observations and opinion
Your heart may be in the right place, but if your head is up your ass, what good are you?
If you aren’t an idiot, it has been a tough year or so. The Brexit vote. The Trump election. The Republican assault on US health care and many other programs. Theresa May’s cynical UK Conservatives. And of course, Marine Le Pen is poised to make the run off in the French Presidential election, later today.
Indeed, Stupid Right Wingery has had a good run.
If you loathe Trump and fear Stupid Right Wingery, you are among many likeminded souls. I follow many progressives, liberals and leftists in the online universe. Sometimes they’re correct about issues and personalities. Their passion is admirable. But I see a lot of brainless stuff too – the emanations of the Stupid Left.
Progressives want governments to promote and undertake kind and generous programs. But too many of them believe nonsense. And so, here’s a friendly list of lessons for all the good people over on the left fringe of the universe:
Capitalism is good. It has unleashed human potential and raised the living standards of billions of people. It works because capitalism recognizes the innate human characteristics of ambition and creativity, meshing them with cooperative effort. Is capitalism perfect? Hardly. But to borrow from Churchill, “it’s the worst system, except for all the others.” Aim to improve it.
Economic inequality really is a social sickness, but it can’t be fixed by force. It can be fixed by creating market conditions where people’s work is valuable and valued. The most equal and healthy societies are all capitalist ones, where social programs enable people to succeed and support those who cannot. But that ain’t socialism.
Socialism hasn’t worked yet. The combination of state power, property and business leads to an almost instant social sclerosis. Social democracy does a great deal to mitigate the offences of free market capitalism, but it needs to be restrained.
Israel is terrific: free, brave, open, creative. The lefty hatred of Israel is dumb, dumb, dumb. Israel is the only democracy in the Mid-East. Israel is the only country near there you would want to be female. Or gay. Or a straight male, when you think about it. Who the hell wants to live anywhere near Israel, except in Israel? That’s actually a good test.
Israel is surrounded by homicidal, genocidal maniacs. STOP supporting the evil enemies of Israel. STOP being a dope. The western opponents of Israel have gotten into bed with people who, when they have a chance, will kill those western opponents of Israel. So again, STOP being a dope. Support Israel, passionately, and encourage it to be as smart and decent as it is at heart.
Islamism is really, really bad. The widespread nativist hostility to Muslims is evil, and must be reversed. But don’t pretend that there isn’t a cancer within Islam. Islamism hates women, it hates gays, it hates everybody — it hates human life as we know it. Hundreds of millions of Muslims subscribe to ridiculous, primitive beliefs (read the polling data – they hate ISIS but many like Sharia). Many Islamist nation states are noxious, their version of a religion being simply wrong. No moral relativism is appropriate here. Fundamentalist Islamism is MUCH worse than right wing Christianity (so far). So don’t be a fool — speak out against Islamism, by standing up for (and with) the many Muslims who don’t believe in it.
People are pretty crummy, much of the time. We have good qualities – love, loyalty, courage, and so on. But left unsupported, those good qualities quickly sink under the weight of our vices and fears. We need social systems which demand and reward good behavior. So forget your utopian dreams – we are not perfectible. We will always tend to regress, and if you don’t believe that, you didn’t pay attention in 2016.
You use violence to get and keep what you want. Everything you’ve got, everything you treasure – personal and material – is secure only if you are willing to use force to defend it. And you do – every day. To paraphrase Orwell, “rough men ready to do violence” are the wall between you and a lot of really bad people ready to violate your rights. The rough men in question are police, security guards and the military. If they weren’t there, you’d be sunk. So don’t kid yourself that you’re non-violent or pacifist. You’ve just delegated the work.
Free speech is good. Really good. The liberty to formulate thoughts and utter them – however incomplete, wrong, dubious or wonderful – is the essence of all freedom. Don’t shout down right wing hate mongers. Let them spew. Censorship makes you stupid and corrodes your soul – as Mill said, “an untested virtue, is no virtue at all.”
And finally, because it seems to be necessary:
The USA is not bad. The USA is, in fact, pretty good. The United States saved the world – several times. It beat the Depression. It beat Fascism. It beat Communism. It re-built Western Europe. The United States sank endless treasure and many lives into the armed defense of democracies against real, big, nasty enemies – for decades. And it still does. US armed forces contain and restrain very bad people, from doing very bad things, all over the world.
Yes, the USA made mistakes along the way – Vietnam, Iraq, Syria. But everybody in the world owes most of what they’ve got to the United States, so stop the facile comparisons to North Korea, yadda yadda yadda. That is truly the dumbest crap of all.
Have a nice day
P.S. British progressives: Jeremy Corbyn, seriously? For God’s sake, in any marginal district, vote LibDem.
P.S. British moderates and conservatives: Theresa May and Brexit, seriously? For God’s sake, in any marginal district, vote LibDem.