Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm not a Liberal

I posted earlier about why I'm not conservative, and if you're a liberal you should go read this right now, because I'm fixin' to take on the other side. This will be somewhat harsher, since I feel no sense of betrayal from the right - I never saw myself as belonging to that club. The left? Ah, there's the rub.

The left has lost its way. What used to be a vibrant, coherent intellectual force has wandered into a dead end. What's worse is that it's abandoned its principles along the way. In the place of its old principles - fairness, justice, and honesty - it has constructed a vision of the platonic ideal society, and seems to be willing to sacrifice everything to that vision. The end point has become the entire point.

Here are the tar pits in which the left has become mired.

Anti-Science, except for Science in service of the political class. Environmentalism has become a fetish, in many cases divorced from reality. Science, which exists to describe reality, is increasingly subverted to a political correctness. Rachel Carson and DDT, second hand smoke, anthropogenic global warming, the EU's restriction of generically modified food in the Third World, the list goes on and on. The left loves to complain about the religious conservatives and creationism; in fact the threat to honest science today comes much more from the left in general, and from environmentalists in particular. The difference between the two is that the religious right's agenda isn't killing millions of poor people.

Economics isn't about helping people, it's about social control by intellectuals. Socialism kills, there's simply no other way to say it. The justaposition of the left's fury and distain over the many failures of the market, with the simultaneous credulity that government control will do better says a lot about lefty intellectuals. None of what it says is complementary. If you're all about helping people, how can you possibly advocate something that hasn't ever worked?

Anti-freedom. This one really hits close to home, and is possibly the biggest threat to the left itself. For many young people, the only actual intellectual repression has come from the left. Campus speech codes, politically-motivated prosecutions, proposed show trials. And what's with the left and the Second Amendment, anyway? I'm willing to admit that I may be more tuned into this from the left than from the right, but there's abundant evidence that the left loves freedom, except for their opponent's freedom.

Willing to tolerate corruption, as long as its on their side. Enron? Throw the bums in jail. Politicians? Not so much. We don't need to rehash the sad, sorry specticle of feminists supporting Bill Clinton. Given that the left supports aggressively expansionist government, this is a real red flag.

So what, you may say. The Republicans are also anti-science (stem cell research), controlling (Patriot Act), and corrupt (Larry Craig). Fine - no argument from me here. The simplistic problem for the left, is that this is a way of saying "We're just like the Republicans." The complex problem is that what they're asking for is special dispensation, based on higher motivations and the Big Picture. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. And so we come to the biggest reason that I'm no longer liberal:

Liberals hate America. They love what it might be, but hate what it is. US Soldiers are Mercenaries: Washington Post. Troops kill dogs and mock their wounded: The New Republic. The left cannot tolerate the flag: The Nation. I've said before that I see this as similar to a man who beats his wife: I only do it because I love her so much is not really different from How dare you question my patriotism? When did it become a faux pas for a liberal to stick up for his country? Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, dudes.

The issue isn't so much that I think that liberals are wrong on many issues. I think conservatives are wrong on a bunch, but get along fine with them. With the left, there's the final nail in the coffin:

Liberals are smugly sure of their superior intellect; they're also quite sure that they're nicer than conservatives. Pretty clearly I don't buy the first part; there's a stunning refusal to examine first premises on the left. What's wierd is the second. I don't think at all that the religious right thinks that the left is evil, like the left thinks the right is. Not nice, folks. And people who live in millions-of-african-babies-dead-due-to-lack-of-DDT houses shouldn't throw stones. Just sayin'.

I said it would be harsh. I don't talk politics much with my family.

1 comment:

Lissa said...

Funny you put this up on the day I duplicated your "Why I'm not a conservative" post :) I suppose I'll have to reprise this one too, at some point!

One thing though -- my understanding was that most conservatives aren't against stem cell research, they're against 1) EMBRYONIC stem cell research, and therefore 2) federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. I haven't seen any conservative opposition to adult stem cell research, which looks a lot more promising anyway. No?