Saturday, October 18, 2008

When the Left comes to Power

“. . . and, should the left chance to come to power, [it] will be, if not reduced to silence, at least forced to adopt a new strategy.”

The above is a quote from Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut’s Heidegger and Modernity, 1990, page 11. The context us that in criticizing the norms and acts of society, intellectuals are “playing the game of democracy.” Should these out of power intellectuals ever be elected to power, their “game” of criticizing the established government must come to an end because their side has won. They have become the establishment. So they must either keep their mouths shut or seek to carry out some of the alternate proposals they offered while they were playing the game of democracy and deriding the establishment.

Ferry and Renaut are concerned about French intellectuals. Here in the U.S. we can reflect that when we Conservatives were out of power, our Conservative intellectuals, some of them, made recommendations. After our side won, they attempted to put their alternate proposals into effect and became known as Neocons in the process. Playing the game of Democracy, i.e., criticizing the establishment, for these Neocons had to be abandoned once their side came to power. . . although some of them, e.g., Francis Fukuyama, chose to “play the game” despite seeing his side elected to power.

Recall the famous Michelle Obama gaff? “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change.” That’s the sort of thing the wife of an out-of-power politician might say about “the establishment.” But she might very well become the establishment; so I’m sure Leftist advisors pounced on her and made her comment about her statement in such a way as to make it seem something other than what it was. If she becomes first lady, she will not be permitted to say that she is not proud of her country. If she really feels the way her original statement implied, then she will have either to keep her mouth shut of take a new tack. A new tack should be easy for her if she is living in the White house.

As to what Barack Obama and his Leftist and Democrat collaborators might attempt, whatever It is, he will not be able to “play the game of democracy” by criticizing the established government. He won’t be able to engage in negativity about the Executive Branch of the government – nor the Legislative Branch if the Democrats retain power. His new position will have to be, in essence, “we are attempting to do good. Here is what we want to do. We shall now set about doing it.”

Then it will be up to the out-of-office Conservatives, Neocons or not, to “play the game of democracy” and criticize the established government.

The extreme wing of “Leftism,” which Obama may or may not exemplify, longs for a “better Communism.” These Leftists feel that Capitalism is not the best form of government and a Communism with the Stalinistic kinks smoothed out might work much better. “Progressive” is a modern euphemism for this sort of Leftist. They want to “progress” beyond Capitalism (aka Liberal Democracy) and toward a “better Communism.” Will Obama attempt to “progress” toward a “better Communism”? I sincerely hope not. He has had time to learn about our government and hopefully he has learned to like what he sees. Hopefully he has abandoned his early attraction to the likes of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

It should be noted that Stalinistic Communism, the only Communism that has ever existed, did not let its intellectuals “play the game of democracy.” If any of them were so foolish as to try, they were shipped off to a Gulag in Siberia.

One of the things Sartre said about Intellectuals was that their job was in the realm of “conviction” rather than “responsibility.” If this is true, if intellectuals even today, believe this, we can see why they feel no need to follow the logic of their “convictions.” They can believe in a “better Communism” because in its ideal (as they imagine it) it is perfect and therefore much better than Liberal Democracy. If a Conservative intellectual were to argue that it wouldn’t work as they imagine, that a dictator would be sure to arise who would place the exigencies of staying in power above the welfare of the people, they would with starry eyes look at us and pity our sublunary intellectualism.

Lawrence Helm

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