When we talk about the “Radical” Left, this is something of a misnomer. What is a “radical”, after all?
I’m a mathematician by training. I think in terms of mathematics. In maths, a “radical” has to do with the root of a number. The symbol for a radical is literally the root sign:
That conflation of radical with root is in fact a highly apt and appropriate one, not just in the mathematical sense, but in both the political and religious sense.
There is a reason why the esteemed Dr. Jay Smith, one of Christianity’s most effective and talented polemicists, who has done so much to utterly destroy the illegitimate and heretical foundations of the so-called “religion of peace”, started his lecture about Islam’s actual historical origins by talking about how Islamic radicals are, in fact, Islamic fundamentalists:
The exact same logic applies to the radical Left. We are conditioned to think of people like Sen. Bernie “GET OFF MY DAMN LAWN OR I WON’T GIVE YOU FREE HEALTHCARE!” Sanders or Alexandria “Let my bouncy rack and whiny voice distract you from my utter stupidity” Occasional-Cortex as radical Leftists, as if they are preaching some new and scary version of the Gospel of the Left. But this is in fact a major mistake.
These people aren’t radicals. They are fundamentalists. They aren’t preaching a departure from orthodoxy. They are preaching a return to it.
To understand why this is a problem, we must first understand what that orthodoxy actually is.
The orthodoxy of the Left can be traced all the way back to Genesis 3:5. Depending on the translation, that verse says either, “you will be like God”, or “and ye shall be as gods”, but as far as I’m concerned, the exact choice of translation is really nothing much more than hair-splitting. The meaning of that verse is far more important, and what it comes down to is the belief that we, not God, determine what is right and moral and good.
That is the core, the foundation, the root, the fundament, if you will, of the Left’s philosophy.
You don’t have to be a Christian to understand this. You can easily be an atheist or agnostic. All that is required is the capacity to understand that the core philosophy of the Left is one in which morality is wholly subjective and entire arbitrary, in order to further their goal of achieving Utopia.
Note what “Utopia” actually means. The very word literally stands for, “no place” – because the author of the original tract, Bishop Thomas More, meant it to be an idealisation and indeed something of a satire upon the state of affairs of his time. Yet, in De optimo rei publicae deque nova insula Utopia (literally: “Of a republic’s best state and of the new island of Utopia”), Bishop More argued that there is no private property in this mythical “no-place”, the King can be recalled and deposed or removed for suspicion of tyranny, every able-bodied citizen must work for six hours a day but many willingly work longer; and the ruling class is made up of priests and scholars.
More also allowed for slavery – in fact, in his version of the ideal place, every household has two slaves, either from other countries outside of Utopia or from the criminal classes.
The description of Utopia goes on in some detail:
Other significant innovations of Utopia include: a welfare state with free hospitals, euthanasia permissible by the state, priests being allowed to marry, divorce permitted, premarital sex punished by a lifetime of enforced celibacy and adultery being punished by enslavement. Meals are taken in community dining halls and the job of feeding the population is given to a different household in turn. Although all are fed the same, Raphael explains that the old and the administrators are given the best of the food. Travel on the island is only permitted with an internal passport and any people found without a passport are, on a first occasion, returned in disgrace, but after a second offence they are placed in slavery. In addition, there are no lawyers and the law is made deliberately simple, as all should understand it and not leave people in any doubt of what is right and wrong.
There are several religions on the island: moon-worshipers, sun-worshipers, planet-worshipers, ancestor-worshipers and monotheists, but each is tolerant of the others. Only atheists are despised (but allowed) in Utopia, as they are seen as representing a danger to the state: since they do not believe in any punishment or reward after this life, they have no reason to share the communistic life of Utopia, and will break the laws for their own gain. They are not banished, but are encouraged to talk out their erroneous beliefs with the priests until they are convinced of their error. Raphael says that through his teachings Christianity was beginning to take hold in Utopia.
Wives are subject to their husbands and husbands are subject to their wives although women are restricted to conducting household tasks for the most part. Only few widowed women become priests. While all are trained in military arts, women confess their sins to their husbands once a month. Gambling, hunting, makeup and astrology are all discouraged in Utopia. The role allocated to women in Utopia might, however, have been seen as being more liberal from a contemporary point of view.
Utopians do not like to engage in war. If they feel countries friendly to them have been wronged, they will send military aid. However they try to capture, rather than kill, enemies. They are upset if they achieve victory through bloodshed. The main purpose of war is to achieve that which, if they had achieved already, they would not have gone to war over.
Privacy is not regarded as freedom in Utopia; taverns, ale-houses and places for private gatherings are non-existent for the effect of keeping all men in full view, so that they are obliged to behave well.— from the Infogalactic article about Utopia
Any of you see a few problems here? Like, oh, the fact that THE ENTIRE THING IS ONE GIGANTIC SERIES OF CONTRADICTIONS that completely ignore the fundamental realities of human nature?
Yet this description of the ideal place – literally “no-place”, I cannot stress that part strongly enough – contains many of the same elements that so many on the Left regard as part of their ultimate wish list.
Free health care. A ruling caste of the Wise and Enlightened. Severe punishments for those who step out of line. Complete religious tolerance – except for those who are not tolerated. Significant controls placed upon people’s personal lives. No privacy whatsoever in order to enforce good behaviour. Communal living in all aspects of life. Slavery as a founding basis of society.
If you pay any attention to what the radical Left wants, that is where the roots of their philosophy comes from. That is their foundation. It is not difficult to understand that “radical” Leftists aren’t really radical in the sense of being more f***ed-up than a football bat – at least, once you go beyond the sheer lunacy and idiocy and impracticality of their ideas.
In fact, the “radical” Left simply wants to get back to the roots of their ideology.
And that is not the only treatise that we have which explains those roots. Whether you look at the romantic French and English ideal of the “noble savage”, dating to about 150 years after Thomas More, or you go all the way back in time to Plato’s Republic from 1,800 years before More, you find exactly the same set of basic ideas.
They all call for Man to be ruled by the Wise and Noble men. These tracts and books and pamphlets spend enormous amounts of time inventing ever-newer and more elaborate epicycles to get around the basic realities of human nature. But they never can, because Man is what he is, and there is not one damned thing that you can do to make him change.
All of the debates between the Left and the Right always come down to an argument between two fundamentally incompatible views of the world. The fundamental view of the Left is that Man should be set free to achieve whatever destiny he wants, without moral or philosophical or religious restraints, to do as he pleases, because Man is fundamentally good and his better nature will always win out. The fundamental view of the Right is that Man is not angelic in character and is capable of both great good and great evil, and therefore he needs incentives to restrain his evil side and encourage his good side.
Those arguments always come down to Plato versus Aristotle – the “ant-like communism” of Plato’s Republic versus the personal responsibility and accountability of the individual.
And if you dig a little deeper, you’ll realise, whether you like it or not, whether you are a believer or not, that the debate always – ALWAYS – comes down to God against Satan, or, if you prefer, Jehovah against Lucifer.
Obedience to God’s objectively true and self-sustaining moral law, versus figuring it all out ourselves and operating under our own rules.
Now, the “radical” Left argues, as it always has, that the fact that their way of doing things has led to incalculable human suffering and appalling brutality and the destruction of human life on an unheard-of scale, is not a feature of their worldview, but a bug. This is nonsense. When you unchain Man from objective morality, when you “free” him of the need to obey God’s Laws, you don’t get complete freedom. You get tyranny.
Because everyone always confuses what freedom is.
I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it as many times as it takes for people to understand this:
Freedom is not the right to do and live and act as you please. Freedom is the substitution of discipline developed from within for discipline imposed by others.
That is true freedom. And it is really hard. it is precious precisely because it is hard. Ultimately, freedom means discipline, and discipline entails responsibility.
This is what the radical Left cannot stand. To them, the idea of “responsibility” is abhorrent. They want a world free of responsibility, therefore of accountability, therefore of obedience to a higher Law.
But, again, that isn’t because they are departing from their original philosophy. It is because they are going right BACK to it.
It doesn’t matter where you look in the history of the Left’s thought and ideology. It always comes back to one simple paradox: by attempting to set themselves free of the Word of God, they have in fact enslaved themselves, and others.
That is the great lie of the Left. That is the nature of the Left’s conundrum. It is the dilemma that they cannot solve – because the only solution to it sits completely outside of their worldview. By rejecting God, and by rejecting objective morality, they reject the only way to square that circle, to stop themselves from descending into bloodshed and slavery and madness.
So the next time that you hear people telling you that the “radical” Left is nuts, remember that these people are crazy, but that’s a feature of their philosophy and they want to go BACK to it, not break away from it. They are simply going right back to the very origins of their ideology.
The reason why they seem crazy to the rest of us is because the origins of their philosophy reject objectivity, truth, morality, and God. And once you throw out Truth, once you get rid of God, well, you get rid of sense and meaning.
And that is the fundamental truth of the “radical” Left.