Monday, March 26, 2007

What is the Philosophical Basis of the Leftist/Communist/Socialist Movement?

As the graph shows, the most defining features are Groupism, Paternalism, and Equality (all outcomes should be the same for everyone, regardless of merit, regardless of free choice, etc). This should be no surprise, as their rhetoric is heavily concentrated with talk of the "community", "taking care of everyone", and "equality". The ideas of Individualism, Equity (you get what others feel you are worth), and Liberalism ("live and let live") are poison.

Its appeal is the satisfaction of envy and selective morality.
No one will ever be better-off than you, and no one will be better-off than anyone else. For many people, this matters more than material wealth or the sense of individual freedom and responsibility. And by ignoring those who are harmed by such a philosophy, you can feel a surge of morality as you sense that you are helping those beneath you; i.e., the "other".

As such, relativism is more important that absolutism; i.e., the very definition of "envy" is based on relativism.

Consequentialism is also important. Nominally, communism/socialism (and similar left-wing causes) are the means towards establishing a goal. However, there is little evidence that this ambiguous "goal" is important -- and from all appearances, socialism is much less of a process than being an end in itself. Therefore, these movements are basically consequentialist.

Most other philosophical components are in between. Most visibly, "enemies" (capitalists, Republicans, etc.) have the free will to do evil, but ordinary criminals and terrorists are deterministically reactive and cannot control their behavior.

And although there is a huge emotional component (especially envy), these movements are not without reason. Their leaders, for instance, are perfectly capable of developing calculations to increase their power and economic gain by inciting their followers.

Their strategies are also a mixture of fighting (e.g., labor unions) and cooperating (politicians). Whatever works.

And finally, they are quite certain of what they want; there is no room for skepticism in any mass movement.

In summary: Left-wing adherents seem to be driven by emotional fulfillment from:

A) Envy

B) Envy-by-Proxy

C) Paternalism

D) Selective morality

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