How popular was the Soviet Union? In the West, we tend to portray Russians as victims of their government, but the reality was that the government was perpetuated by them and seemed massively popular, especially when things were good. When they tired of it, it went away, leaving people wondering why they had not simply done that fifty years before.
Most people do not realize that the kid at the back of your history class was right: almost everything in our world is excremental. Most of the music, books, movies, politicians, products and public figures are simply moronic. The herd, which is conscious only of The Now™ and therefore oblivious to options not in front of its face like sale items on a shelf, accepts what is “better” but never stumbles to awareness of what is “good.”
Leftism is perpetually popular. If you tell a group of people that everyone is equal and we do not need a hierarchy to rule over us, the vast majority of them will swoon and fall to delighted excitement. There will be a small group at the rear, old men and teenagers mostly, who realize that not only is the statement not true, but that it is the oldest and vilest lie.
Why is Leftism so addictively popular? The first reason is that it is pacifism. The women especially love this part; when everyone is equal, there is no more inequality, so no more internal competition. They do not understand basic information dynamics, however, which would inform them that when everyone is equal, the need for competition is intensified as people try to rise over the generic level.
However, that does not explain the seemingly fanatical way that people take to Leftism even when they have never heard of it before. Something clicks in their minds, and they are able to visualize some way in which Leftism is relevant and important to them, and they go from indifferent to maniacally committed fans — who would rather die with the idea than live without it — in minutes.
Comparing it to heroin addiction is entirely wrong. Most addicts use the drug for some time before realizing that they are addicted, or in other words, cannot visualize their lives without it. It makes life so much better that to give it up is to die, or at least feels that way. Leftists without Leftism are people who cannot visualize themselves existing.
Its appeal must be something very simple, very primal, in order to be so universal in potential appeal. It does not appeal to everyone; possible two-fifths of the population are immune through instinct, another twenty percent or so by indecision, and maybe a twentieth are born with the onerous knowledge that illusion is not real but a real threat and must be fought.
If this addictive idea is like others, its appeal occurs to the individual. That is: the individual finds it desirable because it makes the individual more powerful. In this way, analysts like J.R.R. Tolkien are correct about the seductive power of the one true ring just as Melville correctly identified the white whale. People lust for power over their smallness in the world, and it changes them.
To a game theory analysis, the individual will choose whatever position allows them the most power balanced by the least risk. Leftism offers a position like this by giving them a weapon with which to paralyze others, but while still allowing them to “cheat” on the rules on their own. This occurs through the pairing in Leftism of demands for equality and perception of victimhood.
The demands for equality prevent others from rising; the perception of victimhood means that the Leftist is always entitled to something from those others. This means that the Leftist is in an ideal position according to game theory, which is that there is minimum obligation and maximum entitlement:
- Minimum Obligation. Egalitarianism demands equality, with the idea that there is a collective “we” that enforces this. As a result, the burden of responsibility and action passes from the individual to society. Couple that with the fact that under egalitarianism, society cannot reject people for being insufficient or limit their access on the basis of their being of the wrong caste, and people are empowered to make whatever silly decisions they want knowing that society must support them and clean up the mess.
- Maximum Entitlement. In an egalitarian society, the more-equal are expected to subsidize the less-equal because this is the only way that equality can be achieved without acting in the Darwinian method of killing or reproductively penalizing the less-equal in order to improve the genetic quality of the group. This means that any who demonstrate victimhood can lay claim to part of the wealth of the society, and also get themselves protected status as not being assumed to be strong.
These combined effects mean that egalitarianism offers a “great deal” to the individual: they can do whatever they want, force society to subsidize them, and if they are willing to act wounded, can seize power and wealth without risk of being punished for having done so. Even more, egalitarianism makes it easier to be “good” by changing the definition from achieving good results to being symbolically good.
Egalitarianism produces this type of symbolic thinking because it is easier for the citizen. Instead of having to do much of anything, they have to raise the right symbols and say the right things at the right times. Once they have done that, they are free to ravage whatever they choose. Even better, if they find a victim and very publicly lift him up to equal, they are assumed to be ideological heroes and forgiven transgressions.
Leftism succeeded because it enabled people to manipulate society. Instead of having social standards that people were rewarded for obeying, society adopted an assumption of reward and need at the same time, which let people be “equal” by separating their actions from the consequences of those actions.
This allowed them to play the society “game” and win by contributing little, removing standards that would restrict them, and simultaneously force others into behaviors that destroyed them unless those ideals were recognized as insincere, and the others also adopted an attitude of public compliance and private manipulation as well.
Through these means, Leftism destroys societies. The symbol replaces reality. The symbol also becomes duplicitous. People are schooled to be greedily self-interested and corrupt, deceptive. And the herd is unleashed because it is no longer responsible for its actions, and can externalize the costs of its acts to the collective and then blame that collective for any failings.
We can see this as a primal human behavior, which is why it is immediately recognized.
For example, consider some teenagers riding bikes through the woods. One of them knows that there is a dirt mound ahead that he likes to jump from on his bike. He can do this safely because he knows the right groove in the dirt to ride to launch easily to a safe landing zone on the soft forest floor. The others do not.
His greatest advantage comes in urging others to jump their bikes as recklessly as possible, knowing that they will fail and may be injured while he will not be. Because he knows the secret, he can jump his bike safely and look more competent than the others, while they will fail and be injured and lose social status. He wins.
Another example of this pathology can be found in road rage. A person who is driving badly, when someone else who is driving well unintentionally points out the bad driving by contrast, will blame the person driving well, because that person interrupted the solipsistic narrative of the person driving badly that claims the bad driving was in fact good. Awakened from the illusion, they retaliate.
The primal example comes to us from the Christian Bible. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve fall into typical human individualism and desire to have the knowledge of God. When a deceiver promises no consequences, they commit a proscribed act, and then blame the deceiver and each other. For them, the game victory is found in suspending responsibility and denying their own solipsistic narrative.
Leftism remains eternally popular, like other human pitfalls that make us feel powerful without having to actually fight against the evils eroding civilization. It appeals to the clever monkey in all of us that wants to have the benefits of society without having to actually be good, or do what is right in all areas, substituting symbolic action for reality.
As we go forward, we must realize that the “right side of history” is in fact a form of decay that rationalizes itself by claiming that what is right concerns a small subset of what we must think about, and that we can solve these by making ourselves more important than reality. Like most paths to Hell, it begins with good intentions and leads us into a ghetto of our own illusions and denial.