The Adolescent Left

As tempting as it is to view the machinations of the left in masterfully calculated Dr. Evil terms, today's progressive is better-understood as a ranting teenager, burdened with both a disordered view of freedom and typical adolescent entitlement issues.  It's not that today's lefty is unintelligent; in fact, many are very bright.  It's that he is emotionally underdeveloped.

By disordered freedom, I mean the 1960s-influenced, "don't tell me what to do/I'll do whatever the hell I want to do" kind of freedom.  Pope John Paul II summarized the flaw in such a stunted and animalistic view of our potential when he explained that "[f]reedom is not a matter of doing what we like, but rather of having the right to do what we ought."

Theologian Servais Pinckaers elaborates further with the example of a novice piano student.  Unless that piano student submits himself to the rigors of study and practice, against which he could certainly rebel at any time, that student will never become a maestro.  The same can be said about humans and the attainment of our full potential through the voluntary submission to ethics, morality, and responsibility (against which we may certainly rebel at any time).  This responsible freedom clearly contrasts with a hormonal adolescent's "don't tell me what to do" outbursts.

Like a teenager to his parent, the "free" liberal reacts strongly against any effort to channel, upgrade, or improve his choices or behavior.  From this rebellion, Lefty gets a very short-lived free "feeling" on which no lasting value can be built.  The personal cost of this pursuit of disordered freedom is irresponsibility, frustration, and a lack of peace.  

This disordered freedom is easily spotted in such liberal favorites as abortion, gay marriage, and the use of the hypocrisy charge.  Abortion is an obvious example.  "Go ahead -- do whatever you want, including getting pregnant and killing a baby (even one half-born, in the case of partial birth abortion)." 

Gay marriage is almost as simple.  Given that California already has a full civil union law, it is clear that the gay marriage debate has nothing to do with equal rights and everything to do with forcing acceptance on a Judeo-Christian society (as in "don't you dare tell me what marriage means").  It is for this reason that the gay marriage movement has targeted any dissenters, including Catholic orphanages, the rare objecting wedding photographer, and the hiring practices and tax-exempt status of churches.  These kids are waging a war on any religion that still holds a serious creed and refuses to bless their favored lifestyle choices.

Although less obvious, the liberal affection for the hypocrisy charge reveals a strong desire for disordered freedom.  By charging hypocrisy, the adolescent libertine's goal is to avoid ever having to hear a moral norm (i.e., "you should").  This is an understandable quest for any fan of a serial adulterer and liar like Bill Clinton, but no normal thoughtful adult would agree that only those who are perfect should establish rules of conduct or the corollary -- that unless perfect rule-makers can be found, no norms should be established. 

Put differently, should we really prevent an alcoholic from cautioning others about drinking or a parent from advising his children not to lie?  Both the alcoholic and the parent are hypocritical in that each is guilty of the sin against which he cautions, but both are to be commended for their advice.  In this light, the clear point of the left's oft-utilized hypocrisy charge is to silence adult commentary so as to permit unchaperoned moral chaos.

The second characteristic of the Left's childishness is adolescent entitlement, or being an immature and spoiled brat.  Brattiness was on vivid display recently in both President Obama's and the Democrat Congress' reactions to the Bush tax cut compromise.  President Obama called his Republican counterparts names, and House Democrats used extreme language to curse their own president.  Other liberal pillars joined in the name-calling, class-envying thugs burned down Cape Cod homes, and the Daily Kos called for "pitchfork and torch brigades."

This behavior was matched by one of the left's leading foot-stompers, Keith Olbermann.  In a lengthy on-air rant, little Keith punctuated his message by taking God's name in vain (so as to let the other kids know just how serious he was).  For adults, cursing quickly loses its persuasive impact, accurately viewed instead as evidence of a deficient vocabulary.  Of course, the leftosphere, much as it revels in the Daily Kos' regular serving of profanity, wholeheartedly supported Olbermann's playground tirade.  This crowd is far too easily impressed by silly things (remember in high school, when smoking was "cool"?). 

The president has sustained his bratty behavior, now proudly asserting that he is "itching for a fight" with Republicans.  This is immature, uninspiring, intolerant, and un-presidential -- but it very impressive to his crew.  Although the tax deal was a compromise freely negotiated between the Obama-led Democrats and Republicans, the reactions of the president, his congressional allies, and the broader left are analogous to  a teenager slamming a door while screaming, "I hate you!"   

In a different analogy, this one about mature behavior and meaningful freedom using the example of learning a foreign language, theologian Pinckaers demonstrates that one can master a language only by submitting to rigorous study -- the non-negotiable definitions of words and rules of grammatical construction.  After years of yielding to these personally accepted limitations and rules, the student will finally speak the language well.  This is what Pinckaers calls a freedom for excellence.  It is neither disordered nor bratty.  It is instead realistic and responsible, cognizant of consequences and aware of the need to respectfully interact with others.

Unfortunately, today's left has a ways to grow before achieving maturity, lasting fulfillment, or personal excellence.  At this point, these people are neither calm, cool game theorists nor consistent political wizards.  Dr. Evil is safe and will be unchallenged for some time to come.  For now, the ranting teenager analogy is the best fit. 

Finally, I must apologize to mature teenagers everywhere.  Let me be clear: ranting adolescents and rabid progressives are very similar.  You, on the other hand, share nothing with the left. 

And to you ranting teenagers, buck up!  You will most certainly outgrow it well before Lefty does.
As tempting as it is to view the machinations of the left in masterfully calculated Dr. Evil terms, today's progressive is better-understood as a ranting teenager, burdened with both a disordered view of freedom and typical adolescent entitlement issues.  It's not that today's lefty is unintelligent; in fact, many are very bright.  It's that he is emotionally underdeveloped.

By disordered freedom, I mean the 1960s-influenced, "don't tell me what to do/I'll do whatever the hell I want to do" kind of freedom.  Pope John Paul II summarized the flaw in such a stunted and animalistic view of our potential when he explained that "[f]reedom is not a matter of doing what we like, but rather of having the right to do what we ought."

Theologian Servais Pinckaers elaborates further with the example of a novice piano student.  Unless that piano student submits himself to the rigors of study and practice, against which he could certainly rebel at any time, that student will never become a maestro.  The same can be said about humans and the attainment of our full potential through the voluntary submission to ethics, morality, and responsibility (against which we may certainly rebel at any time).  This responsible freedom clearly contrasts with a hormonal adolescent's "don't tell me what to do" outbursts.

Like a teenager to his parent, the "free" liberal reacts strongly against any effort to channel, upgrade, or improve his choices or behavior.  From this rebellion, Lefty gets a very short-lived free "feeling" on which no lasting value can be built.  The personal cost of this pursuit of disordered freedom is irresponsibility, frustration, and a lack of peace.  

This disordered freedom is easily spotted in such liberal favorites as abortion, gay marriage, and the use of the hypocrisy charge.  Abortion is an obvious example.  "Go ahead -- do whatever you want, including getting pregnant and killing a baby (even one half-born, in the case of partial birth abortion)." 

Gay marriage is almost as simple.  Given that California already has a full civil union law, it is clear that the gay marriage debate has nothing to do with equal rights and everything to do with forcing acceptance on a Judeo-Christian society (as in "don't you dare tell me what marriage means").  It is for this reason that the gay marriage movement has targeted any dissenters, including Catholic orphanages, the rare objecting wedding photographer, and the hiring practices and tax-exempt status of churches.  These kids are waging a war on any religion that still holds a serious creed and refuses to bless their favored lifestyle choices.

Although less obvious, the liberal affection for the hypocrisy charge reveals a strong desire for disordered freedom.  By charging hypocrisy, the adolescent libertine's goal is to avoid ever having to hear a moral norm (i.e., "you should").  This is an understandable quest for any fan of a serial adulterer and liar like Bill Clinton, but no normal thoughtful adult would agree that only those who are perfect should establish rules of conduct or the corollary -- that unless perfect rule-makers can be found, no norms should be established. 

Put differently, should we really prevent an alcoholic from cautioning others about drinking or a parent from advising his children not to lie?  Both the alcoholic and the parent are hypocritical in that each is guilty of the sin against which he cautions, but both are to be commended for their advice.  In this light, the clear point of the left's oft-utilized hypocrisy charge is to silence adult commentary so as to permit unchaperoned moral chaos.

The second characteristic of the Left's childishness is adolescent entitlement, or being an immature and spoiled brat.  Brattiness was on vivid display recently in both President Obama's and the Democrat Congress' reactions to the Bush tax cut compromise.  President Obama called his Republican counterparts names, and House Democrats used extreme language to curse their own president.  Other liberal pillars joined in the name-calling, class-envying thugs burned down Cape Cod homes, and the Daily Kos called for "pitchfork and torch brigades."

This behavior was matched by one of the left's leading foot-stompers, Keith Olbermann.  In a lengthy on-air rant, little Keith punctuated his message by taking God's name in vain (so as to let the other kids know just how serious he was).  For adults, cursing quickly loses its persuasive impact, accurately viewed instead as evidence of a deficient vocabulary.  Of course, the leftosphere, much as it revels in the Daily Kos' regular serving of profanity, wholeheartedly supported Olbermann's playground tirade.  This crowd is far too easily impressed by silly things (remember in high school, when smoking was "cool"?). 

The president has sustained his bratty behavior, now proudly asserting that he is "itching for a fight" with Republicans.  This is immature, uninspiring, intolerant, and un-presidential -- but it very impressive to his crew.  Although the tax deal was a compromise freely negotiated between the Obama-led Democrats and Republicans, the reactions of the president, his congressional allies, and the broader left are analogous to  a teenager slamming a door while screaming, "I hate you!"   

In a different analogy, this one about mature behavior and meaningful freedom using the example of learning a foreign language, theologian Pinckaers demonstrates that one can master a language only by submitting to rigorous study -- the non-negotiable definitions of words and rules of grammatical construction.  After years of yielding to these personally accepted limitations and rules, the student will finally speak the language well.  This is what Pinckaers calls a freedom for excellence.  It is neither disordered nor bratty.  It is instead realistic and responsible, cognizant of consequences and aware of the need to respectfully interact with others.

Unfortunately, today's left has a ways to grow before achieving maturity, lasting fulfillment, or personal excellence.  At this point, these people are neither calm, cool game theorists nor consistent political wizards.  Dr. Evil is safe and will be unchallenged for some time to come.  For now, the ranting teenager analogy is the best fit. 

Finally, I must apologize to mature teenagers everywhere.  Let me be clear: ranting adolescents and rabid progressives are very similar.  You, on the other hand, share nothing with the left. 

And to you ranting teenagers, buck up!  You will most certainly outgrow it well before Lefty does.