Monday 1 April 2013

Argument with Leftists is like telling Nazis that their policies may harm Jews...


Mostly, Leftists will not listen to - leave aside engage with - evidence and rational argument from Christians.

But since the development of New Left political correctness, and its spread to include the almost whole of the ruling class and most of everyone else, there is a definite sense that argument with modern progressives is counter-productive.


I think the reason for this is quite simple: inversion.

For the modern Left, to a striking extent, the evaluative framework is an inversion of the traditional; so Good is bad - and bad is Good.

This applies to aesthetics, to standards of truth, and to morality.


Typically, the Christian or conservative or libertarian puts forth a consequentialist argument on the lines of:

'If this [insert currently promoted Leftist policy] is implemented - then the following [insert bad consequences] will ensue...'

But - because of inversion - what count as 'bad consequences' for the Right, count as good consequences for the modern Left.


So if the evidence and reason suggest that policy X will result in damage to marriage, the decline of the family, an increase in violence and disorder, or encouragement of parasitic behaviour - then what the Left hears is that the policy will work in exactly the way they want it to work.

Christians arguing with the PC ruling class of modern Western societies are therefore, but unwittingly, in a position analogous to that of a good German in 1933 telling the Nazis that both evidence and reason suggest that their policies will probably harm Jews.

The imaginary good German of 1933 neglects that the Nazis were anti-semitic, and that therefore their policies were intended to harm Jews - the Christian or Right-wing or libertarian mainstream commentator neglects that the modern dominant Left is anti-the Good and therefore their policies are intended to harm the Good.


And, just as the Nazis originally wanted several Good things as well as the destruction of Jews, but as time went by the destructive agenda became ever more dominant at the cost of any Good things; so modern Leftists have moved-on from the time when they wanted several Good things alongside harming their enemies, to an ever-more-complete embrace of their destructive agenda.

The Nazis started off pro- some Good things as well as anti-semitic but by 1945 had ended-up mostly anti-semitic; the Left is now at a similar end-point when whatever Goods the Left used to favour are being swallowed-up and lost in their desire to destroy that which they hate.   


Christians argue from the assumption that the modern ruling elite want to improve things in a functional sense - want to reduce poverty or unemployment, want to improve the life of Africans, want to protect the environment, want to improve health services or education, want to have a more just legal system, more efficient research, a more effective military; want a peaceful and wholesome society...

But the ruling elite want none of these things, or at least if they personally happen to want one of them, then this individual idiosyncracy is constrained by the imperatives of their over-arching ideology.

As a class what our rulers want is mostly to destroy what they hate.


When the rulers in the mass media, politics, public administration, law and education are told - evidentially and with good reasoning - that their policies will likely cause damage to things that traditional Christians (and indeed those with common sense and who take seriously their personal experience) regard as Good; what the ruling elites are actually hearing is that their policies will damage the kind of people and situations that Leftists regard as bad; they are hearing confirmation that these are the correct policies.


Thus the bulk of mainstream mass media Right Wing and Christian commentary serves the Left as a test and confirmation of the correctness of their policies, and a measure of the optimal priorities.

The more conclusive is the Right wing and religious assembling of evidence and rational argument against a proposed Leftist policy; the more aggressively that policy will be promoted because the Left then know - to a high degree of probability - that the policy will achieve its desired effect.



dearieme said...

When The Wall came down we should have rounded up the Commie agents, fellow travellers and useful idiots, and hanged the lot in public. That might have changed the terms of the debate. Even if it hadn't, it would have been a Very Good Thing of itself.

Bruce Charlton said...

@d I think it was Mencius Moldbug who pointed-out that there was a pretty thorough West German de-Nazification process after just 12 years of National Socialism; but that after 40plus years of East German Socialism there was zilch in the way of de-Communization.

AlexT said...

I'm not sure decommunization would have helped. The former east block is a much saner and less leftist place than the west nowadays. I think the western Gramscian/Frankfurt school tradition is much more insidious, and dangerous, than traditional Stalinism. Old school commies had an admirably ascetic private life, while the modern leftist is as addicted to luxury and snobbery as any 18th century French nobleman. In short, eastern communism was so awful that it burnt itself out. I don't think we're going to be that lucky.

Bruce Charlton said...

@AT - The point is not that decomminization would have made such a big difference to where Germany is now (since all the West has converged onto a near-identical degree of political correctness), but that it apparently never occurred to the Germans as being necessary.

Or if it did, then the idea was regarded as too offensive, or something. Or perhaps the Western German government recognized that politically the East and West had by 1989 all-but-converged to become all-but indistinguishable politically?

At any rate, IF West Germany had been in a healthy state politically, THEN it certainly would have NEEDED to decommunize the East, and also it would have been DONE!

Ryan said...

I think if one argues with a Leftist at all the goal should just be to demonstrate that neutrality is always an illusion. The amateur Leftist tends to believe that he possesses the only neutral, universally agreeable political system, but a bit of pointed interrogation can reveal that he ultimately has faith in a non-neutral philosophy which must be imposed upon others. I can usually get them to admit that they really believe their ideology to be the only right one while the rest are wrong. I figure that's a bigger admission than they'll initially realize, even after they deny it up front.

Samson J. said...

The chief example of this at the moment is obviously the homosexual question. Here, at this moment, we are far beyond the time at which it is still possible to deny that legitimizing homosexuality will have an adverse impact on others - it already has had, with a multitude of examples - but the Leftists don't *care* about this, because the traditionalists so affected are people who "don't count" and "deserve it".

Bruce Charlton said...

@SJ - I rather neglected the point here, but it was a thesis of my Thought Prison book that matters have now gone further than the matter of adverse effects on hated people - the real PC elite accept, even embrace, major adverse impacts even upon themselves and their families.

This psychotic recklessness extending even to oneself and loved ones is something new and strange and extremely sinister - for a Christian it seems to imply a degree of enslavement to the forces of evil on a scale which is difficult to match in world history.

Daybreaker said...

Peter Hitchens explains:

"When I was a Revolutionary Marxist, we were all in favour of as much immigration as possible.

It wasn't because we liked immigrants, but because we didn't like Britain. We saw immigrants - from anywhere - as allies against the staid, settled, conservative society that our country still was at the end of the Sixties.

Also, we liked to feel oh, so superior to the bewildered people - usually in the poorest parts of Britain - who found their neighbourhoods suddenly transformed into supposedly 'vibrant communities'.

If they dared to express the mildest objections, we called them bigots."


The whole piece is relevant to your thesis.

He also explains an important point. These campaigns help the politically correct purge institutions.

"Instead, the authorities made much of the behaviour of a minority of such migrants, often much disliked by their fellow Afro-Caribbeans - men who took and sold illegal drugs and who were not prepared to respect British law.

If proper policing of such people could be classified as 'racist', then the drug laws as a whole could be weakened, and the police placed under liberal control."

If some social situation is horribly dysfunctional, and if any rational effort to solve the problem can be suppressed as "racist", that means there will have to be more state-paid supervisors to manage the problem, and they will have to be under liberal control to stick to the script and suppress the "racists" and "bigots" who are trying to get involved.

When something simultaneously provides you with jobs for the boys (and more jobs for the girls), power and control, and the excuse and opportunity to scourge those you hate, it would take saints not to promote more of it. And the politically correct are not saints.