December 29, 2015

No, leftists don't think like conservatives. Blame Plato.

John InglisRebel Blogger

Liberals do not think like conservatives. You have probably noticed this.

Liberals believe that human nature is essentially good, while conservatives believe that man is a flawed creature, and that we must exert great effort to be good.

The first Western philosopher who left a significant paper trail was a liberal. His name was Plato, and what modern liberals believe to this day can be traced back to his ideas.

Plato's Republic is the earliest written defense of the idea that men are basically good, and that they are prevented from doing good by, “Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil."

This is why people on the Left call us on the Right stupid or evil. Obviously, if you were smart, you would not disagree with them, and if you were good, you would be one of them.

Since liberals believe that human nature makes us good and ignorance make us bad, they seek to purify the world of ignorance. This is their rationale behind everything from “sensitivity training” for those who dare to dissent from political correctness to state-sponsored "re-education" camps and gulags.

The Left's fear of ignorance explains why they tend to oppose the free exchange of ideas: Some of those ideas might be "bad" and therefore dangerous. (Whereas conservatives are usually more worried about bad actions, not thoughts.)

The Left's obsession with criminalizing "hate speech" is an example of their fear of bad ideas. Professor Richard Moon -- whose name might be familiar -- told me that "hate speech" deserves less Charter protection because it does not "positively contribute to social discourse." He was referring to R. v. Keegstra.

Then he raised Bill Whatcott’s case, in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that since truth can be used to spread lies, truth is no defence, either. The Left says truth does not add value to the marketplace of ideas if that truth is inconvenient.

The Left’s fear of "ignorance" is also why they wish to control your child’s education. Plato suggested taking children from their parents to be raised away from their parents' contaminating influences.

In the recent past, a child’s education focused upon learning from the experience of the preceding generations -- not just abstract traditional moral truths but also hands-on skills, passed on through apprenticeships.

Today, however, children are separated not just from their parents, but from children of different ages and even from society itself, and all formal education takes place in a classroom rather than an artisan's workshop. (Nowhere are ideas more important and actions less significant than in a place where there is little action and lots of thought.)

Which is why the State is so concerned about homeschoolers “poisoning” their children with incorrect thinking. In State schools, kindergarteners can be taught to accept “gay marriage," and shielded from the "historical racism" of Huckleberry Finn; you can now graduate with a degree in English from UCLA without having ever taken a course on (potentially offensive) Shakespeare.

(And notice what the "corrupting influences" are currently considered to be? “Homophobia”, Euro-centrism and the past.)

It's not surprising that my transition from liberal to conservative began a few years ago, after I read about how the modern education system, a la Plato, was designed to turn children against their parents' values. Learning about how I and so many others had been brainwashed was the first step in rejecting this aspect of my "education."

Today's fashionable, Plato-inspired “Values Clarification” education doesn't teach children about the difference between right and wrong. In fact, teachers must even refrain from making comments such as "That’s good" or "That’s bad" when responding to a child’s idea. The rationale for “values clarification”? Again, the Left's presumption that people basically good, and when they use reason, they will choose good values because good values are more rational.

And of course, if you fail to "choose good values," the Left will pressure you to do so whether you want to or not.
Conservatives do not believe in this approach and neither did Aristotle, Plato’s student, whom I will talk about next time.


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commented 2016-01-11 13:11:54 -0500
John Inglis, your article is brilliant. Thank you for writing it and thanks to The Rebel Media for publishing it.

Glenn Craig, your comments remind me of the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert Pirsig and I wonder if you have read it. In the book, Pirsig talks about his travels to India and course work he did there at a certain university. He recalls how his professor insisted that every perception is an illusion, much like the way you are arguing that sins don’t actually exist. This seems to be a philosophy that trends heavily in India amongst Hindus and Buddhists. The problem Pirsig had with this philosophy, and the problem I also have, is when you challenge it on the existence of historical facts. For example, Pirsig asked his professor in India (this was in the early 1950’s) if his belief that approximately 200,000 people died when atomic bombs hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki was an illusion, and his professor replied, “Yes!” This prompted Pirsig to abruptly leave said university. I think what you and Pirsig’s professor are trying to say is that the SHAME one feels over sin is not real, because shame is an emotion and a true Zen master can just exert control over his emotions and, ergo, destroy them if he wishes. Clearly Pirsig, as an American living abroad in the early 1950’s who had served in the U.S. armed forces, felt shame over the atomic bombs that had been dropped on Japan. And in light of his professor’s philosophy, his shame was indeed “illusory” in that Pirsig certainly didn’t give the orders or fly the planes that dropped the bombs, and even if he did, the shame of doing it would still be “illusory.” But here’s the thing, people who don’t feel shame are some of the most evil people the world has ever seen. Shame has a purpose Glenn, and no matter how you try to rationalize the absurdity of its existence, there it is. It ain’t going anywhere just like the mysteries of the big bang and the butterfly effect ain’t going anywhere either. I understand your reasoning and it is intellectually seductive, but Pirsig’s philosophy, known as the Metaphysics of Quality, issue a powerful challenge to the assumed omnipotence of reason. Are you familiar with this?
commented 2016-01-04 08:19:19 -0500
The word “sin” comes from the same root as “sine” as in a wave shaped pattern. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” is a simile to a bowshot in archery. To fall short of the mark implies a state of separation which requires some sort of “AT ONE MENT” to rectify….spilling the blood of some innocent creature being the usual prescription.

I was once a ministry candidate and I am every bit as familiar with Christian scriptures as you are.

What I know to be illusory is the image you hold in your mind of God being a big Jew up in the sky who looks like Charlton Heston.

Besides “sin” and “human nature being fundamentally wicked” are two different topics.

A Zen master once in response to a deciple wishing his sins could be whiped away offered that if the disciple could place his sins where they could be seen he would be glad to wipe them away….to which the deciple responded that he could not do that….to which the Zen master replied “that is because they do not exist”.

Christians speak of sin as if it were substantive reality….skid marks on your underwear that need blood of Jesus with extra strength bleach available only from your franchised distributor.

The divine is not a big Jew up in the sky who looks like Charlton Heston…..this is an illusion…..the divine is space itself….and since every atom in your body is mostly space no state of separation can possibly exist… is the illusion that somehow you exist separate from the rest of reality that greases the rails for “sinful” behaviour.

People do things that piss other people off…..but their nature is basicly good.

Agencies can pretend to nullify the consequences of these behaviours as franchised agents of the devine….but in reality that don’t mean shit if those you have pissed off haven’t forgiven you….you still suffer the consequences.
commented 2016-01-03 20:55:04 -0500
Glenn Craig;
You are clearly uneducated about Christianity. If you want to know what Christians believe it is best read the Christian scriptures: Romans 3:23, ‘all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.’ You can also read Ephesians chapter 2 or read Christ’s discourse with Nicodemus in John chapter 3. The Old Testament is full of references to original sin and Psalm 14 and 51 are easily accessible texts that point this out.
I like your reference to the stick analogy. It is very true. The problem becomes when there is only one stick for two or more. There is often a fight over the stick and usually someone gets the wrong end of it in the process. I know Budhism would like to suggest there is no stick or that the desire for the stick is an illusion but this is where Christianity and Budhism diverge. Christianity recognizes the stick as being very real and the desires and needs of all parties who desire the stick. The miracle of Christianity is neither the stick, the people, or anyone’s desire for the stick. Christianity encourages and ultimately demands that we recognize the one who made the stick, the people, and gave us our desires. I don’t have all the answers but thought I would share my perspective.
I also liked your observation about Alexander the Great and how he probably made the writings of Plato and Arisotle live for future generations.
commented 2016-01-03 18:16:53 -0500
“How long is a stick? This can only be measured in terms of your desire. If the stick does not serve your desired purpose you will say it is “too long” or ""too short" .

That which you desire you call good….and that which you desire not you call bad…and it was by this path that suffering entered the world"

Thus did the Sakyha Sage teach….so taught the Buddha.

Siddhartha Gautama….born 563 bc died 430 bc

Plato…..born 424 bc died 347 bc……… the arithmatic.

Plato’s protege Aristotle was the tutor of Alexander the Great …otherwise the both of them might have passed into obscurity.

Nowhere in the Judeo-Christian scriptures does it say or suggest that human nature is inherently evil……the word “nature” and the word “natural” occur twice each…all in the same paragraph….the subject is homosexuality….Plato was by his own admission gay.

The "Christian " tradition that human nature is inherently evil started with Augustine in the fourth century.
commented 2016-01-03 12:07:14 -0500
Perhaps the problem with progressives isn’t in conflicted ideology. perhaps its mental function -

Why Reason Bothers Progressives or
Frontotemporal Disorders Leading to Primary Progressive Disorder (PPD)

Frontotemporal brain disorders can be directly linked to Primary Progressive Disorder (PPD) and Progressivist online activism. This mental disorder can be identified by severity type and defined by the earliest symptoms clinical psychologists identify when they examine Dogmatic progressivist patients.

1) Progressive behavior/personality decline—characterized by changes in normal personality, behavior, emotions, and judgment (called behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia). Patients experiencing progressive personality decline reject reason, facts and logic preferring instead to revel in socio-political myth. At this stage in mental decline they are often prey to organized political parties who sell these myths as “change”. To the victim suffering progressive frontotemporal dementia, these distortions of reality are starkly real and when confronted with reality they will retreat into a delusional “safe place” as they emit a stream of incongruent slurs, accusations and curses (see Progressive language decline)

2) Progressive language decline—marked by early changes in language ability, including speaking, understanding, reading, and writing (called primary progressive aphasia). This decline manifests itself in the patient adopting a lexicon of cliquish slang terminology and odious snide epithets used to spew at anyone attempting to help the patient from their delusional regression. This stream of incongruent vernacular is emitted involuntarily in the later stages of Progressive dementia giving a Tourette’s-like verbal output in patients. Conservatives and professionals who are usually the targets of progressive language decline, refer to this symptom as “talking shit”. Added to this decline is the inability to recognize any factual printed matter when reading and a general rejection of reading with understanding in the latter stages for a behaviour of substituting distorted internalized “feelings” about the exterior world.

3) Progressive motor dysfunction—characterized by various difficulties with physical movement, including, restless leg syndrome, difficulty keyboarding congruently, fumbling with delicate objects, and poor posture from slumping over laptops for extended periods. In the early stages it can be hard to know if a progressive has this disorder because symptoms and the order in which they appear can vary widely from one prog to the next and more often than not are mistaken for popular “arts” such as dance, painting and music the suffering progressive may be engaged in – also, the same symptoms can appear in different physical disorders often mistaken for progressia dementia like spastic abasia or autism. For example, language problems are most typical of primary progressive disorder (PPD) but can also appear later in the course of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia.

The diagnostic table above summarizes three symptoms of frontotemporal disorders indicative of Primary Progressive Disorder (PPD) and lists the various terms that could be used when clinical deprogrammers diagnose and treat these disorders. Please do not let your friends and loved ones suffer from this debilitating mental disorder – PPD can be cured – get help – get a CATO Institute membership and support alternative media, curing PPD depends on it.

This has been a not for profit public awareness announcement by the foundation to correct political correctness.
commented 2016-01-03 07:40:46 -0500
Go back to school. Check the myth of the metals – Plato did not believe any such thing. He believed that people had to be inculcated in good morals/philosophy, not that they were inherently good.

Epic fail. Try again.

If there is a classic left-right divide, it is that the left thinks that society and the economy do best when we help the down and out and invest in each other, whereas the right believes that it is best for society and the economy if we insist that every individual be left on their own to fight for the best they can make of it.

From the perspective of good/bad, however, the right-left divide is different. The right seems to believe that, once one is bad there is no hope, so we lock them up forever and never try to reintegrate them. While the left, it tends to believe that (most) people who do bad things can be rehabilitated into decent citizens.
commented 2016-01-01 01:54:51 -0500
On the issue of morality, two main camps exist as far as I can see. 1) Morality is simply a set of commandments given by an unquestioned authority, or 2) a subjective “feel good” directive with no basis in reality. Some, like Machiavelli, thought ethics unscientific and therefore didn’t exist, and that force and fraud were the proper way to achieve a goal, like power. Diametrically opposed, others thought a life of misery and poverty was the way to the good.
Aristotle believed man was an end in himself, and the goal in life was to be happy, both outwardly and inner peace. To do this, he had to have a rational and full life, using as an example the best of Athens at successful living. He believed we were born as a blank slate, neither bad nor good.
commented 2016-01-01 01:28:49 -0500
Good to see an in depth look at where our ideas come from.
I am half way through a history of philosophy, from 500BC to today. It is quite staggering to see how ideas from long ago have manifested themselves into our everyday thinking (or lack thereof). Your essay just hints at the way this happens. Try to tell the everyday man that he cannot utter a thought that some early philosopher hadn’t a part in. The most extreme form of communism ever, was written by Thomas More (1480-1535) called “Utopia.” Of course he got most of those ideas from Plato and his Philosopher kings. So it goes.
There are very few independent (free) thinkers in general. Most are slave to the ideas fed into them or absorbed by osmosis when young. Which is why it is as hard to find a Muslim in Brazil, as a Catholic in the middle East.
commented 2015-12-30 08:56:34 -0500
This is an excellent topic for understanding the left – right divide. It’s more complex than simply assigning the good-bad dichotomy to human nature. It is a continuum of more good or more bad, and so varies from person to person. I recently read “A Conflict of Visions” by Thomas Sowell. He identifies the views of human nature as “constrained or unconstrained”. In other words our nature is fixed as being a certain way (constrained – generally on the right) or it is malleable and therefore can be perfected (unconstrained- generally on the left).

He also recognizes these as a continuum, and his analysis extends into broader areas such as knowledge, law, social structure etc. Certainly the good-bad idea is a very good starting point since it points to the fact that one’s vision of human nature ultimately manifests in political views. So understand the vision of human nature is crucial to understanding the left-right divide and the motivations of those on the other side.
Here is a link to the Wikipedia article about it
commented 2015-12-30 03:54:35 -0500
Another way to look at the difference in way of thinking is by listening to the two sides explain crime.

Conservatives will say that criminals are bad people that need to be punished. Liberals will say that criminals are people that just simply don’t know any better or were taught to do bad things.
commented 2015-12-29 23:10:58 -0500
Plato and Aristotle—- lets make it ALL real complicated and go historical and if that is not enough -could go hysterical.
when it comes to the demise of the Planet.
Historical- when it comes to justifying the election of an Idiot.
commented 2015-12-29 21:57:43 -0500
All true. The scariest part of this Agenda is the never-ending Propaganda of the Media. Do all these Journalists actually believe that the gov’t should dictate how our kids should think?
commented 2015-12-29 21:44:41 -0500
That’s an interesting extrapolation and I won’t disagree I haven’t read Plato since university. I’ll bear that in mind going forward. I’m not sure you’ve nailed it; I fear that Plato here is being held culpable for a greater movement, just as Nietschze was wrongly accosted as laying the seeds for National Socialist German Workers Party (i.e. Nazism); keywords like “Ubermensch” became inextricably linked, despite so many of his aphorisms emphasizing distaste for socialism or egalitarian politics which he describes as “herd mentality;” most academics adopt Nietschze as "theirs’ despite such contradictions as a distaste for democratic culture (not democracy), a stance that echoes Winston Churchill’s own misgivings of a 5 minute conversation with the average voter. Thus, perhaps Plato is equally misinterpreted here, though from what I recall it does lean left and I didn’t see it as clearly being somewhat ‘left’ back then myself—something to examine and thank you for bringing it to light.
commented 2015-12-29 14:52:04 -0500
I’m definitely not a fan of Plato, but I am of Aristotle. I look forward to your next article. I believe that man is fallen, for being tricked in to sinning against God, but we have a chance at redemption through Jesus Christ.