THE LOFTY WORLD OF LEFTIST INTELLECTUALS


ED DUVIN
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We have just witnessed a remarkable event, the election of a man who wore his racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and virtually every other pathology as a badge of honor.  It isn’t surprising that he appealed to those who shared his views, either openly or covertly, for this country has never been as advertised—the land of the free.

It’s the land of the privileged, and the left has written billions of words on this insult to justice, but only made the feeblest attempts at organization.  Indeed, when there were a few promising seeds taking hold, the McCarthy era quickly trampled on them and the intellectuals ran back to their typewriters—all but a few tiptoeing through the tulips so as not to offend and find themselves blacklisted.

The late Howard Zinn historically chronicled the countless chapters of exploitation of various population segments, but he didn’t speak to the complicity by omission of the left in their failure to become a formidable force for a true democracy.  Many leftists reside in the comfort of academia’s insular world, others are writers and/or journalists, but with notable exceptions, they lamented any and all injustice in books and periodicals in the most noble “holier than thou” fashion while the oppressed were left to largely fend for themselves.

Leftists often bemoaned the rape of Native American culture, but few lifted a finger in an effort to make these proud people whole again.  They decried the unconstitutional internment of Japanese Americans, but did virtually nothing to prevent it or remediate the damage. The list goes on ad nauseam, but leftist intellectuals never let organizing to mitigate the unrelenting atrocities interfere with seeing their name in print or attending brie and Chablis gatherings.  Indeed, meaningful organization remains a lonely stranger, with victims receiving only marginal support, much less relief from systemic change.


Since “lesser of evils” is verboten among the left, few overtly endorsed Trump, but that was a distinction without a difference.  They acknowledged he was a proto-fascist, but Kafkaesque though it may seem, posited an endless stream of arguments as porous as tissue paper as to why this hateful man could inadvertently serve the leftist cause.  The few dissenters on the far left implored our colleagues to seize this moment to plant infrastructural seeds for a meaningful third party to achieve systemic change, but the avalanche of pieces pedantically instructing us that Trump will be a useful tool continued unabated.

This year presented an optimal opportunity for actively coalescing behind Stein or La Riva, as millions perceived both major candidates as manifestly unfit for the nation’s highest office.  Except for the handful of Stein and La Riva loyalists, the armchair leftist intellectuals had better things to do with their time.  While paying lip service to Stein and ignoring La Riva altogether, they were too busy filling pages with redundant pieces comparing Trump and Clinton.  The results are telling, with Stein receiving a mere .96% and La Riva .03% of the overall vote.  This is hardly news, as turning the clock back into the eighth year of the Great Depression–a fertile opportunity for a progressive candidate–Norman Thomas received a whopping .23% of the vote…but the leftists kept typing.

Since “lesser of evils” is verboten among the left, few overtly endorsed Trump, but that was a distinction without a difference.  They acknowledged he was a proto-fascist, but Kafkaesque though it may seem, posited an endless stream of arguments as porous as tissue paper as to why this hateful man could inadvertently serve the leftist cause.  The few dissenters on the far left implored our colleagues to seize this moment to plant infrastructural seeds for a meaningful third party to achieve systemic change, but the avalanche of pieces pedantically instructing us that Trump will be a useful tool continued unabated.

What was the case they put forth?   It was based on so many questionable assumptions that one is hard-pressed to even discuss it rationally.  Domestically, in distilled form, the far left was so enamored with the across-the-board opposition from even the entrenched Republican powers that be, including neocons, they turned logic on its head and essentially concluded that an enemy of our enemies can be useful to bring the system as we know it to its knees–creating an opportunity for progressive change.

It’s valid that Trump and his minions could well wreak havoc on this nation, but when in history has an egalitarian ethos arisen from debris?  Fear and insecurity do not breed compassion, and his followers—in some regions, such as the South where I reside—bring back visions of the “brown shirts.”  They will not go away even when Trump does, and he has given license to the bigotry and venom that has characterized this nation since its inception.  The corrupt and inept succession of czars during the Weimar Republic brought Germany to its knees, with Nazis filling the vacuum.  How did that work out?

Internationally, having lionized Putin as the second coming and Trump strongly hinting at playing patty-cake with Putin, they concluded that Trump could create a new dawn in foreign policy compared to an inveterate cold warrior like Clinton.  Trump does carry less cold-warrior baggage than Clinton, but what’s omitted here is that Trump has the impulse control of a child and brings new meaning to American exceptionalism.  He has already threatened to nuke ISIS, Iran, and possibly the Pope if he doesn’t pay sufficient homage to feed Trump’s insatiable narcissism.  The very thought of a man of Trump’s temperament being a button away from a nuclear holocaust is a nightmare in itself, and for leftists to all but elevate him to “statesman” status is obscene on its face.  My guess is that even Putin will require several shots of premium Russian vodka before breaking bread with Trump.

This is hardly an exhaustive depiction of the far left’s position or my refutation.  The heart of the matter, however, is that their convoluted projections of a Trump presidency can’t be supported on epistemological or historical grounds.  Trump might not be a captive of the system in the traditional sense, but he IS the system on steroids.  Were it their well-being or those of their families that were most at risk, I don’t think they would go to the bank on their assessment.  It’s also revealing that, as noted above, both of the exceptional progressive candidates combined received less than 1% of the total vote, and even that embarrassment doesn’t seem to cause them pause for thought tactically.  In a rational world, leftist thinkers would return to the drawing board, but they continue pontificating.

The sorrowful fact is that intellectual elitists are willing to place their reading of a cartoon character—a blatant bigot and clinical narcissist whose very stability is in question–above at-risk segments of the population whose hard-fought advances came at a price few of them even comprehend.  In the grand Trumpian design of the far left, such imperiled individuals are seemingly invisible.

How many millions over how many decades will suffer devastating setbacks when the Supreme Court is packed with the likes of Clarence Thomas?  How many people of color will continue to incur the wrath and worse of sick minds whose poison has been unleashed by Trump?  How many will assume if their President can crudely objectivize woman, doesn’t that tacitly make it acceptable to emulate his sterling example?  How many infirmed will suffer mercilessly with a President who will fervently attempt to ensure that Medicare for All never sees the light of day?  How many of the 60 million refugees will be abandoned because of an unswerving xenophobe?  How many elderly will languish in warehouses due to a President whose compassion can be measured in milliliters?  How much greater will the already grotesque disparity of income grow under a man who worships at the altar of wealth and power?

One could go on for volumes, and even if Trump merely keeps a fraction of his stated commitments, there’s the matter of this man’s character and his abhorrence of every fundamental principle the far left professes to embrace.  Stated succinctly, what the far left has done is to place their dogmatic belief that Trump will ultimately be a catalyst to further leftist doctrine above the best interests of those they hypocritically refer to as sisters and brothers.  The ends hardly justify the means when the means come at the expense of extended family.  Does the left not purport to be in opposition to all injustice, and yet they appear to be willing to write off those injured by a Trump presidency as “collateral” damage.

I hear the tiresome argument of how much worse can Trump be, from the environment to human rights, than Obama has been and Clinton would have been.  Obama was a profound disappointment of historic proportions, even to people of color, and my belief is Clinton was unfit to be President.  That said, to ask how much worse Trump can be is a query so absurd that it doesn’t warrant a reply, as comparing a virulent bigot who appeals to the basest instincts of the human animal to political hacks like Obama and Clinton is beyond surreal.  Indeed, it’s profoundly sad, as so many innocents are now in harm’s way with zealots virtually having a free pass.  Don’t be alarmed, though, as the brain trust of the far left says “not to worry.”

Well, I’m far from omniscient, and perhaps my concerns will prove to be unwarranted.  The sky is not falling, but it’s painfully dark.  The salient point, and my ardent hope, is rather than solely placing all the blame for the lamentable state of our culture on Western propaganda, soft leftists, media, duopoly, class, and dishwasher at the local diner, leftists soberly reflect on our own considerable failings.

                


NOTE: ALL IMAGE CAPTIONS, PULL QUOTES AND COMMENTARY BY THE EDITORS, NOT THE AUTHORS
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 eddie-d-younger-1Ed Duvin serves as Editor-at-Large with The Greanville Post, and also a member of the editorial board. His writings and example—often controversial— on ethics, human rights, philosophy, and questions relating to the morality of human interactions with animals and nature have inspired generations of activists in the US and abroad. Since his early youth he has also been in the trenches organizing against what he saw as gross injustice and oppression against various groups and individuals.—PG 

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REMEMBER: ALL CAPTIONS AND PULL-QUOTES BY THE EDITORS, NOT THE AUTHORS.




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