It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

The Myth of the Benevolent Left

page: 1
78
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join
share:
+74 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:25 PM
link   



THE MYTH

of the

BENEVOLENT LEFT



“Ah, you miserable creatures! You who think that you are so great! You who judge humanity to be so small! You who wish to reform everything! Why don't you reform yourselves? That task would be sufficient enough.”
― Frédéric Bastiat



There is an important election coming soon in the United States, and the demagoguery regarding socialism, welfare, religion, foreign policy, terrorism, the poor and the rich, once again pervades the minds of the myopic masses as they often do. But if you’ve had the misfortune of holding your ear to the media, social and otherwise, there is a common misconception among the misinformation that is ubiquitous like air, but on a second whiff, breathes more like piffle.

It seems that the most vocal advocates of leftist policies (my personal friends among them, bless their hearts) tend to imply they are morally superior than those who lean more to the right of them. The claim is made even more dubious when it is further implied that merely voting for the left is itself an act of compassion, when in reality they haven’t done anything more than what they’ve always done, which is to say, very little.

If you’ve had any conversation with a thoroughgoing leftist of this sort, they’ve likely asserted that they and others like them care for the poor, while those of more right-minded tastes care only for themselves. Classic liberals, conservatives, libertarians—these people are not only unsympathetic to the lives of others, but by repudiating a growing bureaucracy, are adamantly opposed to them. Because they do not care for certain policies, they therefor do not care for those who do—a non-sequitur among a host of them.

Of course, “caring” in the leftist style means something like criticizing the inequalities of wealth, designating individuals into abstract groups of “rich” and “poor”, the “1%” and the “99%”, the “haves” and “have-nots” (no matter their reasons for being there), and then criticizing their conditions. The absurdity of limiting one’s compassion to this or that income bracket no matter of who resides within it is dangerous, not to mention immoral. Nonetheless, this sort of “caring” is beneficial insofar as it can be performed from the comfort of an easy-chair. One might think the next logical step is an act or two of selfless charity and good-will, maybe even distributing one’s own wealth among the lesser classes they deem worthy of it—but until then, sheer empathy suffices.

There is a problem with this so-called compassion. Feelings, intentions and thoughts, no matter how good they feel to the one who has them, does not make that person “good” or even a little better than anyone else, just like having more sexual desires and sensual thoughts does not make one a better lover. The act itself, and probably the result, are forever the true tests of merit. In other words, one has to do a little more than think he is good, in order to be good. Therefor we must ask for proof of said caring, in lieu of the obvious lack thereof.

As a sort of litmus test, ask anyone who advocates for a right to housing, to food, proper wages, proper welfare, and healthcare, if he himself has ever inclined to provide these “rights”. I wager he hasn’t. We could ask him: “Well? Why don’t you just do that?” With all we hear regarding their moral supremacy, since they are so good, we might expect to see a mob of compassionate leftists providing healthcare, housing and food at a cost to their own time, effort and resources every day; but at the very most we find an advocate of some politician or other, or a proponent of a particular ideology, demanding an allocation of money and a redistribution of wealth. Assuming they leave their comforts on a semi-regular basis, perhaps they come across one or two people in need of housing, food and healthcare on any given day without providing any such thing, but most especially when a real, living opportunity for caring lies shivering at their feet.

We are led to believe these people care about the poor and downtrodden on account of them voting for this or that “right”, for this or that politician, or for this or that idea. They would pity those who are lesser off, indeed, but empirically the results are not so certain. Traditionally, caring involves more, much more, than a mere act of thinking about abstract groups of people (“the poor”), and decrying their situation to politicians and bureaucratic interests, whom are no doubt expected to step in on their behalf. Once again, compassion must at some point leave the imagination and take form in action in order for it to have any affect.

But to these compassionate souls, “rights” and charity are apparently the duty of the government to provide them. This nauseates me, but only because I believe individuals and not governments will best provide for those who need it. For example, we are not born with rights, nor are we granted them like some furlable soul. Rather, my right to life is your duty not to kill me; my right to free speech is your duty not to censor me; my right to liberty is your duty to stay out of my way. There is nothing inalienable about a right when it can be severed in a moment by those who would refuse to abide by their own duties, and we are left to faith and trust in our fellow man to defend our rights by the balance of their own civility and behaviour. My rights are your duties.

However, it is no one’s duty to provide you with food, shelter and healthcare. In fact, these are your own duties, of which you yourself (and every other animal on the planet) are responsible to provide. They are not rights. If you wish to go beyond your responsibilities and provide these to others, then rightly, you will be proven compassionate and caring by way of your own charity, and will be held in high regard thereby. But in the absence of such charity, you have proven only your aversion to those in need, by doing little more than suffering at the sight of them.

It is no strange wonder that those who care so much for livable wages, benefits, healthcare, are not the ones providing them. Often enough, the champions of these “rights” are rarely the conductors of them, but most often their beneficiaries. Even if they do not have any deleterious need for housing or food themselves, they nonetheless want it so others can have it, as they will benefit from continuing to do very little in the instances where they come across people who actually do. The poor rarely benefit from pity, but even less by inaction.

cont.



+25 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:25 PM
link   
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

What is “the poor” anyways? I can’t imagine it was the poor that came up with that classification. Only a person with an excess of wealth and comforts could provide such an adjective when examined in comparison to his own, and one is only poor to the extent that he is told he is, often without consideration to how he chooses to designate himself. But “blessed be a little poverty”! One who abides by simple means can live a happy and fulfilling life despite the disgust of those who have diagnosed them otherwise, even with his moral superiors constantly telling him how wretched, needy and slavish he truly is. In short, “The Poor” is a designation of inferiority made upon others by those who have already deemed themselves better off.

Any pity and compassion towards this generic class as a whole is usually indiscriminate, the mark of an impaired judgement. The poor are innocent of their condition. But such a view infantilizes human beings, even those who are poor by their own choice or idleness, as if they were without volition and simply pushed around by external forces. Their condition is the fault of others. If we are taking such a stance, the existence of the wealthy must be the fault of the poor. This absurdity is found in Mao, who wrote that the youth were like “a blank sheet of paper”on which “the newest and most beautiful words can be written on it, the newest and most beautiful pictures can be painted on it”. With a thought like this, we are one more step towards advocating their dehumanization.

There is an elitism in this. Someone like Engels, upon viewing the conditions of people he had already dismissed as worse off, the “working class”, did no more than lament and classify them accordingly, before taking it upon himself to devise what he thought was best for them. Surely he was empathetic and his laments were sincere, but in a world where feelings never extend beyond the one who has them, it is hardly enough to claim he was caring for doing so, especially knowing he turned his back to the ones he was compassionate about in order to go home and write about them. In the short term, his work amounted to absolutely nothing for those particular workers, and likely even less to workers in the future.

We can find this tendency among those who advocate for more than just a safety-net, but a safety-blanket. The question isn’t so much whether a blanket would suffice to solve the problem, but whether it will cover it up enough so they no longer have to stare at it. We already know the latter is true; poverty is never glorified or ennobled, but demonized, made to seem like a disease, with which the poor are obviously infected.

This is the common theme among critics of income inequality, wealth and poverty, and capitalism in general: Notice that some people have more and some people have less; criticize those who have more while infantilizing those who have less; and then do nothing in the vain hope that someone else will do something for you, and call that compassion.

As I intimated earlier, caring, benevolence, charity and compassion are not the domain of the government nor of any particular ideology, but of individuals. The myth of the benevolent left remains a myth until proven otherwise.

Thank you for reading,

LesMis

edit on 22-2-2016 by LesMisanthrope because: (no reason given)


+4 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:37 PM
link   
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

"But in the mouths of the welfare propagandists the notion of welfare has a definite meaning. They intentionally employ a term the generally accepted connotation of which precludes any opposition. No decent man likes to be so rash as to raise objections against the realization of welfare. In arrogating to themselves the exclusive right to call their own program the program of welfare, the welfare propagandists want to triumph by means of a cheap logical trick. They want to render their ideas safe against criticism by attributing to them an appellation which is cherished by everybody. Their terminology already implies that all opponents are ill-intentioned scoundrels eager to foster their selfish interests to the prejudice of the majority of good people.

The plight of Western civilization consists precisely in the fact that serious people can resort to such syllogistic artifices without encountering sharp rebuke. There are only two explanations open. Either these self-styled welfare economists are themselves not aware of the logical inadmissibility of their procedure, in which case they lack the indispensable power of reasoning; or they have chosen this mode of arguing purposely in order to find shelter for their fallacies behind a word which is intended beforehand to disarm all opponents. In each case their own acts condemn them."

"The inequality of incomes and wealth is an inherent feature of the market economy. Its elimination would entirely destroy the market economy.

What those people who ask for equality have in mind is always an increase in their own power to consume. In endorsing the principle of equality as a political postulate nobody wants to share his own income with those who have less. When the American wage earner refers to equality, he means that the dividends of the stockholders should be given to him. He does not suggest a curtailment of his own income for the benefit of those 95 per cent of the earth's population whose income is lower than his."

-Ludwig von Mises


+20 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:38 PM
link   
Sorry but I don't think you're in a position to speak on the benevolence of billions of people being a myth...

Whether right or left.


As a sort of litmus test, ask anyone who advocates for a right to housing, to food, proper wages, proper welfare, and healthcare, if he himself has ever inclined to provide these “rights”.


The lefties I know are very vocal in the idea that their tax money should be spent on the above.
That's why they will vote for Hillary/Sander's/Corbyn, or support(ed) Obama/Miliband etc


We put our money where our mouth is.


Whether you agree if government should be involved in any of those is moot, it's what leftists believe in.
Including myself as centre left.


+12 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:40 PM
link   
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Great OP, as usual from you.

There is an argument to be made that helping someone by giving them something they have not earned is essentially stealing. You rob them of self-sufficiency and the opportunity to learn to conquer their own problems.

It is a slippery slope.


+22 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:45 PM
link   

originally posted by: CharlieSpeirs

We put our money where our mouth is.



And a lot of that money goes right into the pockets of over-paid administrators and greedy middlemen.




posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:46 PM
link   

originally posted by: Metallicus
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Great OP, as usual from you.

There is an argument to be made that helping someone by giving them something they have not earned is essentially stealing. You rob them of self-sufficiency and the opportunity to learn to conquer their own problems.

It is a slippery slope.


Great if you are right wing and hate the left, not so good if you are a leftie.

Oh well, right wing, left wing, it's all just chicken in the end.


+4 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:48 PM
link   

originally posted by: xuenchen

originally posted by: CharlieSpeirs

We put our money where our mouth is.



And a lot of that money goes right into the pockets of over-paid administrators and greedy middlemen.





Maybe in your deluded corporate world...

In the real world in the UK it goes towards pensioners, vets, the disabled, young single parents, first time home buyers, emergency services, garbage collection and the Great NHS to name just a few.

And it all ends up back in the economy after that.
edit on 22-2-2016 by CharlieSpeirs because: Added a comma.


+13 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:50 PM
link   
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Here here!

Bravo, the lefts - or the so called progressives mantra has become infuriating to my heart, such that I have to leave and not be around them, (even though many are my friends, and even have been "lovers") their insincerity shows, they truly want everyone to suffer equally but they do not understand the ramifications and logical conclusions of these notions. Even worse they think they are doing the right thing, but then I also know every great wrong/"bad" man thought he was right.


+8 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:54 PM
link   

originally posted by: Cobaltic1978

originally posted by: Metallicus
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Great OP, as usual from you.

There is an argument to be made that helping someone by giving them something they have not earned is essentially stealing. You rob them of self-sufficiency and the opportunity to learn to conquer their own problems.

It is a slippery slope.


Great if you are right wing and hate the left, not so good if you are a leftie.

Oh well, right wing, left wing, it's all just chicken in the end.


No one here said anything about 'hating the left'.

It is a well written and well thought out OP. It is a shame you can't see when one of our members puts effort and thought into something and shares their thoughts with us.

Let's talk about his ideas and keep our political hyperbole out of the conversation.


+27 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 05:55 PM
link   
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

“It’s much harder to be a liberal than a conservative because it’s easier to give someone the finger than a helping hand” – Mike Royko.


Because they do not care for certain policies, they therefore do not care for those who do—a non-sequitur among a host of them.

Yes, my favorite among them being “you can’t amend laws that effect all Muslims because humans have been murdered due to the actions of a few Muslims but you can amend laws that effect all gun owners because humans have been murdered due to the actions of a few who have access to guns”

In dealing with the extreme left (and right for that matter), it’s become evident to me that their tolerance for equality and justice and liberty ceases when they are confronted with opinions that run counter to their own.



posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 06:03 PM
link   

originally posted by: Metallicus
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Great OP, as usual from you.

There is an argument to be made that helping someone by giving them something they have not earned is essentially stealing. You rob them of self-sufficiency and the opportunity to learn to conquer their own problems.

It is a slippery slope.


No it's called robbing the poor of a right to a decent life. Without them, you would have nothing to feel superior to.



posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 06:03 PM
link   
Thank you for a very well written piece, both wide-reaching and incisive. A further thought I had reading it is really a question I ask of both myself and others. How do you want to live, like discarded waste or lower class kings? Because, the difference is within each and every one of us. We will not be millionaires or rock stars or internet celebrities. No, the media sells the lower class something it does not have to deliver on. It sells a promise of utopia and provides nothing but dystopic dysfunction.



posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 06:07 PM
link   

originally posted by: Cobaltic1978

originally posted by: Metallicus
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Great OP, as usual from you.

There is an argument to be made that helping someone by giving them something they have not earned is essentially stealing. You rob them of self-sufficiency and the opportunity to learn to conquer their own problems.

It is a slippery slope.


No it's called robbing the poor of a right to a decent life. Without them, you would have nothing to feel superior to.


What is the definition of a decent life?
Who owes it to you?


+15 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 06:08 PM
link   

originally posted by: Metallicus
a reply to: LesMisanthrope
There is an argument to be made that helping someone by giving them something they have not earned is essentially stealing. You rob them of self-sufficiency and the opportunity to learn to conquer their own problems.


Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime



posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 06:09 PM
link   
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

I just wanna say...."nobody calls Picasso (or Karl Marx) an a..whole."


PABLO PICASSO by THE MODERN LOVERS:

www.youtube.com...


+7 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 06:09 PM
link   
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

This has to be one of the best written OP's that I have read since I've joined this site.

Whatever ideology one adopts, this should be required reading.

Well done.



posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 06:16 PM
link   
a reply to: LesMisanthrope



There is a problem with this so-called compassion. Feelings, intentions and thoughts, no matter how good they feel to the one who has them, does not make that person “good” or even a little better than anyone else,


Only to those who lack and have no understanding of compassion. Some people have never experienced it. Better to feel compassion and be unable for whatever reason to act upon it, than completely lack it and have no desire to act.

Lacking compassion is an impoverished soul.


+6 more 
posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 06:19 PM
link   

originally posted by: Cobaltic1978

originally posted by: Metallicus
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Great OP, as usual from you.

There is an argument to be made that helping someone by giving them something they have not earned is essentially stealing. You rob them of self-sufficiency and the opportunity to learn to conquer their own problems.

It is a slippery slope.


No it's called robbing the poor of a right to a decent life. Without them, you would have nothing to feel superior to.


I don't need to feel superior to anyone.

I only measure myself against the me of yesterday.



posted on Feb, 22 2016 @ 06:24 PM
link   
a reply to: LesMisanthrope

Fantastic read and well written posts!

I just have one question though.



However, it is no one’s duty to provide you with food, shelter and healthcare. In fact, these are your own duties, of which you yourself (and every other animal on the planet) are responsible to provide.


Would it be ethical for a mother to commit infanticide or abandon her own children if she so choose to as it is not her duty to feed,house and/or care for her children?

I'm not attempting to make a point,I'm just curious as to how far you take this statement.




top topics



 
78
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join