Perhaps leftists aren’t the hopeless idealists I thought they were…

 

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.

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  1. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    “If there is no God, everything is permitted.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

    • #1
  2. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Dr. Bastiat:

    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.

    On the other hand, such murder porn is very popular in the Muslim world.

    • #2
  3. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Dr. Bastiat: 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?

    A particularly perverse leftist once wrote that atheism made it okay for him to do everything he wanted to do.

    • #3
  4. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    If they convince us, they won’t enjoy finding out the kind of animals we would become. 

    • #4
  5. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    Dr. Bastiat: Leftists resent such lofty goals, preferring to remain comfortable in a judgement-free zone, where they are free to follow the pagan guidance of Aleister Crowley:  ‘Do What Thou Wilt’.

    And yet leftists are far more difficult to get along with than conservatives: When I was a young naive liberal, conservatives treated me with courtesy and respect. When I started to adopt conservative views, lefties were far less tolerant. Furthermore, when I was that young liberal I frequently heard spontaneous, gratuitous invective and slurs directed at conservatives, Christians, believing Jews, and so on.

    EDIT: Replace “adopt conservative views” with “question liberal shibboleths” (which happened before I actually accepted conservative ideas.)

    • #5
  6. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    TBA (View Comment):

    If they convince us, they won’t enjoy finding out the kind of animals we would become.

    When leftists finally succeed in destroying Western Civilization, I don’t think they’ll like what replaces it. 

    • #6
  7. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    I question how large a % of the today’s Left is comprlsed of Idealists…my sense is that a lot of them could be better describe as Nihilists.

    In his first book (1939), Peter Drucker said that prior to 1914, European Leftism was based on Hope; after the war, it was based on resentment and despair.

     

    • #7
  8. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    David Foster (View Comment):

    I question how large a % of the today’s Left is comprlsed of Idealists…my sense is that a lot of them could be better describe as Nihilists.

    In his first book (1939), Peter Drucker said that prior to 1914, European Leftism was based on Hope; after the war, it was based on resentment and despair.

     

    Wow that’s a really interesting perspective… 

    • #8
  9. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    David Foster (View Comment):

    I question how large a % of the today’s Left is comprlsed of Idealists…my sense is that a lot of them could be better describe as Nihilists.

    Jordan Peterson has said that there is a strong correlation between radical leftism and the Dark Tetrad of personality traits (narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and sadism.)

    • #9
  10. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    I really need to write a review of the Drucker book, which is titled The End of Economic Man and is about the factors behind the rise of European totalitarianism. It will be a little difficult, because the book isn’t nearly as well-written as Drucker’s later work, but it is very thought-provoking.

    • #10
  11. Paul Stinchfield Member
    Paul Stinchfield
    @PaulStinchfield

    David Foster (View Comment):
    In his first book (1939), Peter Drucker said that prior to 1914, European Leftism was based on Hope; after the war, it was based on resentment and despair.

    In WWI, the working class had failed the international left’s expectations by patriotically supporting the war.

    The reasons for resentment and despair grew immensely in later decades, when it was no longer possible to ignore or explain away the catastrophic failures, in multiple dimensions, of the Socialist Experiment in the USSR and elsewhere.

    • #11
  12. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: 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?

    A particularly perverse leftist once wrote that atheism made it okay for him to do everything he wanted to do.

    Related:

    “I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.” – Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

    • #12
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Keith Lowery (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: 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?

    A particularly perverse leftist once wrote that atheism made it okay for him to do everything he wanted to do.

    Related:

    “I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.” – Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

    This rabbit hole could lead to Wonderland, but is much more likely to dead-end in a snake pit. 

    • #13
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Dr. Bastiat:

    Which, I guess, means that the hopeless idealist is me, rather than the leftists I often criticize.

    And I’m good with that.

    Nah. There’s at least a chance it might be true. And the part about us being more than animals won’t be true unless we believe it’s true. It oughta be true. So it’s not hopeless, and it’s the right thing to believe, and William James was right to teach us to think this way.

    • #14
  15. Keith Lowery Coolidge
    Keith Lowery
    @keithlowery

    TBA (View Comment):

    Keith Lowery (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: 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?

    A particularly perverse leftist once wrote that atheism made it okay for him to do everything he wanted to do.

    Related:

    “I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.” – Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

    This rabbit hole could lead to Wonderland, but is much more likely to dead-end in a snake pit.

    I may have been too scanty with my point. I only meant to use Huxley’s quote to illustrate that atheists sometimes adopt their atheism with ulterior motives. So we have seen these past two weeks how the self-proclaimed compassion of the left has only served as a mask for the bloodthirsty rapacity of Orcs. 

    • #15
  16. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Dr. Bastiat: As a Christian, I believe that all humans are children of God.  We’re not just animals.

    We humans are certainly all creatures of God, but we only come to be children of God by adoption through Jesus Christ. The Bible is quite explicit on this (John 1:12 and Ephesians 1:5, Galatians 4:4-5).

    Jesus calls us to be perfect as His Heavenly Father is perfect. I’ll join you in being an idealist.

    • #16
  17. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Keith Lowery (View Comment):

    “If there is no God, everything is permitted.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

    “With God, all things are possible. Without God, all things are allowed.”

    • #17
  18. Chuck Coolidge
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Dr. Bastiat: 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?

    There is an alternative: Quoting my then little brother, “Leave me be!”  In other words, I don’t HAVE to take care of others despite their horrifying character flaws.  And I don’t have to very carefully control anybody.

    • #18
  19. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    I think the most charitable way to understand people of the left is what Sowell said: some of us believe strongly in the self-perfectibility of humans. So they’re willing to (make other people) work very hard to adhere to this or that prescription for betterment.

    It’s a short step from there to being angry that those other people won’t perfect themselves, and taking it out on them. Which is where my not-so-charitable characterization comes in: where Sowell sees the constrained and the unconstrained, I see the adult and the child, and the citizen and the criminal. I think at this late stage of the devolution of our society, those labels are more relevant. But they all describe the same thing.

    It’s interesting that it’s the unconstrained who reliably grow into criminals. We call children who inhabit adult bodies and roles, “monsters.”

    • #19
  20. Headedwest Coolidge
    Headedwest
    @Headedwest

    David Foster (View Comment):

    I question how large a % of the today’s Left is comprlsed of Idealists…my sense is that a lot of them could be better describe as Nihilists.

    I cannot see any end point other than Nihilism to mass atheism. If the world is made of random organic blobs with no reason for or against their existence, then nothing is a sin because no act has any meaning at all. If A doesn’t like B, there is no reason for A not to kill B. The act has no meaning.

    Same thing with any sexual act with any human of any age, or any non-human for that matter.

     

    • #20
  21. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Keith Lowery (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Keith Lowery (View Comment):

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: 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?

    A particularly perverse leftist once wrote that atheism made it okay for him to do everything he wanted to do.

    Related:

    “I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; and consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do. For myself, as no doubt for most of my friends, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom. The supporters of this system claimed that it embodied the meaning – the Christian meaning, they insisted – of the world. There was one admirably simple method of confuting these people and justifying ourselves in our erotic revolt: we would deny that the world had any meaning whatever.” – Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means

    This rabbit hole could lead to Wonderland, but is much more likely to dead-end in a snake pit.

    I may have been too scanty with my point. I only meant to use Huxley’s quote to illustrate that atheists sometimes adopt their atheism with ulterior motives. So we have seen these past two weeks how the self-proclaimed compassion of the left has only served as a mask for the bloodthirsty rapacity of Orcs.

    Many Orcs reject barbarism for a very masculine chivalry that is respectful towards women and children and elves and Dwarves. I suggest that the savagery that Orcs are known far is more cultural than genetic.

    Palestinians and Jewish Israelis have a huge amount of genetic overlap. Heck, the darkest black African guy has a huge genetic overlap with the whitest Irish guy. Culture is the biggest thing.

    Orcs of good character are aware of their history of violence but they are universally opposed to the slaughter of any civilian. Even the elves.

    • #21
  22. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Dr. Bastiat: 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.

    Well that’s a God-damned lie.

    • #22
  23. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    Funny how the Atheists take the bashing while the devout Hamas is dealing the damage.  But enjoy your holy fart-sniffing colloquy, guys, and assure each other that yours all smell like rosaries.

    • #23
  24. BDB Inactive
    BDB
    @BDB

    I always thought I would fight the Saracens under the banner of the cross.  Well maybe I’ll just do it my damned self.

    • #24
  25. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    BDB (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: 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.

    Well that’s a God-damned lie.

    As a tendency? Maybe, maybe not. 

    Ethics are important. They are not dependent on a deity, nor are they dependent on making a solid separation from the animal kingdom. 

    Religion informs many, most, or all of Western ethics. 

    Where people have rejected religion as a whole, Russia, etc., it is true that their ethics look pretty bad. 

    Personally I am not convinced that a society born without an idea of a deity with an accompanying list of no-nos would be as moral as what we currently have, but we lack a laboratory to create one in. 

    Also, if it was as bad as many (including me) fear, I wouldn’t want it to get loose. 

    That said, there is a bumper sticker that says, “Christians Aren’t Perfect, Just Forgiven”. 

    There is a smugness and condescension in that that is probably impossible to hear if you’re on the inside where it is heard as humility and benevolent outreach. 

    I guess what I’m saying is that I’m an agtheist and I’m trying to be your goddamn ally here. 

    • #25
  26. thelonious Member
    thelonious
    @thelonious

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    David Foster (View Comment):
    In his first book (1939), Peter Drucker said that prior to 1914, European Leftism was based on Hope; after the war, it was based on resentment and despair.

    In WWI, the working class had failed the international left’s expectations by patriotically supporting the war.

    The reasons for resentment and despair grew immensely in later decades, when it was no longer possible to ignore or explain away the catastrophic failures, in multiple dimensions, of the Socialist Experiment in the USSR and elsewhere.

    There was also a lot of resentment that they didn’t gain the means of production and hand it over to them to rule. They were happy to get better working conditions and higher. Them not overthrowing their bourgeois overlords wasn’t part of the plan. 

    • #26
  27. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    When comparing cultures, the left point of view rejects any “higher standard.” Because, after all, all cultures are equal, no matter how base and evil some of them are.

    • #27
  28. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    TBA (View Comment):
    TBA @RobtGilsdorf 4 Hours Ago

    BDB (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: 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.

    Well that’s a God-damned lie.

    As a tendency? Maybe, maybe not. 

    Right.  I’m generalizing here.  There are exceptions.  Of course.

    I do believe that ethics in absence of a higher power become so flexible and situational as to be close to meaningless.  Maybe not meaningless, but close.  In most cases.

    I’m not arguing that religion makes people peaceful.  As you pointed out, devout Muslims are dangerous.  In general.  But I would point out that devout Christians & Jews, in general, are less dangerous than Muslims.  By a lot.  Religions are not all the same.  I’m talking about the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of Western Civilization.

    Your point is valid.  Atheists can obviously behave in ethical ways.  My atheist friends prove that point, including you.

    But I think that Nietzsche was right, in that as a society abandons God, barbarism tends to follow.  He was an atheist, but he understood what human nature was capable of when it was freed from the constraints of the oversight of a higher power.

    It would be better if that were not true.  But, in general, it is.

     

    • #28
  29. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Paul Stinchfield (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat:

    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.

    On the other hand, such murder porn is very popular in the Muslim world.

    Yes, what of “Allah,” who’s name is ringing out in the streets of London and elsewhere with murderous enthusiasm post-Oct 7?

    It isn’t just leftists who are enemies of the West, and those who think otherwise (for instance in the White House) are naïve fools. It may be soothing for many (ostensible) Christians to hold that “we worship the same God,” but it simply isn’t so.

    • #29
  30. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Dennis Prager often says it isn’t the similarities humans share with animals that matter — it’s the distinctions. Amen.

    “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” These are the identifying marks of the children of God. And their absence tells a lot about people — like leftists.

    • #30
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