Blissful incoherence

The Liberal Mind

I doubt very much that anyone who visits and reads this pokey little blog of mine is a liberal. (Well, maybe one or two people at a time are, but they rapidly become so appalled by what I have to say that they flee screaming in terror at what they see.) Despite that, and despite my relatively limited interactions with liberals in general, it is fair to say that I understand liberal thinking far, far better than liberals understand my thinking- or that of most people who are of what might loosely be called a "conservative" cast of mind.

This is neither new nor surprising. It has been known for some time now that conservatives are far more accurate at predicting liberal responses to moral and philosophical questions than the other way around. And there happen to be very good, sound reasons for this. Some of these reasons have been explored by Michael Trust- you and I know him as Anonymous Conservative- in his books, which I highly recommend.

Yet it is one thing to sit and theorise in the comfort of one's own armchair (or couch, in my case- Lord, but I miss my couch...). It is something entirely different to confront the moral and philosophical incoherence of liberalism in person.

Such was my experience the other night when I met one of my closest friends from college for dinner.

My friend and I have known each other for a long time. We've always gotten along well despite our quite different backgrounds, mostly because we share the same basic values regarding family, work ethic, and generally irreverent attitudes toward anything that isn't a hard science. Our lives have taken very different paths. I opted to get to work as soon as my Master's degree was done, while he decided to go for a PhD in applied mathematics. I left London for New York, and have been there or thereabouts ever since; he's never lived anywhere other than in or around London. Yet we've remained close, and it was a great pleasure to see him and my other good friends from college again last year when I visited London twice.

When we met up for dinner, we exchanged the usual pleasantries over who is doing what and where and why, and caught up on each other's lives. It was all quite normal, old friends enjoying each other's company over a good meal- right up until I mentioned that I'd visited Israel earlier this year.

That was when the whole tone of the discussion changed.

A Simple Test

In my experience, the subject of Israel and its conduct toward the so-called Palestinian "nation" is a real litmus test of one's ability to think critically, look at different points of view, and come to an independent conclusion.

Most people fail this test outright.

I don't take this test to the same extremes that many American Jews do, by the way; to hardline American Zionists, anything less than full-throated support for the Jewish state is a sign of latent anti-Semitism. (I find this attitude ironic, considering that Israeli Jews tend to view American Jews with anything from mild contempt to open disdain for being soft and silly.) As far as I'm concerned, though, I have an openly admitted very large soft spot for the Jews, I've visited Israel, I absolutely support Israel's right to exist as a Jewish nation, and I wish the Israelis all the best. That doesn't mean I agree with everything they do- they are far more socialist than they should be, they hold far too much sway over American economic and foreign policy, and some of their domestic policies are simply insane.

Yet it's still a worthy test. All you have to do is ask the following questions: Are you for or against a country where homosexuals are tolerated and treated as human beings? Are you for or against a country that works to advance human knowledge through scientific discovery and research? Are you for or against a country that gives a hostile minority living within its own borders the ability to vote, no matter how limited? Are you for or against a nation that is at the forefront of environmental preservation and archaeological discovery? Are you for or against a country that exercises restraint and pays attention to civilian casualties when it goes to war?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you're going to have a very hard time justifying a dislike of Israel, because these are all qualities that Israel embodies.

Yet this is exactly what my good friend proceeded to do. And in so doing, he provided a window of insight into the very different ways that Europeans consume their information through the media- and not just when it comes to Israel, either.

A Very Different Weltanschaung

My friend's views on a large range of subjects can be summarised thusly:

On Israel
  • Israel is not a legitimate nation because it currently occupies all of the territory that it holds through use of naked force.
  • Israel's wars against the Palestinians are exercises in genocide, because the number of Palestinian dead is always far greater than the number of Israeli dead, and Israel is itself a genocidal state. No outside observer who argues otherwise is credible, especially if that observer happens to come from the American or British military. [Not even this guy- one of Britain's most highly experienced and decorated soldiers and foremost military tacticians.]
  • Israel permits the Palestinians to live in suffering and oppression because it suits their purposes better than simply marching in and wiping out every last Palestinian man, woman, and child. [Note: the order in which I placed these two statements is completely deliberate.]
  • Israel is only successful does because it gets massive amounts of aid from the West.
  • Israel is an openly apartheid state because it treats Arabs as second-class citizens and refuses re-entry of dispossessed Palestinian refugees.
  • There is absolutely no evidence that Hamas was using civilians as cover for their weapons caches, and therefore absolutely zero moral justification for Israel going to war.
On economics
  • Completely open borders are always and everywhere a good thing, as is completely free trade.
  • There is no such thing as a "British" culture that is distinct and worthy of preservation.
  • The United Kingdom Independence Party are far-right racist homophobic loonies who are every bit as bad as the fascist British National Party [which is now defunct and has been replaced by the Britain First Party].
  • The presence of hundreds of thousands if not millions of foreigners in Britain is something to be tolerated and celebrated, not feared. [I did mention that he's a British Indian, right?]
  • Utopian socialist ventures like Britain's National Health Service are Very Good Things and must be preserved, no matter the cost.
  • There will never be any problem with meeting future social welfare obligations, because Britain has full control over its currency and can print its way out of trouble whenever needed.
On Islam
  • Any criticism of Arabs and Islam shows that the critic has a problem with both and is not rational. [This was triggered when I pointed out that Arabs are what sociologists call "amoral familists".]
  • The Crusades were an act of wanton and open aggression by Christian Europe against peaceful Muslims.
On social issues and American politics
  • America's stance on gun control is completely crazy and people shoot each other there all the time.
  • Ron Paul and the libertarians are complete nutters and ought to be ignored.
The really sad thing about all of this is not how incoherent, illogical, ill-informed, or mixed-up all of this is.

It is that so many educated Europeans think the exact same way.

A Hard Dose of Reality

I could spend all of the next week writing carefully reasoned, logical rebuttals to all of this.

I could easily point out that the Palestinians themselves have admitted that there is no such thing as a Palestinian nation or people, and there never has been, going all the way back to Roman times and beyond.

I could point out that Israel was granted full legitimacy among the nations of the world by a United Nations vote, and upon declaring independence, extended the hand of friendship and brotherhood to the very Arab nations who sought to exterminate the Jewish state from without, even as it was fending off attacks by Palestinian Arabs  who intended to do the exact same thing from within.

I could argue about the ridiculous illogicality of claiming on the one hand that Israel holds genocidal intentions toward the Palestinian Arabs when fighting them, and on the other hand keeps them alive and blockaded and helpless.

I could point out that Egypt has long blockaded its border on the Sinai with Gaza, because the Egyptians (like most Arabs) want absolutely nothing to do with the Palestinians and prefer to keep them isolated, helpless, and angry. So too do the Jordanians and the Lebanese, who have huge camps full of the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees sitting right there in their territories and have done exactly nothing to take them in.

I could wax lyrical about the incredible resilience of Israel's economy, of its dynamism and growth and internally-driven innovation that has made it the envy of its neighbours.

I could point out that, as a Jewish state, Israel has every right to set its own policies and discriminate against whoever it chooses- you don't like it, don't live there, end of story. And I could point out that every nation on Earth discriminates against someone by definition, and excludes at least a quarter of its own native-born population from voting through arbitrary age-based guidelines on who can and cannot vote.

I could show example after example of Hamas firing rockets on Israeli civilian targets in the midst of the civilian population of Gaza, from the very media outlets that have most vocally condemned Israeli conduct in the latest war. And I could point out that Hamas does its absolute level best to cover up its barbaric conduct, in order to win the moral level of the war- the most powerful by far, and the one that the Israelis always lose.

I could give examples of nations that have buckled and crumbled under the weight of immigrants who did not share their fundamental values. I could show how tribalism and diversity combined together to generate open street-gang warfare even in New York City back in the day.

I could reel off examples like the London Riots from a few years ago, or the riots in France from a few years before those, or the fact that Norwegian women are now afraid to walk the streets of Oslo, Norway, at night, or that Malmo and Gothenburg in Sweden are now ethnic ghettoes, to show the impact of Muslims emigrating en masse into Britain and Europe.

I could argue that the NHS is bankrupt, that Britain itself is bankrupt, and that printing money ad nauseam does terrible economic damage, until I'm blue in the face.

I could point out the wealth of literature about Islam- much of it from Islamic sources- proving conclusively that Islam is a violent, backward, racist, misogynistic, deeply intolerant and utterly two-faced political ideology, based on the ideas and philosophies of a warlord, not a prophet, who probably did not even exist as he is depicted by his own "religion". I could further show from primary documents of the time that the Crusades were an entirely justified and limited-scale retaliatory intervention by a Christian Europe responding to decades of provocations by the Seljuk Turks in the Holy Land.

I could point out that gun violence in America has been trending downward for years- even as gun laws become less strict, not more, and even as gun purchasing soars among ordinary Americans. (God love 'em for that- at least Americans still have a choice. Britons don't.)

And not one of these points would make the slightest damned difference.

Resistance is Futile

The reason is quite simple. The mind of the leftist is simply not capable of handling reality.

And this because liberal thinking is quite literally a mental shortcoming.

Anonymous Conservative documented this rather well in his books. He pointed out that liberals in general have significantly smaller amygdalae than non-liberals. The amygdala is the part of the brain that handles incoming stimuli and provides signals to the rest of the brain about whether or not those stimuli are benign or dangerous.

Because they have shrunken amygdalae, liberals have a very hard time dealing with things that are dangerous to them and their societies as a whole. They routinely make category errors about things that the rest of us instinctively recognise as dangerous. If they experience too much pressure on their belief systems, they immediately go into shouting-and-waving mode to try to drown out the source of the discomfort.

This is precisely what happened on not one, but three separate occasions with entirely separate people.

The first was that dinner with my friend, as noted above; he basically resorted to rubbishing my arguments, talking over me (repeatedly- I hate it when people do that, since I tend to give people lots of time to say their piece), and repeatedly saying, "utter bollocks" whenever I presented evidence that contradicted his beliefs.

The second was a former acquaintance of mine from college; I've documented a highly-stylised version of that particular exchange here. She wrote back after that- much to my surprise, actually- and veered wildly off topic on the subject of whether or not Israel's conduct in its latest war is justified. I spent the better part of a month editing my response on and off, and responded yesterday with what I suspect will probably be the (long-winded) straw that broke the back of that particular camel of friendship.

The third is a British-Chinese bloke who sits behind me at work. For some bizarre reason he wants to talk to me every morning, and is often rather shocked to find himself listening to opinions about the world that he's never been exposed to. I take no particular pleasure in these exchanges, since he usually bugs me when I'm in the middle of actually getting things done. The results of these intrusions into my personal space are not particularly pleasant. (Incidentally, he'll be back from a business trip over to the US office tomorrow. I imagine he got a bit of a culture shock from the trip over- which I warned him about, and which I suspect he didn't pay the least bit of attention to. I await his report on what he saw with some amused anticipation.)

Each and every time, people who have been brought up in the incoherent, illogical, utterly unrealistic milieu of European thinking on what is Right and Good invariably find themselves stunned to discover that not everyone thinks the same way, and that many of the counterarguments are in fact not entirely without merit.

Yet it is ultimately futile to try to convince the Europeans that their ways are dying out, that their nations are sclerotic and weak, and that their welfare states are causing their demise. They simply clap their hands over their ears and chant loudly, hoping to drown out the unpleasant realities that confront them.

This is what America faces. This is the future that America will have to deal with. It's already too late for much of the country to avoid it, what with the impending implosion of Social Security and Medicare, and the ongoing invasion of the Southern border, and the staggering monetisation of the debt by the Federal Reserve.

The reality is that both America and Europe will decline and fall, as so many great civilisations have before them, weakened from within before being conquered from without. There is no escaping this anymore.

The really tragic thing about it all is that it could have been avoided. And so easily too. All it would have taken was a bit more cultural pride, a bit less hubris, a bit more Judeo-Christian thought and action, and both the old nations of Europe, and the new nation of America, could have been great and moral and free bastions of liberty.

But no. Because both sides of the Atlantic embraced ideologies and ideas that were impossible and incoherent and foolish, the world will take a series of giant leaps backward through time, condemning our children, and their children, to a world that is poorer and weaker and less free than the one that I grew up in.

What a waste. What a terrible price to pay for such ridiculous nonsense.

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