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Many conservatives view the collectivist Utopian fantasies of the left as evidence that leftists are out of touch with reality. Well-meaning, perhaps. But fanciful. If the horrifying real-world consequences of the application of their Marxist fantasies doesn’t jerk them back to reality, then they’re just hopelessly idealistic. Conservatives are more grounded in reality, right?
But then I consider the fantasies of the right. Conservatives tend to be more comfortable with their daughters playing with Barbies or their sons playing with ‘action figures’ that are completely unrealistic fantasies about female and male physical ideals. The Christians among us acknowledge that Jesus was the only perfect man who ever lived, and then we seek to emulate him, which is obviously impossible. We prefer less government intervention in our lives, while aware of the fact that the baser aspects of human nature might benefit from guidance or perhaps even forced compliance from time to time – we have faith in human nature, while distrusting it.
So who has their heads in the clouds? Those who trust people to take care of themselves and others despite their horrifying character flaws? Or those who think that anyone as dangerously selfish and impulsive as humans should be very carefully controlled?
The only explanation for atheism that has ever made any sense to me is this: “If there is a perfect God, how could He love someone as horrible as me?” I take a different view, since my parents love me despite my gaping personality flaws imperfections. But still, I understand their point.
I think a version of this rationalization of atheism may partially explain those who empathize with the Palestinians over the Israelis. The Israelis view themselves as civilized, and hold themselves to a higher standard of behavior. When they are attacked with rockets launched from an elementary school in Gaza, the Israelis drop leaflets in the area warning everyone to get out before they launch a counter-attack.
Meanwhile, Palestinian invaders sneak into Israel on a religious holiday and then go door to door in Jewish residential neighborhoods and torture children to death in front of their parents.
The civilized among us – those who hold ourselves to a higher standard – can’t even look at pictures of such things without revulsion. But those of us who view humans as nothing more than animals with high IQs tend to be less critical of such behavior.
As a Christian, I believe that all humans are children of God. We’re not just animals.
But suppose that is not true. Suppose I’m wrong, and there really is no God. Ok, fine. But I still hold myself to a higher standard of behavior than the animalistic norms of territoriality and self-preservation. I refuse to accept that I am just an animal doing whatever I want. Even if I really am just an animal. I refuse to accept that, even if it might be true.
I’ve written before about the primitivism of modern leftists. So have many others, going back to Rousseau, and moving forward to thinkers like Paul Ehrlich, Pete Buttigieg, and Greta Thunberg. Leftists distrust the trappings of modern humanity, and seek to return us to what they consider to be a more ‘natural state’.
This may be partially because they feel selfless and virtuous when they profess to be more concerned about the well-being of Mother Earth over the interests of their fellow humans. But I think part of it is simply that they view humans as animals. The ‘natural state’ is where we belong, and any effort to move beyond our baser impulses is unnatural and hypocritical.
Christians, Jews, and Western Civilization going back to Aristotle – much of their thinking is simply an effort to become something greater than what we actually are. I view such efforts as admirable, even if they sometimes fail.
Leftists resent such lofty goals, preferring to remain comfortable in a judgment-free zone, where they are free to follow the pagan guidance of Aleister Crowley: ‘Do What Thou Wilt’.
The left prides itself on Keeping it Real. I try to do better than that.
Which, I guess, means that the hopeless idealist is me, rather than the leftists I often criticize.
And I’m good with that.Published in