Dennis Prager inadvertently highlights the vast chasm between Left and Right *UPDATED*

Dennis Prager writes a long and interesting column detailing the way in which the Left resolutely refuses to conflate two ideas:  terrorism and Islam.  He then wraps it up with a conclusion that operates only if you accept Prager’s view of the world, but that is meaningless to the average Leftist:

The Left’s inability to identify the religious beliefs of Islamic terrorists, its insistence on instead ascribing their murders to terrorists’ psychological tensions and economic problems, and its simultaneous certainty that conservative white Americans have only the most vile motives — these are all expressions of the Left’s failure to recognize and confront real evil.

Just remember this: If Faisal Shahzad had not been identified as the would-be bomber, the mainstream (i.e., liberal) news media and leading Democrats would have told us repeatedly that a white male — surely a conservative white male — was the Times Square terrorist, and that we should therefore be looking suspiciously at our fellow Americans on the right, especially those attending tea parties. For while liberals claim not to know the motives of Muslim terrorists, they are always certain of conservatives’ motives: racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia.

When, one day, the Left exits from history’s stage, its epitaph will read: “Those who do not understand evil will not understand good.”

The Left understands fully understands evil; it just doesn’t define it the same way we do.

Our conservative baselines are justice and maximum freedom, with respect for life as an important subset of those values.  Sometimes we understand that, as in the case of just wars aimed at expanding or protecting freedoms, innocent lives will be lost — and that’s a price we recognize we must pay for the greater good.

For Progressives, however, a more Orwellian baseline applies:  All people are equal, except those classified as PC victims, are more equal than others.  Freedom, justice and respect for life all pay homage to a hierarchical world view that organizes people by victim classifications.  Once classified, the rule of thumb is that someone who is in a victim class cannot be considered evil when s/he turns on someone in an oppressor class.  And that’s it.  There are no abstract values.  It’s just a bizarre spreadsheet of relative victimhood.

UPDATE:  Please see the way in which Rick, at Brutally Honest, has expanded on the ideas expressed above (with a nice nod to me) using as his springboard a nonchalant young woman’s casually professed desire for a second Holocaust.

In an email exchange with Rick, I noted that she is nonchalant because her ideology is precisely the same as the Nazi ideology:  killing a Jew is just like squishing a bug.  You simply don’t get that upset when you view yourself as simultaneously a member of a master race (or religion) and a righteously oppressed person.  It gives you carte blanche to do whatever the hell you want to anyone who gets in your way.

I’ve quoted it before to you all, but I’d like to quote again my cousin’s words about Islam (he’s a Christian prison pastor in Virginia):

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

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  • garyp

    I think you have accurately explained, what always seemed to me, the incoherent beliefs of the Left.
    It was unconscionable for our society to kill convicted murderers but OK to kill viable babies in late term abortions.    We can’t “profile” Muslims as terrorists but it is fine to “profile” middle aged Americans as racists if they oppose ObamaCare.  The list goes on ad infinitum.
    I have one question that haunts me, and maybe Bookworm (or other commentators) can answer this, since I cannot.
    Will America be able to ever agree to do the non-controversial things that must be done to save our Republic (i.e. control the deficit, reduce government waste, encourage small business to create jobs, etc.) much less the more divisive questions (control illegal immigration, fix our public schools, move race out of the public sphere) peaceably?
    Is violence inevitable as the Right and Left become more polarized and our national institutions (Congress, media, Wall Street) more dismissive of the concerns of the majority (by my guess) of Americans?  I hope not but I fear it nonetheless.

  • Ymarsakar

    It depends on if the parasite classes can be overturned or reformed into a productive class. The politicians would lose most of their power in the system once their power bases were converted or destroyed.

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  • gpc31

    There is a deep incoherence in the secular Left’s world view.

    In the absence of God, everything and everybody is in a power relationship.  In the absence of God, I fail to see a basis for the intrinsic dignity of the human person.

    Why then the compassion for victims?  It makes no sense in the absence of Judiasm or Christianity.  (There was no such compassion in Ancient Roman or Greek society, for example.)

    If our existence is entirely contingent, then I suppose that it makes sense to substitute the concept of “moral luck” for individual merit.  Justice then consists of remedying the luck of the draw — hence the desire for equality of outcome.

    The existence of evil — the articulation of theodicy — is problematic for the believer.  Not so for the atheist, or secular leftist.  If the cosmos is merely a random movement of particles, then it is hard to see how evil exists.  Undesirable outcomes, certainly — but even that is relative to one’s pragmatic purposes and will.
    Yes, the Left recognizes evil — we all do — but it cannot admit it or define it.

    The secular world has been writing ethical checks that it cannot cash.  In the absence of God, they bounce.

    I believe that this incoherence explains why the Left habitually cloaks its grab for power in the name of equality.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Because of my family history (and perhapsI am  like Book in this respect), I have spent a good part of my life trying to understand what the Nazis were all about. This journey has taken me to wonderful books such as Hayek, Frankl, and many, many others, and many road marks on the path of my developing religious faith. What have I concluded?
    The Nazis were not goose-stepping clowns promoting   a weird right-wing fringe ideology for which a compliant, ignorant people fell because of the squalor of the depression. Naziism was  a well-thought out Leftwing utopian and totalitarian movement, led by a brilliant albeit twisted man, who genuinely believed that they were going to build a better world (so much for “good intentions”).
    They were also universal in this sense…they were only one manifestation of several Left-wing totalitarian and utopian/progressive movements that were sweeping the developed world at that time, in the U.S., Argentina, Italy, Russia, Portugal, etc. If you were to redact Hitler’s agenda to cover up his race hatred and genocidal tendencies, I am convinced that most Liberal /Leftists in this country would swoon in adulation (universal health care, work projects, mandatory retirement with pensions, universal government funded education, environmentalism…except for Jews and other undesirables, of course).
    The main point, however, is that history has shown that there wasn’t anything uniquely German about the Nazis. We have had many similar outbreaks (epidemics, if you believe in intellectual viruses) since the Nazis and we will have many more. All of us can be Nazis because it is part of the human condition. There really is nothing new under the sun and all really is vanity.
    And, perhaps, that is the most depressing conclusion that I reached…that the evil that manifested itself as the Nazis lies dormant in each of our breasts, ready to be awakened by hubris, arrogance, hate and all the other deadly sins that, uncontrolled, bubble to the surface and turn people into monsters.  Without God, all is permitted and is there is no longer any moral (versus ethical) delineation between right and wrong. And it can (and may) happen here.
    These people, of course, do not believe that they are monsters. Their hubris tells them that they are good, well-intentioned,more intelligent than others and that they truly have the ability and wisdom to create heaven on earth, once all the necessary obstacles have been eliminate. That’s why, as in the time of Hitler, seemingly nice, loving family people like the girl in the video (there’s a pictoral essay of SS concentration camp guards enjoying Sunday picnics with their families that is the picture of loving harmony) can easily adopt a mantle of evil invisible to them.
    I am very, very worried about what is to come in a Western society that is losing its moral foundations and a population that choosing to avert its gaze from  reality just as a new generation of empowered utopian totalitarians bubbles to the surface.

  • Ymarsakar

    First the lying libs told me that if only we had left the Muslims alone, they wouldn’t be violent.
    Then they told me that if only we stopped oppressing them now that they would stop hating us.
    Then the Left claimed that the Muslims don’t really mean what they say about Jews or Americans or their religion.
    After awhile, when Muslims demonstrate that they will kill and die for their self-proclaimed beliefs, Leftists and media propagandists that made money off of attacking America, now finds it expedient to believe that Muslims really do mean what they said about Jews and Americans.
    Then finally, in the end, they will pretend that they had always agreed with Islam’s take on things and that their way of doing things isn’t wrong. They were just following orders, if you asked them why they followed Islam’s dictates. Another answer would be what Soros said when asked if he felt guilt about taking property from Jews at the Nazi’s behest.

    “Well, if I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have”.
    Like the Nazis, the Left can’t be convinced with words to give up their plan of human perfection. You have to demonstrate to them, with war and arms, that their cause is hopeless. Same with Islam. So long as you give humans a way out, like say welfare, that is easier than doing things the hard way, don’t be surprised when they take the easy way out.

  • suek

    >>Why then the compassion for victims?>>
    Because they need to be needed.  They are co-dependents.  The fact that they are needed also  gives them power…those who need them cannot refuse them anything.
    Why don’t abused women leave their abusers?  Why don’t partners of alcoholics/drug abusers leave them?  There’s an unhealthy relationship between non-equals that satisfies the needs of each.  I suspect that it’s a twisted parent-child sort of relationship – except children eventually mature, even if it’s only when the parent dies.
    That’s in addition to the narcissism angle, and the good-evil factors written about so well by gpc31 and Danny.  And of course, there’s always the “me as God” factor in those who consider themselves atheists – even in those we wouldn’t normally consider narcissists…

  • Charles Martel

    Few people on earth understand freedom. The Israelis do, and perhaps a large plurality of Americans and Australians. Maybe the Swiss, in their own peculiar, self-absorbed way.

    But who else? I can’t think of another nationality or group that treasures freedom and would fight for it. Does anybody here seriously think Europe has any courage or self-regard left in it? Is there a jot of  
    regard for human dignity or initiative in Islam? Have the Chinese or Russian cultures ever understood or advocated for freedom the way the Founding Fathers did?

    So, we’re down to numbers. Those of us who believe in liberty and small government are a tiny minority on this planet. The one place where we can still have an effect is the November elections. If—the biggest if in our history—we can decisively halt and repudiate the leftward drift of this country, we might be able to restore America as the guarantor of decency on this planet.

    I hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I pray that if, as garyp fears, the worst does come, that the fight we put up will set the stage for some future America that will know in its bones that statism is a cancer and that the people who advocate for it are envious haters.  

  • Ymarsakar

    They have no real compassion. It’s just another fake mask they put on for the consumption of the masses.

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  • Danny Lemieux

    Few people on earth understand freedom – Charles Martel
    Charles…do you think that may be because few people in free societies today have ever lacked freedom, so they take it for granted?
    My fear today is that we will lose our freedom because too many people put no value on it. All they see is responsibilities and obligations that they would rather have someone else take care of for them. I know too many grown people who actually believe that they can be free AND fob off their responsibilities and obligations on the government.
    Perhaps this is how Greek democracy died…it, too, only lasted about 250 years.

  • Charles Martel

    Danny, I think that’s certainly one of the reasons. It goes along the lines of the old Joanie Mitchell lyric, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?”

    I think the bigger culprit, at least for this country, has been the Marxist march through the institutions, especially the schools. The young people that I know are mostly sweet and intelligent souls, but they are ignorant and credulous when it comes to history, politics and economics. Their concept of freedom is mostly genital-centered—freedom =  the right to screw or sodomize anyone you please with no bad consequences (such as babies or gonorrhea). The idea that freedom has a price, including self-sacrifice or even the spilling of blood, is one that has been taught to them as a corollary of jingoism or imperialism.

    In Europe, outside of the British, I don’t think there is a single country or culture that has ever seen the freedom won and guaranteed for them by American military might as anything more than an opportunity to recreate, on a much more benign level, the classic European Lord-Serf relationship. The loss they fear in the face of Muslim attacks on their culture is the “freedom” to take six-week vacations and have North Africans do their dirty work for them. That’s it. They are slack-jawed at Joanie’s lament because they have no idea what she’s talking about.