The following italicized paragraph started out as an observation I made about some ardent liberals of my acquaintance, but I’ve since decided that it applies well to the politics of the Left and the Right or, more accurately, the statist versus the individualist:
Conservatives find people to be a source of pleasure and objects to be a utilitarian resource. Conversely, Leftists find objects to be a source of pleasure and people to be a utilitarian resource.
The above started with something I learned long ago about autistic children. One of the earliest indicators of autism is that autistic children don’t point to things. Your average pre-verbal or early verbal child will point to a cup with the expectation that you, the parent, will understand that the child wants milk. An autistic child will not make this “mind-to-mind” connection. Instead, the child will take the parent’s hand (an object) and guide it to the cup (another object) in an effort to make the two objects work together. (In autistic children, or at least in some autistic children, this seems to be an inability to understand communication, rather than a failure to recognize shared humanity. Once the autistic child is given a means to communicate, he or she is fully capable of engaging at an emotional or spiritual level.)
Here’s another something I learned that also gave rise to the same thought about recognizing a shared humanity (or canine-inity) versus a utilitarian view of other life forms: Dogs are different from monkeys when it comes to interactions with humans. Although monkeys are genetically much closer to humans, they share no kindred feelings with us. Dogs, however, do. It turns out that dogs are born with the knowledge that they can communicate non-verbally with humans. When they are puppies, they already know how to track a human’s eye movements or pointing hand in order to gather information. And as all of us who have dogs know, dogs have incredibly high emotional intelligence. They may be non-verbal, but they read us well, and communicate beautifully using their body language.
Monkeys, however, although they are our genetic cousins, do not see humans in a communicative way, and therefore ignore humans entirely. If a human stands before two boxes, one of which has a treat, and then points to the box with the treat, the monkey will ignore that gesture entirely, while a dog will soon be munching happily away on the goodie.
(Cats, of course, are God-like creatures. They can read us just fine, but they think that cat-to-human communication is demeaning, and that human-to-cat communication is unnecessary.)
And then there are people with personality disorders (narcissism, sociopathy, psychopathy, etc.). Some years ago, I read a wonderful book called Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed, and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend, which concerned itself with the nature of personality disorders. One of my takeaways from the book was that people with personality disorders do not recognize other people’s humanity. Instead, for someone suffering from a personality disorder, other people are simply objects to be manipulated, in order to benefit the disordered person.
With all of that in mind, think about the way in which Leftists view people: people are “interest groups,” “victim classes,” “identity groups,” “racial groups,” etc. There are no individuals in liberal-land. There are political classes that can be manipulated to achieve Leftist goals. Those who refuse to be objectified in this way (usually conservative minorities) are savagely attacked for leaving the object group. That’s not how conservatives roll.
Likewise, Leftists are convinced that salvation lies in objects: electric cars, solar panels, smart grids, etc. Objects become objects of worship, shrines before which we lay our wealth, while de-personalized groups of humans are co-opted to serve these Gods.
Am I nuts or am I on to something?