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Some Problems with The Intellectual Left

November 20, 2019

I have many problems with intellectuals on the left of the political spectrum. Needless to say I have made this clear in many posts in the past. But still, I don’t understand very well what is driving them as I find myself repulsed by their whole state of being too quickly to properly look into what is going on and what is going wrong with these people. I will try to make a little bit more of an effort here.

A general issue that tends to recur is the arrogance of assumed or presumed access to truth and reality. They will take a complicated issue with many ambiguities to it, and present dogmatically one party line as fact. Not only this, they will try to ridicule and humiliate anyone who disagrees with them. This kind of shaming approach so common on the left to force a sham public consensus, extends as a tactic also and especially to intellectuals on the left.

For all that they may try to condescendingly diagnose people who oppose them as suffering from one from of irreality or another, they will only temporarily consider their own errors as part of an iron clad dialectic in which they are right in the end. They never seriously consider that their own catch all assertions and their own dogmatic, consensus claims may be wrong. I read an intellectual left critique of someone like Trump, and they have got to the point where they often are only able to refer to him as the one who can’t be named. And all they have to say comes from a presumption that their perspective is correct and their opponents is wrong.

At no point is there respect for some reality they could be missing, there is just a perpetual reassertion of their own preferred values, that they don’t see as open for discussion, they see them as being as real as gravity, or maybe more real, given that gravity is largely an illusion created by curved space-time. Even Physicists in their formulation of theories about fundamental reality have a lot more tentativeness and humility in their claims, than left leaning intellectuals in their moral and political claims about the values they believe to be true!

This is a ludicrous state of affairs. Can you imagine anyone on the right, or just independently minded, being willing or even able to engage in a reasonable dialogue with a group of people who have such strong attachment to their values that they believe them with more conviction and firmness than they believe in the basic laws of physical reality?

And don’t think this is not the case, because it clearly is a fact, as I see it illustrated time and again in their opinionated assertion of their values as being real in such a dogmatic way. Of course, a lot, if not all of this, is over compensation for their own uncertainty and insecurities by affirming all the more strongly things they are not sure of, and by trying to force everyone to agree with them, knowing no boundaries to the level of shaming tactics they will resort to to enforce this agreement and consensus.

The problem I think is that there is this general tendency among more intelligent people and the intellectual class that they are much more cowardly about asserting their judgements about the world than other groups of people. Partly because they have been insulated from reality more, partly because they are more scared of being wrong, partly because they prefer to hide in theoretical realms and not face the judgement of the practical world.

As a result, they try to hide their assertions behind claims of neutral fact, camouflaging opinionated things in this way, and by sneaky tactics of exploiting the human desire to fit in, in order to shame people into line with these opinions. They are not sure enough of themselves and their values, so they must resort to all this underhand stuff, and once it spreads worldwide we get the kind of climate we are now in today. A climate where a tautological assertion such as climate change, becomes a calling card for worldwide shame and conformity.

Another issue I have with intellectuals on the left is their disingenuous cherry picking of reality. They think by obsessing on one “truth” in a much larger debate that somehow saves them from criticism and gives them free reign to criticise and ridicule anyone else who questions that “truth”. Of course a person questioning it may only be making a point of nuance to distinguish an aspect of truth to it, and an aspect that is not true. But once you try to go into that debate, they have achieved their aim which was solely to get you on the defensive, so now they can just belabour their same dumb point over and over and look like they know what they are talking about.

All these kinds of underhand tactics are a large part of the reason the dialogue has stopped between different groups in the current political situation. It is not because Trump is Hitler, it is not because a load of people on the right have become more racist over night. It is not primarily because of nationalism, xenophobia or any other bogey man of the intellectual left. The primary factor is that people have become sick and tired of the intellectual lefts own dishonest tactics for emotionally manipulating and shaming people into conformity. Why would you put the effort to come into a debate sincerely striving for truth, when you know your opponent is just looking to exploit and manipulate you with his tried and tested methods that have nothing to do with truth and sincerity, but are merely a facade for him trying to force a set of fake public opinions on to you, that he doesn’t believe, that no one really believes, but that he likes to suck off the power it gives him of bringing other people down, like a parasite.

Individuals must rebel against this encroaching totalitarianism for the sake of free reason and debate, and should point out anyone infected with intellectual leftism at any and every turn to improve the health of our minds and our societies and our sense of purpose as existing beings. Our primary being is in relation to a surrounding reality and surrounding individual people who we care about, it is not as being in deference to some shared public consensus that fleetingly makes us feel better, but in the long term only distracts and insulates us from our own intellectual cowardice at facing reality.

 

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