Part Five: Conclusions
(NOTE: Parts 1 – 4 are posted and available in February’s Archive. It’s recommended you read them in order)
In the 219 years since the French Revolution, the Left has created a legacy of blood and repression.
The “butcher’s bill” in the 20th century, alone, is over 100 million murdered; mostly by their own Leftist governments. (This doesn’t include the Nazi or Italian Fascist branch of socialists; who occupy a weird middle-ground politically, between the traditional Left and Right.)
The Left has done so in the name of “social justice” and “equality”. They have cloaked their murders and repressions in the noble rhetoric of “class struggle” and painted themselves as champions of the “workers”, or “the people”. They disguise their “gulag” slave labor and murder camps as facilities for “re-education”. But whatever their avowed motivation, it cannot cover-up or justify the vicious means by which they attempt to achieve their objectives.
Why this history of blood?
I would suggest that at its heart lies a frustration with the world as it is, and the smoldering anger of the disillusioned romantic.
The people who are drawn to Leftist thinking, and who are more-often-than not in the vanguard of Leftist revolutions, are usually educated men from the middle class (“bourgeois intelligentsia”). They are often lawyers (Lenin), doctors (Che), and unemployed intellectuals (Trotsky). It is not the poor, the starving, and the disenfranchised that start revolutions. It is the disillusioned and frustrated sons of the middle and upper-middle class; envious of those in society more successful than themselves, and decrying the society that allows those they deem their intellectual or moral inferiors to succeed.
There is a natural tension between liberty and equality.
Conservatives value liberty as the foremost political value. The Left values equality as foremost.
Given sufficient liberty, man will rise and fall to their own level. Some will succeed, some will fail in life. But this inequality in outcomes is part of the natural flow of life; and is fundamentally understood and accepted as a fact of life by conservatives.
Not so the Left.
Disparity of wealth, of success, of outcomes in life is deeply troubling to those on the Left.
In the utopia where private property is evil and all means of production is commonly held by all, such disparity of outcomes would be impossible. All would work in concert and share the benefits equally.
The problem with Leftism is that its underlying beliefs that with proper pressures applied, man can be made “better” goes against everything we know to be true of human nature.
First and foremost, man is not selfless. We don’t labor without personal recompense that we feel is commensurate with our labors; unless compelled by force.
Secondly, all men are not created equal. We are of equal worth in the eyes God and under the law. But men are manifestly not equal.
Some are better looking than others. Some are more intelligent than others. Some are naturally harder workers. Some have a more pleasing personality, some are more athletically gifted. These factors (and a myriad of others) contribute to ones’ success in life.
To achieve social equality, governments cannot make the stupid smart, the slow fast, the ugly handsome, the dour gregarious, nor the sluggish energetic. Government can only hamper life’s “winners” to make them equal to life’s “losers”.
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” (Winston Churchill)
To rail against reality is the sign of a dreamer or a lunatic. The Left attracts an equal number of both. But it is the underpinning delusion of the Left that man is “perfectible”; and that the world as it is can be changed to what they will, with the application of enough leverage. It is their conceit that they are the “anointed ones”, gifted with the wisdom and vision to see more clearly than those who came before and those they live among, how human society should be ordered.
The world of “liberty, equality, and brotherhood” that was the goal of the French Left in 1792; and the Worker’s Paradise that was the avowed goal of the sundry followers of Marx and Mao; are all wonderful fancies, the realization of which has led to oceans of blood.