I’ve been following the Newsreal debate between Phyllis Chesler and Jamie Glazov on the one hand and Naomi Wolf, who thinks America, the most “liberated” country on the face of the earth by any — any — progressive standard (treatment of minorities, of women, of the poor, freedom of the individual), is a proto-fascist state and needs a revolution, while the Islamo-fascist enemy, the greatest oppressor of women and minorities ever, needs a wrist slap. Wolf’s moral blindness is just a one minor instance of the general moral vacuity of progressives which for a hundred years has put them on the side of the totalitarian enemies of freedom and inspired their assault against the West.
This led Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs and former chief of Israel’s Defense Forces, to describe the left as a “virus.” Actually, as Aaron Shuster pointed out in an email which I am about to cite, one could also say the left is in the grips of a virus — a virus that attacks its brain cells and makes it incapable of ingesting real world facts and consequently of arriving at reasonable judgments.
Radical feminism is one form of the virus. It is an ideology grown out of Marxism whose enemy is the freedom of the individual from collective control, and the freedom of society from the totalitarian state. That is why radical feminists are incapable of seeing the anti-feminist monster in Islam: because Islam is now the center of the revolt against the feminists’ real enemy, which is us.
The progressive virus is a religious virus. Political radicalism is an expression of the inability of human beings to live without meaning; it is the replacement of the hope for a divine redemption in a redemption by political activists, which inevitably leads to a totalitarian state.
The consequences of infection by the virus are described in my email from Shuster, who quotes writer Mladen Andrijasevic:
“The virus totally blocks the person from the ability to access, let alone comprehend, any facts and evidence that contradict his or her beliefs. Mountains of data have zero effect on already established views, simply because the person flatly rejects considering reading anything that would go against their ‘truth’. The person is terrified to look beyond his established viewpoint. They behave like the Church at the times of Galileo. They refuse to look through the telescope. For instance, during the past eight years, on numerous occasions, I have recommended to my left-wing friends several books on Islam by Ibn Warraq, Ibn Ishaq, Robert Spencer and others. Many borrowed the books, but they were never read. The power of the virus was stronger. The results of my eight-year effort were meager. Two people have read Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.”
The strength of the virus derives from the meaning it supplies to meaningless lives, and the consequent good feelings — intoxicated feelings of virtue and self-righteousness — experienced by the devoted. Here Mladen Andrijasevic quotes Melanie Phillips:
“A vital part of leftist thinking is the assumption that to be on the left is the only sensible/decent/principled position to hold and therefore cannot ever be wrong; and that is because to differ from the left is to be of ‘the right’, and the right is irredeemably evil. (The idea that to be opposed to the left is not necessarily to be on ‘the right’ or indeed to take any position other than to oppose ideology and its brutal effects is something that the left simply cannot get its head round). And so the true nightmare is that if ‘the right’ turns out to be actually right on anything and the left to be wrong, by accepting this fact the left-winger will by his own definition turn into an evil right-winger. His entire moral and political identity will crumble and he will grow horns and a tail. So to prevent any possibility of this catastrophe occurring, the opponent has to be eliminated.”
This why the only argument that leftists have in their public encounters with others is not an argument at all but an indictment: racist, sexist, homophobe, Islamophobe. In the religion of leftists — in the fevered universe of the virus — the world is an endless plain of battle in which forces of Good (leftists) are ranged against the forces of Evil (the rest of us). At stake is the redemption of the world — or as the environmental totalitarians like to put it, the survival of the planet. No wonder they are deaf to any fact or argument that would bring them back to earth.
The only way to defeat the left — and I have failed in twenty years of arguing this to persuade conservatives — is to turn the table around and attack their moral self-image. Leftists are in fact the enemies and oppressors of women, children, gays, minorities and the poor, and conservatives should never confront them without reminding them of this fact. If Naomi Wolf and her radical friends had their way, America would be disarmed and radical Islam would be triumphant and women would be back in the Middle Ages, and the rest of us along with them.