Skip to comments.The Dark Secret at the Heart of Liberalism
Posted on 07/11/2006 6:35:33 AM PDT by Valin
I have thought long and hard about what it is that motivates liberals and makes them so reluctant to look serious social problems in the face. I have finally come to a depressing conclusion. It is physical cowardice.
Now this may seem harsh and accusatory. But lets take it one step at a time and see how we get there.
We live in a world where physical force is the ultimate arbitrator of all disputes. That does not mean that the strong always win or that nature is red in tooth and claw. The whole course of civilization has been an effort to limit the impact of physical force and substitute reason and cooperation in its place. To a very large degree, this effort has been successful. But that does not mean that physical force is not always lurking somewhere in the background and that people who break the rules cannot gain some temporary advantage.
Twenty years ago I wrote a book on crime (Vigilante: The Backlash Against Crime in America) and came to the conclusion that what we call crime is simply the decision by some people that the strong should take advantage of the weak. Might makes right is a simple credo that appeals to people who feel more powerful than others. That is why the vast majority of criminals are poor young men. Coming into the world with fresh eyes, they see its obvious absurdities. Why should all the money belong to old, fat bankers while the strong and healthy remain poor? In one-on-one physical combat the young would obviously prevail. So why not reduce the world to one-on-one physical combat? That is what muggings are all about.
The same holds true for rape. What is rape except the conviction by certain men that women whom personal preference and social convention make unavailable to them should be available anyway? Reduced to a matter of sheer one-on-one force, these men have the upper hand. Why shouldnt they take what they want?
The only thing that the average person has to protect him or herself against this logic is that vast conspiracy of the weak against the strong that we call the law. Social consensus says that disagreements should not be decided by violence. It says that people should be allowed to retain their property once they have earned it. It says that women should be free to choose their sexual partners rather than having it forced upon them. These are fine ideas that create a workable, cooperative, peaceful society in which individuals can experience personal freedomsomething that ultimately benefits the poor as much as anyone. However, such ideas can only be enforced, ultimately, by giving police power to the state.
Liberals want to forget this. Through idealism, they want to believe that people are naturally cooperative, that a peaceful world will arise spontaneously, and that if certain people remain violent or unsatisfied with the system then there must be some vast injustice or mistake. Now it is always good to be optimistic about people, but at a certain point it becomes obvious that some are not going to be content with this arrangement and must be brought to task.
The vast loosening of the justice system that occurred in the 1960sthe deprisonization movement, the Warren Courts curbs on police investigations, the abolition of the death penalty, the abandonment of the fundamental fairness standard in reviewing convictionswas accompanied by an alternative that said there were root causes to crime that could be discovered and abolished, doing away with the tedium of having to punish individual criminals.
We never did find the root causes. Poverty, of course, was always suspect number one. Yet poverty has been widely alleviated without having much impact on crime. One of the most astonishing phenomena of modern life is the rap singera young man who spouts an endless stream of violence and obscenity and thereby wins a large audience (often middle-class). Rap singers have become fabulously wealthy, but wealth has not made them any less violent. In many instances, it seems to make them more violent. Who would have thought we would ever see a world in which popular singers were shooting and killing each other at radio stations and recording studios? Crime is a social habit, not an economic condition.
The only way to contain crime is to confront the violent people directly. Yet this is the last thing liberals want to do. Instead, they latch on to some neutral object as the real cause of crime. Guns are always a favorite but there have been many others. There have been liberal crusades over things as inconsequential as lighting in apartment complexes. (This sits well with trial lawyers, who are often looking for some third-party deep pocket to blame.)
The same thing happens in international confrontations. Even the most cursory reading of history should convince anyone that Islamic society is a world in which force and violence have been assigned an extraordinarily high honor. Mohammed was not a prince of peace or a wise Confucian philosopher or an ascetic Buddha or an apostle of non-violence like Gandhi. He was a warrior who was astute enough to turn his visions into holy writ. After being expelled from Mecca he raided caravans and eventually raised an army that cowed his native city into submission. After that he invented the jihad and set Islam on a path of world conquest that it has been pursuing ever since.
Western Europe has been confronting this threat since the Middle Ages. Now it is our turn. The distances are great but in a world of the Internet and open immigration, the danger is palpable. Yet liberals dont want to confront this. They can think of a million reasons why it is all a misunderstanding, a mistake, and all our fault.
The most common response is to blame the person who is trying to deal with the problem. Victims of crime will often do this. They blame the police instead of the criminal. Why didnt the police come sooner? Why didnt they prevent it in the first place? Why is this? Because it is safe. The police are bound by their oath of office to respect victims of crime. It is much safer to vent your anger on someone who cannot retaliate.
So it is with the War on Terror. Browse the letters to The New York Times on any given day and you will find half a dozen readers blaming George Bush for Muslim terror. Amazingly, Times' readers also lay the North Korean missile launching at George Bushs feetif he hadnt done X, then it never would have happened. It is much safer to rail at the President than to confront the real enemy.
The Times itself plays this game when it reveals military secrets. It knows the American government is too civilized to retaliate. But when it comes to confronting Muslimsby printing the Danish cartoons, for examplethe Times and the rest of the press completely chicken out. The risk of real violence is too serious.
What liberalism amounts to, then, is an effort to avoid confrontation with the perpetrators of violence by constantly misdirecting anger toward safer targetsabstract root causes, inanimate objects, innocent third parties, and ultimately the very people who are trying to respond to the problem. You might not want to call this cowardice, but if you can think of a better word, let me know.
William Tucker is a weekly columnist for The American Enterprise Online.
Liberals want to forget this. Through idealism, they want to believe that people are naturally cooperative, that a peaceful world will arise spontaneously, and that if certain people remain violent or unsatisfied with the system then there must be some vast injustice or mistake.
Liberals don't believe this at all. They believe that adults are basically children and need to be guided by a core group of elite, "intelligent" people who "just know" what's right and wrong.
Yes, I think it's more about power and money than cowardice.
And THIS is why Liberals are psychotically anti-gun. Self defense is unacceptable to a Liberal because it involves some level of courage. Gutless Liberals, instead, shriek that the "state" (i.e. other people) protect them.
The black hole in the souls of liberals is insatiable; it will eat the world if not curbed.
Theodore Dalrymple would say that the root cause is the inability of the liberal to accept responsibility for his own actions, that the liberal, just like the violent, always has to be blaming someone/thing else for their condition and actions.
Where do you ever see any of these people ever say "It was my fault" ?
ON TARGET, big time.
Many of those I meet here (Boston) have degrees, and they somehow think having a certificate of completion in one narrow field of study makes them all Intellectuals. But these days many, many people have degrees, and the mystique is long gone. They don't seem to grasp that, because how can they be considered intellectual charlatans when they CARE so much?
I am certain that a controlled study would reveal that liberals are animated by hate, fear and jealousy.
I've worked with many, many more libs than conservatives and I can say you're correct, in my experience, at least. I've never heard such bogoted crap about blacks, for example, from libs who think that because they say "African Americans" when a a black person is around then they can't possibly be bigots.
Libs are scared people, and they think by appearing to agree with those they're most afraid of, their fear is disguised.
Here's a view of US by THEM:
GREAT writer! SO glad you've given him a nod, and I hope other FReepers check him out. You feel smarter just reading about his reports from the front, where he was a practicing doctor in London, if memory serves.
It was more like 2-3 million in the aftermath of Vietnam. Don't overstate your argument on easily refuted facts, it completely undercuts a valid argument.
Well, of course!!! Ignorant right-wing Constitutionalist gun nuts, don't you understand that there was no crime committed before guns were inve... uh, never mind.
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