Understanding Liberal Pathology I
I first ventured onto the Internet in 1993 in the days of Compuserve, when America On-Line was king.
The chat rooms and message boards of those bygone days were a revelation to me. 24 hours a day, at any time you could find people discussing a wide variety of topics, from religion to entertainment to politics.
From entering numerous threads about topics like Abortion, Infanticide, Euthanasia, I quickly encountered plenty of Progressives arguing for their side of the national debate on these current issues.
It's quite true that if you are Liberal or Conservative you tend to surround yourself mostly with friends - both on-line and off - that tend to think the way you do and share your common interests. While you can't pick your family you do have control over who your close friends are.
But what surrounding yourself with people who share your views, and more importantly, often come by those views in the same manner that you did often means is that you can not have a clear grasp of why the people on the other side of the political spectrum ended up over there.
People tend to unconsciously think other people think, reason, and adopt ideas and beliefs the same way they do.
That's why I found it fascinating to discuss current topics and issues with Liberals and study how they responded to challenges to their views.
Here's what I've learned over the years from these discussions.
Liberals don't adopt their views after careful and reasoned analysis.
Progressives are not individualists; they seek Herd membership and status among the Collective is established by displaying love of conformity. This is why groupthink commitment to The Accepted Group View is so vitally important to the Left.
Conservatives come to their positions through reason and experience. Liberals adopt theirs on the basis of Authority of the Herd and emotional commitment.
This is why most Progressives view as challenge to their beliefs as a PERSONAL ATTACK. This is why they almost immediately interject a lot of emotion into a discussion where they are finding their views being challenged.
This is why Liberals and Conservatives are often talking right past each other. The Conservative ends up thinking "If only I make a rational enough argument from reason and general experience, I can show them Conservatism is right" while the Liberal tends to think "If only I can demonstrate that evil motives drives them I can get this guy to STOP ATTACKING ME and graze with the Herd in peace."
Liberals that bring up political topics in chat rooms and message boards are not really looking for a challenge to their views that is reasonable and well thought out; what they are really looking for is affirmation that they CARE and that they BELONG to the Herd.
Rational arguments will not convince Progressives to give up Progressivism. Having studied the personal stories of people who were once far Left and who have come over to the Right - such as David Horowitz, for example - what I ended up discovering is that it's their own personal accumulated experience that leads to a 'Road To Damascus' moment where the scales fall from their eyes.
The views of the Left are not adopted because they are rational; they are adopted because they are popular, and they hold forth a powerful vision that people respond to emotionally.
Since they weren't argued into adopting it in the first place, it's often an impossible task to argue them out of it.
It comes down to personality. Some people only feel secure as part of The Group. Others have a mistrust of Groups and find their security in Independence.
They are not so much defending a core set of ideas & policies as they are defending their own personality traits.
This is why many Liberals IMMEDIATELY get emotionally hostile to having their views challenged. They instantly view it as a personal attack. Since they instinctively come to view the questioning of The Group's groupthink as a personal assault, this is why they not only defend their own views in such a emotional, sometimes nasty way, this also explains why they can only challenge the beliefs of others in the same emotional manner.
Attacking the viewpoint of others, or defending their own viewpoint, they do so based on their emotions. The meme of the Angry, Red-Faced Liberal has more than a little truth to it. Whether defending what Liberals believe, or challenging a Conservative assertion, discussion for the Leftist Progressive is ALWAYS waged on a deeply personal level.
This is what many Conservatives don't understand. There they are calmly and reasonably discussing a certain subject - let's say pension funds for unions, which are going to bankrupt many states before 2020 gets here if something isn't done - and all of a sudden the Liberal they are talking to will lean over the table and hiss "Why do you HATE working families?"
This is what it always comes down to . They are convinced evil motives drive Conservative policy. Therefore only evil people can adopt Conservatism. Based on this bedrock assumption, they will totally ignore any rational points you are making that count against the Liberal position and at all times keep trying to discuss your MOTIVES for daring to question the Collective Wisdom.
Liberals will often claim you are IGNORING them if you don't respond to an attempt to change the subject or to a personal attack red herring, but instead keep calmly and rationally building your argument.
What you said: "We need to reform the state union pension system to keep the state from going bankrupt." What the Liberal hears: "I hate working families."
What you said: "There is no national crisis where women cannot obtain cheap, effective birth control, and this new mandate violates many citizens' First Amendment rights because it would force them violate their religion, and the Constitution is very clear that Congress cannot pass or enforce a law that does that." What the Liberal hears: "I hate women and I want to make war on them."
What you said: "We've tripled our spending on public schools in 2 decades and the present system continues to vastly underperform. It needs real reform to ensure taxpayers and students aren't being shortchanged." What the Liberal hears: "I hate kids and teachers and I want the American public school system to fail."
What you said: "The national cost of illegal immigration is bankrupting some of our states and it's not right that illegal immigrants end up having more rights and protections than people who are legal citizens, so we need to enforce the immigration laws." What the Liberal hears: "I hate everybody who doesn't look like me and I want all immigration to America to cease."
What you said: "America should be a color-blind society where merit decides who rises, not skin color or gender. If some segments of society are not equally represented in some fields, the answer is to improve the education and preparation for the work force of that segment of society, not to lower the standards in order to promote unqualified people to positions they can't handle." What the Liberal hears: "I hate anybody who isn't white and women too."
What you said: "Marriage is an institution that has been the basic building block of society for thousands of years. We shouldn't be tinkering with it and casting the traditional view aside when nobody really understands what the long term effects of such tinkering will be." What the Liberal hears: "I hate gay people."
What you said: "Human life begins at conception, and abortion destroys that human life. Such a thing should only be done for the most compelling of reasons, which is why the 98% of abortions that are done for elective and not medical reasons need to be more strictly regulated to demonstrate we are a culture that values human life, no matter what stage it is at, young or old." What the Liberal hears: "I hate women."
Understand, in the Liberal Mindset there can't POSSIBLY be a completely rational and compelling argument for what the Liberal Mindset rejects. This is why 99% of the time you are attempting to argue rationally, the only thing the Liberal is thinking about is the next statement they are going to make that will demonstrate what a terrible person you are.
They completely mentally dismiss any argument you make without even seriously listening to it. It can't be a valid argument because..........hate.
As far back as 1996 I was starting to realize that no matter how dispassionately and reasonably one argued with the Far Left, it always comes back to this: ADMIT YOU HATE PEOPLE. YOU'RE ONLY A CONSERVATIVE BECAUSE YOU DON'T CARE.
Liberals adopt these beliefs to show they CARE and that they BELONG.
So here's what the Liberal is also hearing, besides the fact that you are full of HATE:
What you said: A rational, carefully thought out argument in favor of a Conservative position. What the Liberal hears: You want me to STOP CARING and to CEASE BELONGING.
How dare you attack my core personal identity, you pond scum!
Since these two core values are so deeply rooted in the bedrock of the Liberal Mindset, challenging them provokes a hostile response. This is also why when a Liberal shifts to becoming a Conservative, they always talk about how FRIGHTENING it was to step out as a real individual for the first time in their lives, how alone and cut off they felt.
The Collective can only explain a conversion from Left to Right in terms of mental instability or loss of character. There can't possibly be any legitimate reason for someone to shift from Left to Right, so some other explanation must be found.
That's why when someone like Frank Miller publicly declares he is now leaving The Collective behind, it has to be explained away as "he's lost his mind" or "he was always evil, he's just now letting us know this".
"Hey OWS - go back to your mom's basement! That's right, I'm evil! Always have been, suckers!"
It never occurs to Liberals that if Conservatives/Republicans are driven and motivated by HATRED of anybody that is not white and male, how can the Republican Party and Conservatism have so many non-white, non-males as members?
This explains the rabid hatred Liberals reserve for those who refuse to bow to the Collective Will on Race and Gender politics. Nobody gets more hatred directed at them than Conservatives who are non-white and non-male. Because they aren't where they 'should' be - safely under lock and key on the Liberal Plantation. Ideological conformity based on race and gender and class is a MUST for Progressivim's agenda to succeed.
Women and minorities who aren't where they 'should' be on the political spectrum - solidly on the Left, to hear some people tell it - thwart the Collective Narrative that they are in a fight for the survival of civilization with the Evil Young White Males.
If Conservatives and Republicans honestly and truly hate Women, Black, Hispanics, etc. then how does one account for the fact almost half of Conservatives are women, more than 1/3rd aren't white, many are old, etc.
Conservatives set about to win individual hearts and minds through rational appeal. Liberals set about trying to co-opt entire societal groups based on race, gender and class, and then assign PC 'cowboys' to ride herd on those groups by using Political Correctness to make sure most of them stay on the reservation.
Hey you c*nt, get back where you belong!
But this is what they do. I know they do it because I have watched them do it for more than a decade and a half. The first couple of times I watched this sort of thing, I realized "I have got to set about understanding how these people can do this sort of thing without the gears in their heads exploding from the hypocrisy."
This is why when older, sager Conservatives tell the younger ones rational arguments are wasted on people who can't argue rationally themselves, they have a point. You should only make rational arguments to people firmly held in The Collective Groupthink if you are endeavoring to learn and study their responses so you can obtain a better grasp of how to lead them to admit from personal experience how the Collective Groupthink led them to believe things they can look back at now and see were manifestly untrue.
That is the first chink in the armor of the Collective: "If holding to the Groupthink led me to defend something in the past so fiercely and emotionally that is now so obviously untrue....what has the Collective Groupthink got me believing RIGHT NOW that is untrue?"
In Part II coming next week: How to Tie Liberals Inextricably to A False Narrative Of A Current Event And Then Lead Them Ask Why They So Quickly Adopted That False Narrative.
UPDATE: John Hawkins helpfully provides 20 examples of Liberals revealing their true nature: