By JR on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Leftist America -- another view
Whether or not it was always so, America today is undoubtedly dominated by the Left. As I tediously point out at times, the Pilgrim Fathers were such fanatical communists that only the imminent threat of their group being wiped out by starvation budged them from it. And their "progressive" descendants are not much better. They are certainly just as solidly convinced of their own righteousness and the correctness of their own ideas. They have ditched God but their personalities endure
So anything the Left disapprove of today, from race-awareness to dislike of homosexuality to Christianity gets heavily condemned and censored at least -- and may even get the "offender" kicked out of his or her job. And conservative politicians certainly get an infinitely harder time in the media than liberal politicians do. Any criticism of Obama is "racism" but you can call George Bush a Nazi all you like.
The Left are people with no real morality or ethics at all so you can expect no mercy from them. If you bother them in any way, they will knock you down in any way they can -- even if you are one of a "minority" whom they claim to help. They lack the power to do what Stalin did -- wipe out 20 million "class enemies" -- but they do whatever damage they can
But readers have been divided over my claim that America has always been Left-dominated. That is partly because the Left changes its tune whenever convenience suits so the Leftism of the past is not as visible from today's perspective. One has to be clear on what basic Leftism is for the Leftism of the past to become obvious. In one short sentence, Leftism is an anger-driven hunger for sweeping change.
Another misunderstanding is that I was claiming that America was more Leftist than some other places. I was not. I am quite happy to acknowledge that Leftism is far more dominant in various other countries. That does not diminish its overriding influence in America, however.
I should also add that I have no quarrel with the splendid ideals enunciated at the time of independence and which are still held dear by many Americans today. I just don't think they have ever had much influence on actual policy. They have mainly received lip service only.
I put up yesterday one of the emails that opposed my claims so I think it is only fair to put up another email that was broadly in agreement with me. Thomas Anger, who blogs here writes as follows:
"I don't agree that America has always been leftist because I don't buy into abstractions like "America." There are and have been individual Americans of many political persuasions, most of them confused and contradictory.
That said, as an enlightened libertarian (i.e., Burkean conservative) I do agree with your characterization of the motives of the authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. For example, a latter-day romantic, Timothy Sandefur (author of The Conscience of the Constitution), asserted that "The American founders held that people are inherently free—that is, no person has a basic entitlement to dictate how other people may lead their lives." I responded:
"Did they, really? All of them, including the slave owners? Or did they simply want to relocate the seat of power from London to the various State capitals, where local preferences (including anti-libertarian ones) could prevail? Wasn't that what the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation were all about? The Constitution simply moved some of the power toward the national capital, mainly for the conduct of foreign policy and trade. Despite that, the Constitution was a "States' rights" document, and remained that way until the ratification of Amendment XIV, from which much anti-libertarian mischief has emanated."
Later, I wrote:
"Why can't you [Sandefur] just admit that the Declaration of Independence was a p.r. piece, penned (in the main) by a slave-owner and subscribed to by various and sundry elites who (understandably) resented their treatment at the hands of a far-away sovereign and Parliament? You're trying to make more of the Declaration -- laudable as its sentiments are -- than should be made of it."
In sum, the War of Independence isn't all that it's cracked up to be. And there's no doubt that liberty suffered in the long run as a result of the North's victory in the Civil War. But, in my view, those historical missteps have little to do with "left" (or "right") and much to do with human venality and power-lust, which are found in persons of all political persuasions.
The genius of the Constitution was that it provided mechanisms for curbing the anti-libertarian effects of venality and power-lust. The tragedy of the Constitution is that those mechanisms have been destroyed. If you were to say that Americans have gradually lost their liberty through successive and cumulative violations of the Constitution, I would agree with you.
And if you were to say that Americans are the captives of a leftist state, and are likely to remain so, I would agree with you.
In any event, I have been and will remain a faithful reader of Dissecting Leftism, which provides a valuable service in exposing the left's anti-libertarian motives and actions."