It is a signal of Truth when one’s beliefs are consistent not only with each other, but also with observable facts. Yet leftists often flaunt their inconsistency.
“One is fruitful only at the cost of being rich in contradictions,” wrote the atheist’s atheist, Friedrich Nietzsche, in Twilight of the Idols. It’s a common sentiment. In our time, New Yorker staff writer Malcolm Gladwell has opined that “if you don’t contradict yourself on a regular basis, then you’re not thinking.” My, talk about putting a happy face on superficial reasoning and situational values born of convenience.
Contradiction is even more common as a behavior — and it defines what we call the Left. Just consider a current big story, President Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia to “steal the election” and his allegedly having revealed secrets to the Vladimir Putin regime. Putting aside the charges’ trumped-up (excuse the pun) nature, since when did the Left object to such actions?
Note here that the King of Commie Collusion, “Lion of the Senate” Ted Kennedy, did in fact attempt to conspire with the USSR, to try to thwart Ronald Reagan’s reelection bid in 1984. As Forbes reported in 2009, relating the contents of a 1983 memorandum from the Soviet archives, “Kennedy’s message was simple. He proposed an unabashed quid pro quo. Kennedy would lend [Yuri] Andropov a hand in dealing with President Reagan. In return, the Soviet leader would lend the Democratic Party a hand in challenging Reagan in the 1984 presidential election.” Furthermore, Kennedy offered to visit the USSR and “help the Soviets deal with Reagan by telling them how to brush up their propaganda,” Forbes continued; he also would “make it possible for Andropov to sit down for a few interviews on American television.” Didn’t they once hang people for such things?
As for giving away classified information, American Thinker’s James Lewis wrote May 17:
This is in fact what Bill Clinton did by re-classifying US missile launching secrets to become non-secrets, allowing them to be sold to China. It is also what Hillary may have been doing with Huma Abedin (from the Muslim Brotherhood family) and [by] letting her email server be so easily hacked that any knowledgeable foreign power could get the US SecState’s confidential information. Hillary took Muslim Brotherhood money through the Clinton Foundation, and now we know that Bill and Hillary were both involved in a Russian buy-out of 25% of US uranium sources.
During the Cold War, when conservatives criticized Soviet Russia, they were viciously slandered by liberals. Americans in the Cold War always had two great enemies: the Soviet Empire and the domestic left.
The irony here is that when Russia was part of the USSR and avowedly Marxist, the Left cottoned to it. Now that it’s back to being Russia again and is opposing the Western Left’s agenda (e.g., outlawing homosexual propaganda), liberals cast it as the Devil incarnate.
Then there’s he who went from devil to on the level: former FBI director James Comey. Where liberals once called for his scalp over his late-election-season announcement that Hillary Clinton’s e-mail scandal was under investigation, now they’re outraged Trump fired him. A prime example is Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). She’d said in the recent past that Comey has “no credibility”; now, she’s livid over his being pink-slipped by Trump.
She furthermore says that if Hillary Clinton were president, she would support her firing of Comey.
In fairness, there can be a rational explanation for this position — if you accept the supposition that Trump might have colluded with Russia to begin with. To wit: “Look, I don’t care for Comey, but for all his manifold faults he’s better than some lackey Trump would install to whitewash his complicity. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.”
This article appears in the June 19, 2017, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.
There’s no doubt some Democrats feel this way, too. So why no such explanation? First, people, very much including politicians, often don’t articulate positions very well. Second, when you operate emotionally as liberals do, and trade in contradiction and thus aren’t accustomed to formulating logical explanations, they don’t come naturally.
At least as significantly, however, many leftists are just content to proceed based on the power principle: They attacked Comey when he threatened the Democrats’ control of the executive branch. Now they defend him because it’s a good way to assail Republican control of the executive branch.
Yet this almost seems rational compared to what transpired regarding Trump’s executive orders temporarily banning immigration from a handful of terrorist-spawning nations. Try this on for size: ACLU lawyer Omar Jadwat, arguing before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on May 8, actually stated that Trump’s ban “could be constitutional” if it had been issued by Hillary Clinton. In other words, as Powerline put it, “THE ONLY THING WRONG WITH TRUMP’S TRAVEL ORDER IS TRUMP.”
Of course, the usurpative courts ultimately agreed, finding the orders unconstitutional based on statements Trump made on the campaign trail, as if the Constitution had a motives clause and judges were mind readers. What’s next? “Forgive me, your honor, I have had impure thoughts while legislating?”
But even if judges were mind readers, and even if they were authorized to decide cases based on the pure or impure thoughts of those who make or execute law, which thoughts should they go by? People, after all, are not always consistent in their thinking. This is particularly the case with liberals who reject absolute truth in favor of relativism and moral ethics. This is illustrated well by a list of liberal contradictions, composed by an anonymous author, that has become Internet e-mail legend. Here’s a sampling from it (the last one is my own), edited for punctuation, style and content:
“How to Be a Good Politically Correct Liberal”
• You have to believe that law-abiding Americans with guns are more of a threat than Iranians with nuclear weapons.
• … You have to believe that sex roles are artificial but homosexuality is natural.
• You have to be against capital punishment but for prenatal infanticide on demand.
• You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.
• You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.
• You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides aren’t.
• You have to preach tolerance while quashing dissent in its name.
Some may now state, “Okay, but so what? We know that, to use the clichéd saying, ‘If it weren’t for double standards, leftists wouldn’t have any standards at all.’ What does complaining about it accomplish?” Yet the point is not that society will always have liars, and even sociopaths and malignant narcissists, who’ll say and do anything to succeed. It’s that this rampant contradiction reflects a deep and widespread cultural/spiritual malaise, finding a justification in a dark pseudo-philosophy that has swept civilization.
If you’re truly “old school,” as they put it — if, let’s say, you’re a person of robust and authentic faith — you take for granted that contradiction indicates a problem, just as conflicting computer programs create one. Great philosophers would endeavor to detect their own contradictions; they would debate themselves, in essence, to hone their worldview. For contradiction tells us that one or both positions in question are in error. And just as eliminating those contradictory programs is necessary for your computer’s proper function, eliminating philosophical contradictions is necessary for your mind’s proper operation. This process is part of becoming a “complete thinker,” a person who can’t be tripped up in debate because there are no missing pieces in his worldview.
Of course, you may take for granted that contradiction is problematic; you may even wonder why this is being questioned, as it’s self-evident. If so, you must be careful here of “projection,” of that common human habit of ascribing your own mindset, priorities, and sense of virtue to others. For there is another “perspective” out there. And to truly grasp it, we have to take a brief trip to the dark side, immersing ourselves in a mind of madness masquerading as intellectualism.
While most liberals would protest at being accused of contradiction, the aforementioned Friedrich Nietzsche freely acknowledged that this was precisely what he did. Aside from speaking of contradiction yielding fruitfulness, he said, “Only idiots fail to contradict themselves three times a day.” In fact, not only did he insist there was nothing wrong with it, he slapped an intellectual veneer on his justification. As the historian who blogs anonymously at Assailed Teacher related it:
Humans are irrational creatures. Their thoughts and feelings are in constant flux, making contradiction the natural human condition. For millennia, philosophers had tried to pound these contradictions into straight arrows. They erected systems of thought based upon rational reason. The validity of these systems was measured by their internal consistency. For Nietzsche, what these philosophers were doing was running from their own humanity. Their elegant systems were expressions of fear of the uncertainty of human beings. By trying to be inhuman through building these awe-inspiring systems of thought, philosophers had merely betrayed their very human fears. This is part of what Nietzsche meant by the title of one of his first books, Human, All Too Human.
Of course, this was nothing new even in Nietzsche’s time. “Philosopher” (thus labeling such people bastardizes the designation) Jean-Jacques Rousseau had previously made the claim — initially thought a joke — that man had been corrupted by reason and civilization. Not surprisingly, he was no stranger to contradiction.
Now, Nietzsche was partially right. As Mr. Spock (of Star Trek fame) might have lamented, humans are irrational creatures; their thoughts and feelings are in constant flux, and contradiction is quite natural for them. But so is rape, theft (as the Vikings, the Huns, and countless others proved), violence, cruelty to animals, the unjust domination of women and children, death from infection, body odor, and not cleaning one’s backside. So how far do you want to take this “getting back to nature” stuff? Answer: The anti-civilization types are faithful to it just until it becomes inconvenient for them.
The folly here is plain: The whole purpose of civilization is to tame the beast. It is the collective version of the battle between the flesh and spirit. Implying it shouldn’t be fought because it’s “unnatural” and man never emerges the uncontested victor is like saying we shouldn’t pursue modern medicine because disease is never truly vanquished. Saying that a prudent, principle-guided consistency isn’t the ideal because man tends toward contradiction is like saying that honesty in government isn’t the ideal because man tends toward corruption. And saying, as also is implicit, that an ideal isn’t ideal because man can’t live up to it completely misses the point: Man could never live up to a legitimate ideal because it is just that — ideal — and he is not. That is to say, the Truth is perfect; man is a sinner. But he becomes less of one through the pursuit of ideals. Golfers stress ideal technique and ball-striking, knowing they’ll always fall short of that ideal and make mistakes. But reaching for unattainable stars may at least allow you to reach the heavens.
Before proceeding, we also might wonder about this concept of the “natural.” This is often stressed with foods, with “All Natural” being a big selling point. Yet in the truest sense everything is natural, as man doesn’t create matter, but merely takes what’s found on Earth and combines it in unique ways. Likewise, since we are natural (even though created by the supernatural), as evolution-espousing leftists should be the first to acknowledge, are our activities really “unnatural”? Are elephants when destroying trees or beavers when building dams acting unnaturally? How is man different?
This isn’t to say all our activities are “good,” only that this isn’t always synonymous with “natural.” Moreover, what the Rousseau types call “getting back to nature” is an embrace of our animal nature. Yet humans can’t live as animals any more than animals can live as plants. Animals’ power of locomotion ensures that even the laziest sloth will move more than the Venus flytrap. Humans’ possession of intellect and free will ensure that even the most intellectually sterile society will create social codes and traditions, while a gaggle of geese won’t. Man cannot not be man. To be human is to think — it’s just that some people do it better than others.
Refutations aside, there is logic to Nietzsche’s lunacy. I called him the atheist’s atheist because, as much as anyone who ever lived, he recognized atheism’s implications, in particular that it correlates with there being no right or wrong, with what could be called moral nihilism (which means “nothing-ism”). Secularists generally bristle at this assertion, saying “You don’t have to believe in God to be good!” But they misunderstand: It’s not that you have to believe in God to be good.
It’s that without God, “good” cannot be — it becomes an incomprehensible concept.
That is to say, if God exists and has a will — what is often called His “law” or Truth — then we can say that morality is something real, existing apart from and being above man. Yet if God doesn’t exist and man is, as Protagoras said, “the measure of all things,” then humans are the source of what we may only call morality. For it would just be illusion. After all, imagine we learned that 90 percent of the world loved vanilla but hated chocolate. Would this make chocolate “bad” or “wrong”? Well, how does it make any more sense to say that murder is “bad” or “wrong” if the only reason we do so is that the vast majority of the world prefers we not kill other humans in a manner the vast majority considers “unjust”? If consensus preference is all it is, it then falls into the same category as flavors: taste.
This is one of the realizations that pushed me, once an agnostic, toward faith in God; it’s also the realization that makes the Nietzsches of the world play God and become the source of their own “values.” But understand how foreign the reality of objective morality is to such a person, to a devout moral relativist/nihilist. If you’re a pious Christian, you don’t find the statement “Fornication is a sin” an oppressive statement. If you’re any kind of traditional person, you don’t consider “Lying is wrong” a silly proposition. But realize that to someone who has fully contemplated atheism and its correlative moral relativism/nihilism and accepted the latter even on an emotional level, it’s as if someone said to you, “Liking chocolate and disliking vanilla is a sin.” With everything a matter of taste to such a person, any moral pronouncement is laughable, reflective of naiveté or the tool of an oppressor who would spoil his fun. That is what you’re dealing with.
Why is this relevant? Well, do you think the proposition “Avoid contradiction” or “It’s wrong to contradict yourself” gets any more respect from relativists/nihilists? Yet while Truth (God’s law) isn’t real to them, what certainly are real are their emotions, which generally birth their desires and ambitions. What this means is that emotion tends to become their yardstick for behavior because, without Truth, it can be the only one they have. Yet emotion isn’t logical. Emotion isn’t consistent. Thus, purging contradiction would impede their emotion-based ambitions, which feel so right and which they desperately want to bring to fruition. To such people, intellectual consistency is a mortal enemy.
Put simply, addressing contradiction helps reveal Truth, and there is nothing more dangerous to a lie-based agenda. When our ideology conflicts with the Truth, we’re supposed to alter our ideology. But someone who places his ideology before Truth — inevitable if he doesn’t even believe in the latter — will instead deny or rationalize away the Truth. This is, mind you, deification of the self. For Truth is of and from God and is the ultimate yardstick. Thus, when one puts his own “values” in place of Truth, he puts himself in place of God.
Nietzsche perfectly exemplified this. He called himself “the Anti-Christ,” penned a book by that title, and once wrote, “There cannot be a God because, if there were one, I could not believe that I was not He.” He also stated, “I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time,” a common atheist gripe that wholly misses the point. God doesn’t need us to worship Him.
We need to worship Him.
A child would be taught to respect his elders not because a well-adjusted adult craves respect, but because only then will the child obey his parents and not fall into grave error. Likewise, we only place God’s will (rules) ahead of our own when we respect Him; moreover, humility is born of recognizing and humbling oneself before the infinitely greater. Barring this, human ego can take on Nietzschean proportions.
Tragically, this war on the objective — not just morality but a rejection of reality itself — has mostly conquered the West. In April, a group of self-proclaimed “marginalized” Pomona College students issued a letter protesting the concept of Truth, complaining that it’s a “construct of the Euro-West … deeply rooted in the Enlightenment” and that “objectivity” is a white-supremacist concept. (It didn’t occur to them that if all is relative, what could be “wrong” with white supremacism?) It’s not just fringe folly, either. A 2002 Barna Group research company study found that only 22 percent of adults and six percent of teenagers believed in Moral Truth. This reflects how with every generation now, the number of people who could logically believe that contradiction, or anything else, is wrong declines — and our civilization follows suit.
An irony here is that while seeing “shades of gray” is today hailed as intellectualism, it’s anything but. Consider a May Washington Free Beacon interview with lesbian academic and social critic Camille Paglia. She was asked how she reconciled her contradictory positions “that pro-lifers have the ‘moral high ground’ in trying to protect the innocent” but, nonetheless, “overcoming nature is a moral imperative and that we should ‘thwart nature’s procreative compulsions’” via activities such as prenatal infanticide. She replied, “In ethics, one of the many branches of philosophy invented by the ancient Greeks, we are usually faced not with a simple, reassuring scheme of right versus wrong but rather an often painfully conflicted choice between morally mixed options. I stated in Vamps & Tramps (1994): ‘Women’s modern liberation is inextricably linked to their ability to control reproduction, which has enslaved them from the origin of the species.’ However, as an atheist who nevertheless respects religion, I see and respect the contrary position.” Yes, and “Whatever we may think of the merits of torturing children for pleasure, and no doubt there is much to be said on both sides, I am sure we all agree that it should be done with sterilized instruments,” as G.K. Chesterton put it.
An apocryphal saying instructs, “Moral issues are always terribly complex for someone without principles.” What is the point of all Paglia’s pondering, persuading, and penning of books? If there is no truth here, then her philosophizing is as logical as searching the cold depths for a treasure while convinced no treasure exists. It’s an exercise in futility and insanity or, at best, in money-making and mental self-gratification. If there is a truth, though, authentic intellectualism resides in finding it. It’s much as if you ask your tennis instructor how to hit a forehand, and he replies, “Well, you could do it this way; then again, you could do it that way or some other way. I’m open-minded and see all sides.” After a number of such answers, wouldn’t you finally ask, “Is this what I’m paying you for?!” Expertise, or wisdom, means being able to separate the gray into black and white. Relating the gray in 2,000 esoteric words doesn’t mean you’re not an ignoramus — just a verbose, pompous one.
There is a simple distinction here: The Truth is black and white. People are shades of gray (are sinners). Yet their gray progressively darkens in the grip of Nietzschean nonsense and Rousseauesque risibility. Not believing in the treasure, Truth, they don’t search for it; not searching for it, they don’t find it. Their fate is increasing moral poverty.
And tyranny. The rejection of intellectual consistency reflects disconnection from Truth and that method for uncovering it called reason. Once this disconnection becomes severe enough, people are put in God’s place, but it won’t be the useful idiots pretending to divinity. It will be whoever runs the state. This is how you reach a point where, to quote George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, “War is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength” and 2+2=5.
Even Nietzsche, mind you, recognized that nihilism’s (nothing-ism’s) “corrosive effects would eventually destroy all moral, religious, and metaphysical convictions and precipitate the greatest crisis in human history,” as the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy relates it. For sure. Belief in nothing beyond our own desires reduces us to just that: nothing.