People who identify with the Left often ask the following question: How is it possible for decent human beings not to be progressive like us? How can they not share our concern for social justice or the better world we are attempting to create? The answers progressives give themselves are the following: Ignorance clouds the understanding of others. Class interest blocks their human compassion. In the eyes of progressives, their opponents are prisoners of a false consciousness that prevents them from recognizing, and thus embracing, human possibility. This false consciousness is rooted in in the self-interest of a ruling class (or gender or race), which is intent on defending a system that secures its privilege. In other words, opposition to progressive agendas grows naturally from selfishness, myopia and greed. To progressives, theirs alone is the vocation of generosity, morality and reason.
Those on the right, who are opponents of the Left, have questions too: How is it possible for progressives to remain so blind to the grim realities their ideas have created? How can they overlook the crimes they have committed against the very poor and oppressed they set out to defend? How can they have learned so little from the history their dreams have engendered?
It is apparent not of the Left that progressives have a false consciousness all their own. They are intoxicated with the perfumes of their own virtue. How being so noble in their own estimation could they not be blind? But this blindness is also the result of insularity, of the very contempt they have for those not gifted with progressive morality and sight. The vast literature of radicalism is to a large extent innocent of serious engagement with opposing ideas. The names, let alone the works, of von Mises, Hayek, Aron, Popper, Oakeshott, Sowell, Strauss, Bloom, Kirk, and other anti-socialist thinkers are virtually unknown on the left and absent from the academic reading lists of the institutions they dominate. The same judgement cannot be made about the political antagonists of the Left who, in part because of the very cultural dominance of the Left, are familiar with the currency of socialist ideas and the intellectual tradition that underpins them.
– The Politics of Bad Faith
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- From the Pen of David Horowitz: December 18, 2009
- From the Pen of David Horowitz: December 12, 2009
- From the Pen of David Horowitz: October 27, 2009