Imagine all the people, living for today AND tomorrow, free to do whatever the hell they want, creating, trading, investing, growing, playing, praying, partying. But any human initiative to improve upon the harsh conditions of the natural world is apparently offensive to the nihilistic sensibilities of those on the Left (as are a host of other freedoms). That attitude is often expressed by gentry leftists, already living quite comfortably, without recognition that the statist policies they advocate would render the same conditions unattainable for most others and probably unsustainable for themselves. The hypocrisy is glaring. Here are links to a few recent articles and posts illustrating the duplicity of the Left.
Jonah Goldberg has some fun with a recent piece on the many double standards of the Left. According to Don Boudreaux, this piece is flawed only in Goldberg’s use of the term “liberal” rather than the more accurate “statist”:
“If you work from the dogmatic assumption that liberalism is morally infallible and that liberals are, by definition, pitted against sinister and — more importantly — powerful forces, then it’s easy to explain away what seem like double standards. Any lapse, error, or transgression by conservatives is evidence of their real nature, while similar lapses, errors, and transgressions by liberals are trivial when balanced against the fact that their hearts are in the right place. Despite controlling the commanding heights of the culture — journalism, Hollywood, the arts, academia, and vast swaths of the corporate America they denounce — liberals have convinced themselves they are pitted against deeply entrenched powerful forces and that being a liberal is somehow brave. Obama, the twice-elected president of the United States, to this day speaks as if he’s some kind of underdog.”
To digress briefly, Boudreaux elaborates on the true meaning of liberalism here.
This essay by Walter Russell Mead, “The Liberal Retreat,” describes the state of the leftist agenda after six years of the Obama Administration. It is written from more of a conservative point of view than my preferred libertarian position, but it is very much on-target in its assertion that the “body politic” is not buying into the leftist agenda. We are post-“peak Left”:
“Shell-shocked liberals are beginning to grasp some inconvenient truths. No gun massacre is horrible enough to change Americans’ ideas about gun control. No UN Climate Report will get a climate treaty through the U.S. Senate. No combination of anecdotal and statistical evidence will persuade Americans to end their longtime practice of giving police officers extremely wide discretion in the use of force. No ‘name and shame’ report, however graphic, from the Senate Intelligence Committee staff will change the minds of the consistent majority of Americans who tell pollsters that they believe that torture is justifiable under at least some circumstances. No feminist campaign will convince enough voters that the presumption of innocence should not apply to those accused of rape.”
It is a point of no small irony that many on the Left express apprehension about the prospect of normalized relations between the U.S. and Cuba. Heaven forbid that this process might introduce the fruits of capitalism to Cuban shores. Here’s an interesting (and disturbing) take on Castro’s Hipster Apologists:
“Flickering across my computer screen, elements of the left were uniting with elements of the right, insisting that Cuba remain in the cold, a museum of the Cold War isolated from both the glories and evils of American culture. One lefty tweeter even complained that an invasion of icky American tourists would undermine ‘family values’ in Cuba.”
American universities are hotbeds of egalitarian philosophy as well as identity politics. Here’s a good example of the consequences of this sort of leftist mind freeze in an opinion piece by an economics professor at the University of Wisconsin, W. Lee Hansen, on an initiative to use grading quotas at the school:
“I would argue to the contrary that many students will suffer academically if they receive the artificial boost of higher grades than they actually earned just because they happen to be in a ‘targeted group.’ Students need accurate feedback on how they’re doing, not inflated grades that boost their egos.
I would also argue that the university’s reputation will be diminished by these efforts at equalizing grades between groups. Pressures to eliminate grading gaps will lead to the ‘dumbing down’ of courses and, even more likely, grade inflation for targeted minority students. This pretend solution won’t make the university better for anyone.”
Any university making use of grading quotas deserves scorn. It’s sad that a great institution like Wisconsin-Madison would stoop to such a practice. Then again, egalitarian philosophy and identity politics deserve scorn. These are ideas that ultimately breed envy, hatred and social failure.