Dennis Prager hits it out of the ballpark in his recent essay by this title. (On a side note, Mr. Prager uses “liberal” is the historic sense compared to how I use it here on this blog. Modern leftists tend to self-identify [inaccurately per Mr. Prager and reality] as liberals and progressives, thus I use the term. In this latter sense, I would consider it pejorative in nature, whereas in Mr. Prager’s more historically accurate sense, it is not.)
A primary quote to whet your appetite (but please go read the whole thing in context), the answer to the question…
So, the Big Question is, why? Why is the left hostile toward Western civilization?
After decades of considering this question, I have concluded the answer is this: standards. The left hates standards — moral standards, artistic standards, cultural standards. The West is built on all three, and it has excelled in all three.
Why does the left hate standards? It hates standards because when there are standards, there is judgment. And leftists don’t want to be judged.
Mr. Prager then continues to demonstrate his thesis from the facts, of which there is an overwhelming plethora of examples.
Richard Phillips Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988) was an American theoretical physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics, and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics (he proposed the parton model). Which is to say that he was pretty smart. In a 1964 lecture, he summarized the critical thought process as utilized in the scientific enterprise, or at least the way science is supposed to be done, as follows (emphases guessed at):
Now I’m going to discuss how we would look for a new law. In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it (audience laughter), no, don’t laugh, that’s the truth. Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works.
If it disagrees with experiment, it’s WRONG. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.
Facts and data. That’s how we are to roll. Not feeling and emotions.
Dr. Thomas Sowell’s most recent article of the above title hits the nail on the head, this time comparing a delightful and thought provoking book with the reality challenged, alleged thinking found in liberalism. Once again we have clearly demonstrated how fantasy collides with said reality when liberals try to foist their ideas upon the Land of the Living. (You can find some of my favorite Lewis Carroll quotes on my Quotable Quotes page. I’ve taken the liberty of inserting a few into the text below, hopefully in enlightening spots!) Meanwhile, enjoy this latest offering from one of my favorite anti-idiotarians!
"Alice in Wonderland" was written by a professor who also wrote a book on symbolic logic. So it is not surprising that Alice encountered not only strange behavior in Wonderland, but also strange and illogical reasoning — of a sort too often found in the real world, and which a logician would be very much aware of.
“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”
If Alice could visit the world of liberal rhetoric and assumptions today, she might find similarly illogical and bizarre thinking. But people suffering in the current economy might not find it nearly as entertaining as "Alice in Wonderland."
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the world envisioned by today’s liberals is that it is a world where other people just passively accept whatever "change" liberals impose. In the world of Liberal Land, you can just take for granted all the benefits of the existing society, and then simply tack on your new, wonderful ideas that will make things better.
“I quite agree with you,” said the Duchess; “and the moral of that is – ‘Be what you would seem to be’ – or if you’d like it put more simply – Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.”
“I think I should understand that better,” Alice said very politely, “if I had it written down: but I can’t quite follow it as you say it.”
For example, if the economy is going along well and you happen to take a notion that there ought to be more home ownership, especially among the poor and minorities, then you simply have the government decree that lenders have to lend to more low-income people and minorities who want mortgages, ending finicky mortgage standards about down payments, income and credit histories.
“Another sandwich!” said the King.
“There’s nothing but hay left now,” the Messenger said, peeping into the bag.
“Hay, then,” the King murmured in a faint whisper.
Alice was glad to see that it revived him a good deal. “There’s nothing like eating hay when you’re faint,” he remarked to her, as he munched away.
“I should think throwing cold water over you would be better,” Alice suggested: “or some sal-volatile.”
“I didn’t say there was nothing BETTER,” the King replied. “I said there was nothing LIKE it.” Which Alice did not venture to deny.
That sounds like a fine idea in the world of Liberal Land. Unfortunately, in the ugly world of reality, it turned out to be a financial disaster, from which the economy has still not yet recovered. Nor have the poor and minorities.
Apparently you cannot just tack on your pet notions to whatever already exists, without repercussions spreading throughout the whole economy. That’s what happens in the ugly world of reality, as distinguished from the beautiful world of Liberal Land.
The strange and bizarre characters found in "Alice in Wonderland" have counterparts in the political vision of Liberal Land today. Among the most interesting of these characters are those elites who are convinced that they are so much smarter than the rest of us that they feel both a right and a duty to take all sorts of decisions out of our incompetent hands — for our own good.
“I see nobody on the road,” said Alice.
“I only wish I had such eyes,” the King remarked in a fretful tone. “To be able to see Nobody! And at this distance, too! Why, it’s as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!”
In San Francisco, which is Liberal Land personified, there have been attempts to ban the circumcision of newborn baby boys. Fortunately, that was nipped in the bud. But it shows how widely the self-anointed saviors of Liberal Land feel entitled to take decisions out of the hands of mere ordinary citizens.
Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner says, "We’re facing a very consequential debate about some fundamental choices as a country." People talk that way in Liberal Land. Moreover, such statements pass muster with those who simply take in the words, decide whether they sound nice to them, and then move on.
But, if you take words seriously, the more fundamental question is whether individuals are to remain free to make their own choices, as distinguished from having collectivized choices, "as a country" — which is to say, having choices made by government officials and imposed on the rest of us.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you CAN make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master– that’s all.”
The history of the 20th century is a painful lesson on what happens when collective choices replace individual choices. Even leaving aside the chilling history of totalitarianism in the 20th century, the history of economic central planning shows it to have been such a widely recognized disaster that even communist and socialist governments were abandoning it as the century ended.
Making choices "as a country" cannot be avoided in some cases, such as elections or referenda. But that is very different from saying that decisions in general should be made "as a country" — which boils down to having people like Timothy Geithner taking more and more decisions out of our own hands and imposing their will on the rest of us. That way lies madness exceeding anything done by the Mad Hatter in "Alice in Wonderland."
That way lie unfunded mandates, nanny state interventions in people’s lives, such as banning circumcision — and the ultimate nanny state monstrosity, ObamaCare.
The world of reality has its problems, so it is understandable that some people want to escape to a different world, where you can talk lofty talk and forget about ugly realities like costs and repercussions. The world of reality is not nearly as lovely as the world of Liberal Land. No wonder so many people want to go there.
The following is an outstanding find for instruction in analyzing the left and liberals. I will comment further below in [italics] and add a few italicized emphases in the original text (regular bold is in the original).
To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil. — Charles Krauthammer
Even liberals who’ve accomplished a lot in their lives and have high IQs often say things on a regular basis that are stunningly, profoundly stupid and at odds with the way the world works. Modern liberalism has become so bereft of common sense and instinctually suicidal that America can only survive over the long haul by thwarting the liberal agenda. In fact, liberalism has become such a toxic and poisonous philosophy that most liberals wouldn’t behave differently if their goal were to deliberately destroy the country. So, how does liberalism cause well-meaning, intelligent liberals to get this way? Well, it starts with…
1) Liberalism creates a feedback loop. It is usually impossible for a non-liberal to change a liberal’s mind about political issues because liberalism works like so: only liberals are credible sources of information. How do you know someone’s liberal? He espouses liberal doctrine. So, no matter how plausible what you say may be, it will be ignored if you’re not a liberal and if you are a liberal, of course, you probably agree with liberal views. This sort of close-mindedness makes liberals nearly impervious to any information that might undermine their beliefs.
[Philosophically, we are talking about the Asylum of Ignorance here. For those new to this blog, the Asylum of Ignorance is what one creates in the mind to avoid confronting truth with which you disagree. Your mind is made up and you don’t want to be confused by the facts. For example, you will hold as true the assertion that Joe will come to the meeting wearing a red tie and will not consider it refuted if he comes wearing a green tie or no tie whatsoever. I say “philosophically” because in philosophy, this is how you become meaningless. When you hold to the truth of your position regardless of any data to the contrary, your position is meaningless.]
2) Liberals sources of information are ever present. Conservatives are regularly exposed to the liberal viewpoint whether they want to be or not. That’s not necessarily so for liberals. Imagine the average day for liberals. They get up and read their local newspaper. It has a liberal viewpoint. They take their kids to school, where the teachers are liberal. Then they go to work, listen to NPR which has a liberal viewpoint on the way home, and then turn on the nightly news which also skews leftward. From there, they turn on TV and watch shows created by liberals that lean to the left, if they have any political viewpoint at all. Unless liberals actively seek out conservative viewpoints, which is unlikely, the only conservative arguments they’re probably going to hear are going to be through the heavily distorted, poorly translated, deeply skeptical lens of other liberals.
[This is particularly true in Washington, D.C. And the MSM it a main component of the problem.]
3) Liberals emphasize feeling superior, not superior results. Liberalism is all about appearances, not outcomes. What matters to liberals is how a program makes them FEEL about themselves, not whether it works or not. Thus a program like Headstart, which sounds good because it’s designed to help children read, makes liberals feel good about themselves, even though the program doesn’t work and wastes billions. A ban on DDT makes liberals feel good about themselves because they’re "protecting the environment" even though millions of people have died as a result. For liberals, it’s not what a program does in the real world; it’s about whether they feel better about themselves for supporting it.
4) Liberals are big believers in moral relativism. This spins them round and round because if the only thing that’s wrong is saying that there’s an absolute moral code, then you lose your ability to tell cause from effect, good from bad, and right from wrong. Taking being non-judgmental to the level that liberals do leaves them paralyzed, pondering "why they hate us" because they feel incapable of saying, “That’s wrong," and doing something about it. If you’re against firm standards and condemning immoral behavior, then your moral compass won’t work and you’ll also be for immorality, as well as societal and cultural decay by default.
[And thus we have the moral dissonance of being for the murder of babies, aka, abortion and against the execution of known murderers, aka, capital punishment!]
5) Liberals tend to view people as parts of groups, not individuals. One of the prejudices of liberalism is that they see everyone as part of a group, not as an individual. This can lead to rather bizarre disparities when say, a man from a group that they consider to be powerless, impoverished victims becomes the leader of the free world — and he’s challenged by a group of lower middle class white people who’ve banded together because individually they’re powerless. If you listen to the liberal rhetoric, you might think Barack Obama was a black Republican being surrounded by a KKK lynching party 100 years ago — as opposed to the single most powerful man in America abusing the authority of his office to attack ordinary Tea Partiers who have the audacity to speak the truth to power for the good of their country.
[Interestingly, Christianity alone views people as individuals with both corporate responsibilities as well as individual rights and responsibilities in balance. A related concept is that of “jurisdiction,” that is areas of responsibility some of which fall to individuals and some to collectives. Because biblical revelation is generally rejected and consequently biblical ignorance runs rampant, this balance is rarely achieved these days. The other advantage of thinking in terms of groups is it takes your eyes off of personal responsibility…see next point.]
6) Liberals take a dim view of personal responsibility. Who’s at fault if a criminal commits a crime? The criminal or society? If someone creates a business and becomes a millionaire, is that the result of hard work and talent or luck? If you’re dirt poor, starving, and haven’t worked in 5 years, is that a personal failing or a failure of the state? Conservatives would tend to say the former in each case, while liberals would tend to say the latter. But when you disconnect what an individual does from the results that happen in his life, it’s very difficult to understand cause and effect in people’s lives.
[And the God very specifically says throughout the Bible and in a multiplicity of ways, you shall reap what you sow.]
7) Liberals give themselves far too much credit just for being liberal. To many liberals, all one needs to do to be wise, intelligent, compassionate, open minded, and sensitive is to BE LIBERAL. In other words, many of the good things about a person spring not from his actions, but from the ideology he holds. This has an obvious appeal. You can be a diehard misogynist, but plausibly call yourself a feminist, hate blacks, but accuse others of racism, have a subpar IQ and be an intellectual, give nothing to charity and be compassionate, etc., etc., and all you have to do is call yourself a liberal. It’s a shortcut to virtue much like the corrupt old idea of religious indulgences. Why live a life of virtue when you could live a sinful life and buy your way into heaven? If you’re a liberal, why actually live a life of virtue when you can merely call yourself a liberal and get credit for being virtuous, even when you’ve done nothing to earn it?
Courtesy of blogger Ann Barnhardt:
I’m going to kill you when I find you. Don’t think I won’t, I know where you and your parents live and I’ll need is one phone-call to kil ya’ll.
Re: Watch your back.
You don’t need to "find" me. My address is 9175 Kornbrust Circle, Lone Tree, CO 80124.
Luckily for you, there are daily DIRECT FLIGHTS from Heathrow to Denver. Here’s what you will need to do. After arriving at Denver and passing through customs, you will need to catch the shuttle to the rental car facility. Once in your rental car, take Pena Boulevard to I-225 south. Proceed on I-225 south to I-25 south. Proceed south on I-25 to Lincoln Avenue which is exit 193. Turn right (west) onto Lincoln. Proceed west to the fourth light, and turn left (south) onto Ridgegate Boulevard. Proceed south, through the roundabout to Kornbrust Drive. Turn left onto Kornbrust Drive and then take an immediate right onto Kornbrust Circle. I’m at 9175.
Just do me one favor. PLEASE wear body armor. I have some new ammunition that I want to try out, and frankly, close-quarter body shots without armor would feel almost unsporting from my perspective. That and the fact that I’m probably carrying a good 50 I.Q. points on you makes it morally incumbent upon me to spot you a tactical advantage.
However, being that you are a miserable, trembling coward, I realize that you probably are incapable of actually following up on any of your threats without losing control of your bowels and crapping your pants while simultaneously sobbing yourself into hyperventilation. So, how about this: why don’t you contact the main mosque here in Denver and see if some of the local musloids here in town would be willing to carry out your attack for you? After all, this is what your "perfect man" mohamed did (pig excrement be upon him). You see, mohamed, being a miserable coward and a con artist, would send other men into battle to fight on his behalf. Mohamed would stay at the BACK of the pack and let the stupid, ignorant suckers like you that he had conned into his political cult do the actual fighting and dying. Mohamed would then fornicate with the dead men’s wives and children. You should follow mohamed’s example! Here is the contact info for the main mosque here in Denver:
Masjid Abu Bakr
Imam Karim Abu Zaid
2071 South Parker Road
Denver, CO 80231
I’m sure they would be delighted to hear from you. Frankly, I’m terribly disappointed that not a SINGLE musloid here in the United States has made ANY attempt to rape and behead me. But maybe I haven’t made myself clear enough, so let me do that right now.
I will NEVER, EVER, EVER submit to islam. I will fight islam with every fiber of my being for as long as I live because islam is pure satanic evil. If you are really serious about islam dominating the United States and the world, you are going to have to come through me. You are going to have to kill me. Good luck with that. And understand that if you or some of your musloid boyfriends do actually manage to kill me, The Final Crusade will officially commence five minutes later, and then, despite your genetic mental retardation, you will be made to understand with crystal clarity what the word "defeat" means. Either way, I win, so come and get it.
Deo adjuvante non timendum-
There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind — what they are in their thought-world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity. It is true of their corporate actions, such as political decisions, and it is true of their personal lives. The results of their thought-world flow through their fingers or from their tongues into the external world. This is true of Michelangelo’s chisel, and it is true of a dictatorís sword.
Francis A. Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live?, Ch. 1
Over the recent holidays, our family watched multiple videos for entertainment and relaxation. Alas, these days such activities still require that some low level mental shields be maintained to prevent the penetration of false ideas into one’s thinking, and especially into that of your children if you are a parent. Commenting on objectionable things (like vulgar language) as they happen is one way to counter such problems (as well as staying away from R rated films and worse), but “debriefing” your children with probing questions about what they watched can also help them learn to view with discernment, to think and compare, to develop values for their life. In short, to help inoculate them against liberalism.
Two fairly recent releases seen in a close temporal juxtaposition provided an interesting contrast in worldviews for me that serve as the meat of this post. I’m not sure I would have picked up on it had we not seen them so close together, and the reviewers in the links below certainly missed what I saw (they do have some useful observations as well). Yet, as Francis Schaeffer points out, one’s worldview will come out in what one creates regardless of the venue.
Both videos were animations, and in both cases the protagonist must find within himself a level of courage he previously did not know he had in a battle against evil that threatens not just himself but all that he loves. I still highly recommend both as good family fun, with the caveat that “debriefing” be executed post viewing. Now, where’s the popcorn!
The first film is Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and it is stunning eye-candy in its photorealistic animation. The aerial battle scenes are particularly effective in their use of slow motion at critical junctures. And the plot in general (I’m trying not to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it) avoids excess violence and gore, yet is imaginative and holds your attention. Although there is some humor, this one tends to be a more serious adventure in tone and the evil is depicted in a way that earns it a PG13 rating rather than just PG.
So, what of the worldview in this one? Think Star Wars. The parallels are multiple. First, there are the two sides, the Pure Ones (Sith) and the Guardians (Jedi). Our hero, Soren, and his friends (there are four of them and I’ll let you figure out which one is Chewbacca, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and the droids!) find themselves under the tutelage of a small screech owl who turns out to be a great military hero and chronicler of the last major war, an almost mythical warrior of the first class who is lionized in the tales parent owls pass on to their children. Think “Yoda” here, both in size and status. Indeed, the scene where it is revealed to our young protagonist that this little owl is the great warrior (!?!) is highly reminiscent of Luke Skywalker’s reaction to discovering who Yoda really is.
The major lesson this feathered Yoda teaches is where we find the problem, for although there is no ubiquitous “Force” being promulgated, there is something actually more insidious because it is something attainable in the real world…indeed, highly evident in today’s world. It is the principle of “following your gizzard and not your mind”…to feel your way through flight rather than to think about what you are doing. To think is to err. There is even a “use the Force, Luke, use the Force” moment during the climactic final battle between the Guardians and the Pure Ones in which Soren, much like young Skywalker, must navigate a treacherous course to accomplish his goal of aiding the Guardians in that battle. And of course, like Luke, he does so successfully “flying by his gizzard.”
This is the liberal worldview: one in which it is more important to respond by how you feel than to the actual facts of the case, one in which facts and data are anathema if they make you uncomfortable or disagree with your a priori desires and conceptions of what should be, one in which how your actions make you feel is the final criterion for determining right from wrong.
Unfortunately, facts are stubborn things that do not depend on or care about how you feel. There is another adjective for you that more accurately describes this worldview: narcissistic!
The contrasting video is How To Train Your Dragon. The animation is not what I would call photorealistic, but it is still top-notch, with flight sequences that leave you breathless. And this one has much more humor to it, particularly in the wry humor of the narrative provided by the protagonist.
In this story, our hero is a boy with the unlikely name of Hiccup, a young Viking who doesn’t fit in because, essentially, he does think about things…too much so in the eyes of his family and peers. He is basically a Viking geek. But…he begins to enjoy some success when he focuses his interest on the dragon his invention brings down unbeknownst to anyone else(again, I’m trying not to reveal too much plot so you can watch this with enjoyment). That interest is focused in a unique way, however. While everyone else is consumed by ways to kill dragons, Hiccup learns by observation about dragons, which in turn helps him overcome dragon opponents in the training arena without killing them. He uses a combination of observation, logic (basically the scientific method), and creativity to discern what causes dragon behavior and uses that knowledge to overcome multiple obstacles. He is rewarded with a friendship with this dragon that eventually culminates in the two of them synergistically conquering an evil greater that all the other dragons combined, as well as the prejudice of his family and peers.
In other words, the worldview espoused by this video is that of thinking and doing regardless of how you feel, of overcoming with facts and data. As mentioned, courage and creativity are still necessary elements, but they are grounded in reality. This is the Christian worldview that has fueled all of western civilization for centuries.
Again, this high level analysis of the two distinct worldviews in these videos is not to say that they shouldn’t be watched, or that there are not other elements in each that are objectionable or commendable. Just be aware that there is more to these films than may initially meet the eye. Neither are like Avatar that wore its liberalism so loudly and proudly that all reviewers with functioning synapses noted the incredibly strong liberal bias of the worldview in that one. But even Avatar was/is still a rollicking good adventure with phenomenal CGI effects, as long as you remember that it is only fiction!
And that is part of the key to watching any video. Remember that it is only entertainment and not education regardless of how serious the filmmaker may want you to take their work. And remember to use it to create your own learning moment to teach the lessons of life that will allow your children/pupils to function in the real world.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get a refill of my popcorn.