Sunday, July 16, 2017

The self-righteous rage of the Left

Hamburg last week was described as looking like a war zone after masked rioters ransacked shops, torched cars and built barricades which they then set alight.

The rioters were protesting against the G20 summit, although what noble purpose was served by looting shops, burning cars and making off with stolen ATM machines wasn’t clear.

Nonetheless we’re expected to believe that the protesters had more high-minded motives than the G20 leaders, whom the protesters insist are all irredeemably venal and corrupt. 

Meanwhile, thousands of kilometres away, a violent mob stormed the Venezuelan parliament and attacked opposition MPs, some of whom suffered broken ribs and head injuries.

In both instances, the perpetrators were from the Left: in Hamburg, anarchists, communists and environmental activists; in Caracas, supporters of the socialist president Nicolas Maduro.

The Left has a problem here. Political violence in the past has often been associated with the far Right, but these days it’s the self-righteous rage of the Left that presents by far the greater threat to democracy.

It manifests itself not just in outright violence, but also in the howling down of any opinions that challenge leftist orthodoxy. Alarmingly, this intolerance of dissent has taken hold in universities, once regarded as bastions of free speech and critical thought.

This process has been hastened by the rise of identity politics, which aggrieved minority groups use as a platform for demanding special treatment, and by the fashionable dogma of post-modernism, which dismisses reason and truth as artificial constructs that serve the interests of ruling elites.

Post-modernism has the enormous advantage that it can’t be challenged on a rational basis, since it rejects reason and logic as tools of white privilege. Essentially, it seeks to pull the rug out from under all the accumulated knowledge and learning that forms the basis of Western civilisation.

Being a generally moderate society, New Zealand has yet to be exposed to the worst excesses of leftist fundamentalism, such as the incidents in Hamburg or Caracas. But that’s not to say it can’t happen here.

We see a milder form whenever activists try to block entry to a conference they disapprove of, or disrupt proceedings by shouting or waving placards. What they’re doing is interfering with other people’s right to say and hear things they don’t like.

We see it when they stage a march or a sit-down protest in the middle of the street. They are asserting that their inflated sense of grievance takes precedence over the right of other New Zealanders to go about their business.

We also see it when protesters throw mud or a rubber dildo at a politician they don’t agree with, as happened to Don Brash and Steven Joyce, or smear a lamington on his head (as in the case of former ACT MP John Boscawen).

For all the leftist hysteria about the Right, we never hear of conservative protesters resorting to such aggressive acts of intolerance. Invariably, it’s the angry Left.

We see it too in the use of language designed to demonise opponents and de-legitimise dissent. On a recent Facebook post, Maori activist Joe Trinder described the lobby group Hobson’s Pledge as a “hate group” – the far Left’s standard term of denunciation for any group that threatens to stand in the way of the identity politics agenda.

Hobson’s Pledge is the group founded by Brash to promote the concept of equality before the law, regardless of ethnicity. This is hardly a novel or dangerous idea; on the contrary, it’s in line with basic democratic principles.  

But it makes Brash the enemy of people like Trinder, who advocates special treatment for Maori. So he calls Hobson’s Pledge a “hate group”, thereby putting it on the same level as the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazi Party.

This is a gross and offensive distortion of what Hobson’s Pledge stands for, but that’s unlikely to worry Trinder. It also implies that Brash is some sort of reincarnated Joseph Goebbels, although there’s no evidence to indicate there’s a racist bone on his body.

Trinder’s Facebook post gave his followers licence to unleash a torrent of abusive obscenities against Brash. Some threatened violence; others called for Hobson’s Pledge billboards to be torn down. So much for free speech and diversity.


There’s room in the political system for both Trinder and Brash. The difference is that Brash doesn’t try to bully his opponents into silence, threaten them or subject them to vile personal abuse. So why do Trinder and his followers think it’s acceptable?

6 comments:

Paul R. said...

A very acute analysis of what we are seeing around the world and serves to alert many of us to be wary of supporting some of the groups. One of the questions might be though, are not many of the violent rioters really only hoods looking for a cause?
Another first class column from Karl.
Paul R

j4d3 goat said...

"Post-modernism has the enormous advantage that it can’t be challenged on a rational basis, since it rejects reason and logic as tools of white privilege."

A couple of comments.
1 - I will use reason and logic as long as I draw breath, and just because some braindead lefties say that those things are "tools of white privilege" does not make it so!
Opinion does not equal FACT.

2 - Post-modernism (and leftism) are both utter bollocks.

Reason and logic have existed since the age of the great Greek philosophers. They are tools which can be used by *anyone*.
The same goes for mathematics and music.

To infer otherwise is to be raaaaaaaa-cist! (Hypocrisy has never bothered lefties).

If reason and logic are "tools of white privilege", then in the same vein it can be said that "ignorance and stupidity are tools of the braindead Left".

paul scott said...

The Free expression people in USA have been largely advising allowance to the the Media and the regressives to their inevitable self implosion. But that is measured with the belief of some that they are at the beginning of a civil war over there.

After the Manchester horror, there have been low key references to 'Private Enterprise'.
This is all low key of course, because You tube, Facebook and twitter do not favour suggestions of violence from other than the left.

James Noble said...

"post-modernism, which dismisses reason and truth as artificial constructs that serve the interests of ruling elites."

You'll never find a better explanation for TRUMP. Turns out Debord and Baudrillard and Foucault were right, after all.


"Being a generally moderate society, New Zealand has yet to be exposed to the worst excesses of leftist fundamentalism, "

Oh please: 1868. 1879. 1912. 1917. 1932. 1951. 1981. 1982. 1984. 1999.

Karl du Fresne said...

I guess your definition of leftist fundamentalism is different from mine.

Brentles said...

What an inane diatribe against a straw man enemy. You have grouped all people who don't agree with you into an enemy "the left" and tried to show that are organised into some sort of global hegemony. If this is the way you really think, you should see a therapist.

What is this groups doctrine? Can you point it out? No? That is because this group does not have one, because the group does not exist. You have created an enemy that you can deride for your own personal glee.

For instance "Post-modernism has the enormous advantage that it can’t be challenged on a rational basis, since it rejects reason and logic as tools of white privilege.". So you equate any form of leftist thinking with postmodernism when the two are only linked tenuously. Rethink your entire idea. Sure there some left leaning people are deniers of truth, reason and logic, but the same could be said for the far right supporters of Trump, for instance, who constantly deny truth, reason or logic. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/23/opinion/trumps-lies.html

As an example, "the left", by and large, accept human induced climate change based on scientific evidence. They use truth, reason and logic to accept man is changing our climate. The far right deny the truth, are completely illogical and ignore the science. If postmodernism, as you say, is only the domain of "the left" then it would be "the left" who deny AGW and the right who support it. Is this the case?

There is no "leftist fundamentalism". There are disaffected people who are showing their dissatisfaction with the current right leaning world governments. When there are predominantly left leaning governments, surprise surprise, the right come out in droves as they are then the disaffected. It appears you want to ignore this and illustrate that it is only ever left wing anarchist groups which ever use violence or social/economic disruption as a form of protest.

So lets just forget about all the right wing climate change denying farmers who clogged up Wellington streets in protest of an emissions tax. Lets just ignore people like Eric Rudolph/Timothy McVeigh/ or the Charlston Church shootings, perpetrated by those who clearly had far right beliefs. Or the violence at the right wing Trump rallies which Trump helps to incite by encourage violence against those that don't agree with him. These don't exist as "... we never hear of conservative protesters resorting to such aggressive acts of intolerance". There is an entire wikipedia page that refutes your assertions by listing all of the violence perpetrated by the far right! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-wing_terrorism

I recommend you reanalyse your entire thinking on the matter. You have become guilty of exactly what you accuse others of being guilty of - ignoring truth, reason or logic.