Arguing With a Leftist

The writing bug is starting to bite again, so you may see some new content here, including (eventually) a mega-überpost I started back in October of last year, but for now just this little piece.

A few days ago someone at Quora tagged me with the question:

If both conservatives and liberals love USA, why there are such hostility and lack of trust towards each others?

I left an answer, but someone else left this one:

As a former Right turned Left, I assure you all there are smart and well educated people on each side. The difference is largely in an assumption or two.

The Right assumes people deserve and have a right to whatever assets they have, whether earned or given by prior generations. And this includes land, food, natural resources, water, etc.

The Left believes luck plays a big part in how wealth is currently distributed. They believe every human deserves some minimal share of water, food, clean air, and resources required to live. They point out that every business owes some of its success to the hard and soft infrastructure provided by governments.

I think I am being fair to both my former and current views here. All differences in political philosophy derive from the above.

I changed because I figured out I am a Liberal. Imagine a game of Monopoly where one player is given a pile of money, properties, houses and hotels by his father, along with some good game advice. The other players start with a few bucks and don’t know what the rules are when they start out. Liberals don’t think this is fair, Conservatives do.

I left this comment with the (forlorn) hope that it might generate a debate:

“Liberals don’t think this is fair, Conservatives do.”

I disagree. We both agree it’s not fair. The difference is that Conservatives understand that the world is not fair.

“(Liberals) believe every human deserves some minimal share of water, food, clean air, and resources required to live.”

Conservatives know that the world owes us nothing. Liberals think they can make the world fair. All they need is the power to make it so.

Conservatives understand that the kind of power needed to “make the world fair” always ends badly.

Always.

Result? Crickets.  But I’d like to go ahead and unpack this – fairly accurate, I think – definition of the modern-day “liberal,” née “Progressive.”

The progressive complains that the world is not fair. They’re absolutely right – it isn’t. They believe that the Right thinks it is fair – we don’t, but we understand that all the wishing in the world won’t make it fair. Because they think the unfairness can be corrected, and the Right is opposed to making this correction, we’re evil. That’s where we part company. (There’s more to it than that, but this I think is the fundamental disagreement.)  There’s a disconnect at the very foundation of the ideological split between the two philosophies, and it goes back decades if not centuries.  After all, Kipling’s The Gods of the Copybook Headings was published in 1919, just shortly after the Russian Revolution.

The fundamental split is that one side thinks that – given sufficient power (in the right hands, of course) – the world can be made fair.  That there doesn’t need to be winners and losers. (Thus “participation trophies” and sports “games” where no one keeps score.) That it is the job of “society” to make everyone absolutely equal.  The other side believes that the world is fundamentally unfair and it’s up to the individual to overcome that inherent unfairness.

Let’s look a the literature throughout history.  Kipling in 1919.  Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron from 1961.  George Orwell’s Animal Farm (1945) and 1984 (1949).  The Greek fable of the Procrustean Bed from ancient history.  They’re all warnings about trying to build Utopia.  What does the Left have?  So far as I can tell, Star Trek from 1966 where they don’t use money, everyone has their needs met, and anyone can pursue whatever they like or do nothing at all.  Exactly what Karl Marx promised would be the outcome of Communism in The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867) – two other fantasies.   We saw this most recently in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) “Green New Deal” where she promised “Economic security to all who are unable or unwilling to work.” (My emphasis.)

Remember Kipling?

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return.

Let’s return to our new Leftist’s assertion:

The Left believes luck plays a big part in how wealth is currently distributed. They believe every human deserves some minimal share of water, food, clean air, and resources required to live. They point out that every business owes some of its success to the hard and soft infrastructure provided by governments.

And:

The Right assumes people deserve and have a right to whatever assets they have, whether earned or given by prior generations. And this includes land, food, natural resources, water, etc.

What are you to assume from this? That the “hard and soft infrastructure provided by governments” unfairly benefits some, no? And therefore those beneficiaries then owe some of their unfairly gained wealth to those not so fortunate. Am I misunderstanding the “logic” here?

As economist Walter Williams has asked, how much of someone else’s property is “your fair share”?  Who decides?  As others have asked, why is robbing someone at gunpoint illegal, but threatening someone with arrest by an armed agent of the government if they don’t cough up money not?

This goes back to my constant harping on education.  I ran across this cartoon Facebook today:

Between 100 and 200 million, in point of fact.

Like they teach that these days.

Hell, they don’t even teach about the Holocaust these days.  Why would they teach about socialism’s other lethal failures?  Instead the schools indoctrinate students in Leftism and the result is that a majority of young people today view socialism favorably.  WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. recently wrote “Trump’s War on Socialism Will Fail.”  Of course it will.  The Long March Through the Institutions has worked out wildly better than either Rudi Dutschke, Antonio Gramsci or any of the members of the Frankfurt School could have imagined. (Two people and one organization that the Millenials don’t know anything about, either.)

And we’re paying for it now.

Many years ago Chris Byrne wrote “There can be no useful debate between two people with different first principles, except on those principles themselves.” As illustrated above, our first principles are completely divergent, and there is no debate – useful or otherwise – anymore. Charles Krauthammer’s observation that the Right thinks the Left is stupid, but the Left thinks the Right is evil was correct when he made it back in the 1990’s, but today the Right is beginning to wake up to the fact that what the Left wants to accomplish – and is willing to use violence to achieve – is evil. When both sides “other” their opponents, can open warfare be far behind?

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