theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director

Sunday, May 5, 2019

LEFT-WING Ideology: A Cult, a Religion, or Science?

Gary Gindler

More than a hundred years ago, prominent Marxist Antonio Gramsci wrote: "Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. [Socialism is] religion in the sense that it too is a faith with its mystics and rituals; religion because it has substituted for the consciousness of the transcendental God of the Catholics, the faith in man and in his great strengths as a unique spiritual reality" [1]. Equalizing an ideology with religion was pretty novel back then. However, Gramsci was talking about religion not as it is commonly understood — i.e., the relationship between God and men — but as a collection of religious attributes and rituals. In his point of view, socialism was godless religion, the cult of the messianic Marx.

At the same time, Gramsci understood that socialism (and leftism in general), like any other dogma, is immune to empirical, rational challenges because, by definition, its postulates are untestable — untestable not because it is impossible to conduct such tests, but because followers of leftist ideology reject any idea of such a test in principle. (By the way, this is something leftists have in common with Muslims.) They are mostly true believers; they aggressively reject any attempts to test the foundations of their dogmatic beliefs.

Leftists' behavior is utterly illogical to a degree one might call unscientific. Their irrationality is based on illusory knowledge — i.e., knowledge acquired through a system of beliefs, expressed by well known authorities (Marx, Engels, Lenin, Bernstein, Stalin, Hitler, Trotsky, Mao, and many others). Left-wingers acquired their false, Utopian beliefs throughout the entire history of human civilization. Their undisputed belief of multiplying wealth by dividing it (i.e., by redistributing it by force) was the basis of numerous failed social experiments.

To avoid any confusion, let us provide adequate definitions of socialism (promoted by left-wing ideology) and its antithesis, capitalism (promoted by the free-market, or conservative, ideology).

Socialism is a state of society where most wealth, either de jure or de facto, belongs to a government.

Capitalism is a state of society where most wealth, both de jure and de facto, belongs to its citizens.

Communism is a Utopian state of society where all wealth, both de jure and de facto, belongs to a government.

The adherents of both left-wing and right-wing philosophy have knowledge; however, the left-wingers got their knowledge from the system of beliefs, while right-wingers got their knowledge from the trial-and-error development of human civilization. Leftism will accompany society forever because pseudo-science always runs in parallel to science. As in a social life where leftism is the ideology of mostly lumpen (lazy bums), autocrats, and elites, the pseudo-science feeds on real science as left-wingers feed on civilization built mostly by right-wingers.

There is a simple test to distinguish between scientific knowledge and the pseudo-scientific kind. The test is based on the fact that the human reaction to new information that contradicts the original knowledge depends on the method of acquiring that original knowledge.

In the real world, if new information contradicts the original knowledge, it leads to a re-evaluation of such knowledge. For example, when intuitive, widely accepted, and wrong knowledge that the sun rotates around the Earth was challenged by Copernicus, it led to a painful re-evaluation of the original idea and accepting the new, revolutionary one: that it is, in fact, Earth that rotates around the sun.

However, if the original knowledge is acquired by religious or other dogmatic beliefs, the new information does not lead to such re-evaluation. On the contrary, in most cases, it leads to the strengthening of the original belief. For example, even if it were proven that flying horses never existed on the planet Earth, Muslims will continue to believe that Mohammad flew on a horse named Buraq to an outer space where he met Allah. Moreover, any attempt to prove to any Muslim that such a voyage on a horse is impossible will not just strengthen Muslim's beliefs, but could convert some of them from a passive, indifferent follower into an aggressive religious fanatic. The reaction would be similar to the reaction of a rank-and-file Democrat if somebody mentioned that Antifa, like the Ku Klux Klan before it, was founded as a militant wing of the Democratic Party.

When President Trump tweets or says something "controversial," a lot of his political opponents get triggered. This "triggering of snowflakes" is a perfect example of how the strengthening of the original belief manifests itself in real life. There are numerous examples of such triggering. If we are talking about Trump, it is called Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Let us recall the reaction of people who were bombarded for months by the fake news media with reports that Hillary Clinton had a 97% chance of winning the presidency in the year 2016. The reality contradicted their dogma, and after she lost, their suffering (sometimes even physical suffering) was quite real. Or big disappointment and suffering among devotees of "Trump is Putin's marionette" dogma when Mueller's investigation proved otherwise. The attempts to paint the completed Mueller investigation as "obstructed," "not conclusive," and "not having enough authority," and the promise that "veterans of the secret wars ... understand that it will take decades, not years, for the truth to emerge here," are just variations of the same phenomena — the various (and desperate) attempts to strengthen the original dogmatic belief.

If the knowledge of people in the examples above were based not on dogma, their reaction could be quite different. For example, political opponents of Trump could just say: "OK, the better candidate won. It is good for America to have a better president. We will try again next time." That would be the proper reaction of the non-brainwashed, normal people who happened to vote for another candidate. In the case of Russiagate (or, rather, Obamagate), the proper reaction could be: "OK, this is very good that our president is not Putin's puppet. It will allow the White House to focus on the real issues of our country."

It is often said that left-wingers and right-wingers do not understand each other because they "live in parallel universes," or one side blames another for living in the so-called "alternative reality." Since core leftist belief is irrational, the right-wingers are not surprised when adherents of leftism stiffen their resolve when confronted with social and economic truth.

In other words, instead of accepting a valid argument that contradicts the prevailing dogma, the very first reaction of adherents of a dogma is to protect the dogma at all cost.

Try to tell Jews that they are not the God's chosen people, or try to tell Democrats that socialism, national socialism, and fascism are examples of the same left-wing ideology. Try to tell Christians that Jesus died and was buried in Nazareth, or try to tell the party of farting cows that "climate change" is a hoax. The resulting rage will ensure that polarization between talking parties increases due to not just rejection of non-dogma-conforming thought, but the violent strengthening of internal resolve to protect the dogma. It is a well- known psychological reaction of people who simply want to protect themselves from what they perceive as "the rape of their mind" (whatever sick mind they might have.)

On the one hand, once a person accepts a dogma, he begins to filter out everything that contradicts the dogma in any way (so-called confirmation bias, like Baader-Meinhof Syndrome). In a process, as more contradictory, non-conforming to dogma information is thrown, the belief gets strengthened. On the other hand, at a certain point, when truthful information, contradictory to leftists' irrational dogmatic belief, finally breaks through, a breaking point arrives, and the leftist is no longer able to twist the evidence in his fevered mind, forcing him to make a hard decision: either abandon the dogma and relieve the pain or become a laughingstock. They experience a mental revolution — a micro-revolution, if you will.

The good news is that such micro-revolutions on a personal level are widespread. Indeed, where did all the hippies go? Also recall the fallout from Obama's "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."

The bad news is that such micro-revolutions can take a long time; in a worst-case scenario, a micro-revolution never materializes, and a person dies as a true believer, a loyal "useful idiot." (Enter Democrat Stacey Abrams, who still believes she won the governorship race in Georgia despite losing it.)

On the surface, a cacophony of various points of view we hear from Democrats sounds like a civil war inside the left-wing party. For example, the confrontation between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez resembles a political struggle between the "experienced, moderate socialist" Pelosi and "young, aggressive Marxist" Ocasio-Cortez. However, it is just an incoherent manifestation that Pelosi and Ocasio-Cortez currently adhere to different stages of the same leftist dogma.

In practical terms, it means that the leftists are here to stay. Forever. Just because their knowledge is acquired through dogma. As historian Lee Edwards noted, socialism is "a pseudo-religion grounded in pseudo-science and enforced by political tyranny."

Right-wingers, the creators and multipliers of wealth, are condemned to an agitated coexistence with left-wingers, the dividers of wealth, forever, just as Good is continually confronted by Evil.

As followers of the semi-religious Cult of Victim-Seekers, leftists will always find a way to recruit new followers, who get tricked by the "take away and redistribute" mantra. However, there are plenty of solid reasons to consider the socialist Obama presidency the highest peak of the centuries-old semi-religious Utopian movement. This peak is well behind us, and we all know that the only direction from the peak is down.

[1] Gramsci's Political Thought: Hegemony, Consciousness, and the Revolutionary Process (NewYork: Clarendon Press, 1981)



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