Friday 15 November 2013

How do Leftists continue to feel rebellious when they have won?


Although Leftism is dominant in all of the developed world, and ever-more-tightly controls all the large and powerful social structures, Leftists continue to feel that they are rebels.

This seems absurd in terms of power structures, but the truth is that the Left really are perpetual rebels - whatever has happened they want more. Whatever 'progress' has been made, in their hearts they feel (correctly) that in reality nothing-has-changed.

This was brought to mind by an advertisment for a conference promoting (not discussing!) better jobs for women in higher education. Women wanted access to university - they got it; women's colleges - they got them; abolition of men's colleges - got it; a majority of undergraduates - got it; equal numbers of junior academics - got it; leadership of the two most prestigious universities in the world (Harvard and Cambridge) - got it... Relevant laws and regulations deliberately, explicitly and quite openly and proudly favour women.

And yet, and yet... things are really, at root, when you look closely enough - still 'the same', still unequal; and therefore higher education apparently needs re-organising, permanently to enforce the domination of women (qua women) on pretext of eradicating the remaining inequalities.

So, plenty of work for the radicals still to do! And if they get what they want today, then they will have another shopping list by tomorrow.

To be a Leftist is indeed a state of perpetual rebellion, because no matter how far you have pushed, there is always another boundary to transgress and some resistance to further transgression. And so long as there are boundaries and resistance, then the situation is still - in essence - 'the same' - the plucky radical rebel bravely fighting against the overwhelmingly greater forces of reaction and oppression.

And this is the truth of it - not an illusion.

To be a Leftist is ultimately to align your-self (your wishes) against reality.

Nothing ever really changes, you can never win; therefore you need never stop feeling yourself a rebel. And it you like feeling yourself to be a rebel - then you need never stop feeling like a rebel: you are one!

It is your-self against... well against everything!

Indeed, the situation is precisely analogous to Satan's rebellion against God.



Jake said...

To quote Joseph Sobran:

What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jake - I suppose an honest answer from a Leftist might be: "One in which I am supreme ruler with total power"... But they can't ALL be doing that at once.

Sylvie D. Rousseau said...

This is very perceptive and well said: rebellion against reality can never win, but will never cease.

Maritain pointed out interesting things on the subject in his essay on Luther. He said that the Reformer was in fact the precursor of the Romantic movement in opposing his subjectivity, his self, to God and the entire Church. His phrase “Tell them Dr Luther will have it so” is a proud refusal to accept anything from “the other” that would not fit his views. Luther is the type of the charismatic “hero” whose heroism consists in being a (preferably young and genius) rebel against all authority, and doing the contrary of real heroic deeds.

It appears that the layer added by political correctness to the inversion of values was previously taught to modern people by the Romantic movement. All this ultimately boils down to the original sin: I am god unto myself and owe nothing to anyone, particularly to God – hence the propensity to gradually negate God’s authority, then his existence. The philosophically inclined usually call that enlightenment.

Luqman said...

The answer you would likely get to the question Jake mentions is; a society where everyone is equal. This mirage of universal equality might as well be entropy in practice. It is rebellion against the natural order, or rather order itself. Satan is the first liberal.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Luq - Yes, I agree you might get that answer - but that would be a flat lie.

As we can see all around us in the world, Leftist do no want equality, they want a system of multiple privileges for those groups they favour.

(At least - until these groups, fall out of favour - like native The Proletariat did.)

Handle said...

Eric Hoffer said, "You can never get enough of what you don't really want. You can never be satisfied with inadequate substitutes for what is unavailable to you". He used that insight as a general explanation of why people make their diversions into obsessions and tend to take them to increasing excess without limit except at the point of self-destruction.

Brett Stevens said...

Leftism is not a political program, but an emotional reaction by the individual. Therefore, they don't think logically about how to solve problems, but in terms of how their actions will look to their social group. It doesn't matter that they've won, because they will never claim victory, because to do so defeats the point of leftism.

Samson J. said...

Leftists continue to feel that they are rebels.

This seems absurd in terms of power structures, but the truth is that the Left really are perpetual rebels

There is something here to be expanded on, which escapes me right now, but it has to do with the question - nay, the fact - that under the current order of things the *right* are the rebels, and whether that is a good thing, and whether it might serve us.

Initially I was going to ask, if the Left is *perpetually* rebellious, is there a corollary that the Right can *never* be rebellious... but the answer is no. Even in my undergrad days, 15 years ago, my friends and I were talking about how to live a truly counter-cultural lifestyle is to be a Christian.

So being a Rightist certainly ought to be considered "rebellious". Is this a good thing? Ought we to capitalize on this somehow? Is this an avenue towards making Rightism "cool"? If so, could we ever hope to keep the momentum?

Bruce Charlton said...

@SJ - No, real Rightists can never allow themselves to be seduced by the pleasures of being A Rebel. It is a snare.