Friday, September 19, 2008

The Nature of the Democrats

For years I've been following one of the most ominous trends in American culture, the radicalization of the Democrat Party. The Democrats are taking on aspects of a totalitarian party. Force, lies and intimidation replace reason in the party's pursuit of power.

Obama's campaign has taken this totalitarian trend farther than any Democrat presidential candidate has done before. The campaign has taken a series of troubling actions.

It smeared McCain in a cynical, outright dishonest ad in which Rush Limbaugh's comments were taken out of context to make Republicans look racist. Limbaugh writes,

...the commercial flashes two quotes from me: ". . . stupid and unskilled Mexicans" and "You shut your mouth or you get out!

The "stupid and unskilled Mexicans" remark came while he was defending NAFTA, and attributing that line to its opponents. Limbaugh believes the opposite about Mexican workers.

Limbaugh sums up,

The malignant aspect of this is that Mr. Obama and his advisers know exactly what they are doing. They had to listen to both monologues or read the transcripts. They then had to pick the particular excerpts they used in order to create a commercial of distortions. Their hoped-for result is to inflame racial tensions. In doing this, Mr. Obama and his advisers have demonstrated a pernicious contempt for American society.

This ad shows a shocking contempt for the truth from the Democrats. These people have decided that their end of power justifies any means.

This week Obama exhorted his followers,

I need you to go out and talk to your friends and talk to your neighbors. I want you to talk to them whether they are independent or whether they are Republican. I want you to argue with them and get in their face.

(Bold added.)

This is asking for more than just persuasion. This is not just asking the Bambis of the Democrat party to show some spine. This is asking for Democrats to intimidate. Getting in another person's face is an attempt to instill fear and silence that person. The threat of violence is implicit. This is not about reason; it is about force. Obama is turning his supporters into proto-brown shirts. Today they are asked to intimidate. What might they be asked to do tomorrow?

If any Republican exhorted his followers to get in the other side's face, the MSM would take this as evidence of the Republicans' mean-spirited nature.

Also this week Palin's emails were hacked into by a 20-year old boy who happens to be the son of a Democrat Tennessee State Representative.

ACORN, which registers voters for the Democrats, is suspected of voter fraud.

...ACORN workers often handed in the same name on a number of voter registration cards, but showing that person living at different addresses. Other times, cards had the same name listed, but a different date of birth. Still another sign of possible fraud showed a number of people living at an address that turned out to be a restaurant.

We will see a lot more voter fraud on November 4 as the Democrats try to steal the election. It worked for them in 1960 and they almost pulled it off in 2000.

For weeks now Obama has attempted to silence his critics with intimidation from lawyers and his followers.

In today's Chicago Tribune, the Obama camp responds to nitpicky concerns about their attempts to shut down radio shows that might say things they don't like, via their "Obama Action Wires":

"The Action Wire serves as a means of arming our supporters with the facts to take on those who spread lies about Barack Obama and respond forcefully with the truth, whether it's an author passing off fiction as biography, a Web site spreading baseless conspiracy theories or a TV station airing an ad that makes demonstrably false claims," said Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt.

Having listened to the previous Milt Rosenberg show with Stanley Kurtz that got "Action-Wired" (which is available here), I can tell you what this translates to:

"We'll provide a page of talking points for you to spout at the host and his guest. Just read it from your screen. Unfortunately, we're unable to provide you with the necessary brainpower to keep up when the host asks you to explain the reasoning behind 'your' opinion, or poses any other question that isn't found in our script.

"But that isn't the point anyway. We just want to tie up their phone lines with thousands of angry calls, both to intimidate them and to prevent people with legitimate questions from getting through. Yes We Can... Shout Down All Blasphemers."

(Bold in original.)

Robert Tracinski in his latest TIA Daily traces the left's problem back to the 1930's:

The modern left was born from America's "Red Decade," in which the intelligentsia embraced collectivism and dictatorship and hailed the bloodthirsty Soviet regime as a noble experiment. The left was born out of a conscious act of treason, not just to America, but to the principles it stands for.

...

The root of the American left's fundamental sympathy with the Soviet Union—and with dictatorship in general—is that they share the basic political outlook of the Soviets: a belief in rule by force. This infects every element of the left and explains why the left tends to inject thug tactics into political campaigns...

If the party has been rotten for 70 years -- and I think it got really bad with the ascent of the New Left in the '60s -- it is remarkable they have not done more damage to America's tradition of freedom by now. I have to think America dodged a bullet by electing only two Democrat presidents in the last 40 years.

I have argued that Obama, as one who prides himself in being a "blank screen" on which others see what they want to see, reflects the unexceptional, generic Democrat Party. He is not one to forge a new ideological path within the party. He senses the accepted, majority opinion and goes along. But this same man shows the totalitarian tendencies described above. Those tendencies are very much a part of the nature of the Democrat Party today. This is who they are. This is how low they have fallen.

Harry Binswanger asks an interesting question on HBList. After he had the nomination in the bag, Obama moved to the center, adopting Republican positions on various issues (to the point of advocating more war in Afghanistan), and yet, the left has complained little. They are staying silent about Obama's positions.

Why? What do they understand about Obama that the rest of us don't?

29 comments:

mike18xx said...

There's nothing at all mysterious about the behavior of the Democratic Party over the last several decades if one simply imagines that they are the Communist Party in disguise (albeit an insanely corrupt, dacha-obsessed brand of "communism" at the higher levels rather than the "pure" Cambodian variety).

-- Then everything falls perfectly into line.

(The Republicans, meanwhile, are a sort of a "Christian-Democrat" analogy that plays mushy, incompetent center while the Democrats haul the country down te tubes as there's no real opposition party at all.)

Anonymous said...

"I have to think America dodged a bullet by electing only two Democrat presidents in the last 40 years."

You got that right, Myrhaf. And to think, the first of those two was perhaps the most disreputable sod ever elected to the office. This latest Democrat hopeful is no better.

Renee Katz said...

What do you guys think of the idea held by some Objectvists that it would be worse to elect Republicans because they have a better chance of implementing some kind of Judeo-fascist state?

Rachel said...

Which is worse? The product of a party of naked aggression or the product of a party of principled mystics?

True, in the short run, Democrats would implement, whether de facto or de jure, the oppression of brute force, but the Republicans will implement the age-old evil of systematic, morally-certain religion.

As pessimistic as I am about my fellow Americans, I cannot believe that they would stand by for long and take the brute force option. History has shown, however, that people will live with religion for generations.

Bill Brown said...

I guess you could wait and see how the Obama Faith Tour pans out. I find Obama more religious and mystical then McCain by a long shot. He's more preacher than president.

Also, I am far more afraid of the Democrat's ideas on free speech restrictions than McCain's campaign regulation restrictions.

RyanTheEgoist said...

I'm no supporter of Rush Limbaugh by any means. I find him repugnant, but damnit if this isn't anything less than an OUTRAGE. The Democrats obviously have a contempt for truth and being straight forward.

You CAN make Rush look like an ass, but not like this...

Dismuke said...


True, in the short run, Democrats would implement, whether de facto or de jure, the oppression of brute force, but the Republicans will implement the age-old evil of systematic, morally-certain religion.

As pessimistic as I am about my fellow Americans, I cannot believe that they would stand by for long and take the brute force option. History has shown, however, that people will live with religion for generations."



I completely agree in that I don't think there is any doubt about it in the long run.

The problem is I personally won't be around generations from now - and thus what happens then is of no real selfish concern to me. And the time frame of what constitutes "won't stand by for long" in terms of history could very easily constitute a VERY sizable chunk of an individual human being's lifespan.

If we end up under the oppression of brute force for 20 years (a frame of reference of how quickly that goes by, 20 years ago the topic of conversation was Bush vs. Dukakis. Only 16 years ago it was HillaryHealthCare), then quite frankly my one shot at having a happy second half of my life is SCREWED in a major sort of way. Even if things improve over where they are now at the end of the 20 years (which won't be immediately as the economy will have a huge hole to have to climb out of), by then I will be really too old to take much advantage of it.

I have heard the argument made on an Objectivist board or blog somewhere that Communism rose and fell far faster than a revival of religion will endure. And I don't recall disagreeing with the person's reasons for saying that was so. But try telling that to someone who lived in Hungary or the USSR in 1956. MAYBE that person got to live long enough after a life of slavery to see the Iron Curtain fall just as they were about to enter into old age completely dependent on a miserable pension funded by the defunct Communist government and no time to earn anything of their own.

Context is everything. So when a person makes a decision as to whether the lesser of two evils is the evil that will be absolutely horrible in the short term but which will collapse in the long run verses an evil that will slowly take us to a similar but more enduring evil sometime down the road - well, one has to first ask just what "long term" and "short term" really mean. And then one has to ask how many years one can expect to be around. Looking at the issue from the mountain top or ivory tower view of the historian or philosopher is certainly interesting and of value. But in terms of OUR OWN LIVES and our SELFISH interests - well, such factors HAVE to be taken into consideration. And, unfortunately, very often they are absent from the online debates I have read on the subject. In the long run we're all dead. And, in the grand scheme of history, we are all here only for the short-term.

I am very interested in the debate if the context is set in terms of the rest of the active years I and the people I love and care about have left. Outside that context - well, it is strictly academic. If a prosperous and free capitalist paradise comes along three hundred years from now - well, I am profoundly happy that those who will be around then will get to enjoy it. But, beyond that, it means nothing to my own life.

Grant said...

Myrhaf,

To answer your question, why have the democrats remained silent as Obama shifted to the center after the nomination? Here's my answer:

If you look at a leftist, what you see first and foremost, in their ethics and politics, is preoccupation with raw survival. To skate by in life and to call it a success. As Rand put it: the desire escape death (as distinguished from the desire to live life). There is a tendency amongst leftist, especially young leftists, to experience "everything." This is a means of comitting to nothing and a way of feeling secure in the knowledge that nothing can touch them if there's nothing to touch. They do this with everything. Most leftists are afflicted with a serious case of "the grass is always greener on the other side." They all hate the city they live in and want to "travel"; they pride themselves on their artistic ecclecticism; and their every "opinion" drips with equivocations and escape clauses.

A leftist is someone who is committed to hating something; anything. To go looking for problems, and if nothing significant can be found, to manufacturing them.

On some level, they know that this is their game. From time to time, they can't help but become conciously aware of what it is that drives them. Now and then, they sense how empty and fraudulent their disgust with American culture is. When Obama dropped his fiery leftist rhetoric, the leftists who had gone along with it felt that, ultimately, they hadn't lost anything. It's an inescapable fact that to betray a fantastic impossibility is not actually a betrayal.

It doesn't bother them that Obama has been watered down. They know that this is what people do when they grow up and get serious about reality (even the perverted reality of Presidential politics). Leftists are okay with a centrist Obama because they also know that sooner or later, as they always do, the gears of self-hatred will start turning again. They are confident that eventually they, as individuals and as a culture, will have some new set of "injustices" to fixate on. To give a recent example of this phenomenon, simply look at the hysterical pronouncements they make upon the Bush Administration. Sure, he is a failed President and a proto-fascist, but to liken him to Hitler or to claim that his was the worst Presidency in American history is patently absurd. Such conclusions do not come from a desire to identify and understand reality, but to escape from it for however long their rhetoric - and those of us who don't buy it - will allow them to.

Mike said...

"their every "opinion" drips with equivocations and escape clauses."

I have rarely heard it put better, grant. This is, I think, why there is such prevalence of the phrase "I feel" from leftists, both spoken and written, when an Objectivist (or just a normal person) would say "I think" or "I have determined" or "I understand." They say "I feel this is a bad idea." or "I feel that was a wonderful show." or "I feel Barack Obama is the best man for the Presidency.

By saying "I feel," what they are really trying to do, perhaps subconsciously, is couch their opinion (which can be criticized on its merits) as the product of their subjective emotions (which cannot be criticized, because everybody's emotions are precious in their eyes).

Once you notice "I feel," you hear and see it EVERYWHERE, and it's really quite illuminating how cleanly its use or disuse breaks down between those whose opinions are worthwhile and those whose opinions are of no value anyway. I haven't gotten QUITE to the point where I instantly dismiss the utterances of anyone who says "I feel" the way I instantly dismiss the arguments of anyone who uses a rhetorical question as a conclusory point, but it's getting there.

Renee Katz said...

Personally, my own selfish interest is to look at it from the ivory tower view.

Dismuke said...

"They know that this is what people do when they grow up and get serious about reality

Yes. And the evil being that forces them to grow up and get serious about reality is a pseudo-mystical goblin that all Leftists believe in: their term for it is "The Man."

"The Man" is a vilified caricature of every authority figure in the Leftist's adolescence who told them "no" and in some way denied them the freedom to indulge in their every whim.

Most if not all children go through a phase where they implicitly think "I want" and "I wish" is some sort of commandment that reality and other people ought to obey. A very significant part of the process of growing up is the realization that such is NOT the case. The Leftist is a person who profoundly resented and rebelled against anybody and anything that acted as messenger of the news that the world does NOT revolve around the Leftist's whims.

To a Leftist, a fair and just world is one that caters to and revolves around his feelings and whims. Since the world does NOT revolve around his whims, the Leftist conjures up a malevolent force that exists specifically to "beat him down" and prevent him from living in the sort of world that he feels is rightfully his as a matter of justice. Thus "The Man" is born.

"The Man" evolved from every parent who tells a child that he must wash his face, keep his room clean, not touch hot stoves, be in bed or at home by a certain hour. It is every school teacher who established rules and insisted on them being followed. As the child grows older, he begins to realize that his parents and teachers were not necessarily being arbitrary. He begins to realize that there are reasons that can impact his success and the course of his future why his parents and teachers would not allow him to indulge in his whims. All they were doing was trying to help make sure that he could survive in an oppressive, unjust world ruled by that tyrant, The Man.

Don't want to get up in the morning? It's The Man's fault that you have to. Want to stay home and play video games, smoke dope and watch porn instead of going to a boring, repetitive job? It's The Man's fault that you can't. In order to get/keep your job do you have to get hair cuts, wear grown-up clothes and groom yourself? Another example of oppression by The Man. If your boss enforces the rules with regret or a wink and a nod - well, he might be "cool" because he too, is a victim of The Man who would rather be out acting like a hippie. But if your boss enforces the rules with any sense of moral superiority - well, he is an active agent of The Man and must be despised.

You will see this hatred for "The Man" across the entire spectrum of the Left. People who follow Jeremiah Wright, for example, believe in The Man - they just call him "Whitey." The Hollywood elite believe in The Man. This is true even for those Hollywood people who are passionate about their careers and work very hard. It is "The Man" that is responsible for the emptiness in their lives that all their wealth and fame is unable to chase away. It is "The Man" who is responsible for all those who laugh and refuse to take them seriously when they make pronouncements about professions they know nothing about such as science, politics, economics, etc. It is "The Man" who is responsible for people refusing to see their movies and buy their CDs after they engage in nihilistic behavior or spit on the values held by members of their audience.

Even super rich and super powerful Leftists believe in The Man. They actually have the means to indulge in their every whim - and everywhere they go, there are people eager to suck up to them and cater to their every desire. And yet, despite their houses, their yachts, their cars, their jets, their bimbos and despite the fact that people tremble when they walk into the room or frown, they are STILL miserable. It's The Man's fault.

And, of course, when they see other people suffering in this world - well, obviously that is the work of The Man as well. It is The Man who is responsible for the fact that not everybody can afford to own a home - and it is The Man who messed things up with the subprime mortgage fiasco when a way was found that everybody could own homes. It is The Man who makes people homeless. Criminals are victims - they are just people who have been beaten down especially hard by The Man. People live beyond their means and go bankrupt? Their spending was merely to conform to societal expectations that have been set up by The Man.

If The Man would just go away for good - life for everybody would become one nice wonderful and blissful nirvana. Whatever we wanted would be ours, immediately and unconditionally. We wouldn't HAVE to do anything. Life would become nothing more than one grand and glorious and permanent LSD trip except that one would not have to pay for the dope or have any negative consequences from taking it.

But this nirvana is the world that The Man denies the Leftist. It is The Man who sets the terms. So the Leftist spends his life alternatively trying to conform to The Man while, at the same time, seeking every opportunity to rebel against or undercut The Man.

So they put on their grown-up clothes and pay their bills on time. But they secretly envy the life of a "Rock Star." "Rock Star" by the way is a person who, in their eyes, has somehow exempted himself from The Man - a person who is followed around by a mob of adoring fans eager to cater to his every whim and can do as much dope and fornicate with anyone he wants and as often as he likes without consequence. Of course, the few who actually do become rock stars and live such a lifestyle are self-destructive and miserable wrecks. But the Leftist doesn't grasp this - as Grant points out, to a Leftist the grass is always greener elsewhere. And if a rock star does crash and burn in a public sort of way - well, it is proof that the Man did him in.

The Leftist goes through life with an ever constant hostility towards The Man. Why are Leftists absolutely hostile towards people who actually CHOOSE to and LIKE to (verses being forced to) to wear suits and ties? Because suits and ties, to them, are a symbol of The Man. Why do some young people spend good money to dress like slobs or worse? Because, by doing so, they showing their peers that they are sticking it to The Man. Why are Leftists so hostile towards people who are religious? It is not because they are advocates of reason and reality instead of mysticism. They are just as hostile to reason and reality as any mystic or religious fanatic. They despise religious people because religious people believe in and take seriously concepts such as right and wrong and morality - and this makes them, therefore, agents of The Man. So Leftists belittle such people and get a sense of satisfaction at immersing crucifixes in jars of urine because, in doing so, they have "stuck it to The Man." They are anti-capitalist because capitalism is a system devised by The Man. Thugs in certain neighborhoods risk jail vandalizing private property despite the fact that they gain nothing from doing so because they are sticking it to The Man. People flock to arbitrary blobs that they call "art" and listen to non-melodic so-called music because, by doing so, they are sticking it to The Man. You see, The Man says art and music have STANDARDS.

They want to tax and attack the rich because, obviously, "the rich" collectively represent "The Man." Even Leftists who ARE rich feel that the rich represent The Man. They realize that in order to acquire or maintain their wealth, they had to engage in grown-up like behavior, be responsible and perhaps do things like fire employees, drop vendors who are no longer necessary and say "no" to projects that gave them warm and fuzzy feelings but which were not financially viable. So, to the degree they have been successful and to the degree that they actually love their careers, they regard themselves as "sell outs" to The Man. So, morally, they and others like them SHOULD be punished by high taxes. It is only fair because they are tools of The Man.

The vast majority of what we call "pop culture" today is centered around hatred for The Man. So far as I can tell, that is pretty much the dominant point of the "rock culture" that started in the late 1960s when rock and roll abandoned melody. Those who hate and exhibit hostility towards The Man through their words, deeds, the art they enjoy or the way they dress are considered "hip" and "cool." and become pop culture icons and stars. Those who come across as being on the side of The Man are uncool, "square" "old fashioned" stuffy, moralistic and oppressive and must be shunned and demonized.

Many hard core Leftists don't believe in a god - but they do very much believe in a devil. That devil is The Man. And the hell that this devil maintains is their lives. And like the Christian hell, their hell is inescapable and eternal. Observe that no matter how often one gives in to and appeases a Leftist's whims, they are never happy, never satisfied. Sometimes Leftists DO get some thing or another that they want out of life - only to discover they are still miserable. They are miserable because they STILL live in a world that does not revolve around their whims.

You and I, of course, are intimately familiar with The Man as well. The difference between us and the Leftist is our name for it is "reality" and we look at it as the source of opportunity rather than a malevolent universe we must arbitrarily conform to.

Grant said...

Wow Dismuke! That was so well written, so cogent, that frequently, throughout reading it, my cynical side kept coming out and telling me that you must have written this for another purpose and just posted it here because it was relevant. But, each time that feeling reached a crescendo I came across a reference or a quote that showed that you created that more or less extemporaneously.

I can't tell you how much of a pleasure it was to read. I wish I could, but I cannot. Given your skill as a writer, and if I had something to trade you for it, I'm sure you teach me how to tell you.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dismuke,

Well said. You accurately described the psychology that motivates left-liberals. However, there is another tragedy to this. Namely that many on the Right look at those emotionalist, "The Man-hating," nihilist, egalitarian obsessed "liberals" and think that their greatest sin is that they are *selfish*.

Left liberals are considered selfish because they worship "individual, personal desire." Even worse, they are often confused for *individualists* because they place their own desires over their nation or their culture. And yet, as terrible as Left liberals can be, I still find them more bearable to religious Conservatives. Have you seen the mystical cesspool of hate filled comments over at Nick Provenzo's blog? Those are some of the allegedly "value oriented" Right. Form my experience, the true believing religious are in many ways worse than the nihilist Leftists.

John Kim

DIsmuke said...

Grant -

Thanks for your nice compliment. My posting was definitely extemporaneous - which is why it could use a couple of rounds of editing and condensation, which, for me, unfortunately, is more time consuming and difficult than just typing it out off the cuff.

On the other hand, this is a subject I have been giving thought to on and off for a few years - ever since I had a conversation with someone about pop culture and rock music. I was in a conversation with an intelligent fellow who told me about his visit to some sort of rock music club. What he described sounded absolutely ghastly and profoundly malevolent to me. Since he did not strike me as a nihilist, I asked him to explain what he liked about it. I didn't want to debate - I just had a serious desire to at least understand where he and the vast majority of people since the 1960s are coming from on the subject. He already knew that I disliked modern pop music and pop culture - so I specifically asked him to try and explain what the appeal was in terms that I personally might be able to understand and relate to.

He told me that the reason he loved going to such clubs and listening to such music is that it enabled him to, at least for the span of a few hours, experience and to be a part of, in a small way, the sort of life and world that everyone dreams about. Well, that's something I can relate to - but such a club certainly does NOT represent that world for me and, in fact, would be utter torture. So I asked him what is it about what goes on in such clubs and in that sort of music that makes him feel that he is in the sort of world that everybody dreams of.

That's when he told me about what he termed the "rock star lifestyle." Basically, that lifestyle is how I described it earlier - a crowd of swooning and adoring groupies eager to cater to your every request and the ability to buy anything, do anything, smoke anything and fornicate with any person who strikes your eye with no cost or consequences. He said that most people realized that such a lifestyle was self-destructive and therefore do not even try to go down that path. But that doesn't meant that they don't want to go down it. They just can't go down that path because of what he described as "the Man beating them down" and forcing them to live sober and responsible lives. Rock music and such clubs, he said, is about everyone's common suffering under "the Man" and such music and clubs enable people to at least pretend that they are "sticking it to The Man" and living the "rock star lifestyle."

Of course, I found everything he described to be disgusting and was a bit sad for him because of the sorts of things about him psychologically that he revealed to me. I more or less figured what he told me was just his take on things - though I wouldn't have doubted that there are many others out there of a similar mindset.

In the time since that conversation, I have heard a number of mentions in conversations and the media of "The Man." Every time I heard that phrase, I thought of that conversation. Same thing with people speaking approvingly of what it means to be a "rock star." Eventually, it gradually occurred to me that hostility against and a desire to rebel against "The Man" was very commonplace but most especially amongst Leftists.

Understanding the Left's hatred for The Man also gave me some insight into the nature of its nihilism. One of the things that is so thoroughly repugnant about Leftists is that their nihilism is a self righteous form of nihilism. Indeed, I find that Leftists are often even more self righteous and holier-than-thou than Bible-thumping types even though they are amoralists and nihilists. Some of it, of course, is preemptive defensiveness - as, for example, John Kerry-Who-Served-In-Vietnam talking about patriotism. But I don't think defensiveness fully explains it.

The main reason they are so self-righteous is because, in their mind, they and their fellow Leftists are all victims of The Man. Even though they look at the subject of morality with contempt, their nihilism has a moral righteousness to it because, to them, their nihilism is a virtuous and noble uprising and revolt against The Man. In their mind, their seething hostility and what Ayn Rand called "hatred of the good for being the good" is righteous indignation against an oppressive tyrant, The Man. Read one of the interviews with William Ayres, Obama's bomb throwing terrorist buddy, when he justifies his actions in the 1960s and says he has no regret. He can justify his behavior because he was fighting against the brutal and tyrannical regime of The Man.

The big danger with this is that the more self-destructive the Left becomes and the more they turn decent and civilized members of the public against them, the more it further reinforces their notion that they have been brutally tyrannized and oppressed by The Man. They all get worked up about and become emotionally invested in an election - and whether they win or not their wishes and whims are not granted which makes them even more frustrated. This feeling of frustration, to them, is proof of that they have just been "beaten down" by The Man. So the more they feel beaten down, their sense of righteous indignation grows ever stronger and the more they are able to justify in their minds increasingly brutal and thuggish measures in order to free themselves from their oppression. You and I look at their behavior and correctly observe that they are Stalinists. But they are utterly incapable of grasping the fact that they are behaving like Stalinists. You see, to them you and I are the Stalinists, fascists and brownshirts of the world because, our very act of pointing out that their behavior is Stalinistic is proof that we are the goose-stepping stormtroopers of an oppressive dictator who is pulverizing them into the ground, The Man. That's why they come up with all of this out-of-the-world bizarre stuff about George Bush being Hitler despite the fact that he has been a profoundly ineffective President who tends to appease his enemies. They hate Bush so much because, to them, he (and any Republican who wears a suit) has become a symbol of The Man.

That is why there is no hope at all for the Left. They truly believe that they are oppressed victims and that when they demand authoritarian government they are, in their mind, working to liberate their fellow human beings from the totalitarian rule of The Man.

And what is frightening is that pretty much all of the pop culture people today are exposed to when they are young teaches them about The Man and how they, too, are victims. Even if a teenager does not buy into the notion of The Man, he is still under pressure to give respectful lip service to the overall mindset and not be seen as aligning himself too closely with The Man or risk being regarded as a "dork" or worse. Even if they don't grow up to become nihilists, a great many people grow up to view work and responsibility as an unfair metaphysical imposition against them.

To reclaim our culture and undo the counterculture - well, it is going to require people to ultimately stand up and defend conformity to the dictates of The Man - i.e., reality - as a virtue and for our popular culture to regard those who rebel against conforming to reality for what they really are: freaks and losers.

Andrew Dalton said...

Dismuke -

Your post definitely gave a sharp philosophical description of "The Man" that I hadn't seen before. The closest anyone else had come, as far as I know, was this tongue-in-cheek piece from the Michigan Review. (So that you get the joke in the article, Jessica "The Iron" Curtin was a shrill student leftist at Michigan and a member of the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action by Any Means Necessary, among other groups.)

After reading your second comment about self-righteous nihilism, one name came to my mind: the late George Carlin.

Anonymous said...

I see this as the chickens of progressive education coming home to roost. The American education system destroys a child's rational faculty. It encourages whim worship and emotionalism. It does not teach the pursuit of rational values as an estimable goal and it enshrines the entitlement mentality not productive work. The result is so many of today's left liberals.

But sadly all of this is seen as a failure of an "individualistic culture" by Conservatives. My greatest fear with nihilistic left liberals is not so much they themselves, but the reaction to them from the Right. The Right actually associates Ayn Rand individualism with today's Left in just as insane a way as the Left associating today's welfare / regulatory state with too much "Randian free markets." That's the painful part for me. Not the Left itself but that its nihilism is associated with my values.

John Kim

Myrhaf said...

The Man has become something of a joke in our culture. Recently, there was a TV ad in which an older businessman said he wanted "to stick it to The Man," but was then reminded by a younger man that he WAS The Man.

I don't hear people using that phrase seriously. I do hear, all the time, denunciations of "corporate America," which probably serves the same function as the man. And a liberal once accused me of being "hypnotized by the oligarchy," which again is the same thing as The Man. (Apparently, this oligarchy uses advertising to somehow control the way we all think. If I could just break this spell, then I would no longer support laissez-faire capitalism.)

I must say, Dismuke, that as much as I am delighted to read your thoughts, I don't know why you waste them in comments on an obscure, little read blog. You could post these two comments on your own political blog, call the post, "The Man Who Haunted Liberals," and your ideas would then live until the end of time. Don't worry about editing if that's too much a hassle. 4,000 years from now, as scholars sought to understand how the Depression of 2009 plunged America into a statist nightmare, one scholar might note, "The ancient blogger Dismuke identified a psychological demon of the left, called The Man..."

Inspector said...

Dismuke,

I'm with Myrhaf on this one. You should post comments like that to your own blog. Every time I read something like that from you (i.e. *marvelous*), I fear that I've missed some other such essay because you had posted it some place I didn't know to look.

-Inspector

Dismuke said...

Myrhaf & Inspector -

I am honored by your compliments and appreciate them. But having my own political blog would not work at this point in my life, I'm afraid. The biggest reason is that I am not able to make myself come up with something decent on command.

I do come up with decent observations and integrations from time to time - but they either percolate up after a long period of mulling something over in the back of my mind or as flashes of inspiration. The latter often occur when somebody on a message board or blog asks a question, makes an interesting observation or says something I disagree with. Such things will get me to thinking - and sometimes I find myself making integrations and coming up with observations that had never occurred to me before.

At my present skill level, however, I am just not able to "order" myself to come up with something on the frequency that would be required in order for a blog to build an audience. I suspect it would be possible for me to learn how to do it. But to do so would require time, effort and a learning curve. Unfortunately, I am already stretched more thinly than I probably ought to be in terms of obligations and responsibilities that I have taken on.

I also came to a conclusion a few years ago that, despite my strong interest in things such as politics, economics, ethics and philosophy, intellectual activism type projects are probably NOT a good fit for me, at least not at this stage in my life. I am TOO passionate about the subject for my own good. And, quite frankly, confronting and going up against evil people is NOT a very good thing for me psychologically. I get all worked up about things in a very negative sort of way. For example, the other day I was driving down the highway and on the top-of-the-hour ABC News/Walter Duranty Media update, they had a soundclip of Nancy Pelosi. My blood pressure shot up through the roof and I started yelling at the radio: "You are not even capable enough to pick out a competent plastic surgeon for your own ugly face you vile and evil b**tch and yet you think you can dictate......." and downhill from there. A few minutes later, I realized I had put myself in a bad mood and risked spoiling the rest of my day.

Quite frankly, there is only so much negativity that I can deal with. And there are times when such things have a bigger impact on me than others. The last thing I need is to allow the existence of idiots in this world such as Pelosi to get me in such a negative frame of mind that it begins to impact the positive mindset I need for work and for my other projects. Other times my tolerance level for such things is higher and it does not impact me as badly.

There are actually periods I go through when I seek to AVOID reading even Objectivists online. A while back I set my HBL account up so that the email address I actually read is set to "HB Only" mode with another email address that I almost never check getting the daily member postings so that they will be there when I am in the mood to browse through them. I have an RSS feed of Myrhaf and Gus Van Horn on my igoogle page - but there are phases I go through when all I will do is glance at the headlines. There are days when the very LAST thing I need to read is an analysis that I am likely to agree with about how horrible things are.

As an aside, despite my philosophical difference with Rush Limbaugh in several important respects, I am a huge fan because, during such times, his sense of humor is actually an enormous lifeline for me. As Ayn Rand pointed out, evil is impotent. But knowing that it is impotent in an abstract sort of way is sometimes not enough for me. Limbaugh has a brilliant and wonderful talent of using hilarious humor to demonstrate just what small, insignificant and ultimately impotent creatures the Nancy Pelosis, Obamas, Clintons, etc. and the Walter Duranty journalists of the world really are. There are times when I REALLY need to be reminded of that.

Anyhow, such a mindset as mine is NOT a particularly good thing for a sustained effort at intellectual activism. Again, if it were a full time endeavor for me, that is probably something that could be overcome with effort and experience. But as a part time sideline activity - well, I am better off sticking to projects where if I get passionate it is in strictly positive and constructive ways.

Sure, there are times when I think about politics and philosophy and wish that I had an outlet with a built-in readership for my observations. But that's where message boards and blog comments come in handy. I don't know what your readership is, Myrhaf, or how many people read your blog comments - but I can guarantee you that more people read my comments here than they would if I posted them to a blog that I neglected for months at a time. The non-philosophical general audience early 1900s blog that I already have has built in traffic from my other websites and radio station so it can handle being neglected. It would NOT be appropriate to promote a political blog to my vintage music audience (that would make me no better than the likes of Barbra Steisand and the Dixie Chicks who exploit the good will of their audiences)- so if I did put up a political blog, the only people likely to know about it in the first place are those who already read me in blog comments.

Wally Banners said...

George Bush has hurt the United States of America more than Osama Bin Laden ever did. From his Failure to Avenge America from 9/11 to his incompetence in New Orleans. Now our Economy is back to the Great Depression Era. The GOP shoves some senile lifetime Senator in front of the Public and demands that we trust it. GOP can't win wars, GOP can't handle the Economy,GOP doesn't care about the People. GOP = American Al Qaeda.

Dismuke said...

wally I agree that Bush has been inept on the economy and the war - but he is inept because his policies have effectively implemented what the Democrats SEEK to do in the first place. And the only reason I can rationally see for supporting the Democrats is that Republicans like Bush are more capable and competent of implementing the Democrats' agenda than the Democrats themselves are.

It is the Democrats who are pacifists and WANT us to lose wars - and it is the Leftists within the Democratic party who hate from the very bottom of their being everything this country stands for just as passionately as Bin Ladin does. It is the Democrats who have been salivating at the prospect of another Depression - the Depression era was their heyday when FDR was able to use it as an excuse to shove down all sorts of statist policies down our throats.

As for New Orleans - what do you propose Bush to have done differently? Steal more money from me to hand out to people who make the conscious choice to live in a city that is below sea level and on a coast where hurricanes land in one spot or another pretty much every year? He already gave an insane amount of everybody else's money away - you want him steal and give away more?

If Lefties could just see through their bizarre paranoid fantasy of George Bush as an incarnate of The Man, they would see that he has, in fact, been the best friend the Democratic Party has had in the past few years. But I guess it is hard to see through things for what they really are if one lives one's life in a constant state of paranoia about the evil intentions of an imaginary goblin.

Anonymous said...

Suggestion - perhaps Dismuke could be an occasional guest blogger the way some people guest blog on NoodleFood or the way Ed Cline guest blogs on Rule of Reason. It doesn't have to be anything formal but when Dismuke writes something excellent as he has done here it won't be wasted.

John Kim

Inspector said...

Dismuke,

No I hear you loud and clear on what you've said. I can get that way, myself, sometimes.

Perhaps you haven't considered the possibility that simply having a political blog to collect and archive your posts, when they happen to happen, does not necessarily place you under any kind of obligation to post on a regular basis.

I, for one, would be quite happy if you just had a place to put carbon copies of your comments made elsewhere and never specifically felt the need to post there just to post there.

-Inspector

Rick "Doc" MacDonald said...

Myrhaf,
Excellent posting as evidenced by the great (and the whacky) responses it received. Thanks again, Myrhaf, for your efforts and time. I, for one, understand how time can be difficult to come by. If I didn't love what I do so much, I'd consider working less and blogging more - but life is what it is, and at this point, I'm loving mine. It sounds like Dismuke is of a similar mind.
By the way, Dismuke, thank you for your efforts in providing a means to listen to wonderful music. As a child (I'm 60), I recall listening to music of this sort played on my Grand-parents old .78 player. These songs bring back memories of a wonderful time in my life - the sort of memories I'd love to leave for my own grand-children. Be well.
I agree that we are in a cultural war between nihilist and mystics. In that sense, we are surrounded and vastly outnumbered. I learned a long time ago while serving in the submarine service, that situation is not necessarily bad. We used to call it "target rich" - no matter where you aimed, you would sink something.
May we all surface together, soon, to raise a glass in a toast to the victory and survival of rational self-interest. Until then, happy hunting!

Jim May said...

Dismuke: you are where I am, and these comments flowed right to the same point in the voices of others here as it did in my mind as I read them -- guest-blogging sounds just right for you. When you get the roaring need to say something, do it -- and then retreat and rest as you need.

I know what you mean about the need to avoid even Objectivist bloggers sometimes... I do that when I need a break, or when I need to focus on what pays the bills.

As a matter of fact, I walked away from the computer for a time today to ride a scooter around the neighborhood while tracking my speed and distance using an app on my Iphone. Some would call that "escapism", but I just needed a break from current events to enjoy the products of human ingenuity for a time.

Your comments here are magnificent in their analysis, and I echo the suggestion that you submit them to Diana at Noodlefood for reposting as articles in their own right.

Then the rest of us can link you in comments all over the blogosphere. We need more "heavy artillery" of this sort.

Jim May said...

I would note that Tracisnki is wrong in placing the genesis of the Americna Left with FDR. Its genesis was with the Progressives and the likes of Herbert Croly, who were first to deride the liberal capitalist "night watchman" concept of government, in favor of intervention for the "betterment" of man and society. They opened the door; FDR simply went ahead and kicked it off its hinges.

mtnrunner2 said...

dismuke:
>The problem is I personally won't be around generations from now - and thus what happens then is of no real selfish concern to me.

A short term benefit that is not also a long term benefit is not really a value in the short term, because A) it is not factually a value and/or B) a moral principle has been compromised.

So, regardless of the conditions or progress made in any of our lifetimes, if a political choice is right, it is right forever, for all times.

Dismuke said...

"A short term benefit that is not also a long term benefit is not really a value in the short term, because A) it is not factually a value

Not if long term means after I am dead or am to old to enjoy any benefit from the alleged value - which was what I was talking about in my posting.

Something is a value ONLY within the context of one's life as a rational being. Outside of that context, it is a NOT a value - it is either meaningless or some sort of commandment or duty. As Ayn Rand pointed out, "value" presupposes the question: of value to whom and for what?

"and/or B) a moral principle has been compromised."

Morality only has meaning and is applicable only within the context of one's life as a rational being - and a very important and highly relevant part of that context is the fact that a such a life only exists for a finite period of time. A moral principle that is formed and makes demands outside of that context is NOT valid and is NOT moral. Such an alleged moral principle is, in fact, a commandment and an example of a religious approach to morality.

"So, regardless of the conditions or progress made in any of our lifetimes, if a political choice is right, it is right forever, for all times.

Wrong. A political choice, or any other choice for that matter, is right or wrong based on the context that is involved when making the decision. Principles are valid in any given situation only if and to the degree that they are applicable to the specific context that one is having to deal with.

Your approach to this is pure intrinsicism. That is the approach that religionists take towards morality. It divorces principles from context (i.e., the applicable facts of reality) and demands allegiance to alleged values that may be divorced from one's life and rational self-interest.

I am afraid what I am saying here is Objectivism 101. I strongly suggest taking a look at Dr. Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and reading what he writes about contextual absolutism as well as about intrinsicism and subjectivism verses the Objectivist approach.

Dismuke said...

"I, for one, would be quite happy if you just had a place to put carbon copies of your comments made elsewhere and never specifically felt the need to post there just to post there.

That might be a possibility sometime. I actually thought of putting up something similar to that with some of the more humorous postings I came up with back in the days when I was posting to hpo. I am one of those people who actually laughs at his own jokes - so sometimes I enjoy going back and rereading my old online high jinks from back then. If I ever do that, I could certainly dig up some of the more serious stuff I have posted in various places and throw that in as well.

As for guest blogging - I'm not sure that would really work. Writing for someone else's blog would require a higher level of editing, condensation and overall attention to detail than posting off-the-cuff comments. I have had a few people over the years who have read something I have posted to message boards and such and asked for permission to repost what I wrote to their blogs or websites. As long as I have reason to believe that the person and website is reputable, I don't have a problem with that.