The Left and its Holy Causes: The Pose is Everything

As Byron York (via Instapundit) points out,

I attended the first YearlyKos convention, in 2006, and have kept up with later ones, and it’s safe to say that while people who attended those gatherings couldn’t stand George W. Bush in general, their feelings were particularly intense when it came to opposing the war in Iraq. It animated their activism; they hated the war, and they hated Bush for starting it. They weren’t that fond of the fighting in Afghanistan, either. Now, with Obama in the White House, all that has changed. . . . Not too long ago, with a different president in the White House, the left was obsessed with America’s wars. Now, they’re not even watching.

Instapundit adds, “Yeah, funny how the fierce moral urgency drained out of the antiwar movement as soon as a Democrat was elected President.” I suspect the level of “fierce moral urgency” has more to do with personalities than parties. After all, the level of antiwar activism on the left was much greater under Johnson, another Democratic president, than it ever was under Bush. Of course, Johnson lacked Obama’s charisma, but I suspect that the main driver of the left’s “noble commitment to peace” in the 60’s was fear of the draft. Once the draft went away, the level of devotion to the cause of world peace became a great deal more subdued.

In any case, it’s obvious that the level of “moral urgency” of the left’s assorted holy causes has more to do with emotional posing than logic. For the time being, peace must take a back seat to the health care issue, at least until the “progressives” succeed in enlisting state power to force their version of “compassion” on the rest of us. Meanwhile, Cindy Sheehan’s blog has become strangely inactive over at Huffpo, although I suspect she’ll surface again at some point as such useful idiots often do.

Emotion trumps reason when it comes to the left’s other pet causes as well. It never bothered them a couple of years ago that hooded anarchists who threatened violence to counter-demonstrators always tagged along at their “peace demonstrations,” but now let grandma and grandpa hold up signs and get a little raucus at a town hall meeting and they suddenly become “enraged, crazy” nut cases, mindless fools manipulated by “astroturfers.” Meanwhile, they would have us believe that they are really serious about reducing greenhouse gases while they continue to oppose nuclear power, the one most effective step we could take to do just that. They preach to us about saving the environmental but, at the same time, wax eloquent in their promotion of illegal immigration to the US and other heavily industrialized countries in spite of the massive increase in global environmental degradation that entails.

Irrational support for holy causes is hardly a monopoly of the left, although it tends to be more a more dangerous characteristic of those who want to change the status quo than those who want to leave it alone. I suspect political proclivities in general are better understood as emotionally conditioned behavior than as a logical response to a given situation. Perhaps we all have innate psychological characteristics that make it more or less likely that we will tend to adopt a “liberal” as opposed to a “conservative” world view. Once we do, our opinions on any given subject will tend to be aligned with the prevailing dogma of our group. Logic will only be brought in as an afterthought to prop up these highly predictable “opinions.”

In a later post I will revisit this subject in the context of an earlier day.

Author: Helian

I am Doug Drake, and I live in Maryland, not far from Washington, DC. I am a graduate of West Point, and I hold a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the University of Wisconsin. My blog reflects my enduring fascination with human nature and human morality.

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