Understanding the Left

I might have finally understood the Left. The stance of the Left is best explained by one of my favourite jokes – the social worker joke:

Two social workers are walking down the street late at night. As they turn a corner, they see a man lying in the gutter. He is bruised and bleeding, his clothes torn, and he is moaning with pain; clearly he has been attacked. He sees the two people and calls to them “Please, someone help me!”

And one of the social workers turns to the other and says: “Whoever did this to him needs help!”

This joke epitomizes the seemingly inverted attitude of the Left towards so many things today.

The Left love the victim or underdog in any conflict. In particular, they love someone they think they can help (whether they can is another question). In the joke, the man lying in the gutter is clearly a victim but can he be helped by a social worker? What he needs is urgent medical assistance. Instead the social worker wants to seek out the ‘root cause of the conflict’ and fix that. Why did the perpetrator of the attack do such a thing?

In the world of the Left there is no absolute good or bad. There’s actually not much free choice either. People are a product of their upbringing and the circumstances they find themselves in. These circumstances are what forces people to do what they do. So the perpetrator is the one truly deserving of help – that person is the true victim of their circumstance who was forced into crime. If only we can fix that person and people like them, crime would disappear!

For the Left, there is no such thing as a terrorist. They are ‘militants’ or ‘freedom fighters’ – heroes fighting for the most noble cause of freedom. Can there be a greater calling? Being ‘freedom fighters’ means their enemy are those who are depriving them of freedom, which in turn causes their ‘despair’, which forces them to do terrible things, like murder innocent civilians by blowing themselves up.

If Islamist leaders hate Jews and Israel and openly declare their intent to destroy them, the view of the Left is that it could not be because they have some twisted ideology, or are just plain bad folks. Rather, it must be because of something Israel did which causes them to be radicalized. Therefore, the onus is entirely on Israel to change, and/or to appease them. Whether it’s truly in Israel’s power to do anything about this is irrelevant. Nothing is ever asked of a victim. Israel is expected to free convicted murderers in order for the Palestinians will agree to come to the negotiating table!

In 1948 and 1967, Israel was the victim. That ‘plucky little country’ was surrounded by enemies seeking her destruction. The Left rallied behind Israel back then, but not any more. Why? Israel made the terrible mistake of defeating her enemies at war, then building a successful country instead of wallowing in self-pity and victim-hood. Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries made new lives for themselves. They can no longer be helped – they fixed themselves! What’s the Left to do except turn the tables and turn David into the new Goliath?

Asylum seekers try to reach Australia by the boat-load. They take huge risks to escape their home countries and seek out a safer, better life in a first world country like Australia, which is signatory to conventions governing the way we must deal with refugees. So if only they can get here, all will be well. We have a view of the tail end of their journey – the final boat leg across treacherous waters from Indonesia and thereabouts. But in fact, their journey starts well before that. We have no idea how much they have paid, how many have died along the way and what they have been told by people smugglers. Yet the view of the Left is that we are entirely responsible for providing first world refugee settlement services wherever they need them. Their view is that they are forced by their circumstance to take a dangerous boat ride and we must do whatever we can to help them.

Is taking out full page ads in newspapers declaring that they will not be settled in Australia the answer? I doubt it. For all we know, they may choose to believe the people smugglers instead. Will establishing refugee assessment centres in Asia fix the problem? It will fix it for some, but is unlikely to make a serious dent nor to stop the people who don’t want to be processed in Indonesia from taking a boat. Because as many refugees as we help, there will always be many more we cannot. But the Left will not stop campaigning until they help everyone in the world.

This bizarre inversion comes from from a fundamental view on the nature of people. If you believe that all people are essentially good, then you are stuck with a question: why do good people do really bad/dangerous/risky things? The only possible answer is that it’s because they have been provoked; because some ‘root cause’ has led them down this path.

By maintaining this view of people the Left believe they can fix the whole world. But in a world where there is no shortage of bad, what if the Left’s view of the world is flawed? What if there are people who are genuinely evil? People who view appeasement as weakness and either pounce on it, or shift the goalposts so that consensus is never reached, or until their true motives are revealed? What if wars must be fought and won to defeat those who wish our destruction? Unfortunately, we cannot count on the Left to fight these wars.

This is based on an article published from over 6 years ago. Little has changed!

David Werdiger is a technology entrepreneur, writer, and public speaker. He’s involved in several not-for-profits at director and committee level, and has an interest in Jewish community, education, and continuity. You can connect with David on LinkedInFacebookTwitter, or Google+.

 

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9 comments

  1. I reply thusly:

    I might have finally understood the Jew. The stance of the Jew is best explained by one of my favourite jokes – the social worker joke:

    Two social workers are walking down the street late at night. As they turn a corner, they see a man lying in the gutter. He is bruised and bleeding, his clothes torn, and he is moaning with pain; clearly he has been attacked. He sees the two people and calls to them “Please, someone help me!”

    And one of the social workers turns to the other and says: “Whoever did this to him needs help!”

    This joke epitomizes the seemingly inverted attitude of the Jew towards so many things today.

    The Jew loves the victim or underdog in any conflict. In particular, they love someone they think they can help (whether they can is another question). In the joke, the man lying in the gutter is clearly a victim but can he be helped by a social worker? What he needs is urgent medical assistance. Instead the social worker wants to seek out the ‘root cause of the conflict’ and fix that. Why did the perpetrator of the attack do such a thing?

    In the world of the Jew there is no absolute good or bad. There’s actually not much free choice either. People are a product of their upbringing and the circumstances they find themselves in. These circumstances are what forces people to do what they do. So the perpetrator is the one truly deserving of help – that person is the true victim of their circumstance who was forced into crime. If only we can fix that person and people like them, crime would disappear!

    For the Jew, there is no such thing as a terrorist. They are ‘militants’ or ‘freedom fighters’ – heroes fighting for the most noble cause of freedom. Can there be a greater calling? Being ‘freedom fighters’ means their enemy are those who are depriving them of freedom, which in turn causes their ‘despair’, which forces them to do terrible things, like murder innocent civilians by blowing themselves up.

    If Islamist leaders hate Jews and Israel and openly declare their intent to destroy them, the view of the Jew is that it could not be because they have some twisted ideology, or are just plain bad folks. Rather, it must be because of something Israel did which causes them to be radicalized. Therefore, the onus is entirely on Israel to change, and/or to appease them. Whether it’s truly in Israel’s power to do anything about this is irrelevant. Nothing is ever asked of a victim. Israel is expected to free convicted murderers in order for the Palestinians will agree to come to the negotiating table!

    In 1948 and 1967, Israel was the victim. That ‘plucky little country’ was surrounded by enemies seeking her destruction. The Jew rallied behind Israel back then, but not any more. Why? Israel made the terrible mistake of defeating her enemies at war, then building a successful country instead of wallowing in self-pity and victim-hood. Jewish refugees expelled from Arab countries made new lives for themselves. They can no longer be helped – they fixed themselves! What’s the Jew to do except turn the tables and turn David into the new Goliath?

    Asylum seekers try to reach Australia by the boat-load. They take huge risks to escape their home countries and seek out a safer, better life in a first world country like Australia, which is signatory to conventions governing the way we must deal with refugees. So if only they can get here, all will be well. We have a view of the tail end of their journey – the final boat leg across treacherous waters from Indonesia and thereabouts. But in fact, their journey starts well before that. We have no idea how much they have paid, how many have died along the way and what they have been told by people smugglers. Yet the view of the Jew is that we are entirely responsible for providing first world refugee settlement services wherever they need them. Their view is that they are forced by their circumstance to take a dangerous boat ride and we must do whatever we can to help them.

    Is taking out full page ads in newspapers declaring that they will not be settled in Australia the answer? I doubt it. For all we know, they may choose to believe the people smugglers instead. Will establishing refugee assessment centres in Asia fix the problem? It will fix it for some, but is unlikely to make a serious dent nor to stop the people who don’t want to be processed in Indonesia from taking a boat. Because as many refugees as we help, there will always be many more we cannot. But the Jew will not stop campaigning until they help everyone in the world.

    This bizarre inversion comes from a fundamental view on the nature of people. If you believe that all people are essentially good, then you are stuck with a question: why do good people do really bad/dangerous/risky things? The only possible answer is that it’s because they have been provoked; because some ‘root cause’ has led them down this path.

    By maintaining this view of people the Jew believes he can fix the whole world. But in a world where there is no shortage of bad, what if the Jew’s view of the world is flawed? What if there are people who are genuinely evil? People who view appeasement as weakness and either pounce on it, or shift the goalposts so that consensus is never reached, or until their true motives are revealed? What if wars must be fought and won to defeat those who wish our destruction? Unfortunately, we cannot count on the Jew to fight these wars.

  2. David, sadly the attitude you describe has permeated all layers of society. Violent offenders are invariably let off or given vastly reduced sentences because their lawyer manages to convince the judge that the offender was himself/herself abused or subjected to violence. it’s all about treating people as victims, rather than expecting them to take responsibility for their actions. It actually causes a lot of damage both to the perpetrator and the real victim. In the case of the Palestinians, because the world has come to see them as victims, and a huge ‘victim industry’ has grown up, they have been shielded from the reality and allowed to continue to act barbarically. If it had been made clear to them that if they wanted a State, they would have to act in a civilised manner, they could have had their own country many years ago. Instead, many Israelis have been killed by Arab terrorism and Arabs themselves remain poor and oppressed.

  3. David, I didn’t realise that all of us on “The Left” had such a monolithic view. Had I known that, I could have avoided all of those debates with the Socialist Left etc. As Yoram points out, referring to those left of oneself as “The Left” is a bit like some others referring to “the Jews”.

    • Even the ALP has adopted a hostile position towards Israel’s vital and legitimate interests, not hesitating to tell lies and defame Israel in the process.

  4. Michael – Far be it from me to pigeon-hole everyone from the Left in one fell swoop, or to do a search-and-replace that makes little sense (can’t work out whether Yoram is making the same point as Michael, or pointing out what Jews have in common with the Left). Rather, the point is that perspective on victims and free choice is something that is a key difference between Left and Right.

  5. I guess the old divisions of Left and Right are no longer so clear cut. There are many on the Left who share the Judeo-Christian concept of free will, which implies that we can choose whether to do good or bad things, and are not just victims of circumstance. They also have little time for the victimhood industry. Maybe a distinction could be made between the Left, who are genuinely humane and want everyone to have a share in the public good, and the Hard Left, a totalitarian movement, which seeks to impose its utopian view of society on everyone and will allow no dissent.

  6. Pam I call it the Left and the ‘Loony Left’ which I think Americans call liberal. A person doesn’t have to be a left thinker to be “genuinely humane and want everyone to have a share in the public good”

  7. Yep, I think Left and Loony Left sums it up well.

  8. Yoram Symons
    I shall be very nice.
    Let me tell you where you are so fundamentally mistaken that you shall thank me.

    If “the Jew” as you use an un-qualified generic would be as you repeatedly describe him, then the pinked spectacle freyer would not have built a strong – military talking now – Jewish State so far capable of inflicting MAJOR defeats – you know the type of REAL games where one physically destroys another – upon the seemingly perennial geo-enemies.
    Baruch Hashem that our boys and girls in the Zahal and so many other fields of real action are so diametrically NOT a yota as you describe them.
    In general, however, the left is the product of one of the most virulent ideologies. Marx introduced with unending success the notions of “class STRUGGL”‘, “DICTATORSHIP of the proletariat “, “destruction of the Capitalist system through radical means. ” Lenin went a lot further both in ideology and practice. Do you want statistics !!! Other real lefties, such as Trotsky and much later a certain Castro and Che took violent notions of political intolerance to heights of global idolatry.

    The current non-debate about the fate of illegal migrants is, indeed, such a peripheral “left” issue, that one can only laugh at those brandishing any association with what hard core left used to look like. Let us call them frustrated spiritual/intellectual failures. Mind you I shall not have one Noam Chomsky among them !!!, but that’s another story…………