How the Left Thinks: It's All a Game

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman reacted to the Boston Marathon bombing thusly:

Until we fully understand what turned two brothers who allegedly perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings into murderers, it is hard to make any policy recommendation other than this: We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men[.] ... So what to do? ... The best place to start is with a carbon tax.

Carbon tax a proper response to the massacre?  Other than to urge Mr. Friedman to take long walks and breathe a lot of fresh air, how can we explain that an ostensibly normal, intelligent person would plumb such profound depths of stupidity?  How to account for the willing suspension of sanity by multitudes of highbrow intellectuals who park their common sense and reasoning ability at the door of the liberal salon and fervently espouse patently nonsensical views?  What makes otherwise intelligent people voluntarily surrender their identities and goose-step in the serried ranks of the progressive army?

Numerous learned studies have been devoted to the quirkiness of the totalitarian mindset.  But rather than delve into the psychological complexities of this baffling phenomenon, here is a simple explanation: it's a game.

Children play their games by assigning the parts among themselves and devising rules which all players must obey, no matter what.  However, it is not only children who play this way.  The entire liberal agenda is a gigantic game played by a set of rules that demand a mighty leap of faith from its adherents.  These rules, no matter how illogical or absurd, are to be obeyed unthinkingly and unquestioningly on pain of being disqualified and anathematized.  The choice is stark: blind obedience or ostracism; conform, or get the boot in the seat of the pants.  In short, a triumph of what George Orwell famously dubbed doublethink.

Here are some of the rules of the Big Game as it is played in America today:

(A) The body politic falls into two opposite, feuding camps: the white hats (liberals and Democrats) and the black hats (conservatives and Republicans).  The former can do no wrong; their intentions are pure and noble.  Everything the latter do is wrong, their motivation is invariably base and mean-spirited.  In this fight the left wages for the bright future of all mankind, anything goes, no holds are barred, and the good guys are allowed -- indeed, almost required -- to cheat and lie and show no mercy toward the enemy.  Hence the ridiculous spectacle of professorial, mild-mannered intellectuals, otherwise decent and humane individuals, having wet dreams about killing George Bush, eviscerating Rush Limbaugh, or torturing Glenn Beck.

(B) America is corrupt and imperialistic.  It is to blame for all the wrongs in the world; its proper objective should be to atone for its sins.  The white race is an accursed breed, forever guilty in the sight of mankind for its crimes and abuses; it is branded for the ultimate sin of racism, and nothing it can do will redeem it -- ever. The Third World, to the contrary, is sinless and pure as the driven snow, its people good and noble.  It is blameless even if it does something untoward.  The guilty party is always America -- it must have provoked the Third World into justifiable defense, or else the crime was an act of retributive justice.

(C) Humans are poison for the environment.  Coal and oil are pure evil.  To save the planet, mankind must give up traditional energy sources and go totally green, even if it means a reduced standard of living.  The inexorable Malthusian growth model (the population grows at an exponential rate while food production increases arithmetically) is still the reigning principle, all evidence to the contrary be damned.  Unless we immediately -- immediately! -- take drastic steps to reduce if not eliminate carbon emissions, we are doomed; every minute, every second counts.

(D) Economic and scientific issues are not exempt from the rules of the game.  Four decades ago, global cooling was all the rage.  Then came the inevitable about-face, and the very same people who had been at the forefront of the Global Freezing Scare turned up at the head of the Global Warming Bugaboo.  And again, the adepts of the left are not supposed to question the glaring inconsistencies.  Science has been dragooned to serve the interests of progress, and hence no heresy is allowed to rear its ugly head.  Again the Higher Truth trumps the simple, mundane verity.

Let the avant-garde of the global warming movement ensconced at the University of East Anglia lie, cheat, and conspire to destroy the infidels.  Their shenanigans are motivated by the noble end, you understand, and should be ignored.  And so, in spite of an avalanche of revelations of conspiratorial fraud on the part of the global warmists, the clownish Al Gore is still an infallible prophet, and the 2,000 signers (less than a third of whom are scientists) of the discredited IPCC report in support of the politically correct theory represent the "scientific consensus" and "settled science," while the nearly 32,000 scientists who have signed the Oregon Petition expressing the skeptical view are a mere handful of quacks in the pay of Big Oil.  And the clearer it becomes that global warming is a monumental hoax, the more ardently its proponents demand immediate, drastic measures to combat the nonexistent threat, prominently including a carbon tax.

(E) Racism is still rampant in American society; in fact, today, it is even worse than ever.  The right is waging an open, vicious war on the minorities, women, and gays.  The Tea Party and the returning Iraq and Afghan combat veterans are the greatest terrorist threat to society.  Availability of firearms is the root cause of crime.  It follows that disarming law-abiding citizens (while leaving hard-core criminals armed to the teeth) is the only way to solve the problem of gun violence.

(F) Obama is a genius, the embodiment of goodness -- in fact, "sort of God," as Evan Thomas, formerly of TIME magazine, put it.  Everything Obama does is right and proper; he is infallible.  To admit otherwise means to validate the racist stereotypes of the conservative yahoos.  Thus, the paramount duty of all right-thinking people consists in defending the president against the depredations of the knuckle-dragging right.  All events and policies must be weighed exclusively in terms of whether they are good or bad for Obama and his policies.

If Obama says that ever since he killed Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda has been dealt a mortal blow and is on the run, it means that terrorism is no longer a threat and should be ignored.  And so a terrorist attack in Fort Hood becomes an incident of "workplace violence," and the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi has been relegated to the memory hole.  And if the Brothers Tsarnaev blow up the Boston Marathon, it's just a couple of disaffected  "kids," alienated for no apparent reason and acting absolutely alone, with no connection to any terrorist network abroad.

The list could go on, but I think the above-described conventions of the left give a good idea of the left's way of thinking -- if its peculiar information-processing can be called thinking.

It is important to understand that the progressive strategy requires permanent mass mobilization.  The left is constantly marching, one lofty-sounding objective succeeding another, the movement twisting itself  into a new permutation.  The civil rights movement emerged to fight for racial equality; then feminists donned its mantle to battle for the Equal Rights Amendment; then gay rights moved to the foreground; and today, the issue du jour is gay marriage and LGBT rights.  And, of course, gun control and global warming.  Like a spinning top, the leftist ideology must be constantly on the move; if it stops, it will topple under the weight of its own inconsistencies.

And the rank-and-file proselytes are supposed to accept at face value and take to heart whatever motto is emblazoned on the movement's banner.  Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed full equality for blacks to be the goal of the civil rights movement.  Three decades later, his disciple Jesse Jackson proclaimed that demanding equality, rather than privileges, for African-Americans is tantamount to racism.  And the foot soldiers of the movement must accept without question the latest slogan as the ultimate verity.  (As they joked in the old Soviet Union, the proper answer to the question "Have you ever deviated from the Party line?" should be "I have always deviated together with the Party line.")  But the ultimate end remains immutable: destruction of the capitalist system and establishment of a socialist world government.

And so  NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof  declares that in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Republicans in the Senate should be ashamed of themselves for blocking the appointment of a new ATF director, and Thomas Friedman opines that the proper response to the terror attack should be a carbon tax.  Highly relevant, don't you think?  But don't blame the eminent journalists; it's their ideological bias in action.  As loyal soldiers of the liberal army, they are doing their bit to advance the progressive agenda.  Such are the rules of the game.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman reacted to the Boston Marathon bombing thusly:

Until we fully understand what turned two brothers who allegedly perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings into murderers, it is hard to make any policy recommendation other than this: We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men[.] ... So what to do? ... The best place to start is with a carbon tax.

Carbon tax a proper response to the massacre?  Other than to urge Mr. Friedman to take long walks and breathe a lot of fresh air, how can we explain that an ostensibly normal, intelligent person would plumb such profound depths of stupidity?  How to account for the willing suspension of sanity by multitudes of highbrow intellectuals who park their common sense and reasoning ability at the door of the liberal salon and fervently espouse patently nonsensical views?  What makes otherwise intelligent people voluntarily surrender their identities and goose-step in the serried ranks of the progressive army?

Numerous learned studies have been devoted to the quirkiness of the totalitarian mindset.  But rather than delve into the psychological complexities of this baffling phenomenon, here is a simple explanation: it's a game.

Children play their games by assigning the parts among themselves and devising rules which all players must obey, no matter what.  However, it is not only children who play this way.  The entire liberal agenda is a gigantic game played by a set of rules that demand a mighty leap of faith from its adherents.  These rules, no matter how illogical or absurd, are to be obeyed unthinkingly and unquestioningly on pain of being disqualified and anathematized.  The choice is stark: blind obedience or ostracism; conform, or get the boot in the seat of the pants.  In short, a triumph of what George Orwell famously dubbed doublethink.

Here are some of the rules of the Big Game as it is played in America today:

(A) The body politic falls into two opposite, feuding camps: the white hats (liberals and Democrats) and the black hats (conservatives and Republicans).  The former can do no wrong; their intentions are pure and noble.  Everything the latter do is wrong, their motivation is invariably base and mean-spirited.  In this fight the left wages for the bright future of all mankind, anything goes, no holds are barred, and the good guys are allowed -- indeed, almost required -- to cheat and lie and show no mercy toward the enemy.  Hence the ridiculous spectacle of professorial, mild-mannered intellectuals, otherwise decent and humane individuals, having wet dreams about killing George Bush, eviscerating Rush Limbaugh, or torturing Glenn Beck.

(B) America is corrupt and imperialistic.  It is to blame for all the wrongs in the world; its proper objective should be to atone for its sins.  The white race is an accursed breed, forever guilty in the sight of mankind for its crimes and abuses; it is branded for the ultimate sin of racism, and nothing it can do will redeem it -- ever. The Third World, to the contrary, is sinless and pure as the driven snow, its people good and noble.  It is blameless even if it does something untoward.  The guilty party is always America -- it must have provoked the Third World into justifiable defense, or else the crime was an act of retributive justice.

(C) Humans are poison for the environment.  Coal and oil are pure evil.  To save the planet, mankind must give up traditional energy sources and go totally green, even if it means a reduced standard of living.  The inexorable Malthusian growth model (the population grows at an exponential rate while food production increases arithmetically) is still the reigning principle, all evidence to the contrary be damned.  Unless we immediately -- immediately! -- take drastic steps to reduce if not eliminate carbon emissions, we are doomed; every minute, every second counts.

(D) Economic and scientific issues are not exempt from the rules of the game.  Four decades ago, global cooling was all the rage.  Then came the inevitable about-face, and the very same people who had been at the forefront of the Global Freezing Scare turned up at the head of the Global Warming Bugaboo.  And again, the adepts of the left are not supposed to question the glaring inconsistencies.  Science has been dragooned to serve the interests of progress, and hence no heresy is allowed to rear its ugly head.  Again the Higher Truth trumps the simple, mundane verity.

Let the avant-garde of the global warming movement ensconced at the University of East Anglia lie, cheat, and conspire to destroy the infidels.  Their shenanigans are motivated by the noble end, you understand, and should be ignored.  And so, in spite of an avalanche of revelations of conspiratorial fraud on the part of the global warmists, the clownish Al Gore is still an infallible prophet, and the 2,000 signers (less than a third of whom are scientists) of the discredited IPCC report in support of the politically correct theory represent the "scientific consensus" and "settled science," while the nearly 32,000 scientists who have signed the Oregon Petition expressing the skeptical view are a mere handful of quacks in the pay of Big Oil.  And the clearer it becomes that global warming is a monumental hoax, the more ardently its proponents demand immediate, drastic measures to combat the nonexistent threat, prominently including a carbon tax.

(E) Racism is still rampant in American society; in fact, today, it is even worse than ever.  The right is waging an open, vicious war on the minorities, women, and gays.  The Tea Party and the returning Iraq and Afghan combat veterans are the greatest terrorist threat to society.  Availability of firearms is the root cause of crime.  It follows that disarming law-abiding citizens (while leaving hard-core criminals armed to the teeth) is the only way to solve the problem of gun violence.

(F) Obama is a genius, the embodiment of goodness -- in fact, "sort of God," as Evan Thomas, formerly of TIME magazine, put it.  Everything Obama does is right and proper; he is infallible.  To admit otherwise means to validate the racist stereotypes of the conservative yahoos.  Thus, the paramount duty of all right-thinking people consists in defending the president against the depredations of the knuckle-dragging right.  All events and policies must be weighed exclusively in terms of whether they are good or bad for Obama and his policies.

If Obama says that ever since he killed Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda has been dealt a mortal blow and is on the run, it means that terrorism is no longer a threat and should be ignored.  And so a terrorist attack in Fort Hood becomes an incident of "workplace violence," and the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi has been relegated to the memory hole.  And if the Brothers Tsarnaev blow up the Boston Marathon, it's just a couple of disaffected  "kids," alienated for no apparent reason and acting absolutely alone, with no connection to any terrorist network abroad.

The list could go on, but I think the above-described conventions of the left give a good idea of the left's way of thinking -- if its peculiar information-processing can be called thinking.

It is important to understand that the progressive strategy requires permanent mass mobilization.  The left is constantly marching, one lofty-sounding objective succeeding another, the movement twisting itself  into a new permutation.  The civil rights movement emerged to fight for racial equality; then feminists donned its mantle to battle for the Equal Rights Amendment; then gay rights moved to the foreground; and today, the issue du jour is gay marriage and LGBT rights.  And, of course, gun control and global warming.  Like a spinning top, the leftist ideology must be constantly on the move; if it stops, it will topple under the weight of its own inconsistencies.

And the rank-and-file proselytes are supposed to accept at face value and take to heart whatever motto is emblazoned on the movement's banner.  Martin Luther King, Jr. proclaimed full equality for blacks to be the goal of the civil rights movement.  Three decades later, his disciple Jesse Jackson proclaimed that demanding equality, rather than privileges, for African-Americans is tantamount to racism.  And the foot soldiers of the movement must accept without question the latest slogan as the ultimate verity.  (As they joked in the old Soviet Union, the proper answer to the question "Have you ever deviated from the Party line?" should be "I have always deviated together with the Party line.")  But the ultimate end remains immutable: destruction of the capitalist system and establishment of a socialist world government.

And so  NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof  declares that in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, Republicans in the Senate should be ashamed of themselves for blocking the appointment of a new ATF director, and Thomas Friedman opines that the proper response to the terror attack should be a carbon tax.  Highly relevant, don't you think?  But don't blame the eminent journalists; it's their ideological bias in action.  As loyal soldiers of the liberal army, they are doing their bit to advance the progressive agenda.  Such are the rules of the game.

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