Friday, 16 June 2017

Ignorance of Leftism (know your enemy)

One of the problems for self-styled Rightists is a shocking ignorance of Leftism. I'm not even talking about the centuries long historical perspective, but simply Leftism over the past century - back to the time of my grandparents.

A common consequence of this is the common wrong Rightist idea that Leftism is a religion.

Now, of course there are some respects in which Leftism is somewhat like a religion - but the falsity of the idea that it was a religion would be obviously untrue to anyone who knew what Leftism was like in the early Twentieth century as well as knowing what it has been (increasingly) like in the past fifty years.

It was not so daft to regard Communism as a religion - and like a real religion, the first generation of communists were often very highly motivated to the point of extreme courage and self-sacrifice.

This early type of Leftism was economic, at root. It was about the distribution of wealth and income, economic planning, the ownership of the means of production and so forth.

In Britain (which is where Leftism was invented) many early Leftists (socialists) were Protestant nonconformists of extremely strict morality: sexual morality, and they did not lie, gamble or drink alcohol. Many were skilled native working class men - the Trades Unionists - dedicated to self-improvement by education in the sciences and high art: they founded lectures, libraries, funded colleges, promoted literacy...

Old style Leftism was wrong, and contained the seed of greater wrongness - but it had many good qualities, and many admirable people leading it. 

Compare this with Leftism now. It is almost completely different in almost every respect: no longer based on economics but instead on identity politics, femimism, antiracism, promoting the sexual revolution. It was post-mid-sixties Leftist parties in Britain which most aggressively promoted the culture of gambling, drinking, promiscuity, marriage-and-family destruction, native population replacement, hype & spin (ie. systematic lying). 

Leftist politics is now something which would have been utterly revolting to the old style, high minded communists, Christian socialists and Trades Unionists.

Religions don't behave this way. They are far more stable, and their decline is characterised by corruption and apostasy; but not near-total ideological and social reversal in the space of a generation! (say 1945-75 - of course the generations overlapped and blurred the phenomenon).

Indeed, one has to look deep to discover the commonality of the Left throughout its evolution - it is there, but it is not a surface feature, and not captured by a single core aim. (Indeed, I believe the Left can only plausibly be explained as a consequence of supernatural, demonic leadership - working gradually and incrementally to demoralise, corrupt and invert people over multiple generations. Human agency is incapable of such long-termism.)

I was brought up as an old style Leftist through my extended family; and avidly studied the history of the movement in my teens - and also, time-lagged, participated in the transformation of the Left as it happened from the middle sixties. So I can see that it is not any more a religion - it does not do what a religion does for people; in sum Leftism is now almost wholly oppositional.

A religion must have some fixity of metaphysics, doctrine, scripture, goals, tradition, church structure... something! Time has revealed that Leftism has no positive content - it is merely oppositional, inversional; and ultimately what Leftism opposes is The Good.

That is its only unity. 
   

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For more argument on these lines see my book Addicted to Distraction:
http://addictedtodistraction.blogspot.co.uk

13 comments:

  1. Of course, you are right...and of course, you are wrong. It depends on the definition of "Religion". It is simply a word.

    If you define "religion" as "anything who is constructive to society, anything that it is greater than the self", you are right.

    If you define "religion" as "a set of fundamental beliefs that define what's right and what's wrong and guide the behavior of individuals and society, being the foundation of the law", you are wrong.

    Does a religion has to be good? What about the sects where people kill themselves? Are they religions? You can say that they are not.

    At the end of the day, it is rather silly to fight about words.

    But, beyond the definition of religion (that can be debated endlessly by scholars), as a Christian people, what definition is the most useful to us?

    If we accept that Leftism is not a religion, then it is justified that Christianity and other traditional religions are excluded from public life, because of the separation of State and Religion. You can say that you don't accept this separation but today it is indisputable. Then, only Leftism is allowed in the public life.

    But if you define Leftism as religion, you can challenge the exclusion of Christianity from the public life and make secular people think. You have an argument.

    Otherwise, leftists have the easiest excuse: don't impose your religion to me, keep your beliefs private (but beliefs in Freedom, Equality and Diversity are going to be put in every corner and every law).

    This has been the trick that has been played on us by leftists: your ideology is partial (a religion) while mine is neutral (the basic truth and decency).

    Meanwhile, we split hairs trying to get to the real definition of a religion, they use the language as a weapon. We refuse to do that, and we end up losing in a humiliating way for decades. "For the children of this world are more shrewd in dealing with the world around them than are the children of the light". Luke 16:8.

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  2. @Chent - "If you define "religion" as "a set of fundamental beliefs that define what's right and what's wrong and guide the behavior of individuals and society, being the foundation of the law", you are wrong."

    My point is that Leftism does NOT have a set of fundamental beliefs.

    I regard religion as necessary, rather than Good; necessary if we are Not to become - as we currently are - psychotic, incoherent, nihilistic , demotivated, self-hating, suicidal.

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  3. "This early type of Leftism was economic, at root. It was about the distribution of wealth and income, economic planning, the ownership of the means of production and so forth.

    In Britain (which is where Leftism was invented) many early Leftists (socialists) were Protestant nonconformists of extremely strict morality: sexual morality, and they did not lie, gamble or drink alcohol. Many were skilled native working class men - the Trades Unionists - dedicated to self-improvement by education in the sciences and high art: they founded lectures, libraries, funded colleges, promoted literacy...

    Old style Leftism was wrong, and contained the seed of greater wrongness - but it had many good qualities, and many admirable people leading it." 

    I can certainly see a desire for good at work in leftism so why were, as you say, these old-schoold leftists 'wrong' to try and correct what they saw as economic and social injustices in the way that they did? Certainly I can see how things are no longer as they were historically but I dont see what is wrong with wanting to ensure the rich and powerful few do not exploit and manipulate the many through a massive power differential, unrestrained and callous abuse of capitalist power and a neglect of the welfare of others. There have certainly been many stark examples of this throughout history. Of course, socialism is not the answer but a more compassionate and collectivist rather than individualist politics, in which we prioritise the welfare of our fellow human beings, does not seem inconsistent with central Christian principles. 

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  4. Bruce, would you mind explaining why old style Leftism was wrong? I find this easy to perceive but hard to explain. Is it because it was always basically operating from within the perspective of worldliness? Even when held by good and God fearing people,as it certainly was in the early days, less so in the 20th century and after the whole thing was infected by Marxisim, it still inverted the proper relationship between God and this world?

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  5. @David and William. The long answer is in my book Thought Prison.

    There are other answers of various lengths. The deep rpoblem is that Leftism emerged with atheism/ materialism (mixed with anti-Christianity) - and leads to apostasy and materialism.

    The first Leftist causes (late 1700s) included pacifism and abolition (of slavery) - these became the primary focus of some groups (such as Quakers) displacing Christianity; and being pursued with fanaticism/ without prudence/ without regard for outcomes.

    (If you don't know the decades long story of how slavery was actually abolished in practice, following the parliamentary acts, then you may not know what I mean. The casualties and costs on all sides were staggering - the Royal Navy were the main agents, internationally. Of course, politically correct modern Britain *now* allows and supports slavery - a low estimate is 10,000 slaves in Britain today, among the non-native communities, mainly - but also in prostitution/ trafficking. It could be eradicated in a few weeks, but nothing is done. Like many Leftist causes, such as the working class, it is discarded as soon as it has served its purpose.)

    Communism. Economic Leftism regarded the economy as the primary, only important, determinant in society - as Marx put it Historical Materialism. The Soviet Union killed (plus imprisoned and enslaved) Christians in larger numbers than the Nazis killed Jews.

    British socialism has been essentially gradualist rather than revolutionary (Fabian socialism) but had the same aim as Communism - and that one reason why we have converged.

    Communist societies are always totalitarian, as much as they can manage given their power and technology. Totalitarianism is intrinsically anti-Christian (even/ especially when done in the name of Christianity.)

    Trades Unionism had good features in its early years, but I am not persuaded it did net good - the USA did not have unions (as a generalisation) and the workers were much more prosperous (whereas Marx said they would inevitably be reduced to subsistence level).

    The Christian Socialists (eg among Anglo Catholics) unfortunately chose a prophetic name - if they had been serious Christians they would have called themselves Socialist Christians - but they were instead serious socialists which led lineally to the modern pseudo-Christian Liberals (Bishop Gore was a key figure in this).

    The Nonconformists likewise were incrementally corrupted by their socialism, generation upon generation.

    The other aspect of the matter related to class. The working class Leftists were (in general) the good ones; but the upper class Leftists were (usually) the militant atheists, revolutionaries, communists, careerists, traitors, liars, and sexual revolutionaries...

    But from the middle 1960s the upper class New Left won (eg the 'student revolutionaries' and their supporters). The New Left is what we now have, although (being liars) they are not above assuming the mantle of the Old Left when that is expedient.

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    Replies
    1. Your long and comprehensive reply answers my question completely. Thanks!

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  6. @Bruce - You are clearly far more knowledgable about this subject than I am. I think I need to do some more basic self-education on the subject (both for my own benefit and to equip me to better handle conversations about the subject with others). Could you recommend any concise or accessible sources on the subject such as a specific book or web source? In particular, in relation to communist persecution of Christians.

    Clearly whilst we are not supposed to treat the world as an end in itself as materialists do, we need to live in the world and do our best to create societies and political systems that are 'the best we can manage under the circumstances' and clearly this is realistically v different for different periods of history. As things stand now, there appears to be little that individuals can do about the broader status quo except try and stay true to their own principles and values.

    What advice do you think Christ would give us under modern conditions? Not to vote? To organise against leftism? To withdraw to an inner hidden spirituality that is unwelcome in such a hostile materialist climate? It is hard not to feel despondent and like one is in for a very long, drawn ouy war of attrition with a world that is waiting to drag you down if you 'slip up' by mentioning anything affirmative or positive about faith, religion, the human soul and it's existence, an afterlife, the possibility of heaven, the central value of loving family relationships, etc. Soon, I imagine that places like this, where we are free to talk openly about this kind of subject in a public forum, will be forbidden, and the readers and participators in these blogs will be 'marked men' (and women), unacceptably not conforming to the broader "progressive" agender of simultaneously supporting certain marginalised views and valuing 'diversity' as long as it is without question *atheist* diversity!

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  7. @David

    I have read scores or hundreds of things about the history of the Left, so I would not know where to start - but about the Soviet persecution this is an unique resource.

    http://russiascatacombsaints.blogspot.co.uk/

    Solzhenitsyn is the other. I have read some of his essays and speeches, and especialy the biography by Joseph Pearce. There is a lot more tat I haven't yet read.

    In general, the Russian Orthodox Church overseas seem to have a better understanding of this than any other group - for obvious reasons.

    As for advice of Christ - today's blog post is my best answer. Christ did not leave us without personal and specific guidance (which is what is required), although we have contrived to ignore or deny it.

    Of course, our knowledge is partial and we are flawed, and so will err even with the best intentions - but the combination of inner and outer guidance will tell us when this has happened, and we can repent.

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  8. Thanks. I just wish other people would be more open-minded. To even admit agnosticism about faith or any other important issue that impacts on human beings living in the modern world would seem to me to be a massive step forwards. I think it is possibly the most disturbing observation that I encounter time and time on a daily basis that everyone is so *certain* about a very rigid way of looking at the world. They *know* that religion is out-dated wicked non-sense with nothing to offer us except perhaps mindfullness or yoga. They *know* that if the tory party could only be replaced by a labour government then we will have made 'progress' towards an imagined socialist utopia. They *know* that there is no great mystery underlying the bare fact of this astonishingly complex existence and if there is, they are certain any remaining mystery will eventually be explained away by science. They support mutually exclusive world views and see no contradiction and will not even allow themselves to notice this or discuss it. Dear God please grant me the wisdom to know how to live amongst all of this. If we could only be honest enough to start with an attitude of humility before the complexity of the world and then start asking some honest soul-searching questions to outselves and others, we might make some real progress to re-discovering the indispensible nature of spirituality to the human condition.

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  9. I think that you have a strong point that 'Leftism' (which I refer to as Marxism) is more like a cult (though you do not use that particular term) than a traditional religion.

    But I think that you are missing the commonality of Marxism (which does not begin with Marx himself, I adopt the term for convenience rather than strict historical accuracy) when you say it doesn't have a fixed belief system. The fundamental and unchanging principle of Marxism is phrased prettily as, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

    The logical implication of this is absolute opposition to the principle of personal responsibility for individual actions and all schemes by which those who are productive and capable are held accountable for alleviating the effects of bad choices of others. This is the unifying thread of Marxism from well before Marx to the present day, those who do good are to be forced to exchange their beneficial result with the consequences of those who do evil.

    You assert that, "Leftist politics is now something which would have been utterly revolting to the old style, high minded communists, Christian socialists and Trades Unionists." I am far from convinced. What we have seen in these past few years is the stripping off of a confining and hated mask. The "high minded" leftists of a decade ago publicly posed as sharing moral concerns with the general public, but they have adapted to the radical changes of the intervening years without anything like a hint of sincere reservation or indication that they were honest in their previous earnest professions of respect for traditional morals.

    And what has come to light about the private lives of too many of their predecessors gives me no reassurance that this hypocrisy is a recent development. I am in fact convinced that no person of really sound virtue can be long swayed by even the most cunningly phrased dismissal of the principle of personal responsibility.

    That may be the result of setting too high a bar for "sound virtue". I take it to mean that a person responsibly behaves in a manner consistent with the total consequences they desire (not just the short-term and limited specific aims of a particular act, but all the consequences), out of a sound awareness of the general alternatives. Such a person cannot long fail to realize that the essential irresponsibility of Marxism is fundamentally incompatible with real freedom, and thus irreconcilable with any significant virtue.

    But of course the entire point of Christianity is that none of us are all that virtuous or able to be fully responsible for the consequences of our actions...otherwise we'd have no need of redemption.

    Still, notwithstanding that even the 'best' of us are not really good enough, I think that those who devoted any significant part of their lives to promulgating the principles of Marxism as a system in which the virtuous are to be denigrated and punished in the interests of "fairness" must have been a bit less good than they ever pretended.

    In the Christian ethic, the able do indeed give freely to the needy. But there is never any hint that the needy are morally superior or entitled to such, any more than that the sinner is better than Christ or has a lawful claim to demand His offered Atonement. Marxism, at its heart, has always scourged and crucified Christ with the presumption that He had no power or right to resist it.

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  10. @CC - Something in it - but I believe that the contiuity of Leftism is supernatural/ demonic; and the stripping away of masks is a consequence.

    And I suppose even strict Marxism must not be written off - the UK is currently perilously close to having a Bolshevik (Trotskyite) Prime Minister (Corbyn)

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  11. Yes, the occult aspects of Leftism should not be neglected. Indeed, the simplistic view of life as a zero-sum game which forms the axiomatic basis of most Marxist argument is nonsensical without appeal to an entirely magical thought process. Those who have flirted with Leftism (usually in youth) often report on the alarming willingness of their prospective comrades to rely quite seriously on all manner of 'spiritual' influences and rituals of rather dark origin.

    These occult elements of their beliefs are of course hidden from public view...or were. Now they have normalized them to the extent that it is increasingly common for Marxists of all stripes to openly admit seeking demonic aid through the most abominable practices imaginable.

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  12. @CC - Interestingly, the Left can now practice openly demonic rituals because they are shileded by the sexual revolution (so the sexually transgressive and subversive are regarded as intrinsically virtuous) and by the fact that they can be passed off as a joke (what is more; a joke of a transgressive, subversive, hence virtuous nature).

    The ritual participants themselves would deny supernatural belief - but are aware of the dark and corrupting power of their rituals - this darkness having the inverted-virtue of forwarding sexual freedom, combatting oppressive patriarchy, offending 'fundamentalist' Christians, and so forth.

    At the same time, at a deeper level, the participants in evil rituals are aware of what they are doing and why - their innate divine guidance system cannot entirely be disabled; so there is the possibility of repentance - especially if they can come to believe in the infinite power of the divine gift of forgiveness.

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