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What is the Metaphysics of the Left? Part One

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Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 here)

Metaphysics is the science of what is real. It is the most fundamental branch of philosophy; other philosophical ideas are derived from or based upon metaphysical convictions. For example, the Epicurean principle that pleasure is the highest good follows from its materialism and rejection of belief in an afterlife. However, it is also possible to speak of metaphysics outside of the context of philosophical systems. In other words, individuals who have no interest in philosophy – as well as groups, movements, and even whole societies – can be understood to have metaphysical presuppositions, just as they have presuppositions, or even consciously held convictions, concerning ethics or political philosophy.

This is the first of two essays in which I will try to answer the question, “What is the metaphysics of the Right?” (This question is the title of the second essay.) My methodology will be indirect. I will begin not with a review of older ideas and theories, and certainly not with texts, but with an account of the metaphysics we intuitively, and passionately reject: the metaphysics of the Left. Hence the title of the present essay. Delineating the most fundamental, underlying assumptions of the Leftist worldview – its metaphysics – will allow us to determine, indirectly, what our own metaphysics must be. My procedure, then, will be to begin with an identification, in essential terms, of just what it is about the Left that we react against so strongly. I will then use this discussion to arrive, in the next essay, at what the metaphysics of the Right must be.

I offer these essays only as an interesting experiment: to what extent can we identify our deep metaphysical convictions from a consideration of what we repudiate? My approach may also have the benefit of helping us to overcome some divisions within the Right, by allowing us to identify the most fundamental convictions we share in common.

1. Five Leftist Conundrums

At first, the positions taken by Leftists can seem like a strange grab-bag of disparate ideas. One theme that is heard over and over again, however, is an insistence on equality, or, more accurately, as we shall see, sameness. This has become more radical with time. What began as the modest insistence that all groups should, in spite of their differences, be treated equally before the law (and before God) has morphed into the insistence that all those differences are merely apparent (i.e., unreal). This can very obviously be seen in at least five areas:

A. The Sexes. Initially, feminism simply stood for giving women the same legal rights as men, and freer access to education and certain career opportunities. Today, the Left has arrived at the position that what were once considered natural differences between men and women are “socially constructed” – in other words, merely apparent. Any assertion that men possess capabilities women lack is forbidden. (However, in the first of many contradictions we will encounter, asserting the reverse is permitted.) I was once told by a feminist that women are, on average, not as physically strong as men simply because women have been told that they are not as strong.

Thus, anatomical differences are denied or declared irrelevant. But what about the fact (to take just one example) that the average man has between ten and twenty times the testosterone of the average woman, and that this hormone has been linked to physical strength and aggression? The social constructionists have no actual answer to this; instead, they simply attempt to shut down anyone who mentions this. Thus, the fundamental position here is that facts don’t matter – i.e., reality does not matter. This is a point I will have much to say about in the next section.

It used to be that feminists and social constructionists grudgingly admitted certain anatomical differences between men and women – e.g., men have penises and women do not, women can give birth and men cannot, and so on. This has now been swept away in just the last few years by transgender ideology. I regard this position as the apotheosis of “social construction,” and, in a certain way, of Leftist ideology itself, for reasons I will go into later. It is now indeed possible, according to Leftists, to say that some women have penises and that some men can give birth. But what makes these “women” women and these “men” men? The answer has nothing to do with biological fact – again, facts are irrelevant. Instead, the determining factor is subjective state: if a biological male believes he is a woman, then he actually is a woman, and it is demanded that our subjective state must mirror “hers” – i.e., we must actually believe that this is a woman; to not believe so is immoral. (The primacy of subjectivity or subjective states will turn out to be the central pillar of Leftist metaphysics.)

Given that masculinity and femininity are “constructs,” the Left also keeps telling us that masculinity and femininity can be anything we want them to be. Thus, no matter how masculine women seem to become, we are forbidden to say that they are “unfeminine,” because who is to say what is “feminine” and what is not? Likewise, we are constantly being told that a “new masculinity” is on the rise, and that it is vital to teach it to boys (who must be rescued from the old “toxic masculinity”). This “new masculinity” turns out to be rather effeminate. But, again, this is not a permitted observation, since it presupposes that there is some kind of baseline, “natural” masculinity and femininity.

We therefore arrive at a simple and obvious problem: if there is no “natural” masculinity and femininity, if they can literally be anything we want them to be, then both are nothing in particular. But if both are nothing in particular, then aren’t they the same? (If F=0 and M=0, then F=M.) And if they are the same, why then do we distinguish them at all? This appears to be a reductio ad absurdum, but for the Left it most certainly is not. This “logic” is actually the culmination of the Leftist position: the point is not to “redefine” masculinity and femininity, but to do away with them entirely. Of course, as already mentioned, this position rests upon the outright denial of biological fact.

In addition, one can mention two obvious contradictions. First, if maleness and femaleness can be anything one wants them to be (indeed, if there can be an unlimited number of “genders”), then aren’t transgendered people who dress like the opposite sex or who have sex-reassignment surgery the worst, most despicable promoters of gender stereotypes? If “women can have penises,” then isn’t the “transgender woman” who has his penis surgically removed in need of a stern lecture on social construction? And if hormones have nothing to do with masculinity or femininity, then why are transgendered people lining up to be injected with them? Isn’t their consciousness in need of being raised?

A second contradiction has to do with the rhetoric of “diversity” that usually accompanies any kind of Leftist identitarianism. As has often been noticed, the Left is keen to promote the idea that strength lies in our differences – differences which must be “celebrated” – while simultaneously denying or dismissing evidence that real differences exist. This point is even more applicable to our next topic, race, but it might as well be mentioned here.

As many of my readers have discovered on their own, delving into Leftist ideology does often feel like falling headfirst into a bottomless pit of contradictions. It is very important to understand, however, that contradictions are not only permitted by Leftism, but are actually an integral part of the ideology. I will go into the reasons for this later on. I should note also that it is no response to the above to say that I am speaking only of the “Far Left.” The reason is that most moderate Leftists are uncomfortable disputing any of these positions. As Jef Costello observed recently in an article on this site:

This is one of the psychological oddities of liberalism: the inability of moderate liberals to really take a stand against the radical nutjobs. They are possessed, you see, by the nagging sense that those radicals represent a “purer,” more committed form of their own idealism. This is why even most moderate Leftists will hesitate before condemning Communist tyranny. They have guilty consciences. They see that the far, far Left is where their ideals would take them, if they were just consistent and hardcore enough. And they are right.

B. Race. Much of what I have already said concerning Leftist claims about the sexes applies to their treatment of race as well. Here again, differences are “socially constructed”; i.e., merely apparent. The same historical trajectory is also observable. Once upon a time, well-meaning folks merely advocated treating different races equally under the law, but would never have dreamed of denying natural differences between them. Now, difference is denied outright – while simultaneously insisting that difference needs to be affirmed as a strength. Once again, facts and evidence are declared irrelevant. The Left has no real way of dealing with the scientific findings that clearly suggest major behavioral, cognitive, and anatomical differences between the races. Instead, the science is simply dismissed by calling it names (“racist”) or by vilifying anyone who dares mention it. (Simultaneously, of course, the Left claims to be “pro-science” and projects its actual anti-science and anti-fact bias onto its “conservative” opponents.)

Just as Leftists deny inherent differences between the sexes, yet relentlessly promote criticism of men and masculinity, so they deny the biological reality of race while simultaneously vilifying an entire group of people: the white race (who they seem to have no difficulty spotting, making generalizations about, or blaming for many of the world’s problems). Again, there is no logical way of sorting out the contradictions here. One is forced into the position of searching for a psychological explanation for such inconsistency.

C. “Culture.” Fundamental to Leftism today is cultural relativism. Criticism of non-Western cultures is essentially forbidden, even when those cultures act in ways that are diametrically opposed to Leftist values. Notoriously, while the Left has nothing but scorn for the “sexism,” “misogyny,” and “homophobia” practiced by (some) Christians, Islam is treated with kid gloves. This is despite the fact that everything the Left hates about Christianity is present in Islam, just raised to a factor of ten – complete with forced veiling, bride burnings, and the death penalty for homosexuality (eleven Muslim countries punish homosexuality with death; it is otherwise punished in most other Muslim countries, and none permit gay marriage). It is difficult not to see this double standard as a manifestation of nothing more nor less than the intense self-hatred of white Leftists – hatred for all things white and Western. Despite the fact that Muslims revile Western Leftists, and stand for everything they oppose, Leftists appear to welcome the chaos and destruction that Islam brings. I will return to the topic of this self-hatred and nihilism in the second section.

Cultural relativism is the default position of the Left, and it enjoins that no culture’s standards be held as absolute, and that no judgments be made about cultural differences. Cultural relativists hold, furthermore, that all values and perspectives are culturally conditioned, and that there is no “view from nowhere” that allows one to step outside of a cultural context and to criticize that culture, or other cultures. Despite claiming to adhere to this position, Leftists see no problem with evaluating Western culture (and Western subcultures, such as those of Christians, American Southerners, and conservatives) from an implicitly absolute, Leftist position: a “view from nowhere” that has somehow transcended cultural context. When the prospect of critiquing non-Western cultures is brought up, however, this standpoint is declared impossible.

Leftists hold that all cultures – except, again, that of the West – are equally valuable and equally praiseworthy. All are judged worthy of inclusion in the “multicultural society” (and believed to be completely compatible with each other) – with the exception, again, of Western culture, which has no saving graces at all and must vanish in order to make room for others. That Leftist ideals of “inclusion” and “multiculturalism” are themselves products of Western culture is conveniently forgotten. If this is mentioned, more likely than not one will be greeted with the response that these values are universal and not uniquely Western. This is despite the fact that on other occasions, Leftists normally deny that there is any such thing as universal values, and claim that the very idea is simply the last gasp of Western imperialism. (As I shall touch on in the next section, it is actually Leftist multiculturalism that is the last gasp of Western imperialism.)

Thus, one finds a pattern in the Leftist treatment of “culture” that is very much like what we found in the case of race and sex: differences are denied or downplayed, while simultaneously difference is declared to be of supreme importance. Just as, in actuality, the Left pushes the idea of the fundamental sameness of the races and sexes, so its deep conviction about culture is that all cultural groups possess an underlying identity. Advocacy of multiculturalism would, in fact, be impossible without this assumption. How will all the “diverse” cultures get along in one society? Only by virtue of shared, universal, cross-cultural values which are (so it is hoped) more important to each group than the values that distinguish them. In other words, for the Left, “cultural differences” are surface features, masking a fundamental sameness. This sameness is simply believed in as an article of faith, and any suggestion that cultural differences are profound and might make some cultures incompatible with others is simply dismissed.

D. Morality. As I discussed in my article on Jonathan Haidt’s The Righteous Mind, Leftists tend to possess only two moral “taste receptors” (to use Haidt’s language): “care” and “fairness.” “Care” manifests itself as compassion – though recently, Leftist compassion has been directed at anyone except members of their own race or nation. (One wonders if such compassion is real at all, or simply a mask for the animosity they feel for their own kind.) Famously, Leftists are also greatly concerned to make sure that everything is “fair,” though this is now generally construed as “equal” (or “the same”). Many of the Leftist peculiarities I have discussed so far could be understood as resulting from a kind of perversion of the “fairness” foundation. (See Part Two of my essay on Haidt for more information.)

However, when asked to reflect on morality or moral judgment as such, the default position of Leftists is ethical relativism. Thus, one will very often encounter Leftists who declare that morality is relative and that no absolute moral judgments can be made – who then, in a different context, make sweeping and absolute moral judgments, insisting that anyone who disagrees with them is evil. There is also a contradiction within this contradiction, in the manner in which the relativist position is often formulated. Leftists will sometimes claim that since morality is relative, we should be tolerant of moral differences – heedless of the fact that if morality really is relative, then no claims about what we should do can follow at all. If morality is relative, then tolerance is no more justifiable than intolerance.

The vast majority of Leftists are oblivious to these contradictions. If they are mentioned, Leftists usually become impatient and annoyed and quickly forget that anything has been said to them at all. Of course, as I point out in my essay on Haidt, relativism often serves Leftists as a tactical device: They revert to this position when confronted with moral judgments with which they disagree; they implicitly regard their own judgments as absolute and non-relative. It would be a mistake, however, to see this as a conscious tactic. Though it may be difficult for some of us to understand, most people are comfortable with their contradictions, when not being rudely forced to confront them. And, as we have seen, contradiction is actually one of the constant features of Leftist ideology.

It is obvious that the Left’s advocacy of ethical relativism falls into the familiar pattern we have already established, that of denying difference and insisting on an overall, or underlying sameness. All ethical judgments are fundamentally “equal,” in that they are all equally incapable of justification; no one can be truer or better than any other. Further, the element of “subjective state” is dominant: relativists often formulate their position as the claim that “if so-and-so thinks that X is moral, then it is – for him” – just as a biological male, for example, can be a woman (indeed, really is a woman) if “she” thinks “she” is.

The subjectivism of the relativist position is also very clearly expressed in the tendency to discuss ethical issues in terms of “values.” The language of values inevitably skews any discussion of ethics in the direction of relativism, even when this is not intended, since values are very obviously relative to individuals. I value certain things my neighbor does not, and in many cases it seems absurd to argue that he should value what I do (e.g., muted colors or hot coffee). Framing discussions of ethics in terms of “values” is now so ubiquitous it seems unimaginable to most people to use any other sort of language. (The older vocabulary referred to “virtues,” rather than “values.”)

The same subjectivism can be seen in the relativist tendency to frame all ethical issues as matters of “choice.” This is most familiar in the case of the abortion controversy. Since choices are said to be “up to individuals”; somehow this is supposed to mean that all choices are equally valid. It can easily be seen that this position is completely vacuous. Ethical problems are all problems of choice: ethics tries to discern which choices are right, and which are wrong. To respond to an ethical issue by saying “it’s a choice” therefore says nothing at all.

Within certain limits, Leftists will claim that all choices are valid, meaning all are equally justifiable and equally unjustifiable. This is particularly the case with what are construed as “lifestyles.” So long as a life choice does no harm to others, it is considered entirely valid and immune to criticism. The avoidance of harm is the flipside of Haidt’s “care” foundation, and as he himself points out, Leftist moral ideals are almost entirely limited to this foundation, plus the one concerning “fairness.” This is a severely impoverished ethics, since, among other things, it almost completely eliminates any conception of living up to ideals of personal excellence.

For Leftists, moral excellence consists exclusively in the “fair” and “compassionate” treatment of others. There are no obligations, however, to oneself; in other words, no conception of any imperative to develop one’s body and mind, to restrain one’s appetites, and to discipline oneself. The “lifestyle” of a childless gay hedonist is regarded as just as “valid” as that of a man who sacrifices self-indulgence in order to support a family. Both are simply “choices.” Choosing to be a fat slob and choosing to be an Olympic athlete are both “valid.” And the Leftists’ practice of “fairness” and “compassion” often consists merely in “affirming” everyone’s right to be let alone to make as big a mess of their lives as they choose. (This is the reason “libertarianism” is actually closer to the Left than to the Right.) Leftist belief in “choice” reaches its limit in the case of those who choose not to agree with them.

E. Truth. Here we come to a fundamental issue, which I’ve already touched on repeatedly. Given all the foregoing, it can be explained quite simply. The Leftist position on truth is also egalitarian and subjectivist – though here, too, they are inconsistent. All truth claims are equally valid. Something can be “true for you,” but not “true for me.” This kind of language is so common today it is considered unremarkable, and one will even hear conservatives speaking this way. Such statements are, however, literally incoherent. I will discuss the underlying metaphysical assumption behind this choice of language when I come, in the next section, to my summary comments about Leftist ideology.

The transgender issue reveals, as clearly as one could want, the Leftist attitude toward truth: things are true when they are believed; a man is a woman if he believes he is. When, as so often happens today, someone claims to be offended by this or that, the Leftist response effectively rejects the idea that there can be any examination of whether the claimant is being reasonable. All that matters is, again, the claimant’s subjective state: if they feel offended, then they have been offended and must be placated. No defense of the alleged offender will be accepted.

Earlier I noted that when confronted with facts that contradict their views on, say, race or sex differences, Leftists will simply dismiss the evidence or engage in ad hominem argument. However, matters are actually much worse than this. Often, Leftists will resort to explicitly rejecting the very idea that facts exist. It is no response to point out that they assert as fact that facts do not exist. As noted earlier, the identification of contradictions in the Leftist position will simply be brushed aside. This is because logic itself has now been attacked as masculinist, imperialist, and white supremacist. It is a fact that facts don’t exist; it is objectively true that truth is relative; and it follows logically that logic is a tool of white supremacism. If it seems like the Leftist position is becoming a chaotic and noxious maelstrom of constantly shifting and contradictory ideas, this is actually the whole point.


  1. LS
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    It is an objective fact–given the harm they cause–that leftists should not be tolerated. Such people should be considered criminally insane and treated accordingly.

  2. Rhodok
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    > If it seems like the Leftist position is becoming a chaotic and noxious maelstrom of constantly shifting and contradictory ideas, this is actually the whole point.

    Yup, the left has no metaphysics. They have an outcome and will adopt anything that could bring the outcome about.

    • Vehmgericht
      Posted June 25, 2019 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      The philosophical orientation of the New Left is towards critique rather than systematic metaphysics, and it is founded upon ressentiment. The gibberish and impenetrable jargon of Critical Theory &c serve merely to conceal a metaphysical paucity: its exponents are not so much philosophers as political proxies ensconced in academia.

      A more interesting question would be: What is the constructive metaphysics of the Dissident Right?. We are heirs to the entire Western Tradition from Heraclitus to Evola and we are not enslaved by any ideology. Already evident is the absurdity and barrenness of a dialectic between Marxian-Freudian leftism and corporate managerialism. What shall we proffer in its place?

  3. Jud Jackson
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Very fine article Mr. Cleary.

    Just one minor quibble. Being strongly influenced by Descartes and the British Empiricists, I would say that Epistemology rather than Metaphysics comes first.

    • Charlie
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      Descartes and the Empiricists fostered the very subjectivism Collin has indicated lies at the heart of the Leftist metaphysics. I think we need to look elsewhere.

    • Rhodok
      Posted June 24, 2019 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      If you put epistemology before metaphysics, does not nihilism become unavoidable?

      • Jud Jackson
        Posted June 25, 2019 at 3:31 am | Permalink

        Yes, I think you may be right. In my old age, I intend to read more of Plato and Aristotle and very little British Empiricism and Analytic Epistemology.

  4. Harmon Gottlieb
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Left, right or centre, there is a Supreme Metaphysic which guides all evolvoid materialism. It’s the time-worshipping certainty that over 13.8 +/- billion years, lifeless, primordial elements from The Singularity taught themselves to think.

  5. Franklin Ryckaert
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    The basic metaphysical assumption of the Left is :

    1) All humans are equal.

    2) Since that is not the case in reality, the Left tries to make all humans equal.

    3) Since that too is not possible in reality (inferiors cannot be elevated to a higher level), the Left tries to take down all who are superior.

    4) Since that too is not possible in reality, (you cannot make the intelligent stupid), the only “solution” for the Left is to destroy all superiors.

    5) To destroy superiors the Left uses “oppressed minorities” as battering rams against “privilege”.

    6) The real aim is not to end alleged “injustice”, but to destroy superiors all together.

    7) When the Left reaches hegemony, that is exactly what it does : in Communist Russia, China and Cambodia the “bourgeoisie” was not reformed to end injustice but destroyed in genocidal actions. This was the case in Social Marxism (=”class” Marxism).

    8) In Cultural Marxism too the aim is not to reform men to end injustice to women, but to destroy men all together.

    9) In Racial Marxism (presently dominant) the aim is not to “reform” Whites in order to end discrimination of non-Whites, but to destroy Whites all together.

    10) Since inequality is fundamental in the very structure of Life, the Left can only be destructive in the pursuit of its ideal of equality.

    11) Leftist ideology is therefore not only a mental aberration (see all the irrational contradictions mentioned in this article), it is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, because that is what it leads to when it becomes hegemonic.

    12) The basic metaphysical assumption of the Right should therefore be that ALL HUMANS ARE UNEQUAL (an obvious fact), that different outcomes even under circumstances of equal opportunity are natural and should be accepted as such.

    13) This should not necessarily mean that superiors should oppress and exploit inferiors. Superiors could feel compassion with inferiors and try to help them, but only to a certain point. Inferiors will have to work themselves to improve their situation (and not get all free stuff). Even if inferiors work hard, they will never reach the level of superiors. Equality will never be reached and would even be unjust (the stupid and the lazy would reach the same results as the gifted and the diligent).

    14) Leftist ideology is contra naturam, Rightist ideology is secundum naturam. Long live nature!

  6. Afterthought
    Posted June 24, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Metaphysics of the “left”: shunyata – void, into which any fabricated order of our own making can be excreted.

    Metaphysics of the “right”: arta/logos – there is an inherent, existent, eternal, and universal Order which we are best served by living in accordance with, rather than asserting a false order of our own devising

    Metaphysics of the Jews: What is good for the Jews.

    Metaphysics of the current leadership of our “movement”: Take Back America

  7. Posted June 25, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Leftism is a scam to put leftists in power. Leftists are the wordist class, the lawyers, bureaucrats, professors, journalists, movie producers, some politicians that control public opinion through psychological operations. Remember, in the age of mass media starting with the printing press, power comes from controlling public opinion. You could call it the modern priest class and in fact it’s the same priestly caste Nietzsche was referring to in “The Genealogy of Morals,” driven by ressentiment as Vemgericht pointed out. They invert morality, demonize fecundity, production, health and beauty and demand we affirm their parade of circus freaks. For political expediency, they ally with any group they can claim is oppressed and pretend to be their champions. But it’s all a scam to put themselves in power. It’s now obvious they couldn’t care less about workers’ rights. They say we need to put our highest loyalty to a set of words (values, principals, propositions) rather than our own kind, and they usurp the right to interpret those words. We have lawyers in dresses interpreting our Constitution. They constantly argue for more power and money for themselves. They create the Religion of Political Correctness and institute an inquisition to ruthlessly stamp out any heresy.

    The last impediment to their rule is appeal to truth. They say the truth is no defense for hate or oppression or “incitement”. You can be fired, deplatformed or, in Europe, thrown in jail for uttering heresy to Political Correctness, even if everything you say is true. They evaluate every claim on its political utility, not on whether it conforms with reality. Their main weapon is the talking point, repeated over and over until it has rewired peoples’ brains to their liking. They constantly try to create an environment where they can slander their political opponents with impunity, but we can’t criticize them even if what we say is true. The first part of this was put into law by the Supreme Court in New York Times vs. Sullivan, and social media censoring and hate speech laws are implementing the second part. Keep in mind, when we talk about free speech we’re talking about the right to say 2+2=4 or the right to yell fire in a crowded theater IF THERE IS A FIRE, not the right to libel, slander and bear false witness.

    This group is not the natural leadership caste loyal to the people. They’re stewards, not the king. They’re usurpers, frauds, turnabout intruders. They’re constantly worried about their scam being exposed and they constantly wage psychological warfare on the people.

    White people uniquely value truth over authority. So leftists hate white people and regard them, from their perspective, as uniquely evil.

    To defeat these people, to a certain extent we have to beat them at their own game. For example, talking points work. The only effective response to a talking point is a talking point. You can whine about that all you want, but it won’t get you in power.

    • Cranberries
      Posted June 25, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      “To defeat these people, to a certain extent we have to beat them at their own game. For example, talking points work. The only effective response to a talking point is a talking point. You can whine about that all you want, but it won’t get you in power.”

      Amen. In a democracy, truth rapidly declines in power as it becomes more complex, because most people lack the time, energy, or ability to engage complex truths. We need better rhetoric and aesthetics, e.g. talking points and memes. Fortunately the Left has recently been crippling itself in these domains by allowing its narrow-minded commissars to stifle excellence and humor.

  8. Cranberries
    Posted June 25, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    I believe a philosophical critique of many Leftist ideas is pointless. Or, to put it less harshly, it’s useful to catalog the many, many logical flaws in Leftist ideology, but to fight the culture war on this front is a mistake.

    Here is one reason: Often when we critique supposed Leftist principles, we are already ceding ground that we shouldn’t. For instance, many Leftists *claim* to be compassionate, but are they actually more compassionate than non-Leftists? Not in my experience. They claim to be for “equality”, but they don’t seem very interested in doing the kind of rigorous “accounting” that any serious attempt to “equalize” society would require– instead, the sanctioned victim groups of the moment seem to depend far more on political expediency than a rigorous utilitarian calculus (witness the absurd focus on, say, the pay of female CEOs relative to males). Thus when we critique their professed principles rather than their actions, we play a losing game, since we are taking them at their word that they are motivated by abstract principle when more often it is garden-variety self-interest.

    Of course, the lack of philosophical motivation and consistency isn’t really unique to the Left. Most successful political ideologies have this character. The fact is, most people don’t think very hard and don’t care very much about philosophical consistency. Thin rationalizations are cooked up on an as-needed basis to justify what the heart wants. The Left supplies a “toolkit” of contradictory tropes by which virtually anything can be justified, and then it cultivates a sense of grievance and entitlement in target constituencies. The “arguments” are just a fig leaf for the truly operative forces (will to power? resentment? envy?), which are fueled by the Left’s rhetorical and aesthetic dominance in our society.

    In short, the Left is a kind of politico-psychological machine for accruing power, not a philosophical system. We should study it (and combat it) the way we would study the Golden Horde or a species that has successfully thrived in the modern world (like rats or squirrels), rather than treat it as a philosophical movement.

    • Posted June 29, 2019 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      Agreed; this is the stronger approach. It’s also a good starting-point for cutting through the jungle of self-contradictions and arriving at a coherent “metaphysics of the Left”. Once you believe that reality can be taken apart and constructed by an act of will, all that is left is to build and fitness-test the most effective memetic weapons for producing a strong enough collective will, constructing a new reality, and imposing it all on others, and you end up with a mystery cult of power. Needless to say this has uncomfortable implications for what many believe to be the “metaphysics of the Right”.

  9. nineofclubs
    Posted June 25, 2019 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Some useful ideas here, but the article would be stronger with more robust examples of the points being made.

    As one instance, in dealing with The Sexes, it’s claimed that Leftists (as ever, not defined..) have adopted the idea that there’s no real difference between the sexes. Any perceived differences are social constructs. And there are probably some who believe this. But it’s not a particularly strong example because there are clearly some ultra-feminists who take the differences between the sexes very seriously. Counter Currents ran a piece about how these feminists reject trans-sexuals for not being *actual* women not that long ago.

    So, are we to assume that these ultra-fems are not Leftists? Or Leftists who’ve strayed from their metaphysical roots? Or something else?

    Similarly, in dealing with the question of moral choice, it’s claimed that the Leftist’s tendency to value fairness and compassion leads to lifestyles free of obligation or discipline. I fear this is another sweeping generalisation which undermines the strength of the argument. Leftists – as I imagine the writer defines them – are amongst the most piously judgemental people around, constantly lecturing others on the evils of everything from meat, to guns, to making ‘offensive’ jokes about the opposing team at the football. Some Leftists are hypocrites on some of these points (eg driving cars while complaining about fossil fuels) but others are fanatical in their observation of vegan lifestyles, not owning guns and abstaining from saying anything deemed offensive to minorities. So – some leftists do seem bound by disciplines that we may not relate to, but that are binding to some degree.

    I think most of the points identified as metaphysical bases for the socially liberal, globalist left here are reasonable. But the examples used to validate these points could be stronger if they were less general – or if the use of Leftist were more tightly defined.


  10. ingrainedQuark
    Posted June 26, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    The Left is fine with its contradictions because these ideas are not supposed to form a framework of guiding principles for themselves, but are a framework of weapon-ideas targeted at its enemies. The contradictions are fine, because they confuse the enemy. Sure, there are useful idiots who fully internalize and believe all this crap, but not the ones who came up with the weapon-ideas.

    I think that the actual metaphysics of the Left is the framework of principles that drove them to create the metaphysics discussed above.

  11. Brian Bowden
    Posted June 29, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Woah. You said libertarian is more left than right. Libertarianism is (least for me) on the far right of the spectrum. Your only next step right is sheer anarchy and “might is right”.
    From my viewpoint libertarian (i lean this way) is near about the least government, least socialists you can get. It is this reason if someone called me a Nazi i would respond “i am too far right to be a nazi.” The part people miss about libertarianism is with such liberty comes such repercussions. Basically, if you starve you starve. You die of aids you die of aids, (in its extreme form). It abides along side natural selection. Most of the entire right wing is still left of libertarianism in my viewpoint. Hitler himself would be left wing of most libertarians. National Socialists aren’t even far right. They are still national (government) socialists (societal). Libertarian is the near removal of both the authoritarian and the social safety net. Consider the federalist papers and antifederalist papers (fear of anarchy). The libertarian would be closer to the anarchy mindset (its worth the risk). Or consider constitutionalists. Libertarian of the antifederalist order were against the constitution and Further right than constitutionalists. Constitutionalists (still limited government just centralized) are further right than national socialists.

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