Conceding the Ideological Debate
America’s political conundrum is this: Liberals explicitly deny their beliefs, conservatives implicitly do. The pendulum swing of the American electorate is more due to this than the vacillation of voters. Ideologically, the Left resembles the emperor who wore no clothes. Why is the Right so reluctant to say so?
At its most basic, liberalism is the demand that others pay for the Left’s good intentions. Redistribution is the heart of their agenda. Regardless of what it is—rights, resources, wealth—their current distribution is never satisfactory to the Left. All must be reallocated according to the Left’s thinking at the moment.
Theirs is a bold statement of unequaled hubris. Whether it is tradition, Constitution, market, other schools of thought, other cultures, or earlier periods of time, none is ever so wise as the Left is now. All is but permeable to their reinterpretation.
That there is no real definition—no process, and certainly no limit—to their goals is of no concern to them. No wonder then that the Left explicitly denies itself to others. They seek to dress up their goals in different garb, explicitly denying what it is they actually seek.
A case in point is wealth redistribution, which in their vernacular becomes “social justice.” The Left claims current incomes are grossly unequal and becoming more so. Society has failed to achieve “justice” on its own. It is up to the Left to take over the job.
Yet, never has the government had a bigger share of the economy to redistribute. The federal government now spends a quarter of everything America produces. The Left’s own version of the situation is: Government’s redistribution of wealth is insufficient—even as income inequality increases and the government allocates ever more of the nation’s resources.
The logical question would be to at least ask whether government control of so much of the economy is facilitating their goal. Instead in response, the Left only insists that taxes be raised higher, that more money be borrowed and spent by the government.
This should also make us question whether justice is what the Left really seeks. If it were, they would seemingly be open to all avenues—including a free market—to achieve it. That they unilaterally foreclose avenues they deem marked with bad intentions indicates they are more focused on the means than the end. Or rather, that the means is in fact their end. For them, the “social” takes precedence over the “justice.”
While the Left explicitly deny their beliefs, the Right implicitly does. The Right is willing to concede the field too often, simply not stating their own principles. Cowed by political correctness, they concede the debate on issue after issue. Concession is implicit denial. It silently says that the argument is not worth having—that the contrast in positions is not clear, or not important, enough to be discerned.
No wonder there is a great confused middle in America, which moves between the two ends of the ideological spectrum.
Conservatism, which begins with a respect for the collected wisdom of what has gone before, allows liberalism to repeatedly wipe clean the slate. Again and again, they are willing to engage the Left on a level playing field. In contrast, the onus of explanation should rest on the Left’s incessant assaults on the status quo. Liberals should have to convince the rest of us why their ever-evolving and never-ending redistribution would be superior.
What are their goals? How will success by measured? When will they finished? By what ends will their goals be achieved? And most importantly, what will be the end of their achievements? These are just the beginning of the questions the Left should be asked repeatedly. Instead, they repeatedly remain unasked.
The Left inherently knows their weakness. And even more, know that the rest of society does as well. This is why they continually seek to hide their agenda. Only by explicitly denying their agenda, can they seek to advance it.
The Right inherently does not know its strength. They implicitly deny their beliefs by treating them as on par with the Left’s. The onus of explanation should always be on the Left. That the Right refuses to place it there, is the reason the American electorate is so frequently unable to recognize the stark contrast between the two camps. The Left must forever seek to clothe themselves, why must the Right be so often hesitant to point out their nakedness?