anthony

"Leftianity"

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What do you get when you cross a (purportedly) secularist ideology with religious insanity? 

Leftianity.

I have been trying to pin down for some time what broadly makes Leftians think and operate the way they do.

The ideology/faith has been revealed like never before by recent events, you hear and see its adherents everywhere, which aids this interesting investigation.

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Here in America the leftians are so full of irrational hate, and so close to inciting or doing violence, it is astonishing. Of course there are the fascist's here too, who are murdering Jews or anyone one else "they dream" are somehow doing harm, like the people of Jewish extraction. Those crazies may be one in a hundred million but the leftians prone to violence may be one in two in my estimation. Time and actions will tell but their hate speech may be an indicator, for mass incarceration in the Cuckoo's Nest.      

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I'm not sure if its fair to put this in the epistemology forum considering that its more a question about politics and psychology than epistemology. 

But you certainly aren't wrong when you observe parallels between fundamentalist Christianity and the SJW Left. Many people have seen commonalities.

Original Sin becomes Privilege. Self-flagellation and penance is encouraged through public apologies. Public shaming is used to both police the ingroup and separate the ingroup from the outgroup. "Saved" becomes "woke," and the "woke" are part of an elite "Elect." There's even a parallel with Prosperity Theology; Middle America's economic woes and opioid addictions are seen as the just consequences of their sin (their "racism" typically), and the concentration of wealth in coastal cities is seen as a reward for the virtuous wokeness of said metropolises.

Matters of lifestyle which seem to have no connection to politics or even ethics become viewed through a semi-politicized but ultimately religious lens of purity/sanctity vs. defilement/contamination. "Organic" and "natural" and "local" and "artisanal" and "vegan" and "cruelty-free" and "ethically raised" and "Fair Trade" labels form their kashrut, with mass-produced food seen as emblematic of modern western industrial capitalism and thus icky, nasty and full of pollutants. Male sexuality (when actively exercised upon women) is seen as degrading and a spreader of spiritual contamination (hence why it has to be constrained, shamed and kept in check by complex social norms and legal norms that abolish the presumption of innocence). 

Heresy is not mere disagreement, but fundamentally a betrayal. Minorities that don't share their viewpoints are betrayers as well. Criticism of certain people (especially if they're trans, women or black) is a betrayal, and a product of impure motives. Loyalty to principles is package-dealt with loyalty to principals, and uniformity is required within the ingroup. 

An hierarchy of authority exists, where those whom are "more holy/more oppressed" are elevated above those who lack that same sainted stature. 

There are many other similarities, both doctrinally and culturally. 

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On 10/30/2018 at 2:20 PM, anthony said:

 

I have been trying to pin down for some time what broadly makes Leftians think and operate the way they do.


Jordan Peterson did a study, saying that there were two separate kinds of politically correct types. One of them, the "PC Authoritarians" as he put them, was psychologically very similar to religious rightists.

There's also Jonathan Haidt's hypothesis, that the left see morality entirely in terms of care/harm, fairness/cheating and liberty/oppression, neglecting the authority/subversion, loyalty/betrayal and purity/contamination dynamics, however the SJW left (and other parts of the left) show a substantial streak of the three "neglected" foundations as well. It might be that SJWs are what happens when the same "type" of person who is typically predisposed to conservatism embraces left-wing ideology instead (which seems broadly in alignment with Peterson's argument), but it doesn't really explain why the SJW style of leftism only became exceptionally prominent and culturally influential in recent years. 

There's the Haidt-Skenazy-Campbell-Manning hypothesis as well, which argues that protective and smothering and controlling parenting styles have encouraged the development of a "victimhood culture" where children ended up emotionally fragile and hypersensitive, and became used to using social-media-lynch-mobs and/or appeals-to-higher-powers to resolve their grievances. Again, the problem with this argument is it doesn't explain why SJW norms ended up being embraced by the kids. The likely reality is that we're dealing with a multi-causal phenomenon.

Another factor that is often pointed towards is social media, which creates a peer-pressure-panopticon effect that habituates kids to constant social surveillance, twitter lynch mobs, and other things that essentially damage children's capacity to develop individuality. This is compounded by how protective parenting is generating more regimented children's activities, so the result is children are spending more time than ever being institutionalized and controlled and managed within hierarchical social-politics-from-hell environments (see this article I wrote here: https://libertyworks.org.au/hey-shorten-leave-those-kids-alone/).  

There are obvious answers, like leftist ideology being "cool" and all the arbiters of "coolness" being somewhat leftish. There's the simple university indoctrination argument but again it doesn't explain why PC metastasized now but not in the late 80s/early 90s. 
 

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Pity I can't open your article, "secure connection" problem. The title looks great. I don't doubt those layers of psychological influence are strong, Andrew.

The parallels and intersections between Leftianity and Christianity as philosophies is even more fascinating a study to me. Why, in conclusion, become a secular-humanist-atheist if one still absorbs and upholds much of what's wrong with religion, without any of what's good? (The conservative's credo in Capitalism; the US Constitution).

I argue that in innumerable ways and compromises the religious have learned to adapt their faith to reality, no matter how uneasy the fit, and often can certainly be more rational and freedom loving than what one sees coming from the Left, nowadays. "Mixed premises", without a doubt. But within a society amongst one's fellow citizens, it's their active doings which matter more than their irrational premises. I don't look to "convert" others, only to live and let live, and that is mostly my impression of them too. They (the Christians in particular) have had much, much longer at applying practicality to dogma, and have passed down the lessons - than have the modern atheists. Admittedly, with pragmatism as the downside.

And morally, Leftians are as altruist, or moreso, and ~several times~ more collectivist than the religious have been in memory.

The upshot is that all or most conservative Christians put great store in personal character and virtue (however alien to us the Christian virtues are), self-responsibility (a type and degree of volition) and therefore, more individualism. I suppose this emanates from having an immortal soul and of a deity constantly watching and judging the state of that Soul, by one's thoughts and actions. (As they believe that everyone else has too). Leftians do not have a supreme, supernatural standard to refer to, losing their "self" and any depth of character along with that. Just as mystically, however, for them there is the State and the People to worship and be judged by.

Leftians are overwhelmingly determinist, which explains their adoration of (specially selected by 'group') "victims".

Shame, they can't help themselves! They need our empathy! (And deriving a fragile sense of self-importance by seeking ever more victims to "help"). But heaven help those who don't command their compassion, they receive sheer hatred instead.

Obversely, many a Christian will not view 'victimhood' as the end-all of a person, nor especially of themselves, nor, by his-her group. God helps those... etc.

You have to wonder at the smug superiority which New Atheists among the Leftians feel for the Christians. Yes, "cool" enters into it. City-fied sophistication. And being higher, university educated. But the individual products of skeptical, anti-value, Left-leaning education have no right to their "elitism" by this alone - and no cause for arrogant superiority by simply being atheists. Generations of the religious have historically done and made and surpassed them, by large margins. Witness the real consequences we observe around us in civilisations. Appreciation for that and those who went before? Not as I can see. Outside of growing statism, welfarism, media, I.T. and entertainment, what have Leftians built?

I don't intend for this to be an apology for religion, or for conservatism, and if only somewhat for the moderately religious individuals who have "adapted", like some I've known. But by their visible actions, the present crop of Leftians beat them hands-down for hypocrisy, bad grace, intrusiveness, censorship, militancy, moral sanctimony, malevolence and irrationality -- as immoral as Christians were back in the Spanish Inquisition.

 

 

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On 10/30/2018 at 12:20 AM, anthony said:

What do you get when you cross a (purportedly) secularist ideology with religious insanity? 

Leftianity.

I have been trying to pin down for some time what broadly makes Leftians think and operate the way they do.

The ideology/faith has been revealed like never before by recent events, you hear and see its adherents everywhere, which aids this interesting investigation.

Liberal Progressivism is a godless religion.  As you indicate LPism has all the irrationality and anti-empiricism of Christianity or Islam even thought is does not have an immortal God-King-Who_Knows-All.  And it has the one Bad Thing that Christianity has:  if a person is not of the "body"  he is damned and he is evil. That is why Liberal Progressives cannot abide people who are political neutral. 

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1 hour ago, anthony said:

Pity I can't open your article, "secure connection" problem. The title looks great. I don't doubt those layers of psychological influence are strong, Andrew.

The parallels and intersections between Leftianity and Christianity as philosophies is even more fascinating a study to me. Why, in conclusion, become a secular-humanist-atheist if one still absorbs and upholds much of what's wrong with religion, without any of what's good? (Capitalism, the US Constitution).

I argue that in innumerable ways and compromises the religious have learned to adapt their faith to reality, no matter how uneasy the fit, and often can certainly be more rational and freedom loving than what one sees coming from the Left, nowadays. "Mixed premises", without a doubt. But within a society amongst one's fellow citizens, it's the active effects which matter more than their irrational premises. I don't look to "convert" others, only to live and let live. They (the Christians in particular) have had much, much longer at applying practicality to dogma, and have passed down the lessons - than have the modern atheists. Admittedly, with pragmatism as the downside.

And morally, Leftians are as altruist, or moreso, and ~several times~ more collectivist than the religious have been in memory.

The upshot is that all or most conservative Christians put great store in personal character and virtue (however alien to us the Christian virtues are), self-responsibility (a type and degree of volition) and therefore, more individualism. I suppose this emanates from having an immortal soul and of a deity constantly watching and judging the state of that Soul, by one's thoughts and actions. (As they believe that everyone else has too). Leftians do not have a supreme, supernatural standard to refer to, losing their "self" and any depth of character along with that. Just as mystically, however, for them there is the State and the People to worship and be judged by.

Leftians are overwhelmingly determinist, which explains their adoration of (specially selected by 'group') "victims".

Shame, they can't help themselves! They need me! (And deriving a fragile sense of self-importance by seeking ever more victims to "help").

Obversely, many a Christian will not view 'victimhood' as the end-all of a person, nor especially of themselves, nor, by his-her group. God helps those... etc.

You have to wonder at the smug superiority which New Atheists among the Leftians feel for the Christians. Yes, "cool" enters into it. City-fied sophistication. And being higher, university educated. But the individual products of skeptical, anti-value, Left-leaning education have no right to their "elitism" by this alone - and no cause for arrogant superiority by simply being atheists. Generations of the religious have historically done and made and surpassed them, by large margins. Witness the real consequences we observe around us in civilisations. Outside of welfarism, media, I.T. and entertainment, what have Leftians built?

I don't intend for this to be an apology for religion, or for conservatism, and if only somewhat for the moderately religious individuals who have "adapted", like some I've known. But by their visible actions, the present crop of Leftians beat them hands-down for hypocrisy, bad grace, intrusiveness, moral sanctimony, malevolence and irrationality -- as immoral as Christians were back in the Spanish Inquisition.

 

 


Tony,

Great argument but I need to make some points.

First, there are plenty of atheist humanist secularists whom are anti-religious and against the left in its current form. Ayn Rand was one even if she existed before the labels were coined. She agreed with all the necessary premises. Hell, Christopher Hitchens was a literal Marxist but hated the SJW crap that ended up taking over the atheist movement (or at least parts of it). 

And the Christians are hardly refuge. You think that Christianity is a refuge from victim politics? Take one read of the Sermon On The Mount. Blessed are the poor. Blessed are those who suffer. Blessed are the victims. Blessed are the oppressed. And some people wonder why Christianity ended up producing Mother Theresa, who had a case of Munchausens By Proxy By Catholicism and practically Jilled Off over witnessing the suffering of the dying.

Your assertion that conservative Christians believe in and/or care about personal virtues breaks down when you discuss the Calvinists. They don't believe personal virtue really exists... they think God creates virtue. Which means it isn't human goodness. Their theology is sick and evil. Seriously... Nietzsche's assessment of the idea of hell is entirely, undoubtedly, absolutely correct when we're discussing Calvinist Christians. They love the idea of hell because they are mentally masturbating over the fantasy of sending their enemies to hell. That is why the idea exists. It has no positive basis. It isn't about discouraging bad behavior. It is about hating and condemning the outgroup, scourging them, and fantasizing about torturing them. 

IT is not something to sneeze at either. Its a technological revolution on par with electricity and the steam engine. Perhaps even greater.

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On 11/16/2018 at 9:26 AM, studiodekadent said:

I'm not sure if its fair to put this in the epistemology forum considering that its more a question about politics and psychology than epistemology. 

But you certainly aren't wrong when you observe parallels between fundamentalist Christianity and the SJW Left. Many people have seen commonalities.

Original Sin becomes Privilege. Self-flagellation and penance is encouraged through public apologies. Public shaming is used to both police the ingroup and separate the ingroup from the outgroup. "Saved" becomes "woke," and the "woke" are part of an elite "Elect." There's even a parallel with Prosperity Theology; Middle America's economic woes and opioid addictions are seen as the just consequences of their sin (their "racism" typically), and the concentration of wealth in coastal cities is seen as a reward for the virtuous wokeness of said metropolises.

Matters of lifestyle which seem to have no connection to politics or even ethics become viewed through a semi-politicized but ultimately religious lens of purity/sanctity vs. defilement/contamination. "Organic" and "natural" and "local" and "artisanal" and "vegan" and "cruelty-free" and "ethically raised" and "Fair Trade" labels form their kashrut, with mass-produced food seen as emblematic of modern western industrial capitalism and thus icky, nasty and full of pollutants. Male sexuality (when actively exercised upon women) is seen as degrading and a spreader of spiritual contamination (hence why it has to be constrained, shamed and kept in check by complex social norms and legal norms that abolish the presumption of innocence). 

Heresy is not mere disagreement, but fundamentally a betrayal. Minorities that don't share their viewpoints are betrayers as well. Criticism of certain people (especially if they're trans, women or black) is a betrayal, and a product of impure motives. Loyalty to principles is package-dealt with loyalty to principals, and uniformity is required within the ingroup. 

An hierarchy of authority exists, where those whom are "more holy/more oppressed" are elevated above those who lack that same sainted stature. 

There are many other similarities, both doctrinally and culturally. 

Hey - I just spotted this. Very fresh, relevant material I had not thought of, Andrew. You've obviously been watching the New Age religionists and thinking along these lines for some time. I like your observation of this ongoing spate of public apologies, which you transfer to their penance and "self-flagellation". That gives me the idea that some of those people deliberately Tweet something upsetting to someone's delicate sensibilities - in order to immediately make "penance" and be publicly cleansed of their sins...

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22 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Liberal Progressivism is a godless religion.  As you indicate LPism has all the irrationality and anti-empiricism of Christianity or Islam even thought is does not have an immortal God-King-Who_Knows-All.  And it has the one Bad Thing that Christianity has:  if a person is not of the "body"  he is damned and he is evil. That is why Liberal Progressives cannot abide people who are political neutral. 

For all their mockery and loathing for Christians, what is vastly self-contradictory is the "LP's" adulation for all things Islamic. So not all religion is anathema for them. Feminist Leftians, for instance, are mostly silent or equivocal on woman issues (subservience to males, FGM, harsh punishments under Sharia, etc.) in Muslim society. Those Muslims - who are usually women - who bravely campaign for a modernised Islam, are ignored by them, while fawning over nasty pieces of work like that Linda Sarsour. Work that contradiction out! I'm still trying out possible causes, and the usual "victimhood", of world Islam, does not seem their likely motive. All I have is a suspicion that Leftians tend to cravenly follow power, and Islam (indeed, Islamicism too) and its large numbers of adherents seem to represent a future global power . Anyone have suggestions?

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"Leftians are overwhelmingly determinist".

The belief in determinism 'determines' several cognitive/normative/behavioral outcomes, 'victimhood' being one. And I think another branch off from determinism, (i.e. not recognizing nor activating a volitional consciousness) comes out in 'equality' and egalitarianism. In order to make all people "equal", one must ignore that it is every individual who needs to think and act independently. To the extent he does and does not think, is the deciding factor of his objective worthiness. The way to combat such a concept - this individual, objective worth - is naturally to evade it, and make all "worth" to be equal among all men and so then all men made equal. The Leftian is of course not speaking of "equality" before the Law, an objective and moral concept. He wants everybody on the same level in every way. Individuals of higher value to others is offensive to him. Not least, he has to rid everyone of reason and reason's corresponding individualism. Determinism carries many ugly consequences. "Evil" is another. One is not "evil", or to be blamed for evil actions, it is one's circumstances (and so on) which are evil and predestined your actions. Therefore, to judge anyone by proper standards is a hateful vice for them. Psychopathology features highly in this 'thinking' - simply, as you sometimes hear, a Hitler/Stalin/etc. wasn't evil, he was a sociopath. How else could he act? 

The Christians and other religious people have not discarded free will completely, or minimally, I maintain. They understand the causality of their acts, that morality is a choice, and as much as they try to better themselves (in the eyes of God, and their community, and materially and "spiritually") are largely self-responsible. With the separation of Church and State, which most have accepted for their own good and the autonomy of their religion, a potential for theocracy is of a far lesser danger to all of us, than the Church of Marxism is. If there were a revival of Christian theocracy in the West, I'd be singing a different tune.

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17 hours ago, anthony said:

For all their mockery and loathing for Christians, what is vastly self-contradictory is the "LP's" adulation for all things Islamic. So not all religion is anathema for them. Feminist Leftians, for instance, are mostly silent or equivocal on woman issues (subservience to males, FGM, harsh punishments under Sharia, etc.) in Muslim society. Those Muslims - who are usually women - who bravely campaign for a modernised Islam, are ignored by them, while fawning over nasty pieces of work like that Linda Sarsour. Work that contradiction out! I'm still trying out possible causes, and the usual "victimhood", of world Islam, does not seem their likely motive. All I have is a suspicion that Leftians tend to cravenly follow power, and Islam (indeed, Islamicism too) and its large numbers of adherents seem to represent a future global power . Anyone have suggestions?

the LP s   "defend"  Islam because the conservatives and patriots  dislike Islam intensely.   

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If I remember, having "free will" is part of Christianity. You choose to do the correct thing, worship the right gods, etc., and then you get your pie in the sky. I watched an old SNL at 10 last night and a "King" played by somebody famous, (edit, Steve Martin) has a heretic put in a tub of water (was it Gilda?) and since she sinks she was telling the truth. The fact that she also drowned did not bother him. I think that skit was set in the 1200's in merry old England. 

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We were discussing free will and Christianity so I looked up some key words and found this quote. Peter

From: Chris Matthew Sciabarra To: Atlantis Subject: ATL: Rand and Christ Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 15:01:07 -0500. I happen to look at the current threads on Christianity and just wanted to offer these interesting quotes from Ayn Rand herself. In two superb articles for THE INTELLECTUAL ACTIVIST, "Artist at Work:  Ayn Rand's Drafts for THE FOUNTAINHEAD" (August, September 2001), Shoshana Milgram explains that in Rand's early drafts, she "originally had Roark provide a list of creators and an inventory of their suffering." 

(The drafts are currently held in the Madison Building of The Library of Congress.) Rand writes: "Socrates, poisoned by order of the democracy of Athens.  Jesus Christ against the majority of [indecipherable] crucified.  Joan D'Arc, who was burned at the stake.  Galileo, made to renounce his soul.  Spinoza, excommunicated.  Luther, hounded.  Victor Hugo, exiled for twenty years.  Richard Wagner, writing musical comedies for a living, denounced by the musicians of his time, hissed, opposed, pronounced unmusical.  Tchaikovsky, struggling through years of loneliness without recognition.  Nietzsche, dying in an insane asylum, friendless and unheard.  Ibsen [indecipherable] his own country. Dostoevsky, facing an execution squad and pardoned to a Siberian prison.  The list is endless."

For a variety of reasons, Rand eliminated this list from Roark's speech, but the list is interesting in any event.  Rand also says, quite provocatively, in her early drafts that "Christ proclaimed the untouchable integrity of Man's spirit [stating] the first rights of the Ego.  He placed the salvation of one's own soul above all other concerns.  But men distorted it into altruism."  She expands on this in her LETTERS (July 9, 1946), where she tells a fan (Sylvia Austin) that "Jesus was one of the first great teachers to proclaim the basic principle of individualism---the inviolate sanctity of man's soul, and the salvation of one's soul as one's first concern and highest goal; this means---one's ego and the integrity of one's ego."  She states, however, that "Jesus (or perhaps His [Rand capitalizes "His"] interpreters) gave men a code of altruism, that is, a code which told them that in order to save one's soul, one must love or help or ~live for~ others."

So, yes, Rand recognizes an internal contradiction here (even if she's not ready to place all the responsibility on Jesus himself)---but this does not come at the expense of an historical appreciation of the importance of early Christian thought in advancing the individualist message.

Happy holidays, a healthy and happy new year to all, Chris

===================================

Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Visiting Scholar, NYU Department of Politics 726 Broadway, 7th floor New York, New York 10003

Dialectics & Liberty Website: http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sciabarra

The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies: http://www.aynrandstudies.com

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