enjoy reading suggestions from some of your more likeminded commenters (eg Carl) every once in a while. You made it clear that this is not an open forum in general, but I thought I’d mention it as something you might enjoy.

    Viva la conservación!

  5. I dunno. I think the idea that the bourgeous are comfortable has always been a logically inconsistent accusation by the revolutionistas. They’re always asserting that such people are very anxious about class status, trivial differences in wealth, material objects they have or don’t have, and any number of such minutiae — compared to whom they live lives of freedom and gusto, in the mountains, with only a jug of proletarian wine, fine revolutionary slogans, and their sense of brotherhood in The Struggle to keep them warm at night.

    I don’t think you can have it both ways. Either the bourgeous are resisting the revolution because they’re big fraidy-cats jumping at every shadow or they’re stolid unimaginative burghers who can’t comprehend the profundity of coffee-house pothead wisdom. But they can’t logically be both.

  6. Bwuh? Andrea, you misunderstood. I was joking that you find leftists safe (or at least, you find me safe. Like Carl, I was trying to joke that you can’t have it both ways, although in my case I was saying that either leftists are boring (and thus safe), or leftists are scary, and thus it is worth endlessly blogging about the coming destruction of America at the hands of people who rally for taking down a notch and so forth.

  7. Well it’s a stupid quote anyway, Bob. If you feel safe then by definition you are acutely aware of dangers — but also know that you have sufficient defenses against them — the walls are stout and high and well-manned, the swords sharpened and pitch red-hot, and your gamebook filled with diaboliical Art of War strategems and fail-safe backup plans.

    You might feel vigilant and very likely a little smug, if you feel safe, but by definition you can’t be bored — have nothing about which to think — except in the strange special case that you feel safe simply because your potential enemies are all dead and buried at the crossroads witha stake through their hearts, and even then you have to consider the possibility of zombies.

  8. Nah. It is a kind of a stupid quote, but don’t you have teenagers? Isn’t feels-safe-but-is-really-just-oblivious a typical symptom for teens? And it isn’t just teens: the vast majority of people feel quite safe from an asteroid impact without feeling the least bit vigilant or smug about it. Until Hollywood launched its multiple waves of public service campaigns, Americans felt similarly safe from zombies.

  9. Hmm…no, I would say you’re still using the wrong word, Bobadoon. Teenagers are oblivious to risks, yes, but I wouldn’t call that feeling safe, unless you define “safe” as simply the absence of any thought or reflection on risk. Me, I’m taking the word to have a more active meaning — you can’t feel safe unless you’re aware of a danger, have thought it over, and, rightly or wrongly, come to believe the danger is manageable, or deflectable.

    The problem with teens or your Vast Majority Sleeping Unaware Of The Cosmic Danger That Could Be Speeding Toward Them Even As We Speak is that, well, they’re unaware. I’m not happy calling an absence of awareness feeling safe. That’d be like saying the the absence of misery equals happiness, and only Zen monks and the dourest of Scotsman adhere to philosophies as dessicated as that.

    Two of the teenagers have left to help inflate the great higher-education bubble, leaving only the surliest behind.

  10. On the assumption that you can’t know everything, feeling safe because you are aware and prepared is not entirely possible. My experience is that people that feel safe are often clueless to dangers. Warning some of dangers is commonly a frustrating experience. This isn’t necessarily bad. We should be more alert to some dangers than others.

    But allowing them to vote and affect my safety…

  11. Ironically enough, I just finished bitching out a leftist fanboy blogger (whose standard avatar is a caricature of the author-as-Che) who had wandered out of his usual wheelhouse of “reviewing old Japanese animation” to mock the “teabagger congressional candidate” for his cosplay choices.

    Although I’m starting to feel like I over-use the fascist tag. I’m using it too often, in too many situations. The “signal” of the label is starting to fade into “carrier wave”. Does that make sense?

  12. I didn’t say leftists were safe, I said they were boring. Many dangerous things are also boring — boring to experience, boring to contemplate. (War, for example. It’s supposed to be “exciting,” but ask any soldier and they’ll tell you all about long periods of excruciating tedium.)

    Leftists are boring because they never say anything new and never give any indication that they have had an innovative thought since 1975. Every time a conversation gets interesting (in other words, politically incorrect), a lefty will squirt in some tired boilerplate about “cultural differences” or how all problems can be solved by “education.” It makes me feel like I’m living in an episode of Sesame Street, only they’ve gotten rid of all the fun people like Oscar the Grouch, and Bert and Ernie have joined GLAAD and become droning gay activist bores.

  13. Leftists have a propensity for planned economies. Even if they are all doomed, they have the potential to be new and interesting, as anything that complex yet planned is an engineering challenge.

    Furthermore, they needn’t be all planned all the time. For example: cap and trade — seems like something new, supported by the Left. boring or interesting?

  14. I’m never bored by leftists. At least not for long. The mindless party-line-regurgitating can be boring, but there’s something about putting a gun to my head that immediately captures my attention.

  15. Yeah, but the planned economies of the leftists always involve someone else’s money, and in the case of Che (Mao and Stalin too), taken after the revolution has killed the someone else.

  16. Bob, there’s no such thing as an unplanned economy. People do not enter into economic transactions chaotically, willy-nilly, with no idea what their goals are and paying no attention to things like price signals, opportunity cost, et cetera.

    Economies — or rather, the bazillions of individual transactions toi the collection of which we give the shorthand notation “the economy” — are highly planned, at many levels, starting from the teenager contemplating whether he wants to buy a burger or a chicken sandwich at McD’s, all the way up to the CEO of GE deciding whether he wants to invest in R&D for a new jet engine, or the board of Boeing deciding whether to base the next factory in China or Seattle. Many, many plans, at many different levels, intersecting and interacting in enormously complicated ways.

    What typical Stalinist leftists mean when they say “planned economy” is something far more crude and primitive: they mean a very small “star chamber” of “experts” — not in anything in particular, like engineering or aerospace or finance, but just “experts” in “planning” — sitting around and arbitrarily moving a few of the really big chess pieces on the economic board. Say, take $1 trillion from every wage earner and funnel it to 50 state governments, plus assorted Dept of Transportation chosen projects, et cetera. Or perhaps nationalizing the cement industry, or making the trains run on time, whatever.

    It’s a very, very old idea, and it’s essentially a form of religion — a wish that God, or the King, Emperor, Dictator, Caesar, Big Daddy in the Sky or the Palace, would Fix Things when things seem wrong. Just reach into the humming machinery and move this part over there where any idiot can see it belongs. The results are pretty much as predictable, and predictably similar, as would be the case if one did attempt to fix engine knock by reaching under the hood and randomly unscrewing some bolts and screwing in others.

    In that sense I fully agree with Andrea. This instinctive wish for what amounts to a late-night TV Miracle Diet / Miracle Hair Restorer Drug / Natural Male Enhancement product that will achieve your dreams without pain, just magically, is very old, very ordinary, and very boring and uncreative.

    Or think of it this way: the left is fond of grassroots organization, right? Well, a free economy is organized (“planned”) from the grassroots, bottom up, by individual “factory floor workers” and “local collectives” (i.e. small firms and families), with a strong emphasis away from any kind of aristocracy. It ought to be a natural for leftists — if they believed their own rhetoric. But of course they usually don’t — it’s usually just bullshit to fool the rubes.

  17. The part that makes planned economies innately boring is: No matter what the stated goals are, the built-in incentives have been historically shown (ad nauseum!) to end up moving down predictable paths. The key is that a bureaucracy is actually a form of government. And it sucks.

  18. Well I may just be a dumb bourgeois biddy but even I know that the economy isn’t like “an engineering problem.” It’s not a dam or a bridge. You can’t run it like a machine. It’s not even a “problem” to be “solved.”

    See? Uninteresting, unchallenging, same old tired ideas and ways of thinking — boring.

  19. Andrea, I think “Dumb Bourgeois Biddy” would be a great name for your next blog name change. If you made it plural, the “Dumb Bourgeois Biddies” would be a great woman-band name. 😉

  20. Hmm, “Bourgeois Bumpkin Biddies.” It’s appropriate — I live out in the sticks now.* Our music will be like bluegrass but with drums. We will call our first album “Hick Chicks’ Picks and Sticks.”

    *Actually Staunton, VA is full of liberals with Obama/Biden stickers on their Prii and the Woodrow Wilson Museum is behind my house. The American Shakespeare Theater is a block away. But never mind — I don’t live in LAChicagoNYC so I am by default an inbred hillbilly who watches NASCAR.

  21. Carl: oh that’s who did that song. I keep hearing it here and there and I could never catch the name of the group.

    Leland: isn’t that what Martha Stewart got put in jail for? She should run for Congress now.

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