The War Of Ideas

The Democrats and the Left are losing it, because they don’t have any ammunition. And really, have they come up with any new ideas in the past half century? Governments running peoples’ lives is as old as civilization itself.

[Late-morning update]

Who killed the Left?

The only thing one can be sure of is that the Republican Party didn’t cause it; nor did their tame and feeble publications. In fact, not even publications like Breitbart, valiant though their efforts were, can claim credit. Trump couldn’t have done it either, since the proud tower that Gerlenter describes would have been impervious to the mere touch of the orange-hued real estate mogul without some other factor in play.

Yet most of us know who did it, though we hesitate to name the obvious suspect. The Left, even in its downfall, has stilled our tongues. The word comes to the edge of our lips before we choke it back, fearful even now of the ridicule and abuse we will get should we blurt it. That word is God. God killed the Left. Of course one could legitimately use some other term. “Reality,” “consequences,” the “laws of nature,” “economics,” even “truth” will do. Through some process of increasing entropy, failed memory management, or unanticipated side effects, the status quo — the one dominated by the Left — is collapsing.

Not fast enough. And sadly, there is something in human nature, in our envy, our greed, our self righteousness, our lust for power, to which their toxic ideas appeal.

13 thoughts on “The War Of Ideas”

  1. We haven’t seen this process completed for a while, but there are plenty of examples from history. See Parkinson, “Evolution of Political Thought”. Aristotle was already familiar with it from city-states in Greece that had collapsed when they ran out of other people’s money.

  2. That word is God. God killed the Left. Of course one could legitimately use some other term. “Reality,” “consequences,” the “laws of nature,” “economics,” even “truth” will do.

    Maybe it was the rejection of God, not necessarily in the religious sense but in the cultural one. So much of the left’s culture is unmoored from morality and ethics. This leads to many abuses because our system relies on an ethical populace, and leadership, to govern actions outside of the law.

    Being PC is a poor ethical superstructure because it is fickle, ever changing, and relies heavily on being unethical.

  3. The Democrats don’t lack for ideas. They have tons of them. Their problem is that almost all of their ideas are very, very bad.

  4. Not only are there ideas bad., but their arguments for those ideas are bad. (I guess the latter is a direct consequence of the former.) They can only rely on fallacious arguments (especially the Argument from Pity and the Straw Man), and in more recent years skip the arguing completely and rely on intimidation.

    Yesterday I saw on one of the Sunday morning talk shows some DNC big shot who said in passing, “Health care is a right.” That’s an idea that won’t stand up to one minute of rational thought; but of course no one–in the brief time I was watching, anyway–challenged this guy to logically defend that assertion, an unproveable article of faith that this secular theocrat was more than willing to force on the rest of us with the Mailed Fist of the State..

  5. Delightful quote I recently came upon. As it was in TJ’s time, so it is today:

    “Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests. In every country these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think, speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore, Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories, Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever name you please, they are the same parties still and pursue the same object. The last one of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true one expressing the essence of all.” –Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824. ME 16:73

    Yesterday’s Aristocrats are today’s Democrats, who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes.

    1. As a college acquaintance once said of Americans, “Joe Sixpack can’t rule himself.” He was, and still is, an avowed democrat and believes the republicans are the evil ones.

    2. I trust the common man to attend to his own affairs. A majority of common men imposing their will on the rest can be easily as ruinous as an aristocracy.

  6. Jefferson left out #3: Those who fear and distrust the elites, having seen what misery their incompetence can wreak when they will hear no contradiction.

  7. One promise in the scripture repeated in more than one book is that truth will one day be like “the waters covering the seas” which even casually sounds pretty complete.

    People understand fake news. They still get swept up by the left’s rhetoric but not as they used to. They know that the right is not much better.

    I’m pretty sure the last 100 years includes all of the signs for the last days. However, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

    I still want to colonize Mars, but I’m reminded of the Rabbi that said (paraphrasing) “Leave them alone. If from God you would be fighting God. If not, it will fail on its own.”

    I look to the future with keen interest.

  8. My take is that the problem for the Left is that they make enemies not friends. A lot of people have been insulted, threatened, jobs at risk, etc because leftists were pursuing a cause and/or donations, and didn’t care about the collateral damage. Leftism also practices a brazen, hypocritical cognitive dissonance that is remarkable to witness (recently, I had someone claim that socialism is defined as democracy in the workplace and then later advocated taking “factory farms” away from successful businesses by force, undemocratically of course, and then giving those farms to unproven worker coops).

    If one tries to appease, then the worst behavior of all surface, the bottomless, gratitude-free list of grievances and imaginary crimes that can never be satisfied. For the Leftist thrives on scapegoats, permanent foes who they in their narratives are defending the world from. And since you can’t work your way off these lists nor cease to be public enemy number one, then there’s no point in caring much less trying.

    Now that racism merely means belonging to an official out-group (like white males), there’s nothing to fix with it. Trying to do better for yourself (such as working additional hours in some job or investing your money instead of spending it) is now membership in some nebulous exploitation class. Why work less hard for yourself to appease someone who won’t change their tune?

    Viewpoints that simply don’t agree strongly enough or in the right way on Leftist matters are lumped in with the worst caricatures of human thought (like how being concerned about due process on a college campus, which normally is favored by leftists who deal with the police on a regular, relatively hostile basis, is suddenly a manifestation of “rape culture” or having a somewhat contrary opinion on things like immigration, government spending, and religion makes you a Nazi no matter what else you might agree with).

    Cross enough people and you lose support. Leftists crossed a lot of people over the decades and now are paying for it. Funny how that works.

    1. Cross enough people and you lose support.

      Which is why they breed and import more supporters. It doesn’t matter if they lose support but continue to make the rules as Pournelle pointed out.

      All they need to continue ruling is lack of focus and action by their (self identified) enemies.

    2. Karl, I think there’s a lot you say here that rings true to my ears.

      I read (err listened via audible) to “Shattered” regarding Hillary’s campaign. One clear theme that had no ideology is that Hillary demanded loyalty, and the moment she felt that an employee was disloyal to her; the thought was that she would ruin them (if underling) or work against them (if another politician). We’re not talking about her attacking disloyal Republicans; these are people that at some point supported her. And though their support may have become questioned, that question resulted in them being treated as enemies. After awhile, that builds up.

      Further, Obama made it clear he considered Republicans the enemy. That is, he consider roughly half his own countrymen the enemy (as opposed to just deplorable). And if you consider how Obama started his Presidency with the Cairo speech to build foreign relations; he doesn’t seem to have many friends in Egypt right now.

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