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February 19th 2014 print

Steve Kates

Wasting Breath On The Shrieking Left

What defines a leftist? An inability to separate logic from emotion, for starters, followed by the gales of abuse that typically follow any challenge to the nostrums that make so-called progressives feel so very good and virtuous

mouthLet me  take up a couple of issue — global warming and Keynesian economics — as examples of the left’s refusal to engage in reasoned debate about the causes it champions.

First, there has been an across-the-world assertion that the planet is in the midst of unsustainable warming due to an increase in greenhouse gases. What you must do is examine the arguments others bring up to see what truth there is in them, also looking at the evidence presented along with theoretical explanations. OK, for a while, the temperatures were going up, but this was a correlation, not proof.

Like others, I therefore kept an open mind and a watching brief. But then, around 15 years ago, temperatures stopped rising even while atmospheric carbon continued to increase. As a result, my scepticism grew and has been maintained — and I think such scepticism fully justified. Yet I do not know of a single person of the green persuasion who has taken note of the fact that temperatures have not risen as predicted and come to the conclusion that, perhaps, they might have been wrong?

Now take another of my areas of interest, Keynesian economics.

I have strong doubts about modern macroeconomics and its focus on aggregate demand. In my view, Say’s Law is valid, while the whole of modern macro is built on a well known classical fallacy. And what is the the fallacy? That increases in public spending will increase aggregate demand and, therefore, return an economy to low unemployment and faster growth.

I set down in print my expectation that such an approach would fail on a grand scale, that it would make economic conditions far worse than they were, and that they would not return our economies to strong growth and full employment. Had our economies recovered, contrary to my expectation, I would have had to abandon my opinion, not least because I would have been repeatedly reminded of what I had written. Instead, the world’s economies have unfolded almost exactly as I expected they would.

Just like adherents of the warmist creed, no Keynesian, however, has reviewed the evidence and declared that, well, you know, perhaps modern macroeconomics is wrong after all. If such admissions have been made, I have not heard  a single instance.

This brings me to my central point: arguing with people on the left is not the same as debating. Rather, it is more like talking to a wall. As the blogger Captain Capitalism points out, a proper debate demands both sides commit to advancing the truth, whereas dealing with the left more often than not generates abuse but little advance of knowledge. It is a long post but here is one part which makes the whole well worth the effort:

Aurini . . . delves into detail explaining the “debate” structure of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Grammar basically meaning you all have to agree on the definitions and meanings of words. Logic meaning you have to be intellectually honest and adhere to associative rules and other logical concepts that ensure integrity. And rhetoric meaning you apply it in the real world or test one another’s arguments with anecdotes from reality. If both parties in a debate or even a discussion have these three things, then the conversation/debate is much more productive and progresses towards an inevitable “conclusion,” “reality” or agreement.

What’s funny though is for the longest time I never viewed debate as a cooperative effort, but rather an adversarial one. One of competition. One where you had an enemy that needed to be defeated. Of course, this was the sad consequence of growing up with the mentally deficient people that populated my generation. Parties I attended in my 20′s I was regularly attacked and berated for being a conservative.  Debates in college (or even post college) were filled with emotion and vitriol. And in nearly 100% of the cases my opponents degraded into name calling, ad hominem  attacks, accusations of “ism,” or being a nazi, etc.”

And then, a little later in Captain Capitalism’s blog post, there is this:

“The majority of people are weak-minded. They are also lazy. However, they are also egotistical . . . and so their mind reaches for something that will not only allow them to claim some kind of intellectual “superiority” or “achievement,” but also allow them to do so with no work.

Going green. Protesting. Claiming they’re a caring liberal. Joining a religion. Going vegan. Becoming a professor, etc.

This not only results in them living in a delusional, non-real world, but also makes them emotionally and egotistically invested in keeping up their ideological facade.  Thus, when you make passionate, logical, stoic arguments of fact, math, and statistics you (consciously or not) pierce their ego, expose their charade, and therefore trigger a visceral, emotional, and often hate-laden response.”

The left tend to deal in feelings rather than facts and proof, which seem to be no part of anything they propose. It believes what they wish to believe because it makes them feel better, not because it is actually valid or demonstrable to reason and common sense.