September 29th, 2009

Richard Fernandez: the death of the Left?

The always-fascinating Richard Fernandez muses on whether we are witnessing the dying of the Left:

Some months ago it became evident that blunders were piling on so fast, and they were of such enormity that they fed each other, like a patient facing multiple organ failure. The Left was self-medicating itself so catastrophically, and smashing up so many things so quickly that there simply wasn’t enough outrage in the world to even keep track of it. Like a vast wave toppling over, the very weight of its accumulated blunders has reduced everyone — including its cadres and the conservatives, almost to the role of spectators. I wondered in comments last August whether it was actually safe to asssume that the Left was “too big to fail” or whether its sheer size simply multiplied the destruction it brought to bear upon itself — and on others…

It is events in the United States that have really provoked the crisis. European socialism was fantasy viable only while the US successfully performed the role of global system administrator. With Barack Obama crashing subsystem after subsystem, the socialist appendages are powering down. Without free energy from the capitalist system they despise, socialism is indeed doomed. What no one anticipated was how quickly the end might come. It would be really interesting if the key problem in the next few years turned out to be not about how to defeat the left, but how to survive the maelstrom left by its sinking.

I’m not at all sure what will happen—which makes me no different from most people. We cannot foresee the future. But in the present, there are rumblings of discontent. The question is how deep they go.

I am a student of this sort of ideological change—it’s one of the main things I write about. And one thing I’ve learned is to have a healthy respect for how difficult it is for most people to abandon an entire philosophy, a way of looking at the world that is deeply entrenched and widely shared. For true believers, whatever failures the Obama administration has experienced can be chalked up to racist teabaggers, the rot of the capitalist system itself, his own personal failings, or sabotage by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh and their like playing up to the gullible bitter clingers of America.

But I do think that Fernandez is onto something here, especially in his comments about the European socialist dream only being viable because it was backed by the US and its very different system. It’s something like the situation with pacifists—they can only exist if protected by a larger society willing to use force to protect itself and the pacifists too.

If the Left is failing, it may be a case of “be careful what you wish for” combined with “give them enough rope and they will hang themselves.” Every theory of government is only an abstraction until put into practice. Communism may have seemed like a good deal until its full flowering into tyranny was demonstrated; witness the many American Communists who thought they had an answer to the woes of capitalism demonstrated by the Depression, but dropped out of the Party after Stalin’s crimes were revealed.

Leftism may be demonstrating its own limitations by finally coming to power and needing to perform in the real world. Leftism had been on the outside looking in ever since the Reagan years. Clinton, the one Democratic president during that time, pulled back from a full liberal agenda because he realized there was no stomach for it in the America of the 90s. But during the Bush years, the distortions of the press as well as Bush’s own flaws combined to work liberals up to a fever pitch of protest and criticism, and the backlash from his administration created an environment in which for the first time since the Carter years liberals and the Left gained powerful control of the executive and both branches of the legislature.

This result has been that, ever since January, we’ve gotten to see what Leftists really want, because they concluded they had a mandate (and/or the power) to get it. So far, Americans haven’t been too happy with the sight. If this trend continues, and especially if much of the liberal agenda gets passed and has negative repercussions for the economy and our security, more Americans will grow a lot more unhappy.

Will this end up discrediting the Leftist agenda and approach as a whole? I think it would at least cause a temporary backlash. But people are fickle, and generations and memory are short. I’m afraid that all it might take for things to reverse, and for the Left to flourish again, would be a few terms of conservative power with its inevitable excesses and mistakes, as well as the fact that no government can solve the problems inherent in living.

Leftist thought is inherently seductive. It promises a utopia, or close to it, and its siren song sounds good to those who don’t study economics and history (and even to some who do). I fear that the lessons of history must be relearned over and over.

75 Responses to “Richard Fernandez: the death of the Left?”

  1. Baklava Says:

    Many people are incapable of understanding and embracing what is good for the whole (capitalism) because they do not understand it.

    Journalists do a poor job of learning economics, science, physics, etc and therefore do a poor job of explaining anything to anybody.

    It is only through due diligence that anybody comes around like I did in 1991 (visiting the library 3 times a week for a full year) when I heard alternative views and wanted to figure out what was true.

    People are busy yes.

    But some of this propaganda over the years is just soooo lazy and deals in identity politics versus facts and issues.

    It is due to identity politics that many voted for Obama and weren’t even interested in an old guy named McCain – never mind the ageism in such idiocy.

    As long as such large percentages of the population believe that conservatives are racist, sexist, anti-poor, greedy rich white men mostly due to lazy journalists with so-called good intentions we may not win the Congress or White House back.

    In America the visceral dislike of John Kerry was what lost him the election. Bush’s positive numbers were so beatable. Nevermind Kerry had similar positions as Obama.

    It took the Obama – a black man in America – a positive in America (despite the leftist’s claim that it was a negative) with a handsome face and appeal to the young to win an election over GOOD POLICIES.

    Will the right win in the next election? It all depends mostly on identity politics I believe.

  2. Scottie Says:

    Well, we can certainly hope for the death of the leftist movement!

    Perhaps the US has been filling the role of enabler for these past few decades?

    Think of it as similar to a far too patient parent who continues to tolerate the misbehavior of their offspring – even when said offspring have reached adulthood and by all rights should be carrying their own load in life rather than relying upon mommy and daddy.

    The good ol USA carried the majority burden for NATO, providing most of the troops, support, and financial burden for decades while the European nations allowed their militaries to degenerate into forces barely able to fill *peace keeper* roles (whatever *peace keeper* means these days).

    Consider the example of the United Nations.

    The USA again, tolerant to a fault, carried the majority burden for financing that institution long after it became clear it was nothing more than an arena enabling small petty tyrants to blame the US for whatever the latest cause of the day was.

    Consider the myriad relief organizations, from the International Red Cross on down, that the USA in both public and private contributions continuously provides vast amounts of aid for.

    Who was the first on the scene after the Indian Ocean tsunami, for instance?

    This is typical, rather than unusual, for the US and has been the case for decades.

    Think about all of the nations of the world that receive financial aid, directly or indirectly, from the US government via foreign aid.

    Exactly how much foreign debt owed to US taxpayers was simply forgiven and written off after WWII?

    Think foreign investors are about to write off US debt any time soon?

    All we in the US have allowed to happen by indulging these nations, is to continue the perpetual adolescence of much of the socialist governments of the world as the US guarantees them markets for their goods, financial aid for their nations, and protection from any enemies that in previous centuries would have long ago swallowed them up under expansionist tendencies so often characteristic of tyrants.

    By coddling them, we have left them weaker.

    We have allowed them to neglect seeing to their own survival at even the most basic level, while at the same time creating an environment that encourages them to scream about how they are entitled to whatever they fancy they should be getting at the moment at US taxpayer expense.

    Now that the US is having it’s own difficulties, interestingly enough in large part due to the very socialists who have now gained power in our nation, these other nations had better grow up – and quick.

    Otherwise, when the US finally comes out of it’s own internal problems (and it always does), the rest of the world may be in a far graver mess than they ever realized was possible.

  3. Baklava Says:

    I have a coworker who still says, “I can see Russia from my house”.

    She is female. She doesn’t study economics. I send her stuff once every few weeks – she tells me she deletes it. She isn’t interested.

  4. gcotharn Says:

    The left can sell individual trees in their forest. If the left tries to sell the whole forest, then the public says: “Whoa! We don’t want to buy that forest!”

  5. Baklava Says:

    It is identity politics that is hurting Obama also

    As Neo blogged about this issue – a stone faced smile video that went viral – Obama does this to himself.

    Sean Hannity’s team did a video of Obama’s sunday show apperances….

    The same exact phrases were used (memorized) for each of the Sunday appearances (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN). It was eerie.

    Obama’s continued irrelavant strawman arguments are recognized by an ever growing population. If Obama continues to never acknowledge other viewpoints he is killing his own identity.

    Democrats in Congress are doing the same thing by putting forth legislation so quickly without allowing 72 hours or a CBO score.

    This stuff is insane. Democrats COULD actually hold onto Congress for the next 40 years if they slowed down and actually did things that addressed problems with respect for the American people.

  6. Ike Says:

    The question that remains:

    Will they do too much irreversible damage on their way out?

  7. huxley Says:

    Since Steven Den Beste left the scene, Richard Fernandez is the most impressive, original thinker/blogger around for my money.

    It’s worth pondering his latest article and the antecedent to it.

    My sense too is that the left is not at the brink of everlasting power but at the brink of its collapse.

    Obama and the Democrats are pushing so hard because they instinctively know the clock is ticking and if they don’t get what they want done now, it won’t get done. Mostly they are not getting anything done and they look more cartoonish by the day.

    Furthermore, over the next ten and twenty years we will see very unpleasant things in Europe that will provide good warning.

  8. jon baker Says:

    Rush was talking about how the Health Care Reform thing, as it looks now, will not actually kick in till 2013- after the 2012 elections. In other words, the dems can say- “we passed the bill”, but the problems will not start showing up for the sheeple till after the election of 2012……

  9. Don Says:

    She is female. She doesn’t study economics. I send her stuff once every few weeks – she tells me she deletes it. She isn’t interested.

    You can always resort to ridicule. That has more bite than logic and facts with most people, particularly leftists.

  10. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Various thoughts:
    You could sell snow to Eskimos if you could figure out a way to couch it in terms of envy.
    Ditto selling people on the virtues of poking themselves in the eye with a sharp stick.
    Problem with the left failing is that it will leave in its wake a number of institutions–nationalized this and that–which will have a momentum and special interests defending them which will be damaging and difficult to overcome.
    And I reiterate my point, which I’ve made for months, that zero’s supporters have a hard time climbing down because of all the awful vitriol they spilled on the rest of us, mixed with the demand we understand their superiority and our inferiority. And until they climb down, they will be resisting reform.

  11. Baklava Says:

    Don wrote, “You can always resort to ridicule. That has more bite than logic and facts with most people, particularly leftists.

    Give me an example!

    How do you retort to someone who uses identity politics.

    For instance – how do you retort to somebody who says, “I can see Russia from my house” still ?

  12. Artfldgr Says:

    It’s something like the situation with pacifists—they can only exist if protected by a larger society willing to use force to protect itself and the pacifists too.

    Which a long time ago i pointed out that they are a form of parasite. their camoflage is the semblence of moral superiority which they appear to take the higher ground (while abandoning their fellow people to suffer without them), and have no qualms about lining up for rewards after donning such false rainments.

    If the Left is failing, it may be a case of “be careful what you wish for” combined with “give them enough rope and they will hang themselves.”

    very few have an idea what they have behind the curtains. and we are confusing the failure of the left for the failure of our state. our state is failing, not the left. the left have no desire for good governance (as keenan said, ayers sds demonstrated).

    everyone wants to keep this in a conceptual where we are always in control of the next one to sit in the drivers seat.

    so we think we can punish them for trying this. how we doing with franks? pelosi? etc… how long was kenedy in office?

    if the whole damn thing falls apart there is no drivers seat for us to control who sits in it.
    then there is no punishment even possible, so why would they care?

    there is no way to restore the republic but by grace of god.

    of course the last shaky days of the republic will look like them failing. it will get us to tip it over with glee. something we have to do for them to succeed. (and if we dont there are enough people on their side to create history by acting and pretending to be something else. which is a common thing – we cant handle suicide bombers blowing themselves up, how could we handle people who are willing to do horrible things, get caught, and pretend to be somthing and accept the end as a way to contrive a position. its less than death and you get out as a lot of left will let you out not knowing if you are one of those or just nuts).

    so what do you all think will get us to snap to attention if we boil over?

    being attacked from an external force or forces.

    then we will snap to, and like jello, water will become solid enough to hold.

    we are frozen at one point
    the chaos will be us unfreezing
    attack will move us to a new place
    and freeze us at that new point as we come together to defend ourselves

    that is we will become what we oppose when (we believe) that is the only choice to survive.

    we cant fight an external war and an internal battle over ideology that comes to blows at the same time. so we will give up the internal battle to save ourselves from the external battle which is third party contrived. the goal is to win the internal battle by sacrificing a state that is not important (iran, venezuela, cuba, etc), and then collect the prize.

    then the real deal starts..

    will this kind of thing succeed?

    probably more than i would want to think given that this outcome is easy to predict given we will not stand up for our own morals in peacetime.

    we are pawns, and we think we are valuable.
    we are secular, and we have no value in that reality

  13. Artfldgr Says:

    identity politics = populism

  14. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Reports of the left’s death are greatly exaggerated.

    Just as “the poor you shall always have with you” so too shall both the left and the right exist, for they are two sides of the same coin. Cain and Able, North and South, East and West, man and woman. Duality is an operative condition of the universe in which we live.

    The appropriate questions are, “how long till the policies Obama and the left are attempting to implement are discredited in independents and moderates minds?” and Ike’s “how much damage will they do before they are voted out?”

    The answer to the first question is, at the soonest, 2012.

    The answer to the second is quite a lot.

  15. Thomass Says:

    A lot of us thought the hard left was dieing during the Clinton era. He definitely didn’t believe in a command economy and his moderation spread to other western parties.

    Then he went away, republican won a few elections, and democrats needed a new image. They dusted off far leftism and hit play. A new generation was around that didn’t remember the old failures from the 70-80s… let alone Stalin, Mao, Castro, et all (and their western apologists)… and now they’re back for another go… even though it’s never worked… all the times it’s been tried…

  16. Thomass Says:

    Baklava Says:

    “September 29th, 2009 at 6:27 pm
    Don wrote, “You can always resort to ridicule. That has more bite than logic and facts with most people, particularly leftists.”

    Give me an example!”

    Ok, to I can see Russia from my house… “Keep looking until you can find a clue”. 🙂

  17. Artfldgr Says:

    I dont know if they are dead, but they sure are using our money to make more of em.

    How are President Obama’s national service grants being used?

    To train the next generation of union organizers, of course.

    for something thats dead, didnt they just steal about 10 trillion of our future?

  18. Steven Says:

    “I fear that the lessons of history must be relearned over and over.”

    Sad but true. As I like to phrase it: If history teaches us anything, it’s that history doesn’t teach us anything.

  19. Baklava Says:;jsessionid=abc6iDWX5a9Haak_taiqs

  20. Portia Says:

    Baklava Says:

    “September 29th, 2009 at 6:27 pm
    Don wrote, “You can always resort to ridicule. That has more bite than logic and facts with most people, particularly leftists.”

    Give me an example!”

    Ok, to I can see Russia from my house… “Keep looking until you can find a clue”.

    “And I can see Tina Fey!”

  21. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    There is something deeply ingrained in many people’s genes that make them appreciate the ideas of socialism and marxism, and fail to see or remember the failures.

    Case in point – Chile. Chile is a country that could be much more prosperous than it is. Lots of natural resources, an educated population, excellent ports, a middle class. Under socialist/marxist president Salvador Allende (1970-73) they went socialist. Allende nationalized most industries and seized the larger farms. He instituted many social programs to improve the life of the poor. However, by 1973 the economy was shrinking at a 5% rate while inflation was in excess of 100%. Allende was deposed (he committed suicide before he could be arrested) by a military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet.

    Pinochet ruled as a military dictator then as president from 1974 to 1990 when elections were finally held and he stepped down peacefully. During his period of rule the economy was transformed back to a private enterprise, free market system and the country’s growth was remarkable, but not without problems. They experienced a currency crisis in 1982, but that was resolved and the country continued to privatize and improve their economy. Patricio Aylwin succeeded Pinochet and continued the economic policies begun under him and so did his successor. However, in 2000 a center left president was elected and he was replaced by the socialist, Michelle Batchelet, in 2006. Under Batchelet Chile is slowly moving back toward the socialist policies of Allende. It is as if they have totally forgotten that those policies had wreaked havoc on the economy when tried before.

    There is a lesson there, but the left don’t see it.

  22. Artfldgr Says:

    Al Sojna Schmidt is interesting. glad she changed her look too, she looks much nicer now. she has other videos out too, not too many yet, though you can see she has a style that the average person who likes short stuff would like (though she now reminds me a bit like bob parks).

    thanks for the link…

  23. Ymarsakar Says:

    This enemy you cannot beat.

  24. Artfldgr Says:

    J.J. formerly Jimmy J.,
    they havent forgotten, they just now use different names and repackaged it. like calling communists progressives. then calling progressives liberals. each time resurecting the failed idea under a new name or label in which reasonable people then say, its not the same. that is till they have a yolk around their necks and then, if lucky, throw that off. but then, they come up with a new name.

    we learn by names because the teachers no longer teach principals, and so we no longer understand that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

    all these games facilitate this great game where they get to try endlessly because freedom cant take the measures they can or is unwiling to.

    though sometimes it does happen…

    however if we go, it all goes…

  25. LisaM Says:

    Baklava Says:

    “September 29th, 2009 at 6:27 pm
    Don wrote, “You can always resort to ridicule. That has more bite than logic and facts with most people, particularly leftists.”

    Give me an example!”

    Or, how about, “And I can see all 57 states!”

  26. Flippy Says:

    “Give me an example!”

    It’s no longer your house. Obama just nationalized it.

  27. Occam's Beard Says:

    Give me an example!

    The key with this sort of nitwit is to appear that all the cool kids have moved on, and she is sporting last year’s fashion, so they may not sign her yearbook. Nothing torments such people more than the thought that they’re rubes. Your response obviously needs to be tailored to the precise circumstances, but something along the lines of smiling wistfully and then saying “Yeah, and back when it [fill in liberal proposal here] did seem like such a sensible idea, too. Which reminds me, whatever happened to Ricky Martin, anyway?” and then change the subject. That should do it.

  28. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Artfldgr said, “however if we go, it all goes…”

    Unfortunately, very true.

  29. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    Liberalism is founded on pretending that reality will go away. I think that sentiment has been common to humankind for centuries, so I expect it to merely morph into another form.

  30. Occam's Beard Says:

    I think that sentiment has been common to humankind for centuries, so I expect it to merely morph into another form.

    No such word as “humankind;” it’s “mankind.” But otherwise I subscribe to the sentiments expressed.

  31. Gray Says:

    How do you retort to someone who uses identity politics.

    For instance – how do you retort to somebody who says, “I can see Russia from my house” still ?

    I play this game all the time.

    Lead off my asking her why Obama hates Eskimos:

    Then make fun of her for failing Geography as a child.

    Ask her if she can see Obama’s ass from her house. State that Alaska is closer to Russia than she is to Obama’s ass and then ask how she is still able to kiss Obama’s ass.

    Realize here that you can win, but it will likely cost you your job. I don’t fight these things at work. It’s not worth it.

  32. Baklava Says:

    That’s the best one Gray. 🙂 LOVE IT!

    I saw the news story a few days ago and it FITS !

  33. Prefer not to state Says:

    If not Greed, then Fear.

    As long as the culture, perhaps especially Christians, accept criticism of the rich as Greedy, and therefore Bad, the left will not fail.

    The two ways to influence others: carrots & sticks.
    Greed and Fear.

    Capitalism and its rich folk use the carrot of a win-win deal, which both sides must peacefully agree to — and which turn out to allow poor folk the best chance to win.

    The alternative to peaceful agreement (out of greed), is Fear. Use laws, and fear of the police/ IRS, to make people accept deals they would not otherwise accept.

    The goal of the elite is to both tell AND force other people what to do. (Like ‘quit smoking’.)

  34. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    For instance – how do you retort to somebody who says, “I can see Russia from my house” still ?

    “Oh, you moved in with Tina Fey? that’s soooo cool. Can you get me an autographed picture? thanks!”

  35. Gray Says:

    That’s the best one Gray. LOVE IT!

    I’m a bigger tool in person than I am on this blog. I can needle a lib into tears, or taking a swing at me.

    Just today, I used the following at the gym:

    Assmunch: “I think that is wrong what they are doing to Romain Palaski. The victim doesn’t even want him tried.” (note that every single fact was wrong, but you can’t engage on that, they just say “Nuh-uhhh…”)

    Gray: I didn’t know you like to bugger little kids. You always seemed OK to me….

    Assmunch: Hey! F you! I don’t wanna have sex with kids!

    Gray: No? Roman Polanski does. Why are you defending him?

    Assmuch: “Grumble mumble….”

    But then I “good-naturedly” needled him every time I walked past him about “having the number of a hot 12 year-old for him” and loudly asking him if “My Little Pony” makes him horny.

    The assmunch was really getting steamed…. It was very fun. I’ll bet I don’t hear any more stupid things out of him.

    I guess my advice is: Make it personal, make it funny, go ugly early and go for blood if you see weakness.

    I could probably needle Ghandi to taking a swing at me. I learned it from my Grand-dad–Oh, how he could spot a weakness and tear people apart laughing the whole time.

  36. Gray Says:

    “Oh, you moved in with Tina Fey? that’s soooo cool. Can you get me an autographed picture? thanks!”

    Nah… To much set up and you assume she knows where the gibe is from. I guarantee you she doesn’t even know who said that, and may not know who Tina Fey is.

    Better yet: “But you can see Russia from her house now that Global Warming has melted all the ice! Don’t you understand global warming?”

    That will f her up good.

  37. Baklava Says:

  38. Baklava Says:

    Long … but very worth it. Incredible insights…

  39. tom Says:

    After 11/2004 people were talking about the death of the left, then after 11/2008 they were talking about the death of the right. The pendulum swung quite a bit sooner this time, but does it mean anything?

    What does the death of an ideology look like? Mass conversion? Or would it be the shifting of independents toward the right enough to marginalize the left? If conversion is part of it, then a third ideology could stand to make significant gains. Disillusioned leftists aren’t likely, IMHO, to simply jump over to the right. (And it’s high time that false dichotomy of ‘left-right’ died, anyway.)

    Also, if the left does implode, I think the right is utterly unprepared to take its place. Consider all the areas of society controlled by the left, including academia and much of the big media, Hollywood, etc. Even if we’re just talking politically (if you can isolate that), who could the Republicans run in 2012?

    Just conjecturing.

  40. tom Says:

    Artfldgr, sorry I didn’t return to our previous discussion. Just to be clear, when I was talking about revolution, I meant a peaceful one.

  41. Gray Says:

    Also, if the left does implode, I think the right is utterly unprepared to take its place. Consider all the areas of society controlled by the left, including academia and much of the big media, Hollywood, etc.

    Yeah, we’d be just lost without all that crap….

  42. Oblio Says:

    If you read down in the comments, Wretchard is saying that US naval withdrawal will destabilize large parts of the world and the global trading system. The unstated analogy here is the collapse of the British Navy’s ability to deter aggressors in during the 1935 Abyssinian Crisis. Budget cuts left the British unable to either back up League of Nations sanctions against Italy or to deter Japanese aggression against China. British retreat destabilized East Asia. A sense of facing multiplying threats without adequate resources made appeasement seem to be a viable response, at least in the short term.

    Such a withdrawal seems be almost inevitable given the combination of budgetary pressure and the Left’s diffidence about defending Western allies and critical interests.

    Wretchard has good reason to be blue.

  43. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Gray says, “I guess my advice is: Make it personal, make it funny, go ugly early and go for blood if you see weakness.”

    Wow, that’s right out of Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” It’s about the only way I know shut them up. Hit ’em with their own medicine. When they understand you know the same rules, it takes the wind out of their sails.

  44. Gray Says:

    When they understand you know the same rules, it takes the wind out of their sails.

    Nah. The average dirty office-lib has never even heard of Alinsky–they are victims of Alinsky and they don’t even know it.

    I was simply describing dirty interpersonal warfare.

  45. rickl Says:

    Somewhat off topic:

    #1 on Barnes & Noble

    #6 on Amazon

    And it won’t even be released until Nov. 17.

    I’ll bet she can hear “ka-ching!” from her house. 🙂

  46. Memphis Steve Says:

    I’m afraid you’re probably right. It doesn’t help that most of our schools no longer teach the principals that our country was founded upon, or that few Americans are being taught our true history. The biggest threat to the Left that I’ve seen lately is simply the painful reality that bad economic policy and massive corruption actually cost money, and much of that money is coming out of the investments of millionaire and billionaire Leftists. It’s actually causing them some pain, and they don’t like it. They’re unaccustomed to having to pay a high price for anything.

  47. Perfected democrat Says:

    Imagine how many more neocons there will be in, thirty years! It appears, however, that the problem is most urgently connected with short-term demographics. Unfortunately, Mao was partly correct, at least that one about, “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” So, make babies if you can, buy handguns and bullets, join the NRA, rant about Honduras (it really is a very straight forward and uncomplicated issue with zero legitimate debate from the left, and they know it), a little solidarity can go a long way…

  48. J.L. Says:

    I’m on a family vacation, and am writing this via a public computer. But, the clip from hernandez rings very true. “The Left” has seemed to me to be a phenomenon with a limted shelf life in terms of actual ideas. Its peak period of cogency was during the 20th century, when its ideas of equality and order (via government) and its critique of capitalism were most strong. But its now like a used up toy that has been unwound.

    I think “the left” can keep on existing, to soemextent, on the emotions and sentimentality that it is presently thriving on. But, as a source for ideas, its gone.

    Now, I better get going before my wife wonders what I’ve been doing. LOL 🙂

  49. LimaBeanHead Says:

    Personally, I think that the Left will continue to reinvent itself, and find other ways to cloak itself in other ideologies.

    Fr’instance, if you followed some of the comments by Van Jones (erstwhile Green Czar), you’ll discover that his “Green Jobs” agenda was actually a means to the end of providing tax-funded government jobs for his inner-city kids.

    So, watch out for a dramatic rise in environmentalism and Goreball Worming.

  50. southernjames Says:

    I think people tend to choose security and food, over freedom, when push comes to shove. And if they are hungry and desperate enough. And then a Totalitarian “savior” gets to grab the reins of power; his followers and supporters get to eat, and then get to become petty local tyrants in positions of authority over their neighbors; Dear Leader’s detractors get to starve and/or sent to camps.

    Isn’t this how this pattern usually plays out? Can it ever happen here?

    Look at the suspension of civil liberties (martial law, unconstitutional seizure of guns from law abiding citizens; citizens forced from their homes and banned from returning) following and/or during a period of anarchy and chaos in New Orleans after Katrina hit.

    If (and I pray it is “if” and not “when”) some catastrophe hits, sometime in the next several years, which would DWARF both Katrina and 911……a nuke decimating a city and killing tens of thousands; a total collapse of the dollar causing HYPER inflation, massive food shortages, etc.; outbreak of War which ends up embroiling us (Chicoms attack Taiwan? NK attacks SK? Iran nukes Israel or Israel attacks Iran preemptively? Russia decides to “re-assemble” the Soviet Union? ETC. – any which could result in a nuclear carrier going down with all 6000 sailors on board in the earliest days of the conflict – and what happens then?)…….

    It will be interesting to see what happens domestically. These are interesting times we live in.

    Maybe it doesn’t really matter if Leftist totalitarianism “works” or doesn’t “work.” It works just fine for those who seize power and implement it.

  51. John S. Says:

    What a concise, clear diagnosis of the left! Socialism and leftist ideology has always needed an antagonist (and capitalist cash) to prop itself up because it’s Marxist DNA is ultimately reactionary rather than resting on sound economic principle. It’s probably why socialism sounds good until tried in the real world.

  52. DeWayne Says:

    With the deaths of Safire and Kristol, I was worried that real conservative thinkers were on the decline. I am happy to see I was wrong.

    Great piece!

    The leftist agenda always leads to tyranny, and remember what Jefferson said about the “Tree of Liberty”

  53. Artfldgr Says:

    its going to change, but as ymar said, it cant be killed…

    but when it reverts or changes due to the buildup of toxins in the social sphere, it gets real schzo

    far-left homosexual author Gore Vidal who was daydreaming about Obama’s assassination.

    Vidal went on to say that the 2000 Election was a “coup d’etat,” that Republicans are fascist racist thugs, and that the USA will soon be under a military dictatorship. Nothing you couldn’t see in five minutes of browsing the Democratic Underground Message Board (DUMB), DailyKos, or Stormfront.

    if i remember correctly the republican party was formed for what reason?

    i guess this comes next:

  54. Ymarsakar Says:

    There can be no death of the Left without the death of Leftists.

    A movement doesn’t die until their spiritual and intellectual leaders die and their followers torn apart and destroyed morally and physically.

    If you try to de-legitimatize the Leftist movement, but leave the people alive, obviously you’ll run into insurgency problems. And then 10 years later, they’ll be back in power and then people will be talking about the Death of Leftism again.

  55. Ymarsakar Says:

    It will be interesting to see what happens domestically. These are interesting times we live in.

    A few military generals were rather worried, when they saw 9/11, that this would cause martial law and for AMerican citizens to voluntarily give up their civil liberties in return for the promise of security. Bush didn’t do that and he counseled against that. But what would Obama do?

  56. CV Says:

    On the whole “I can see Russia from my house” thing…

    I think it’s interesting that Palin has been skewered for making a perfectly reasonable statement that Alaskans pay attention to Russia in part because of its close proximity to the state. I can’t recall her exact words to Katie Couric, but whatever it was gave rise to the Tina Fey joke that has now been enshrined as “fact.”

    Meanwhile, during the campaign, our fearless leader said he was particularly well-qualified in the area of foreign affairs because he went to Pakistan as a college student and spent a few years as a very young CHILD in Indonesia.

    And no one batted an eye.

  57. SteveH Says:

    I don’t think it unreasonable to assume we’re looking at a bubble in left wing radicalness on the verge of bursting. They simply had to be put in charge to accelerate this process.

    I’m just hanging on for the unpredictable fallout from it all.

  58. Baklava Says:

    CV, What Sarah actually said was an entire paragraph or two, edited by the media to fit for their video but essentially what still came out in the video was a few sentences talking about Russian Alaskan relations…

    Yes, that is minimal foreign policy experience but Sarah’s understanding of the world is 100 times that of Obama’s

    Obama believes things that is scary…

  59. Artfldgr Says:

    people who can generate their own wealth are less greedy than those who steal it and have no way to get more, for they can make what the other has to find and take.

  60. Thomass Says:

    CV Says:

    “I think it’s interesting that Palin has been skewered for making a perfectly reasonable statement that Alaskans pay attention to Russia in part because of its close proximity to the state.”

    Sure, they’re just mocking it as a sort of comedy version of a media matters talking point. Doesn’t matter if it is true or valid, just that if they say it enough it can catch on and sound bad.

    I grew up next to a primary nuclear target (Seal Beach Navel Weapons Station)…. I know what Palin meant. It had an effect on many people in the area. Often positive as they paid more attention to foreign policy. We’d be the first to go in an exchange of bombs…

  61. Thomass Says:

    Ok, here is my question. I live in the bay area but I ignore mass media.

    No one here will admit the left is in trouble (they’re all crazy leftists).
    I don’t catch much info from outside since I don’t read the msm much.

    What is the vibe outside my bubble? Is the left really taking a beating or do we just think they should be?

  62. Artfldgr Says:

    Russia is now in a process of reversion to be in the right place for 2012… since they are totalitarian, all the advances they made, can be reversed by will. and so they are reverting.

    Re-imposing totalitarian information control in Russia

    Over the past decade, while proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin has held power, there have been two alarming trends.

    First, the Russian government has taken control of all the traditional mass media organs. The Russian counterparts to ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The LA Times and The Washington Post are all directly owned and operated by the Russian government.

    Second, one after another — starting with legislator Galina Starovoitova and continuing to most recently include human rights activist Natalia Estemirova — the Russian government’s critics have been murdered. Needless to say, these killings have been reported on the traditional mass media, much less has any complicity by the Kremlin been alleged.

    59% of Russians say they never have access to a computer either at home or at work.

    A truly stunning 16% of respondents told Levada they use the Internet every day. The other 17% of Russians with home computers can only afford Internet access on a weekly (8%) or even more occasional basis. And the data shows that it is heavily skewed towards more highly-educated Russians, meaning that ordinary Russians have virtually no access to the Internet at all. A whopping 74% of Russians never use e-mail, while just 12% use it more than once a week.

    so its going to be easy..
    next year putin goes back into power again…

    and then, and then, and gentlemen and then

    and then the men go marching out into the fray
    conquering the enemies and carrying the day
    hark the blood is poinding in our ears
    jubliations we can hear a grateful nations cheers.

    There are two simple reasons for this lack of Internet access.

    First, it costs too much. With an average wage of about $3/hour, double-digit inflation and Internet access fees comparable to those in the West, ordinary Russian families simply can’t afford to divert precious resources needed for food, shelter and medicine to luxuries like browsing the Internet.

    And second, it is under siege. The Kremlin has unleashed bands of thugs to terrorize and harass bloggers, and where that has failed it has arrested and prosecuted them. It has given the secrete police carte blanche authority to raid online information and expose its critics, and it has implemented special legislation which essentially makes anyone criticizing the Kremlin guilty of high treason.

    and just in time… we are doing similar… but under the auspices of improving things.

    of course, they couldnt even build a computer from parts and disks, and they cant even answer basic questions of how things function, and so they are themost meritocritous ones to fix it… why? cause they said so.

    the same kind of logic i posted last night.
    Socialists andCommunists have no compass for right and wrong, have no compassion for anybody, recognize no legality outside their perceptions, in general are unable to debate honestly and listen to arguments of others and in their perverted minds in whatever the argument may be their side is always right and the opponent is always wrong.

    and here

    New FCC Chairman Targets internet

    and so, they are each aligning things..

    the left always seems like its in a jumble becuse useful idiots lag fellow travelers, who lag true beleivers who lag the party.
    (same reason they cant coordinate business. like a sumo wrestler in a slolam against a 110 lb instructor)

    just remember,
    screwdrivers never become engineers….

  63. SAB Says:

    Right now those who voted for Obama are akin to a new puppy being house trained by having it’s nose rubbed in it’s own poop. A very shitty way to learn what not to do and the rest of us are going to have to clean it up.

  64. Baklava Says:

    Thomass asked, “What is the vibe outside my bubble? Is the left really taking a beating or do we just think they should be?

    I’m not too far outside the bubble. But…

    The left is taking a beating on methods – but there is still quite a large percentage of people who believe in leftist policies.

    People might recognize that it is not ok to cram things down with no CBO scoring and no 72 hour review period.

    But for the most part most people just want people to have “free” health care.

    We haven’t WON on the facts. There isn’t an ‘alternative’ that people are clamouring for.

    We’ve said repeatedly that people aren’t turned away from hospitals because hospitals can’t refuse care. It doesn’t matter to most people. It is viewed as a fundamental right.

    Cost being the problem – medical malpractive lawsuits and government meddling is the cause of that problem not free markets. Free markets would help the cost issue.

    The basic philosophy of people wanting a lot from the government for free still exists.

    The left is only losing on methods

  65. huxley Says:

    What is the vibe outside my bubble? Is the left really taking a beating or do we just think they should be?

    Thomass: I live in a blue bubble too, so perhaps my response is less useful to you. However…

    Among my left associates I no longer hear any buzz about Obama. They haven’t turned against him but they are edging away and nervous about the economy.

    The left is not taking a beating, yet, but they have been stopped cold in their major initiatives: socialized medicine and cap-and-trade environmentalism. The polls have gone against them in every way.

    Meanwhile the resurgence of the right, as evidenced by the Tea Parties, continues apace.

  66. Tom Says:

    If the Left is to die, Leftism must be put to death. I know that sounds like Robespierre, but I mean the ideology, not its practitioners. We must push, push them back, reverse their legislation, and never, never again allow their garbage to see the light of day under the guise of free speech. The Left are pedophiles, today left free to stroll and browse among the large horde of the child-like electorate.

    Alinsky advocated the revolutionary overthrow of America because it was EASY to achieve; taking on the Soviet or ChiComm governments was waaay too dangerous for him.

  67. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Thomass asked, “What is the vibe outside my bubble? Is the left really taking a beating or do we just think they should be?”

    On Saturday I was one of the pro Glenn Beck demonstrators in the very blue area of Mt. Vernon, WA. The anti-Beck forces came from all over Puget Sound – all 300 or 400 of them. Inside the hall where Beck received the key to the city, there were 700 who paid $25 each to see Beck honored. Outside there were another 400 who came to show support for Beck in opposition to the lefties. 1100 pro-Beck and 400 anti-Beck. Two years ago you could not have mustered 50 people to show up in support of Beck. No one cared that much. Obama has changed things.

    By the by, I am no great fan of Glenn Beck. His style of apocalyptic presentation turns me off. However, the issue was that the lefties were trying to prevent the Mayor from showing respect for a home town boy who made good in the media. It was an issue of free speech and I wanted to support that even if it meant standing with a sign and getting harrassed by lefty college students for a couple of hours.

  68. boqueronman Says:

    Something is afoot. People who have traditionally led placid and productive lives have been energized to speak out against the corrupt and spendthrift government. The emotional energy necessary to set this enormous mass of people, who generally lead responsible and busy lives, is quite frankly enormous. This kind of still nascent movement has been unknown in the U.S. since WWII. But the train has left the station. For me the question looks now like the conundrum of the unstoppable force and the immovable object. As Ken Denninger points out at his Market Ticker blog the power of compound interest shows that when total societal debt grows faster than GDP – which produces the income necessary to pay the debt – the ever growing divergence will eventually lead, as a mathematical certainty to collapse. The gap in the U.S. has been growing since at least the mid 1970s. If this process is not reversed it’s not if but when the crash occurs. Can the ideological and partisan divide, which now dwarfs the Grand Canyon, be closed so that adult and rational minds can regain control of the steering wheel of monetary and fiscal decision making? Others may be, but I am not optimistic. A very destructive and painful crash now seems the likely outcome.

  69. Michael Says:

    Alas, there will always be lefties. Stamp them out in one form and the will appear in another. Always have, always will.

    In some ways they do perform a somewhat useful function, but then so does fire….

  70. rickl Says:

    boqueronman Says:
    September 30th, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Actually, it’s Karl Denninger. But I agree; the Market Ticker
    has become one of my daily reads.

  71. huxley Says:

    Alas, there will always be lefties.

    The Flat Earth Society still exists, but they have been marginalized to extinction.

    The tendencies of the left — collectivism, the emphasis on the lower classes, and utopianism — will never be extinguished and I’m glad of that. You need two hands to climb a rope.

    But Obamaism and big government everything are getting a serious and well-deserved kick in the snout.

  72. Boots Says:

    Here in blue state Illinois (in suburban Cook County no less) I attended a health care townhall this week by Rep Mark Kirk, he’s an R in a rather D district. Several hundred people showed up on a Tuesday morning to voice their displeasure with what they have seen coming out of Washington. The regular folks were applauding and cheering each other on AGAINST ObamaCare. The Pro-Obama Care forces, all 10 or so of them, carried professionally printed signs and made sure to position themselves in front of the TV cameras. They also showed up late and pushed their way forward. At the end of the event they dropped their expensive signs right where they were standing and left them for the hotel staff to clean up. Hmmm….maybe this is another stimulus money boondoggle, printing signs for astroturfers.

  73. Artfldgr Says:

    i am so far in the bubble the good which glinda is making it crowded in here…

  74. Michael Says:


    That’s what I meant by fire.

    Dangerous stuff that, but useful. In fact I think Stalin had something to say about lefties.

    I honestly dislike the current leadership of the Democratic party but does anyone here really think that so called health the care reform would mean anything to Republicans if the Democrats where not pushing it?

  75. rickl Says:

    Geoffrey Britain Says:
    September 29th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    Reports of the left’s death are greatly exaggerated.

    You beat me to it. The “death of the left” reminds me of all that “end of history” nonsense back in the early 90s. (And I thought it was nonsense at the time.)

    From where I’m sitting, the forces of leftist tyranny are feeling their oats right now, and the forces of liberty are everywhere in retreat. These are perilous times. Liberty may eventually triumph, but it will be a difficult and painful victory. It doesn’t seem to me that things are going our way at present.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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