Leftism’s Lack of Foundation Gives It Strength

 

I’ve often been amazed by how angrily leftists defend political arguments that they clearly don’t understand, and to which they clearly haven’t given a great deal of thought.  There are many possible reasons for this, of course.  They may have been taught that conservatives are evil, so if anyone says anything that doesn’t sound clearly leftist, that person must be evil, and should be loudly and publicly vanquished.  And perhaps leftists can’t defend their arguments because they’ve never had to – they’ve lived in an echo chamber, and have never been challenged to back up their ideas.  But still, I wonder, why do they care so much about stuff they clearly haven’t really thought about?

Imagine living in the world of academia.  Is it possible that 95% of those who work in that field are leftists?  That seems exceedingly unlikely, like flipping a coin 100 times and getting heads 95 times.  It’s possible, I guess.  But in every school in the United States?  What are the odds?  How could that happen?  Well, one way that could happen would be to require any new hires to prove their liberal bona fides before offering them a job.  Ok, so does that mean that they’re all liberal?  Of course not – it just means that they want to teach chemistry or whatever.  They may not believe in socialism or abortion, but they do believe in summers off, nice benefits packages, and relaxed office hours.

My point is that many of them probably don’t care about politics as much as they care about their job (a healthy attitude, in my opinion), but they understand what they have to say to get the job.  Ok, fine.  But why would someone who cares little about politics, and knows even less, defend his poorly considered views so viciously?  Well, imagine how that conversation sounds to him.  Imagine somebody like me approaching him at a party, in front of other people, and saying, “The leftist politics that you profess to believe in hurts people, removes hope, and destroys lives.  But you don’t care, because you want some government money in exchange for doing not all that much work.  So I suspect that you really don’t believe this stuff.  You’re not that stupid.  You’re just that amoral.”

Ok, that conversation will not go well.  And of course, I would not say those things, but that is what he would hear when I started questioning his belief system.  He would perceive my questions as a personal attack.

I’m not questioning his beliefs, because he really doesn’t have any.  So I must be attacking him.  And all his friends.  Of course, he doesn’t like that.

Nobody likes having their belief system challenged.  But I am not threatened by such questions, because I’ve arrived at my beliefs only after decades of careful study and uncomfortable challenging of my own presumptions.  I know what I believe in, and I know exactly why.  So ask me whatever you like, and I’d be happy to explain how I got here.  And I’d be happy to hear your arguments.  And I’d be happy to debate the topic with you.  And if you make some good points, I’ll be happy to learn something.  But if you make it obvious that you don’t even understand your own beliefs, I’ll also be happy to laugh at you.

But suppose you have someone who is somewhat insecure and has not given a great deal of thought to matters of philosophy.  Like a child, for example.  And suppose that child is immersed in the homogenous environment of academia for the first 18-25 years of their life – all the way to adulthood.  That child is likely to say whatever they need to, to get along.  Regardless of what they believe in, which they haven’t really worked out yet anyway.

And then one day, they’re 25 years old, and they have a few glasses of Pinot Grigio at a party, and they encounter Dr. Bastiat with a bourbon in his hand and a smirk on his face (real or perceived).

Again, that conversation will not go well.

And the more immature and the less secure that 25-year-old is, the worse that conversation will go.

The American left has built an empire through their control of the schools, the news media, the entertainment industry, social media, and so on.  Many supporters of leftism don’t really understand or care about it all that much, and many conservatives view that as a weakness that could be exploited.

Not me.  I think that only hardens their resolve.

If they understood their beliefs, they would be happy to debate them, so they could prove conservatives wrong.

But if they don’t understand their beliefs, they view any question as a personal attack.  Add to that a weird mixture of narcissism, immaturity, and insecurity, and you have someone who will fight to the death over trans-sexual bathrooms.  Their lack of a solid foundation makes them even more determined to defend whatever they’ve been told to believe in.

It’s true that the house of leftism is built on sand.  But I think that gives it strength because it rules out rational debate, which is all conservatives have.

Without rational debate, leftists win.  Every time.

As I so often say, I really hope I’m wrong about this.

What do you think?

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  1. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    “Motivated reasoning” is, as I understand it, sort of a stronger form of Confirmation Bias.  If a person loves coffee, and is given a study which supposedly proves it is health-harmful, he will read the study more carefully in hopes of finding errors than will someone who doesn’t like coffee anyhow.  (There is actually research on this)

    So if the price of agreeing with Dr Bastiat on a political matter is that the individual will need to change his own views openly (which may cost him that job that he likes), or change his views but hide his new conclusions (which causes ongoing psychological stress)  Easier to just reject Dr Bastiat’s argument and avoid trouble & stress.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Nothing will reduce a progressive to spittle-flecked rage more thoroughly than thinking through their propositions and the logical consequences of enacting them out loud in front of them.

    Be calm. Be rational. When you’ve concluded, finish with “Isn’t that about the size of it, sport?”

    Then smirk.

    • #2
  3. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    We should end one man vote and establish property requirements and basic civics tests to see who gets to  vote the most. We should also genetically engineer people to be more rational and open to data.

    • #3
  4. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Dr. Bastiat:

    It’s true that the house of leftism is build on sand.  But I think that gives it strength, because it rules out rational debate.  Which is all conservatives have.

    Without rational debate, leftists win.  Every time.

    Leftism is a replacement for the feelings of togetherness that family, religion and patriotism use to fulfill. Humans are not made to be feel alone. Compared to that feeling, the Truth is as an arthritic saint  before a Knight riding a black horse.

    • #4
  5. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I wouldn’t call it strength, more like force-avoidance.  Because they don’t base their “arguments” on actual reason, they don’t need reason to defend them.  Reminds me a bit of the Cloud Creature from Star Trek:

    SPOCK: Captain, the creature’s ability to throw itself out of time sync makes it possible for it to be… elsewhere… in the instant the phaser hits.

    • #5
  6. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    And you can’t call a Leftist out on hypocrisy, because they have no standards or principles.  Imagine how easy it is to argue, when you have no principles and you can redefine words mid-sentence.  My advice is never argue with a Leftists until after you have defined terminology and established principles.  Those are traps for them.

    • #6
  7. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    The characteristic I observed out on the Left Coast is that liberals/leftists don’t believe there are absolute truths or a universal definition of morally right and morally wrong. Ask them if something is right or wrong in a given scenario and you’ll get, or at least I got, “Oh, that’s very hypothetical.” Of course it is, and I’m trying to understand your ethical framework. In this case, there was none, just what was called “situational ethics” back in the dimly remembered 1960s and 1970s. You don’t know what you’ll do until you are in the situation for real. 

    Obviously “what you will do” is not a moral judgement. It’s just a description of your actions. That’s not a weakness or flaw to them because if you don’t believe in moral absolutes anyway, there is no basis for criticism of the actions. From what I could tell, that’s as far as their reasoning went. 

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Django (View Comment):
    The characteristic I observed out on the Left Coast is that liberals/leftists don’t believe there are absolute truths or a universal definition of morally right and morally wrong. Ask them if something is right or wrong in a given scenario and you’ll get, or at least I got, “Oh, that’s very hypothetical.” Of course it is, and I’m trying to understand your ethical framework. In this case, there was none, just what was called “situational ethics” back in the dimly remembered 1960s and 1970s. You don’t know what you’ll do until you are in the situation for real.

    Morals and ethics are not the same thing, bit it doesn’t matter because they have neither.

    • #8
  9. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Percival (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):
    The characteristic I observed out on the Left Coast is that liberals/leftists don’t believe there are absolute truths or a universal definition of morally right and morally wrong. Ask them if something is right or wrong in a given scenario and you’ll get, or at least I got, “Oh, that’s very hypothetical.” Of course it is, and I’m trying to understand your ethical framework. In this case, there was none, just what was called “situational ethics” back in the dimly remembered 1960s and 1970s. You don’t know what you’ll do until you are in the situation for real.

    Morals and ethics are not the same thing, bit it doesn’t matter because they have neither.

    Standard definition from the web: An ethical code is a set of rules that defines allowable actions or correct behavior.

    What I was trying to determine was the ethical framework (or code). As I said, there was none. 

    • #9
  10. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    So, without rational debate the Leftists win, but Leftists don’t debate rationally.

    I think I can guess where this ends up…

    • #10
  11. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Chuck (View Comment):

    So, without rational debate the Leftists win, but Leftists don’t debate rationally.

    I think I can guess where this ends up…

    Gulags, and worse?

    • #11
  12. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Chuck (View Comment):

    So, without rational debate the Leftists win, but Leftists don’t debate rationally.

    I think I can guess where this ends up…

    I’ve found them to be quite rational if you accept their assumptions. I once watched a debate between David Berlinski and Christopher Hitchens that was informative. 

    • #12
  13. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    So how does one reach a leftist? Maybe a home-run at the first conversational at-bat is a bit much to ask. Perhaps a non-judgmental  question. But where should one start? We can’t always be successful as Kirk with V-ger.

    • #13
  14. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Django (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    So, without rational debate the Leftists win, but Leftists don’t debate rationally.

    I think I can guess where this ends up…

    I’ve found them to be quite rational if you accept their assumptions. I once watched a debate between David Berlinski and Christopher Hitchens that was informative.

    Except it seems that their assumptions change from argument to argument.  Being able to nail down their position in one argument, if you can even do that, tells you nothing about what their next argument would be, even if it seems like they would be using some or all of the same assumptions.

    • #14
  15. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    JoelB (View Comment):

    So how does one reach a leftist? Maybe a home-run at the first conversational at-bat is a bit much to ask. Perhaps a non-judgmental question. But where should one start? We can’t always be successful as Kirk with V-ger.

    Depends on what you mean by “reach”. You can’t change their views because they are immune to argument. 

    • #15
  16. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    So, without rational debate the Leftists win, but Leftists don’t debate rationally.

    I think I can guess where this ends up…

    I’ve found them to be quite rational if you accept their assumptions. I once watched a debate between David Berlinski and Christopher Hitchens that was informative.

    Except it seems that their assumptions change from argument to argument. Being able to nail down their position in one argument, if you can even do that, tells you nothing about what their next argument would be, even if it seems like they would be using some or all of the same assumptions.

    If their assumptions lead them inevitably to a conclusion they don’t like, they have no problem substituting other assumptions. 

    As Groucho Marx said, “Those are my principles. If you object to them, I have others.”

    • #16
  17. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Django (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    So, without rational debate the Leftists win, but Leftists don’t debate rationally.

    I think I can guess where this ends up…

    I’ve found them to be quite rational if you accept their assumptions. I once watched a debate between David Berlinski and Christopher Hitchens that was informative.

    Those are not typical leftists.  But you’re right.  They’re great.

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Django (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    So, without rational debate the Leftists win, but Leftists don’t debate rationally.

    I think I can guess where this ends up…

    I’ve found them to be quite rational if you accept their assumptions. I once watched a debate between David Berlinski and Christopher Hitchens that was informative.

    Except it seems that their assumptions change from argument to argument. Being able to nail down their position in one argument, if you can even do that, tells you nothing about what their next argument would be, even if it seems like they would be using some or all of the same assumptions.

    If their assumptions lead them inevitably to a conclusion they don’t like, they have no problem substituting other assumptions.

    As Groucho Marx said, “Those are my principles. If you object to them, I have others.”

    The left also very easily reaches conclusions that even their own assumptions don’t really lead to.

    • #18
  19. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Django (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    So how does one reach a leftist? Maybe a home-run at the first conversational at-bat is a bit much to ask. Perhaps a non-judgmental question. But where should one start? We can’t always be successful as Kirk with V-ger.

    Depends on what you mean by “reach”. You can’t change their views because they are immune to argument.

    How immune? Like Pfizer-immune, Johnson & Johnson immune, or flu-shot immune? Actually the surest way to convert a lefty is to let him make a mis-step around other lefties and get shot down by friendly fire. That is something we can’t control.

    • #19
  20. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    So how does one reach a leftist? Maybe a home-run at the first conversational at-bat is a bit much to ask. Perhaps a non-judgmental question. But where should one start? We can’t always be successful as Kirk with V-ger.

    Depends on what you mean by “reach”. You can’t change their views because they are immune to argument.

    How immune? Like Pfizer-immune, Johnson & Johnson immune, or flu-shot immune? Actually the surest way to convert a lefty is to let him make a mis-step around other lefties and get shot down by friendly fire. That is something we can’t control.

    Maybe the word should have been impervious? Or unaffected? 

    The friendly fire comment got a laugh. 

    • #20
  21. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    So how does one reach a leftist? Maybe a home-run at the first conversational at-bat is a bit much to ask. Perhaps a non-judgmental question. But where should one start? We can’t always be successful as Kirk with V-ger.

    Depends on what you mean by “reach”. You can’t change their views because they are immune to argument.

    How immune? Like Pfizer-immune, Johnson & Johnson immune, or flu-shot immune? Actually the surest way to convert a lefty is to let him make a mis-step around other lefties and get shot down by friendly fire. That is something we can’t control.

    Too often though, rather than realizing and understanding the truth – which they are probably too stupid for anyway, else they would have done so long before – they focus on somehow getting back into favor with “their side.”

    • #21
  22. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    And you can’t call a Leftist out on hypocrisy, because they have no standards or principles. Imagine how easy it is to argue, when you have no principles and you can redefine words mid-sentence. My advice is never argue with a Leftists until after you have defined terminology and established principles. Those are traps for them.

    But we all know people for whom these fundamental agreements in rational discourse not only do not exist, but the discussion of them can’t be held rationally; likely because the person knows that finding common ground rationally would undermine and negate his/her conclusions.  It’s like a hummingbird trying to carry on a conversation on the nature of air with a recalcitrant mud skipper (a bottom-feeding fish).

    • #22
  23. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    And you can’t call a Leftist out on hypocrisy, because they have no standards or principles. Imagine how easy it is to argue, when you have no principles and you can redefine words mid-sentence. My advice is never argue with a Leftists until after you have defined terminology and established principles. Those are traps for them.

    But we all know people for whom these fundamental agreements in rational discourse not only do not exist, but the discussion of them can’t be held rationally; likely because the person knows that finding common ground rationally would undermine and negate his/her conclusions. It’s like a hummingbird trying to carry on a conversation on the nature of air with a recalcitrant mud skipper.

    I think the hummingbird should eat the mud-skipper and call it a day.

    • #23
  24. Chuck Thatcher
    Chuck
    @Chuckles

    Django (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    So, without rational debate the Leftists win, but Leftists don’t debate rationally.

    I think I can guess where this ends up…

    I’ve found them to be quite rational if you accept their assumptions. I once watched a debate between David Berlinski and Christopher Hitchens that was informative.

    If I recall correctly you commented and linked to it?

    • #24
  25. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Chuck (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Chuck (View Comment):

    So, without rational debate the Leftists win, but Leftists don’t debate rationally.

    I think I can guess where this ends up…

    I’ve found them to be quite rational if you accept their assumptions. I once watched a debate between David Berlinski and Christopher Hitchens that was informative.

    If I recall correctly you commented and linked to it?

    If you mean in another thread, that is possible. I did link to Berlinski’s interview with Peter Robinson on Uncommon Knowledge. That concerned Berlinski’s book The Devils Delusion.

    • #25
  26. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    And you can’t call a Leftist out on hypocrisy, because they have no standards or principles. Imagine how easy it is to argue, when you have no principles and you can redefine words mid-sentence. My advice is never argue with a Leftists until after you have defined terminology and established principles. Those are traps for them.

    But we all know people for whom these fundamental agreements in rational discourse not only do not exist, but the discussion of them can’t be held rationally; likely because the person knows that finding common ground rationally would undermine and negate his/her conclusions. It’s like a hummingbird trying to carry on a conversation on the nature of air with a recalcitrant mud skipper.

    I think the hummingbird should eat the mud-skipper and call it a day.

    Can’t.  Two different worlds.    (My use of “mud skipper” is as a bony, big-mouthed, bottom-feeding fish not even good for eating.)

    • #26
  27. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Dr. Bastiat:

    But suppose you have someone who is somewhat insecure, and has not given a great deal of thought to matters of philosophy.

    Those poor souls could learn the history of philosophy without leftist indoctrination at TeacherOfPhilosophy on YouTube or Rumble.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    And you can’t call a Leftist out on hypocrisy, because they have no standards or principles. Imagine how easy it is to argue, when you have no principles and you can redefine words mid-sentence. My advice is never argue with a Leftists until after you have defined terminology and established principles. Those are traps for them.

    But we all know people for whom these fundamental agreements in rational discourse not only do not exist, but the discussion of them can’t be held rationally; likely because the person knows that finding common ground rationally would undermine and negate his/her conclusions. It’s like a hummingbird trying to carry on a conversation on the nature of air with a recalcitrant mud skipper.

    I think the hummingbird should eat the mud-skipper and call it a day.

    Can’t. Two different worlds. (My use of “mud skipper” is as a bony, big-mouthed, bottom-feeding fish not even good for eating.)

    I was thinking of an insect we called that in Oregon, but I guess that was some kind of regional thing.

    • #28
  29. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    And you can’t call a Leftist out on hypocrisy, because they have no standards or principles. Imagine how easy it is to argue, when you have no principles and you can redefine words mid-sentence. My advice is never argue with a Leftists until after you have defined terminology and established principles. Those are traps for them.

    But we all know people for whom these fundamental agreements in rational discourse not only do not exist, but the discussion of them can’t be held rationally; likely because the person knows that finding common ground rationally would undermine and negate his/her conclusions. It’s like a hummingbird trying to carry on a conversation on the nature of air with a recalcitrant mud skipper.

    I think the hummingbird should eat the mud-skipper and call it a day.

    Can’t. Two different worlds. (My use of “mud skipper” is as a bony, big-mouthed, bottom-feeding fish not even good for eating.)

    I was thinking of an insect we called that in Oregon, but I guess that was some kind of regional thing.

    We had insects we called “skimmers” which looked like long-bodied spiders that walked (ran) on to surface of the water.

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) (View Comment):

    And you can’t call a Leftist out on hypocrisy, because they have no standards or principles. Imagine how easy it is to argue, when you have no principles and you can redefine words mid-sentence. My advice is never argue with a Leftists until after you have defined terminology and established principles. Those are traps for them.

    But we all know people for whom these fundamental agreements in rational discourse not only do not exist, but the discussion of them can’t be held rationally; likely because the person knows that finding common ground rationally would undermine and negate his/her conclusions. It’s like a hummingbird trying to carry on a conversation on the nature of air with a recalcitrant mud skipper.

    I think the hummingbird should eat the mud-skipper and call it a day.

    Can’t. Two different worlds. (My use of “mud skipper” is as a bony, big-mouthed, bottom-feeding fish not even good for eating.)

    I was thinking of an insect we called that in Oregon, but I guess that was some kind of regional thing.

    We had insects we called “skimmers” which looked like long-bodied spiders that walked (ran) on to surface of the water.

    Not sure how much is regional vs age/time.  One time at Walmart in Phoenix, of my neighbors said he needed to get some “shower shoes.”  Turns out what he meant are what apparently are now called “flip-flops,” which when I was a kid in Oregon we called “thongs,” but that’s sure not what “thongs” seems to mean now!

    • #30