Why are liberals blind?

Dimitri K. writes:

It’s a good point that liberalism turns people into nothing (“Liberalism reaches its climax in Israel”). However, I believe that liberalism is rather a result than a cause. People have been taught for a long time not to see what is in front of their eyes.

The most shocking example for me is the Mutant Turtle Ninja Fighter, who have actually an arse drawn instead of the armor. All people see the arse but they are told that it is the armor. And they eagerly agree! One liberal friend of mine, to whom I showed the fragment and asked what it was, had really hard time trying to find the answer, not the obvious one, but what he thought was “correct.” That’s how political correctness works.

LA replies:

But why do people not see what’s in front of their eyes? The answer is liberalism. Liberalism forbids people from having any critical awareness either of liberal doctrines or, in the example you gave, of liberal “entertainment” and “culture.”

Here’s another example. Over the last ten years or so, movies and especially television dramatic series have adopted a bizarre darkness in the way scenes are shot. Lawyer’s offices, hospital rooms, the Oval Office—places that in reality are well lit—are portrayed in half to three-quarters darkness, with the faces of the actors barely visible. How can anyone stand watching such a program? How can people not see the sinister nihilistic construction of reality that is going on here? Well, not only do people not see the strangeness and nihilism of this ultra dark lighting; they are not even aware of the dark lighting itself. I have said to liberals, “How can you stand that darkness in “West Wing” where you can barely see the actors’ faces? And they didn’t know what I was talking about.

This is liberalism, and the control that liberal tastes and aesthetics exercise over people’s minds is even deeper than the control that liberal ideology has over people’s minds, because it’s everywhere and is not even putatively the subject of “debate,” as ideological matters putatively are.

The larger point is that egalitarian beliefs, PC, Mutant Ninja Turtles, whatever aspect of liberalism we want to name, cannot withstand critical discussion and awareness. So the critical faculty must be turned off. This deadening of the mind is central to the continued rule of liberalism over society.

Dimitri K. replies:

Thank you for posting my comment. Among several bloggers who I asked the same question, you are the only one who responded. Even those who champion the fight against political correctness, like Gates of Vienna, failed to make a critical observation regarding the cartoon. That’s why I am sceptical about their ability to resolve other issues either.

Regarding what is first, the egg or the hen, the liberalism or the inability to see the obvious, I will readily agree with you. Maybe they are two sides of the same coin.

Sage McLaughlin writes:

The phenomenon you’re describing is all too real. What is a little bit more frustrating is when a bit of media or artwork contains an obvious, clumsily-executed and plainly propagandistic liberal message—and people either don’t see it or claim that it is incidental. Of course, one can always make the claim that conservatives are seeing what isn’t there, being paranoid. It’s difficult charge to answer, of course, and when faced with the obvious, stubborn denial is sometimes an iron-clad tactic.

Very often I have found out to my horror that someone (usually a woman, for whatever reason) who considers him or herself a real conservative, also happens to adore some piece of liberal garbage such as Pleasantville, and more than this have no clue that the film even contains a message. When such propaganda is ubiquitous, people stop seeing it, which of course is the whole point of its ubiquity.

[LA replies: Not to see Pleasantville as a leftist hate attack on Middle America is an extreme but predictable example of what I’m talking about. It shows how liberal tropes, such as the sexual and spiritual deadness of Americans in the Fifties, or rather of all humanity before the Sixties, are not considered as propagandistic but as simply true.]

Let’s face it, the leftists and nihilists who are writing this stuff are not especially talented, insightful, or creative. There is no genius to it. They are for the most part cultural and intellectual ignoramuses, churning out bilge whose attempts at cleverness are ham-handed and serve only to embarrass rather than entertain. And yet, so often, whenever I patiently break down the subtext (a word not quite appropriate for such obvious attempts at manipulation), I usually get the response, “Wow, I never saw how left-wing this is! Man, they’re so sneaky!” Well, actually, they’re not. The nihilistic left-liberalism animating virtually all our “entertainment” these days is usually carried off with about the same degree of subtlety as Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. (Which I also hated.)

Sage M. continues:

A quick follow-up. It is only now coming back to me that in my studies of the public diplomacy of totalitarian society, the thing that stood out was just how unsophisticated it all is. I believe that some day people will look back on the media of this era and marvel at how stupid people must have been in 2007, not to have seen it, just as we marvel today at just how brutal and idiotic Nazi and Communist propaganda posters always were.

I’m reminded of Theodore Dalrymple’s fascinating theory that the purpose of such propaganda, at least in the case of Communist societies, was not to convince but to humiliate—so the more obvious the lie the better. He compares this to political correctness, and claims that PC is merely “Communist propaganda writ small,” a way of making people either say what they do not believe, or to remain silent in the face of lies so obvious that over time they lose their ability to object to anything at all.

Whatever my problems with Dalrymple, and I do have a few, I will always owe him something for this very valuable insight.

KPA writes:

One thing that has always intrigued me is the black background of so many personal blogs. Professional bloggers and websites know better, since legibility is highly affected. I also think black sets a different mood—secrecy, conspiratorial intimacy, occult mystery? I don’t know, but I do not like them, and cannot read them.

Regarding Sage McLaughlin comment:

“I believe that some day people will look back on the media of this era and marvel at how stupid people must have been in 2007, not to have seen it, just as we marvel today at just how brutal and idiotic Nazi and Communist propaganda posters always were.”

Here is an interesting analysis of the Nazi’s Cult of Art. One thing that some of their contemporary critics (too quietly) noted was their depressing mediocrity and ignorance, despite all their claimed artistic eruditions.

Perhaps we are also just too silent, and too quiet, in front of these modern days’ displays of “art.”

LA replies:

I’m equally astounded by the black background in many blogs.. They are almost completely illegible.

There is some kind of deep insensibility at work in the culture, that people create a blog, and it doesn’t occur to them that it’s almost illegible. Also, their friends don’t tell them, because part of modern liberalism is that you never criticize anyone.

Related to the liberal culture, I just saw a picture in yesterday’s NY Sun of the Tate Gallery in London where there is a hundred foot long gash in the floor, which is supposed to convey the “brokenness” and dividedness of society, divided across race, class, etc. A museum deliberately creating alienation and hatred of its own society. Also, it’s a danger to women with high heels.

Lazar writes:

Your phrase “deadening of the mind” is apt. I, too, have puzzled over this phenomenon of liberal blindness that Dimitri K. has noted.

I wonder if the blindness of liberalism is a form of cowardice, the old head-in-the-sand bit. Thus the examples cited above, plus many others: A friend and I were watching a movie recently, the bad guys were killing some innocents in cold blood. The friend remarked scornfully that “I can’t believe that people do that sort of thing in real life.” I immediately pointed out the 9/11 bombings and the attendant atrocities against innocents, and the friend literally shut down and wouldn’t talk. I know people who refuse to lock their doors at night, despite having children in the house, because it makes them feel “paranoid.”

This liberal private cowardice translates into liberal public cowardice, for instance the complete lack of border control against the obvious invasion from Mexico.

In Rev. 21:8, “the cowardly” are the first on the list barred from eternal life. I take this as spiritual cowardice, which I think is central to the blindness of liberalism.

Alan Roebuck writes:

Sage M. wrote:

“I’m reminded of Theodore Dalrymple’s fascinating theory that the purpose of such propaganda, at least in the case of Communist societies, was not to convince but to humiliate—so the more obvious the lie the better.”

I don’t know the inner motivations of the liberal propagandists, but the result is clearly as Dalrymple says. Think of the devastating effect on the young of being forced to go along with such obvious falsehoods as the legitimacy of homosexuality, the goodness of flooding America with unassimilable foreigners, or the fundamental badness of our traditional civilization. Some people (e.g., homosexuals or hostile foreigners) will feel liberated by these teachings, but normal Americans, if they never hear a clear presentation of the opposite points of view, will be forced to conclude that reality is absurd. What else can you conclude from being told that you must believe that 2+2=5? And if reality is absurd, then “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” And that’s the best-case scenario for our culture; the worst case is that these youngsters transfer their allegiance to a hostile foreign ideology.

LA replies:

But I don’t see humiliation as the effect of your examples of propaganda. People aren’t being humiliated, they’re being deadened. Being told that you must believe that two plus two equals five does not humiliate you, but turns off your mind and your will, the thinking and valuing part of yourself.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 12, 2007 11:34 AM | Send

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