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Left Wing vs Right Wing: Collectivism vs Individuality
#1

For some reason the issue of what actually constitutes the concepts of Left Wing and Right Wing politics, or that of Collectivism and Individualism. continue to be up for grabs intellectually.  While it is true that the 'left wing, right wing' issue origionated in France, following the initial revolution things have changed.  Here is what Wikipedia says, and it is quite correct.

Quote:The terms Left and Right have been used to refer to political affiliation since the early part of the French Revolutionary era. They originally referred to the seating arrangements in the various legislative bodies of France, specifically in the French Legislative Assembly of 1791, when the moderate royalist Feuillants sat on the right side of the chamber, while the radical Montagnards sat on the left.[8] This traditional seating arrangement continues to be observed by the Senate and National Assembly of the French Fifth Republic.

Originally, the defining point on the ideological spectrum was attitudes towards the ancien régime ("old order"). "The Right" thus implied support for aristocratic, royal, or clerical interests, while "The Left" implied opposition to the same. At that time, support for laissez-faire capitalism and free markets were regarded as being on the left whereas today in most Western countries these views would be characterized as being on the Right. But even during the French Revolution an extreme left wing called for government intervention in the economy on behalf of the poor.


If one studies further on the site, he/she will see that there are a list of definitions, which divide the traditional modern left from the modern right.   Again I find this definition accurate, but missing the one glaring fact that they are not broken down to their lowest common functional denominator: Collectivism vs Individualism.   If you compare the differences, all of them fit neately within the two camps, but just don't mention it.

Quote:Collectivism is defined as the theory and practice that makes some sort of group rather than the individual the fundamental unit of political, social, and economic concern. In theory, collectivists insist that the claims of groups, associations, or the state must normally supersede the claims of individuals." -- Stephen Grabill and Gregory M. A. Gronbacher

"Individualism is at once an ethical-psychological concept and an ethical-political one. As an ethical-psychological concept, individualism holds that a human being should think and judge independently, respecting nothing more than the sovereignty of his or her mind; thus, it is intimately connected with the concept of autonomy. As an ethical-political concept, individualism upholds the supremacy of individual rights ..." -- Nathaniel Branden


These two basic concepts, Collectivist(Left) and Individualist(right) are fundamental concepts which cannot work well within a system in concert.  They will constantly be at war with each other.  And clearly our Founding Fathers intended that the United States should be a country of Individuals, working within a system in which they have equal status and Liberty.

Quote:"Individualism regards man -- every man -- as an independent, sovereign entity who possesses an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being.  Individualism holds that a civilized society, or any form of association, cooperation or peaceful co-existence among men, can be achieved only on the basis of the recognition of individual rights -- and that a group, as such, has no rights other than the individual rights of its members." -- Ayn Rand

"The antipode of individualism is collectivism, which subordinates the individual to the group -- be it the 'community,' the tribe, the race, the proletariat, etc. A person's moral worth is judged by how much he sacrifices himself to the group. [Under collectivism] the more emergencies (and victims) the better, because they provide more opportunity for 'virtue'." -- Glenn Woiceshyn


I am not attempting to brag about my insights, but I have followed this to it's logical conclusion for over a decade and a half now, since purchasing my first computer and getting on to the internet, where I have had access to more knowledge than can be imagined.   Since that time I have been introduced to the great Balient Vazonyi, Julian Simon, And countless other lovers of Liberty.   over time I began to realize that this wording of Left and Right, as it once pertained to "activist and reactionary" no longer applied.  Over time I began to realize that the opposite existed.   The real activists/radicals were increasingly Individualists, fighting against the encrouching power of the State, and it's tendency to supress the power of the individual.  Clearly Statism and it's more ugly brother, Collectivism, was not interested in the individual.  More power was to be gained in groups and organizations, because they tended to accumulate in numbers.  

Quote: "Collectivism is the doctrine that the social collective -- called society, the people, the state, etc. -- has rights, needs, or moral authority above and apart from the individuals who comprise it. We hear this idea continually championed in such familiar platitudes as 'the needs of the people take precedence over the rights of the individual,' 'production for people, not profits,' and 'the common good.'
    "Collectivism often sounds humane because it stresses the importance of human needs. In reality, it is little more than a rationalization for sacrificing you and me to the desires of others." -- Jarret B. Wollstein in The Causes of Aggression,

"The smallest minority on earth is the individual.  Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." -- Ayn Rand

"Contrary to what leftists want us to believe, individualism does not mean looting others to satisfy one's desires. Nor does it mean unconcern for others. ...Individualism, not collectivism or altruism, is the root of benevolence and good will among men." -- Glenn Woiceshyn


The other sense of confusion to this subject deals with the words 'conservative' and 'liberal'.  Clearly the two are no longer used as they once were.  At one time 'conservative' simply meant 'reactionary' or one who resists change.   And clearly 'liberal' was one who believed in Individual Liberty.   That is why I push so hard to reinstate the real meaning to the words.  Rather than a Liberal being a left wing collectivist, who is intent on increasing the size and scope of the State in order to increase rights and powers to the group, the Real Liberal is just the opposite.  The Real Liberal is the Ultimate Individualist, intent on preserving Individual Liberty through such things as limited government, Freedom of association including that of trade, responsible individualism, and the sancity of the Rule of Law.

Quote:"A man's admiration for absolute government is proportionate to the contempt he feels for those around him"-- Alexis de Tocqueville

"Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men."-- John Stuart Mill

"The case for a free society rests on individualism. ... Every form of totalitarianism has sought control over the minds of individuals, and has understood that it must first undermine the individual’s confidence in the validity of his own faculties. Remember O’Brien’s speech to Winston Smith in Orwell’s 1984 ... " -- David Kelley




Here are excerpts from a speech before the MIT Radicals for Capitalism, in January of 1992.  It is very telling in what I am attempting to get across.   Surprisingly, I did not actually find this speech until today, but it exactly parallels my thinking for the last 15 years.  In truth, it is impossible to suppress the enlightened idea.  

Quote:As the presidential election nears, we start thinking about the choices we have to make. In the election, we face a basic choice of ``left'' versus ``right.'' Although ``left'' versus ``right'' accurately describes the choice we face in the voting booth, it does not fully describe the landscape of political thought.

A better way of carving up that landscape is into ``collectivism'' versus ``individualism.'' This is not a new dichotomy, but it's been a long time since politicians have talked in such fundamental terms. Instead, they focus on details of implementation-policies, programs, and tax plans-leaving the fundamental issues implicit and confused.

Today I want to escape from election-speak and try to focus for a while on the more fundamental questions. I will define and contrast individualism and collectivism and explore their philosophic underpinnings and their political consequences.

Philosophic implications of individualism and collectivism

Both collectivism and individualism rest on certain values and certain assumptions about the nature of man, which is what I want to explore next.
Responsibility vs. the safety-net

The first issue I want to explore is responsibility versus the social safety-net.

A primary element of individualism is individual responsibility. Being responsible is being pro-active, making one's choices consciously and carefully, and accepting accountability for everything one does---or fails to do. An integral part of responsibility is productivity. The individualist recognizes that nothing nature gives men is entirely suited to their survival; rather, humans must work to transform their environment to meet their needs. This is the essence of production. The individualist takes responsibility for his own production; he seeks to ``earn his own way,'' to ``pull his own weight.''

Collectivism doesn't disparage responsibility; but ultimately, collectivism does not hold individuals accountable for the choices they make. Failing to save for retirement, having children one can't afford, making bad investments, becoming addicted to drugs or smoking---these actions are called ``social problems'' that ``society'' has to deal with. Thus, collectivists seek to build a social ``safety-net'' to protect individuals from the choices they make. To collectivism, responsibility is only to be expected of the productive, and consists of doing one's part in keeping the social ``safety-net'' in tact.

Regarding production, collectivism sees society, not individuals, as the agent of production. As a result, wealth belongs to ``society,'' so collectivists have no trouble dreaming up schemes to redistribute wealth according to their visions of ``social justice.''
Egoism vs. altruism

The second issue I want to explore is egoism versus altruism.

Altruism holds ``each man as his brother's keeper;'' in other words, we are each responsible for the health and well-being of others. Clearly, this is a simple statement of the ``safety-net'' theory from above. This is incompatible with individualism, yet many people who are basically individualists uphold altruism as the standard of morality. What's going on?

The problem is wide-spread confusion over the meanings of ``altruism'' and ``egoism.''

The first confusion is to confound altruism with kindness, generosity, and helping other people. Altruism demands more than kindness: it demands sacrifice. The billionaire who contributes $50,000 to a scholarship fund is not acting altruistically; altruism goes beyond simple charity. Altruism is the grocery bagger who contributes $50,000 to the fund, foregoing his own college education so that others may go. Parents who spend a fortune to save their dying child are helping another person, but true altruism would demand that the parents spend their money to save ten other children, sacrificing their own child so that others may live.

The second confusion is to confound selfishness with brutality. The common image of selfishness is the person who runs slip-shod over people in order to achieve arbitrary desires. We are taught that ``selfishness'' consists of dishonesty, theft, even bloodshed, usually for the sake of the whim of the moment.

These two confusions together obscure the possibility of an ethics of non-sacrifice. In this ethics, each man takes responsibility for his own life and happiness, and lets other people do the same. No one sacrifices himself to others, nor sacrifices others to himself. The key word in this approach is earn: each person must earn a living, must earn the love and respect of his peers, must earn the self-esteem and the happiness that make life worth living.

It's this ethics of non-sacrifice that forms a lasting moral foundation for individualism. It's an egoistic ethics in that each person acts to achieve his own happiness. Yet, it's not the brutality usually ascribed to egoism. Indeed, by rejecting sacrifice as such, it represents a revolution in thinking on ethics.

Two asides on the topic of egoism. First, just as individualism doesn't mean being alone, neither does non-sacrificial egoism. Admiration, friendship, love, good-will, charity, generosity: these are wonderful values that a selfishness person would want as part of his life. But these values do not require true sacrifice, and thus are not altruistic in the deepest sense of the word.

Second, I question if brutality, the form of selfishness usually ascribed to egoism, is actually in one's self-interest in practice. Whim worship, dishonesty, theft, exploitation: I would argue that the truly selfish man rejects these, for he knows that happiness and self-esteem can't be stolen at the cost of others: they must be earned through hard work.
Reason

The third issue I want to explore is reason.

The philosophic defense of individualism rests on the nature of reason and the role it plays in human life.

Reason is the faculty of conceptual awareness; reason integrates the evidence of the senses into a higher-level of awareness. But beyond simple cognition, reason plays a key role in imagination, emotions, and creativity. Every thing we think, feel, imagine and do is based on our awareness and our thoughts. Our character, personal identity, and history of achievement are defined by our thoughts. Our very survival depends on reason. Our food, clothes, shelter, and medicine---all are products of thought. Reason is at the core of being human.

Reason is individualistic. No person can think for another; thought is an attribute of the individual. One can start with the ideas of another, but each new discovery, each creative step beyond the already known, is a product of the individual. And when an individual does build on the work and ideas of others, he is building on the work of other individuals, not on the ideas of ``society.''

Individualism, then, is based on the fact that humans are rational beings, and that reason is an attribute of the individual. Humans can get together and share the products of reason, which is beneficial, but they cannot share the capacity to think.

Collectivist philosophers go out of their way to attack reason. One broad method of attack is skepticism, the denial that reason even works. This attack is illustrated in bromides like ``you can't be sure of anything.'' A more sophisticated attack on reason aims at turning reason into a product of the group. Each nation, race, economic class, creed, or gender has its own concept, logic, and truth. But in the end, all attacks on reason have a common result: they deny or confuse the role reason plays as the foundation of individualism.
Political implications of individualism and collectivism

The final issue I want to look at are the the political implications of individualism and collectivism.

These implications should be fairly clear. Under collectivism, the individual, in whole or in part, is a means to satisfying the needs of ``society.'' The state is the instrument for organizing people to meet those needs. So it is the state, not the individual, that is sovereign.

Under individualism, the individual is sovereign. The individual is an end in himself, whose cooperation is to be obtain only through voluntary agreement. All people are expected to act as traders, either voluntarily agreeing to interact or going separate ways; it's either ``win-win, or no deal.'' The government is limited strictly to ensuring that coercion is banished from human relations, that ``voluntary'' is really voluntary, that both sides choose freely to deal and both sides live up to their agreements.

Radicals for Capitalism

Since I am representing the group Radicals for Capitalism, I do want to tie capitalism into the discussion so far.

Radicals for Capitalism advocates the philosophy of individualism, and supports capitalism as the only political system compatible with individualism. Unfortunately, the word ``capitalism'' is misunderstood today; everybody seems to mean something different by the word. Many opponents of capitalism blame the market for the result of State interventions in the economy. Many so-called ``capitalists'' mix socialist and interventionist schemes in with free market rhetoric---and call the result Capitalism. Today, ``capitalism'' is much maligned and misunderstood, buried under false allegations.

We want to liberate the term from such baggage. By capitalism we mean: a ``social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.'' ``A system where any and all forms of government intervention in production and trade is abolished, and State and Economics are separated in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of Church and State'' (CUI, p109).

As mentioned earlier, it's a system based on the notion that humans are traders---either voluntarily agreeing to interact or going separate ways---a system in which government is limited strictly to ensuring that coercion is banished from human relations, that ``voluntary'' is really voluntary, that both sides choose freely to deal.

Under capitalism, the government protects rights, including the right to property. Without the right to use and dispose what one has produced, one has no liberty. If individuals can't work and produce towards goals they can't pursue happiness. If one can't consume the product of one's effort, one cannot live. To the degree a government does not protect property rights, an individual is a slave at the mercy of someone or some group.

Capitalism is not a system under which unproductive individuals can leach off the productive ones, whether the ``unproductive'' are the unambitious or politically-connected businessmen. Nor is capitalism a system in which the government acts not as a protector, but as a coercer of productive individuals. There are examples galore of unjust acts committed under the banner of law and justice, for example, when the government takes from one person to feed another, or when government takes taxpayer money to bail out foolhardy bankers.

Unfortunately, our vision of capitalism is not the current state of affairs and has only been approximated in the history of the man kind. No system in the world today is capitalistic to the extent we advocate. All could be, but not without changes; in particular, the wide-spread acceptance of individualism.


Quote:"Comrades!  We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all." -- Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev, addressing the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party, 2-25-56

"The unity of a nation's spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual; and that the higher  interests involved in the life of the whole must here set the limits and lay down the duties of the interests of the individual." -- Adolph Hitler

"We need to stop worrying about the rights of the individual and start worrying about what is best for society." -- Hillary Clinton

"...we understand only the individual's capacity to make sacrifices for the community, for his fellow men." -- Adolf Hitler, 10-7-33

"We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." -- Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, June 28, 2004.

"To be a socialist is to submit the I to the thou; socialism is sacrificing the individual to the whole." -- Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, National Socialist German Workers' ("Nazi") Party
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#2
I like that, Hillary interspersed with Nazis and Communists...

The real difference between the left and the right is a bottoms-up vs. a top-down perspective. Focusing on individual rights and reponsibilities can easily lead one to a collectivist perspective, but a bottom-up view is meant to be seen in context, in terms of what needs to be done, not just what can be done. The two persectives need to be seen as complimenting each other, rather than existing on their own, which is how you get mistakes like collectivism.
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#3
b5d Wrote:I like that, Hillary interspersed with Nazis and Communists...

The real difference between the left and the right is a bottoms-up vs. a top-down perspective. Focusing on individual rights and reponsibilities can easily lead one to a collectivist perspective, but a bottom-up view is meant to be seen in context, in terms of what needs to be done, not just what can be done. The two persectives need to be seen as complimenting each other, rather than existing on their own, which is how you get mistakes like collectivism.

Most telling, eh?

As for 'individual rights', I don't see how addressing it would lead to a collectivist perspective. I would think that addressing 'group rights' would be the one to do it. have you ever read any works of Balint Vazonyi at all?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#4
The topic title doesn't do the one-sidedness of the post justice: it's written entirely from a 'rightwing' perspective.
Not that this would surprise me. :roll:
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
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#5

stroll Wrote:The topic title doesn't do the one-sidedness of the post justice: it's written entirely from a 'rightwing' perspective.
Not that this would surprise me.  :roll:

Here is some more of that G-d Awful Filth and Trash, that only an Individualist would love, and only a Collectivist, such as yourself, dispise Stroll.  Let's hope that this does not make you sick to your stomach.  Wink1

Quote:"It is said when Pol Pot was a college student in Paris, he swore to bring 'pure' communism to Cambodia, and not the bloody, dictatorial, 'perverted'-type communism that was put into place in the Soviet Union and elsewhere. Unfortunately, by the time he took over in Cambodia, he found that it was 'necessary' to become the most murderous (per capita) dictator in history as people still seemed to want to take care of their families before they took care of his vision for them, and a bloodbath and reign of terror was the only way to squeeze out even a show of cooperation. This step-by-step progression from altruist idealism to butchery and unimaginable horror has been repeated time and time again in country after country. I submit to you who are still in a state of denial: yes, THIS is the REAL ultimate consequence, and legacy of, the preaching of self-sacrifice for 'the common good'." -- Rick Gaber

"Anything other than free enterprise always means a society of compulsion and lower living standards, and any form of socialism strictly enforced means dictatorship and the total state. That this statement is still widely disputed only illustrates the degree to which malignant fantasy can capture the imagination of intellectuals." -- Lew Rockwell

"To embrace a collectivist system ... and thereby jeopardize sustained economic growth, inevitably misallocate scarce resources, and almost necessarily perpetuate destitution, hardly merits moral acclaim. Indeed, intellectuals in general and church leaders in particular who bewail the continued existence of poverty absolutely defined, and who state that they yearn for a world in which the hungry are fed, the naked clothed, and the destitute housed, yet who ceaselessly undermine the very system which, to date, has best done what they claim to value most, are, surely, moral imbeciles." -- The Reverend Doctor John K. Williams

"From the fact that people are very different it follows that, if we treat them equally, the result must be inequality in their actual position, and that the only way to place them in an equal position would be to treat them differently. Equality before the law and material equality are therefore not only different but are in conflict with each other; and we can achieve either one or the other, but not both at the same time." -- F. A. Hayek

"If welfare and equality are to be primary aims of law, some people must necessarily possess a greater power of coercion in order to force redistribution of material goods. Political power alone should be equal among human beings; yet, striving for other kinds of equality absolutely requires political inequality." -- Tibor R. Machan in Private Rights and Public Illusions

"There is all the difference in the world between treating people equally and attempting to make them equal." -- F. A. Hayek
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#6
stroll Wrote:The topic title doesn't do the one-sidedness of the post justice: it's written entirely from a 'rightwing' perspective.
Not that this would surprise me. :roll:

Oh, incidentially Stroll, certainly you can locate some learned works by prominent Collectivists, who have famous quotations, that they use to buttress their 'learned' position, correct? If so, please take the time and enlighten us as to why we should eschew the evils of Free Enterprise, private property, and individualism. Certainly you can find hordes of them, right?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#7
It seems like the rank-and-file of the left, especially the youth, is quite individualist. It's just as people get older, and closer to positions of power, they are afraid to hold on to their common sense wisdom. A lot of this has to do with the competency trap: beginning at Vietnam, when politicians on the right were proving incapable of leading the country, the left started asserting that they could do a better job (a perfectly legitimate issue in a democratic debate) and developing an elitist attitude which was somehow supposed to prove that fact (which eventually led to their collectivist ideology, and was the beginning of their downfall.)

As a demonstration, most recently, this caught my ear when I heard it on the radio this morning.
Hillary Clinton Wrote:I take my faith very seriously and very personally, and I come from a tradition that is perhaps a little too suspicious of people who wear their faith on their sleeves.
A "tradition?" Meaning Northeast politics? We may be heartless bastards, but we know backstabbing when we see it.

See, that is how you shift your stance on issues, if you must, using a little sly humor, rather than outright rejecting your roots (as if anyone would believe it anyway.) If politicians on the left were willing to stand up for what they believe, rather then whatever sounded good at the moment, they wouldn't find themselves boxed into these ideological corners.
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#8
b5d Wrote:It seems like the rank-and-file of the left, especially the youth, is quite individualist. It's just as people get older, and closer to positions of power, they are afraid to hold on to their common sense wisdom. A lot of this has to do with the competency trap: beginning at Vietnam, when politicians on the right were proving incapable of leading the country, the left started asserting that they could do a better job (a perfectly legitimate issue in a democratic debate) and developing an elitist attitude which was somehow supposed to prove that fact (which eventually led to their collectivist ideology, and was the beginning of their downfall.)

.

It's actually misplaced goals, with an inability to differentiate reality from fantasy. Here is what I mean. Idealism is a wonderful thing, because it tends to be followed by change, sooner or later, if it has merit. However idealism is based in the realm of reality and what may be accomplished.

On the other hand, another dream of most youth is the belief in utopia. And note, that there is a difference in idealism and utopianism. Whereas the later is comprised of both, the former is only a part of what makes up utopianism. where idealism is based in reality, utopianism is the realm of the unattainable. In other words, utopian beliefs are not based on reality and will not work in real life.

So when you view all those young little Collectivist, waxing poetic about about themselves and others in an individual sense, they are stating what they "hope" things to be. Unfortunately individual ideals will not mix well with 'group think'. It's just IMPOSSIBLE! But they are not wise enough to know this. That is why so many of those youths eventuyally have a monumental minute, and suddenly realize that they are in the wrong crowd, following the wrong cause. Then they eventually leave, and never look back.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#9
John L Wrote:Here is some more of that G-d Awful Filth and Trash, that only an Individualist would love, and only a Collectivist, such as yourself, dispise Stroll.  Let's hope that this does not make you sick to your stomach.  Wink1
What makes you think I have anything in common with Pol Pot? - pathetic, but again, not surprising.

When you're in a hole, stop digging John!
But I am sure this will fall on deaf ears... :roll:

Quote:Oh, incidentially Stroll, certainly you can locate some learned works by prominent Collectivists, who have famous quotations, that they use to buttress their 'learned' position, correct?
Of course.
But shouldn't the topic starter at least make a feable effort to pretend to present something from both sides? 8)

I might do a topic on the common ground between anarchists and communists, to show how the overemphasised difference between the individual and the group are reconciled. Something you should have been able to google yourself with your 20k posts or so on different fori ranting about "collectivists".  :lol:

Yep, thanks, you've inspired me now.
S2
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
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#10
The mind of the Collectivist is an interesting sort as it is not willing to think for itself, rather to be thought-for by the few elite individualists that guide them. In this paradoxical venue of laziness it's safe to assume the mass wish freedom from the mind, not freedom of sacrifice, and submit Collectively the former to be ruled by the later. It seems entirely unlikely that a system can be implemented that collectively sacrifices for the common good when representatives are appointed to oversee these sacrifices and the only common good between the representation is of themselves. Humanity naturally develops a class-system by influence, such as the Alpha-Male, and any system ignorant of this fact, and basic human emotions, may well be the declaration of mass depression, far from a declaration of logical deduction, and displays an arrogant thought process ignorant of our natural limitations.
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#11
"The mind of the collectivist" :lol:

Perhaps a definition of the term might help, before going off on a tangent rant.
Here's a concise, popularised definition, as good as any, it's rather a vague term:

Quote:Adjective: collectivist ku'lektivist

1. Subscribing to the socialistic doctrine of ownership by the people collectively
- collectivistic, collectivized, collectivised [Brit], state-controlled

Noun: collectivist ku'lektivist

1. A person who belongs to the political left
- leftist, left-winger, lefty, leftie

Derived forms: collectivists

See also: collectivism, left wing, socialist, socialistic

Type of: socialist
http://www.wordwebonline.com/en/COLLECTIVIST
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
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#12
Yes, perhaps mind was a bit too strong.
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#13

I'm going to start posting important essays about Leftism here now and in the future.  I'll start out with this one by George Irbe.  I am going to preserve them, just in case the sites they are on shuts down, and they are no longer available.

Also, note the term coercive utopians to describe Leftist.  I think it is most descriptive here.

Quote:LEFTISTS

One more link



By George Irbe


The 20th century will be remembered for the totalitarian monsters of various stripes who conceived, planned and executed programs of selective mass extermination of humans. I think that all Leftists, without exception, including the meekest of democratic socialists, have been implicated - knowingly or in consciously cultivated ignorance – as apologists for, or accomplices and abettors to the crimes of the totalitarians.

I am stating this categorical proposition so bluntly rather late in life, although I have been convinced of its verity for as long as I can remember being able to recognize the evidence, i.e. since my teens. I can say further that I have lived my entire adult life in Canada in a society teeming with Leftists.

First of all, let me clarify what I mean by "Leftists". To me the appellation has a wider meaning than merely a political designation, although politics is a major component of it. During 50 years of observation of the characteristics of people I label as Leftists, I have concluded that Leftism is not just a group attribute but is rather an individual attribute of a type of mind-set. Outrageous as it may sound, I am tempted to speculate that this mind-set is an inborn trait, and that all humans can be classified into two basic groups: a) those that are born with the potential to be Leftists, and b) those that are not.

The "Leftist" designation has been with us since the French Revolution, and still is a popular term, understood by all to mean a particular sector in the political spectrum. Therefore I have retained the use of it, although from my perspective the term "coercive utopian" would be more fitting. I encountered this term in the title of a book: "Coercive Utopians", by Rael Jean and Erich Isaac, published in 1983, in which they report on the activities of Leftists in the United States.

The character of a potential Leftist has as the basic component a mix of overly intense envy, covetousness, a desire for power and domination, and aggressiveness. Potential Leftists are inclined to rationalize the use of coercive methods – the crudest one being ordinary robbery - to take from those who they perceive as being excessively wealthy . They regard seizing by force for themselves of the property of someone else as sanctioned by a natural right to eliminate material inequality. Stronger yet than the covetousness after unearned wealth is the lust for domineering, coercive power over society. The proffered rationale for autocratic domination over people is ‘the interest of the common good’. This lust to be ‘in charge’ attracts Leftists to revolutionary politics and to popular social and environmental causes and movements.

In contrast, a potential free market entrepreneurial wizard, who is also motivated by greed, will use persuasive, imaginative trading practices to convince others to relinquish their money or property to him. He may also have an inordinate desire for power, but that power will have the form of dominance in a sector of the economy or industry, and will only indirectly influence the behavior of other members of society.

A coercive utopian explains all our societal (and lately also environmental) problems and injustices in terms of conflict between groups or classes of people having unequal economic power and social status. The coercive utopian believes that absolutely perfect collectivistic solutions exist for all problems. The solutions are arrived at by constructive rational reasoning and must be implemented - by coercive means, if necessary (and it always is necessary!) - to create the perfect egalitarian society. The belief is akin to faith in a religious dogma, strongly held and mostly impervious to counter-argument. The coercive utopian feels that by participating in some active capacity in the ‘struggle’ (whatever that may be) he/she earns the right, once victory is attained, to be ‘in charge’: to have authority, status and influence.

The particular cause that energizes an individual who has the mind-set of a coercive utopian need not be founded on hard ideology or party politics. For example, coercive utopians agitate for a multitude of issues that we classify broadly as belonging under the 'political correctness' (PC) label. Almost every PC issue is a social slight or injustice perceived to be festering in public attitudes and practices regarding things like gender, race, culture, sexuality, and so on. Coercive utopians always form the leadership cadre when a public campaign is staged against the 'injustice', and the means of ameliorating of the injustice recommended by them invariably calls for some kind of universally enforced coercive measure that would change social behavior.

Although coercive utopians who are engaged in PC activities do not necessarily proclaim affiliation with a Leftist political party, their political sympathies are almost without exception with the Left. Sadly, the same also applies to various movements and organizations concerned with environmental issues. For example, it would be exceptional to encounter a member in the Greenpeace organization with conservative political leanings, and rare indeed to find an avowed anti-Communist in that group.

Leftists are inclined to be aggressive activists, promoting their utopian convictions publicly with evangelical zeal. Through their fervor, in the heat of the moment, they often unveil the ugly side of their character by inadvertently blurting out their eager anticipation of the time when they will administer, with relish, the coercive measures upon their perceived enemies. For the Leftist politician the desire is to enact legislation for grandiose collectivistic and economically leveling undertakings. For the Leftist academician and intellectual the desire is, to put it simply, to force everyone to think and act in a manner that would conform with a model of human behavior in an ideal egalitarian society conceptualized by Leftist philosophy. For the blue-collar Leftist street fighter the underlying motivation can be as simple as hatred for the boss.

The nature of the Leftists’ character inescapably shapes their ideology. There is an unpleasant truth about Leftism that its followers will of course hotly deny. The fundamental, subliminal allure of Leftism is not its call to altruistic service to improve the lot of man, but rather it is the promise of power to those who participate in implementing the necessary coercive measures. Expressed in its crudest form, the Leftist ideology attempts to justify looting of wealth and labor, and the complete regimentation of society. It advocates, first of all, that it is quite all right that those who have not take by force from those who have, and secondly, that nobody has an inviolable right to permanent ownership of anything. That premise serves to justify taxation as well as confiscation and that grand old euphemism - nationalization.

The traditional pre-requisite for power is property and wealth. The conservative believes that wealth confers a privilege to hold power. The classical liberal (myself included) denies inherited privilege to anyone, but nevertheless recognizes the relationship between wealth and power. When private ownership of property is declared null and void, power is there simply for the taking by the bold Leftist activist.

I am sure that there are many others who, like I, were able to infer almost instinctively, the subliminal motivation of the Leftists during the "cold war" decades. Those with eyes to see and ears to hear could discern the masked utopian yearnings for coercive - even sanguinary - solutions, beneath the noise of the Leftists' propaganda and protest demonstrations, much like sonar discerns the echo of the target deep below the surface through the incidental background noise. However, very few people have had the courage to state publicly the incontrovertible historical evidence of the ugly undercurrents that course through the Leftist philosophy, and the sociopathic predispositions of its followers.

The wide-spread reticence to indict the Left publicly is in part due to instilled social mores. Our culture conditions us to practice politeness as a matter of course. Furthermore, from a very pragmatic standpoint, sweeping accusatory declarations against all followers of a particular religious or ideological dogma inevitably offends individuals with whom one may wish to maintain civil or even cordial relations. Getting along in a democratic society precludes the uttering of some things in public, freedom of speech notwithstanding.

Above all, the main reason for the Left's inviolability is the certainty that wrath and condemnation, generated by the strongly integrated Leftist support system, will pour forth from every conceivable media and institutional outlet upon the accusing party. At best, a person who dares to spotlight the sympathetic connections between the Left of democratic societies and totalitarian killers, is simply called a "wing-nut", not to be taken seriously. At worst, the person is subjected to a very effective campaign of vilification, being branded as a McCarthyite, a Nazi, or the like. Often enough, the Left's organized counter-thrust has destroyed the career and reputation of the accuser, so that most individuals whose livelihood depends on a good public reputation weigh the consequences carefully before attacking the Left.

Nevertheless, numerous exposes, reports and histories on the horrendous atrocities perpetrated by Leftist tyrannies have appeared since WW II. Some of these, like the works of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Robert Conquest, have even achieved some literary standing and popularity in the western democracies. But more general philosophical discourses on the pathologies of the Leftist movement as such have been received with blatant hostility in democratic societies. Widespread dissemination of these works has been discouraged through subtle intimidation of the better-known publishing houses into not accepting such works for publication, and by non-recognition of such works by the literary reviewers of major newspapers and periodicals. Therefore, works by authors such as Friedrich A. Hayek, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn and Jean-Francois Revel, which penetrate to the psychogenic roots of Leftism, are consigned to relative obscurity.

During his long and outstanding life as a political philosopher and economist Hayek has performed one of the most complete examinations of Leftist ideology from the standpoint of its effect on the economy, the law, societal mores, and political institutions. His first notable work on the subject was "The Road to Serfdom", published in 1944. Considering the circumstances of the times - the Soviet Union was a comrade-in-arms of the West - the book caused great consternation in the Leftist camp. Hayek could expound on the topic with exceptional perspicacity. In "The Road to Serfdom" Hayek had this to say about 'ends' justifying 'means':

Quote:'Like formal law, the rules of individualist ethics, however imprecise they may be in many respects, are general and absolute; they prescribe or prohibit a general type of action irrespective of whether in the particular instance the ultimate purpose is good or bad.

The principle that the end justifies the means is in individualist ethics regarded as the denial of all morals. In collectivist ethics it becomes necessarily the supreme rule: there is literally nothing which the consistent collectivist must not be prepared to do if it serves "the good of the whole," because the "good of the whole" is to him the only criterion of what ought to be done.'

In light of the above it can be reasoned that individualist ethics and collectivist ethics stand diametrically opposed. The question arises whether the term 'consistent collectivist' implies that there can also be an 'inconsistent collectivist'? Upon reflection, the answer turns out to be: not really. I think that the degree of consistency with which the collectivist pursues his ends depends entirely on the circumstances of the particular place and time - mostly, the political and juridical maturity of the host society that sets the ethical and moral thresholds, if any, beyond which the Leftist dares not venture. I will return to this thought later on.

For the moment, let us stipulate only the obvious: All Leftists believe that the end justifies the means. One can observe that the ends and proposed means of the western democratic socialist are not exactly Stalinist, but his means are coercive nevertheless.

One can test the limit of the collectivistic resolve of our rather tame indigenous Leftists in an intellectual way by proposing a hypothetical scenario in which increasingly brutal means are posited as necessary to achieve one of their 'good of the whole' ends. In this theoretical exercise, as the coerciveness of the means is escalated, they will begin to squirm at some point, and eventually perhaps balk at taking the next 'necessary measure'. However, it is important to remember that in the setting of some theoretical limit to coercive action in a hypothetical scenario the reasoning of our Leftists is naturally framed by our social milieu of constitutionally entrenched rights, the Rule of Law, and tradition-bound centers of political power.

It is a fact that the Left of the western democracies has never condemned and always at least acquiesced to and excused, if not applauded, the atrocities of the totalitarians. It is a favorite tactic of the Left to find moral equivalence in the outrageous actions of totalitarian regimes and the defensive responses to such actions by the western democracies. In similar fashion, the Left has obstinately refused to acknowledge the guilt of Leftists who have been caught and convicted for spying and other traitorous activities against the democracies. If anything, our Leftists have consistently regarded Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Ho-Chi-Minh, Pol Pot, for a while Hitler, and all their minions as being kindred spirits of the same faith. And if anything, these bloody dictators are admired by Leftists to this day for their bold actions.

Yes, Hitler also belongs in the suite of Leftist icons. As any serious student of the history of socialism will testify, Hitler was a national socialist (the name "Nazi" derives from Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' Party). There are more similarities than differences between Nazism and communism, particularly as to methods of coercion. By definition National Socialism is extremely nationalistic and racist, while communism purports to be international, although in practice it has also exhibited strong racial and nationalistic prejudices. Both variants recruit their cadre from the same pool of individuals with the mind-sets of coercive utopians, or to use the other name - Leftists. Doubters of this fact should recall that, before Hitler attacked Stalin, Leftists in the western democracies considered him to be their brother-in-arms in the fight against the warmongering imperialist West.

Thus we have the same Leftists who say that, theoretically at least, there are limits to the coercive action they would take in order to overcome resistance to one of their programs in a mature western democracy, but who approve of practically every brutal 'necessary measure' that has been taken by the totalitarian regimes. From that I can only conclude that our Leftists' temperance is not due to any moral qualms but is rather a pragmatic assessment of what they could get away with in a mature and stable democratic society. I contend that these selfsame Leftists would have no such limits in a totalitarian setting. Their coercive utopian mind-set would ensure at least their collaboration and very likely active participation even in the grossest of totalitarian misdeeds.

Returning now to the quote from Hayek and the question regarding the consistency of collectivists, the answer is that the collectivist is as consistent as conditions allow, and that the character of the collectivist is simply an amoral one, devoid of ethics as we understand them.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn has conducted studies into the historical origins of modern Leftism. His first book, published in 1974 as "Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse", was updated in 1990 as "Leftism Revisited". In his view, humans are subject to two basic drives: identity and diversity. The drive for diversity creates a demand for individual liberty. But the co-existing drive for identity, which, incidentally, Hayek ascribes to the inherited vestiges of ancient tribalism, nurtures a desire to be identified with a group and to seek conformity, sameness and equality within that group. Kuehnelt-Leddihn proposes that undesirable characteristics like fear and hatred of people outside ones group, and envy of classes of people perceived to be better off or superior to ones own class are psychological malignancies inherent in the drive for identity; and that the bloody outrages of Leftist revolutions are manifestations of unrestrained mass venting of the blind rage aroused by envy and xenophobic hatred.

Kuehnelt-Leddihn makes the following observations about the first instance of organized selective mass murders in modern times that occurred during the French Revolution:

'In spite of Rousseauistic fancies, the depravity of which the average man is capable soon became evident. People literally danced around the guillotines. Various military and civil commanders openly and officially boasted about their bestial deeds, which in all their sick horror were perpetrated above all against the "internal enemy".

Kuehnelt-Leddihn relates from the available historical record of the French Revolution graphic descriptions of macabre atrocities and of campaigns to exterminate entire populations in the name of the revolution. In his words: 'Mass murder had become the order of the day in France'.

Further on he draws a telling comparison between the French Revolution and those that followed in the 20th century:

'The picture painted by dogmatic socialism in action is strikingly similar to that of the French Revolution. And no wonder, since the leadership had a very similar sociological structure: bitter and confused members of the nobility, murderously idealistic intellectual bourgeois, and alienated wicked priests, friars, and seminarians. There was almost the same mob violence, high-flown speeches, declamatory writings, destruction of ancient buildings, desecration of tombs and cemeteries, furious attacks against religion, one-track political thinking, and turmoil in the countryside accompanied by arson and robbery'.

At least since Marx and Engels, if not before, Leftists have explained their revolutions in terms of class struggle, and have postured themselves as devoted champions of the noble cause of the working class. In the above quotation Kuehnelt-Leddihn reminds us that the coercive utopians and the simply opportunistic criminal rogues who led the revolutions came from every social and economic class.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 has not helped much to bring the Left to account. Suppression of the evidence is in the interests of both the surviving Soviet nomenclatura and the Leftists of the western democracies. National Review magazine featured the question in its May 2, 1994 issue under the cover headline: "The Holocaust We Excused". In that issue Paul Hollander tries, not very successfully, to identify the causes for American amnesia when it comes to communist terror. In the same issue Lee Edwards gives a short summary of communist atrocities of this century. There is one very pertinent quote of Solzhenitsyn in the Edwards' article:

'Ideology - that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others' eyes, so that he won't hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors'.

The key words in the above quote are 'ideology', 'evildoer', and 'justification'. Solzhenitsyn certainly should know the character of the beast, having spent years in its belly. Although he concedes that ideology is the vehicle for the realization of sociopathic urges, the singularity of the evildoer is stated very clearly indeed. Solzhenitsyn would never accept a 'mistakes were made' statement, which is the ludicrous disclaimer - consigning all fault to an amorphous mass of impersonal agents - that the Leftists often throw with flippant casualness at the evidence of mass atrocities by Leftist regimes. But Solzhenitsyn knows that the "disgusting" acts were committed by "disgusting" individuals.

George Watson, a historian of the modern era who is presently engaged in writing a comprehensive history of socialism, puts it well in an article in the Dec.31, 1995 issue of the National Review, titled "Never blame the left". He writes: "The Left is perceived as kind and caring, despite its extensive history of promoting genocide."; and further: ".. in modern Europe, genocide has been exclusively a socialist idea, ever since Engels proclaimed it in Marx's journal the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in January-February 1849. Ever since then everyone who has advocated genocide has called himself a socialist, without exception." He concludes the article with: "What we need now is a serious and unblinking study of socialism, of what it said and what it did: one that does not fudge the evidence: one that is brave enough to tell it as it was."

If the doctrine of coercive collectivist ideology predictably leads to "disgusting" actions of massive dimensions, then the individuals attracted to it must also have within themselves the predisposition for "disgusting". I believe that it is this latent malevolence, or the absence of it, that differentiates humankind into the two groups I previously identified as: a) those that have the potential to be Leftists from birth, and b) those that do not. That explains why some individuals are attracted to Leftism, seem so mesmerized by it, while others dislike it, in some cases instinctively abhor it.

The above theory sounds preposterous, to say the least. How can it be claimed that the millions of compassionate, well-intentioned Leftists who populate the Western democracies all harbor within them such malevolence? The answer is that here we are dealing with the deep recesses of human nature, where a predisposition for "disgusting" can lie dormant for an entire lifetime and never surface, unless the ambient social conditions invite its development. For example, we recognize envy, which is in all of us to some degree, as a powerful motivator for "disgusting" actions. And without a doubt, intense envy hides beneath the patina of righteous egalitarianism of the Leftist.

The urge to coerce others to do our bidding, by persuasion or force, is also in all of us. That urge compels us to strive for power and domination. I recall reading an article many years ago, but unfortunately do not remember the publication, which reported on the results of an experiment into human potential for cruelty. A very realistic scenario of prison cells with equipment for various forms of torture was created. Competing teams of 'interrogators' were asked to extract certain information from 'prisoners'. The team who was the first to make a prisoner talk was the winner. The unstated real objective of the experiment was to investigate to what extent the moral and ethical standards of the interrogators would inhibit them from cruel treatment of captives.

Of course, because it was only a game, the prisoners did not anticipate being subjected to any serious physical harm as penalty for remaining silent. After each unproductive session of interrogation the interrogators of a team were directed to discuss and decide among themselves what methods to employ next to make the prisoner talk. To the shocking surprise of the attending psychologists, a large number of the frustrated interrogators had no qualms about recommending physical torture and volunteering to be the ones who would inflict it. They were willing to commit an "disgusting" act merely for the sake of winning a game!

In the real world also, premeditated "disgusting" acts, including mass extermination, are commonplace events, carried out with nonchalance. The psychologists who have been assessing the personalities of individuals who are known to have participated in the organized programs of mass torture, rape and extermination in Bosnia, recently reported that the most remarkable aspect about the personalities of those who participated in the atrocities was precisely their unremarkable ordinariness. No wonder then that 'the depravity of which the average man is capable' noted by Kuehnelt-Leddihn during the French Revolution, has been confirmed by events several times over since then.

Perhaps my presumption that people are either potential Leftists or non-Leftists from birth has validity after all. The human character is a very complex mosaic of noble as well as ignoble qualities. It is a fact that undesirable traits such as envy, greed and sociopathic tendencies often are the dominant ones in the character make-up of an individual. More often than not, an individual with such character flaws is also philosophically moribund and politically indifferent. Living in a society that observes a modicum of moral standards and adherence to the Rule of Law, this individual might engage in some commonplace criminal activity, or more likely, suppress the bad tendencies voluntarily and live a very ordinary life. But, admix philosophical and political inquisitiveness with the undesirable character traits and sociopathic tendencies and, behold, a recruit for Leftist causes is born. This individual will exploit the confrontational politics of the Left, adroitly cloaking his base desires in the mantle of an egalitarian knight. One will usually discover that behind the Robin Hood image hides just a plain hood.

The rewards of power and opulence that accrue to the Leftist nomenclatura naturally attract the malcontented, envious and greedy types who can then, under the guise of egalitarianism and economic leveling, rob others of their material wealth and usurp their social status. The looting is cleverly bureaucratized. Wielding raw power out of offices with inscrutable names, the looters maintain a luxurious existence by simply helping themselves to as much as they desire of the wealth produced by a subjugated population. They rationalize their own enrichment as just compensation for their hard 'work' on behalf of the common people.

That is about as far as the Leftists can go when they attain political power in a western democracy. In the fully developed totalitarian state, under the aegis of a grotesquely perverted caricature of justice, the Leftists can vent their sociopathic malevolence with unrestrained brutality upon captive, helpless victims who have been designated as 'enemies of the state'. The Leftists of western democratic socialist parties can only dream of this ultimate fulfillment.

Through their pervasive influence in academia, the media, the judiciary, the labor movement and, most importantly, in the bureaucracies and legislatures of governments, the Leftists of the western democracies have done a nearly perfect job of protecting their totalitarian brethren by stifling all investigations of their atrocities and by frustrating any attempts to bring the perpetrators to justice. Consequently, in the minds of the general public, tales of mass atrocities by communist regimes have about as much significance and command as much attention as do fables from antiquity. And if there is no more than a passing curiosity about the crimes, then bringing the criminals to justice is but a pipe dream.

I believe that I have argued convincingly in support of my proposition that all Leftists, without exception, including the meekest of democratic socialists, have been - knowingly or in consciously cultivated ignorance - accomplices or abettors either before, during or after the fact of communist atrocities. I have been convinced of that for a lifetime.

No doubt because of my own background and personal experiences, even mundane propaganda tirades by 'moderate' Leftists involuntarily trigger in my mind's eye haunting images: of rifle butts pounding on doors in the early hours and people dragged from their bed never to sleep in it again, of mutilated bodies of torture victims, of puddles of blood on floors of prison cells, of huge pits of decomposing corpses in beautiful pine forests, of deportation trains, of skeletal vestiges of humans being worked to death in the Gulag. Thus, whenever I encounter a Leftist, in person or via the media, I always have an eerie sensation that I am detecting a miasmal emanation that surrounds him or her. Perhaps that explains why I feel that I can spot Leftists almost instinctively. They need utter but a couple of sentences and I have them typed. Sometimes it seems that even their body language gives them away. As I listen to their 'social justice' sermons and observe their facial expressions and bodily gestures, I am imagining what achievements they would be capable of in a totalitarian setting.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union it has been in fashion to aver that communism and socialism have been consigned forever to the ash heap of history. But it is foolhardy to think so. Revolutions and totalitarian regimes may come and go, but Leftism has lived in the minds and souls of men since time immemorial and will continue on in the future. The waning of the global threat from the Soviet Union has actually benefited the Leftists substantially. No longer can the stigma of treason be affixed to any of their activities. Leftists have cleverly infused kernels of their philosophy into the aims and missions of populist organizations that espouse environmental and human welfare issues. These organizations serve as reservoirs for the incubation and sustenance of Leftist cadres, whence they can be recruited for political activities.

There are plenty of Leftists in positions of influence and power in Canada today. Most of them find their political home either in the Liberal party or the New Democratic party. To pick just two exemplars from the Canadian political scene who at the moment are ardently imposing their agendas on a mostly unsuspecting populace: there is the particularly sinister Leftist federal minister Allan Rock who was until recently in charge of the Department of Justice where he worked with great zeal to skew the laws of the nation to suit his ideology, and there is Lloyd Axworthy who as minister of External Affairs has gone out of his way to embrace Fidel Castro, even as he pontificates on the injustice of the Helms-Burton law and castigates the U.S. government for refusing to remove land mines from the DMZ in Korea.

In my opinion, it does not bode well for the future political development of mankind that the gigantic atrocities committed by the Left in this century pass into history without a full judicial investigation and documentation, conducted under the auspices of an international body such as the UN. The individuals responsible for the atrocities should be formally identified, tried (in absentia if necessary), sentenced and, when it is feasible, punished according to international law. If nothing more, at least the guilty individuals, living or dead, would be permanently branded as "disgusting" in the eyes of the world. A properly conducted judicial process would also serve to expose the badly tainted Leftist ideology as the breeder of "disgusting" deeds that it assuredly is. Both the Leftist theories and the individuals who espouse them need to be shorn of the respectability and legitimacy that they still so widely command in democratic societies at the present time. Unless that happens, it is a near certainty that Leftism will erupt into new holocausts in the future.

Addendum

I finished writing this essay in November of 1997. It is now two years later. In the intervening period a book was published, in French, that reached the European best-seller list. In October of 1999 this book was published in English by Harvard University Press. Its title is "The Black Book of Communism", authored by Stephane Courtois, Nicolas Werth and four other contributors.  The Black Book is a monumental comprehensive account of atrocities committed by  the communist regimes of this century. The authors draw on much new archival documentation that has become accessible since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It looks like many of my observations about the characteristics of Leftists are corroborated by the Black Book of Communism. I will quote selections from the Foreword by Martin Malia and the Introduction by Stephane Courtois of the book.

From the Foreword, by Malia:  

Pg X - The Black Book offers us the first attempt to determine, overall, the actual magnitude of what occurred, by systematically detailing Leninism's "crimes, terror, and repression" from Russia in 1917 to Afghanistan in1989. This factual approach puts Communism in what is, after all, its basic human perspective. For it was in truth a "tragedy of planetary dimensions" (in the French publisher's characterization), with a grand total of victims variously estimated by contributors to the volume at between 85 million and 100 million. Either way, the Communist record offers the most colossal case of political carnage in history.

Pg XI - . . . Courtois explicitly equated the "class genocide" of Communism with the "race genocide" of Nazism, and categorized both as "crimes against humanity."

Pg XII - Communism's fall . . . brought with it no Nuremberg trial, and hence no de-Communization to solemnly put Leninism beyond the pale of civilization; and of course there still exist Communist regimes in international good standing.

Pg XIII - The status of ex-Communists carries with it no stigma, even when unaccompanied by any expression of regret; . . . No Gulag camps have been turned into museums to commemorate their inmates; . . . Throughout the former Communist world, moreover, virtually none of its responsible officials has been put on trial or punished. Indeed, everywhere Communist parties, though usually under new names, compete in politics.

Pg XIV - Granted, card-carrying Western literati and latter-day Eastern apparatchiki never served as executioners for Stalin. Even so, does the present silence about their past mean that Communism was all that less bad than Nazism?

Pg XVI - . . . in 1939 the Gestapo employed 7,500 people in contrast to the NKVD's 366,000 (including Gulag personnel); and the Communist Party made denunciation an obligation, whereas the Nazi Party did not. . . . the bloody Soviet experiment is banalized in one great gray anthropological blur; and the Soviet Union is transmogrified into just another country in just another age, neither more nor less "disgusting" than any other regime going. But this is obviously nonsense. Here we are back with the problem of moral judgment, which is inseparable from any real understanding of the past - indeed, inseparable from being human.

Pg XVII - . . . Communist regimes did not just commit criminal acts (all states do on occasion); they were criminal enterprises in their very essence: on principle, so to speak, they all ruled lawlessly, by violence, and without regard for human life.

Pg XVIII - . . . there never was a benign, initial phase of Communism before some mythical "wrong turn" threw it off track. From the start Lenin expected, indeed wanted, civil war to crush all "class enemies"; and this war, principally against the peasants, continued with only short pauses until 1953. . . . mass violence against the population was a deliberate policy of the new revolutionary order; and its scope and inhumanity far exceeded anything in the national past.

Pg XIX -  . . . Communism's recourse to "permanent civil war" rested on the "scientific" Marxist belief in class struggle as the "violent midwife of history," in Marx's famous metaphor. Similarly, Courtois adds, Nazi violence was founded on a scientistic social Darwinism promising national regeneration through racial struggle.

Pg XX - . . . an effort at retrospective justice [for the victims of Communism] will always encounter one intractable obstacle. Any realistic accounting of Communist crime would effectively shut the door on Utopia; and too many good souls in this unjust world cannot abandon hope for an absolute end to inequality (and some less good souls will always offer them "rational" curative nostrums). And so, all comrade-questers after historical truth should gird their loins for a very Long March indeed before Communism is accorded its fair share of absolute "disgusting".

From the Introduction, by Courtois:

Pg 2 - Having gone beyond individual crimes and small-scale ad-hoc massacres, the Communist regimes, in order to consolidate their grip on power, turned mass crime into a full-blown system of government.

Pg 3 -  . . . the crimes of Communism have yet to receive a fair and just assessment from both historical and moral viewpoints. . . . Communism has committed a multitude of crimes not only against individual human beings but also against world civilization and national cultures.

Pg 4 - These crimes tend to fit a recognizable pattern even if the practices vary to some extent by regime. The pattern includes execution by various means, such as firing squads, hanging, drowning, battering, and, in certain cases, gassing, poisoning, or "car accidents"; destruction of the population by starvation, through man-made famine, the withholding of food, or both; deportation, through which death can occur in transit (either through physical exhaustion or through confinement in an enclosed space), at one's place of residence, or through forced labor (exhaustion, illness, hunger, cold).

Pg 9 - . . . the genocide of a "class" may well be tantamount to the genocide of a "race" - the deliberate starvation of a child of a Ukrainian kulak as a result of the famine caused by Stalin's regime "is equal to" the starvation of a Jewish child in the Warsaw ghetto as a result of the famine caused by the Nazi regime.

Pg 15 - The methods implemented by Lenin and perfected by Stalin and their henchmen bring to mind the methods used by the Nazis, but most often this is because the latter adopted the techniques developed by the former. Rudolf Hess, charged with organizing the camp at Auschwitz and later appointed its commandant, is a perfect example: "The Reich Security Head Office issued to the commandants a full collection of reports concerning the Russian concentration camps. These described in great detail the conditions in, and organization of, the Russian camps, as supplied by former prisoners who had managed to escape. Great emphasis was placed on the fact that the Russians, by their massive employment of forced labor, had destroyed whole peoples."

Pg 16 - Time and again the focus of the terror was less on targeted individuals than on groups of people. The purpose of the terror was to exterminate a group that had been designated as the enemy. Even though it might be only a small fraction of society, it had to be stamped out to satisfy this genocidal impulse.

Pg 17 - But the revelations concerning Communist crimes cause barely a stir. Why is there such an awkward silence from politicians? Why such a deafening silence from the academic world regarding the Communist catastrophe, which touched the lives of about one-third of humanity on four continents during a period spanning eighty years? Why is there such widespread reluctance to make such a crucial factor as crime - mass crime, systematic crime, and crime against humanity - a central factor in the analysis of Communism? . . . are we talking about a refusal to scrutinize the subject too closely for fear of learning the truth about it?

Pg 20 - Cupidity, spinelessness, vanity, fascination with power, violence, and revolutionary fervor - whatever the motivation, totalitarian dictatorships have always found plenty of diehard supporters when they had need of them, and the same is true of Communist as of other dictatorships. Confronted with this onslaught of Communist propaganda, the West has long labored under an extraordinary self-deception, simultaneously fueled by naivete in the face of a particularly devious system, by the fear of Soviet power, and by the cynicism of politicians.

Pg 21 - Whether intentional or not, when dealing with this ignorance of the criminal dimension of Communism, our contemporaries' indifference to their fellow humans can never be forgotten.

Pg 23 - . . . a single-minded focus on the Jewish genocide in an attempt to characterize the Holocaust as a unique atrocity has also prevented an assessment of other episodes of comparable magnitude in the Communist world. After all, it seems scarcely plausible that the victors who had helped bring about the destruction of a genocidal apparatus might themselves have put the very same methods into practice. When faced with this paradox, people generally preferred to bury their heads in the sand.

Pg 27 - The internal archives maintained by the repressive apparatuses of the former Soviet Union, of the former "people's democracies," and of Cambodia bring to light the ghastly truth of the massive and systematic nature of the terror, which all too often resulted in full-scale crimes against humanity.

Pg 28 - There is a moral obligation to honor the memory of the innocent and anonymous victims of a juggernaut that has systematically sought to erase even their memory. . . . This book is our contribution to that effort.



Addendum, 2001

The Left is very much like a virus that can never be eradicated. It can only be kept under control. Only recently, I came across a book by David Horowitz which confirms almost all the deductions I have made about Leftists in this essay.

Like greed and envy, Leftism is indeed a generally undesirable character trait which is commonly found throughout the human species. And like envy, it is quite likely that Leftism is the modern manifestation of ancient tribalism, something so primitive that it has become a part of the genetic pattern of the race. Like other undesirable genetic traits, then, it can never be eradicated but can only be contained and discredited as the bad idea that it is. Leftism is the deadly enemy of what Friedrich Hayek calls the Great Society and Karl Popper the Open Society. Both terms denote the modern liberal democracy which is the only workable model for advancing civilization. One would think that the horrid Leftist experiences of the 20th century would have guaranteed an emphatic and universal renunciation of Leftism and a strict isolation of Leftist ideas from the main-stream of society. But such is not the case. To the contrary, the crimes of the Left have been ignored and already forgotten by the collective memory of mankind. Not surprisingly, then, the Left is now flourishing better than ever. We should get ready for the inevitable next attempt to impose the Leftist ideas on society by violent means.

David Horowitz gives a comprehensive over-view on the status of the Left as it has developed in the years immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the book "The Politics of Bad Faith : The Radical Assault on America’s Future", published by the Free Press, 1998. David Horowitz is the son of life-long Marxist parents, and was himself a follower of the creed until the famous Khrushchev denunciation of Stalinism in 1956 began to open his eyes to the realities of the communist faith. Obviously, David Horowitz had been made into a Marxist by habituation, rather than being one by innate predisposition. His many years spent in the Marxist milieu and contacts with, and knowledge about, the leading personalities in that milieu, makes him an eminently qualified and veracious commentator on the status of the Left today.

Horowitz describes how the Left has discovered the effectiveness of camouflaging itself under the "liberal" label. He remarks on Irving Kristol’s reference to the corruption of American life by the "liberal ethos":

. . . the "liberal ethos" is really not liberal, but the radical enterprise that now dresses itself up in "liberal" colors. Group collectivism, racial preferences, "substantive equality" and moral relativism – these are the rallying themes of contemporary liberals. But they have little in common with the liberalism of the pre-Sixties era, or with its classical antecedents. In fact, they make up a radical creed. . . . It is true that the Left is rhetorically in retreat and for the moment has adopted more moderate self-descriptions. But that is hardly the same as surrendering its agendas or vacating the field of battle. It is more like adopting political camouflage on entering a hostile terrain. (p.3)

The camouflage is very effective. Horowitz remarks that there is an established culture in our society which is "instinctively protective of the Left and that reflects the long-standing dominion of socialist sentiments"(p.4). Furthermore, there is a general fear among political commentators to use the Leftist label on anyone, lest they themselves be immediately labeled as "McCarthyist":

As a result, even self-avowed Communists like Angela Davis are regularly identified as "liberals" by the media, unless they themselves choose otherwise. The very idiom "to red-bait" shows how ingrained this universal reflex is. There is no comparable term to describe the hostile exposure of loyalties on the Right.

The same protective impulse is manifest in the standards used in public opinion surveys, which are calibrated on scales that range from "liberal" to "conservative" and "ultraconservative", but lack the balance of a "Left". (p.4)

This imbalance in the scaling of the political spectrum is used in public discourse to conceal a person’s affiliation with the radical Left:

Noam Chomsky, the America-loathing MIT socialist is routinely described in the press as a "liberal", while a political adversary like sociologist Charles Murray, who is a libertarian, is normally referred to as "conservative". In the current cultural lexicon, a liberal is thus no longer one who ascribes to the principles of Madison or Locke, or to the institutions of private property and free markets, but almost anyone who is not labeled a "conservative". (p.5)

Fortunately, in Europe ". . . parties described as "liberal" still reflect the classical origins of the term itself and are associated with economic individualism and free markets."(p.5)

David Horowitz also recognizes that the Left has escaped serious or lasting condemnation for its past crimes and that the ideas propounded by the Left still have credibility and appeal in society today:

If mankind were really capable of closing the book on this long, sorry episode of human folly and "disgusting", then its painful memory could finally be laid to rest. . . . But, in fact, these millennial dreams of a brave new world are with us still, and it is increasingly obvious that the most crucial lessons of this history have not been learned. This observation applies most of all to those whose complicity in its calamities were most profound – the progressive intelligentsia of the democratic West. (p.18)

Horowitz uses the book of communist apologetics, Age of Extremes, by the life-long communist Eric Hobsbawm, to illustrate how enthusiastically the intellectual elites of the West have accepted the blatant twisting of truth and misrepresentation of facts in order to absolve the Left of its complicity in totalitarian crimes. Horowitz explains the reason for Hobsbawm’s literary fame:

A member of the British Communist Party during the heyday of Stalinism and for decades after, Hobsbawm is today one of the most honored figures in the academic pantheon. He is so – make no mistake – not despite, but because of his deplorable past; because he continues to be an unrepentant (if moderately chastened) Marxist; because he is a passionate reviler of democratic capitalism, a believer still in thrall to the radical myth. . . . His argument goes like this: Even if "progressives" were wrong, they were right. The practical disasters of socialism should not be taken as a refutation of the idea and its utopian premise. The tragedies produced by socialist revolutionaries are not reasons to abandon the quest for "social justice", or a society based on equality of outcomes and some kind of social plan. (p.19)

David Horowitz delivers the same indictment of Western Leftist intellectuals with which I start this essay:

Few intellectual doctrines have been so systematically refuted – over so many generations – as the socialist vision of Karl Marx. None has been the cause of so much human misery and suffering. Yet false doctrines of this proportion are not sustained by ignorance alone. Throughout the history of the Marxist faith, there has never been a lack of first-rate intellectuals to validate its "truths", or to lend reputation and talent to its most malignant agendas; to lie when it was necessary to lie; to believe when it should not have been possible to believe; to justify murder and defend what is indefensible.

The socialist experiments of the Twentieth Century ruined the economies of whole continents and destroyed the lives of hundreds of millions, all with the acquiescence and support of intellectuals who thought of themselves as progressive. When the experiments were over, these progressives were faced with an existential choice. On the one hand, they could confront their complicity in socialist crimes and give up the illusion that made them inevitable. In short they could abandon the Left. Or, like Eric Hobsbawm, they could renew the illusion and get on with their war against the democracies of the West.

In the years following the Communist collapse, the vast majority of progressive intellectuals chose the second course. . . . it was easier to avoid than to face unpleasant truth. But this avoidance was possible only through an act of historical denial – psychologically speaking, a progressive bad faith. (p.27)

Horowitz also talks about the tactic of the Left by which it explains crimes against humanity as "mistakes" (i.e. "mistakes were made", but no one is responsible), and tries to earn "moral credit for acknowledging "mistakes". (p.31) In any case, our intellectual Left denies that they would ever commit the crimes their predecessors have committed, and they claim to have progressed to more humane forms of Marxism. As Horowitz says:

To the contemporary Left, those who did fail, who actually committed socialist crimes have no relationship to them. The response of the Left to the disasters that its political ideas have produced is the response of nihilism and bad faith. This bad faith has been rationalized by a new generation of academic intellectuals who have opened a Pandora’s box of radical theories that are derivative of Marxism while pretending to transcend it. (p.31)

The Left has largely succeeded already in taking control of the academic sphere and the institutions of education in general, leading Horowitz to ask:

Is it surprising that discredited Marxism still provides the paradigm for every current radical ideology from feminism to queer theory? Or that the totalitarian attitudes endemic to Marxism are also everywhere in evidence in the academic discourse of the tenured Left? The literary critic Harold Bloom describes in horror the current political trends in the university as "Stalinism without Stalin". "All of the traits of the Stalinists in the 1930s and 1940s are being repeated . . . in the universities in the 1990s". (p.33)

The profusion of Marxists on university faculties today is unprecedented, while the theories that Marxism has spawned now provide the principal texts for the next generations. . . . The comparable schools of conservative and libertarian thought are hardly extant within university walls. (p.47)

I will finish with a condemnatory statement by Horowitz in a letter to an old (and still radically Leftist) acquaintance, which echoes my claim that a Leftist will be as radical and vicious as the circumstances and political culture of a society will allow him to be:

The Red Terror is the terror that "idealistic" Communists (like our parents) and "anti-Stalinist" Leftists (like ourselves) [Horowitz used to be one of them] have helped to spread around the world. You and I and our parents were totalitarians in democratic America. The democratic fact of America prevented us from committing the atrocities willed by our faith. Impotence was our only innocence. In struggles all over the world, we pledged our support to perpetrators of the totalitarian deed. Our solidarity with them, like the crimes they committed, was justified in the name of the revolutionary Idea. Our capabilities were different from theirs, but our passion was the same.

And yours [his old acquaintance’s] is still. You might not condone some of the crimes committed by the Vietnamese or Cubans, or the Nicaraguan comandantes. But you would not condemn them. Or withhold from their perpetrators your comradely support. No, despite all your enlightenment since the time of Stalin, are your thoughts really very different from theirs. (p.59)

It is quite apparent to those who trouble to think about it that we desperately need an inspired rejuvenation of the ideas of classical Liberalism. It is classical Liberalism, not conservatism (whatever that entails), nor Libertarianism, which can mount an ideological counterattack on Marxist collectivism. As long as there is no convincing and engaging attempt at a political and ideological offensive against the Leftist ideology, we can count on new totalitarian attacks on civilized society, perhaps as gruesome in their own new and today unimaginable ways, as those of the 20th Century.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#14

The Coercive Utopian VS The Liberal Utopian

There is a significant difference between the coercive utopian and the freedom oriented utopian. Freedom oriented utopians are committed to change through education and the market place of actions and ideas. They are willing to have their ideas tested in the arena of public debate, though those who control the media and lay down the agenda are not very favourably disposed to giving them the opportunity to join in public debate.

There is an important distinction between the regulationist coercive utopian and the freedom-oriented utopian. The coercive utopian wishes to impose his views and philosophies on others, using the police power of the state. The freedom-oriented utopian is asking government to stand back and let the free actions of individuals and institutions interact in the context of public debate. He does not wish to use the police power of the state except to maintain law and order based on standards.

The coercive utopians emphasise the importance of institutions. It is not proposed to enter into the individuals versus institutions debate. But human beings at the very least are as important as institutions. Institutions are important. The human spirit cannot survive and develop in an atmosphere of repression and tyranny. Democratic institutions are among man's greatest inventions. In the western democratic order, progress must be based primarily on individual effort and improvement with minimal guidance from government.

The coercive utopian and the liberal utopian both rely on ideology. Yet only the freedom oriented liberal is frequently accused by the media of being ideological. The same epithets are not used in describing socialists, progressivists, reformists or even Marxists. There is a difference. The liberal is articulating an ideology of non-action. The socialist is advocating an ideology which includes using the police power of the state to effect change.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#15

Quote: Coercive Utopians

The most dangerous enemies of civilisation are not necessarily "disgusting" people. They are idealists (subject to qualifications stated below) who wish to use the police power of big government to impose their views and perspectives on others. They often do not enjoy majority support among the public. They reject the evolved experience of the ages. This is what distinguishes the coercive utopian from those who advocate restrictions on freedom in the liberal tradition.

The phrase "coercive utopian" is a more apt description than "reformist". It does not however apply to all reformists. It applies to those who seek to use the power of the law beyond acceptable limits (see sections 5.4, 16, 18 and 26). It does not apply to those who seek to remove necessary restrictions on freedom. Reformists (so-called) often do not enjoy community support for their legislatively imposed and bureaucratically or judicially enforced changes. They therefore hide their real aims and introduce coercive measures gradually and incrementally so that people do not know what is happening and the opposition is divided and diluted. Modern coercive utopians have developed to a fine art the ability to hide the reality of what they are doing under the cloak of moderation. Their efforts in this respect have been assisted by the general failure of liberal and conservative politicians (a few exceptions apart) and people who believe in liberal values, to mount an effective counter attack. Thus, the coercive utopians are idealists (subject to qualifications stated below), who wish to impose their views and perspectives on others. They want to use the authority of government to achieve their ends.

An important distinguishing mark of the coercive utopian is his preference for regulation as against education. The preference of the true liberal is for education (not indoctrination) and public debate which can bring about change. The changes of the past have come from philosophers and idealists who changed the values of people and the actions of people not so much through regulation (though regulation has a place, see sections 5.4, 16, and 26)but through educating people to voluntarily change and move forward. The reformists of the nineteenth century and before sought to achieve reform by repealing existing legislation (such as the feudal laws which enabled employers to exploit employees) or extending narrowly conceived legislation (such as the right to vote). The reformists of the pre-twentieth century era did not wish or need to establish bureaucracies to effect reform. They did not call themselves "reformists". Later generations evaluated their work and labelled them "reformists". In the modern State, self styled reformists are establishing bureaucracies and restricting freedom. If freedom of expression and the spirit of free inquiry (severely curtailed in the media and education systems) survive, future generations will not be able to point to much productive reform emanating from bureaucracies. They will focus on the great deal of counter-productive activity.

There is an element of arrogance in people who advocate "change" under the title of "reform". They should make the case for change and leave future generations to determine whether the change amounts to reform or is counter-productive.

The reformists are not necessarily Marxists and revolutionaries. There are probably fewer persons today who call themselves Marxists than there were ten years ago. On the other hand, the Marxist and neo-Marxist critiques of capitalism and property relations are growing in power and influence. Where is this leading? The influence of those who reject the dialectics of Marxism but are influenced by the Marxist and Marxist-influenced critiques of capitalism and property relations are, so far as the effects of their actions are concerned, substantially nihilistic. They are nihilists in the sense that they are committed to the undermining and even the destruction of existing values and institutions - but their alternatives are not viable. For some, a combination of regulation and government expenditure derived from taxation will be enough. Others have blueprints for a new society based on unreal and impractical ideas such as participatory democracy, social justice, equality, etc. They are against what "is" and their prescriptions for the "ought" are unrealistic. It is in this sense that their influence can be viewed as nihilistic. They are not revolutionaries and therefore they do not appear dangerous. But their capacity to gradually destroy without constructive alternatives is easily underestimated.

Communist regimes have been established in some countries by the forcible overthrow of the existing system. This will not happen in Australia and other representative democracies with a strong industrial and democratic infrastructure. The danger of Marxist socialist and other critiques of the tradition must be viewed in a nihilist sense. The problems of the near future for countries of the liberal democratic order lie not in a Soviet or communist style state or in a socialist state (socialism cannot ever be put into practice except in small voluntary communities). Nor is there a danger at present of a bloody revolution which would overthrow, in a short period, representative democracy, the capitalist system and its infrastructure. The threat that exists is of a gradual and slow undermining of the western democratic order and the growth of control over the majority by a partnership between big government, big bureaucracy, big unions, big business, big media and government-favoured pressure groups (feminist, environmental, peace, Aboriginal, etc).

Two examples may be provided of the modus operandi of the reformists and coercive utopians. Labor when it controlled States in Australia, and the present Commonwealth government, has enacted draconian industrial safety laws which impose very heavy and unfair penalties on employers. An employer will be liable even if a trespasser or thief enters his property, slips and hurts himself. It is not possible to quarrel with attempts to provide for safety. But the regulations provide for punishment and fines upon an employer who may be guilty of no negligence. The implementation of the New South Wales Act involved the employment of one hundred inspectors to police the Act and only two persons to educate the public about safety. Safety could be emphasised through an educational campaign. Business, bearing the burden of spiralling workers' compensation costs, would readily accept an argument that more regard for safety will lead to a reduction in the insurance premiums. The emphasis is on regulation, not education.

There is a more serious implication in penalising employers who have not been negligent. The provision seeks to apportion loss not on the basis of fault but on the basis of what is (spuriously) considered "equitable". The favoured interpretation of "equitable" is that the person who is more able to afford the loss is required to bear it, irrespective of fault or innocence. The concept of fault lies at the foundation of justice in that it is essential to a system of individual responsibility and individual rewards. See section 18.2.

The Australian Parliament established a Human Rights Commission. The early emphasis was on education - a research institute promoting thought and informed and balanced debate about voluntary respect for, and the importance of human rights. The papers which have emanated from the Human Rights Commission and allied agencies, at considerable cost to the public, have been papers stating the case for more regulation. The Human Rights Commission is not concerned about the totality of human rights. Such an analysis must take account of the importance of freedom and the need for duties and responsibilities. A right cannot exist without a corresponding duty. Human needs do not create human rights. But the Human Rights Commission is encouraging and inciting some sections of the community to demand rights without any regard for the philosophical and historical perspectives which should be paramount. It is also unconcerned about the notions of duty and responsibility. It selects or manufactures rights and exalts these "rights" over and above the important and basic rights of the liberal tradition which include freedom of property, freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, due process and equality of opportunity. These basic rights, that have collectively been responsible for a great deal of development and progress, are being undermined by a series of new social engineering "rights" created out of the air, as it were, and contrary to evolutionary development and western philosophy. See further, LJM Cooray, Human Rights in Australia, Sydney (1985).

Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot are the twentieth century examples which illustrate the difference between idealism and reality, the theory and the practice of coercive utopianism. The internal threat that faces the democratic capitalist tradition is not of a Hitler or a Lenin but of numerous little Lenins and Hitlers, not committing mass murder, but springing up all over the place, becoming increasingly influential and trampling on the rights of individuals, imposing their biases and limited ideas upon the mass of the population, with invariably counter productive effects. The real enemies of society today are not necessarily "disgusting" men - not the murderers, not the rapists, not the unscrupulous businessmen and not the aggressive trade unionists. The most dangerous enemies of society are men and women with impractical ideals who have the arrogance to believe that they have the solution to complicated human problems and who wish to use the police power of the state to impose their ideas on the public.

The reformists have been referred to above as idealists. This is somewhat misleading. Idealism is present to a lesser or greater extent but it is not all idealism. They occupy the moral high ground on public issues. However, there are other motivating factors which are glossed over and which are not adequately emphasised. A significant motivating factor, especially among the affluent reformists (many reformists tend to be affluent) and especially in politics, the bureaucracy, academia and the media, is what may be termed "false guilt". They feel guilty about the advantaged economic and social position which they enjoy and they take an easy way out. They retain their comfortable lifestyles. They support a cause or causes and ask the government to act to coerce other people to make the sacrifices. It is very easy for urban folk to be concerned about Aboriginal land rights whilst requiring the farmers or the mining companies to make the sacrifices. These sacrifices will in the long run affect everyone but they do not have the foresight to understand this dimension. It is easy to ask the farmers and mining companies to make the sacrifices.

This easy concern is a twentieth century phenomenon. The reformists of earlier times made sacrifices of blood, tears, toil and sweat. But the so-called reformists of the twentieth century take the easy way out. They make no sacrifices. They retain comfortable lifestyles and ask the government to act. They are generous with other people's wealth. Perhaps when the government acts and the bureaucracy is set up they can obtain a position with a comfortable salary, a lucrative consultancy or a research grant.

Perhaps the most powerful factor motivating some reformists is envy of wealth and achievement. Envy of those who are achieving and doing better. This envy operates even with a person on a $100,000 a year income or even a $200,000 a year income. They are envious of the Murdochs, the Packers, the Bonds and the Holmes a'Courts. This is an important factor in the make up of many coercive utopians. The envy of wealth and achievement is a very important factor, though many of them will immediately deny it if confronted with the issue.

They are very seldom confronted with the issue. The characteristic of the reformists is their unrealistic analysis of human problems. They ignore the experience of history and human nature. Academic analyses of human problems are becoming more and more abstract and divorced from the realities of history and human nature. The dimension which the coercive utopians miss is that a better world requires better human beings. It is not possible to make people better or law abiding or richer by laws and regulations. They focus on structures. Their emphasis on regulation is an emphasis always on changing the structures. Their belief is that if the structures and institutions are changed human beings will change. Capitalism and business are made the scapegoats for every problem. The fact, that in pre-capitalist and primitive societies human beings have not been much different, is ignored.
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"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#16
The following are ALLEGEDLY quotes of Hillary's documented by various agents,if they are accurate,she is definitely contemptuous of we lesser humans:

F**k off! It's enough that I have to see you shit-kickers every day, I'm not going to talk to you too!! Just do your G*damn job and keep your mouth shut."
(From the book "American Evita" by Christopher Anderson, p. 90 - Hillary to her State Trooper bodyguards after one of them greeted her with "Good morning."

"You f**king idiot."
(From the book "Crossfire" p. 84 - Hillary to a State Trooper who was driving her to an event.)



"If you want to remain on this detail, get your f**king ass over here and grab those bags!"
(From the book "The First Partner" p. 259 - Hillary to a Secret Service Agent who was reluctant to carry her luggage because he wanted to keep his hands free in case of an incident.)

"Get f**ked! Get the f**k out of my way!!! Get out of my face!!!"(From the book "Hillary's Scheme" p. 89 - Hillary's various comments to her Secret Service detail agents.)

"Stay the f**k back, stay the f**k away from me! Don't come within ten yards of me, or else! Just f**king do as I s ay, Okay!!!?"
(From the book "Unlimited Access", by Clinton FBI Agent in Charge, Gary Aldrige, p. 139 - Hillary screaming at her Secret Service detail.)

"Many of you are well enough off that [President Bush's] tax cuts may have helped you. We're saying that for America to get back on track, we're probably going to cut that short and not give it to you. We're going to have to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."
(Hillary grandstanding at a fund raising speech in San Francisco; SFGate.com 6/28/2004.)

"Why do I have to keep proving to people that I am not a liar?!"(From the book "The Survivor," by John Harris, p. 382 - Hillary in her 2000 Senate campaign)

"Where's the miserable c*ck sucker?"
(From the book "The Truth About Hillary" by Edward Klein, p. 5 - Hillary shouting at a Secret Service officer)





"You know, I'm going to start thanking the woman who cleans the restroom in the building I work in. I'm going to start thinking of her as a human being"
-Hillary Clinton
(From the book "The Case Against Hillary Clinton" by Peggy Noonan, p. 55)

"We are at a stage in history in which remolding society is one of the great challenges facing all of us in the West."
(From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p 119 - During her 1993 commencement address at the University of Texas)

"The only way to make a difference is to acquire power"
(From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p 68 - Hillary to a friend before starting law school.)

"We just can't trust the American people to make those types of choices.... Government has to make those choices for people"
(From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p 20 - Hillary to Rep. Dennis Hastert in 1993 discussing her expensive, disastrous taxpayer-funded health care plan)

"I am a fan of the social policies that you find in Europe"
Hillary in 1996 From the book "I've Always Been A Yankee Fan" by Thomas D. Kuiper, p. 76 - Hillary in 1996)
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#17
Erm, this selection of alleged Hillary quotes surely is a great resource which will help explain the difference between Left- and Right-wing.
It fits well with the quality of the other pieces of writing. Wink1

The "Leftists" article by George Irbe I only managed to read this far until I had to laugh in disbelief someone would post the entire piece: Shock
Quote:Outrageous as it may sound, I am tempted to speculate that this mind-set is an inborn trait, and that all humans can be classified into two basic groups: a) those that are born with the potential to be Leftists, and b) those that are not.
"The Onion" does better parody, and keeps the articles quite short. :lol:
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
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#18
stroll Wrote:Erm, this selection of alleged Hillary quotes surely is a great resource which will help explain the difference between Left- and Right-wing.
It fits well with the quality of the other pieces of writing. Wink1

The "Leftists" article by George Irbe I only managed to read this far until I had to laugh in disbelief someone would post the entire piece: Shock
Quote:Outrageous as it may sound, I am tempted to speculate that this mind-set is an inborn trait, and that all humans can be classified into two basic groups: a) those that are born with the potential to be Leftists, and b) those that are not.
"The Onion" does better parody, and keeps the articles quite short. :lol:

Can you provide a link?
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#19
http://www.theonion.com/
The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
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#20
You might wish to be a little more specific than just a front page.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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