What Were They Thinking?

 

No matter how fruitless the effort, I am plagued with a debilitating habit that I just can’t seem to shake: I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out, beyond the ideology, what people on the Left are actually thinking or what they believe, for them to continue to invest their time and efforts in foolish and dangerous ideas. Every now and then I have some openings in my thought process that allow me to venture into the dark recesses of the minds of the Left. I want to test out my thinking on all of you.

Since it’s difficult to make meaningful generalizations about the countless errors that the Left and particularly the Biden administration have made, I decided to focus primarily on the following areas: border administration (or lack thereof); policy toward China (or the lack thereof); policy on the economy (or the lack thereof) wait a minute, am I repeating myself? Regardless, our negotiating with Iran on the nuclear deal, and finally the mess of managing Covid give us plenty to focus on. I think it’s possible to infer similarities in thinking (or non-thinking, if you prefer) regarding these five areas that would explain how inept and feckless their efforts have been.

Elitism/Arrogance—More than ever, the Left relies on its belief in its own superiority. Whether these people point to their college degrees, affirmations of each other in their enclaves or just their own narcissism, they believe that they are best suited to run this country. Since their actions are driven by their elitist ideology, e.g., Marxism, socialism, wealth accumulation, and social circles, anyone who doesn’t embrace or live within those bubbles is clearly inferior and unqualified to contribute. It is possible to join this cadre, but you must begin by lauding the ideology first, then checking off all the other Leftist boxes.

Idealism/Naivete—These two attributes tend to feed on each other. The Left clings tightly to its ideals, and its naivete about the nature of real life and living as a productive member of society allows it to maintain its idealism. As it continues to live in its bubbles well into adulthood, seeking out others who are as idealistic and naïve as it is,  it never encounters the middle class, which often struggles to make ends make; the Left insists that the struggles of “ordinary folk” are caused by Conservatives who have evil goals to quash those who live outside the Left’s elite circles. The ills of society, which are often the outcome of ordinary struggles to survive and thrive, can all be blamed on the capitalistic forces. Once those forces are controlled, or better yet eliminated, everyone will be equal. But of course, some people will be more equal than others; the elite will need to have the power to create and replicate this equality.

Faux Compassion—Although the Left has always claimed to be compassionate, the truth has been leaking out that it could care less about anyone who isn’t part of its in-group. Lately, it has been faced with the inconvenient truth that people are discovering how deluded it is: providing government funding that strips people of their work ethic; thinking people will accept vaccine mandates because it’s for their own good and the good of others; shutting down businesses while it destroys local economies; claiming compassion for those who cross the southern border, promising to provide funding and ignoring Covid infections; allowing drug deaths to skyrocket as fentanyl is carried across the border by cartels. The list is quite long, but the truth is emerging. The Left doesn’t care about anyone except its own agenda and its partners in crime.

Diplomacy vs. Demands—The Left wants everyone to believe that due to its elite expertise, it can finesse diplomatic activities it is involved with. The diplomats went into the latest Iran negotiations thinking that if they made their best offer, the Iranians would be so impressed that they’d simply agree and the negotiations could be wrapped up; the Iranians insisted, however, on further negotiations. I suspect that our elites are prepared to “give away the store” to finish up the Iran deal. We also see the feckless threats made to Russia and China, who are not in the least intimidated by our threats. And of course, our insistence that people should stop crossing the southern border is a farce. I suspect the Left believes that implementing penalties against our enemies is uncouth and will hurt people’s feelings. In addition, it is afraid to make demands because some of us will expect them to follow through, and that could hurt the Left politically when it doesn’t.

Analysis/Action/Paralysis—I’m convinced that since the Left relies on feelings and instincts, even serious decisions don’t undergo any kind of legitimate analysis. One only needs to look at the debacle in Afghanistan: if your “feelings” tell you that you must get out, then it’s important to take action, regardless of the potential outcomes. The alternative to action is paralysis—doing nothing because it just seems too difficult to do—and hope that no one notices.

All of these attributes are part of the Leftist mentality and have been for over 100 years. I guess we can at least say that it is consistent in its ineptitude.

*     *     *     *

Given this analysis, I see no reason for the Left to wake up to the limitations of its ideology, or to take corrective action. These ideologues are headed for the abyss, and either refuse to acknowledge the potential disasters ahead, or simply ignore them. And they are prepared to take all of us with them.

To them, reality is relative and malleable; they will try to reshape impending disasters as opportunities. And since their reality is focused on attaining the ultimate good, which can either be described as the Global Reset or the transformation of America, power is key. They will risk nearly everything to hold onto it.

I’ve always maintained optimism in the face of these calamities; we do see pockets of the country fighting back against mandates, critical race theory, and the lack of a border policy.

But will it be enough?

[photo courtesy of Vadim Sadovski on unsplash.com]

Published in Politics
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 87 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):
    Those ideas are now spreading through secondary schools.

    And even elementary schools. They don’t care whether they understand; they’re laying the groundwork.

    Virtue signaling should be the 8th sin.

    • #61
  2. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Getting meta

    • #62
  3. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    I Walton (View Comment):

    What we call the left may be as diverse as what we call the right. There are elites who run things, get rich from them, and may or may not believe the notions we call left. It gives them power and they know how to use it. Power and wealth are the only things they have in common with each other, other than a profound historical ignorance. Then there are the ordinary voters who have been Democrats their whole lives and have been taught to distrust and hate Republicans. This is a very wide diverse group who don’t read a lot and may or may not be intelligent, but just go along. There are folks who burn places and rob and radicals who egg them on; they tend to be young, are mostly not educated and when the left consolidates power the elite will have to get rid of the disorderly street mobs and use some of them systematically. By then it won’t be the same elite.

    As to your first sentence that the left may be as diverse as the right, I think they are exponentially more diverse.  The left is made up of a patchwork of different ideologies that very often contradict one other, whereas people on the right generally follow a  set of established principles that is unchanging.  The left is pretty much made up of all the disparate groups who don’t like these established principles, and they vary drastically in their reasons.

    For instance, the left is made up of both the super-rich and the extreme poor.  The highly educated and those who never graduated or even attended high-school are mostly on the left.  Their ranks make up the majority of college professors, lawyers, and journalists, but also the majority of criminals and the homeless.  A hard-core mostly White group worships Mother Earth and all the sexual varieties of perversion and transgenderism, while another hard-core mostly Black group worships God, is uninterested in Global Warming and looks scornfully on homosexuals and transgender people.  The latter group wants to keep our borders secure while the former group wants to open our borders to the rest of the World. It has also been my experience that leftists (or more specifically Democrats) are made up of the most blatant racists and also the most ant-racist guilt-ridden people  at the same time.

    People on the right generally do not have severe extremes in their ranks like this.

    • #63
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    People on the right generally do not have severe extremes in their ranks like this.

    It leads back to my question about how you address so many diverse groups who hate you from the start? I can’t even begin to figure that out. Maybe we should stick with @henryracette‘s idea of dealing with them one person at a time.

    • #64
  5. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    People on the right generally do not have severe extremes in their ranks like this.

    It leads back to my question about how you address so many diverse groups who hate you from the start? I can’t even begin to figure that out. Maybe we should stick with @ henryracette‘s idea of dealing with them one person at a time.

    Well, I guess you are right.  They are all warped in different ways and like all mental disorders, must be treated on an individual basis.

    • #65
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    People on the right generally do not have severe extremes in their ranks like this.

    It leads back to my question about how you address so many diverse groups who hate you from the start? I can’t even begin to figure that out. Maybe we should stick with @ henryracette‘s idea of dealing with them one person at a time.

    Well, I guess you are right. They are all warped in different ways and like all mental disorders, must be treated on an individual basis.

    Don’t misunderstand me, Steven. I really detest the idea of tailoring an approach for each person, and would like to find a strategy that would work for many. I just don’t know if it’s possible.

    • #66
  7. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    People on the right generally do not have severe extremes in their ranks like this.

    It leads back to my question about how you address so many diverse groups who hate you from the start? I can’t even begin to figure that out. Maybe we should stick with @ henryracette‘s idea of dealing with them one person at a time.

    Well, I guess you are right. They are all warped in different ways and like all mental disorders, must be treated on an individual basis.

    Don’t misunderstand me, Steven. I really detest the idea of tailoring an approach for each person, and would like to find a strategy that would work for many. I just don’t know if it’s possible.

    You probably tailor your approach to each individual  person in almost every other area of life, so why would politics be any different?

    • #67
  8. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    People on the right generally do not have severe extremes in their ranks like this.

    It leads back to my question about how you address so many diverse groups who hate you from the start? I can’t even begin to figure that out. Maybe we should stick with @ henryracette‘s idea of dealing with them one person at a time.

    Well, I guess you are right. They are all warped in different ways and like all mental disorders, must be treated on an individual basis.

    Don’t misunderstand me, Steven. I really detest the idea of tailoring an approach for each person, and would like to find a strategy that would work for many. I just don’t know if it’s possible.

    You probably tailor your approach to each individual person in almost every other area of life, so why would politics be any different?

    I think the disease requires both broad-spectrum antileftoxics as well as routine counseling sessions.  The former is just good common sense information broadcast over the air and through the earbuds, but it is up to each of us to supply the latter in the form of friendly conversation.  I’m not a professional, but it does seem like one would use a similar approach when talking to someone who isn’t necessarily in the same plane of existence. 

    • #68
  9. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    People on the right generally do not have severe extremes in their ranks like this.

    It leads back to my question about how you address so many diverse groups who hate you from the start? I can’t even begin to figure that out. Maybe we should stick with @ henryracette‘s idea of dealing with them one person at a time.

    Well, I guess you are right. They are all warped in different ways and like all mental disorders, must be treated on an individual basis.

    Don’t misunderstand me, Steven. I really detest the idea of tailoring an approach for each person, and would like to find a strategy that would work for many. I just don’t know if it’s possible.

    You probably tailor your approach to each individual person in almost every other area of life, so why would politics be any different?

    I think the disease requires both broad-spectrum antileftoxics as well as routine counseling sessions. The former is just good common sense information broadcast over the air and through the earbuds, but it is up to each of us to supply the latter in the form of friendly conversation. I’m not a professional, but it does seem like one would use a similar approach when talking to someone who isn’t necessarily in the same plane of existence.

    From what we can see so far of the Biden Administration’s failures  many voters that supported Biden in 2020 may be in a different camp. There were likely large numbers who voted Democrat not based on hard and true Leftist doctrine who may not support Democrats going forward. Examples from the Virginia state election and from public polls indicating a shift in Hispanic preferences.

    • #69
  10. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    It seems to me that there are four kinds of leftists.  1- The few who lead the pack and call the shots (and make a lot of money doing so).  2- True believers who are mentally unhinged.  3- Others who follow the pack and just believe it because it’s popular and easy and maybe gives them a boost in their consciences (this includes rich professionals).  And 4- Those who just like the freebies and will go with whoever gives them the free stuff.

    I don’t think there’s a single best way of addressing all four groups.  Or for that matter the top leaders or the bottom free stuffers.

    The middle half can probably be persuaded by a national ad campaign, but no one wants to do it or if some do, they don’t have the cash.

    • #70
  11. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    From what we can see so far of the Biden Administration’s failures  many voters that supported Biden in 2020 may be in a different camp. There were likely large numbers who voted Democrat not based on hard and true Leftist doctrine who may not support Democrats going forward. Examples from the Virginia state election and from public polls indicating a shift in Hispanic preferences.

    And we mustn’t forget those voting for Biden to reject Trump. Good points, Bob.

    • #71
  12. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    People on the right generally do not have severe extremes in their ranks like this.

    It leads back to my question about how you address so many diverse groups who hate you from the start? I can’t even begin to figure that out. Maybe we should stick with @ henryracette‘s idea of dealing with them one person at a time.

    Well, I guess you are right. They are all warped in different ways and like all mental disorders, must be treated on an individual basis.

    Don’t misunderstand me, Steven. I really detest the idea of tailoring an approach for each person, and would like to find a strategy that would work for many. I just don’t know if it’s possible.

    You probably tailor your approach to each individual person in almost every other area of life, so why would politics be any different?

    The best vaccine is to not give them purchase. The followers will drift away to find something else to follow.

    • #72
  13. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Susan, I do have a thought about this.

    It turns out that I disagree with you, as far as I can tell, on two of the issues raised in the OP.  I thought that the Afghanistan withdrawal was a good idea, and that it turned out reasonably well in the circumstances.  I also think that negotiating with Iran on nuclear issues is sensible, though I don’t think that the Obama administration’s deal was a very good one.

    Further, I don’t think that I’ve reached these positions irrationally, or based on feelings.  I simply see the situation somewhat differently than most here at Ricochet.  In fact, I changed my position on these two issues over the past year or so, and I think that I did so because I stopped basing my views on feelings.

    I don’t think that this will be the case with every issue, but there are often rational arguments on the other side, sometimes proceeding from different premises or values, and sometimes based on a different assessment of the facts.

    It also seems, to me, that there is no shortage of opinion based on emotions, rather than rational analysis, on both the Left and the Right.  I do think that this is somewhat more prevalent on the Left, but I see it on the Right as well.

    • #73
  14. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    You think Afghanistan turned out reasonably well?

    It was a disaster. You can site reason all you want, Jerry, but emotions are important. Watching Americans be left behind in an immoral act, abandoning allies, breaking our promises, these are all things that are wrong. They are evil acts. 

    If you think there is not a price to pay for such things, you are wrong. I cannot believe I have to explain this to a lawyer, but maybe I do: Human Beings are ruled by emotion and reason, not reason alone. It has ever been thus. Worshiping at the alter of pure reason is how you get horrible outcomes. 

    You have changed, Jerry, over the past two years, that is for sure. I don’t think it is for the better. I am not sure what has happened to you, but it has. Perhaps you have fallen in love with your own reason. It can feel quite good to think of yourself as the lone rational man. Bit of superiority. 

    I’ll take Susan Quinn’s hard earned wisdom over your reason any day.

    • #74
  15. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    You think Afghanistan turned out reasonably well?

    It was a disaster. You can site reason all you want, Jerry, but emotions are important. Watching Americans be left behind in an immoral act, abandoning allies, breaking our promises, these are all things that are wrong. They are evil acts.

    If you think there is not a price to pay for such things, you are wrong. I cannot believe I have to explain this to a lawyer, but maybe I do: Human Beings are ruled by emotion and reason, not reason alone. It has ever been thus. Worshiping at the alter of pure reason is how you get horrible outcomes.

    You have changed, Jerry, over the past two years, that is for sure. I don’t think it is for the better. I am not sure what has happened to you, but it has. Perhaps you have fallen in love with your own reason. It can feel quite good to think of yourself as the lone rational man. Bit of superiority.

    I’ll take Susan Quinn’s hard earned wisdom over your reason any day.

    What disasters occurred in Afghanistan?  I genuinely haven’t seen anything that is of concern to me, but I haven’t been following the story very closely.

    I appreciate your comment, though I don’t agree with your assessment.  It’s a little strange to be accused of falling in love with reason, when I regularly argue that morality must be based on faith, not reason.  However, I think that you are correct in observing that my thinking, at least on these issues, has been shifting toward a foundation in reason, rather than emotion.

    Your response reminds me of an account from Churchill.  At one point during the war, there was a motion of no confidence offered in the House of Commons (which failed almost unanimously).  The funny part was pointed out by one of the Members of Parliament — essentially that the MP bringing the motion was arguing that Churchill had interfered unduly in the conduct of the war (instead of leaving it to the professionals), while the MP seconding the motion was arguing that Churchill had insufficiently interfered in the conduct of the war (by leaving it to the professionals).

    So the strange thing here is that Susan’s OP argued that the positions of the Left were based on emotion, and when I rebutted that with respect to two particular issues, the response was that I should base my position on emotion.  I do realize, Bryan, that you and Susan are different people — thus the example from Churchill.

    Finally, as far as “hard-earned wisdom” goes, I don’t think that Susan has any such wisdom with respect to foreign affairs, nor do I.  I’ve never been involved in such activities.  I have studied the subject in some detail.

    • #75
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    What disasters occurred in Afghanistan?  I genuinely haven’t seen anything that is of concern to me, but I haven’t been following the story very closely.

    That’s because you don’t think we’re obligated to help the Afghans who helped our military. The screw-ups were (1) we left Americans over there. Yes, some Americans wanted to stay, but many wanted to leave. We have lists of who those people are still there. We promised to get all Americans out. We didn’t. (2) We didn’t get the Afghans out who aided our military. Our government promised to get them out. They didn’t. Instead, we stupidly allowed hundreds if not thousands of Afghans on our planes without screening them (although Milley said we screened them after the fact, which they couldn’t have, because we have no data on ordinary citizens). They’ve been dumped on various airbases here with poor monitoring and follow-up. We also added to both disasters by giving up Bagram Air base early on. Stupid.

    Iran was a disaster because we knew Iran would not honor the agreement. We gave them millions of dollars for agreeing, and they thanked us by continue to ramp up their nuclear weapons program. Some people say that we at least slowed them down; there is no evidence of their slowing, except for some inconvenient interruptions to their process; they have continued to ramp up their program. They had no intention of stopping it or slowing it down. The Iranis have lied from the start and we should never have made any agreement with them. It was stupid and arrogant of us to think we could have had any impact on their plans. We should have just let them do what they were going to do and stayed out of it. You can’t negotiate with liars.

    • #76
  17. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    What disasters occurred in Afghanistan? I genuinely haven’t seen anything that is of concern to me, but I haven’t been following the story very closely.

    This reminds me of the mentality that proclaimed that nothing bad happened in South Vietnam after the Communists took over when we left.  In closed societies massive killings take place out of view of the world press and gives the average person the false perception that everything is OK.  As soon as you smuggle a camera in and show beheadings and dismemberment, all perception changes.   In the case of Vietnam, it is estimated that up to one million people were murdered by the government in the couple decades after the Commies took over and instituted “re-education” concentration camps.  Because of the government’s still secretive nature, historians are just now sorting things out.

    This same phenomenon happened during World War II when the vast scale of mass extermination was kept secret from the rest of the World.  There were many suspicions about it from isolated reports, but it was not taken seriously until after the Allies liberated the camps and showed film-footage when the greater world become sickened by the carnage.

    In the case of Afghanistan, you should know easily from recent history that the Taliban is a homicidal authoritarian regime, worse than many former Communist countries.  Even without hearing a single report from inside the country, you should be smart enough to know that it has turned into a Hell-hole.  And you don’t call this a disaster?  What would it take for you?  A nuclear detonation?

    As it turns out, Afghanistan is not yet so closed that we don’t have ample first-hand reports of the mayhem, especially in this day of cell phones and Internet.  And I haven’t even mentioned the Americans that were left behind to fend for themselves.  Any simple Internet search will turn up hundreds of reports of the killings now taking place in the country.  I did a routine search and here is the first hit I found:

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/14/asia/un-alarm-afghanistan-killings-intl/index.html

    • #77
  18. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    As it turns out, Afghanistan is not yet so closed that we don’t have ample first-hand reports of the mayhem, especially in this day of cell phones and Internet.  And I haven’t even mentioned the Americans that were left behind to fend for themselves.  Any simple Internet search will turn up hundreds of reports of the killings now taking place in the country.  I did a routine search and here is the first hit I found:

    I have to say for myself that it was time for us to get out; it should have happened sooner. The way we did it made it extremely easy for the Taliban to move in to govern. Could we have stopped them? I don’t know; apparently they were getting ready to take over months earlier. But there was absolutely no way for the Afghan army to take over based on how we left: we literally abandoned them and instead of leaving some air assistance as we promised, we took out everything or dismantled materiel. As I’ve said, a govenrmental and military disaster.

    • #78
  19. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I don’t think that this will be the case with every issue, but there are often rational arguments on the other side, sometimes proceeding from different premises or values, and sometimes based on a different assessment of the facts.

    Jerry, I always enjoy your thoughtfully contrarian perspectives.

    While I disagree with your position on both Afghanistan and Iran (that is, I think we should have remained in Afghanistan, and that we should have broken Iran economically rather than engaged in negotiations), I share what I take to be your skepticism of the view, often expressed, that “liberals are emotional, conservatives are rational.” As implied by my comment #32, I don’t see the rational/emotional divide as being a significant aspect of the left/right divide. I think most of us “think” emotionally most of the time — for good and proper reason and to good effect. To the extent that rationality or the lack of it are a factor in leftist policy-making (as opposed to simple greed or laziness), I think it tends to be an excess of rationality on the left, and the hubris that springs from it, that gets them into trouble.

    • #79
  20. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Iran was a disaster because we knew Iran would not honor the agreement. We gave them millions of dollars for agreeing, and they thanked us by continue to ramp up their nuclear weapons program. Some people say that we at least slowed them down; there is no evidence of their slowing, except for some inconvenient interruptions to their process; they have continued to ramp up their program. They had no intention of stopping it or slowing it down. The Iranis have lied from the start and we should never have made any agreement with them. It was stupid and arrogant of us to think we could have had any impact on their plans. We should have just let them do what they were going to do and stayed out of it. You can’t negotiate with liars

    I’m with you 100% on the Iranian debacle.  I still believe in the old adage that you should never negotiate with terrorists.  You have to treat them like criminals and impose your demands upon them, without conceding a single thing unless absolutely necessary.  There is almost no way to trust their word.  Force is the default position when dealing with terrorists.

    • #80
  21. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I don’t think that this will be the case with every issue, but there are often rational arguments on the other side, sometimes proceeding from different premises or values, and sometimes based on a different assessment of the facts.

    Jerry, I always enjoy your thoughtfully contrarian perspectives.

    While I disagree with your position on both Afghanistan and Iran (that is, I think we should have remained in Afghanistan, and that we should have broken Iran economically rather than engaged in negotiations), I share what I take to be your skepticism of the view, often expressed, that “liberals are emotional, conservatives are rational.” As implied by my comment #32, I don’t see the rational/emotional divide as being a significant aspect of the left/right divide. I think most of us “think” emotionally most of the time — for good and proper reason and to good effect. To the extent that rationality or the lack of it are a factor in leftist policy-making (as opposed to simple greed or laziness), I think it tends to be an excess of rationality on the left, and the hubris that springs from it, that gets them into trouble.

    I had always heard the divide expressed as “liberals are stupid/ignorant and conservatives are evil.” 

    • #81
  22. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Django (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I don’t think that this will be the case with every issue, but there are often rational arguments on the other side, sometimes proceeding from different premises or values, and sometimes based on a different assessment of the facts.

    Jerry, I always enjoy your thoughtfully contrarian perspectives.

    While I disagree with your position on both Afghanistan and Iran (that is, I think we should have remained in Afghanistan, and that we should have broken Iran economically rather than engaged in negotiations), I share what I take to be your skepticism of the view, often expressed, that “liberals are emotional, conservatives are rational.” As implied by my comment #32, I don’t see the rational/emotional divide as being a significant aspect of the left/right divide. I think most of us “think” emotionally most of the time — for good and proper reason and to good effect. To the extent that rationality or the lack of it are a factor in leftist policy-making (as opposed to simple greed or laziness), I think it tends to be an excess of rationality on the left, and the hubris that springs from it, that gets them into trouble.

    I had always heard the divide expressed as “liberals are stupid/ignorant and conservatives are evil.”

    I think that’s the political parties — and it’s the other way around: the stupid party (Republicans) and the evil party (Democrats). And, when speaking of the parties themselves (and not the electorate in general), I think there’s a bit of truth to it. ;)

    • #82
  23. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    I don’t think that this will be the case with every issue, but there are often rational arguments on the other side, sometimes proceeding from different premises or values, and sometimes based on a different assessment of the facts.

    Jerry, I always enjoy your thoughtfully contrarian perspectives.

    While I disagree with your position on both Afghanistan and Iran (that is, I think we should have remained in Afghanistan, and that we should have broken Iran economically rather than engaged in negotiations), I share what I take to be your skepticism of the view, often expressed, that “liberals are emotional, conservatives are rational.” As implied by my comment #32, I don’t see the rational/emotional divide as being a significant aspect of the left/right divide. I think most of us “think” emotionally most of the time — for good and proper reason and to good effect. To the extent that rationality or the lack of it are a factor in leftist policy-making (as opposed to simple greed or laziness), I think it tends to be an excess of rationality on the left, and the hubris that springs from it, that gets them into trouble.

    I had always heard the divide expressed as “liberals are stupid/ignorant and conservatives are evil.”

    I think that’s the political parties — and it’s the other way around: the stupid party (Republicans) and the evil party (Democrats). And, when speaking of the parties themselves (and not the electorate in general), I think there’s a bit of truth to it. ;)

    The GOPe are definitely stupid, and they prove it weekly. 

    • #83
  24. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    You think Afghanistan turned out reasonably well?

    It was a disaster. You can site reason all you want, Jerry, but emotions are important. Watching Americans be left behind in an immoral act, abandoning allies, breaking our promises, these are all things that are wrong. They are evil acts.

    If you think there is not a price to pay for such things, you are wrong. I cannot believe I have to explain this to a lawyer, but maybe I do: Human Beings are ruled by emotion and reason, not reason alone. It has ever been thus. Worshiping at the alter of pure reason is how you get horrible outcomes.

    You have changed, Jerry, over the past two years, that is for sure. I don’t think it is for the better. I am not sure what has happened to you, but it has. Perhaps you have fallen in love with your own reason. It can feel quite good to think of yourself as the lone rational man. Bit of superiority.

    I’ll take Susan Quinn’s hard earned wisdom over your reason any day.

    What disasters occurred in Afghanistan? I genuinely haven’t seen anything that is of concern to me, but I haven’t been following the story very closely.

    To add to what others have said above on this, let say: It made America look weak. Perception is important. The reality is, the feelings of other people don’t care about your facts. People make their most important decisions in life based on emotions, not facts. 

    I appreciate your comment, though I don’t agree with your assessment. It’s a little strange to be accused of falling in love with reason, when I regularly argue that morality must be based on faith, not reason. However, I think that you are correct in observing that my thinking, at least on these issues, has been shifting toward a foundation in reason, rather than emotion.

    Your response reminds me of an account from Churchill. At one point during the war, there was a motion of no confidence offered in the House of Commons (which failed almost unanimously). The funny part was pointed out by one of the Members of Parliament — essentially that the MP bringing the motion was arguing that Churchill had interfered unduly in the conduct of the war (instead of leaving it to the professionals), while the MP seconding the motion was arguing that Churchill had insufficiently interfered in the conduct of the war (by leaving it to the professionals).

    So the strange thing here is that Susan’s OP argued that the positions of the Left were based on emotion, and when I rebutted that with respect to two particular issues, the response was that I should base my position on emotion. I do realize, Bryan, that you and Susan are different people — thus the example from Churchill.

    To whom you compare yourself? Honestly, Jerry, that really stretches things. It does, however, fit with the idea that you find yourself above us. My guess is, Churchill would have never fled a nation in such a way, seeing how poorly it would make Britain look. But, you seem to think it was a perfectly rational policy no matter how bad it looked. 

    Finally, as far as “hard-earned wisdom” goes, I don’t think that Susan has any such wisdom with respect to foreign affairs, nor do I. I’ve never been involved in such activities. I have studied the subject in some detail.

    As we all know, the experts in foreign affairs who have studied them for life, do so, so well. Just look at their track records. Susan, Sir, has wisdom about human beings. Your recent changes seems to me to show that you do not. 

    • #84
  25. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Si vis pacem, para bellum.

    • #85
  26. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    We gave them millions of dollars for agreeing,

    It was their money, just saying, being “held hostage” as it were.

    and they thanked us by continue to ramp up their nuclear weapons program.

    According to the inspectors they really weren’t – until the US left the deal and started ramping up sanctions again.

    *sigh*

    • #86
  27. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    We gave them millions of dollars for agreeing,

    It was their money, just saying, being “held hostage” as it were.

    and they thanked us by continue to ramp up their nuclear weapons program.

    According to the inspectors they really weren’t – until the US left the deal and started ramping up sanctions again.

    *sigh*

    I don’t think we should have given their money back.  They are terrorists.  And I don’t think inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities makes one whit of difference.  They are a dictatorship that does pretty much whatever they feel like doing, and they have no intention of disclosing or being honest about their private military operations to anybody else in the world.  How hard is it to hide manufacturing of nuclear material in a large country when they dictate exactly where inspectors are allowed to look?

    • #87
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.