Have you ever noticed that there is an asymmetry between the followers of the political left and right? Supporters of the left are often louder and more abusive than those on the right. This could be because many of the left’s supporters are young and hormonally super-charged, but I don’t think this is the main reason. I think the left believes the right is evil and thus should be shouted down. The loudness is due to their righteous anger.
While people on the right generally think those on the left are wrong, the left often believes those on the right are both wrong and nasty. In fact they think the right is wrong because it is nasty. Once you have characterised your opponents as nasty then any kind of vicious or mendacious attack is acceptable. After all, there are no holds barred when fighting an evil enemy.
I can imagine that medieval witch-hunters must have felt something similar. They probably considered themselves ‘good people’, certainly better than the witches they burned. Because they were so sure they had ‘good’ on their side, it hardly mattered if witches really existed or not. I think the left has a very similar outlook.
The kind of venom directed towards ‘the witch’ Margaret Thatcher and towards George W. Bush would be extremely unusual towards politicians of the left. Right-wing commentators might think that Barack Obama is arrogant, messianic, lying and muddle-headed in his politics but I have never heard any them say that he is evil. Yet the same isn’t true of left-wing commentators regarding either Bush or Thatcher.
This could of course be because Bush and Thatcher really were evil in a way that Obama isn’t. However, there is a pattern to this kind of thinking that extends beyond these individuals. People on the left often think that Mao Tse-tung, Lenin and Castro were misguided or over-zealous but Hitler, Mussolini and Franco were evil. The left admits that Stalin was bad – but not as bad as Hitler or Mussolini.
The stupid Labour politician Diane Abbott even said she admired Mao Tse-tung. If David Cameron were to say he admired Hitler there would be an uproar. But Mao was of the political left so he must therefore have been ‘of the people’, whatever that might mean. So even if his policies did kill ten of millions of Chinese, Mao was just wrong rather than bad.
In Britain in the 1970s the unions and the Labour government ran the country into the ground until Margaret Thatcher pulled Britain out of an economic nose dive. The left now despise Thatcher with a passion but don’t have a bad word to say about either the unions or the ineffectual ‘Sunny’ Jim Callaghan. The latter apparently cared for people in a way that Thatcher didn’t. She was nasty. It was therefore okay to hold street parties in celebration when she died. See here and here.
I realise that not all people on the left are the kind of scum that celebrates the death of a politician, nor are they all fans of Chairman Mao or believe they are morally superior to those on the right. However, I think there is a discernible general tendency for people of the left to think themselves more righteous.
My own view is that the right generally has a more realistic view of people than the left and therefore its policies are sounder. This is good for everyone, both rich and poor. The left sees the world according to how they would like it to be and make their policies accordingly. They are too willing, in my view, to see the good in bad people – unless those people are of the political right. For my taste there is too much of a show of caring rather than implementing good policies on the left. This show is largely for the benefit of the leftist’s own ego rather than for the poor themselves.
The left is good at emoting and getting into a phoney rage, shouting others down, stopping debate and vilifying opponents. They can do this with a clear conscience because, like witch-hunters, they believe they are both right and good, while their opponents believe themselves to be merely right.
Several months later, here is Thomas Sowell on the same issue.