I have often heard people explain that the Left is perpetually angry, but I’ve never really heard anyone explain this to me in a satisfactory manner – until today. I’ve been reading a book by a former and now self-described “reformed” liberal, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, by David Mamet. In his book, Mamet offers a partial illustration that I do not entirely accept, but it did get me off my center enough that it allowed me to see what is – for me – the first possible explanation for this apparently perpetual Leftist rage that I can accept. Starting with Mamet’s illustration, the explanation would go something like this:
You are a good Christian German living in 1930’s Germany. The NAZI Party comes to power. You even voted for Her Hitler: not because you agree with his personal bigotry, but because you are in favor of the order and prosperity he has promised. Soon after Hitler comes to power, he mandates that you greet your fellow citizens with the NAZI salute. You realize this identifies you with the Party, and through the Party, with Hitler’s bigotry. You object to being forced to identify yourself with these things, but you are too afraid of the ramifications not to comply with Hitler’s orders. This internal conflict never resolves itself, it just becomes a reflexive action that you do without thinking. And, on those rare occasions when you do reflect on it, you rationalize it by saying you still disagree with Hitler’s bigotry and hatred, so saluting doesn’t really mean anything: you’re still a good person. Unfortunately, what you never understand is – at this point – you have already become a NAZI.
So it is with the Left. You get in with a crowd that talk about loving humanity and wanting to help the poor and oppressed. They speak about righting the inequities forced on the poor and giving justice to the oppressed. The only problem is that you understand their proposed solutions do not agree with what you know to be true from your reason and observation. At the same time, you are drawn to the cause, but too afraid of the peer pressure to object. This conflict never resolves itself and you just adopt the group’s dogma. When you stop to think about the internal conflict on your own, you rationalize it by telling yourself that the solutions are not important: what matters is that the goal is admirable and your participation labels you among those who care enough to do something about all the wrongs in this world. You never realize that you have internalized irrational dogma that you know does not work and goes against reason.
Then, one day, you are confronted with someone who objects to that dogma and refutes it with the truth. You instinctively realize that this person’s facts, illustrations and examples are the truth, but you cannot agree with her without risking the retaliation of your group (and having to admit you have been wrong). So, what do you do? You lash out at her: you call her names and attempt to destroy her character so no one listening will give her or her argument any credibility. Later, you will rationalize your reflexive use of force against her by telling yourself it was necessary because your ultimate goal is just and she represented a possible threat to that goal. Unfortunately, you will never realize the true source of your anger was you: you are angry with yourself and your group because you know you’re wrong, but to admit it would mean admitting you are wrong – which is an option you cannot consider because you have internalized the Liberal dogma. You have become a Liberal/Progressive.
Anyway, it’s just a thought. I’m sure the Leftist will reject it, but I figured I’d offer it for the rest of you to consider.