Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Paranoid Left

(Note: Reason seems to be having server problems, again)

Over on Hit and Run, Nick Gillespie points to an article on Slate about Lewis H. Lapham defense of his analysis of the Republican convension he wrote and published before the convention occurred.

One bit drew my attention:

"The paranoid-reductionist formula goes like this: People connected by money, greed, and ideology are building institutions to foist their self-centered agendas and corrupt ideas on the easily hoodwinked masses. These people are so unscrupulous and cunning that they're willing to present the most outrageous untruths as fact."

I have noted a generalized paranoid and conspiratorial tone on the part of the Left in many areas. It's gotten so bad that I think that even Kerry gives off this creepy Nixon vibe.

Where does this paranoia come from?

I think this paranoia springs from the Left's statist world view. If you believe that the world is easily ordered and centrally controlled and you are losing a competition badly, your immediate assumption will be that you have been out-organized and out-controlled. Since they can't see the levers of control that their model says must be there, the levers must be hidden and therefore part of a conspiracy. It's very logical given their statist axioms.

Their axiom is flawed. The contemporary world works just fine in a highly decentralized fashion. It's quite easy for previously unassociated people to organize themselves for political action. No shadowy manipulator is required.

More broadly, Leftist ideas are not failing due to some Rightwing propaganda campaign. Most people are not sheep and make political decisions based not on the dictates of think tanks but on their own personal experience. The Left is losing today because fewer people work as drones carrying out the decisions of others and more people work as independent decision makers. A broader swath of the electorate has direct experience with the real world information management and this has made them increasingly leery of centralized solutions. They have seen to many centralized solutions fail in the real world.

The Left appears unwilling to entertain the idea that history has passed them by. They have become the conservatives in the political spectrum but they have the idea that they represent the forward thinking progressive segment so en-grained into them that the only explanation they can entertain for their electoral failure is some grand conspiracy.

It's actually kind of sad.

(cross posted at Chicago Boyz)