The Ideological Crisis of the Left

In a recent piece, I wrote about the increasing desperation of leftists across the country and indeed around the world.  Several readers correctly criticized that piece for missing an essential point: the major reason that the left are so desperate is that they know—correctly—that it is their ideology that is being brought into doubt.  It is, for them, an existential crisis.

The failure of leftist ideology should be evident to all of us: every time a country has a violent leftist revolution or uses allegedly democratic processes to elect hard leftist regimes, that country ends up with turmoil, misery, economic failure, and often violence.  The examples are too many to list, but here are a few:  The former Soviet Union, China, Albania, Cuba, all for the former eastern bloc, and more recently Venezuela.

On the opposite side, every time a nation decides to follow conservative principles of free and open markets, political freedom, and economic capitalism, that country prospers and its people become more free.  Unfortunately, due to the relentless activism of the worldwide left, the list is much shorter: The United States (at least until recently), Canada, Australia, Great Britain (at times), and possibly a few others.

It may be no coincidence that most, if not all of these countries are of Anglo-Saxon derivation and that most speak English.  While all of Western Europe has a liberal tradition (in the Enlightenment sense) that causes it to be more free and open than much of the rest of the world, the Anglo-Saxon cultures of old Europe were especially tenacious in their views of individual liberty.

Yet, for reasons I find unfathomable, there are still those amongst us who would return us to the tyranny and despotism that leftist forms of government and economics always bring us.

As all conservatives know, we have before us an historic opportunity to give the worldwide left an enormous setback—possibly the largest in many generations.  And I urge all freedom-loving people to help bring that about.

What, in my judgment, makes this crisis different from those that have happened before is that people who were formerly uninvolved, or at least less involved, in the ideological struggle between left and right have become committed.  The Tea Party movement, while important, is merely one symptom.  So-called “moderates” are turning to the right and rejecting the ideology of the left.

In response to this rejection—which is blindingly obvious to most leftists—we get the “Occupy” movement: a bunch of spoiled children committing violent and disgusting acts, and who are unable to explain why they wish to do so—or why we ought to view their misbehavior as legitimate political debate.  But their acts, which range from violent and serious to outright silly, grow in intensity precisely in response to the majority of the polity rejecting their arguments and thus their ideology.

This is just one more reason that we need to be thoughtful about how we frame our own ideological arguments.  In particular, we need not allow the leftist medial to define our ideology for us.  If there was ever a time to be thoughtful and convincing, this is it.

Let that be considered good advice to our Republican Presidential candidates: Your constituents on the right need you to explain your views in a serious and thoughtful way so that they can select the one from among you who best meets their needs.  And your constituents on the left need to you explain your views in a serious and thoughtful way because many of them are seriously considering conservative ideas as an alternative.

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