19 Jun 2011

Leftism: Dumb People Trying to Look Smart

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Sci Fi author John C. Wright shares the same view of the bona fides and qualifications of members of the contemporary Left as I do myself.

There is a pattern in leftist thinking I have seen often enough to disturb me, but not often enough to declare it by any means universal.

They act like dumb people who desperately want to be thought bright; they act like immoral people looking for some easy way to clothe themselves in the mantle of morality, but not a morality that makes any demands or imposes any duties.

One way a dumb person makes himself look smart, is by talking about pseudo-science as if it were real science: hence they read Rachel Carson and Paul Erlich and Margaret Mead, notorious frauds, and consider it scientific to conclude that banning DDT preserves birds. Either they do not know about or do not care about deaths from malaria in Africa. They consider it scientific to conclude that the world will enter a period of mass starvation and death by 1980, with England and India perishing. That this date passed twenty years ago with no sign of the Malthusian chaos makes no dent in their credulity. …

Bright people who are actually bright exhibit two characteristics: their thoughts are unconventional, and they react with curiosity to ideas that offer legitimate challenge to their own. Dim people who are pretending to be bright impersonate the behavior without understanding it. Instead of being unconventional, they adopt a pre-written script of the shopworn fashionable ideas, which they praise for being a bold and controversial challenge to the dullness of Bourgeoisie parochialism and hypocrisy. That this is itself hypocrisy of the most transparent stripe escapes their notice. …

The reason, friends, why the Left reacts with such blinding malice when challenged, is, of course, deep down they know they are putting on an act. They are no more qualified to teach, to lecture, to preach, to pontificate, than a Jerry Lewis character who stumbles into a lectern by mistake. They are not qualified to hold an intellectually serious conversation, because the core of their world is based on a presumption of intellectual superiority—a profoundly unserious pose. They know its fragility, and hence the vehemence of their reactions.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

2 Feedbacks on "Leftism: Dumb People Trying to Look Smart"


I have a somewhat different take. Liberal arguments tend to be normative — that is, how things SHOULD be. Conservative arguments tend to be more objective — that is, what actually happens.
So when conservatives observe that redistributing resources from highly productive activities to the less productive has a perverse effect on economic gorwth, liberals take that as an affront to their belief that those less productive activities (e.g. high speed rail) are “worthy”. For them it’s like having someone point out that their kids are ugly.

John C. Wright

The missing text is:

`Liberal` literally mean one who favors human freedom, such as, for example, the right to bear arms, the ability to select a toilet bowl of a proper size, the ability to hire and fire such workers as please you, the ability to select a school and a schooling for your child, the ability to speak on campus without fear of language police, and so on.


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