Waiting for lefty
(To Shut Up)

Part II

The ability to account for anything is the defining, circular feature of conspiracy thinking. For example, why didn't NATO intervene in Yugoslavia earlier, under a Republican administration in Washington and a Conservative Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street? Ahh, this only shows the diabolical cleverness of the conspiracy, awaiting a better disguised pair of governments in the U.S. and UK to carry out the oil cartel's designs. And, inasmuch as Serbia was driven out three years ago, why is there still no sign of pipeline construction in Kosovo, not so much as a trench in Gnjilane or a ditch in Krstaca? Well, this too proves the conspiracy's diabolical cleverness: it is now hiding its eagerness to build pipelines by the ruse of not building them --- no doubt a propaganda ploy worked out by Tony Blair, Pacifica, and the Jewish lobby. In short, Lefty's system of thought is completely devoid of what Karl Popper called falsifiability, the property which distinguishes rational methods of explanation from voodoo.

A perfectly circular, unfalsifiable system has certain emotional rewards. Since it accounts for anything, nothing ever needs to be reconsidered. Since nothing ever needs to be reconsidered, one's viewpoint is always utterly perfect. Lefty himself was deeply satisfied with the perfection of his system. In fact, almost everything he said radiated loud self-congratulation on his superior knowingness, his superior virtue, and the matchless courage he displayed in constantly broadcasting the first two qualities. His age and mannerisms made it obvious that he had discovered these dazzling qualities in himself in the 1960s, and had been lost in admiration of them ever since.

These characteristics are not the most helpful in the world in the political arena. Lefty's mannerisms will antagonize anyone outside of his narrow confessional circle (and undoubtedly not a few within), and thus prevent him from persuading outsiders. And of course he is psychologically ill-equipped for cooperating on any common project with individuals less dazzling than himself. Making common cause with Lefty for any purpose is therefore simultaneously difficult and self-defeating.

We do need a thoughtful domestic opposition, but in this project, Lefty can only be a hindrance. Although I have long harbored a sentimental attachment to the term "left," I think it is time to recognize that Lefty and his ilk have robbed that term of whatever value may have accrued to it in the 20th or, more correctly, the 19th century. Perhaps we must just leave the term to them, and not fret about how the seating arrangements are viewed. Intellectually honest criticism of society and government will carry its own weight, whether it is perceived as coming from the left side of the aisle, from the center, or (perhaps best) from the visitors' gallery. And intellectually honest criticism will be all the better for keeping clear of Lefty, with his circular closed system, his delusions, and his posturing. This is not a matter of politics at all, but of elementary mental hygiene.

--- Jon Gallant

Go back to Part I

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