The Continental Divide: Left and Right
I once read a comparison between how the Russian typically makes conversation and how the American does. And experience has borne out the truth of the contrast.
The Russian, holding his feelings close to his chest, not trusting to confide them in others, will discuss Great Ideas. The American, comfortable with his feelings, but not so sure of his ideas, prefers to speak of how he feels, how you feel, the weather, emotional matters that may seem trivial. And they probably are trivial. The great divide between the two spheres is: Large talk vs. small talk.
One does not just dive into the philosophy of Tolstoy upon first meeting a Russian, but soon enough the attitude toward life, fate, how things will or will not work, why they don’t work — the discussion can get very serious but, at the same time, there is a tacit sense of the absurd, so don’t take things too seriously.
A similar type of contrast can be made in America between the present day-Intolerant Leftists and the Rational Right, a group which does not include the Chip-on-the-Shoulder Right-Wing-Birds, the hen-chicks and balding eagles who claim to represent the entire conservative movement in America.
To digress just a moment from this major contrast, I wish to point out the divide within the Divide:
There is now just the blob of the infantile Left, or the Looney Left, once known as Liberals. That group has so besmirched and warped the concept of historical Classical Liberalism that modern-day liberals are now called “Progressives”, a label that I find insulting to President Theodore Roosevelt. And there is the contentious, combative Right Wing, the mirror image of the Looney Left. Those cranky all-or-nothing voices often drown out the Rational Right, which has become increasingly polarized from those petulant loudmouths with whom they share close intellectual quarters.
The great divide between the Loud Left and the Loud Right won’t be met anytime soon. Indeed, the middle between the two extremes of the Left and the Right is filling up rapidly with people who want reason, balanced thought, balanced feelings, balanced ideas, and an end to the meat-cleaver method of politics. The Rational Right offers the only hope left (ha) to find the place in discourse where manners, and morality, and prudent meditation exist.
The Leftist is fearful of opposing thoughts because he does not engage often in any dissenting opinions but seeks comfort in group-think. He feels outrage at a moment’s notice of individual thought. What is noticed in that moment of outrage from the Leftist is his reaction to having his opinion challenged, usually by the factual reality presented by the Rational Right. His behavior is infantile.
The course of the discourse turns immediately to the subjective, the invective and the reactive, almost like prickly heat. Group-think overtakes any tendency the Leftist might have toward an independent state of mind, although it is difficult to say which came first, the chicken-idea or the chicken. Either way, the Leftist is fearful of being found out as a phoney, a fraud, even a liar. And a boorish one at that.
The Rational Right person prefers the lone-wolf position, although he is not averse to being part of a wolf-pack, provided he leads the pack! He does, nonetheless, spend a lot of time alone, thinking, pondering, testing out ideas and trying to answer questions, sometimes for the sake of even asking a question that might not be answered.
The tenor of any discussion or conversation with such a person consequently veers toward the analytical, although there is usually a sense of trying to understand the sensibility of the other person engaged in the debate. It’s a mannered approach to being humane, trying to understand the position of the other person while, at the same time, not surrendering your own vital position, especially in terms of holding true to the truth. And the truth is The Truth, not a subjective, willy-nilly whatever . . . Whatever suits your objective.
The suits being worn by the Left try to strip the suits being worn by the Right. We shall soon all be walking around in iron-clad overcoats that can only be removed by the Jaws of Life at the time of the Armageddon. And in spite of the boilerplate shrieks from the freaks of the Left, in spite of the Media Hacks and their News Blasts, Armageddon does not occur several times a month.
The right to bear the truth and the right to hear the truth are increasingly becoming much like the right to bear arms. Eventually, we shall need to apply for waiting permits in order to be able to attend public meetings where inviolable Truth is spoken! Truth, and the utterance of it, have taken on the frisson of scandal!
“Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea,” wrote Henry Fielding, English novelist. He amusingly understood the trifecta of the well-ordered, well-balanced life!
The sights and sounds of public discourse in America are being broadcast as Colosseum events. The amphitheater is now much smaller. Whereas the Flavian Amphitheatre once accommodated anywhere from 50,000 to 80,000 people, the News Studio is a rather intimate setting. The travertine and concrete have been replaced by little sound stages with uncomfortable couches and chairs.
The manic atmosphere of public spectacle has been muted by lurid white lighting that freeze-frames the cookie-cutter participants in these gladiator contests.
“Left vs. Right Tonight” is the Circus Maximus fare on the News, every night, every day, every week: wash, lather, rinse, repeat.
Soccer games in the Colosseum-sized “football” stadiums used to be the forum, after the end of the Cold War, for most civilizational knock-down-drag-out-fights, at least until 9/11. 9/11 ushered in the most recent clash of civilizations, except it was Barbarians vs. Civilization, Western Civ, to be precise. During that decade, my teenaged son used to watch those soccer games, conducted in massive arenas packed with quiet, disciplined players and loud, riotous spectators.
I, the dutiful Homeschooling Mother, explained to my pre-adult son that these nations used to fight one another on bloody battlefields. These games were an attempt to prevent WWIII.
Admittedly, I profited monetarily from teaching one of those civics lessons. I won a major bet by choosing Spain over Germany in the 2010 FIFA World Cup Final. The Germans had superior skills but the Spaniards, they had heart, aka passion or, according to my non-participant daughter in this assignment, thumos: θυμός. Victory was in the blood!
My son dutifully, almost tearfully, paid my winnings. I still recall him firmly slapping his hard-earned paper money on the kitchen counter. Another key civilizational lecture won by Mom!
The wrong battles were being fought during that fateful decade after 9/11, when the countries of the EU chose to blame America for her War on Terror. The European nations decided to go past the point of no-return vis-à-vis protecting their civilizations. It was a cowardly scenario wherein Germany got to be the banker, just as long as there would be no War, no Strife, no Poverty, and no Problems. And now there is hell to pay for anyone living in the delusional Dystopia called the Eurozone.
This state of self-deception has not assisted the Left in its defense of its delusions, particularly the empty dreams of Socialism. Those flaccid fairy tales of how to govern a country have spread, like a plague, from Western Europe to the United States. I am amazed at times to hear the same idiotic idioms spoken by the supercilious idiots of impotent governments, all around the world.
These carbon-copy slogans are bandied about, like tiddly-winks, in a modern-day version of Alice in Wonderland, all in the name of the Carbon Footprint and the Climate of Corrupt but Inconclusive Citizenry. The politicos and their fantasy phrases whoosh from the EU to NYC to LA, and back again, circumnavigating the Earth the way Magellan once did, except Ferdinand had a lot more pluck and panache and a much more stylish hat, along with a superior compass, moral and otherwise.
It’s as if the jet stream and the private jets ferrying the Globalist Elitists are forever in sync. The Ruling Class, however, does not possess a natural oscillation. Those Fonctionnaire-Aristocrats, propped up through fear tactics and repression of free speech, keep themselves aloft at the expense of the citizenry. Both segments of society are now crumbling and spiraling downward, in a sick vortex that has to end some day, in some way, a way I do not care to see. Gravity happens. Junk science has not scotched that truth.
Whenever I chose to subject myself to a Leftist on tv, presenting talking points about her pet delusion, what I hear and see are a nasally or shrill tone of voice, a nervousness that is almost brittle and a need, akin to a desire, to put down the other person.
The sense of animosity and the stance of hostility are almost palpable. The reasonable Right-Leaning person is at a disadvantage not so much because she doesn’t comprehend what she needs to say, but the emotional state of the other person is an odious distraction. It makes her uncomfortable.
The Rational Right person must dispute or, at the very least, challenge the pre-digested sound bites of the Leftist. If she stumbles on a quote or mis-states a word, or even a syllable, there is an attack-pounce that ensues from the fractious fomenter of a tacky agenda that has veered into a maudlin amorality in pursuit of winning at any and all costs. For the Leftist gladiator, it’s the Circus Maximus on steroids. For the Right-ish duelist, it’s the Burr-Hamilton duel, with rigid gun control.
Moderates, or people in the Middle, cannot possibly hold their ground against this type of stacked deck that the Leftists put up against them. Years ago, that set-up was the standard operating procedure in an interview or discussion. And the Mushy Middle Man got creamed. Moderates became expendable, with too short a shelf life, like the Pillsbury dough-boy.
The Leftist presently knows that she will come up very short against a cool conservative cookie that won’t crumble; thus she attempts to re-state the wording, to parrot her own views. Maybe the best way for the Right-ist to even have a chance at stating his case is to counter this offensive offensive with some noble indifference:
“I do not need an interpreter of my own language. And I prefer to complete my sentences. I know where they are going.”
Today’s current climate of public discussion pits Left vs. Right in an extremely adversarial position. It’s an annoying sight to see and an even more unpleasant sound to hear. This vacuous street theatre is acted out on the tv wide-screen or blasted in headlines that no longer bear any relationship with reality or association with actuality. In the news story, The Head, or headline, is dis-embodied from Body, or the Rest of the Story, largely for the purposes of click-bait.
I sincerely hope that the world of Journalism, such as it is and is not, becomes capable of reporting news again. News, big news, real news, of the tragic and horrific kind, inevitably happens. The Journalists will be grotesquely out of practice, after monotonously cycling through their endless 24-hours-a-day of Breaking News, with the same 5 news items being repeated, ad nauseam. If there were 36 hours in a day, the News Industry would reduce the News Alerts to 3!
In America, where I choose to live and thrive, the majority of Americans is being herded ever more into the center ring of things. In a world of Left vs. Right, the moderating force of reason is blatantly ignored, even insulted. Common sense has now become the safe place in the middle, between these two loud extremes that exist on the political continuum of the Left and the Right.
I am no moderate by any stretch of the imagination, but the present lecture forum of American public discourse has become a bore! How odd that extremism is now a yawn!