Monday, May 7, 2012

Lies People Tell Themselves

On an interview with Ed Driscoll about his latest book "The Tyranny of Cliches, Jonah Goldberg notes an interesting observation.

DRISCOLL: And how will skeptics receive the new book’s subtitle, “How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas”? I mean, don’t both sides speak in clichés?

GOLDBERG: Well, yes. And if I—and you know, I want to be clear about this. Both sides have buzz phrases. Both sides have bumper stickers. Both sides use sound bites, all that kind of stuff. The fundamental difference between the Left and the Right, as I argue in the first few chapters of The Tyranny of Clichés, is that conservatives and libertarians, and I’ll concede, Marxists and socialists—but how many Marxists and socialists are left out, you know, in the wild these days; they’re basically all in captivity on college campuses.

But libertarians and conservatives, unlike mainstream liberals or progressives, are open and fairly honest about the fact that they have an ideology. We say, these are our first principles. We wear Adam Smith ties. We dork out like Dungeons & Dragons geeks about, you know, our founding texts. We have arguments about what Ayn Rand would say, or what Whittaker Chambers would say, or whether or not Edmund Burke would agree with this, that or the other thing.

Liberals—and this is a point that, you know, people like E.J. Dionne and Martin Peretz and a lot of liberal intellectuals will concede—liberals don’t have the same relationship with their intellectual history, with their ideology. They deny that they have one.

And so this is the key distinction. Where, you know, conservatives may use buzz phrases; they certainly may use clichés, and sometimes they use them badly. I mean, I can’t tell you how many conservatives misuse fascism to this day. But at the end of the day, you talk to a conservative, you say well, look, here are my principles; here’s where I’m coming from and all of the rest. Liberals claim that they’re pragmatists, that they’re empiricists, or that they’re fact finders, that they only care about what works, and they just wish we crazies on the Right would drop all of these labels and these ideological, you know, squabbles, so that we could get busy doing the work the American people sent us to Washington to do and all that sort of nonsense. And that is a monumental lie.

And it’s first and foremost a lie liberals tell to themselves. The idea that liberals aren’t ideological is just nonsense on stilts. And I don’t mind that liberals are ideological. What I mind is that they won’t admit it. It’s sort of like liberal media bias. I don’t mind that—I don’t really care that much that the mainstream media is biased at this point, you know. I mean, that’s something we’ve learned to live with. What bothers me is—what really drives me to distraction is the way mainstream journalists deny that liberal media bias even exists.
Emphasis added.
It is a very handy denial. If you say that your views are based entirely on pargmatic, emperial, rationalism, then anyone that disagrees with you *has* to be stupid, evil, or if one is feeling generous simply ignornat.

And that's where the idea that Republicans (or anyone that disagrees with Liberal Dogma) have to be either evil or stupid. Because they deny what's "common sense".

And as Richard Fernandez points out, nothing is more ossifying than that concept.

Because they don’t know anything else. Because it has seemed to work for so long they don’t know how to do anything else. Because it has always been a case of “heads we win, tails the public loses”. Both the “populist left” and the “centre-right” drink from the same river of public funds. The sole distinction is that while the first fatten one set of cronies, the second fattens a slightly different set of cronies.

And the worse things get, the likelier people are to demand the high-tax, high-spend policies which caused the mess. The eurozone is now in a vicious circle,” Hannan concludes. The cure, having caused the disease, will be used to treat the disease.

It's like how many antis think you can "shoot to wound" and thus anytime someone kills another in self defense it's an act of wanton murder. Of course wounding an attacker would also be seen as horrid because "voilence never solves anything".

Which conveniently, Goldberg addresses in the interview:

I mean, there’s no—there’s nothing a conservative regularly says that is more wildly radically extremist in its ideological assumptions than, say, violence never solved anything. I mean, that is the most idiotic, wildly, radically ideological reality-distorting conviction, if you actually believe it. And yet they say they believe it, and at the same time they claim that it’s not ideological at all.

Conversely a criminal killing in agression is simply a poor soul being driven by social factors.

He also highlights the insanity of "Social Darwinism"

Yeah, this is, you know—this is a good example of the sort of—the spinoffs from Liberal Fascism. One of the things, when you start studying fascism, that you have to deal with, is this thing called “social Darwinism.” And you’re constantly told in various, you know, textbooks and all the rest, that Nazism was a doctrine of social Darwinism. And at the same time, we’re told that the Robber Barons and people like Herbert Spencer were champions of something called social Darwinism in the United States.

And there’s a huge disconnect here. Right? I mean, it sort of gets at sort of the same problem you have where people call libertarians fascists. You know, a libertarian fascist is almost, by definition, an oxymoron. Hitler was not a real leave-’em-alone kind of guy.

And that’s part of the distinction here, is that social Darwinism, in the European context, basically means Hitlerism and racial eugenics and state—you know, and state cruelty and invading countries to impress upon them, you know, Aryan superiority and all that nonsense.

But in the United States Social Darwinism, if it means what Herbert Spencer believed in, is wildly, radical libertarianism. Herbert Spencer was a soaked-to-the-bone libertarian who opposed imperialism, favored women’s suffrage, was a huge champion of private charity. And he is routinely denounced as this social Darwinist who wanted the poor to suffer; and sort of, somehow his ideas gave fruit to Nazism, which is just an unbelievable slander. In many ways, Herbert Spencer is the most maligned public intellectual of the nineteenth century.

But here’s the bigger problem. There was no such thing called social Darwinism in the United States. Herbert Spencer never called himself a social Darwinist. William Graham Sumner, his sort of sidekick in the alleged school of social Darwinism, never called himself a social Darwinist. Spencer never even called himself a Darwinist. He had a different theory of evolution."
Emphasis added.
And when it comes down to it Social Darwinism has no coherent believe system and no one that really praciced it. The Nazis were Social Darwinist, Corporatist, and Eugenicist? Right, that makes sense.

And the term was essentially invented by defenders or practitioners of reform Darwinism, which was essentially eugenics, which wanted to interfere in the warp and woof of society, which wanted to cull out the unfit and all of the rest. It was an invidious way to describe non-socialists.

Indeed it was Jonah.

Again this isn't Rah-Rah go-Conservatives. But even Social Cons will admit that they're operating from a bias. Even if it is Lovin' some Big-State Pappa Jesus.

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