Monday, December 26, 2016

The Left's Trifecta of Delusion, Incompetence, and Spite

Last weekend the boys at Instapundit rang down the verdict on the Obama administration. My version is this:
The Obama era was conceived in delusion, executed in incompetence and delivered with spite.
But why limit this notion to the Obama administration? Any fool can see that this trifecta of delusion, incompetence, and spite applies to the whole Leftist project.

First, there is the lefty delusion about the economy. Its ground of faith is that economic power must be subordinate to political power; otherwise people will be oppressed and exploited by the capitalists. But this is a delusion. The fact is that people subjected to the full force of capitalist economic power have experienced the Great Enrichment of the last 200 years from per-capita income of $1-3 per day to over $100 per day. But people imprisoned in lands where the political sector dominated the economic sector have starved and died. See Venezuela, land of the Bolivarian Revolution.

But it gets worse, because those lands ruled by the deluded left have suffered under the incompetence of their rulers. Science tells us that such rule is bound to be incompetent, because administrative systems cannot compute market prices. But lefties are too incompetent to listen.

But it gets worse, because the rulers of the deluded, incompetent left have oppressed their peoples with spite. It is not enough for them to rule over the economic sector. The natural leaders of the economic sector, that conjure up prosperity with innovation and pluck, must be named and shamed as "robber barons" and "malefactors of great wealth."

Anyway, as my sister reminded me, we have a name for the nation in which the political sector dominates the economic sector: we call it fascist.

Second, there is the lefty delusion about politics. Its ground of faith is that political power, in the hands of the right people, can be salvific; political power can bend the arc of history towards justice. But this is a delusion. Political power is a necessary evil. It is beneficial only because it is civil war by other means, with the sham fights of elections instead of the real thing of teenage boys and twenty-something men with guns running in the streets. The trick with politics is how to limit its power without leaving the people defenseless against robbers and invaders.

But it gets worse, because those lands ruled by the deluded left have suffered under the incompetence of their rulers. The whole point of social animals like humans is to replace the war of all against all with a zone of peace where people agree not to resort to force and resolve their conflicts peacefully. And the rulers of the land where politics is king incompetently mobilize the whole nation as if for war, little caring that war is about destruction, not construction.

But it gets worse, because the rulers of the deluded, incompetent left have oppressed their peoples with spite. It is not enough for them to mobilize the whole people into a political army. There must also be enemies of the people, reactionaries and their bribed apologists, and these must be sought out and hunted down, and shoveled into mass graves as monsters and scum.

Third, there is the lefty delusion about religion and culture. Its ground of faith is that church and state must be combined into a single totalitarian power structure. The left demands not just to dominate your work and your political community. It is determined to use political power to enforce its secular religious beliefs and dominate your mind. But this is a delusion. Indeed it is a contradiction. The left believes in a vanguard of the evolved and the enlightened, the people of the creative self, empowered to spread their expressive individualism throughout the land. But what of the creative expression of the next generation of expressive creativity? How will they persuade the previous generation of creative rulers to accept their new creations?

But it gets worse, because those lands ruled by the deluded left have suffered under the incompetence of their rulers. The whole point of humans as in this mortal coil is that the meaning of life, the universe, and everything is a profound mystery. And the lesson of the last two hundred years and its scientific and cultural revolutions is that the meaning of it all has become curiouser and curiouser. It is profoundly incompetent to imagine that the true meaning of life, the universe and everything can be intuited by any political elite, and carefully taught to a subservient multitude.

But it gets worse, because the rulers of the deluded, incompetent left have oppressed their peoples with spite. It is not enough for them to imagine that politicians and their bribed apologists can dictate the meaning of life, the universe, and everything to their subjects. The subjects must also be made to care. There can be no backtalk, no dissent from the papal bulls of the political elite, and anyone that dissents from the political line must be anathematized as racists, sexists, and homophobes, and cast into outer darkness.

Charles Taylor, the Canadian liberal Catholic philosopher, argued that the modern era and its "immanent frame" requires a two-fold culture to resolve the cross pressures that each of us feel, from materialists that respond to the aesthetic in poetry to religious believers and Romantics that still want the rational structure of human rights. Taylor proposed a two-dimensional solution. First, we must honor ordinary human flourishing: forming families, owning property, doing it for the children. Second, we recognize that we all search for something higher and fuller. The problem then is how to live ordinary life while still embracing the transcendent, and how to reach for the stars in terms that do not “crush, mutilate or deny what is essential to our humanity[?]"

It has been the central conceit of the left that it had solved the problem of human flourishing by making it into something higher and fuller.

But now we know that its entire project was built on a delusion, implemented with blind incompetence, and enforced with spite, and that everywhere the left has ruled it has crushed, spindled and mutilated human flourishing, human community, and human spirit.

All that is wanting is a little boy to observe that the emperor has no clothes.

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