Monday 11 June 2012

The sadism of late-Leftism


Just something to look out for...

The good aspect of Leftism is its kindness, and its loathing of cruelty. This is a virtue.

Of course, any virtue taken on its own or to excess becomes a vice, and this happens with Leftism - nonetheless kindness is a virtue.

Watch out, therefore, when Leftists - whether individually or institutionally - become sadistic!


When Leftists take pleasure, delight in the suffering of others - suffering of any others whether they 'deserve' it or not, whether they 'consent' to it or not - then this is terminal Leftism.

This happens when Leftism has served its purpose, and a person or society has moved to the next level of corruption; when good motive such as kindness can be dispensed-with and evil motives such as delight in cruelty from reasons of pride of sensuality move to the fore.

When hypocrisy is cast aside, and naked power is wielded with delight in overcoming, in crushing all opposition - that is a very dangerous shift in Leftism.


Even when sadism is disguised by the pseudo-impersonality and inexorability of bureaucratic procedure, it is usually easy enough to observe. There is, after all, a clear distinction between polar opposites such as kindness and sadism - even if the sadism is masked.

As an example think of Leftism and sex.

Leftism began as a compassionate and 'therapeutic' plea to allow various forbidden sexual practices to alleviate the suffering of those denied them; but has evolved into something very obviously hard and cruel - a strident set of demands, an advocacy of openly exploitative sex (sex as a tool of hedonism, sex as a vampiric extraction of motivation and meaning in life), sex as the basis of personal identity, and the clearly sadistic use of sexual ideology to justify hatred and the crushing of opponents.


When the Left discards kindness and embraces sadism - then it approaches more closely to pure evil. Almost anything becomes possible and excusable.


[Note: there is often an even more obvious 'Nietzschian' sadism among the type of Leftism which goes by the name Libertarianism or the secular right - indeed, one can often observe people (usually young men, sometimes disillusioned older men) actually trying to train themselves into cruel indifference; to expunge their natural kindness and sympathy.]



Anonymous said...

No one actually cares about far away strangers, people very different from themselves, their kin, and their friends.

If you have an ideology that says that you should care, the result is hypocrisy, not caring - whether that ideology is a version of Christianity, or the mutant heretical spawn of Christianity.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JAD - well, you shouldn't care *much* about remote strangers - but (if you accept that neutrality is impossible) then you must at least care *a little* (on this side of neutrality)...

since the only alternative is some degree of hatred towards them - to take some degree of pleasure in their misfortune.

This probably has near-zero implications for public policy, but highly significant implications in respect to the 'unseen warfare' between Good and evil.

And this is not a matter of subjective sentimentality, but merely a recognition of the objective reality that humans are not ultimately separate but are ultimately united, 'in it together'. And of course *that* is a Christian recognition.

dearieme said...

Some people "care" only in the abstract. They "care" about the poor, for instance, but not about actual poor individuals they might come across. It's a pretty common deformation on The Left, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a leftist Catholic family. The poor were regarded as beautiful, wonderful people loved by God above all others. My personal interactions with the poor as a child showed me that usually they were cruel, sadistic, violent, willfully stupid, and worshiped power. I concluded my parents were insane and became a Nietzchean libertarian for many years.

Bruce Charlton said...

@dearieme - oh yes indeed. But the answer is not to train oneself to *hate* people in the abstract - but to recognize the necessarily feeble claims of people in the abstract comapred with actual responsibilities.

Bruce Charlton said...


Well, I don't know where you live, but there are NO poor (in the Biblical sense) in the West (except isolated individuals with specific causes - there no poor as a *class*).

The 'Biblical' poor worked all waking hours until they dropped, had chronic malnutrition and usually died of starvation, and almost all their children died before adulthood of starvation and diseases.

The modern "poor" do not work at all, are obese and have more children than anyone else, and no matter how many kids they have nearly all will survive to mature adulthood.

Chalk and cheese.

Everyone nowadays is wallowing in 'luxury', by ancient standards.

Therefore, when people talk about 'the poor' they are talking about the lesser-Rich, often the idlest rich or the most feckless rich.

And the Rich are the ones who can only rarely get to heaven, via the eye of a needle.

B322 said...

BGC, you are so enviably level-headed and clear-sighted. It is always refreshing to come here and read your words. If I could only keep your last post in mind, it would be so much easier to understand the way the early church fathers felt about the poor.

Bruce Charlton said...

@OdE - (BGC shuffles feet and looks at the ground) err, thanks...

Since it seems to have been helpful, you have inspired me to publish the comment as a posting.