The deep feeling on the Left of being personally oppressed

Overview

We believe that many on the Left feel deeply and personally oppressed as they go about their daily lives in America, that they feel there are malign forces behind the scenes which are manipulating events to evil result. To explore this thought, let’s begin with what we are really up against in our war, and the strange fantasy view of the war on the Left. For the latter, we use VDH’s excellent synopsis of the Left’s alternative narrative of the War from NRO.

What we’re up against in reality

Amir Taheri, as quoted here previously:

[T]his enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you.

The ideological soil in which alQaeda, and the many groups using its brand name, grow was described by one of its original masterminds, the Pakistani Abul-Ala al-Maudoodi more than 40 years ago. It goes something like this: when God created mankind He made all their bodily needs and movements subject to inescapable biological rules but decided to leave their spiritual, social and political needs and movements largely subject to their will. Soon, however, it became clear that Man cannot run his affairs the way God wants. So God started sending prophets to warn man and try to goad him on to the right path. A total of 128,000 prophets were sent, including Moses and Jesus. They all failed. Finally, God sent Muhammad as the last of His prophets and the bearer of His ultimate message, Islam. With the advent of Islam all previous religions were “abrogated” (mansukh), and their followers regarded as “infidel” (kuffar). The aim of all good Muslims, therefore, is to convert humanity to Islam, which regulates Man’s spiritual, economic, political and social moves to the last detail.

But what if non-Muslims refuse to take the right path? Here answers diverge. Some believe that the answer is dialogue and argument until followers of the “abrogated faiths” recognise their error and agree to be saved by converting to Islam. This is the view of most of the imams preaching in the mosques in the West. But others, including Osama bin Laden, a disciple of al-Maudoodi, believe that the Western-dominated world is too mired in corruption to hear any argument, and must be shocked into conversion through spectacular ghazavat (raids) of the kind we saw in New York and Washington in 2001, in Madrid last year, and now in London.

The Left’s fantasy narrative of the war, by Victor Davis Hanson

Ever since September 11, there has been an alternative narrative about this war embraced by the Left. In this mythology, the attack on September 11 had in some vague way something to do with American culpability. Either we were unfairly tilting toward Israel, or had been unkind to Muslims. Perhaps, as Sen. Patty Murray intoned, we needed to match the good works of bin Laden to capture the hearts and minds of Muslim peoples.

The fable continues that the United States itself was united after the attack even during its preparations to retaliate in Afghanistan. But then George Bush took his eye off the ball. He let bin Laden escape, and worst of all, unilaterally and preemptively, went into secular Iraq — an unnecessary war for oil, hegemony, Israel, or Halliburton, something in Ted Kennedy’s words “cooked up in Texas.” In any case, there was no connection between al Qaeda and Saddam, and thus terrorists only arrived in Iraq after we did.

That tale goes on. The Iraqi fiasco is now a hopeless quagmire. The terrorists are paying us back for it in places like London and Madrid. Still worse, here at home we have lost many of our civil liberties to the Patriot Act and forsaken our values at Guantanamo Bay under the pretext of war. Nancy Pelosi could not understand the continued detentions in Guantanamo since the war in Afghanistan is in her eyes completely finished.

In this fable, we are not safer as a nation. George Bush’s policies have increased the terror threat as we saw recently in the London bombing. We have now been at war longer than World War II. We still have no plan to defeat our enemies, and thus must set a timetable to withdraw from Iraq. Islamic terrorism cannot be defeated militarily nor can democracy be “implanted by force.” So it is time to return to seeing the terrorist killing as a criminal justice matter — a tolerable nuisance addressed by writs and indictments, while we give more money to the Middle East and begin paying attention to the “root causes” of terror.

That is the dominant narrative of the Western Left and at times it finds its way into mainstream Democratic-party thinking. Yet every element of it is false.

Part of the explanation is Western Guilt

He then commences a tedious but necessary point-by-point refutation of each element of the Left’s worldview. Hanson says this later in the piece by way of explanation for the strange world these people inhabit, which we might have called on another occasion, the world of the 32% percent:

These articles of faith apparently fill a deep psychological need for millions of Westerners, guilty over their privilege, free to do anything without constraints or repercussions, and convinced that their own culture has made them spectacularly rich and leisured only at the expense of others.

Hanson is undoubtedly correct in his laying some blame on irrational Western guilt for our freedom and luxuries; as we have said, that is one reason for the religion of Global Warming — secular man wants to propitiate his gods, even if he is an atheist. But guilt only goes so far as an explanation of the Left’s obsession with America as bad. Guilt maight cause you to give to charity, to support increased foreign aid, to adopt a child, to make a burnt, or in the case of Global Warming, unburnt offering. Guilt doesn’t want to make you try to burn down the house while you are inside. That is a different phenomenon at work.

Many on the Left feel personally oppressed in America

That phenomenon in our view is the feeling of being oppressed by life itself. It is in part a feeling of powerlessness, being a cog in the machine, dragged along without many real choices in life — and it matters not if you are a janitor or a partner in a big law firm. We are not going to attempt a diagnosis in this piece, but, rather, offer an observation or two.

Note the pervasiveness of the phenomenon of feeling oppressed by a malign power structure. The narrative begins in our public school educations, and gets worse in college. Adults who should know better — Kennedy, Pelosi, Durbin, Dean, etc — fail to act like adults by condemning lives of perpetual narcissistic adolescence. And the popular culture has embraced and fostered the idea that there is a secret power elite in America controlling lives and ruling with unchecked evil power.

Often the malign power structure is hidden, but sometimes it is out in the open. Think of virtually every movie about the US military in the last 30 years: Platoon, Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket — the military and the government behind it are evil. Why do you think Dick Durbin’s comments came so trippingly off the tongue? It’s in the fabric of our culture. And the portrayals of the military are just the most obvious and focused example of this. Much of popular drama is all about finding the sinister secret behind the scenes, and then fighting the power (The Matrix, All the President’s Men, etc).

The seriousness of the problem: 32% of Democrats see the US as a bad country

Things have reached a very low point, after these decades of indoctrination by the madrassas of the Left and the popular culture. The figures tell the tale:

82% of Republicans see the USA as a generally “fair and decent” country; shockingly, only half — 50% exactly — of Democrats think America is generally fair and decent. Need we give the most basic history lesson about our country, its progress over just the last century or so. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:

Here is the signal fact of our progress in the last century. If you were born in 1900, your life expectancy was in the forties, and GNP per capita was about $4000. If you are born today, your life expectancy in about eighty, and statistically, as an average American, you are ten times richer. In reality you are a hundred or a thousand times richer, if you factor in your ability to be in Paris tomorrow for $500, your ability to watch events from fifty years ago as they actually happened, etc. – not to mention that your toddler’s severe pneumonia can be reliably cured in 48 hours or so. Only a little of this has to do with government.

Needless to say, knowledge of such basic facts — let alone the stirring words of our forefathers — are not required for a high school diploma, and are in fact probably disqualifications for tenure at our elite universities.

Where are we heading?

The signs are pretty good on balance, are they not? A major co-incident indicator, control of the elective branches of government — has been trending conservative and pro-American for over a decade. A major leading indicator of popular culture — Hollywood — is currently in decline. Hollywood’s first cousins in the MSM have been in decline for a generation; nothing indicates better the loss of their power than their hysterical coverage of the “Rove is Watergate” non-story.

Much remains to be done of course. Unless the public education system overcomes its structural impediments to change, it will continue to lose market share. Reform is to be much preferred. Hollywood, which thinks it is anti-Bush but is actually anti-American, is a much tougher situation. The country needs its media to support it. There is a huge unfulfilled market demand for a pro-America Hollywood, similar to the market opportunity afforded Fox News by the tunnel vision of the nets.

The lagging indicators are none too good — the courts and the universities. But they are lagging indicators precisely because they employ a system of tenure, so they really measure the status quo of a generation or more ago. They change slowly, but they change.

Democratic leaders project their feelings onto the nation to the good of no one

The most serious situation seems to us to be that of the Democratic Party itself. A party that has a third of its members thinking the country is unfair and indecent has no future, unless the country is itself in the process of committing suicide. Moreover, the party has only itself to blame for this. Are there no adults whatsoever in positions of authority in the Democratic Party? Here’s the nub: going through life feeling oppressed, seeing yourself as a victim, is a choice. It is a narcissistic, adolescent, non-grown-up choice, but it is a choice. It is a ridiculous, irrational choice in the richest, freest country on the planet, with immigrants literally dying to get in — but it is a choice. Senior Democrats — Kennedy, Pelosi, Durbin, Dean, etc — empower this choice through their words endorsing victimhood as a legitimate way of thinking. They are projecting their feelings about the loss of their power in Washington onto the country writ large, and it is doing them, their party, and their country no good. We’re waiting for them to hit bottom.

One Response to “The deep feeling on the Left of being personally oppressed”

  1. stephen williams Says:

    Does the Democratic Party have any adults in positions of authority? Did you really ask that? Of course, compared to the “I am not responsible for anything bad that has happened in my tenure” Bushies, or the Santorum temper tantrum of blaming all things bad as being the fault of those terrible Bostonians, or the rantings of people like John Cornyn, who pretty much advocated violence against judges in the Schavio case, the dems are like the tolerant forgiving parent who has to bear the immature rantings of their children in the belief that a value system that ensures some type of personal responsibilty will eventually emerge. Please forgive my smirk, but I am have to think that upon reflection you wish you had not actually made such a incredibly stupid comment about there being adults in the democratic party. Oh so funny

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