Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Victims Of The Left


Victims of the Left

June 2008


This section of DiscoverTheNetworks examines how the campaigns of the socialist left, under the noble-sounding banners of “social justice” and “equality,” have inflicted catastrophe in many forms—poverty, moral decline, criminality, violence, illness, and death—upon countless millions of people over the course of the past half-century. The programs and policies that led to these disastrous outcomes were unfailingly promoted by the left—under the false flag of “liberalism”—as expressions of a high-minded idealism that promised to spawn an era of unprecedented societal harmony, and to literally create the world anew.

The leftist paradigm holds that non-socialist societies are composed exclusively of dominators and the dominated, oppressors and the oppressed. The alleged cause of this social arrangement is the economic system of free-market capitalism, which the left considers the root of all manner of social ills and vices—racism, sexism, alienation, homophobia, imperialism. In the calculus of the left, capitalism is the agent of tyranny and exploitation that presses its iron boot upon the proverbial necks of a wide array of victim groups—blacks and other minorities, women, homosexuals, immigrants, and the poor, to name but a few. That is why according to the left, the United States (the standard-bearer of all capitalist economies) can only do wrong. The ill-fated leftist policies discussed in this section of DiscoverTheNetworks were intended to rectify those purported wrongs.

To eliminate America’s inherent injustices, the left seeks to return to a status society where the power hierarchy is inverted, where the groups now said to be oppressed become the privileged races, classes and gender of the new social order. The left’s quest to transform the “dominated” into dominators, and vice versa, draws its inspiration from the Communist Manifesto, which asserts that “[t]he history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.

The struggle identified by the Manifesto was that of the proletarians and their intellectual vanguard who, armed with the radical utopian vision of socialism, were expected to launch a series of civil wars in their respective countries—battles that would topple the “ruling classes” and the illegitimate societies they had established. According to Marxist theory, these conflicts would rip each targeted society apart and create a new revolutionary world from its ruins.

And if the success of such revolutions was contingent upon immense suffering, so be it. No purgative campaign—whether entirely nonviolent, or the very embodiment of unrestrained savagery—would be too dear a price to pay for the vaporization of the old order and the creation of a “progressive” future.

Toward the realization of such a future, the contemporary left has formed a broad alliance, or united front, composed of radicals representing a host of demographic groups that are allegedly victimized by American capitalism and its related injustices. Each constituent of this alliance—minorities, homosexuals, women, immigrants, the poor—contributes its voice to the chorus that aims to discredit the United States as an irredeemable abuser of the vulnerable. Nor is the left’s list of victim groups limited only to human beings; even certain species of shrubs, trees, insects, and rodents qualify as victims in the worldview of leftwing environmentalists and animal rights activists.

The destructive leftist campaigns identified in this section of DiscoverTheNetworks were invariably launched in the name of rescuing such victims from the ravages of an allegedly oppressive status quo. Calling themselves “liberals,” today’s leftists claim the moral high ground as self-anointed avatars of compassion and enlightenment—counterweights to the supposedly “reactionary” conservatives they depict as heartless monsters.

In his book Homegrown Democrat, author and radio personality Garrison Keillor gives voice to this perspective. He writes: “I am a liberal, and liberalism is the politics of kindness. Liberals stand for tolerance, magnanimity, community spirit, the defense of the weak against the powerful, love of learning, freedom of belief, art and poetry, city life, the very things that make America worth dying for.” Keillor classifies conservative Republicans as people who seek to create a “new privatized low-tax minimal-services society” where “politics will be so ugly and rancid that decent people will avoid expressing an opinion for fear of being screeched at and hectored and spat on”; who feel no sense of “Christian obligation toward the poor”; who have “too much money and too little character”; who have no “honesty” and no “idea of serving the public good”; and to whom “human misery is all a fiction, something out of novels, stories of matchstick people.”

Keillor’s remarks typify the manner in which contemporary leftists characterize themselves and, in stark contrast, their conservative ideological foes. But the term “liberal” as Keillor intends it bears no substantive resemblance to the classical liberalism that originally grew out of the dramatic intellectual strides that Western culture made during the 17th-century Age of Reason and the 18th-century Enlightenment. When the term “liberalism” (from the Latin word liberalis, meaning “pertaining to a free man”) first emerged in the early 1800s, it was guided by a four-pronged value system that embraced individual rights, the rule of law, limited government, and free markets based on private property. These would remain the defining characteristics of liberalism throughout the liberal epoch (generally identified as the period of 1815-1914). “Until August 1914,” wrote British historian A. J. P. Taylor, “a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state.” As Barry Loberfeld puts it,

“The government did not control how [a man] lived, where he lived, where he traveled, what he purchased, whom he traded with, or whether he should enlist in the military.”

Yet the modern left, which portrays itself as the agent of enlightened commitment to “liberal” or “progressive” causes, in fact stands for the antithesis of each of the foregoing liberal ideals. Contrary to its self-definition, the left is neither “liberal” nor “progressive,” but rather a reactionary force that seeks to resurrect the traditions that characterized the epoch which preceded the rise of classical liberalism.

Consider these easily verifiable truths: The modern left is the stalwart champion of group rights rather than individual rights (as exemplified by its support for collective preferences—affirmative action—based on such categories as race, ethnicity, gender, or national origin); the circumvention of law rather than the rule of law (as exemplified by support for the edicts of activist judges and the non-enforcement of laws pertaining to immigration and nondiscrimination); the expansion of government rather than its diminution (by means of ever-escalating taxes to fund a bloated welfare state, and government control over virtually every aspect of human life—education, health care, day care, etc.); and the redistribution of wealth (through punitive taxes and mushrooming welfare programs), rather than its creation through free-market capitalism.

By calling themselves “liberals” or “progressives,” leftists have entirely redefined the terms of debate. And as noted earlier, the media and the public have largely gone along with this fraudulent self-identification, as evidenced by the fact that few people nowadays draw any distinction between liberalism in its original and authentic sense, and leftism—or socialism posing as “liberalism.”

Thus we witness the travesty of the “liberal” label being widely attached to far leftists like Michael Moore, George Soros, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Jesse Jackson, Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, Angela Davis, Cindy Sheehan, Lynne Stewart, and Ted Kennedy. Yet the ideals of each of these individuals are utterly antithetical to the tenets of classical liberalism as outlined above.

The socialist left’s redefinition of liberalism has taken place subtly and incrementally. The left has long understood the effectiveness of an incremental approach to social revolution, where the shadow of government regulation over every aspect of life—such as college admissions, hiring practices, and promotion policies—lengthens so slowly as to be scarcely noticed by the society whose structure and traditions it quietly, inexorably obscures. As the perennial Socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas once said:

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of ‘liberalism,’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened.”

In the name of liberalism, the left has inflicted immense suffering upon the very groups on whose behalf it justifies its own campaigns and crusades. That suffering is the subject of this section of


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