Yesterday I found myself – in my own conference on Facebook, where politics (and religion. I’m not sure which one this was, even) are forbidden – being confronted by someone who thought he had brilliant insights about what “rightists” should do to improve themselves.
Apparently, and I expect this will surprise you as much as it surprises me, we’re supposed to give up Jew-hatred, woman-hatred and love for neo-Nazis before we’re fit for polite company. I’ll add that, in an effort to be bipartisan, he admitted that the left should give up Jew-hatred as well.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry and as a first sally, pointed out that the left should also give up man-hatred. In the way of the left, he then said something about Richard Spencer (?) and yelling Heil Trump.
Did anyone ever, seriously yell Heil Trump, other than that guy in the theater in NYC who was a Trump opponent? Because if they did, they really need Thorazine, since Trump is neither German nor, well… anything close to Hitler. No matter how much the left insists he is.
I then pointed out that I wasn’t going to disown neo-Nazis because I never owned them. I’m “right” in the way that Americans are right wing, i.e. with a strong emphasis on individual liberty, not “blood and soil,” as it is in Europe.
I never got to refuting the “woman-hatred” because, well, think about it. Yes, I know the left say I’m self-hating. It must be nice to be in possession of a philosophy that can’t be falsified or contradicted by reality. (Except, of course, that reality always wins.) And as for Jew-hatred on the right… Well, I’m sure there are right-wing groups in the U.S. that hate Jews. I’m sure of this because there are 300 million people in the U.S. There is some group, no matter how small, who believes anything you care to mention, up to and not excluding those who think wearing shoe polish on your nose makes you taller. But it’s also a fact that we’re not the ones calling for an end to Israel. Note that I’m not including the alt-right, which seems to hate every group that… No, wait, every group. Depending on how they define the group that should be entitled to belong in the U.S., which depends on the forum/group, pretty much everyone is excluded. I’m not including them because they’re not the American right wing. They’re pale imitations of their European blood-and-soil counterparts who are so weirdly devoted to being just like Europe that they refuse to realize such a philosophy is impossible in our very, very mixed country.
The latest nonsense that drifted across my sight about who is a “real” American demands that the person be descended on all sides from ancestors who were here since the American Revolution. All six of them. Seriously. If you think there are more than that, you haven’t thought things through. My husband has a large number of ancestors who were here since the founding. But if you look into each of the lines that feed into the main lineage you’ll find far more recent Irish and German immigrants. And my sons have me.
And as for being “real Americans” as far as it means adhering to the ideas of the founders, I’ll just point out most of my husband’s family has long abandoned the Constitution for ideas farther left. As a country of ideas, that makes them as “unreal” as anyone can.
(And before the usual suspects screech in the comments, if you think this means I’m for open borders or multiculturalism, you’ve simply ignored everything else I’ve ever written. A country without borders is not a country. And multiculturalism is a recipe for cultural dissolution. We should take only immigrants we can use, which means those whose skills we have need of. And citizenship should require acculturation. Fit In or F*** Off is the rule here, and agreed upon by all my friends who are immigrants—here or elsewhere.)
The point is that the man “confronting” me with these things he thought were true very obviously bundles me into the “far right.”
Look, it’s not as though I live a life in which my thoughts are secret and guarded.
While it’s always risky, not to say idiotic, to assume that any opinions coming through someone’s fiction or expressed by their characters are truly held by the author (though even there, there’s an aggregate that emerges after a while), I have written a lot of non-fiction between blogs and columns over the last few years.
So, how can someone look at everything I’ve written and decide it means the exact opposite of what it means?
Well, the left isn’t alone in that. Someone on the alt-right semi-recently decided I was for no borders, on the same day I posted against the (earlier, smaller) caravan on PJM. And my view wasn’t secret even before then.
However, the left is almost offensively capable of that.
For instance when I posted that the #MeToo movement and the “believe all women” movement amounted to abusing and oppressing men — and also that women calling for attacking Kavanaugh without proof, simply on the basis of accusation was outright insane — someone shared my post. One of the commenters was a woman preening in the comments of an early feminist who said women were those who oppressed other women or some equal BS. It was meant to disqualify me because I was keeping other women down.
They’re full of these workarounds. There is a reason the right has started calling them NPCs, because really there is no “engagement” with what we say or refute.
I no longer remember the discussion I quoted above well enough (I was on four hours of sleep and it was late when he came out swinging to demand I disavow neo-Nazis) so I can’t reproduce the feel of this, but the chain of “conversation” was something like this:
“I feel the right likes purple too much. And should give up on yellow and ochre too.”
“Dude, we don’t like any of those things.”
“Oh, yeah, what about yellow!”
“As a group, we also aren’t particularly fond of yellow.”
“Then why don’t you disavow pink?”
I mean, there was no chain of logic that I could find. There was also a ton of repeating rumors and innuendo, which I’m not going to go into because they’re about a side issue, but rumors and innuendo that had bloody nothing to do with the subject being argued — besides being rumors and innuendo either thoroughly disproven, likely false or, more bizarrely, that had nothing to do with anything, even if true.
I run into this “chain of nonlogic” a lot while arguing (or trying to deflect) leftists — normally not on the right unless the individual himself has some neurological or emotional issue.
I think I know the reason for this.
You see, leftism — everything from soft Marxism to whatever neo-Stalinist heights of insanity the left now inhabits — is a revealed philosophy. And it comes with a “value load.”
What I mean is that the philosophy is dominant in all the mass means of communication: entertainment, art, news, and education. (And no, that doesn’t mean it’s correct. Reality was never established by consensus, as various episodes of madness in various cultures show.) They became dominant because the left hires for ideology, while the right hires for merit. Play it yourself. After a couple of decades, it’s easy enough for a lefty to get into a position of hiring and to veer any company, organization, or field hard left. This is easier in oligopsonistic fields. An oligopsony is defined as any market where there are many sellers and one buyer. Okay, this is hard to explain, but you have to assume, for instance for publishing, that the “buyer” is the publisher, which has his pick of many writers. Even for hiring, there are liberal arts/English majors stacked end to end for miles for every opening in an editorial house. The same is true for most of the fields in which the left took over completely. Yes, even education, particularly higher education. I have friends who, in their forties, are still trying to get tenure, or you know, a decent job. And given they have no other training, they’re stuck.
But what the dominance of all these fields means is that most people on the left, depending on the amount of fervor, are either casually compliant with what they get in the daily news, or want to be “smart” just like their professors.
Which is also why leftism is a positional good, i.e. it has a value load of signaling “virtue” or “intelligence” or whatever.
The right, meanwhile, particularly those of us over forty, i.e. before there were forums and gathering places on the net that gave us a chance to realize we weren’t alone, came to our opinions in contravention of what appeared to be the consensus around us.
Usually, it started from something, and while sometimes that was parents or that one teacher who dissented, more often it was a transformational experience. In my case, it was both observing the Portuguese left and seeing how they were pictured in the press, even the international press. Something forced us to choose – usually twice or three times in a row, otherwise it doesn’t stick – between what we’d seen or lived through or the general consensus.
From that, we started questioning all “received wisdom” — unless we simply turned the received wisdom upside down and decided everything the left said was the exact opposite of the truth. While this is easier than questioning each point, it doesn’t create an American “right” opinion. It creates — sort of, kind of, if you squint — a European “right” point of view, only more despicable and crazier. And point by point, we built our belief.
We’re still interested in discussion, and often try to argue rationally with other people.
The left, meanwhile, is incapable of engaging with the discussion, simply because they haven’t arrived at their philosophy that way.
They arrived at their philosophy by being told/thinking that all the “good” and “smart” people think this way. Which means every time they feel themselves challenged, lacking the epistemological tools to interrogate reality, they feel themselves slipping into the “evil” and “dumb” side.
If you know that one opinion has all the virtue and the other all the evil, having someone question your virtuous opinion must, of necessity, feel like you are becoming possessed. Which is why the left, in discussions with (or would-be attacks of) a right-winger (or someone they perceive as a right-winger, which these days, can be moderate left, frankly), starts mouthing things that have nothing to do with anything.
For instance, point out to them that neo-Nazis are no part of the American right, and that there only may be a dozen of them, once you subtract all the FBI informants, and they scream “what about Heil Trump?”
This isn’t a real argument. They’re not even bringing up an incident – no matter how disproven – in which someone did that. Because let’s assume there was a whole stadium of people yelling “Heil Trump.” Let’s even assume they were not leftists trying to claim Trump was Hitler. Yes, I know, the noose is getting very tight on the neck of your disbelief, but bear with me. Let’s say all of that was true. How does that prove that the people shouting it are the right, that the right is neo-Nazi, or – for that matter – that Trump is “just like Hitler”?
Hitler wasn’t Hitler, and his followers weren’t Nazis, because they said “Heil Hitler.” Hitler was Hitler because he was an evil man who acquired a lot of power at a disturbed time. And his followers were Nazis because they believed in National Socialism (as Bernie claims to believe, by his own mouth).
What that kind of response is is a “ritual of aversion.”
At a time in my childhood, which I think was about a year, but might only have been weeks (I was under six), I read a lot of stories about demonic apparitions. For a time about as long, I’d respond with shouted prayers to anything that scared me (mostly because I was convinced that demons were going to appear to me any second).
The response the left has to anything – anything at all – that would, if listened to, make them question their beliefs is similar to that. What they’re doing is not refuting what the person who made them question it said. What they’re doing is AVERTING the thought by shouting approved words in order to make the bad thoughts go away. Because bad thoughts will result in their becoming one of the evil and dumb people, forever ejected from the community of the virtuous and smart.
Given that, not only is the left incapable of logical (or really any) argument, but the image they have of the right keeps self-reinforcing and becoming more and more deluded and outlandish. It’s like a game of telephone: “I heard they hate women.” “Oh, yeah, they hate Jews too… and they’re neo-Nazis… and they drink blood every morning for breakfast.”
In addition to this, those of them who have power and some discernment over the direction of their movement are starting to get worried. The Internet has allowed enough of the herd to escape and doubt, that they’re having trouble holding on to the desired course. Even the thought leaders – do they still call them that? – believe it is “inevitable” and follows the arrow of history. Each of their more outlandish pronouncements is causing even their followers to mutter more and more under their breath.
Where this is leading us, I can’t tell you. It’s like one side of a long-held cold war, on losing the advantage, engaged in fear-mongering about their opponents, to the point that the side doing the fear-mongering feels threatened in an immediate and vital way.
Without any logical reason, without any reason at all except narrative and exclusion of any doubting word or thought, the left has decided Trump is Hitler and that they’re living through a repeat of the Third Reich. Their panic includes bizarre things like thinking they’re living in The Handmaid’s Tale (frankly not even a believable fantasy under any president, unless, of course, the country becomes extreme-Islamic) and the idea that we need to have no borders or we’re just like the Nazis.
One can’t engage with this kind of panic on a rational level, and even if we could, they didn’t get there through any kind of reason, nor are they willing to listen to logic that contradicts their fear.
But the fear is real and immediate.
And if this goes on, it is going to lead where none of us wants to go.
I just have no idea how to stop it. It is a result of the point in history in which we live, and all that came before. They’ve made their philosophy self-sealing so that their increasingly more extreme beliefs can’t be punctured.
We just have to hope enough people are shocked by where those beliefs lead to rebel against the rule of unthinking.
Before we reach Venezuela.