Leftist refers to someone on the Left side of the political spectrum, such as a particularly liberal member of the American Democrat Party, or a progressive, socialist, Democratic Socialist, or Communist. A Leftist supports collectivism, more government control of the economy, direct government control over social policy (although there were some leftists, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Michel Foucault, and Noam Chomsky who adhered to a purely anarchistic view of the world), including federal control over education at all levels, lower military spending, censorship of religion, a living constitution, same-sex "marriages", a more unisex society, globalism, transnationalism, feminism, the homosexual agenda, taxpayer-funded abortion, and censorship of Christianity and social media in the public arena.
- 1 Origins of leftist ideology
- 2 19th century European leftists
- 3 United States leftists
- 4 Modern leftists
- 5 Decline of leftism
- 6 Leftism: Use of condemnation/mockery rather than reasonable argumentation
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Origins of leftist ideology
During the French Reign of Terror of the early Enlightenment, the Left attempted a de-Christianization movement to replace the "reactionary" worship of God and replace it with the worship of national patriotism, or the Patrie. Many churches were closed and either converted into Temples of Reason, or otherwise demolished outright under the order of Jacobin leader Maximilien de Robespierre under the pretense that their design was "undemocratic." The Left even formed a new calendar secularizing Christian holidays. This calendar was short-lived though and was never accepted in the rural, more religious parts of France.
The term left has its origins in 1790s, when in the French revolutionary parliament the representatives for the socialists sat to the presiding officer’s left. In addition, it was also stated that the left-wing had some origins in the Book of Revelation when Jesus Christ transfigured people on his right and left as sheep and goats, respectively.
19th century European leftists
Karl Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a bourgeois political pamphleteer, polemicist and propagandist, credited as co-founder (with Friedrich Engels) of communism and specifically of Marxism. Although Marx always considered himself an economist, "the Marxist system as a whole is not regarded as economics by the mainstream," according to Don Ross, co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Economics. Ex-Marxist economist Thomas Sowell agrees:
|“||[T]he Marxian contribution to economics can be readily summarized as virtually zero. Professional economics as it exists today reflects no indication that Karl Marx ever existed... [T]he development of modern economics has simply ignored Marx. Even economists who are Marxists typically utilize a set of analytical tools to which Marx contributed nothing... In professional economics, Das Capital was a detour into a blind alley...||”|
William Coleman of the Australian National University actually goes so far as to identify Marx as an "anti-economist." Ross concurs, labeling Marx "the most influential anti-economist of all." Even Michael Harrington, a well-known Marxist, in his book, The Twilight of Capitalism, devoted an entire chapter to Marx "The anti-economist." Nevertheless, men and women of zeal, often well-meaning but without understanding of economics, ravaged the 20th century reifying Marx's anti-economics—in the process killing more people than all the century's wars combined.
Anarchist thinker Mikhail Bakunin critiqued prominent leftist theoritician Karl Marx in 1873 with these words,
- "..if the proletariat is to be the ruling class, over whom is it to rule? ...the peasant "rabble" who, as it is known, does not enjoy the sympathy of the Marxists who consider it to represent a lower level of culture, will probably be ruled by the factory proletariat of the cities. Or, if this problem is to be approached nationalistically, the Slavs will be placed in the same subordinate relationship to the victorious German proletariat in which the latter now stands to the German bourgeoisie." 
It should be noted that Bakunin was also a leftist, and in fact, the only difference he had from Marx was the exact extent that they should get rid of government. In addition, he also declared regarding anarchism: "Let us put our trust in the eternal spirit which destroys and annihilates only because it is the unsearchable and eternally creative source of all life--the passion for destruction is also a creative passion!" Richard Wagner also noted of Bakunin that “The annihilation of all civilization was the objective on which he had set his heart…. It was necessary, he said, to picture the whole European world - transformed into a pile of rubble.”
United States leftists
- Main article: American liberalism
In the United States men such as Eugene Debs, Maurice Hilquit and Norman Thomas believed they could, by a gradual series of alterations in the structure of society, create a truly democratic world in which all people would enjoy not merely freedom, but prosperity. They believed this could not be achieved under the system of private property and profit. They advocated a gradual acquisition by the State of all the great utilities, transportation, communication, and basic industries such as coal, oil, and steel.
The dream of a cooperative commonwealth in which all would share equally in the prosperity created by an economic system owned by the people was the vision of Socialists. This in theory would end poverty, ignorance and crises. The idea was to nationalize banks, railroads, all means of transport, mines, and a few basic industries, but leave some factories, stores, farms, entertainment industries, etc., in the hands of private owners. The government would assume responsibility for making the economy work, for the well-being of all the citizens, their protection from the hazards of life, poverty, sickness, and old age. To make the whole economy work continuously without occasional boom-bust cycles, the government would create economic planning boards staffed by a bureaucratic class which would continuously study and observe the functioning of the economic system and make plans covering production, prices, distribution, financing, profits, wages, hours, etc. Thus there would be Planned Capitalism, with the State responsible for the planning and for ensuring the carrying out of its plans through great government bureaus armed with the necessary powers to enforce compliance.
Borrowing from fascism
In the 1920s Benito Mussolini had adopted the Planned Capitalist State and gave it the name "fascism". Adolf Hitler adopted the same idea and called it National Socialism. Mussolini and Hitler both realized that a system which imposes a vast complex of decrees upon a people while subjecting them to confiscatory taxes to support the immense activities of the government cannot be operated except by an absolute government that has the power to enforce compliance. Prior to World War II, this type of system had spread all over Europe. For nearly 70 years all the countries in Europe, with Germany in the lead, had been experimenting with the idea of the welfare state, the State which attempts to provide its people with jobs and protection from all the hazards of life.
This system is the direct opposite of classical liberalism. It is the negation of the classical liberal philosophy which for decades has been fighting to emancipate the people from the tyranny of the all-powerful State. During the New Deal this doctrine became known in America as "liberalism". Liberals did not admit that it implied the restoration to the State those very powers which had been stripped from the State as the means of giving people freedom. They called it the planned economy. But it was and is fascism by whatever name it is known. Incrementally the government must be made stronger, and the rights of the citizens reduced.
Modern leftists in the United States have come under increasing criticism as advocates of thought control. Author David Limbaugh cites, "Consider the subjects of evolution, global warming, special rights for homosexuals and abstinence education. Consider efforts of the Left to silence conservative talk radio. Consider the mainstream media's arrogant denial of its transparent liberal bias, pronouncing itself to be above politics and inherently objective and its critics somehow skewed....Consider the leftist refrain that red state conservatives do not merely possess a different world view, but are not part of the 'reality-based community.'"
Antonio Gramsci was a lieutenant of Joseph Stalin who headed the Italian branch of the International Communist movement (Comintern). After several failed assassination attempts on Mussolini, Gramsci was imprisoned in 1926 until his death in 1937. While in prison Gramsci wrote his Prison Notebooks, speculating on the failure of violent revolution to materialize in Western Europe as Karl Marx had predicted. Gramsci's works are considered by Socialists to be foundational to modern public education and Cultural Marxism.
Gramsci's theory of "cultural hegemony" states that the ruling capitalist "oppressor" class uses cultural institutions, such as "traditional marriage," to maintain power. The "oppressors" develop a "hegemonic culture" using ideology unlike Socialists who use violence, economic force, and coercion. "Hegemonic culture" propagates its own values and norms so that they become "common sense" values and thus maintain the status quo. According to Wikipedia, this "Hegemonic power is therefore used to maintain consent to the capitalist order, rather than coercive power using force" as Marxism does "to maintain order. This cultural hegemony is produced and reproduced" by the dominant Christian oppressor class "through the institutions that form the superstructure."
Decline of leftism
See: Decline of leftism
Decline of the secular Left
Leftism: Use of condemnation/mockery rather than reasonable argumentation
See also: Atheism and mockery
In a BloombergView article, Stephen L. Carter wrote about the Left:
|“||But the left has work to do, not only on policy and organization but also on attitude. Too many of my progressive friends seem to have forgotten how to make actual arguments, and have become expert instead at condemnation, derision and mockery. On issue after issue, they’re very good at explaining why no one could oppose their policy positions except for the basest of motives. As to those positions themselves, they are too often announced with a zealous solemnity suggesting that their views are Holy Writ -- and those who disagree are cast into the outer political darkness. In short, the left has lately been dripping with hubris, which in classic literature always portends a fall.||”|
Although the secular left is known for ridiculing religion since at least the time of French Revolution (see: Atheism and mockery), the secular Left is known for its humorlessness when it comes to others mocking of its ideology (See also: Atheism and humor and Atheism and intolerance and Atheist hypocrisy).
- John Hall Stewart, A Documentary Survey of the French Revolution (Macmillan, New York, 1963).
- Operation Parricide: Sade, Robespierre & the French Revolution
- Left Ideology, Encyclopedia Britannica
- Birth Certificate of Karl Marx, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 1 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975), p. 635
- Francis Wheen, Karl Marx: A Life (W.W. Norton & Company, 2001) ISBN 0393321576, pp. 8, 278
- George Bernard Shaw, “Trotsky, Prince of Pamphleteers,” The Nation (ISSN 0027-8378) Vol. 1922 No. 30 (June 7, 1922), pp. 560-561, reprinted in Brian Tyson, ed., Bernard Shaw's Book Reviews: Volume Two,1884-1950 (University Park, PA.: Penn State Press, 1996) ISBN 0271015489, pp. 440-450. Cf. Terrell Carver, The Postmodern Marx (University Park, PA.: Penn State Press, 1998), p. 160
- Chris Matthew Sciaberra, Marx, Hayek and Utopia (SUNY Press, 1995) ISBN 0791426165, p.6. Cf. Michael Grenfell and Cheryl Hardy, Art Rules: Pierre Bourdieu and the Visual Arts (Berg Publishers, 2007) ISBN 1845202341, p.17
- Baron John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, The Cambridge Modern History (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1910), p. 758. Cf. Milorad M. Drachkovitch and Sidney Hook, Marxist Ideology in the Contemporary World: Its Appeals and Paradoxes (Ayer Publishing, 1973) ISBN 0836981545, p. 113
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings (Barnes & Noble, 2005) ISBN 1593081006, p. vi
- Charles H. Powers, Making Sense of Social Theory: A Practical Introduction (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010) ISBN 1442201193, p. 115
- Don Ross, "Economic theory, anti-economics, and political ideology," p. 10
- "'I was a Marxist when I went to the University of Chicago, and I was still a Marxist after I took Milton Friedman’s course. ... But just one summer as an economics intern in Washington got rid of all of that.' Sowell worked in the Labor Department, in the Wage and Hour Division. He was interested in whether minimum wages helped the poor by raising their pay or hurt them by denying them jobs. He found that the personnel around him were interested in other things: namely, the preservation of their own jobs, and the perpetuation of government programs." Jay Nordlinger, "A Lion in High Summer," National Review, Vol. LXIII, No. 3 (February 21, 2011)
- Thomas Sowell, Marxism: Philosophy and Economics (Taylor & Francis, 1985) ISBN 0043201717, p. 217.
- William Coleman, Economics and its Enemies: Two Centuries of Anti-Economics (London: Palgrave as Macmillan, 2002) ISBN 1403941483, p. 234. As economics concerns human prosperity and thriving, "anti-economics" may be understood as an anti-human project of death and destruction.
- Don Ross, "Economic theory, anti-economics, and political ideology," p. 10
- Wayne Price, "Anarchism: Utopian or Scientific?" The Utopian Vol. 5, p. 62
- Michael Harrington, The Twilight of Capitalism (Simon and Schuster, 1976) ISBN 0671227599, chapter 5
- "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." Brandeis, J., Dissenting, Olmstead v. United States 277 US 438 (1928)
- R.J. Rummel, What? Only 35,000,000 Killed in 20th Century War?, Democratic Peace Blog, November 30, 2008. In 1918, Grigory Zinoviev, first head of the Comintern, announced: "To overcome our enemies we must have our own socialist militarism. We must carry along with us 90 million out of the 100 million of Soviet Russia's population. As for the rest, we have nothing to say to them. They must be annihilated." (George Leggett, The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police [Oxford University Press, 1986] ISBN 0-19-822862-7, p. 114) Zinoviev's estimate that the Soviets would murder 10 million people was far too low: Mid-range academic estimates of the number of civilians murdered by Marxists range from 94 million (Stéphane Courtois, ed. The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression [Harvard University Press, 1999] ISBN 0-674-07608-7, p. 4) to 148 million. Margaret Cox, The Scientific Investigation of Mass Graves: Towards Protocols and Standard Operating Procedures [Cambridge University Press, 2008] ISBN 0521865875, p. 8; Cf. Rudy Rummel, Reevaluated democide totals for 20thC. and China, H-Genocide Discussion Logs, H-Net (Humanities and Social Sciences Online), Center for Humane Arts, Letters, and Social Sciences Online (Michigan State University), November 28, 2005; T. Matthew Ciolek, R.J. Rummel: Reevaluated democide totals for 20th C. and China, Asia Pacific Research Online, Internet Publications Bureau, Research School of Asian and Pacific Studies, National Institute for Asia and the Pacific (Australian National University), November 29, 2005
- Michael Bakunin, Statism and Anarchy, (1873), in Sam Dolgoff, Bakunin On Anarchy, (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1972), p. 330.
- Reaction in Germany, 1842
- Richard Wagner, quoted in Bryan Magee, The Tristan Chord: Wagner and Philosophy (New York: Henry Holt, 2000), p. 39.
- Leftist Thought Control, David Limbaugh, Human Events, 05/04/2007.
- Trump and the Fall of Liberalism by Stephen L. Carter, BloombergView
- Atheists & Agnostics in America Tend to be Politically Liberal
- Marxism. University of Cambridge (2008). Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “The most notable spread of atheism was achieved through the success of the 1917 Russian Revolution, which brought the Marxist-Leninists to power. For the first time in history, atheism thus became the official ideology of a state.”
- James Adair (2007). Christianity. JBE Online Books. Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “Although the Civil Constitution called for religious liberty, which was extended to Jews as well as Christians, many revolutionaries pushed for the establishment of a new state religion, either the Cult of Reason (atheists) or the Cult of the Supreme Being (Deists). Although the Civil Constitution called for religious liberty, which was extended to Jews as well as Christians, many revolutionaries pushed for the establishment of a new state religion, either the Cult of Reason (atheists) or the Cult of the Supreme Being (Deists). Changes to the calendar eliminated references to Christian holidays, and even the ancient seven-day week, and a list of officially recognized saints included such famous thinkers such as Socrates, Jesus, Marcus Aurelius, and Jean-Jacques Rosseau. A period of political persecution, often with religious overtones, broke out, known as the Reign of Terror. Thousands of people were executed by the guillotine, including many of the original leaders of the French Revolution.”
- William Belsham (1801). Memoirs of the reign of George III. to the session of parliament ending A.D. 1793, Volume 5. G.G. & J. Robinson. Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “Reign of this portentous period, it has been eloquently tenor, and energetically observed, "that the reign of atheism in France was avowed the reign of terror. In the full madness of their career, in the highest climax of their horrors, they shut up the temples of God, abolished His worship, and proclaimed death to be an eternal sleep:-in the very centre of Christendom, Revelation underwent a total eclipse, while atheism, performing on a darkened theatre its strange and fearful tragedy, confounded the first elements of society, blended every age, rank, and sex ,indiscriminate proscription and massacre, and convulsed all Europe to its centre, that the imperishable memorial of these events might teach the last generations of mankind to consider religion as the pillar of society, the parent of social order, and the safe-guard of nations." It is wonderful that, amid the horrors of this dismal period, while "the death dance of democratic revolution" was still in rapid movement, among the tears of affliction, and the cries of despair, "the masque, the song, the theatric scene, the buffoon laughter, went on as regularly as in the gay hour of festive peace."”
- William Kilpatrick (2012). Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West. Ignatius Press. Retrieved on 2011–03–15. “Actually, it's helpful to think in terms of two Enlightenments: the Enlightenment that cut itself off from God. The former led to the American Revolution, the Declaration of Independence, the abolition of slavery, and the civil rights movement. The latter led to the French Revolution, the Reign of Terror, the suppression of church by state, and the godless philosophies of Marx and Nietzsche and their offspring-National Socialism and Communism. More recently the abandonment of God has led to the regime of cultural relativism that regards rights as arbitrary constructions. It's this second Enlightenment tradition that Cardinal Ratzinger referred to when he wrote, "The radical detachment of the Enlightenment philosophy from its roots ultimately leads it to dispense with man." Actually this transition happened no "ultimately" but almost immediately. The first instance occurred when Enlightenment worship of abstract "reason" and "liberty" degenerated quickly into the mass murders committed during the anti-religious Reign of Terror in France. "Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name", said Madam Rolande as she faced the statue of Liberty in the Place de la Revolution movements before her death at the guillotine. She was one of the early victims of a succession of secular systems based on rootless notions of "liberty", "equality", and "reason". As many historians have pointed out, the atheist regimes of modern times are guilty of far more crimes than any committed in the name of religion. Communist governments alone were guilty of more than one hundred million murders, most of them committed against their own people.”
- The Imploding Leftist Establishment, American Thinker
- V. I. Lenin, "Left-Wing" Communism, An Infantile Disorder (1920) V. I. Lenin, Selected Works, English edition, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1952, Vol. II, Part 2.
- John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.), THE MOTIVATIONS OF POLITICAL LEFTISTS