Why Liberals Kill
"Liberal institutions straightaway cease from being liberal the moment they are soundly established: once this is attained no more grievous and more thorough enemies of freedom exist than liberal institutions." This quotation's author, Friedrich Nietzsche, was no traditionalist himself; in fact, he was a harsh critic of Christianity who coined the phrase "God is dead." Yet he knew that your republic would be dead the day liberals assumed enough power within it.
This understanding is necessary to properly evaluate the current Obama administration scandals involving NSA surveillance and IRS abuses. Critics' main focus has been debating what power the government should have, and this is a legitimate and important discussion. But even more significant is who wields that power. After all, you can exhaustively regulate the police, but it will be largely for naught if those with the great power of a gun and badge are fundamentally corrupt.
The recently departed Buzzfeed columnist Michael Hastings touched on liberals' will to tyranny in a piece titled "Why Democrats Love to Spy on Americans." Addressing the surveillance scandal he wrote:
The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that [Guardian columnist Glenn] Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems - including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry - have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections [sic] 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008.
Precisely. When G.W. Bush played fly-on-the-wall, he was a lawless fascist. But when liberal Democrats play 1984×Brave New World, well, as Senator Harry Reid said earlier this month, "Everyone should just calm down."
But liberals are actually being quite consistent - historically. Infamous leftist Maximilien Robespierre is best known for authoring the French Revolution's spasm of violence and using the guillotine to murder thousands. What's less well known is that prior to assuming power Robespierre was a staunch death-penalty opponent.
And the list continues. The communist Khmer Rouge promised Cambodians peace, equality and prosperity, but then proceeded to kill off a third of them between 1975 and '79. The Soviet Bolsheviks adopted the slogan "bread, peace and land," but then purposely starved to death nine million people during the "Great Famine." Mao Zedong pledged to give the Chinese a better life but only delivered a quicker death, exterminating 60+ million of his countrymen. Fidel Castro promised his nation free elections in 1959, but then became the world's longest-serving non-royal leader, reigning as Cuba's dictator for 52 years.
In our time, too, this leftist shape-shifting is evident. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) preaches an animal-liberation line and even condemns meat consumption, but kills 89 percent of its shelter animals. Barack Obama promised to have history's most transparent administration, yet it has been the most opaque, giving us scandals characterized by abuse of law and power and the trampling of Americans' rights. And this brings us to a question: Does power really corrupt liberals more absolutely than anyone else?
I remember an incident in which a very liberal colleague at a former workplace was caught in a misdeed. His response was to cavalierly brush it off, saying with a chuckle, "Situational values." Another incident at that business involved a student of mine to whom I was quite close. Alluding one day to the difference between me and his liberal parents, he said out of the blue (I'm paraphrasing), "You're the only one who's consistent, who says the same things all the time." Is this a surprise? Liberals have given us the credos "If it feels good, do it" and "Whatever works for you [addendum: 'at the moment']."
This brings us to a truth about the modern left. Generally speaking, like all relativistic people, liberals don't have principles.
They have feelings.
And feelings change with the wind.
Of course, some have learned the hard way - mostly through debating liberals, only to find they're virtually immune to reason - that the left isn't intellect-oriented but emotion-oriented. But the question is, why do liberals deify their own feelings?
The short answer is that they have little else to deify.
But a more in-depth understanding requires some philosophical exploration.
Let's face reality: it can be hard for us human beings to be consistent. Principle can sometimes bump up against our worldly desires, and this is when being "situational" can be seductive. But there are things that can influence a person's likelihood to stand on principle. One is having a world view stating that consistency actually is better than inconsistency.
I've long pointed out that the most basic difference between the people we today call liberals and traditionalists isn't the apparent ideological divide. It is that the latter tend to believe in Moral Truth whereas liberals are almost universally moral relativists.
This is nothing less than an issue of operating in two completely different universes of reality. When you believe in Truth, morality is something objectively real to you, like matter itself. And most significantly, you view it as what it is: unchanging. This means that your yardstick for morality is the same whether convenient or inconvenient, whether you're out of power - or in power. It is unbending and non-negotiable. Oh, this doesn't mean absolutists can't betray their principles; man is weak and we all falter. But in the aggregate, it serves as a "controlling power upon will and appetite," to quote Edmund Burke, and thus mitigates man's do-what-thou-wilt default.
But what happens when a person doesn't believe in Truth? What then will be his yardstick for behavior? Well, if what we call right and wrong isn't determined by anything above man, then man himself is its author. But will it ultimately be a function of his intellect? Consider that the intellect's job is to use reason, a quality that the relativistic left ostensibly values. What is reason, however? It's not an answer, but a method by which answers may be found. But there can be no answers to moral questions if there's no Truth; hence, there then is no reason for reason.
This is why following relativism out leads us to a striking conclusion: Since we can't say that anything is objectively right or wrong, better or worse, the only yardstick we have left for behavior is feelings. Truth is a tale, faith is fancy, but emotion is certainly real. We can feel it - deeply. And, oh, how seductive is that siren of anger, envy or any passion? Just think how readily emotion inspires action.
So, ultimately, relativism boils "morality" down to taste. This is why that guide "If it feels good, do it" really does make more sense in the modern liberal universe than anything else. But whose feelings should hold sway? Well, we may to an extent defer to those of the collective, but, ultimately, you're just another mortal, same as I. Why should I subordinate my feelings to yours, especially since mine are the only ones truly real to me? This is, mind you, what contributes to the deification of the self. Liberals' feelings do for them what God does for people of faith. They tell them how to behave.
And this is why liberals will often do anything for victory. When the Truth lies at the center of your world view, it will, in its immutable and infallible way, define what's right. But nature abhors a vacuum; thus, when a person's core is bereft of Truth, an emotion-derived agenda takes its place. It then defines what's "right." And that will be whatever advances that agenda at the moment, be it vote fraud, targeting opponents with the IRS or, when power is sufficiently solidified, perhaps killing 25 million "capitalists." And the lesson, dear voters, is that it really does matter what master your leaders serve.
This morality-of-the-moment madness is why, in all fairness, liberals aren't always quite as hypocritical as they seem (just almost). For hypocrisy is saying one thing while intending to do another. Robespierre might have been very sincere when inveighing against capital punishment while out of power, and also very sincere when using it liberally while in power. It's just that the decrees of his personal god, you see, had changed.
And now we have a change agent, in every sense of the term, in the White House.