It’s often been asked what is wrong with these people. Polly Toynbee’s whiny voice on the wireless the other day brought the point home once more that there must be something seriously wrong with lefties. They are not genuinely happy people, apparently unable to contend themselves with their lives, even when they’ve reached living standards their grandparents couldn’t even dream of. There may be an obvious answer as to why many lefties seem so unhappy, but there may also be something more strategic at play about their malcontent.
To start with the easy answer, it could be argued that Lefties have a talent for misery. Experience shows that whatever they laid their hands on has turned to corruption, and mostly rather sooner than later. Yet, even the most obvious evidence for socialism’s dramatic failure is self-righteously brushed under the carpet by a left of centre, liberal mainstream intent on feathering its own nest at the expense of everybody else. And yes, dear “privileged” taxpayer, that’s mainly your money going into this.
Now, it could be argued that knowing so much about political economy, Lefties would be experts at running successful business entities. Alas, reality shows that this is not the case. The interesting bit is the rationalisation Lefties typically indulge in to explain away this rather inconvenient fact: they’re of course far too noble for trivial materialistic pursuits such as money making, and much too sophisticated to define their station in life in financial terms. They’re too good for this world – too good by half.
And with money being such as dirty thing, the less you have of it, the ideologically purer you become – or so the theory goes. Unless it’s taxpayers’ money which is of course a good thing to have because Lefties don’t own any money – and still know how to spend it so much better than the poor sods who must pay for their follies.
Their political delusion is not how a truly needy person operates. I’ve known places where people are routinely slain for the contents of their cookie jars. Money makes a huge difference if you don’t have any. But this again is far too obvious for Lefties. As a friend of mine once put it: “Being a misfit myself, I enjoy the company of like-minded people”. Mind you that this misfit came from a fairly suburban background where the only trouble in life was not being able to go on your skiing trip this year. So instead of marrying a dentist, lawyer or doctor, she chose to become a Yoga teacher living on mung beans and tofu. By now very successfully, I hear, which goes to show that it’s still a funny old world when you’ve made all the “right” choices.
But sometimes, the misery lefties are causing to their own lives and those of others can be quite real. When this happens, it almost always seems to be informed by the false narrative that in a world corrupted by pecuniary interests, where only money matters as the universal measure of success, the poorer you are, the nobler you’re proving yourself to be.
The idea appeares to originate in the early 19th century in German idealism, a philosophical movement which (among a few other things) tried to account for the somewhat lacklustre and decidedly underwhelming performance of the German states compared to Great Britain, where the industrial revolution had taken place two generations earlier, and had created an unprecedented surge in living standards all around the Empire.
The obvious explanation for this inconvenient fact was much too unflattering to be palatable to philosophers such as Schelling and Fichte. The obvious thing being that someone else was doing something rather a lot better than the Germans. But more importantly, it also appeared inopportune to admit this to their paymasters, the Dukes and Bishops that bankrolled those provincial German unis Schelling and Fichte taught in.
So, instead of accepting the obvious conclusion, they erected a lopsided ideological edifice assuming that we live in a world corrupted by money, and that financial success only proved how corrupted you were; with this remarkable shift from first to second person plural that became the hallmark of lefty “solidarity”.
Quite obviously, this narrative is fully at odds with the basic tenets of puritanism which were popular two centuries earlier and which held that material success was proof of His favour – but then, German idealism always wanted to do away if not with God, then at least with the necessity of Him.
What’s more, the argument Schelling and Fichte put forward is a case of circular logic because the answer is already built into the question. It helps not one bit to ask why money was the great corrupting force when the question is based on the assumption that it is.
This rhetoric still proved to be of practical value in the political language of the day – to say nothing of its joinability with modern antisemitism along the lines of identifying Jews with money and, by extension, with corruption.
As at the heart of an idea that became a cornerstone of lefty ideology lies circular logic, it is not an argument but a bit of sophistry which some people fell for because it’s such a superficially consoling thought to think that you’re much too good for this world and a victim of circumstances when you’re indeed a total loser.
In many ways, German idealism became a victim of its own success because over time it was proven that hard work was quite effective for bettering one’s lot in a capitalistic society. So, what do you do when your identity depends on being a loser, and you run out of misery? Well, you could invent misery, preferably the misery of other people. Because man is your brother and it is far nobler to care for mankind than to care for yourself – first and foremost you should care for The Proletariat!
This imaginary under-class of communist theory was in reality still unimaginably better off than their grandparents could ever have been. Still, it had to be framed by Marxist theory as somewhat unduly oppressed and unfairly exploited “people like us”. This social construct became the bedrock of all interested parties that would later make up political syndicalism, socialism and indeed communism. And we all know how the proletariat ended: in a politically astute tapas bar in Islington North, hasta la Victoria and all that.
Short of actual misery, Lefties created it and they didn’t have to dig very deep to find it either: being such genuinely unhappy people, they could never be satisfied. They could never contend themselves with what they had. Whatever was done to placate their manifold grievances only made them ask for more and/or invent new grievances. Their grief was of course not the lament of a truly needy person. Those rarely complain, if at all. Lefty grief was strategic misery peddling for political, and later “common”, purposes.
Their extreme insatiability is a feature Lefties share with other extremists. Islamic extremism operates along the same lines: you’re never quite good enough as a Moslem, and are indeed always the “wrong” kind of Moslem for some of your co-cultists. It’s never so bad that you couldn’t make it worse if you tried. Therefore, both political ideologies are not only inherently self-destructive but ultimately nefarious all around. Which is why humanity must be protected from them.
What started with bleeding-heart middle-class do-gooders campaigning for the proletariat has by now morphed into the political activism of postmodern victim groups. “What about the wimmin?” soon turned into “what about the gays?” before this turned into “what about the transgendered people?”. And whatever was done to improve their lot (antidiscrimination laws, employment quotas), it was never quite good enough. Which goes to show just how pointless it is to placate these malcontents.
The whataboutery at the heart of the Left’s perverted hierarchy of victimhood has now reached a point where one is supposed to feel sorry for not sitting in a wheelchair, and people cut off their limbs not to be accused of “ableism” – the joy of living with a (more or less) functional body.
The suggestion that materialism is bad while it’s somewhat more noble to sacrifice your life on the altar of socialist policies proved enduring for as long as people could be made to feel sorry for their station in life. And life is never so bad that you couldn’t make it worse. Which is why the weaponised grief mongering of the Left must reach for ever more extreme strata of victimhood – eagerly cheered on by a compliant state media.
There is no pleasing these people. Not because life is never quite good enough, but because it’s never quite bad enough for them. Lefties want everybody being miserable because it gives them political clout. And if life isn’t miserable already, the Left will eagerly strive to make it so – for everyone except themselves, mind. As a taxpayer, you’re not supposed to enjoy life, and particularly not the fruits of your labour. For to make people feel guilty for their moderate success in life is the basis of the Left’s business model.
Because their livelihood depends on “redistributed wealth”, their strategic malcontent must play into the hands of vested interests. Which is why lefty agitators are available to bring down a government. Think Lenin, a German export (historically, Germany is directly responsible for the totalitarian madness of national and international socialism). Let’s see whether creating an ample supply of cheap labour (“Our Coffee at Prêt”) will have equally devastating effects over the course of this century. It’s much easier for bullies to oppress the law abiding than the feckless and immoral, almost by definition.
There’s nothing like guilt tripping for making people pay their taxes. After all, there are lefties to be fed and watered and kept in the comforts they’ve come to expect – and someone must work for their upkeep if they can’t do it. This is what the latest faux-outrage about tax avoidance (not to be confused with tax evasion which is rightly illegal) was about: that it really is not your decision to make what you’d like to do with your money but that someone else is more entitled to your cash than you are – if not legally, then at least morally.
This is the morality I take issue with because it goes against the grain of something quite enshrined in Judeo-Christianity: the idea that “thou shalt not covet”. And this, I believe, still went without saying when Churchill called socialism the gospel of envy and the philosophy of failure.
In their heart of hearts, Lefties know that they can’t escape their indictment and that they’ll carry it along with them wherever they go, politically or geographically. To obfuscate from this fact, they try to invent ever new “crime” categories that are framed to persecute their opponents. They are entrenched within the deep state to perpetuate their rule and must be stopped.
© Guardian Council 2017