Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Evan Sayet, a writer and political commentator. After his liberal friends’ response to 9/11, he went on a quest to figure out what he calls “The Modern Liberal” mindset. His popular talk to the Heritage Foundation on “How The Modern Liberal Thinks” has received over 600,000 views on youtube, and is the basis for his new book, “The KinderGarden Of Eden: How The Modern Liberal Thinks And Why He’s Convinced That Ignorance Is Bliss.” Visit his site at EvanSayet.com.
FP: Evan Sayet, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Congrats on your new book. It’s really great. In fact, a friend of ours over at PJTV, Bill Whittle, said the other day that it is “perhaps the most important book I’ve read in the past ten years.”
Sayet: Thanks, Jamie!
FP: Let’s begin with what inspired you to write this book.
Sayet: It was time. I had been presenting my understanding of how the Modern Liberal thinks – and why that thinking leads him to side invariably and, in fact, inevitably, with all that is evil, failed and wrong – through a variety of channels: lectures, articles and so on. With the culture war reaching perhaps its ultimate battle, with then the possibility and now the reality of a second Obama administration, I recognized the need to better and further organize my thoughts and present them in a way that was more accessible to more people and that’s this book.
FP: You label yourself a 9-13 Republican. Explain to our readers what you mean by that.
Sayet: Prior to 9-11, I was your typical New York City-born, Liberal Jew. My Liberalism wasn’t a thoughtful embrace of Left-wing ideology – in fact, very, very few people thoughtfully embrace this ideology. It was more like what Andrew Breitbart called “The default factory setting” for people born into the time, place and culture into which I was born.
Back then I knew what all Modern Liberals know: Democrats are good and Republicans are evil; Democrats like peace and Republicans like war; Democrats like air and Republicans don’t breathe the air or something. I don’t know. This is why David Mamet calls them “brain-dead” Liberals, because there was no intellect behind my Liberalism, it just was.
But even as brain-dead Liberal, 9-11 didn’t surprise me. Of course I didn’t know the date, and I didn’t know the targets and the carnage literally sickened me, but I knew just enough about the world to know that the same people who were massacring the Jews of Israel and people of other religions and cultures around the globe because they were the closest infidels would, when they could, come to massacre the biggest infidels – their so-called “Great Satan.” What surprised me – and ultimately rocked my world – is what I metaphorically call “9-12.” That’s the days and the weeks and the months and now the years after 9-11 and the Liberals’ response to the attacks. The idea that we deserved the attacks – that they were, in the words of Barack Obama’s “spiritual mentor,” Jeremiah Wright, “The chickens coming home to roost” – and that the way to prevent further attacks was to be nicer to the terrorists seemed to me to be nothing short of insane. Here we were, facing the most obvious case of good versus evil of my lifetime, and the people I thought were the good and the smart guys – the Liberals – were not only siding with the evil, but they were making the most obviously false and even hateful anti-American arguments in order to do so.
I had to understand why this was, and since then, I have I given it a great deal of thought. And, Jamie, I have an expression: The first time you think is the last time you’re a Democrat. Once I began to think about the issues, I saw that this pro-evil/anti-good paradigm was not only not an aberration, it was a constant.
FP: Your main theme is that Modern Liberalism rejects both God and science and that the Modern Liberal scorns the intellectual process and worships at the altar of indiscriminateness. He takes the side of evil and dreams of regressing humanity back to Adam and Eve. Talk to us a bit about this interpretation of yours.
Sayet: Man, that’s a lot to address in a short answer. The bottom line is that the Modern Liberal is convinced that it is beliefs – not what those beliefs are but any belief at all – that are not only evil, but the font of all war, poverty, crime and injustice. They’re convinced that thinking is a hate crime – an act so heinous as to render one evil for simply engaging in it and an act that requires one to revile anyone who engages in it. The notion behind this hatred for thinking is that anything a person believes is going to have been so tainted by his personal bigotries – bigotries we all possess as simply part of the human experience, bigotries based on such things as the color of our skin, the nation of our ancestry, our height, weight, sex and so on – that the only way not to be an evil bigot is to never think at all.
Not only does the Modern Liberal see faith and reason as hate crimes, but their product is and can only be, war, poverty, crime and injustice. The notion here is that, if nobody believed in anything then there’d be nothing for people to disagree about. If people didn’t disagree then surely they wouldn’t fight and, if they didn’t fight, then of course they’d never go to war. It only follows (at least as far as the Modern Liberal is concerned) that, without war there’d be no poverty, without poverty there’d be no crime and without crime there’d be no injustice. Mankind would return to Eden (or its secular version, the wonderful world of the kindergarten playground) if only all efforts to use one’s intellect ended, every “child” was declared “special” (but none more special than any other) and all people equally rewarded with each “child” getting a cookie but no child getting two.
The problem with this, however, is that, since in the real world, the better does exist, the Modern Liberal needs to “prove” that its existence is unjust. Otherwise the whole utopian scheme goes up in flames. Thus, he must argue that anything and everything society recognizes as the good and right – and all of the things that prove themselves to be the better by succeeding – are really the products of injustice. In other words, not only is the Modern Liberal bigoted, but his mindless prejudices are invariably against all that is good, right and successful.
FP: So to crystallize this point: In your book you stress that the Modern Liberal is “both morally and intellectually retarded at the level of the five-year old child.” Summarize for us why.
Sayet: Jean-Jacques Rousseau – in many ways the Godfather of Modern Liberalism – argues in essence that the human being is born morally perfect and is only then corrupted by evil forces within society seeking to use him to advance their own self-serving agendas. If this is true, then not only is the Modern Liberal’s utopia possible; it is easily achieved. All the Modern Liberal would need to do is find some mechanism to retard the child’s moral and intellectual growth at a level prior to his being corrupted by society, and a morally perfect world would result. That mechanism is to declare thinking to be a hate crime. The result is millions and millions of people who believe, as the mega-selling book by Robert Fulghum declares, that All I Ever Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.
FP: You use the example of Bruce Springsteen’s songs to illustrate your thesis. There is a certain demonization of hard work in his lyrics and you find this very indicative and meaningful. Tell us how and why.
Sayet: Again, a lot to cover in a short interview. Let’s give it a shot. What is the worst moment in the small child’s life? It’s that moment when one of his parents leans out the window and shouts “playtime’s over; come in and do your chores.” That’s the way the Modern Liberal sees having a job. Because the Right Thinker believes in the existence of the better, he sees having a job as a way to fulfill his life’s purpose. He can make a better world by producing things and doing it well. Because the Modern Liberal rejects the notion of the better, having a job is nothing other than unmitigated hardship, it is the one and only thing that prevents him from his life’s purpose –the purpose of the small child’s daily life having fun and doing whatever feels good. If you listen to Springteen’s lyrics they are not mature thoughts about the role work plays in the grown-up’s life –a role that includes camaraderie, a sense of accomplishment and so on, they are the small child’s rantings – albeit in adult-sounding verbiage – about how horrible it is that the grown-up doesn’t get to spend all of his time playing. There is simply not a single Springsteen song that I can easily think of – and I know my Springsteen – where someone with a job isn’t going through total and abject horror because he isn’t being allowed to play at the moment.
FP: I am a life-long Springsteen fan and I must say, yes you do know your Springsteen and you wrote quite a powerful and profound article on him and his music a little while back for Frontpage, “The Promise is Broken.” I encourage all of our readers to read it.
Let’s move forward. You show how John Lennon’s song “Imagine” serves as a perfect symbol of the Modern Liberal’s thinking. Share with our readers how you see this.
Sayet: The song “Imagine” is a near-perfect detailing of the Modern Liberal’s “Blueprint for Utopia.” If no one engaged in thought about the better forms of governance – that’s what having “no countries” would do; and if no one gave any thought to what the better moral codes to live by are – that’s what having no religions would accomplish; and if everyone was equally rewarded no matter their behavior (like every child getting a cookie and no child getting two) then there would be no reason to seek out the better and rightful behaviors, then mankind would live in paradise without war, poverty, crime or injustice. Note that, like the small child, one of the “benefits” of this paradise is that “all the people (are) living for today.”
Not surprisingly, then, the World Socialist Party writes on their website: Many members of the World Socialist Movement have considered John Lennon’s song Imagine an anthem of universal hope. In few other songs, and perhaps in no song that reached as wide an audience as that one, is the socialist vision so accurately and movingly conveyed.”
FP: You refer to a whole bunch of Modern Liberals (Pelosi, Gates, Clooney) who “don’t do anything or make anything.” What do you mean by this and how does it fit into your argument?
Sayet: What you’ll notice about the industries that dominate today’s Democratic Party is that the one thing they have in common is that they don’t make or produce anything tangible. The entirety of both their product and their effort is nothing other than words. Because they don’t do anything or make anything, there is no reason for them to seek out the better ways of doing things and making things. The coin-of-the-realm to those in the Rhetoric Industries is to be clever; there is simply no need for them to be right. As I write in the book, “The ‘clever’ but wrong fireman soon gets burned and, having been burned, learns a lesson or two. The ‘clever’ but wrong academic, on the other hand, soon gets tenured and, having been rewarded, seeks only newer and more clever-sounding ways of repeating the same nonsense she’s believed from before she’d turned six and about which life has never given her reason to question.” When Springsteen sings a song about being a policeman, he doesn’t need to know what he’s talking about because, two-minutes and twelve seconds later he’s no longer a policeman, he’s now pretending to be a factory worker. The real policeman, on the other hand, might not be as clever as Springsteen but he has to be smarter. When all you do is talk you don’t need to know what you’re talking about because, when you don’t do anything, nothing can go wrong. This allows those who have gone from the paradise of childhood directly into careers in the Rhetoric Industries to spend their entire lives not knowing anything more than the small child save for possessing a bigger vocabulary.
FP: You point to five basic reasons leftists always go to rationalize why someone would disagree with them. (p.47) Share these with our readers and what it means.
Sayet: Since the Modern Liberal’s policy on any given issue is the one that he is led to by his rejection of moral and rational thought – his indiscriminateness – anyone who takes a different position on any issue is not only “wrong,” he is evil (or, in Thomas Sowell’s words, he is “not merely in error, but in sin.”) This is because the opposite of indiscriminateness is the evil of having discriminated: the hate crime of thinking. One might discriminate because they’re 1) stupid 2) bigoted 3) phobic 4) evil or 5) greedy, but, no matter what, the Modern Liberal has no other explanation for disagreeing with him on an issue other than one of these five things. Sound impossible? Take a second and try to name a single issue – even one – where one of these things isn’t what the Modern Liberal says is the motive for not supporting their policy. You can’t. Not one.
FP: It all therefore makes sense that the Left would really have their hate focused on America and Israel, right? Expand on this a bit for us.
Sayet: Hatred for Judeo-Christian America and the Jews of Israel is nothing less than endemic to Modern Liberalism. Assuming one doesn’t deny that America is exceptionally strong and exceptionally prosperous, how is this to be explained? There are only two possible explanations, either there is something exceptional about America’s culture that leads to this success or there isn’t anything special about America’s culture and therefore not only is this success unjust (why should America be prosperous and strong if she’s nothing special) but, given that America is the strongest and most prosperous nation in human history, the Modern Liberal has no choice but to believe America is the greatest injustice in all of human history.
Similarly, if no culture, religion, form of governance or anything else is better than any other, how is the Modern Liberal to explain the history of the Jews? How is he to explain that the Jews are the longest surviving culture in all of human history? That wherever they are – and, because of the Diaspora, they are all over the planet – so long as they are not being so horribly oppressed that there is simply no way for them to succeed, they tend to thrive? How is the Modern Liberal to explain that – just as God said, by the way – that any nation that treats its Jews well does well while those nations (like those of the Islamic world, for example) that treats its Jews badly will fare badly?
And, of course, how is the Modern Liberal to explain the nearly miraculous success of the Jewish people of Modern Israel with their tiny population but their incredible contributions to everything from the arts to medicines and technologies? There are only two possible explanations: either there is something exceptional about Judaism and these successes are the results of that or there isn’t anything special about Judaism and the success of the Jews is not only unjust, but given their unparalleled success throughout history, they must be an unparalleled injustice. It’s not the evil of America or the Jewish people that sees the Modern Liberal single out these two nations for their enmity, it is the goodness, rightness and success of these nations because not only must the indiscriminate see success as unjust, but great success is proof positive of great injustice and unequalled success serves as all the proof the Modern Liberal needs to conclude that an unequalled injustice has taken place. The Modern Liberal hates America and hates Israel not because they’re the worst but because they’re the best.
FP: You talk about the time Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar walked off their set when Bill O’Reilly dared to say that Muslims attacked us on 9/11. The Left’s need to deny the truth about Islam is very inter-related with your thesis, right?
Sayet: Well, it’s just the flip-side of their enmity for all that is good, right and successful. If there’s nothing wrong with Islam – and the indiscriminate must start and end their “thinking” with the belief (or at least stated belief) that there’s nothing wrong with Islam for otherwise they would be engaging in discriminating thought, then how is one to explain the abject failures and the horrific actions of the Islamists? The former can only be explained by declaring them to be “oppressed” (and since their failure is so deep and widespread that “oppression” must be horrific in scale) and their acts of terror and other atrocities must be explained away as having been “provoked,” thus the same actions any and all other cultures and religions would have taken if only they, too, were so horribly oppressed and victimized.
This, then, requires the Modern Liberal to invent horrors committed by the victims of Islam in order to “prove” that there’s nothing the matter with Islam. I’m sure you’ll recall Ward Churchill, the chairman of the department at a major American university declaring in the wake of 9-11 that the victims deserved to be burned alive in their place of employment because every American is a “little Eichmann.” Is every American really a miniature version of the architect of the Holocaust? Of course not. In fact, as with everything else the Modern Liberal believes (or says he believes), literally nothing could be further from the truth. So why did this man offer up such horrible slanders against the newly massacred innocent? Because he had to. Because if the victims didn’t deserve it then the attacks of 9-11 would have been nothing other than wanton mass murder, making the perpetrators evil. Since, to the indiscriminate, the terrorists can’t be evil, then they must portray their victims as evil. In every case the Modern Liberal, in order to remain indiscriminate, must discriminate against the good, right and successful.
FP: Final thoughts?
Sayet: Yeah, buy my book. Tell your friends.
FP: Evan Sayet, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview. And we encourage all of our readers to get their hands on The KinderGarden Of Eden.
Evan, congrats once again and we hope to see you again soon.
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