The Left's Retreat to Fantasy
The left’s slide into irrationality in recent years should come as no surprise. There is no way the ideology – in particular regarding its record – can be rationally defended any longer. Virtually every claim made by the left has been negated repeatedly, often in the most sanguinary terms imaginable. No reasonable defense remains; all that exists is irrationality.
Leftism began amid claims to being the ultimate in rationalism, an application of scientific method to politics by thinkers as varied as Saint-Simon, Hegel, and Marx. Throughout its development in the 19th through 20th centuries, through the Fabians, the British Labour Party, the New Deal, and the Great Society in the United States, leftism held fast to that claim above all others: that it embodied the sole rational method of dealing with political and social challenges.
With each step, certain predictions were made, and with each step, every last one was undermined and swallowed by history. In the USSR, occupied Eastern Europe, Maoist China, and Cambodia, failure was accompanied by bloodshed on a scale difficult for most millennial individuals to comprehend. In the West, the process was less bloody, but just as thorough. The UK, Sweden, France, and all other social democratic states have been forced to admit defeat. The same occurred in the U.S. with the Great Society and its underpinning programs – federal welfare, urban renewal, the War on Poverty. All were based on the most rigorous rationality, and all were abject failures.
Which doesn’t mean that leftists have given up. True believers don’t. Instead, the collapse of the liberal/leftist program following the 60s led to a retreat into romantic fatuity – evanescent claims of “compassion” and decency that were considered to be beyond debate.
But these are no longer tenable either, after 65 million abortions, mass murder and outrage in the inner cities, and the piles of dead generated by the left-supported “Arab Spring,” to mention only three outcomes of leftist policy. “Humanist” Western liberal/leftism may in the end turn out to be even more deadly that the brutalist communist variety.
In response, the left has at last leaped off the board into the deep end, greeting the new millennium with a burst of pure lunacy.
During the 60s, when the current model of liberal/leftism was coming together, this was presaged by the Scottish psychologist R.D. Laing. Today utterly forgotten, Laing’s thesis was that insanity was a justifiable response to an insane social and political milieu, a claim that has been largely simplified into an assertion that the crazies are actually the sane ones.
Though Laing may be forgotten, his thesis has become the centerpiece of millennial leftism. In its twilight era, leftism has entered a Dreamland where anything – anything at all to the limits of the imagination -- can be had for a wish.
Such a philosophy should be easy to defeat. But, as is so often the case, conservatives are blowing it off.
Take, for instance, the latest left-wing crusade – transsexuality.
Two points need to be made – first that this involves a vanishing minority placed at 78,000, which can be arbitrarily cut in half to get a more accurate number of about 39,000. You can’t get a smaller minority than this. There may be as many left-handed Albanians in the U.S. as there are transsexuals.
Second, that these people are by definition badly disturbed. They are obsessed with something they cannot have, and insist that the rest of us share in their delusion that they can have it. A cause for pity, at most, but the left has chosen to put these people in the firing line.
One telling fact about the transsexual “debate” (if you can justly use that label about something in which only one side is heard) is that all of the previous research and consideration of the topic have been set aside. A number of psychological theories to explain transsexuality have been put forward. One convincing example is that of C.G. Jung, the brilliant Swiss student of Sigmund Freud. Jung broke with Freud over his proposal that human behavior is predicated on “archetypes” inherited from generation to generation. Among these archetypes are a male component – the “animus”— and a female component – the “anima” – present in all psyches, both male and female. For years this thesis was dismissed due to doubts that anything such thing could be inheritable. Today we know that the human genetic structure is a lot more complex than previous generations could have imagined.
Usually the sexual archetypes are well integrated, to the point where they’re not even noticed. But in some cases, they are rejected or resisted at which point…. Well, we all know the proverb about a woman scorned. The anima takes on a pathological form, distorting the entire psyche – even to the point of completely undermining the victim’s sexual identity. (It should be pointed out – though it’s often overlooked – that there are a lot more men convinced they are women than the other way around.)
Viewed from the Jungian point of view – or that of any other traditional psychological school -- it’s undeniable than transsexuals are extremely disturbed individuals in need of treatment to help them reintegrate their psyches. The record reinforces this conclusion, from the sad case of the Dutch transsexual who handed himself over to the tender mercies of the state’s euthanasists after being transformed into a “monster,” to the recent complaints of “Chaz” Bono, who bemoans “his” loneliness due to normal women viewing him as a “freak.” It’s no surprise to learn that transsexuals have a 40%+ postoperative suicide rate. These people deserve our compassion and a concentrated research program on how to help them come to terms with their disorder.
That, needless to say, is not what they’re getting. Their friends on the left have adopted them not out of concern, but to use as a battering ram to cause further damage to the world as it is.
How have conservatives responded? Well, they haven’t. In the battle against “gay marriage,” the conservative response was limited to remarks along the lines of “Can I marry my cat?” All else was confusion, bewilderment, and a refusal to engage. The same has occurred with transsexuals, the lone comment often being along the lines of, “Well, what if somebody says they’re Napoleon?”
What’s the reason for this? There’s an interesting story concerning the respected social democratic philosopher Sidney Hook, who late in life found a home among neoconservatives after tossing aside every argument the left had to offer. Walking through the park with a close friend, Hook sat on park bench and said, “Tell me, what is it homosexuals do?”
Hook was in his fifties at the time. He was a man of vast intelligence and erudition. He’d lived for years in New York City, only blocks for the epicenter of American gay life. Yet he’d never gotten the key elements of homosexuality clear in his mind.
And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with conservatives and homosexuality: they don’t know about it because they don’t want to know about it. They view it with confusion, bewilderment, and discomfort amounting to fear. It is alien, it is disturbing, it is irrational. So it’s best to retreat to the think-tanks for lengthy discussions as to what Madison or Tocqueville might have thought about it.
Conservatives too, are slaves of rationalism. Unlike the left they have maintained their allegiance. Which has created a vast opening for leftist action, a weak spot that can be exploited. The American Left has selected gay marriage, transsexualism, and related elements as causes because they are ridiculous. They have hit on the fact that this kind of thing seriously confuses conservatives. As a result, the LGBT+ movement is the sole leftist component still making gains in this century.
What the solution? You cannot deal with an irrational doctrine on a rational basis. To do this is to verify it. We need to return to the response of instinctive revulsion, the conviction that, as it was once put, “oddities must pay the price of being oddities.” Ridicule, insult, and sarcasm must be the weapons of choice. The answer is not going to be found in theory.
The left has made itself vulnerable with this move. Nothing good will ever come of its infatuation with the far reaches of the sexual continuum. But to take advantage of this opportunity, conservatism must change its strategies, its practices, and its methods. There is no purpose in an opposition that is afraid to strike.