Who Is Left?

By the day, our national light grows dimmer, smothered by a thick layer of smoke bellowing up from the Left. Empowered by the last election, liberals have forsaken any pretense that government should be restrained. It is to be an instrument of force in the service of the Left’s ideals. Budgets be damned, opponents be damned, and the Constitution be damned.

We have been spared the worst of leftist ideology thus far because our system of government was designed to thwart attempts to centralize power. The Constitution is simply not compatible with the idea that the will or the needs of a “collective” override the rights of the individual. The mechanisms our Founders put in place to protect the individual are a constant source of annoyance to leftists, whose deepest instincts run toward institutionalizing whatever they happen to think the “collective” should have.

When our system of government is working as it should, neither the Right nor the Left can run roughshod over individuals. Endless bickering over how to “run” the country is exactly what keeps Congress, the President, and the Supreme Court from actually running it–a good thing not to have happen. The country shouldn’t be run at all, if by that we mean corralling individuals into working for some ethereal entity called “us.”

No longer willing to stoop to the lowly task of debating and persuading, liberals are starting to act as if merely holding a limited-government viewpoint merits punishment. Ringleader Obama exaggerates, distorts, and twists every utterance by his political opponents. This is neither new nor unexpected from politicians, but our President goes farther. His disdain for Republicans has boiled over into contempt for the process of democracy itself. When he is afraid he won’t get his way on NLRB appointments, he simply pretends the Senate was in recess. When he can’t get enough legislators to support his ideas about gun control, he threatens to issue Executive Orders. From every pore, he oozes contempt for anything that slows the enactment of his socialist vision. Now that he has been re-elected, he no longer even pretends to acknowledge the other side.

Left turn sign

I was recently reminded of just how dangerous the Left really is when stripped of its pretenses. A commentator referred to Herbert Marcuse, a name I was only vaguely familiar with. Curious, I did some research and found a disturbing explanation for the mentality that has seized this country by the throat in one of Marcuse’s quotes“Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.”

So it’s all settled. Shut up and comply. Breathtaking in its arrogance, the Left has adopted without apology the idea that disagreement is not to be tolerated. Marcuse continues:

Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.

Let that soak in for a moment. Marcuse is not saying that an opponent of the Left’s ideals should be denounced. He is not saying that the ideas of the Right, as he defines them, are deplorable and should be opposed. He is saying that opposing viewpoints should be squelched by force.

The ideas that gained traction in the sixties–ideas like these–seemed a dalliance back then. Pot explains a lot. Perpetually stoned people believe strange things, things like “love is all you need.” Actually, no. Not a single morsel of food or dose of medicine has ever resulted from some vague profession of universal love from someone sitting stoned on a bean bag.

Finding their transcendence of the material world strangely bereft of things they really did need, like houses and food, radicals in the 60’s resorted to taking those things from others. Outright theft would have been in bad form, though–a violation of that “love” thing. So, they set about recruiting government as their collective goon. The rest of the world responded with appeasement, failing to resist when the Left was peopled with stoners and academics insulated from the realities of making the world work.

Now that the politics of oppression have soaked our cultural mindset through and through, we have implicitly surrendered to the idea that capitalism is the problem. Our undeserved shame and unearned guilt show glaringly through our veneer of self-respect. We lost when we granted the premise that capitalism is morally suspect. Instead of standing up straight and defending capitalism as the only economic system worthy of free men and women, we lamely defended it as a necessary evil.

Our lack of moral courage is now exacting its price. Energized by a President who thinks himself above entertaining another viewpoint, every anti-capitalist idea the Left has been keeping in the dream locker is now being loosed upon the land. We are fast becoming a gutless society with universally-mandated contempt for the productive.

The time has come for us to stop pretending that the Left has any intent other than to bring down capitalism entirely. Barack Obama has been accused of wanting to bring down the Republican Party completely during his second term. No, he intends to bring down the very idea that individuals have rights or are capable of making their own choices. He intends to make manifest a world that Marcuse could only dream of–one in which defenders of individual liberty are silenced and throngs of the “oppressed” are granted whatever they and their keepers want, whenever they want it.

If Republicans can do no better than to apologize meekly for capitalism, they may as well stock up on bean bags and bongs. Those will be the only things available once the Left has freed the oppressed by enslaving the productive. Our liberty will be a foggy memory when the last pretense of individualism is gone. In its place will be an elite no less tyrannical and vicious than the well-heeled communists running every other socialist show on Earth.

In order to win, lovers of liberty must be for liberty instead of against Obama. Yes, the President deserves every principled epithet hurled his way,* but peddling backwards is not a strategy. In response to an ideology that sucks the life out of everything it touches, we must respond with an uplifting, life-affirming answer. Liberty is good for the middle class. Liberty is good for the poor. And, yes, it is good for the rich, too. We hope you get rich. Then you can decide whether you should be held in contempt by those who are not.

Learn how to explain the blessings of freedom to the doubting hoards who think Marcuse may have been onto something. Learn how to respond cogently to arguments that the rich are always greedy and businesspeople are invariably dishonest. Find ways to let others know that you will never initiate violence, but that you will resist every attempt to take your freedom away with whatever means are required. Some will listen; others will ridicule. Befriend the former; ignore the latter. Choose to be laughed at rather than silenced and straight-talking instead of mealy-mouthed.

Individuals need never apologize for their desire to live nobly and independently. In sufficient number, they ensure freedom for all. When we learn to stand up, as individuals, for our birthright of liberty, the Left will wither and die. They can only win if we let them convince us that somehow we don’t deserve to be free. I deserve it, and I think you do too. So let’s get busy before it’s too late.

_______________________________________

*If you think racist barbs are included in this list, you are part of the problem.

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About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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One Response to Who Is Left?

  1. Dick Richards says:

    I think we need a simple “How to” manual. “How to Make the Case for Individual Liberty”.

    Like

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