By Vasko Kohlmayer
September 5, 2020
See original post at www.lewrockwell.com>
One the most frequently used debate tactics of today’s Left is comparing their opponents to tyrants of the past. Terms such as “Hitler,” “Stalin” and “Mao” are regularly hurled by the Woke against whoever opposes them, which usually happen to be some variety of conservatives. Levelling pejoratives at their interlocutors is, in fact, the progressive Left’s principal and most favored form of argument whenever their views are questioned.
By now we are all-too familiar with the following scenario which keeps repeating itself with monotonous predictability: A progressive makes a claim about our society or the nature of relations within it. An opponent counters this contention by presenting evidence to the contrary. Instead of engaging with the evidence, the social warrior becomes angry and claims to be offended. He or she then begin begins to shout and accusations of “Hitler,” “fascist” and such fly in a quick succession.
But are such accusations really justified? Do conservatives have the same mindset or hail from the same ideological pedigree as Hitler, Stalin or Mao? And what about those who so self-righteously level these accusations? Where do they really stand in all of this? What are their own ideological roots and credentials?
Fortunately, there is a relatively easy way to cut through the froth of passions and heated rhetoric to get at the truth of the matter. We will do this by taking the three classes in question – tyrants, progressives and conservatives – and place them side by side. We will then look at how their values compare in regard to important issues of practical politics and philosophy. This should help clarify the situation by bringing out the underlying political pedigrees and ideological links.
For the purposes of illustration and personal relatability, we will choose typical representatives for each class. For the first two groups the choices are easy and obvious. Thus, the tyrant category will be represented by the usual suspects: Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro and Kim Jong-un. Those in the leftist column will be broadly represented by those who in the contemporary political parlance are called the Woke. The Woke encompass large swathes of today’s Left and include those who would call themselves progressives and social justice activists which, in turn, span subgroups such as anti-racist activists, feminists, BLM, the militant LGBT, homosexual and trans activist among others.
The choice of personnel on the conservative side is more difficult, since it is not easy to find a genuine specimen on the contemporary scene. Most of those who call themselves “conservative” today have compromised their principles in order to appease the media and their progressive critics. From our perspective, there are two well-known living political figures who embody the principles of traditional conservatism. They are Dr Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan. Their worldview is not identical since they each give different weight to different aspects of the conservative tradition. Nevertheless, they are both unmistakable bearers of this tradition whose modern foundations have been laid by Adam Smith and Edmund Burke. Both Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan are former presidential candidates who have exerted considerable intellectual influence and attracted substantial following. However, their refusal to compromise their principles has alienated the Republican establishment and cost them the nomination. Needless to say, each is in his own way is a great moral force.
Even though Dr Paul is usually called a libertarian in the larger historical context, he would be more aptly described as a classical liberal or a traditional conservative. The main reason he is labelled a libertarian today is to distinguish him from the faux conservatives who have muddled the waters of political discourse. These are people who are not conservatives in the true sense of the term, but who nevertheless managed to appropriate this name for themselves. Such types would comprise, for example, the assorted neo-conservatives and moderate leftists who, for reasons of political expediency, insist on being called “conservative.” Some examples would include John Kasich, Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake, Chuck Hegel and William Kristol. Some of them have already signaled they will vote for Joe Biden in the upcoming election. Obviously, anyone voting for the Biden-Harris ticket cannot be a real conservative. And even though these people are sometimes called “Hitlers” and “Stalins” by the progressives, it is only because they are less extreme than those who hurl such accusations.
We now turn to a comparison of positions, view and values held by the representatives of the three categories under examination. We present this information in a graphic which we call “The Ideological Pedigree Table of Values and Views.”
Figure: The Ideological Pedigree Table of Values and Views
The first thing we notice is that except for the very last item there is a unanimous agreement on fundamental principles and values between today’s progressives and social justice warriors on one hand and totalitarians on the other.
What this clearly shows is that the woke Left espouses the same elemental attitudes as the tyrants of the past and present. As far as the basic questions of human life and governance go, their thinking is identical: The two classes share the same mindset and inclinations. Psychologically and ideologically, they are cut from the same cloth.
Many people will be startled by this and may think that in putting together this information we have used some sleight of hand to make the progressive Left look bad. Let us reassure you that this is not the case and that what you see is a straightforward depiction of reality. The graphic above is nothing other than a simple statement of facts. What makes it striking is the way in which these facts are presented. Our approach cuts through political posturing, deception and demagoguery to the basic values that define the worldview of each class. It then organizes this information in a way that brings out the ideological affinities and fault lines, showing where different groups stand in relation to one another.
In a certain sense, the above matrix is to the study of political phenomena as the Periodic Table of Elements is to the study of chemical ones. Mendeleyev’s Table cuts through the surface appearances – such color, odor, texture, etc. – to the underlying essentials. A perceptive man who would not let superficials mislead him, Mendeleyev focused on fundamental properties – the atomic number and electron configuration – and used their values to achieve a highly revealing classification of elements. He then displayed his results in a visually clear way that enables the student to grasp the truth of the matter quickly and intuitively. When we look at the Periodic Table, we can immediately see where various elements fit as well as where they stand in relation to one another. Those equipped with his knowledge can see things for what they are and not be fooled by appearance. To the uninitiated gilding may seem like gold, but when a chemist ascertains the atomic number of the thing in his hand he can easily distinguish the fake from the real.
As Mendeleyev’s Periodic Table mapped out the realm of elements, the Ideological Pedigree Table seeks to map out the ideological landscape. When you encounter an ideological phenomenon – be it a movement, a teaching or a leader – by evaluating it against the values in the Table you will be able to see exactly what kind of political element they are. In the same way that a skilled chemist scientifically ascertains the intrinsic grossness of a metal though it may be covered in gilding, you will now be able to see through the progressives’ veneer of compassion to recognize that they are actually totalitarians at heart.
Let us now make a few remarks and observations on the graphic above.
Based on the information it contains, we can plainly see that – ideologically and attitudinally – the progressives, the Woke and the tyrants are close kin. Even though their language may superficially differ depending on the time and place in which they operate, underneath the rhetoric there is a shared unity of underlying attitudes. Their goal is invariably the same: totalitarian control over their fellow citizens. It could be said that these people belong to a shared brotherhood of oppression.
Because they know well that their positions are indefensible by reason, open discussion is anathema to both the woke and the tyrants. Freedom of speech and expression are their scourge, because their worldview cannot withstand the light of truth. This is why they all seek to suppress it by instituting various forms of political correctness.
Every totalitarian without exception advocates political correctness. Political correctness is the favored instrument of totalitarians of all stripes with which they seek to silence their opponents. It prevents the articulation of facts that are plainly obvious but inconvenient to those who seek to seize or maintain political power by illicit and undemocratic means. In an environment ruled by political correctness truth must not be spoken. Instead one must either stay silent or say the opposite of the truth.
Political correctness takes different forms depending on how much power the totalitarians possess in a given society. In democratic societies it takes the form of institutional speech codes. In totalitarian societies it takes the form of outright state censorship.
All totalitarians – from the mass murdering tyrants to the progressives and the woke – insist on a cancel culture. The cancel culture is the executory arm of political correctness. Its purpose is to punish those who cross the bounds of acceptable speech. The severity of cancellation methods depends on the power that totalitarians wield in a given society. The more power they possess, the more severe the modes of cancellation. In our society modes of cancellation range from being removed from platforms of public discourse to being fired from one’s job.
In totalitarian societies, the cancellation modes normally range from imprisonment to death.
Firing is the highest and most favored mode of cancellation of both the progressives and the tyrants. In our society where progressive totalitarians do not yet possess full state power, serious offenders are cancelled by being fired from their jobs. In totalitarians societies serious offenders are cancelled by a firing squad.
Totalitarians living under democratic systems of government have to settle for less drastic methods of cancellation such as deletion of Twitter accounts and destruction of dissenters’ reputation and livelihood. These forms of cancellation, however, are not failproof. The cancelled can still open another account under a different name and continue propagating their subversive ideas about free speech, freedom of conscience, equal treatment and such.
When directed against dissenters, the bullet, the noose and the gas chamber are nothing other than the manifestations of the cancel culture. These methods are beloved by the tyrants, because they constitute the quickest and the most effective modes of cancellation. They guarantee that persons thus cancelled will never again engage in politically incorrect speech.
Some people may think that today’s progressives and social justice warriors cannot be quite cut from the same cloth as Hitler and Stalin, since they are not guilty of the same depredations. The evidence presented above, however, clearly shows that they are indeed of the same heart and mind. The reason they have not committed the excesses of their tyrannical kin is because they lack the power to do so. To accomplish what Hitler, Stalin and Mao have accomplished you must be in full control of the state apparatus. As of now, western progressives do not have that power, but they are doing their best to obtain it. Because they are actuated by identical beliefs, if they ever attain that power, they will inevitably use it in the same fashion their tyrannical brothers have used theirs.
All tyrants mentioned above have ruined their societies and left millions of corpses in their wake. The progressives will do the same if they ever attain unchecked state power. This is inescapable, since they operate on the same basic values and principles.
Most woke snowflakes are not some gentle caring beings they pretend to be. This is only a mask. This kind of deception and pretense is pervasive among Leftists and has, in fact, been the Left’s modus operandi since the French Revolution. Underneath their posture of fragility, the snowflakes are ruthless hooligans who through various forms of activism and online thuggery have destroyed the reputations and lives of many good and innocent people. Cancel-happy, politically correct, intolerant in their attitudes and merciless when dealing with dissenters, today’s snowflakes are the scions of tyrants.
Despite being regularly accused of being so, true conservatives are certainly no Hitlers or Stalins. Quite to the contrary, conservatives hold positions, views and values that in direct oppositions of those jointly espoused by progressives and tyrants.
The pejoratives that the woke hurl at conservatives are completely ungrounded. Unlike progressives, conservatives share no attitudes or principles with the likes of Stalin, Hitler or Mao. The accusations the progressives make against conservatives are a form of self-projection. The pejoratives they throw at their opponents accurately apply to themselves.
The progressive-social-justice Left encounters very little political opposition these days, because the so-called conservatives have sold out their principles and lack the moral fiber to stand up to the Left’s anti-liberty, inhumane, anti-Western agenda of oppression and destruction.
The values and principles that the progressive Left and tyrants jointly espouse are illiberal, anti-Western and dangerous. If implemented, they cannot but result in oppression, destruction and murder on a large scale. This is the clear lesson and warning of history. Well-meaning, good people should be aware of this. They should not be fooled by the Left’s disingenuous rhetoric and false posturing but should look carefully at what these people really believe and stand for. Forces of oppression and tyranny always initially present themselves as angels of light and liberation. Once in power, however, their true nature manifests itself with tragic consequences. By then, however, it is too late to reverse the course.
There is much more to be said about this, and we shall continue shortly. In the meantime, let us contemplate The Ideological Pedigree Table of Values and Views with care so that we can fully digest the information it contains. It lays bare an important truth about the totalitarian forces that are currently attempting to subvert and take over our society.