Sunday, November 27, 2005
Amnesty International Knows Who’s Naughty or Nice
I’ve been watching a DVD of international award winning television commercials – good stuff. It’s a shame that more people don’t recognize the artistry that goes into many of these bids to sell products…or ideas.
So far the award winning ads I’ve seen for Amnesty International that have been shown in Western Europe and Scandinavia have focused on what they apparently see as a most noteworthy transgressor of human rights – the United States. Granted, these ads are from a few years back and perhaps A.I. is not so anti-U.S. in their sympathies now, but I’m going to guess otherwise. There have certainly been a few quotes from A.I. officials regarding events in Iraq to indicate that the U.S. is a major concern in their eyes (after all, a war is about being nice to your enemy, isn’t it?).
I realize that A.I. still adheres to its original concern for human rights in general but in a world where several countries are virtual prisons of state directed enslavement and torture, A.I. has increasingly focused on the alleged transgressions of one of the more open, free, and diverse societies in history. I suppose this can be seen as the natural progression of such things (in its priorities domestically, the American Civil Liberties Union has followed a similar transformation -- i.e. now, among its priorities; making sure gays can guide boy scouts and Christmas is removed from public exposure).
I think it can be said that people who take interest in “social” issues tend to be more left-wing as a rule. This doesn’t mean that those who are conservative or less collectivist in outlook are any less “compassionate” or helpful to fellow citizens, often quite the contrary. I’ve met plenty of people actively concerned with social issues who could care less about a real person standing in front of them – abstraction seems to garner greater sympathy to a leftist/collectivist.
I would suggest that most on the right are more personally oriented and likely to direct their attention to daily work and their own families more than the rallying issue of the day. One seldom sees massive organized protests for reduced taxes or less regulation of personal lives and commerce.
Any organization committed to collectivist issues is likely to be generally left wing, and will often sway further left over time.
My gripe with the A.I. Ads that I’ve seen thus far -- they are excellent from a concept/design standpoint -- is their clearly skewed appraisal of where broad and genuine threats to human liberty exists. In this sense they seem similar to the U.N. which plays considerable lip service to the abstraction of human rights but becomes most fervent only when the U.S. or Israel are the topic of critique (remember, the U.N. human rights commission includes and has been chaired by some of the world’s worst tyrannies).
One of A.I. big complaints with American “human rights” is the death penalty.* When dramatizing the issue in their ads, the graphic “horror” of executing a murderer is typically juxtaposed with America’s espoused values as a land of freedom, openness, and achievement. For example, in one ad an Olympic athlete training vigorously on the hoops is suddenly jerked downward and hung on one of the ropes as a script reminds us of America’s terrible human rights record with regard to having the death penalty (of course, it isn’t Olympic trainers who are executed in America’s criminal system, it’s murderers who have typically appealed the sentence and consistently been found guilty of horrid acts against innocent fellow citizens).
The skillfully manipulated intent of such ads is to mock America’s very belief in its own liberties and ideals (A.I. obviously hasn’t convinced the millions of immigrants that desire to move to a country that occasionally executes guys who rape, murder, or dismember children, for example).
Personally, the death penalty isn’t a big issue with me. If it was outlawed and murderers were guaranteed life sentences instead, I couldn’t care less. On the other hand, if a serial killer or child rapist is executed, I can’t work up the level of “compassion” for his “rights” that the left and A.I. is able to (maybe I’m just not “socially conscious”).
There are plenty of countries where the death penalty is exercised loosely for a variety of mundane “crimes” -- often opposing political views begin among them -- and the idea of appeals and a court appointed defense is out of the question. But, that stuff doesn’t play well in Norway or Denmark, caricatures of America as a fascist police state do.
I don’t watch American TV (I live in Japan), but I’m going to guess these rabidly anti-U.S. ads haven't been shown in America itself. After all, the main purpose of the ads – above all else – is fundraising. Get more cash for the noble NGO and its humble agenda to protect Human rights – in some places more than others.
* In some European countries the death penalty was only ended a few decades ago. Now they’re coming up smelling like roses (to themselves) – short memories are a big thing in Europe today. It’s odd, indeed, to often see the German media make Nazi-like allusions to the U.S. – this, from the country where the concept originated.
An Observation regarding Bush’s recent trip to China:
An irony just occurred to me regarding President Bush’s recent trip to Asia, which included China, of course.
One of the issues addressed by Bush was that of intellectual property rights and piracy. Specifically, among pirated intellectual property are many Hollywood movies and music CD's.
Bush (certainly a pro-capitalist) was negotiating with a country ruled by the Communist Party over the concept of private ownership and intellectual property rights. This was being done for an industry (film and entertainment) that generally despises the concept of property, ownership, and capitalism in general, and despises “the messenger” (Bush) even more.
The film industry in America is and always has been well stocked with radical leftists that hate the very system that has made them rich and famous. Someone hasn’t told them apparently, but movie studios, and CD and DVD distribution are capitalist enterprises. Producing most of the entertainment industry’s products would be against the law in countries ruled by the communist party yet, these pampered fools and millionaires continue to actively voice support for Fidel Castro and assorted thugs who have sought to eliminate free markets and free expression of ideas. Meanwhile, “Bush is Hitler”…when he’s not speaking for the cause of property rights for some spoiled brat musicians and drama majors.
Classic left in all its anti-glory.
Amerasians in Vietnam
A recently read a uniquely troubling article at FrontPageMagazine.com regarding the treatment of Amerasians living in "The People's" utopian prison of Vietnam.
Of course, things like racism and human cruelty show their ugly faces everywhere to some degree, but to hear an average leftist describe their cherished standards, you'd think the price of egalitarian destitution and dictatorship was worth the supposed "achievements" of Marxist states.
One's guy's story of growing up half American (black) and half Vietnamese is incredibly disturbing:
"...Between the ages of 8 to 12, Tuan Le roamed the streets scrounging for food and trying to find some kind of work – as a last resort, he would beg for food or money. When the communist cadre caught him, they would force him to strip naked and dance. They told him that if his mother could do “the dance” with an American GI, he could dance for them too. When he wouldn’t dance for them, they would begin stabbing the ground around his feet with bayonets fixed to their rifles. The more they stabbed the faster he would dance, all the while they would be calling him degrading names for their entertainment. On one occasion, he was stabbed several times with a bayonet penetrating his ankle. The scars are visible on his ankle, as many scars are on his head, some from being beaten with a North Vietnamese soldier’s helmet."
"In Vietnam, the communists require everyone to carry an ID card, and without one, Tuan Le could not travel anywhere. Many commodities, such as rice, were rationed and one had to have an ID card to buy any. The communists told Tuan Le that for him to get an ID card he would have to bring his dead father with him to get it. They thought this was amusing..."
The article is definitely worth sharing with a "compassionate" leftist...who will then use it as a springboard for a rant on "American Imperialism" in Vietnam. 'Just can't ever get them to acknowledge how horrid their philosophy is in practice.
A brief excerpt from a “glossary” of Ed-World terminology (from an essay on my experiences in Ed-land U.S.A., to be posted sometime in the next few weeks (probably over the holidays while I’m away from my computer and weekly postings):
- “Teaching the Whole Child”
Another classic total crock... Their point being that good teachers are supposed to be wizards who “nurture a student’s emotional needs” and involve themselves in everything from a students’ sexual orientation issues to whether or not they’re offended by the presence of a flag in the classroom. The insinuation they’re trying to make with this cliché is that teachers who actually increase a student’s knowledge of a subject are somehow neglecting their more important roles as nannies and psychoanalysts. Sometimes it is rhetorically asked, “Do you teach the student or the subject” as if to imply that teachers must choose between sides in this conjured dichotomy.
A Comic Commentary from Promethean Visions:
Superheroes of the Left...
Promethean Quotes from The Promethean Observer:
"A problem with musicians, artists, and entertainers is that some are good at what they do and think it somehow qualifies them as experts in completely unrelated fields like domestic and international political policy."
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Some Afterthoughts to This Week's Post
Neal Boortz, at Boortz Nuze, addresses an issue that's always pissed me off. Republicans, Conservatives, "Reagan," etc. are/were always "cutting needed social spending for the poor." Odd that spending continues to rise for these phony social gimmicks but are continually referred to as, "cuts" by most media sources (and definitely by most teachers, textbooks, and the Talking Headless).
Boortz sums it up:
MEDIA LIES ABOUT CUTS
Yesterday the House of Representatives passed a bill by a razor-thin margin of 217 to 215 cutting spending. According to the media, these were painful cuts in programs for the poor, students and agriculture. The only problem?
There were no cuts.
What these spending "cuts" refer to are cuts in the growth of spending. That means rather than giving the poor, students and farmers a raise next year, we're going to give them a smaller raise. Boy, that's some "cut." Imagine if the rest of the world worked that way?
Husbands and wives could tell each other when they go shopping....don't worry, I'll cut my spending..and wind up spending more than they did last time. But no problem...they were going to spend more and didn't! It's a cut!
Don't expect the dishonest left in the mainstream media to ever correct the lie, either. Except for Fox News (once in awhile) the mainstream media will use the word "cuts" over and over.
No wonder the country is going bankrupt.
...ain't it the truth.
Setting the Record strait on the Jimmy Carter :
The former president (and peanut farmer) has a new best selling book out where he takes considerable liberty with facts and realities both now and during his administration -- must have consulted Bill Clinton on the art of honesty and common sense. Carter has always been a big fan of totalitarian enterprises and has never thought of his own country in a particularly positive light. Of course, leftists eat this kind of stuff up -- nothing like perpetual surrender and self-loathing (loathing one's country, not his self)
Some good retort to the phony claims made in Carter's new book, with some interesting facts that remind more sober minds that the Carter years really weren't all that great:
See "A Failed Former President," at Front Page Magazine.
Phony hyperbole regarding McCarthyism (again) from the people who loved -- and continue to love -- communist authoritarian government most.
Hollywood's got to keep that victim flag flying. They were so "persecuted" in the "witch trials" of the 40's and 50's -- bull!
Even in grade school we're fed this phony image of federal agents kicking in the doors of innocents everywhere over imagined enemies. One should be reminded that the McCarthy hearings had nothing to do with Hollywood. They were investigations into the risks of giving high security clearance to questionable officials and bureaucrats in the State Department and Army -- most who were later confirmed to have been Soviet spies.
Hollywood was another issue, investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee years after McCarthy’s hearings. In Hollywood -- as today -- the industry was full of people who actively or covertly supported an enemy who sought our annihilation. Whatever unfair "persecution" some rich Hollywood elitists were experiencing in America at the time, it was tame compared to what the average Soviet citizen experienced for "crimes" like belief in God or lack of enthusiasm for "the revolution."
Ann Coulter, again, comes back with the facts of the era in her critique of George Clooney's new flick defending the honor of Soviet Spies and those who loved them.
Vietnam, Iraq, and the Anti-American Clown of MIT
Comparisons between the conflict in Iraq and the Vietnam War have been made by many who know better. To a knowledgeable observer there are many differences between the two conflicts, and a few similarities. The worst similarity to all parties concerned (except the one hoping to establish a totalitarian society) is the desire to "cut and run." Those who know more than trivia or Hollywood fiction regarding the Vietnam War know that The United States didn't "lose" the war in Vietnam, it simply left. After leaving, it eventually even cut off supplies and economic assistance to our former allies. The result should have been a surprise to no one.
Anyone interested in the history of America's involvement in Vietnam and the lessons that should have been learned in how that conflict was conducted should definitely read Melvin Laird's interesting and insightful article on the issue at Front Page Magazine.
Laird was the Secretary of Defense under President Nixon and oversaw the transition from America's active involvement there to the South Vietnamese themselves.
The personal insight Laird offers far exceeds the banal editorial comment we've become used to in debate regarding the pace and degree in which America should support or abandon the cause of freedom in Iraq.
The following essay was originally posted at this site earlier this year. I do these reposting of some essays I've written in the past because it buys me time and I have considerably more readers now then when the essays were originally posted. I think the issues addressed are still valid. Essays or comments like the following on Noam Chomsky tend to particularly infuriate the cult followers of the MIT socialist charlatan. The guy's a wealthy best seller all over the world -- partially because he is required reading for the captive audience of so many socialist college professors -- and yet his devotees go nuts when they read a lone blogger who dares note the despicable nature of his values and clear dislike for a country that has clearly been more than generous to him and his family.
There are lots of sites and forums to debate one's causes. If you really want to watch an overblown comedy show, check out the debates that occur regularly regarding Noam Chomsky -- the Socialist who's paid by MIT to be a linguist.
Those who collect Chomsky tomes, tapes, and videos (a lock of hair perhaps?) will ramble to no end citing facts (true, questionable, and bogus) to prove…what?
If you just believed in Jesus, Mohammad, Amway, or Noam Chomsky, all would be right with the world perhaps.
Okay, let's say Chomsky is a "genius" (I’d agree he's smart). Let's go further, and say he's right about America. Lets say America is a rather bad country, that it has done a disproportionate amount of bad things, and is marked historically by racism, classism, and imperialism (there are plenty of non-“geniuses” that have come to the same partisan and questionable conclusions).
The Left’s choices in what systems and countries to “critique” and which ones they let slide is cause for speculation. Either way, I can’t help but feel that holding one’s own country in disdain is, in itself, somehow despicable, particularly in view of the other options so often defended by the weasels of Left-land. Of course, healthy criticism is a good thing and its existence is one of the benefits of an open system of government. There is, however, such a thing as the one-sided partisan attack, and this is where Chomsky and his ilk appear to come from on the spectrum of "healthy criticism." Either one believes that people like Chomsky are somehow oppressed by their country or that they have some magical sympathy for truth and goodness that motivates them, which may, after all, be what they are really getting at; that they are superior in insight, knowledge, and affection for people they have nothing in common with, and if we don’t share their dislike for America that makes us…?
So what’s the real point the adoring roadies of Chomsky fanfare are trying to make? If I were to say, "You’re right! I agree with everything you say and I think Chomsky is really cool.” What would we then do, don party hats and throw a Chomsky party?
It’s just assumed that if we read Chomsky’s books (often just transcribed lectures or interviews), listened to the tapes, and watched the videos of his lectures, then we would all agree with him and, perhaps, like our country less – boy, are we missing out. What fun!
Actually, I think Chomsky-ism is just a boring religion for socialist nerds who hate more common folks. I admittedly have no footnotes to back that up (Chomsky types really like footnotes – preferably to other anti-U.S. icons or just to Chomsky himself). When I hear or read of Chomsky’s bland intellectual indictments I come away feeling that his main points are really nothing new, that they’re no different than the thousands of other stale rants heard from neo-Marxist / new and old left "thinkers" – but that’s just me.
How do we exactly meet the persuasive goals of a Chomskyite? Take that flag down on the July 4th? Apologize to Al Qaeda? Reinstall Soviet communism everywhere it's been vanquished? Double the size of the already inefficient bureaucracy to further, "[not] address human needs?" Punish wealth and success (The Left’s favorite)?
While some of Chomsky's followers would no doubt favor such strategies, I sense in the fervor of their "message" that the real point they're making is that they are somehow cooler than those of us who still admire our country’s system, history, and impressive record of good. Okay, maybe we’re wrong. Maybe we just suck and the socialist nerd of MIT is a genuine hero.
And your point is…?
A brief excerpt from a “glossary” of Ed-World terminology from an essay on my experiences in Ed-land U.S.A. (To be posted sometime in the next few weeks):
- The “Rote Learning” straw man
This is a big one. Ed-schools, and teachers in general, like to pretend that there is some traditional teacher out there who is the norm and bores his or her classes with lectures, facts, and information. This phony concoction is often accompanied by the phrase, “drill and kill,” in which students are imagined reciting meaningless facts which are deadening their minds. Check out a local school classroom today you’ll search long and hard for any remnants of rote learning or drilling information. “Progressive Education” has had a firm lock on America’s schools for decades and each year they try to pretend that the enemy is some imagined boogeyman that’s making kids learn facts through rote memorization.
A Comic Commentary from Promethean Visions:
Voices without a voice...
Promethean Quote from The Promethean Observer:
" 'Fight the powers that be.' -- then, collect a check from them for singing about it."
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Good Humor Once More Hits the Nail on the Head
The un-P.C. People’s Cube has pegged the left’s entire worldview in all its laughable absurdity.
Goose-stepping Obedience or Cell Phones and I-Pods...Decisions, Decisions
As it turns out, the young and foolish of South Korea, nurtured -- as in the west -- on the fantasies of a left "leaning" media, and educational system, believe the Gulag to the north of them might actually be okay:
"…South Korea's sunshine policy has done nothing to moderate the regime of Kim Jong-Il, quite the opposite. At the same time, it has warped the perceptions of many South Koreans, who now feel greater sympathy towards the criminal regime in Pyongyang than towards the United States. It appears, with regard to North, that the South Korean left has taken a page from their American brethren, eschewing strenuous opposition to tyrannical governments in favor of accommodation and appeasement. When the government of Kim Jong-Il falls into the dustbin of history, many South Koreans can look forward to explaining to their northern cousins why they stood by and did so little to save them from their hellish predicament."
I realize there are levels and stages of Communist horror and, if one is an intellectual, one can even make it all sound necessary and good to turn an entire nation into a prison camp but, the North Korean situation just looks a bit too obvious to me. What's it going to take to wake up the kind of stooges who think that Kim Jong Il is merely misunderstood?
The left -- even in its watered down appeasement mode -- is so pathetic.
In any event, read the excellent article on this matter at Front Page Magazine. I hope it doesn't infuriate you as much as it did me.
Where’s Charles Martel When You Need Him?
I note the name of Charles Martel in this post’s heading as a reminder that some in Europe’s history have been more successful in their confrontations with Islamic Jihad than those currently running the Euro-Bureau states.
I really can’t expand much upon what others have been saying for over two weeks now regarding recent events in Europe (particularly France, of course). Suffice it to say that the French government’s politically correct fools are repeating the same mistakes that have become an all too regular feature in their country’s recent history -- the idealistic belief that all enemies can be negotiated with or placated.
There is, of course, the usual talk in the media and amongst the bureau-fools of the French government regarding, “poverty, unemployment, and discrimination.” So, what happened to all that talk about France’s supposedly superior “social[ist] safety net”? The country doesn’t spend much on its military, they punish wealth and success in accordance with socialist delusions regarding economics (thus, double digit unemployment), and they reward people for not working or taking initiative, yet still -- riots in the street, “because of poverty.” I thought France didn’t have poor people, or racism, or any of the other traits attributed to wealthy, dynamic capitalist society. There wasn’t even a Hurricane to set them off.
It’s been hard to find a mainstream news report where the “M” word (Muslim) has been noted as more than a mere aside, if mentioned at all. This Reuters article goes so far as to actually exaggerate the writer’s personally skewed perceptions as to who is actively involved in the violence, attributing it to generic “youths” who are “…white as well as French-born citizens of Arab or African origin protesting against racism and unemployment.” The writer must have interviewed a lot of Molotov cocktail throwing “youths” to be able to report such “news.” No doubt, as in any chaotic situation, there are likely some random troublemakers having their chance to vent some meaningless violence, but news sources seem to be going out of their way to avoid any mention of the Muslim composition of the rioters. The usual left-wing B.S. about poverty and lack of understanding has become the norm in most reports.
In France, President Chirac and Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin have both uttered limp and pathetic nonsense about “establishing dialog” and addressing “frustrations over unemployment and racism” etc. (Perhaps M. Villepin will write a poem?) Sorry guys, but your country is under siege. Though this may only be a meek trial run, the largely Muslim arsonists are laughing at you, and your obvious trademark weakness will, no doubt, lead them on further. The jihad mentality, like its kindred secular versions (communism and fascism) perceives and acts upon weakness, especially when it’s so blatantly obvious.
Sober minded observers shouldn’t view the pathetic French “leader’s” appraisals of events as those of average citizens. I’m sure there are more than a few French citizens that are fed up with “tolerance and understanding” as a solution to domestic upheaval. The only person in charge that appears able to appraise the issue with any honesty is the Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has been chastised by some for referring to the rioters as, “scum” (which may lack professionalism but at least gets to the point).
One catalyst to violence in these events is the ideology of fundamentalist Islamic Jihad which puts its youth at war with any country they may be citizens of (if the country fails to tow the radical Islamist party line). The “youths” in question never intended on “assimilating into European society,” and simply getting them a job isn’t likely to change their fervent political/religious convictions. Islam is not about tolerance, “peace,” or assimilation; it’s about willful imposition of authoritarian rule.
For the French leadership to think that opposing the removal of Saddam Hussein (and fervently opposing the U.S. in general) would save them from the disdain of Muslim fanatics was a serious miscalculation – but then serious misappraisals have been made before in French history, haven’t they?
As for the Islamists; their actions in recent years have ultimately been a strategic blunder for the simple reason that they’ve acted too soon. The weasels of leftdom may continue to spout their sympathetic and media-deceptive pro-Muslim rhetoric, but fewer citizens in the U.S., Australia, and Britain (et al.) will be buying into the con. As for France, sober minds there that can see the writing on the wall may be, unfortunately, outnumbered by the mentality that gave into their country’s defeat in the last century.
It should be noted that, while Euro-elites like Chirac and Germany’s Gerhard Schroeder have, in the past (i.e. Hurricane Katrina), pervasively made a point of insulting the United States, its President, and its citizens, I think its noteworthy that through these difficult times in Europe, Bush (the “unsophisticated”) has been a gentleman through it all – no condescending wise cracks against a country in crisis.
My condolences to those citizens of France who can appraise current events with honesty and understand the need for insight and decisiveness.
By the way, that Muslim teenager with a Molotov Cocktail yelling “Allah Akbar” is your enemy…the U.S. is not! Know who your real friends are.
A brief excerpt from a “glossary” of Ed-World terminology (from an essay on my experiences in Ed-land U.S.A.). To be posted sometime in the next few weeks:
- “Critical Thinking skills”
“In Ed-land, this means that kids have developed a depressive radical skepticism regarding their nation, their family, notions regarding the existence of god or good and evil, and the very meaning of life itself. “Critical thinking” in today’s schools would, of course, “question” the war in Iraq but not the policy of appeasement towards brutal dictators. When you hear about “critical thinking” in a classroom you can be certain that there will be a neat divide between what is to be looked at critically and what is to go unquestioned.”
A Comic Commentary from Promethean Visions:
Freedom from hunger...
Promethean Quotes from The Promethean Observer:
"On nihilism in art:
Rolling around naked in mud and calling it ‘art’ is like screaming, ‘Destroy the system’ and calling it, ‘Political Philosophy.’ The point can be argued intellectually, but so can murdering a few million people. It appears that those less intellectual among us are often more suited to judging meaning and value in both art and life."
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Fallacies and Hypocrisies vs. "Single Agent Fallacies"
From Michelle Malkin: "All the News That's Fit to Omit"
"... The paper's [The New York Times] excerpt of Corporal Starr's letter leaves the reader with the distinct impression that this young Marine was darkly resigned to a senseless death. The truth is exactly the opposite. Late last week, I received a letter from Corporal Starr's uncle, Timothy Lickness. He wanted you to know the rest of the story—and the parts of Corporal Starr's letter that the Times failed to include:”
“'obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq. I kind of predicted this, that is why I'm writing this in November. A third time just seemed like I'm pushing my chances. I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark.'..."
In past ages such writing would impress most readers as noble and heroic -- not today. Mocking critics in media and entertainment would see such expressions as pathetic or at least see the writer as a deluded and gullible fool (while they sit back pondering their own "heroism" in rebelling against their own fellow citizens' safety and those who risk their lives to protect it).
More Classic Hypocrisies in Left-land
Last week; Chomsky. This week; another leftist hypocrite and liar -- the rich pig of gleeful treason. The "artist" only a leftist could love -- Michael Moore.
"'I don't own a single share of stock!' filmmaker Michael Moore proudly proclaimed.
He's right. He doesn't own a single share. He owns tens of thousands of shares – including nearly 2,000 shares of Boeing, nearly 1,000 of Sonoco, more than 4,000 of Best Foods, more than 3,000 of Eli Lilly, more than 8,000 of Bank One and more than 2,000 of Halliburton, the company most vilified by Moore in "Fahrenheit 9/11."
The article regarding the new book, "Do As I Say (Not As I Do)" touches on Moore's hypocrisy as well some other phony paradoxes of the "self-sacrificing, loving, and caring" Robber Barons of contemporary Left-land.
Sorry, still no Ed School Essay - yet. God, I'm lazy...
A Comic Commentary from Promethean Visions:
The Paradox of Radical Chic
Promethean Quotes from The Promethean Observer:
"...If Che's world vision had prevailed, it's safe to say that Apple founder Steve Jobs would have never brought us the iPod. After all, it's tough to innovate when you're stuck behind a donkey farming turnips for the proletariat..."
-- Ryan Clancy, freelance writer
and (my own observation)
"The history of collectivist political philosophy has been primarily different arguments on how to enslave one's fellow citizens."
(The following essay was originally posted at this site last year)
The socialist worldview has a way of morphing itself to changing times. While it may appear to change, its underlying values and obsessions remain the same - imposing a "planned" society, "redistributing" wealth and power to the state, and honoring some collective abstractions above and beyond the actual individuals who occupy the real world.
Collectivism, and the very stance of viewing humans in context to group affinities, is one of those major concepts that define Leftism. It is equally true that Classical Liberals -- "the right" -- are polarized to this stance. A basic tenet of the Right-Wing worldview is individuality and autonomous freedom.
Of course, some will immediately drag dishonest, "conventional wisdom" into the argument; "weren't Hitler and Mussolini Right-Wing?" - Actually, no, they weren't (although common semantics has come to define them as such). Although it has been a successful ploy of The Left to paint some factions of collectivism (i.e. Nazism and Fascism) as "Right-Wing," as a means to distance their own philosophy from some of its more heinous expressions, Nazism and Fascism have absolutely nothing in common with free market classical liberal thought. Of course, everything from conventional wisdom to the common dictionary has bought into the lie. For those naïve in their knowledge of totalitarian institutions, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy were not decentralized states which honored the rights of the individual in life and commerce. The socialist's supposed hatred for Fascism is little different than their hatred for other factions within the collectivist ideal. The Stalinists hate the Trotskyites, the Maoists hate the "capitalist roaders" (other socialists who will allow some degree of private commerce to later steal from). Because the very essence of socialist thought is imposition of a "plan" or scheme, they will always be violently opposed to anyone who supports an alternate "plan." The Classical Liberal will always be the main target of such vitriol because, by its very nature, it is opposed to externally imposed plans of any kind.
While a thousand initially just causes, from civil rights to environmental issues, can be used to rally the flock to the standard socialist game plan, their ultimate goal has always been collectivism and imposed government authority.
Some members of the intellectual "community" have also become quite skilled in adapting fads and philosophies to these ends. An entire chain of "thinkers" (or their followers) from Plato to Rousseau, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre, Derrida et al., have continued the mental gymnastic stunt of twisting radical skepticism and relativism to the usual socialist ends. Their "skepticism" is, however, highly suspect, as they are inevitably choosy regarding what it is they are skeptical about. I have yet to find a socialist “skeptic” who’s skeptical about socialism or its multi-tentacled spawn.
The Left's con-game for justifying an "ordered" society reached a high point in America's colleges in the last few decades under the broad headings of "Postmodernism" and "Deconstructionism," their main point being, that our system of existence, commerce, and very individuality, were all mere "constructs" erected by the powers that be (the capitalist bogeyman -- as usual).
The autonomous individual, so praised by Classical Liberals (The Right), was labeled in the postmodern mind labyrinths as, "The Single Agent Fallacy" (another masterstroke of Orwellian word play). In essence, these philosophers were trying to say that individuality is an illusion. We're supposed to see such intellectual guile as another great flourish of insight by the elites of Left-land.
While it is true that, "No man is an island," it's certainly reasonable that some of us may actually desire a high degree of autonomy. In heated discussion, libertarians often encounter people who are shocked that an individualist's perspective does not "view us all as part of a fast web of interconnectedness." The truth is, Classical Liberals, like most individuals, are aware of the claim's validity to a degree (cheesy descriptions aside). "The right" (again, I emphasize, Classical Liberals), knows that people function in any number of complex group affiliations. Where they differ from The Left is, they do not believe such group affinities deny one's essentially individual nature and capacity to choose, apart from group coercion.
"… We are alienated…We are materialistic"…etc. One must remember that when a leftist says "we" he or she means you. The shallow attempt to include themselves in such deprecation is no more than mock humility and hardly represents the epitome of propaganda skill.
The Post-Mod philosopher's slight of hand is to acknowledge some people's love of individual liberty but then write it off as an illusion motivated by "selfishness" or delusion. It's no coincidence that, in the Soviet gulag, a person's belief in liberty and individuality were seen as symptoms of mental illness; "Since you have no genuine free will to begin with, you might as well do what we well-meaning socialist tell you to do[!]...if you don't, you're obviously insane." The conservativism as pathology "argument" continues to be used by leftists today.
Since the Post Modern school of philosophy (which, in many ways, is just another neo-Marxism) feels justified in equating our sense of individuality with a mere fantasy, can we not question the Left's preoccupation with its dream world of collective abstractions? When an individual commits a crime against another, the Left (and all its permutations) will tell us that responsibility lies with "society," "the [free-market] system," or "Euro-centric linear patriarchal thinking." It seems to be literally beyond their comprehension that genuine individuals exist at all. (An exception is made, of course, when dealing with such persons as George Bush who is seen as individually evil of course). Perhaps it could be said that the Left generally favors larger social units. They will always support the interests of the "community" over the family, the centralized state over the local region, and finally, "humanity" or "the Earth" over an individual nation. It's no wonder that those on the left hate authority and simultaneously love authority (if it is their philosophically kindred brethren imposing it). A Leftist is often rabidly anti -authoritarian on the surface. Ultimately, it's not so much that they're against individuality per se as they are against other's claims to individual freedom. Is it any wonder that such lines of thinking are opposed to anything incorporating the word, "private;" private enterprise, private ownership, private property, private sector, privatization… The very thought of having private lives is anathema to those who would collectivize every aspect of the human spirit.
On a true polarity to collectivist thought lies Classical Liberal conservatism; a belief in limited decentralized government and the primacy of the individual to act and trade according to his or her self-interests. The prime tenant of Leftism is the insistence that individual free expression be controlled and molded to what the Leftist sees as a higher cause -- "the people, the race, one's 'class,' society, the poor..."
When we deal with these basic philosophical stances we are no longer in the realm of debate backed by "proof." We are all indeed enmeshed in a complex web of chosen and un-chosen group affinities and possess an awareness and ability to think and act as individuals. How much people choose to live in accordance with the dictates of their own conscience vs. how much they feel themselves to be mere cogs in group allegiance is, to a considerable degree, a subjectively chosen stance. While a slave can't "prove" that he or she should be left alone, the state and its supporters can't "prove" that you should sacrifice your own values to a conjured collective abstraction either. (i.e. "The People").
The "single agent" is neither a "fallacy" nor a "construct" fabricated by a "capitalist class of oppressors." It's the basic package that we humans come in. The fact that we may choose to be, or find ourselves, among others as families, communities, clubs, or "classes" hardly justifies that we be compelled to live out an intellectual's favorite plan for marching in their parade, ...to the beat of their discordant and oppressive drums.