Why and How the Political Left Is As It Is

Tony Benn — longtime leftist politician in Great Britain — confirms pretty authoritatively what we said here.

Interviewer: “Tony Benn, you  came from a well-established liberal-left family, through several generations before you. You followed where they trod. Were you never tempted to rebel in the other direction?”

Tony Benn, well-known long-time leftist British politician:  “No. I mean, my parents were very influential; my dad was an old dissenter…” He kind of rambled on from there.

Here’s a legendary leftist political figure in Great Britain saying that he was never tempted to a direction other than that taken by his parents. 

The stories of the children of right-wing figures who — to great fanfare — told how they rebelled against their parents’ beliefs are legion. People drew the erroneous conclusion that these “defections” indicted the credibility of right-wing thinking itself.

Wrong! It confirms the superiority of right-wing thinking. Secure in the strength of its reasoning, conservative thinking invites you to test its conclusions and even to embrace opposite conclusions — as long as you are willing to continue to challenge your conclusions.

These are the signature characteristics of each current of thought: (1) leftism: don’t question what we think and say, simply go along with our conclusions. Trust that we arrived at our conclusions honestly. (2) rightism: question your and others’ conclusions. The reason the earth is round is because people questioned the conclusions of the day. Keep probing.

We explored this in greater depth here.

The Eight Stages of Political Maturity:

Stages 1 and 2 are the Someone needs to do something” stages.

Stage 1:There are poor people. There are rich people. The rich people should give to the poor people. Lots of people just stop here.

Democrat Voters

Stage 2:If you simply give to poor people, they have no incentive to escape from their poverty. You make a certain (possibly large) percentage into “permanent poor,” or “willing poor.” Many just stop here too.

Republican Voters

Stages 3 and 4 could be called the Government should do something — or not.” stages.

Stage 3:But government can help and therefore should. Just because their results have been less than satisfactory, doesn’t mean they should stop trying. They should try even harder.”

People in this group often have skipped right past Stage 2 to get here. I call this “Stage-hopping.” Important Note: “Stage-hopping” is vastly more prevalent on the Democrat side of things because the messages that dominate the media, pop culture and academia are overwhelmingly on the left. No American can avoid hearing all the messages of the left. People in this stage are Democrat voters. Stage-hopping happens almost exclusively on the left.

Democrat Voters

Stage 4 : The government has no actual incentive to solve the problems it purports to tackle. No bureaucrat ever tried to work himself out of a job.

This is a natural outgrowth of Stage 2. Republican voters can “Stage-hop” too, but do so much less frequently due to the reason stated in the Stage 3 section. Most, if not all, Conservatives or Republicans who have arrived at this stage have heard, understand and even sympathize with the arguments of Stages 1 and 3. However, they are, in this stage, Republican voters.

Stages 5 and 6 could be called the ”Government should force society to be better — or not” stages.

Stage 5: We can’t afford to wait for people to evolve to a better place. People are suffering now! The government can be transformative; it can force people to be better than they are…for their own, and society’s, good. If people refuse to transform themselves, then government at least can minimize the damage they do to others.

Democrat Voters

Stage 6: Forced compliance is neither real compliance, nor redemptive. The problem doesn’t just go away if you force people to conform to your idea of what’s good or not good. Worse, the problem tends to go underground where it’s even harder to root out with education. Still worse, education in the context of forced conformity smacks of indoctrination.

Republican Voters

Stages 7 and 8 are the “Government unleashed or government constrainedstages.

Stage 7: If neither coercion, nor education, nor indoctrination will sway people to be better, then the government has an objective imperative to prevent people from acting badly, in the interest of those whom the unenlightened might victimize.

Likely without even realizing it this person has arrived at the mindset that produces bloody, tyrannical, totalitarian societies. If you have a critical mass of people with this state of mind, and a charismatic leader, you have a recipe for disaster.

These people believe that “the ends justify the means,” and that “the people are their own worst enemy,” and “the people need to be protected from themselves by any means necessary.” In this tendency are hyper-dangerous thought patterns that produce nonsense phrases like “Zero tolerance.” All Americans, who have arrived at this stage are Democrats, or at least vote Democrat. Some small minority — Like the Lowell Weicker’s of the world — may call themselves Republicans for a while, but they’re not, and eventually they drift out of the party.

Note: It is also possible to Stage-hop to get here. A leftist can go all the way to the pinnacle of leftist political maturity without ever having had to give more than a wink and a nod to opposing thought. Democrat Voters

Stage 8:The very meaning, nature, structure and raison d’être of government prevent it from being helpful. It goes against its own nature in trying to help. It is most decidedly not a charitable organization. It’s not there to help; it’s there to be the boss. To dominate, to limit your activities and impulses, to prevent you from misbehaving, to get in your way, to hinder you, rule you…to govern. It is the guard doberman that you unleash at night to patrol your yard. You should be glad that it’s there, but you also have a strong need to rein it in, to fear it, to keep it away from the women and children.

The person who arrives at this stage has done a critical piece of analysis that the others haven’t: What is the nature of government itself? The other stages have as a general characteristic, the baseline assumption that, fundamentally,government is a benevolent entity.

The thinking at Stage 8 has a more realistic, more rounded, deeper understanding of the government, and of the very word “govern” itself. One who “governs” is, really, the “boss”…someone who has a significant level of control over your activities, your movements, your money, your life. We can say all we want, that “Democracy” means “rule by the people,” but the key word is still “rule.” Those people who populate the government are still our “bosses,” to a great extent. The person at this stage has understood what has made America different from all other countries throughout history: a healthy skepticism regarding government and those in a position of authority; a firm belief that government must be limited, or the leaders will abuse their power. These are Republican voters

A leftist can travel down the middle column of the above table — the leftist thinking column — without ever visiting the thinking, most characteristic of Conservatives, in the rightmost column. Tony Benn, the above-mentioned British politician did this. Per his own public confession, he never was tempted to “rebel in the other direction.”  Never to be tempted means  (1) never to have studied opposing thought in any depth, (2) never to have asked oneself how others could believe opposing thoughts. Those are dangerous, difficult studies and questions for the leftist! Not for the rightist, though…because we face them every day of our intellectual lives.

We Conservatives have no choice but to be aware of the thinking in the middle column…it’s all around us! When we get to Stage 8, it’s usually, as is my story, because we’ve been through or been tempted to go through all the previous stages. We’ve been through the leftist thinking and moved on to less simplistic, less irrational thoughts. We’ve all seen it, thought it, believed it at some point or another, because we have no choice but to do the constant comparative thinking.

Now, it’s not true that leftists never convert to rightists…in fact it happens a lot. It’s simply a lot easier and more comfortable to be a leftist, a circumstance in which the press and Hollywood and academia are nearly unanimously and constantly reinforcing you in your thinking.  The lazy thinkers will stay here, because it’s less work and less conflict to be in this milieu.

For a leftist to convert to Conservative thinking, he has to overcome his fear of ostracism or abuse or even violence. As welcoming and affirming as the left is when you’re with them, they’re  even more violent, vituperative, vindictive, aggressive and vicious when you turn on them.

— xPraetorius


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