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Thursday, October 08, 2015

How the Left Rebranded as Non-Ideological

Every time Obama issues another public ultimatum to Congress (before doing what he wants to do anyway) he phrases it in terms like "common sense" or "pragmatic". It's "non-ideological" he insists. The left's ideological agenda just happens to be the common sense pragmatic non-ideological solution.

Obama may be the most radical political figure to occupy the White House, but he is careful to avoid political labels. His leftist allies calculatingly compare him to Reagan or Roosevelt. He's not an ideologue. Just another one of those "Great American Leaders" bent on helping ordinary people.

A big part of the left's latest successes can be attributed to this non-ideological rebranding.

The old left (both old and new) was a political movement that wanted to be understood in terms of its ideology. The post-leftist left wants to be seen as progressive. It emphasizes policies linked to people instead of ideology. The ideology is still there and choking entire university departments to death, but its public face emphasizes an apolitical technocracy of pragmatists and caring social workers.

It's not a new idea. Communists heavily leaned on non-ideological front groups. Its activists were writers or grandmothers even when they were parroting Soviet talking points. They weren't anything political. They were just ordinary common sense folks looking for pragmatic solutions.

But American leftists used to be more like Bernie Sanders and less like Barack Obama. Today Sanders is a strange romantic anachronism which is why he attracts so much of the left. The modern leftist politician follows a left-wing line, but without a lot of the ideological trappings. He does his best to sound like a reformer. He's a political extremist who tries to sound like a moderate.

Bernie Sanders appeals to the left for the same reasons that post-left lefties like Hillary and Obama don't. Hillary and Obama pursue their goals, but Sanders talks their talk. He doesn't pretend to be the voice of a new generation looking to find common ground. He doesn't pretend to be anything except a political extremist convinced of his rightness and unapologetic about it.

But Sanders' only real function is to serve as a stalking horse for Biden, weakening Hillary to enable a third proxy term for Obama. Bernie Sanders is what the left used to be. It's now a collection of political shapeshifters like Obama and Hillary who bury their radicalism beneath a paper thin veneer of moderation and caring. His kind of leftist never sold well and doesn't sell in this type of market.

Americans are suspicious of political agendas. They like their leaders to be common sense apolitical pragmatists who put people ahead of ideology. So that's what the left pretends to be.

The public face of the left has become non-ideological. No longer even liberal, but progressive. There's no Marxism here, folks. Just science and humanitarian impulses.

The left doesn't talk ideology. It just claims to care about people. It wants illegal alien amnesty, not because it believes in open borders, but because it cares about illegal aliens. It champions gay marriage, not because that's a part of its ideology, but because it cares about gay couples. It wants universal health care, not because it's Socialist, but because it cares about the uninsured.

Its MO is to put a human face on an issue. Then ram through the policy as an "act of love" to pragamtically "solve" a problem. The ideology remains hidden out of sight behind the curtain.

This post-leftist left requires a steady supply of victims as human faces of their latest totalitarian measure. Children are always useful because they're adorable and can be told to say anything. But it also requires a complete embrace of identity politics. And identity politics brings back ideology in the most toxic of ways.

The Social Justice Warrior has revived political correctness and taken it to new lows. While these activists have been key to the left's agenda, they are making it increasingly obvious that there is an agenda and that it's built out of Marxist gobbledygook.

The left wanted its activists to be thought of as people who volunteer to build homes in the Third World. Not the same old angry Marxists clutching pamphlets and screaming slogans filled with terminology no one understands. The SJWs are slightly more diverse than the old Marxists, but they are if anything even more obnoxious and their "problematic" vocabulary is very revealing.

Liberal outlets have been churning out pieces critical of the SJWs (without using that name) because, like the Cultural Revolution, these activists excel at internecine violence and because they risk destroying the left's new brand as a bunch of non-ideological problem solvers.

SJWs operate publicly within the shadow of popular culture. This has given them a certain amount of plausible deniability as they parasite and prey on creative fields, playing critics, commentators and writers, rather than ideologues, but the civil wars within some creative fields are bringing that time of quiet infiltration to an end.

And yet the left created the SJW problem by its apolitical reinvention. It needed a lot of identity groups to take the place of a formal ideology in public. The identity groups were meant to interlink with the technocracy of the left, the consultants, experts and academics who would claim that their demands were pragmatic and scientific. But the SJWs are spinning out of control.

Americans hated political correctness the first time around. Even liberals hated it. And the SJWs with their safe rooms and trigger words, their contention that they should have the right to violently berate and cyberlynch anyone they please without criticism (that's tone policing and punching down) are worse than any 80s sensitivity training course.

Political correctness doomed the public image of liberalism to a bunch of Bernie Sanders', pinch-faced scolds with no sense of humor who were always furiously angry over everything. The brand became so toxic that it had to be abandoned. The new leftist was non-ideological. Like Obama, he was supposed to be a natural comedian. He might show empathy, but he wouldn't be a scold.

But the idea that the left could sustain a non-ideological image while ramming through a radical ideological agenda was always tenuous. Not because Republicans would expose it. That might have happened in the era of Reagan and Goldwater, but we tend to forget that they were already frustrated responses to the failure of Republicans to check the radical agendas of FDR and JFK. An immediate successful Republican campaign against Obama was probably always too much to hope for. 

Conservative movements are notorious for their slow burns as they react to a left that has learned to get around public distaste for its agenda with shameless lies and fake patriotism. FDR and JFK both knew that they had to make their agenda seem like Americanism, inspirational, exceptional and patriotic. Republicans never figured out how to counter them, relying first on legalism, and then searching desperately for compromises. Obama had managed to successfully repeat the same trick.

It wasn't the right that would bring down the left. Historically it's the left that brings down the left.

The Obama era was a brilliant public relations ploy that was made possible by the entire media and the cultural industries turning themselves into a non-stop commercial for it. But its ability to fool enough of the people to stay in power wouldn't last.

Obama's own aggressive ObamaCare bid precipitated the original conservative reaction. His growing aggressiveness after his last midterm election defeat was mimicked by a left drunk on power and echoing his arrogance and contempt.

Sanders is a stalking horse for the Obama agenda, but he's also a symptom of a left that distrusts non-ideological rhetoric and is convinced that the public would embrace its agenda and allow it to accelerate its program of Socialism, mass seizure and abolition of property and rights, if only it was allowed to make the case. Before Sanders, Elizabeth Warren became the darling of the left for her, "You didn't build that" message. It was Socialism, though still cloaked in the non-ideological common sense brand, but the left could taste how close she came to saying it all.

The left has become too successful to sustain its non-ideological brand. What the right hasn't managed to do, the left is doing to itself.

As Lincoln knew, no lie can sustain itself indefinitely. Even when it isn't exposed from the outside, success creates its own internal tensions that will tear it apart. The left needs a right to fight because otherwise it will fight itself. The left is obsessed with purging its own ranks and the SJWs are the mechanism of that purge.

The return of political correctness, of censorship and the culture war, is not only creating new enemies, but exposes the fraud that there is no left, only a non-ideological progressive movement that eschews dogma and just tries to solve problems because it cares about people. The SJW, an angry freak who identifies with as many identities as he/she/it can, is a wailing hub of dogma, a physical embodiment of an ideological power structure-in-waiting that is built on repression and political terror.

Also he/she/it ruins everything.

The SJW reminds everyone that there is a left and that there's nothing progressive about it. That despite its culture heroes, it's a humorless movement whose aim is cultural censorship, and whose claims of caring about people are undermined by its angry hysterical tantrums.

Meanwhile Obama's plan to replace himself with his own LBJ just means that if the Republicans still can't get it together, Biden will be a sitting duck as the non-ideological common sense pragmatic Socialist program really begins coming apart. It was LBJ's failures that really buried the JFK era. Biden will bury the Obama era just as thoroughly when the chickens of a disastrous foreign and domestic policy have really come home to roost.

13 comments:

112 said...

I've made the comment for years that when talking to young people, an hour of left wing propaganda is just facts, debating what they say becomes "politics". I've never had the clear-sight and brilliance to expose the phenomenon like you just did. You're a genius.

112 said...

Question, though, why do you have the Jerusalem Post scrolling in your sidebar?

I don't even need to go back to their history, click any link off the top of the list, and it's like a muddy stain on your website of crystal http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Extreme-right-wing-protesters-chanting-Arab-slogans-marching-in-Jerusalem-421395 For that one, what protest? Report on it, and we'll take care of branding them, we don't need a biased reporter to tell us what they are.

Should I launch a 2 hour tirade on them? How can you support that propaganda rag?

Y. Ben-David said...

Another perceptive piece.
"112" points out correctly that the Left likes to brand its opponents as "extremists". In Israel, those who support the Jewish communities in Judea/Samara are branded as "extreme Rightists". In the Israeli Leftist controlled media, there are no "extreme Leftists", only "extreme Rightists". That is also the reason B Hussein Obama refers to ISIS as "violent extremists"....as opposed to "violent Muslim"....he knows he can ignite public opinion against "extremists" but he doesn't want to use the word Muslim in mobilizing publicopinion, being a Muslim himself.
The all-time low occurred during Sharon's destruction of Gush Katif. Brett Stephens, who at the time was editor of the Jerusalem Post and is now with the WSJ" had been very good in his analysis of the Arab terror war against Israel. However, he fell into Sharon's trap and wrote a piece saying "only extremists want to stay in Gush Katif, but it is "moderate" to stay in Judea/Samaria"....the implication being that "extremists are always wrong, and moderates are always right" (who says?). I believe he now regrets that but he was acting as a cheap propagandist at the time for Sharon and he lost all credibility with me after that.

Y. Ben-David said...

Some good news from the Nobel Prize Committee....I was worried when I saw a report earlier that Kerry and the Iranian Zarif were "front-runners" to get the so-called "Peace Prize". We know that this prize was degraded when they gave it Rabin, Peres and Arafat in addition to Obama, but I still am glad Kerry didn't get it. It reminds of the time that Gertrude Stein and others wanted to have it granted to Hitler and Chamberlain for the Munich sell-out. Kerry and Zarif were entitled to it as much as those earlier "peace makers".

Tricia said...

Great post, very insiteful and spot on!

Doug Mayfield said...

Thanks for the insightful article.

I think the Republicans have a chance to win the Presidential election if they choose someone who runs a better campaign than McCain and Romney. Against competent opposition, I don't think Biden, or Hillary, will win.

And as you say, 'Sanders' only real function is to serve as a stalking horse for Biden, weakening Hillary to enable a third proxy term for Obama'. He has no chance.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,

Thanks for the analysis. No better chance for social climbers than in the ideological state. Give your child the proper verbal training (like they do in Park Slope) and they are made. They will sound so much better and will instantly brand themselves as better (meaning richer) than the troglodyte, victimized kids who give themselves away as having gone to the public schools where the ideological state first fails.

Nothing has disappointed me more than seeing public school life become American life. Behind every ideological state is the sick marriage of corrupt government with its academic/media corroborators. Always thought crime. Never real reform.

Rudyard Kipling said...

Absolutely brilliant. Understand these principles and you can dismantle any Leftist machine no matter how complex.

Anonymous said...

The left pretends to use scientific thinking only because of their atheism. It makes them feel so superior even when they tend to have problems with K12 Maths. As for their humanitarian impulses, they last as long as it is paid for with others money. They wouldn’t donate from their own money in a million years…

Anonymous said...

If anyone wants to know the nature of those who follow the progressive movement, go read the comments on a liberal blog.
Fair warning though, piercing your forehead with a spike is less painful.

sophie

fsy said...

I'm not sure I understand the LBJ analogy at the end. I think it's well known that LBJ was a more competent (i.e. ruthless) politician than JFK, and anyway was not a stand-in for him since he was dead. Whatever you think about JFK, LBJ's failures stand on their own. Don't know what this has in common with Biden who is certainly even less intelligent than 0bama.

RAM said...

Once truth is exchanged for lies, it becomes possible to call a mad ideology non-ideological.

Sally said...

Daniel's a whiz. Im finally getting the education I paid for. I actually couldn't understand the Deep Ecology or the ravings of that mad old Chinese American communist professor in polisci 20 years ago. I remember every one saying he was the real deal and his course would be transformative. Now i know why. They seemed so knowing, conspiratorial. He was the mangod of the department for sure. He was about 6 2 which is unusual for anyone in Hawaii, and he would stand up and rave for a few minutes, a steam of unintelligible gobbledygook pouring forth, and geticulate wildly, and then he would freeze suddenly in midpose immobile for ages, trying to dredge the finer details of maoist theory from his ossified mind. I still recoil at the image.
But like i say I couldn't make heads or tails of it fortunately. Until now :)

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