Shape Shifting

One of my recurring themes here is how political liberalism operates more like a religious cult than a well thought out set of public policy opinions. In the latter, people sort through the available data updating and adjusting their opinions in order to arrive at a solution for a problem. Those opinions may be built on a set of beliefs about how society should be structured, but they say nothing about the people that hold them or the people who oppose them.

For example, the Weekly Standard crowd has a well defined set of positions, with regards to what we think of as the Middle East and North Africa. For twenty years they have insisted on heavy US involvement in these countries in order to impose Western liberal democracy and consumerism. They don’t think Obama is evil for not accepting their opinions. They don’t think Rand Paul is evil for rejecting their opinions. They are convinced these people are wrong.

Modern liberalism does not work this way. Obama and the Left were convinced Bush was evil for embarking on polices in the Middle East with which the Left disagreed. There was nothing that could dissuade them from this opinion. It was so strong that when Obama gained office, he reversed the Bush polices by evacuating from Iraq and ratcheting up the war in Afghanistan. The logic behind these decisions was simply a reaction to what they believed to be the polices of evil men. Doing the opposite of evil men, in their thinking, must be good.

Cults are always obsessed with the borders. The line between those inside the cult and those outside the cult is what defines the cult and therefore the people in it. People do not join mass movements in order to celebrate their individuality. People are attracted to mass movements out of self-loathing. They seek to exchange their identity, which they despise, with that of the group, which they believe is good or noble. Therefore, knowing that line between those who are inside and those who are outside is paramount.

This bright line between the good people inside and bad people outside frees the good people to think all sorts of things about the bad people on the other side of the walls. It’s why Progressives use words like “conservative, Republican, right-wing and extremist” as synonyms. These are all words that mean “outsider” which is just another word for bad. When I did not have a television I was often accused by liberal friends of getting my information from Fox News. They knew I did not have a TV, but they said it anyway.

People in a cult see those outside as an undifferentiated other. They are just eyes peeping out at them from the void surrounding the light of their movement. It’s why liberals will throw guys like Kevin Williamson, Nick Gillespie and Steve Sailer into the same bucket, despite the fact those three men disagree more than they agree. I’m regularly called a conservative, even though I agree with very little of what is labeled conservative these days. These distinctions do not register with Progressives.

This is on display with the Left’s reaction to the shooting in South Carolina. Progressives did not wait for the bodies to drop before pointing a finger at their enemies. They insist that the bad people are celebrating this shooting because that’s what bad people do. Progressives are largely silent on the victims and instead have invested all their time insisting this lunatic is just another member of the people outside the wall.

Small caliber opinion writers on what passes for the Right struggle with this, insisting that the debate is over facts and reason. Predictably, they spend all of their time rustling facts to disprove the claims of the Left, believing this is how one counters these attacks. I say predictably because this is another feature of how cults operate. As a defense mechanism, they look for ways to keep the people outside the walls focused on something other than the walls. It is not a conscious thing; it is an instinctual thing. People avoiding themselves naturally want to avoid notice.

Think of it this way. Imagine a herd of zebra on the plain. No single zebra wants to be an individual. They all struggle with one another to avoid the edge of the herd. The worst thing that can happen to a zebra is to be noticed by the lions. The individual instincts of each zebra become the herd’s natural group instincts. The defense mechanism of the herd is to be an amorphous blob. Just as the zebra uses stripes to fool the lion, herds of zebra uses shapelessness to fool the lions.

Modern Liberalism works in a similar way. The people who join these things, as I said before, do so in order to swap their identity with that of the group. The worst thing you can do to a Progressive is ask them questions targeting their opinions. They will try everything they can to shift the focus away from them onto something else, usually some defect they imagine in their questioner. The worst imaginable thing for a Progressive is be standing alone facing their true nature.

As an example, consider any discussion of homosexual marriage you have had with a liberal. The first bullet out of their gun is to demand why you are denying gays the same rights as straights. You see? They are not making an affirmative argument in favor of their new policy. They are not even saying their position is new. Instead, they are shifting the focus onto you, demanding you explain yourself to their satisfaction. By the time you give them the history of marriage the conversation is over and they have successfully avoided exposure.

This scales up by assigning any terrible event to the people on the other side of the wall. A lunatic shoots up a church and it is the NRA. A Muslim tries to set off a bomb in Times Square and it is probably an ObamaCare opponent. Blacks riot in Ferguson and it is white racism. The result here is the people outside the Left invest all of their time explaining why they are not to blame. That’s where the focus lies and therefore the Left avoids having the spotlight on them. It’s why they are so good at this tactic. It is integral to how mass movements function in the minority.

9 thoughts on “Shape Shifting

  1. “The first bullet out of their gun is to demand why you are denying gays the same rights as straights.”

    And the second bullet is to take whatever argument you’ve just made and feed it right back to you. A worry that making homosexuality chic and acceptable will lead to something bad, like tolerance for pedophilia or improved access of child molesters to victims, or encourage other perversions to lobby for acceptability will spark the immediate retort, “So you’re equating loving, stable homosexual unions with child molesting?!” “So you’re comparing homosexuality with bestiality?!” And it’s said in such an outraged, self-righteous tone, as if that in itself is a sufficient rebuttal. And in the face of such hostility, the conservative typically falls back on stuttering denials. The best response would be to simply ignore the restatement of one’s position or even just concede the point, then reiterate the question, and this time insist it be addressed.

  2. It’s sacrilegious to even discuss some issues in public. To utter the possibility of an alternate truth from the talking points will get you convicted of a blasphemy in the court of public opinion.

  3. You sound as bad as the leftwing extremists. All this talk of drawing lines, polarizing media networks, and having no real opinion other than what you’ve been fed; this is how you structured your own article. We are not at war with each other. Stop this he said-she said nonsense. Just because you are able to formulate sentences (sentences used only to generalize a group of people) does not mean this is a legitimate argument. I do not see any of your own opions here other than the finger-pointing that you yourself criticized. I am just cofused as to how you think yourself any different from the people you have just marginalized in this article? I mean everyone is entitled to their opinion, but don’t fool youtself; you’re no better. Its actually quite comical to see the exact behaviors you condemn present in your article. I hope the people reading will consider my words and ignore their allegiance to their party for a moment before attacking me. God bless America, a nation STILL divided…

    • OK, let’s take a test. A Liberal is fed, say, five policy positions by the cult. He will rattle them off and blindly defend them, as a card-carrying member of the team. He will loudly support the team candidate for President, no matter who he or she is or what that person actually represents. A “Conservative” is also given five conservative policy positions. He might defend one or two, disagree with a couple, and have no opinion whatsoever on the rest. He will often disagree with other conservatives over the various talking points and policy prescriptions. He will be all over the map on which Presidential candidate to support, as he weighs the various policy prescriptions, and reviews the temporal and philosophical consistency of the political platforms of each candidate.

      So is there really any equivalency here? I think not.

      BTW, my personal belief is that most of the red team and all of the blue team are really one big team, fooling us all. I do not think I am alone on the otherwise mostly conservative side of the fence. How many Liberals buy into that “one big team” argument?

      • McConnell and Boehner are proving every day that there is one party, the billionaires party. They have spent every bit of their political capital pushing through Obama’s deeply flawed trade deal. Normal political parties use these times to stick it to the other team.

        America now has the Liberal Party and the Moderately Liberal Party, which has a conservative minority. A third of Republicans would prefer to be Democrats, but circumstances landed them in the GOP. Another third are happy to be led around by the nose.

  4. Hofferesque. But you are too generous in making them striped donkeys when fish would do. Although, one can’t be run over by stampeding fish.

  5. You write like you are as old as I am. I’m in my mid 70s. It takes a long time to gain insight into the human condition.

    I read you every day. You’re very clever. Like you, I write every day. I think I’m pretty clever, too. And there are lots of people out there who think and write every day who are also very clever. But the tide comes in and the tide goes out every day and does not seem to notice our deliberations. Pity. All this cleverness going to waste.

    Today’s post was insightful but, by tomorrow, I will have forgotten it – except for this sentence: “The worst thing that can happen to a zebra is to be noticed by the lions.” Almost every one of your posts contains at least one nugget. That is why I come here – to pan for gold.


  6. It really is the only explanation. Otherwise it’s just absolutely sickening how intellectually dishonest they are. Every time the Religion of Peace blows up a crowd they go out of their way to excuse the perpetrators and insist it was a one off incident.

Comments are closed.