Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Presentism – A natural consequence of the elitism of the modern Left is a sense of presentism, which for the purposes of this discussion is best defined as a bias towards current societal mores, cultural standards and ways of thinking. (This is not to say that there are not neo-Luddite environmentalist elements within the ranks of progressives, who would have us “simplify” our material existence all the way back to that of the Stone Age.) As it pertains to looking at the historical record that it may inform our thinking, the modern Left appears to be bereft of any sort of perspective. Indeed, they display agnosticism about the importance of anything that occurred before their watch. They certainly seem to demonstrate no love or appreciation for history either in its totality or in its proper context. In fact, they look at certain points in human history as worthy of ridicule and derision.

For instance, rather than judging historical figures in relation to their peers and the circumstances of their times, the Left is particularly wont to judge historical figures in modern day contexts in order to cast aspersion on their beliefs (i.e.: the Founding Fathers were racist, sexist, slaveholders, therefore the Constitution that they authored can’t be taken at face value and must “evolve” in order to truly encompass the rights of women and minorities.) The Left tends to second-guess a lot of history based on that exact reasoning. It is not an entirely new thing for progressives to question the necessity of our efforts in Iraq, as elements of the Left have called into question the value of most of America’s military adventures of the 20th Century, their idea of the proper use of America’s military seeming more to be as a force of personal bodyguards, ready to swoop in as needed to fill sandbags to shore up levies against floodwaters, quell local riots and march in Memorial Day parades.

With 20/20 hindsight, the American Left attempts to establish alternative standards of behavior by denigrating any history or historical interpretations that do not comport with their newfound understanding. Their outsized esteem for the recent goes quite a way to undergird their adolescent oppositionism. They are unable to work within established frameworks as reformers, as they would rather overthrow rather than augment. By and large, the Left rejects much of the historical record of the spread of civilization because they see themselves as a brand new thing, apart from history. But it is this apartness that renders them little more than political ciphers; now and then they are able to campaign well, but they are never able to lead.

Coming up... Talking Globally and Acting Personally

No comments: