June 24th, 2017

Guilt as a motivation of the left goes back a long, long way

I’ve mentioned before that one of the most formative and important courses I ever took in college—or anywhere—was called “Russian Intellectual History.” I signed up not because I was so fascinated by the subject itself (although I always liked Russian literature), but because I’d been told it was an interesting course and the professor was good.

The person who told me that didn’t steer me wrong:

It was there I learned—without anyone ever telling me directly—that in the 60s we were reliving those long-past Russian years in a somewhat altered, Americanized form. No, my generation was not unique; that was clear. No, we were not inventing something that had never been tried, going down some wonderful path that had never been trod. We were going somewhere that in the past had led to nothing good.

I could see it for myself; all I had to do was read, and think. If we don’t learn history we are indeed condemned to repeat it. And even if we do learn it, we may be condemned to repeat it anyway.

Lately I’ve been slogging through a very long book first published in 1997 and called A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924. When I say “slogging” I’m referring to the book’s length: it’s about 800 pages long, and I’m only around page 130. I may put it down before I get to the end, but already it’s been a fascinating read that illuminates much and reminds me of that long-ago college course in its harmonic resonances with 20th and 21st Century America.

For example, we have:

Guilt was the psychological inspiration of the [Russian] revolution. Nearly all of these radical intellectuals were acutely conscious of their wealth and privilege. ‘We have come to realise’ the radical thinker Nicolai Mikhailovsky wrote, ‘that our awareness of the universal truth could only have been reached at the cost of the age-old suffering of the people. We are the people’s debtors and this debt weighs down on our conscience.’ As the children of the noblemen brought up by serf domestics on the estate, many of them felt a special personal sense of guilt, since, as Max Raeff has pointed out, these “little masters” had usually been allowed to treat their serf nannies and ‘uncles’ (whose job it had been to play with them) with cruel contempt. Later in life thee conscience-stricken nobles would seek to repay their debt to ‘the people’ by serving them in the revolution. If only, they thought, they could bring about the people’s liberation, then their own original sin—that of being born into privilege—would be redeemed. Nineteenth-century Russian literature was dominated by the theme of repentance for the sin of privilege.

The only thing missing here is “white privilege”—because of course in Russia virtually all the players were white, both the serfs/ex-serfs and their masters.

The above quote from the book doesn’t cover the motivation of all the Russian revolutionaries, of course; not by a longshot (although the book does; it’s nothing if not comprehensive). But it was a sizeable subgroup that formed a large portion of the intellectual and emotional engine that drove a revolution that led to untold suffering for both the Russian people and the inhabitants of the unfortunate “satellite” countries that mother Russia appropriated in its iteration as the USSR.

[NOTE: I plan to offer other quotes from the book from time to time.]

75 Responses to “Guilt as a motivation of the left goes back a long, long way”

  1. ed in texas Says:

    Massive coincidence!
    -Russian Lit Bingo card-
    http://neveryetmelted.com/2017/06/24/russian-lit-bingo-board/

  2. liberty wolf Says:

    Reminds me of how so many of the most ardent leftists are children of privilege themselves. I mean, Alicia Garza, the Black Lives Matter founder who went to private schools in Marin and whose parents (a white step-father and black mother) were antique dealers. She was brought up in a gated community. I could tell she was brought up in some kind of wealth at some point, just listening to her speak. When she’s not faking a black street voice, there was something positively erudite about her.

    This is a very destructive force: guilt!

  3. liberty wolf Says:

    By the way, this book sounds fantastic!

  4. Kathy Kinsley Says:

    Heh. I studied Russian language (and its literature) – that bingo board is funny.
    Especially the ВЫ vs ТЫ. In English it’s all you – but in Russian one is formal (more often used from subordinate to superior) and the other is informal (used between friends or from superior to subordinate).

  5. tanarur Says:

    Actually, it all goes back to the birth of modern Leftism in the French Revolution. Middle class scions like Robespierre, aristos like St. Just, even royalty like Phillips Egalitaire were pioneers is this field. And the wouldn’t be caught dead with the sans culottes. Actually, they did eventually get piled on the heap together at the end, comevto think about it.

  6. Sgt. Mom Says:

    Ah – weaponized empathy strikes once more – the concept outlined here
    http://thedeclination.com/how-to-defeat-weaponized-empathy/

    As defined by the poster; “What is Weaponized Empathy? It is the deliberate hijacking of your own moral standards, your ability to empathize with your fellow man, in order to force you to serve someone else’s narrative. It is, in essence, a highly sophisticated form of guilt-tripping designed to turn you into a slave.

  7. Micha Elyi Says:

    Always turn away unearned guilt, Sgt. Mom.

  8. AesopFan Says:

    Considering how many millions of these serfs and peasants died miserably instead of being liberated, maybe the revolutionaries should have left them alone.

    Their obligation was to change their own ways and treat all people with respect and dignity, not force change on everyone else, when the social environment wasn’t ready yet.

    Contrast the peaceful end of slavery in the British Commonwealth v. the violent end in the USA. The British “woke” on their own and worked through persuasion and legislation. The American South refused to be either morally persuaded or legally dispossessed of their chattels, which is what you call people treated as property.

    The law was admittedly unsettled after “Dred Scott” — but IMO the economics and society were running against slavery (as with serfs in Russia) and the “peculiar institution” would eventually have trailed off IF blacks could have won their own freedom by escaping the South.

  9. Insufficiently Sensitive Says:

    Considering how many millions of these serfs and peasants died miserably instead of being liberated,

    Lenin promised those serfs the properties of their masters, and raised an eager army thereby. Then when they asserted ownership and resisted Bolshevik confiscations of their harvests, they were enemies of the people and expropriated. For leftist power-seekers, alliances for temporary advantage have expiration dates, and new traitors to punish on the road to rule.

  10. Insufficiently Sensitive Says:

    Nearly all of these radical intellectuals were acutely conscious of their wealth and privilege.

    Bill Ayers, stand up.

  11. miklos000rosza Says:

    Oh God, my junior and senior years of high school (68-69, 69-70) I used to wander into empty classrooms, erase whatever was on the blackboard, and write in huge letters: TROTSKY LIVES! Sometimes LEON TROTSKY LIVES!

    Paradoxically, my “crush” on Leon Trotsky led me to utterly reject the Soviet Union because of Josef Stalin, who of course had Trotsky murdered, Mexico City 1940, stabbed with an ice-pick into his brain.

    Similarly, when I studied the French Revolution of 1789, the killing of Danton engineered by Robespierre outraged me, leading me to reject the revolutionary doctrine which leads back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

  12. Tuvea Says:

    Bill Ayres, the unpunished terrorist and mentor to Barack Obama, would state his father worked for Com Ed – the power company.

    He knew that most people would assume that his dad was a lineman or did some other blue collar job.

    Of course Father Ayres was Com Ed’s C.E.O. of the state regulated utility ( in Illinois of course ). He would use his political connections to keep he sweet young son out of jail.

    Then again Ayres has a sociopath’s ability to not feel even a twinge of guilt.

  13. Harry Schell Says:

    Why else did Engels support Marx and even enable him to support a mistress and knock her up, paying for the kid?

    The seminal work of communism takes on a different light with this background.

    Then we have Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the Southeast Asian killing grounds of 1975-?.

    Thanks very much for the essay and comments.

  14. huxley Says:

    Bill Ayers’ girlfriend in the Weather Underground was Diane Oughton whose father was one of the richest men in Illinois. Her father taught her to use a shotgun as a girl, so she could go pheasant hunting.

    Oughton was blown up with two other Weathermen in the notorious Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, while preparing nail bombs.

    The top tier of the Weather Underground were mostly from wealthy or professional families.

  15. Patricia Says:

    Jordan Peterson talks about how the rise of science contributed to the fall of religion in the 19th century, esp. in Russia. Then I read the current bestseller, “A Gentleman in Moscow,” and many of the aristocrats express that very rejection of “superstition” and/or religion. The revolution must have seemed very sensible back then, very scientific and morally worthy.

    Guilt is an important motivation; the Germans called it an envy of suffering. I guess that’s all that’s left once you let go of the notion you are anointed to live above the serfs.

  16. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “Nearly all of these radical intellectuals were acutely conscious of their wealth and privilege.” neo

    That’s who Stalin had in mind, when he spoke of “useful idiots”. So too today. P.T. Barnham’s dictum; “there’s a fool born every minute!” includes every socioeconomic class.

    The leftist intellect’s rejection of God does not eliminate the soul’s yearning for reconnection with the divine. Tragic irony indeed that the left’s desperate efforts at creating the preconditions for their dimly imagined utopia of social justice and equality, essentially a heaven on earth… is just a modern version of the tower of babble. Its certain destiny in a world of competing self-interests.

  17. flataffect Says:

    I know hardly anything about Russia or its literature, except that it is a tragic nation. Even in the fall of the Soviet Union it left an ugly strain of infection in world civilization that still haunts it, especially the U.S. It’s not about white privilege though, but any privilege. How God distributes his blessings has always offended some people, especially those who have received abundantly but aren’t willing to part with any.

  18. Stephen Nichols Says:

    I read A People’s Tragedy a few years ago for an independent study class on Revolutions and state terror. It’s an excellent book. I would also highly recommend The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia by the same author (Orlando Figes).

    As some earlier comments have pointed out, all of the revolutionary leftist nonsense that has led to terror and slaughter all around the world originated with the French Revolution. Twelve Who Ruled by Palmer is a must read for anyone wanting to learn more about the Reign of Terror.

    If these three books were required reading for high schoolers in America, revolutionary leftism would have zero popular support.

  19. AesopFan Says:

    Insufficiently Sensitive Says:
    June 24th, 2017 at 8:53 pm
    Lenin promised those serfs the properties of their masters, and raised an eager army thereby. Then when they asserted ownership and resisted Bolshevik confiscations of their harvests, they were enemies of the people and expropriated. For leftist power-seekers, alliances for temporary advantage have expiration dates, and new traitors to punish on the road to rule.
    * * *
    Thanks for the info – it’s an old story, isn’t it?
    Not just leftist power-seekers, but any brand.
    I think anyone acting violently on greed and envy, even for what might look like “justice,” comes to a bad end.

  20. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Neither Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Ruhollah Khomieni, Yasser Arafat nor Hafez al-Assad came to a “bad end”.

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    On page 129 of the book there’s a footnote that says this:

    During the famine of 1891 [Lenin] opposed the idea of humanitarian relief on the grounds that the famine would force millions of destitute peasants to flee to the cities and join the ranks of the proletariat; this would bring the revolution one step closer.

    That sort of reasoning was rampant among the left in Russia in the 1800s and early 1900s, as I recall reading about in my college course Chilling.

    Anyone interested in reading one of my posts about the French Revolution, see this.

  22. huxley Says:

    When I lived in San Francisco I got to know two Russian women. They were stone cynical, but not heartless. American optimism looked crazy to them.

    I had the impression they wanted to connect to the something positive but a lifetime of psychic clubbings or perhaps real ones precluded it.

    One was in my NLP group (broadly, a California self-help thing, if you don’t know). When it came time for people to declare their outcomes, she would say, “I want to want.”

    As though she had been beaten up so badly, she had to first clear the ground so she was allowed to want something.

  23. huxley Says:

    On the other hand there were leftist activists like Marge Piercy, an SDS member, feminist, poet and novelist. She came from a Depression-era, hardscrabble, working-class family and never forgot it.

    Her work was a key inspiration in my years as a leftist activist and writer.

    History is complicated. The left wasn’t entirely wrong, though they certainly weren’t right.

  24. Sean Says:

    “conscience-stricken nobles”

    Interesting quote. I recently finished Prince Mirsky’s History of Russian Literature and he makes repeated references to “conscience-stricken nobles” popping up in late 19th century Russia. He mentioned the case of one writer (whose name I’ve since forgotten) who joined the Russian army in their war with the Ottomans – not because he was a patriot or hated the Turks, but because it was his duty to the poor to join them in the ranks.

    First thing that came to mind when I saw that was, “So America isn’t the only (or even the first) country to have a neurotic elite obsessed with saving everyone while washing away its sins.”

    Serious question: is this sort of guilt only found in Christian countries? Do Muslim or Chinese or Hindu or African elites feel this? Because I never see it. I’m also a student of late Roman antiquity and you see the exact same guilt complex manifest among the matrons of the Roman elite. It’s why they all had their own personal confessors on retainer, while fielding vast hordes of slaves.

  25. Sean Says:

    Oh, and I should mention, every time Mirsky brought up the “conscience-stricken nobles,” he did so with a notable tinge of bemusement and contempt.

  26. huxley Says:

    Serious question: is this sort of guilt only found in Christian countries? Do Muslim or Chinese or Hindu or African elites feel this? Because I never see it.

    Sean: Good question! Me neither. Maybe I haven’t looked hard enough, but I’m not sanguine such can be found.

    I had a weird, key moment as a 19 year-old in my college library stacks when I found a translation of an account by some Japanese aristocrat describing Japanese encounters with their first Westerners. It never occurred to the author that Westerners might be anything other than bizarre inferiors to the Japanese.

    I suspect the ability to feel such guilt would require one’s culture to have so thoroughly triumphed over the competition that one could afford to feel guilt.

  27. FOAF Says:

    A good example of guilt causing leftism is in the media. Many currently left-wing newspapers were not that way years ago. While reporters have always leaned to the left a large proportion of the publishers were right-wing. Not the NYT or WaPo of course, but the Chicago Tribune and LA Times used to have strongly Republican, conservative editorial pages.

    These and many other papers were founded long ago when the newspaper business was much more competitive and the original publishers were self-made men with a healthy respect for the free enterprise system. Now they are owned by third and fourth generation heirs who have never had to work a day in their life so guilt over their unearned wealth has pushed them to the left.

  28. Barry Meislin Says:

    For further background, I would recommend highly Isaiah Berlin’s “Russian Thinkers”.

  29. Dave Says:

    I can attest to the fact theres not a drop of guilt in us chinese. We have the same sense of entitlement that the west and japan owe us something because of the opium wars and ww2

  30. Dave Says:

    Envy of suffering what an ingenious term. you can’t tell Obama and Colin kaepernick both suffering from that, they feel guilty because they were better off for being raised by white families and didn’t suffer at all like other fellow African Americans.

  31. Dave Says:

    So they have to constantly doing more to virtue signal to their fellow black people to hopefully regain acceptance back to their tribe

  32. Dave Says:

    I have a better term to describe the mental state of the likes of Obama and kaepernick, the “Moses syndrome”

  33. Dave Says:

    Communism is basically Christianity without the afterlife, instead of believing that you will go to heaven after a life of virtues they want to create heaven right here on earth right now.

  34. Dave Says:

    Instead of believing there is god they believe they are the god

  35. JohnTyler Says:

    There is more to the “envy of suffering” of the radical elites than just a guilt trip.

    IMHO, what really drives these wealthy radicals is a combination of self loathing and arrogance.

    They hate themselves because when they look at their wealthy peers, they either do not “match” up to them or in no way can they “stand out” amongst them; they literally feel inferior to their peers.
    Thus, they seek a way to separate themselves from their peers and the path they choose is one that will intentionally give them fame and attention.
    Note that these “radicals” do not choose to help anybody in silence or obscurity (say, like a Mother Teresa who toiled in obscurity for years) regardless of how effective that may be, but instead they choose a path that will “show” their privileged peers that hey, ” I am (morally) better than you.”
    In other words, they are radicals not because they wish to help anybody – they certainly don’t and frankly, hold in deep contempt those they are “helping” – but because it elevates their stature amongst their peer group.

    These wealthy radicals – who send their kids to the best schools and live far from the rabble they are supposedly helping – are arrogant. They use they cause they support merely as a way to tell others, “hey, I am better than you.”

    You even see this sort of arrogance when observing folks who assume the lifestyle, dress and appearance of “goths.” Goths are basically telling everybody else, “F YOU, my tribe is superior to yours; your tribe is not good enough for me.”

    And so it is with the wealthy radicals; ” I choose to stand apart because I DESERVE to, and you do not.” They do everything in hopes of getting attention for themselves.

    And that is the ONLY thing that motivates them.

  36. Sergey Says:

    I was one of the commenters there long ago arguing that USA in late 20th and early 21th centuries closely follows the trajectory Old Russia took in the the end of 19th century in its intellectual and ideological development. Artfig was another one. That is why Dostoevsky reading is so important and actual now to everybody who wants to understand what is wrong with intellectual atmosphere in the West now.

  37. Big Maq Says:

    @Sean – if people can be envious, and covetous then they can feel guilt.

    The 10 Commandments, while Judeo-Christian, have application universally.

    It is probably our own ignorance of those societies that we don’t see that they probably have something similar.

    Doubtful that Muslim, Chinese, Hindu, African societies could have survived if their own sensibilities precluded guilt for these basic rules.

    That is not to say that there haven’t been individuals who have far less a sense of guilt about anything, or that there are/were not such people among earth’s current and history of rulers.

  38. Big Maq Says:

    As far as the left’s motivation, it probably comes from several factors, and guilt is only one of those.

    No doubt, it varies greatly by individual, as well.
    .

    But, one wonders, if we boil the left and the right down to their essence – that is, for what are shared beliefs that the vast majority would sign their names to – it might well be something like this…

    1. Leftists are anti-market. On an emotional level, they’re critical of market outcomes. No matter how good market outcomes are, they can’t bear to say, “Markets have done a great job, who could ask for more?”

    2. Rightists are anti-leftist. On an emotional level, they’re critical of leftists. No matter how much they agree with leftists on an issue, they can’t bear to say, “The left is totally right, it would be churlish to criticize them.”” – Bryan Caplan
    http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2015/10/my_simplistic_t.html

    The interesting note is that many who are on the right seem to often agree on policy.

    Seems to explain the blue vs red team we see today.
    .

    Neo gave an interesting thought experiment about what sort of policy would the GOP have come up with pre-obamacare, if they had Congress and POTUS.

    Would it be something of a version of “Romneycare”? Given this obamacare “replacement”, it might well be.

    Given the reaction I’ve had to mentioning the inconsistencies in what folks want for obamacare replacement (affecting other people) vs any willingness to give up on Medicare (what they are affected by), Caplan’s seems rather plausible assessment.

  39. Big Maq Says:

    “The interesting note is that many who are on the right seem to often agree on policy.”

    Should read:

    “The interesting note is that many who are on the right seem to often agree with the left on policy / policy direction.”

  40. J.J. Says:

    Inherited wealth and high positions not obtained through merit can cause people to feel guilty, if they are raised to feel empathy for those with less and have not earned their positions.

    My life path was one from no wealth or position to jobs that required effort and commitment to carry out. By working hard, living below my income, and slowly investing in American companies; I was able to accumulate enough to retire comfortably. Occasionally some of my less successful acquaintances/relatives try to guilt me into feeling bad because of my success. It irks me to have someone look askance at me because I worked and saved and they didn’t. They act like I got it handed to me on a silver platter.

    I do feel bad about Third World countries where people don’t have the opportunity that I had. But I don’t feel guilt because they have chosen the government and economic systems that keep them in near poverty. In Kenya, Africa I found many energetic, intelligent people. They can’t get ahead because they have a kleptocratic government that discourages ambition and hard work. As do most poor countries. Too few people recognize that the institutions we take for granted are missing in most countries. Private property laws backed by reasonably honest courts, law and order, a government that favors competitiveness in businesses, free markets where shares in enterprises can be bought and sold, and a tradition of economic mobility all make it easier for citizens to reap the rewards of their labors. Few among the progressives recognize these facts. They FEEL that somehow all can be made FAIR and fail to recognize the genius of what our country offers.

    I feel no economic guilt.

    I worked with talented people of all races. They deserved to be in their jobs. I feel no racial guilt because I have seen too many blacks, Latinos, and Asians who have succeeded. They worked hard to get the job and were not given any special consideration. Meritocracy works.

    There is another kind of guilt that I do wrestle with. Survivor’s guilt. I lived through combat in Vietnam when six of my friends didn’t. Most military people who survive combat and lose friends feel survivor’s guilt. It can be debilitating and corrosive. But it is a useless emotion. No amount of guilt can bring your friends back. Better to celebrate that you were fortunate enough to know such men and live your life in such a way as to do honor to their memories. That’s what I try to do.

    Don’t buy into the guilt trip!

  41. Dave Says:

    If you feel guilty then use your money to help those whom you want to help, don’t force those who don’t feel an ounce of guilt to pay with you. If you are previlged that means you ancestors worked hard to obtain this previged life for you, someone related to you actually worked hard to give you this wonderful life to you because they love you therefore there is no reason to have guilt about it. If you work hard to provide your children a privileged life do you want them to feel guilty too. It is a bunch of progressive bull s**t. I have said it many time the reason why illegal immigrants don’t deserve to be American citizens because their ancestors didn’t take the risk to come to america when America needed lots of low skilled labour, they have no one to blame but their ancestors who chose not take risk to come to America in the past when America was not wealthy, no one owe them anything, if they want to come here now come legally, prove their worth to the country instead of forcing their way in with weaponised empathy

  42. Richard Aubrey Says:

    lhe American rich kids may or may not feel guilty, but if they do, they didn’t get that way by beating the help.
    Jefferson said that slavery made even a child–of the slaveowner– a perfect tyrant, which can be true.
    Haven’t read the book. I’m trying to get the nerve to read Bloodlands and learning how they got there is a bit much at this point.
    However, what guilt the radicals have been pushing is always, always somebody else’s guilt. Been that way since I was on campus in the Sixties. The liberal stylebook requires “we” when the writer or speaker means, “all of you losers and bigots out there”
    As I may have said before, I did civil rights work in MS in the Sixties and nobody I met doing the job ever mentioned guilt as a motivation. There was a Thing that needed fixing and some people thought they’d take a run at it. Perhaps they felt it, but, unlike the Russians Neo mentions, they didn’t say anything about it.
    Rebecca West, in her “The New Meaning of Treason” suggests a reason when she discusses how the Brit uppers went Red. They’d grown up on stories of the heroic Fabians, the nationalizing of coal mines, old age pensions and so forth.
    So, to get the same self-congratulation, they had to do the same thing. But it had already been done. So they had to go further left, to Moscow, for their self-awarded wonderfulness points.
    There’s no place to rerun Freedom Summer, or to be a Freedom Rider. No, you have to be looking for microaggressions, since there are too few macro aggressions to go around. Or make them up.
    College admins fold like a cheap suit, so there’s not even any heroic resistence where you get tear gassed, or even break a sweat.
    I kind of like West’s idea.

  43. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey:

    You and I must know very different leftists.

    Many (not all) of the ones I know feel plenty of guilt, and that is a goodly part of their motivation.

    And no, they weren’t beating anyone when they were growing up.

  44. Dave Says:

    If there is any thing the left should feel guilt of it is their support for an ideology that had killed 100 million people in 20th ceuntry alone. This guilt they are feeling resulted in 100 million unnatural death so they should feel guilt for feeling this deadly unfounded doctrinal guilt. “I feel guilt because my imperialistic ancestors oppressed countless minorities so to redeem my sin I am going devote my life to follow an ideology that had killed 100 millions including many minorites” you can’tget any stupider than that.”

  45. AesopFan Says:

    FOAF Says:
    June 25th, 2017 at 2:41 am
    A good example of guilt causing leftism is in the media. Many currently left-wing newspapers were not that way years ago. … Now they are owned by third and fourth generation heirs who have never had to work a day in their life so guilt over their unearned wealth has pushed them to the left.
    * * *
    And they are being eaten by the monster they spawned.

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/238195/zuckerberg-public-enemy-no-1

    “The reality of the American media is that Google and Facebook own nearly the entire advertising market—which means that once-powerful American media brands like The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and every other website you visit are more or less the equivalent of random bloggers who provide their content to Facebook for free. Does spending billions of dollars to produce a good that someone else gives away for free—without paying you a dime—sound like a good business to be in? Well, it’s not. That’s why the world’s premier publisher of Fake News is worth $350 billion—which is more than 100 times the value of the Times, media’s most uniquely valuable brand, and 350 billion times the value of Newsweek, once one of America’s most important newsweeklies, which changed hands in 2010 for $1.

    News organizations provide their content to Google and Facebook free—and fact-check other people’s content for free—because they’re dead broke.”

  46. AesopFan Says:

    Richard Aubrey Says:
    June 25th, 2017 at 10:32 pm…
    Rebecca West, in her “The New Meaning of Treason” suggests a reason when she discusses how the Brit uppers went Red. They’d grown up on stories of the heroic Fabians, the nationalizing of coal mines, old age pensions and so forth.
    So, to get the same self-congratulation, they had to do the same thing. But it had already been done. So they had to go further left, to Moscow, for their self-awarded wonderfulness points.
    There’s no place to rerun Freedom Summer, or to be a Freedom Rider. No, you have to be looking for microaggressions, since there are too few macro aggressions to go around. Or make them up.
    College admins fold like a cheap suit, so there’s not even any heroic resistence where you get tear gassed, or even break a sweat.
    I kind of like West’s idea.
    * * *
    Some years ago, I saw the same idea proposed to explain the increasing insanity of the EPA, searching for the ever-decreasing return on investment (aka regulation) once all the big pollution-causes were mitigated. It applies to other agencies, which can’t afford to admit the problems they were created to solve were pretty much done, so they continue to “find” (or create) new ones.

  47. AesopFan Says:

    Dave Says:
    June 25th, 2017 at 11:34 pm
    .. “I feel guilt because my imperialistic ancestors oppressed countless minorities so to redeem my sin I am going devote my life to follow an ideology that had killed 100 millions including many minorities” you can’t get any stupider than that.”
    * *
    Actually, they can get stupider – because they working on doing the same thing by importing Muslims who want to kill us (and them, but somehow that keeps escaping their notice).

  48. AesopFan Says:

    J.J. Says:
    June 25th, 2017 at 5:57 pm
    Inherited wealth and high positions not obtained through merit can cause people to feel guilty, if they are raised to feel empathy for those with less and have not earned their positions.

    My life path was one from no wealth or position to jobs that required effort and commitment to carry out. By working hard, living below my income, and slowly investing in American companies; I was able to accumulate enough to retire comfortably. Occasionally some of my less successful acquaintances/relatives try to guilt me into feeling bad because of my success.It irks me to have someone look askance at me because I worked and saved and they didn’t. They act like I got it handed to me on a silver platter.
    * * *
    The whole of your comment was well-said, but this reminds me of the queasy feeling I got years (decades?) ago when the fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper was re-written (or moved to different animals even) to suggest that somehow the Ant owed the Grasshopper something.

  49. Sean Says:

    Envy of suffering what an ingenious term. you can’t tell Obama and Colin kaepernick both suffering from that, they feel guilty because they were better off for being raised by white families and didn’t suffer at all like other fellow African Americans.

    Obama and Kaepernick have something else going on. Both of them are bi-racial. Both of them speak with white diction. Both of them have had to go through life being considered not-black-enough by other blacks. The rap on Kaepernick, before he started his little protest, was that the black players on the 49ers didn’t like him because he didn’t act black.

    So what do you do if you’re bi-racial and you want to be accepted by other blacks? You overcompensate by going further into left-wing identity politics than even most blacks do. There’s actually a long, venerable tradition of bi-racial blacks doing this.

  50. Sean Says:

    “envy of suffering”

    I have to say, I’ve seen this up close. I dated a girl from an upper-class family. She was in pre-med, I had an English Lit degree (I know, I know). What I had going for me was that I had an ugly childhood while hers couldn’t have been any more peachy keen. Made it easy for her to romanticize me. Oddly enough, in a way it made her feel deficient.

    Her younger sister is even more like that, being a bit of a histrionic type in order to compensate for her lack of any real problems. She got a ph.d in Communications so she could have a career dealing with victims and publicizing their stories.

    I do think this “envy of suffering” and “weaponized compassion” is largely a female problem. Anyone familiar with Girard’s theory of mimetic contagion can tell you what’s going on: women on the left, especially the coddled ones of the upper and upper-middle classes, are competing with each other empathize with society’s victims. They see some other gal empathizing with a victim and she gets status for doing so, and they want that for themselves. Hence, the endless search for ever newer categories of victims.

  51. n.n Says:

    Masochism is a Marxist religious/moral crutch. Where there are masochists, sadists are sure to follow.

    I suggest a reconciliation of moral, natural, and personal imperatives, where there are two moral principles: individual dignity and intrinsic value. Both moral principles are axiomatic or articles of faith. The reconciliation is compatible with Judeo-Christian religious/moral philosophy, and natural imperatives are advised by each religion’s separation of logical domains (e.g. science and faith). Ironically, it is this last philosophical standard where atheists (by virtue of affirmative statements in the faith logical domain) and one too many agnostics fail and end up conflating logical domains.

  52. Sean Says:

    Big Maq:

    Doubtful that Muslim, Chinese, Hindu, African societies could have survived if their own sensibilities precluded guilt for these basic rules.

    That is not to say that there haven’t been individuals who have far less a sense of guilt about anything, or that there are/were not such people among earth’s current and history of rulers.

    I’m not talking about those societies as a whole, but about their elites. In any case, I don’t see any guilt among those people about the past. Ask any Arab, Turk, Mongol or Zulu and they will happily tell you their empires were the greatest thing that ever happened, and they’re proud that their ancestors conquered and enslaved millions. I know, because I’ve talked to Arabs and Turks and have been told that very thing. Tell them that they should be ashamed of their imperial past like white people are supposed to be ashamed of ours and they’d look at you like you were nuts, before laughing at you.

    Bin Laden was the son of a wealthy Arab family. Was his terrorism a product of guilt? Who knows. But doesn’t guilt promote hatred of the larger Self with which one identifies, at least in our politics? The radical children of wealthy Muslim families tend to support violence against out-groups, not hatred of their in-group, like our elite does. They hate *you*, not themselves. Chinese and Hindu beliefs hold that their societies are composed the way Heaven/karma intended, so there’s nothing wrong with being born into wealth. Nationalism is the opposite of guilt, and I see nothing in the increasingly nationalistic attitudes of China’s and India’s ruling classes to indicate they dislike their Selves.

  53. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Neo.
    Maybe I don’t know any leftists. Perhaps the civil rights folks were just regular people. However, due to one thing or another, I have been more or less associated with lefty groups, if only getting insider communications they might have wished were going only to insiders.
    I’ve been in social justice groups and communicated with others.
    If there were any guilt, nobody mentioned it. Except for everybody else, who were the guilty. Bernie isn’t going on about his own guilt. No, it’s the evil banksters he is teaching the OWS types to hate so that expropriating the banksters’ wealth, and by extension, anybody else’s, WON’T make anybody feel guilty.
    I referred to beating the help because the book excerpt you gave us mentioned the coddled rich Russian kids were allowed to treat cruelly those who cared for them and that was possibly a source of guilt. That would not apply today.
    It is possible that the delusional upper crust youngsters feel guilt because they think they ought to and do the best they can to make themselves feel it.
    My point, however, is that I have never seen anybody who actually seems to feel it. The closest they get is the first person plural in accusing society, but they obviously don’t mean it. They mean the second person plural, obviously excluding themselves.
    And there is no guilt stemming from accusing huge portions of their fellow citizens of the most vile moral crimes, actual crimes, and personal deficiencies.
    I guess my point is that I see less of the Russian analog than I do West’s.
    One college admin said these kids put a picture of their lunch on the social media and expect a bunch of “likes” by dinner. When such swaddling, coddling affirmation is not coming their way 24/7, they feel lost and injured by…somebody. They are easily swayed.

  54. arfldgr Says:

    THe whole feminist movement is built on shaming as it seeks to harness the power that was inherent in the white feather… but note, such actions only work on your own people, they have no sway against invaders, squatters, others and so on..

    In August 1914, at the start of the First World War, Admiral Charles Fitzgerald founded the Order of the White Feather with support from the prominent author Mrs Humphrey Ward. The organization aimed to shame men into enlisting in the British army by persuading women to present them with a white feather if they were not wearing a uniform

    nice, sugar and spice and all that..

    The Catalogue of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics

    Charge of Irascibility – Whatever negative emotions he has are assumed to be unjustifiable. / “You need to get over your anger at women.”

    Charge of Cowardice – target is accused of having an unjustifiable fear / “You’re afraid of a strong woman!” / (It is important to remember that there is a difference between bravery and stupidity.)

    Charge of Hypersensitivity – target is accused of being hysterical or exaggerating the problems / “Suck it up like a man!”

    Charge of Puerility – The Peter Pan Charge – target is accused of being immature and/or irresponsible in some manner that reflects badly on his status as an adult male / “You are so immature!”

    Charge of Endangerment – target is accused of being a menace in some undefined manner. This charge may be coupled with some attempt to censor the target. / “You guys are scary.”

    Charge of Rationalization – target is accused of explaining away his own failures and/or dissatisfaction by blaming women / others for his problems / “You are just bitter because you can’t get laid.” / the idea is to invalidate everything or anything / “What if the grapes really are sour?”

    Charge of Invirility – target’s sexual orientation or masculinity is called into question / “You’re such a wimp.”

    Charge of Overgeneralization – The target is accused of making generalizations or supporting unwarranted stereotypes / “I’m not like that!”

    Charge of Misogyny – The target is accused of displaying some form of unwarranted malice to a particular woman or to women in general. / intended to shut down everything / “Why do you hate women?” “You want to roll back the rights of women!!”

    Charge of Instability – target is accused of being emotionally or mentally unstable / “You have issues.”

    Charge of Selfishness – This attack is self-explanatory. It is a common charge – usually cause somneone isnt spending enough on another / “You are so greedy.”

    Charge of Superficiality – The charge of superficiality is usually hurled at men with regard to their mating preferences [meaning you aint picking THEM] / “If you didn’t go after bimbos, then …” / Average-looking women can be just as problematic in their behavior as beautiful, “high-maintanence” women. Regarding the shallowness of women, popular media furnishes plenty of examples where petty demands are made of men by females (viz., those notorious laundry lists of things a man should/should not do for his girlfriend or wife).

    Charge of Unattractiveness – The target is accused of having no romantic potential as far as women are concerned / “You can’t get laid!”

    Charge of Defeatism – This shaming tactic is akin to the Charge of Irascibility and the Charge of Cowardice in that the accuser attacks the target’s negative or guarded attitude about a situation. However, the focus is not so much on the target’s anger or fear, but on the target’s supposed attitude of resignation. / “Stop being so negative.” / “C’mon! Men are doers, not quitters.”

    Threat of Withheld Affection – The target is admonished that his viewpoints or behavior will cause women to reject him as a mate / “No woman will marry you with that attitude.”

    Like the lawyers list of false arguments there are a lot, and these things are not all restricted to women to men, but some are everyone to anyone…

    shaming has big history..
    just ask Woody Allen…

  55. Brian E Says:

    “Actually, it all goes back to the birth of modern Leftism in the French Revolution.”

    Doesn’t it go back to the rejection of the Church? Which had perverted God’s message of redemption to a humanist form of penances, all distributed by the Church.

    Once God is rejected as the final arbiter of what is moral or not, the intellectual rationalizations themselves become just as perverted as what was being rejected.

  56. Mark30339 Says:

    Great comments, and great topic Neo. It’s instantly compelling and continues to compel with long term durability. Sixty years ago Ayn Rand portrayed American weaponized guilt in terms of being manipulated into self immolation, see Hank Rearden in ATLAS SHRUGGED. The most recent edition of Hedgehog Review has an article on how captured we are by guilt despite society’s commitment to God Is Death Post-Modernism, see http://iasc-culture.org/THR/THR_article_2017_Spring_McClay.php

  57. Frog Says:

    I am with Richard Aubrey. Guilt as the primary motivating emotion that causes oppression, enslavement, kills mega-millions, mandates orthodoxy is a thin case, a poor argument. Those acts should generate guilt, not relieve lt.

    By the guilt standard, modern Islam should be peopled by “people of the guilt”. But it is not guilt that drives them, it is a sense of superiority that causes oppression. Which is exactly what Mohamed felt when he left Mecca to seize Medina (or the other way ’round; ain’t worth checking).

    Guilt is the psychological answer to a non-psychological question. Psychologists are predominantly Leftist, always have been, out of a sense of rectitude, not guilt. Psych is one of the most common post-war college (indoctrination centers) majors.
    Psychiatrists (my brother is one) are the same. They all claim to understand how our minds work, don’t work, should work…and strive to get us to their non-objective goals. Which is, ultimately, to manage how we think of ourselves and others, and thus conduct ourselves.

  58. DNW Says:

    Neo quotes

    For example, we have:

    ‘Guilt was the psychological inspiration of the [Russian] revolution. Nearly all of these radical intellectuals were acutely conscious of their wealth and privilege…. If only, they thought, they could bring about the people’s liberation, then their own original sin—that of being born into privilege—would be redeemed.’

    Then,

    Insufficiently Sensitive Says:
    June 24th, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    “… Bill Ayers, stand up.”

    And

    huxley Says:
    June 24th, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    “Bill Ayers’ girlfriend in the Weather Underground was Diane Oughton whose father was one of the richest men in Illinois. …
    Oughton was blown up with two other Weathermen in the notorious Greenwich Village townhouse explosion, while preparing nail bombs.”

    And

    Richard Aubrey Says:
    June 25th, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    “… American rich kids may or may not feel guilty, but if they do, they didn’t get that way by beating the help.
    … what guilt the radicals have been pushing is always, always somebody else’s guilt. Been that way since I was on campus in the Sixties. “

    neo-neocon Replies:

    June 25th, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    “Richard Aubrey:
    You and I must know very different leftists.

    Many (not all) of the ones I know feel plenty of guilt, and that is a goodly part of their motivation. …”

    The earlier mention of Oughton, caused me to do a little retrace reading.

    The Story of Diana: The making of a Terrorist (UPI 1970)

    ” The facts were clear but the townspeople of Dwight … could not relate them to the Diana they remembered. … Diana’s father, James Oughton, had watched her tear away from a closely-knit family …

    Her nanny, Ruth Morehart, remembered how uneasy Diana felt about the money which set the Oughtons apart and how, when she was only six, she had asked: “Ruthie, why do we have to be rich?” …

    … the bomb which had accidentally killed her had been designed ultimately to kill them and their king. The revolution she would have died for would have stripped her father of his vast farmlands, blown his bank to pieces, and destroyed in a moment the name and position which had taken a century to build.

    Diana wanted to destroy many things. Not only the government she detested but her class, her family, her past. Perhaps, in the end, even herself. …

    … her schoolmates … used to call her “Miss Moneybags”—a hurt which she remembered, and sometimes mentioned to friends, until her death.

    Several of Diana’s teachers in high school rented their homes from her father. She sometimes wondered whether the good grades she got were entirely based on her work….

    A few years later, a school friend who lived in a poor section of Dwight was sent away by her family to live with a grandmother. Diana came to her father in tears. “Why can’t we be ordinary like them?” she asked.”

    Years later …

    ” Diana’s difficulty in talking about politics with her family was only a reflection of the difficulty all Weathermen found in trying to explain why violence was necessary.

    The group’s opponents argued that the Weathermen were repeating the errors of the “Narodniki” (Russian terrorists) who assassinated the Czar in 1881 and set back the cause of reform in Russia for decades. Like the Narodniki, the Weathermen were an elite, self-appointed body from the upper classes who wanted the revolution now and, like children, could not force themselves to be patient. The Weathermen themselves joked about their upper class origins, saying that the first requirement for a prospective member was a father who made at least $30,000 a year.

    The arguments against the demonstrations planned for October were generally well thought out, but they ignored one thing which made the Weathermen determined to go ahead anyway: A profound frustration with argument and a hunger for action of almost any sort. …”

    She felt guilty for her objective “privilege”. Her work in Guatemala only emphasized for her the “structural” nature of what she saw as the problem of inequality.

    Her solution to her guilt problem? Embrace an ideology that was directed to killing others, one wherein the lunatic premises eventually and inescapably led the crazy disciples to the conclusion of that even sexual exclusivity and heterosexuality posed as inequality “problem”.

    As with Shulamith Firestone, ultimately it is the human being itself that is their enemy.

  59. Frog Says:

    David Horowitz’s Front Page Mag has an article today atrributing the German passivity toward their Muslim “refugee” invasion to post- Nazi guilt. Doesn’t explain the passivity and cultural suicide of the rest of Western Europe though, unless victimhood inspires guilt.

    The FPM author does reference “mimetic contagion” a notion of one Girard as a mechanism. I’ll check it out, since, just by its name it is more credible than guilt.

  60. Frog Says:

    And if one extrapolates from a single case like Oughton or other wealthies to an entire continent largely non-wealthy, Western Europe, one is on thin ice.
    Might as well blame F. Scott Fitgerald for incitement: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we
    are. They are different. ”
    If different, how is the mobilization of tens of millions achieved by them? We didn’t all start building bombs and holding up banks in the 1970s, did we?

  61. J.J. Says:

    Aesopfan: “The whole of your comment was well-said, but this reminds me of the queasy feeling I got years (decades?) ago when the fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper was re-written (or moved to different animals even) to suggest that somehow the Ant owed the Grasshopper something.”

    The original tale was supposed to “teach the virtues of hard work and the perils of improvidence.” My mother didn’t tell us that tale. She told us that we would end up in debtor’s prison if we couldn’t pay our bills. I didn’t learn until well into adulthood that debtor’s prisons were defunct, but the lesson took with me. I knew I didn’t want to end up in a debtor’s prison. Got my first job selling newspapers at seven and was never unemployed during a summer after that. Every dime of my college education was paid for out of my pocket. (Of course college was much cheaper in the 1950s.) Lived below my means and began investing a mutual funds.(Which few people even knew about on the 1950s.) Little bits at a time, like a squirrel laying up nuts for the winter, my retirement fund grew. When I reached retirement age there was enough to see me through. Even if I live another ten years, it will see me through.

    According to wiki: “There was, nevertheless, an alternative tradition also ascribed to Aesop in which the ant was seen as a bad example. This appears as a counter-fable and is numbered 166 in the Perry Index.[11] It relates that the ant was once a man who was always busy farming. Not satisfied with the results of his own labour, he plundered his neighbours’ crops at night. This angered the king of the gods, who turned him into what is now an ant. Yet even though the man had changed his shape, he did not change his habits and to this day goes around the fields gathering the fruits of other people’s labour, storing them up for himself.”

    Storing up modest resources for the winter of life is no sin as long as it is done honestly. Resources of the magnitude of a Bill Gates or Warren Buffett are a different sort of thing. Gates cannot possibly spend his fortune. He’s trying to share it with good causes. Good for him, but I would rather see him use the money to create more jobs, but that’s his choice. Buffett has been a huge job creator by making himself rich. But when he passes, he’s going to let Gates give it away to deserving causes. A mistake, IMO. I believe the best use of wealth is to create more wealth. Paul Allen, Gates’s co-creator of Microsoft has done just that. Instead of giving his money away he creates new buildings, new businesses, and jobs. Trump is getting this issue in front of people. He knows that it takes wealth to create more wealth. Good jobs and honest work come from wealth creation. God bless him for it.

  62. Big Maq Says:

    “In any case, I don’t see any guilt among those people about the past. Ask any Arab, Turk, Mongol or Zulu and they will happily tell you their empires were the greatest thing that ever happened, and they’re proud that their ancestors conquered and enslaved millions” – Sean

    Having a sense of pride in ones own background is FAR different than specifically being proud of or advocating killing / conquering and enslaving others.

    This is very much the argument and view point leftists make about “white privilege”, as if all white folks should be walking with their heads down in shame for what their ancestors may have done.

    Celebrating our Founders and their achievements, to those SJWs, is to celebrate slaveholders and misogynists.

    No doubt you are probably disgusted with the over generalization that the left uses, but somehow think the same type of over generalization applied to others is justified, losely based on their race or religion?
    .

    Now, as for their “elites”, just follow the SJW logic.

    Our own heritage comes from a long line of monarchs, many of whom were cruelly ruthless, and arbitrary. Even the best ones were still far from benign with their absolute power. There was never a straight path from the Greek concept of democracy to what we have today.
    .

    Let’s just say we really do not know enough about those societies to make such a broad declarative statement about how those folks deal with the concept of guilt.
    .

    I’m arguing that without an internal governor be it called “guilt” or similar, there is no compunction for anyone to follow any rules.

    In our society we call those who don’t have such a mechanism criminals and/or psychopaths, in the more extreme.

    And, yes, some of history’s most notable elites / rulers / conquerors may well have been psychopaths.

    Doesn’t mean all those folks generations later are similarly afflicted.

  63. Big Maq Says:

    “But I don’t feel guilt because they have chosen the government and economic systems that keep them in near poverty. In Kenya, Africa I found many energetic, intelligent people. They can’t get ahead because they have a kleptocratic government that discourages ambition and hard work. As do most poor countries. Too few people recognize that the institutions we take for granted are missing in most countries.” – JJ

    We ought to feel blessed / lucky rather than simply not feeling guilt about this.

    Couple of points:

    1) Were we in their shoes, would we feel we have a choice in government and economic systems?

    2) Seems to me we have a very difficult time absorbing the concepts that bring us the wealth and freedom we have here in the USA.

    I’d argue that we also have “too few people” recognizing these things.

  64. Sean Says:

    Doesn’t it go back to the rejection of the Church? Which had perverted God’s message of redemption to a humanist form of penances, all distributed by the Church.

    It goes back to 3rd century Rome, which led to the adoption of Christianity in the 4th.

    Some (i.e. Nietzsche) would say that the adoption of a narrative in which Rome is responsible for murdering God’s Son would invariably instill the average Roman with a bad conscience, a belief in an inherited collective guilt. My own take is that Rome already had a bad conscience, having undergone 100 years of near collapse in the 3rd century, and so adopted Christianity later.

    All of this stuff we’re seeing today, the whiteness studies, the notion of slavery/racism (and hence whiteness) as our original sin, etc. is the 21st century American version of 4th century Rome.

  65. Sean Says:

    Having a sense of pride in ones own background is FAR different than specifically being proud of or advocating killing / conquering and enslaving others.

    I don’t see why one can’t be proud of one’s imperial/conqueror ancestors. We conquered entire continents, killed, enslaved or expelled millions. These are epic deeds, the kind that bards would have sang about around the campfires in ancient Greece (or Arabia or Mongolia). What is happening in a culture when one is expected to be ashamed of its conquering past? Have the conquered peoples taken over the culture of the conquerors and written the history books to shame them?

    No doubt you are probably disgusted with the over generalization that the left uses, but somehow think the same type of over generalization applied to others is justified, losely based on their race or religion?

    I think the Turks are perfectly reasonable to be proud of their imperial past, and the Greeks, Serbs and Armenians are perfectly reasonable to hate the Turks. I think whites are perfectly reasonable to be proud of our imperial past and the people we conquered are perfectly reasonable to resent it. What is not reasonable is to expect one group to be ashamed of its past while others are encouraged to be proud of theirs. That’s purposely de-fanging the former group by giving it a bad conscience, leaving it open, for instance, to what’s happening in Europe right now.

    Let’s just say we really do not know enough about those societies to make such a broad declarative statement about how those folks deal with the concept of guilt.

    Again, I’m not talking about those societies, every society has guilt. I’m talking about their ruling elites. We’re here in this thread to psychoanalyze our own elite and figure out where the neuroses that it’s trying to inflict on the rest of us have come from.

  66. J.J. Says:

    Big Maq: “1) Were we in their shoes, would we feel we have a choice in government and economic systems?”

    We have just spent $3 trillion and counting trying to help the people of Iraq have a choice. And they have chosen badly.

    In 2003 I had great hopes that Iraq could become another Muslim democracy like Turkey. Iraq rejected democracy for crony Muslim sectarianism and sharia law. Turkey is now becoming a Muslim dictatorship. The scales have fallen from my eyes.

    Trillions have been spent in Africa. It has saved lives but has done little to promote the economic well being of the average African. Africa’s only hope lies not in foreign aid but in governmental reform. But we can’t do it for them. It has to come from them.

    My experience of visiting and living in quite a few countries has only made my appreciation of the genius of our founders grow and grow. Each day I thank God I was fortunate enough to have been born in the USA.

  67. FOAF Says:

    “The Weathermen themselves joked about their upper class origins, saying that the first requirement for a prospective member was a father who made at least $30,000 a year.”

    Off-topic: Wow, inflation

  68. Dave Says:

    there are two types of radical racism, left wing racism and right wing racism. Right wing racism believes that a certain race of people are inferior and need to be completely eradicated. Left wing racism believes that a certain race of people are inferior and needs to be forever assisted cause they can’t live on their own, and anyone who opposes their views needs to be completely eradicated. Both are based on a self image of superiority, only difference is their target of violence. Left wing direct their violence inward while right wing direct their violence outward. Please note that I wasn’t trying to criticise American conservatives at all since I see most conservatives and trump supporters are merely constitutionalist or classical liberals and not right wing in traditional sense at all.

  69. Big Maq Says:

    “In 2003 I had great hopes that Iraq could become another Muslim democracy like Turkey. Iraq rejected democracy for crony Muslim sectarianism and sharia law. Turkey is now becoming a Muslim dictatorship. The scales have fallen from my eyes. – JJ

    As mentioned, even in our society it seems few recognize the value of those ideas that bring us our freedom.

    It is rather how all we can muster is clinton and trump to lead the two major parties.

    Have got to admit that the scales have fallen off my eyes with 2016.

    Have you noticed?

    Some here even argue that losing our democracy to an authoritarian might even be a way to course correct – just one example.

  70. Big Maq Says:

    ” I’m talking about their ruling elites.” – Sean

    Already addressed that. It follows the same logic.
    .

    “We’re here in this thread to psychoanalyze our own elite”

    Yet, you bring up anecdotal examples of the people you “talk to”…

    I know, because I’ve talked to Arabs and Turks and have been told that very thing.”

    “Serious question: is this sort of guilt only found in Christian countries? Do Muslim or Chinese or Hindu or African elites feel this? Because I never see it.

    Are we merely analyzing the “elites” then?
    .

    And, now you seem to be arguing in a similar direction as I did…

    “I don’t see why one can’t be proud of one’s imperial/conqueror ancestors.”

    Except you make it about imperialism and conquering as the prime reason for pride. Not where I was going.

    Were you just being facetious earlier with your question?

  71. Brian E Says:

    “It goes back to 3rd century Rome, which led to the adoption of Christianity in the 4th.” – Sean

    Nietzsche’s explanation is flawed, mired in the material world.

    What are we to say about this overwhelming spectacle of cruelty, stupidity, and suffering? What stance is there for us to adopt with respect to history, what judgment can we pass on it? Is it all a big mistake? Christianity attempted to recuperate the suffering of history by projecting a divine plan that assigns it a reason in the here and now and a recompense later, but liberalism is too humane to endorse this explanation. There is no explanation, only the brute fact. But the brute fact we are left with is even harder to stomach than the old explanation. So Left liberalism packages it in a new narrative, a moral narrative according to which all those lives ground up in the machinery of history are assigned an intelligible role as victims of oppression and injustice… Against the awesome ‘Thus it was’ of history we set the overawing majesty of ‘Thus it ought to have been’. (Nietzsche’s Voice, pp. 78-9)

    Rather than “projecting” a divine plan, the birth of Christianity is the intersection of the natural and the spiritual as God revealed his Plan through Jesus.

    Those that reject the spiritual nature and see only the material are left in the worst of circumstances– rejecting the law placed in their hearts, seeking to establish a new morality, but pricked by their conscience, as Paul explains in the letter to the Romans.

    Can the conscience be overwhelmed by the will. Sure. Can a new guilt overwhelm the old guilt? Rather than liberating, that sounds like a fairly miserable existence.

  72. GRA Says:

    I studied sociology and philosophy. During my undergraduate years I was a self-proclaimed liberal, but that wasn’t due to any teachings or influence by my professors. I was “liberal” because I was a college student and young – it’s par for the course. My classes were apolitical and assignments, especially in sociology, were rather practical since many were entering fields like social work and the police force. It also helped that the sociology faculty was relatively small and wasn’t entirely politically left, or at least vocally, compared to other sociology departments. Eventually I graduated and slowly ceased being a modern day “liberal.”

    I’m currently in professional school for social work and the biggest culprits in expressing leftist beliefs have been my textbooks. If you didn’t think otherwise and swallowed the current narrative of race, sex, sexuality, history and economics you’d think the psychologists and social workers who authored the texts were absolutely spot on in their presentations of said subjects. Again, I’m lucky to have relatively apolitical professors, which is quite rare.

  73. GRA Says:

    @ Dave: On left wing racism, I think it’s mainly due to the left’s belief, and non-questioning of this belief, that minorities (of sex, gender, race and sexuality) are systemically and socially disadvantaged because they are not part of the dominant group (right now I’m using the vernacular of leftists on how they discuss minority status).

    This belief is underlined by the notion that members of the dominant group are ignorant of the plights of those not belonging to this group, hence the continued maligning. Though well-meaning some may be they still don’t “get it” because being they are the combination of these things: white, straight, male and Christian. And with this one can draw the diagram of what the left operates off of.

    White? You can’t truly understand non-whites. Straight? You can’t truly understand the LGBT and non-binary people. Male? You’re part of the heterodoxy and capable of sexism. Christian? You’re close minded and uneducated.

    No lie, I was reading on a forum where a poster said that males can only be the true sexists, and the “sexism” that the female may conduct is not the same type of sexism a male can conduct. Same thing with racism – people of color can’t be as racist as whites because of their history of not being the dominant group. This is the logic that the modern day the SJW practices.

  74. Sean Says:

    Nietzsche’s explanation is flawed, mired in the material world.

    That was my explanation, not his, with a little help from E.R. Dodds. His explanation was that Christianity took over because the ressentful finally overwhelmed the happy. My explanation is that Christianity triumphed in the 4th century because of the problems that nearly destroyed Rome in the 3rd. The average Roman citizen (and elite) had a far different mentality circa 320 AD than he had circa 180 AD.

    The effect of the barbarian invasions, famines and Roman economy being on the brink of collapse for 70 years had the same effect on them that two world wars have had on Europeans. Is there any question that a European in 2013 is a different animal from a European in 1913?

  75. Big Maq Says:

    @Sean – might find this interesting…
    http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2017/07/they_were_terri.html
    .

    “Suppose you identify with a large, unselective group – a nationality, religion, ethnicity, political party, etc. An historian comes along and shows that this group once committed a monstrous atrocity – say mass murder. This leaves you with four options.

    1. To keep your identity and share the blame: “We were terrible.”

    2. To renounce your identity and avoid the blame: “They were terrible.”

    3. To redefine the perpetrators’ identity and avoid the blame: “We weren’t involved.”

    4. To keep your identity and deny the facts: “Never happened – and they had it coming.”
    .

    His conclusion:

    “you simply shouldn’t identify with large, unselective groups. Truth matters more than any tribe”

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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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