Victor Davis Hanson shows us an insightful division between leftist and rightist beliefs:
Traditional peasant societies believe in only a limited amount of good. The more your neighbor earns, the less someone else gets. Profits are seen as a sort of theft; they must be either hidden or redistributed. Envy, rather than admiration of success, reigns.
In contrast, Western civilization began with a very different, ancient Greek idea of an autonomous citizen, not an indentured serf or subsistence peasant. The small, independent landowner â€” if he was left to his own talents, and if his success was protected by, and from, government â€” would create new sources of wealth for everyone. The resulting greater bounty for the poor soon trumped their old jealousy of the better-off…. – HNN
For those of you who are new to the party, “conservative” means you uphold the traditions of the past, which in the European-American realm means the ways of old Europe. Today, we’d call them fascist, Nazi or worse, but all of what we have today came from these ways.
They in turn carried an essential ideal, which VDH expresses above, which was most like natural selection: let individuals be productive, and some rise above the rest, and put those in charge.
The left had another idea, which we could call anti-natural-selection: make sure everyone earns the same to keep the peace among the peasants. Since The Enlightenment, this has been the dominant idea in Europe and the USA, but it has only gradually picked up speed to where we can see what it really is.
The peasant ethic is not to strive for anything, but to ensure we divide up whatever we have, equally. That way, the logic goes, no one can be mad at anyone else for having more. What they don’t mention is that it also creates zero incentive to rise above doing the minimum, which is why peasant societies always collapse and they end up demanding leaders so they don’t destroy themselves. How else would a Napoleon rise out of Revolutionary France? A Stalin out of Revolutionary Russia?
In the peasant ethic, there is no such thing as proving oneself. If one is human, and there standing among the others, it is assumed that one is equal, or equal enough. Performance is irrelevant. Reward comes before labor. And if you’re a laborer who has spent most of your life complaining about work, that’s a tempting idea. It’s the root of all leftism, from progressivism to socialism.
The right on the other hand says we work for our labor, and those who are most together internally — most clear mentally, most self-disciplined, hardest and smartest working, least inclined to temporary pleasures — are the ones who rise and by the nature of their performance, we want them in charge.
The left tells us that this way is awful and unfair, and we’ll create a Utopian paradise if we just spread the wealth. But what’s the result of spreading the wealth? Let’s look at another metaphor, this one also created by liberalism:
As a university student between 1966 and 1969, I experienced first-hand the impact of the sexual revolution, and the sweeping changes it wrought between men and women.
To suggest any individual was immune from that tidal wave of change, or from the pressures that came with it, for women in particular, is frankly wrong.
I’m always amazed at the way the liberal Left (a broad church, with which I’d have once identified) is eager to make excuses for any dubious results of their progressive ideas.
Yet the damaging consequences of that Sixties revolution are obvious in the society we now live in – ranging from the utter mess made of education in this country (directly attributable to the overturning of traditional ideas in the Seventies, an orthodoxy which still prevails), to the dangerous ‘anything goes’ attitude which challenges any idea of restraint in speech or behaviour.
Nevertheless it’s absurd to suggest that we exist in isolation, that we are not shaped by the culture we inhabit.
The zeitgeist is the defining mood or spirit of a particular period in history and shaped by the ideas and beliefs of the time. Nobody can escape it.
Most of us embraced the hippie-esque idea that sexual freedom was a beautiful thing to be celebrated. ‘Seize the day,’ we shouted, and threw old notions like fidelity out of the window.
But beneath all those naive and high-sounding ideals, the sexism of supposedly radical and free-thinking men on the left could be summed up with: ‘A woman’s place is underneath.’
As the writer and feminist pioneer Rosie Boycott has said: ‘What was insidious about the underground was that it pretended to be alternative. But it wasn’t providing an alternative for women. It was providing an alternative for men in that there were no problems about screwing around.’
But this is what the distinguished historian Eric Hobsbawm writes about the shift in standards in his authoritative book, Age Of Extremes: ‘The crisis of the family was linked with quite dramatic changes in public standards governing sexual behaviour, partnership and procreation… and the major change is datable and coincides with the Sixties and Seventies.’
To be a ‘nice girl’ was to be looked on as a freak. The truth was, however, the new permissiveness gave men permission to exploit you. These are the pressures which, according to Martin Amis, contributed to his sister’s ruin.
It may be cruel to say it, but today’s young girls primping and un-dressing for Saturday night, when they will get drunk and get laid (and feel doubly bad in the morning) are the inheritors of her destiny. – Signs of the Times
The peasant mentality is that no one can say NO: if you have something that not everyone else has, give it away. Whether it’s your money, your time (imaging being forced to wait for the slowest person in the room to understand a concept… oh wait, that’s our education system), your job (how much of our days is spent in activities that are dumbed down so the clueless can participate?), or even your body. Give it up. We the crowd demand it, because we the individuals in the crowd think it’s unfair if anyone has more than us.
The sea change that’s rippling through the West right now is the final, slow, unsettling revelation that The Enlightenment is the foundation of modern liberalism, and that its consequence is the destruction of any exceptionalism. You can’t be better than any average one of us, the crowd says. Or we’ll — well, at first they just complain. Then at some point they revolt and kill you, leaving behind a dysfunctional society.
Join us in pushing out the old, calcified, mindless, corrupt, controlling, boring and pointless endeavor of leftism. We have seen its results, and they are a society of great permissiveness that discriminates against anyone with a brain. As a result, it falls apart from within. We can fix this, but only by escaping the bad logic that got us here: leftism.