Given my former life in academia, people sometimes not unreasonably assume that I was once a hardcore Leftist, who had some kind of epiphany. Alas, though that would be a fun story, it’s not true. I guess you could say I was a “liberal” in college, but it was in the same way most kids are — conflating “conservatives” with “my parents,” I thought it would be a nicer world if people were a little less stuffy, a little nicer to gays and negroes, but my actual political knowledge consisted of two facts: 1. Bill Clinton was president, and 2. he’s a degenerate.
If I’d thought about it — which, of course, I didn’t, all my available brainpower being devoted to getting drunk and laid — I would’ve realized that #2 is why I wasn’t a liberal, and never would be. I concluded that Bill Clinton was a degenerate because he was doing exactly what I would’ve done if I suddenly found myself in a position of nearly limitless power: strut and preen and pig out and bang interns (this was before the Lewinsky thing, obviously, but c’mon, man, that was the least surprising political “scandal” of all time).
Which would be… not fine, obviously, but at least understandable, given that I was a college kid who, like Billy Boy, was a tubby bullshit artist who had trouble keeping it in his pants.* (For the benefit of younger readers: There was once a time when college kids were expected to be a little bit rebellious, said rebellion almost universally taking the form of binge drinking and as much sexual activity as you could talk your prospective partner into). I was your standard-issue college kid c.1992, in other words, and while that was all fine and good, no one would ever want me in charge of anything important. And yet, the supposed adults had elected a chronologically-eligible, but behaviorally indistinguishable, version of me to the highest office in the land.
And when you come right down to it, it’s the sheer brass balled arrogance of that that made me first a conservative, then a dissident, now a… whatever we are. I often say I’m too lazy to be a Leftist, given how much sheer effort it takes to live like they do. I’m also much too poor, of course — the Champions of the Underclass lead lives that your average maharaja couldn’t afford — but I’m mostly just not arrogant enough. I have my blind spots and my misjudgments about myself, of course I do, everyone does, but one thing I know for certain is that I don’t know how to run your life better than you do.
Yeah, ok, if you’re a gutter drunk, or a homeless drug addict I can run that part of your life for you, since 99.9% of all your problems stem from one single source. But anything more complex than “stop shooting smack all the time,” and I’m totally buffaloed. And even there, the very best I can do — the absolute tippy-top peak of my wisdom — is: “Stop shooting smack all the time.” As for what you should do after that, or how to address your underlying issues, or what those underlying issues even are, I haven’t a clue. Don’t even know how to start getting a clue. Even if you begged me on bended knee to take over your life for you, that’s all I would do, because that’s all I can do.
As it turns out, I saw something similar firsthand. I told y’all that I had a buddy back in grad school who became a serious alcoholic.** “Stop drinking” was the best advice anyone could give him, but once he did, the scope of the problem became obvious. He had a million things wrong with his life that we knew about, and a million more that we didn’t, and a few million more on top of that that we’d never even considered. Even with a serious, Britney Spears-style “conservatorship” over his life, none of us could’ve done much for him. He had to figure it all out on his own, as best he could.
Leftists, by contrast, are absolutely certain they can run not just your life, but everyone’s life, simultaneously, and far better than we ourselves can. If you know anything about the fun world of addiction, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that even my best case scenario — the absolute apex of my personal wisdom — is not just wrong, but life-threateningly wrong. If you’re an alcoholic, you can’t just “stop drinking.” You’ll die. You’ve got to taper off, and that process needs to be carefully monitored, and I’m sure coming off heroin or whatever is similar. Had my buddy begged me on bended knee to run his life for him, and had I taken him up on it, I might well have killed him with my well-meaning “wisdom.”
This knowledge terrifies me, but it somehow doesn’t bother Leftists at all. They can learn from their mistakes — they’re still human, though they try very hard not to be — but only if that knowledge doesn’t impinge in any way upon their self-concept. The thought “Jesus, I could’ve killed that guy!” prompted a lot of soul-searching in me… but in a Leftist, it simply wouldn’t. I don’t know why, I don’t know how, I don’t have privileged access to their heads… but I know it’s true, and so do you. Beats my pair of jacks, but there it is.
Where does this… self-confidence, I guess, for lack of a better term, come from? I dunno, but figure that out, and you’ll understand something really important about the Left.
* For legal purposes, let me hasten to add that anything I ever managed to do with anyone was entirely consensual, both ways. Bill Clinton’s pants troubles were famously felonious; mine were of the “thinking with the wrong head” variety.
**seemingly redundant — isn’t all alcoholism serious? — but if it seems redundant to you, then my friend, you don’t have much experience with alcoholics. There is absolutely such thing as a “functioning alcoholic,” just as a “dry drunk” is also a real thing. My buddy, by contrast, was a deeply dysfunctional alcoholic — the “get kicked out of your apartment for not paying rent, end up sleeping in your car, getting your car repo’d, and doing time for vagrancy” kind.Loading Likes...