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A Primer on Leftism

Oct 3, 2012

OK, by now most of you would have gathered that I am more or less on the conservative side of the political spectrum. But as I have written in the story of my conversion, I was not always that way. Indeed, I was very much part of the radical left in my early days:

But now I have renounced most of my leftist past, and embraced what to my eyes seems much more compatible with my biblical faith. As I have said before, genuine Christianity ultimately transcends party politics, but some social and politics views and values clearly more closely line up with biblical concerns than do others. I have tried to explain that elsewhere. For those interested, consider these two articles:
billmuehlenberg.com/2010/08/24/what-is-conservatism/
billmuehlenberg.com/2007/01/05/conservatism-and-liberalism-christianity-and-secularism/

Another way to try to lay out some of these political and ideological differences is to offer various lists which have been drawn up over the years. These are meant to be somewhat humorous attempts at expressing these truths, and are worth passing on.

Although a bit on the funny side, they nonetheless feature a hard core of truth. One such list has appeared in various forms over the years, and is attributed originally to American comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Of interest, he recently said this regarding the upcoming US election and his endorsement of Romney: “I avoided politics for 53 years of my life. I have been doing stand-up comedy for almost 30 and never wanted to be political. Selfishly, I wanted to make everyone laugh. But it got to the point that this is too important.”

Given that the great bulk of these come from the US, there are some things unique to there. But hopefully you will be able to follow if you are from elsewhere. And while some of these points are particular to America, they can easily be transferred to Australia and elsewhere. So here is an amalgamated version I have compiled, featuring 25 characteristics of the leftist:

You might be a liberal, if…
1. You want to bring Joseph Kony to justice but aren’t willing to do anything other than click “Like” in Facebook.
2. You want to end world poverty—by giving away other people’s money.
3. You support alternative energy, but oppose nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and don’t want windmills spoiling your view.
4. You think that consenting adults can freely engage in any activity—except freely exchange goods and services without government interference.
5. You want to outlaw cigarettes, but legalise marijuana.
6. You have no problem with Hollywood movie stars and celebrities flying around in private jets to give speeches on the evils of global warming.
7. You think only white people can be racist.
8. You support the killing of unborn babies, but oppose the killing of criminals convicted of heinous crimes.
9. You think marriage is obsolete—except for homosexuals.
10. You uphold a woman’s right to choose—unless she chooses adoption, homeschooling or being a stay-at-home mum.
11. You oppose discrimination against women—except when they’re married to, or daughters of, working men.
12. You think it’s fine to mock and insult Christians and Christianity, but Islam is untouchable and Muslims must be respected.
13. You want to “Save Darfur” but aren’t willing to do anything more than slap a bumper sticker on your car.
14. You want to ban guns – except for those carried by your kid’s bodyguards (like Rosie O’Donnell).
15. You are against school vouchers for public school students, but send your own kids to private school.
16. You think property damage, squatting on public property and violence on behalf of the Occupy Wall Street movement is OK, but a Tea Party event that respectfully protests taxes and unconstitutional government is dangerous.
17. You believe that nativity scenes should be banned from public view, but that anyone objecting to pornography should just look the other way.
18. You think Israel is a criminal state, but Hamas and Islamic Jihad aren’t criminals.
19. Deep down you believe 3,000 American civilians deserved to die on 9-11.
20. You think a conservative teaching alternative theories to evolution is dangerous, but a guy in a tutu can teach your kids anytime.
21. You think the price of gasoline is too high, but you will fight tooth and nail to prevent the development of new oil resources.
22. You believe cutting taxes on large businesses is wrong, but spending hundreds of billions of dollars on anti-pollution programs that don’t work is mandatory.
23. Of the billions of tons of carbon dioxide produced on Earth each year, you believe only the ten-thousandth of 1 percent that is produced by humans is affecting the Earth’s climate.
24. Insults and threats directed at President Bush made you laugh, but you believe any criticism of President Obama is racist.
25. You value tolerance—except when it comes to opinions you dislike.

A second list has recently been penned by John Hawkins. Entitled, “20 Reasons You Just Might Be a Liberal (2012 Election Edition)” I offer the first ten of them for your edification and amusement:

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, you just might be a liberal if…
1. You get extremely upset about the idea of the government coming into our bedrooms unless it’s to give everyone free birth control.
2. You believe that people who hold the exact same position on gay marriage that Barack Obama did last year are horrible bigots who are unfit to hold office.
3. You think that Mitt Romney, who has raked leaves for old people, helped a dying child with his will, and paid for college educations for kids who became quadriplegics in a car wreck, is less compassionate than Barack Obama who makes fun of kids in the Special Olympics and made his own brother beg other people to get the money to pay for his child’s hospital bill.
4. You think Mitt Romney having an offshore bank account is a bigger deal than Barack Obama forgiving a billion dollars of debt owed to us by the anti-American, pro-terrorist theocrats who run Egypt.
5. You believe that Obama putting more Americans on food stamps than any other President in history is a feature, not a bug.
6. You get angry because you believe rich Americans aren’t paying their “fair share,” but you don’t question whether the government is spending its “fair share” of the money that other people earned on the Stimulus, cash for clunkers, Solyndra, and other wasteful uses of our tax dollars.
7. You think Halliburton bidding for and winning government contracts was a scandal since Dick Cheney used to work there, but you think Barack Obama giving away 25 billion dollars in taxpayer money to help out his union cronies at GM and Chevrolet is honest and above reproach.
8. You believe anti-war protests, dead soldiers, and “grim milestones” ceased to be important the moment Barack Obama was elected and chose to continue many of the same practices he criticized when he ran for office in 2008.
9. You think Mitt Romney putting his dog on top of his car to take on his vacation is a big deal, but Barack Obama eating a dog to GAIN ITS POWERS isn’t.
10. You think the key issues of Election 2012 are whether Romney releases his old tax returns as opposed to which candidate can help get the economy back on track, create jobs, and get the debt under control.

I encourage you to read the rest of his list. And amidst a bit of humour here, bear in mind that the US election which will be held in just 33 days is of the utmost seriousness. Indeed, this may be the most important election in America’s history. And as I have written elsewhere, this will impact every single one of us – for good or for ill.

Believers especially need to wake up here and take note of this vitally decisive election – even if you are not an American yourself. After all, what happens in America certainly tends to impact the rest of the world, so we all should take an interest here.

And Christians of all people should be global citizens, concerned about the whole world, not just their own little parochial paddock. So at the very least we all should be praying about the outcome of this election. If you want my opinion on how it should go, see here:

billmuehlenberg.com/2012/05/13/on-mitt-romney-and-americas-future/
billmuehlenberg.com/2012/08/22/obama-out-romney-in/

townhall.com/columnists/johnhawkins/2012/10/02/20_reasons_you_just_might_be_a_liberal_2012_election_edition

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19 Responses to A Primer on Leftism

  • May I reproduce this on my website with the appropriate reference and link back etc.?

    Garth Penglase

  • Yes feel free Garth

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Brilliant piece, Bill!
    I’ll be passing it on.

    Annette Williams

  • Thanks Annette

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Here’s another one: You’re against killing animals and destruction of the environment, but don’t have a problem with human abortion.
    Ross McPhee

  • You also might be liberal if you think it’s torture to waterboard a terrorist, but it’s every woman’s right to dismember her baby while still alive and conscious.

    Mansel Rogerson

  • Thanks Bill. Still can’t stop laughing, but sooooo true.

    Brian Carrick

  • “You think Israel is a criminal state, but Hamas and Islamic Jihad aren’t criminals.””You believe that nativity scenes should be banned from public view, but that anyone objecting to pornography should just look the other way.”
    Sorry guys – its all a waste of time there is no; noooooo hope for humanity!
    Russell Boden, UK

  • What would we do without you Bill. You get to the heart of the issue every time. Obama’s latest political advertisement was disgusting and the Democrats have been forced to take it off the internet.
    We have been watching EWTN and they are really getting stuck into Obama especially the Bishops who celebrate the Mass each night.
    As you say Bill, how America goes so goes the West.

    Madge Fahy

  • Or this one: “You support the killing of unborn babies even when it involves the cruelest possible methods, but go berserk at even the mildest example of animal cruelty.”

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • I have forwarded an alarming video concerning Obama and Islam . I’m not sufficiently computer savvy to just send the link. Despite the fact that selective editing can alter the intent of any speech, I think this one is worth a look and hope you can pass it on Bill. —– sent to your e-mail address.

  • Thanks Anna

    It is this one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=tCAffMSWSzY#t=28

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I agree Madge – What would we do without you Bill? Excellent lists!

    Robert Colman

  • “You think parents who smack their children should go to prison, but believe the government should pay parents to kill their babies (so they cannot smack them?)”

    If I don’t speak out against this lunacy, I doubt God will hold me blameless for it.

    Nicholas Davies

  • This is slightly off topic.

    I have ruminated on this idea before, but I am not sure if I have aired it on the comments here. I am of the opinion that allowing conservatism to be called ‘right-wing’ actually plays into the real left’s hands.

    Imagine a line which represents theoretical total government control on one end and no government control whatsoever on the other. Clearly leftists sit on or near the one end of the spectrum and anarchists would be on the other end. Where would conservatism be? I submit that it would be somewhere in the middle. To be conservative is to be moderate.

    I do realise that there is no-one really wants to go to anything less than the bare minimum of government for any extended period of time because it isn’t practical, and anarchy would usually replaced in quick time by an oligarchy (oddly enough – winding you back to the left end of the spectrum in an instant) or at least tribalism, but still, it seems to me that conservatism gets falsely portrayed as being at one end within this left/right paradigm. (maybe it would be better to describe the line as broken circle with communism and anarchy at the two ends?)

    In practical terms, the part of the line which represents rule-of-law does end at the conservative point, however on a theoretical basis, it can never be called extreme to be somewhere in the middle between total government control and no government control.

    The reason I think the term ‘right-wing’ plays into the left’s hands is because it motivates those who fear the label ‘extreme’. They do not wish to be considered as anything but reasonable, but someone who thinks they are moderate within this concept (ie. a swing voter between Liberal and Labor, for example) will in fact be about three quarters to the left. I submit you will still get to totalitarianism with such people, albeit somewhat slower. This plays into the lefts hands.

    I admit this is just a theory but I am still interested to hear back from someone who thinks this explanation of conservatism has a flaw. I just sometimes get tired of advocating for and defending something that is a reasonable balance between no laws and no freedom being painted in social and economic terms as being ‘extreme’. It most certainly is not.

    When I was in a little town just out of Berlin earlier this year, the friends I was staying with (including a childhood friend of my mother during World War 2) told me of how in the old East Germany if you wanted a car you could order one and wait…
    17 years.

    Sounds sooooo much better than what conservatives would rather have for the people of a country. /sarcasm

    Mark Rabich

  • Hi Mark,

    I like your left-right paradigm a lot and will be sure to use it when I can.

    The only flaw I can see is that Greens types will probably still argue that they are the ones striking a reasonable compromise between complete totalitarianism and anarchy; and so they are the ones truly in the middle of the spectrum.

    Without a means of objectively quantifying political positions, this is difficult to comprehensively refute. Any reasonable person can see that the Greens are most certainly not in the centre, but it takes a certain amount of a priori reasonableness to see this.

    Mansel Rogerson

  • Mark,

    This short video is a much better explanation of the political spectrum than the standard left-right paradigm.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcYBO_JmkcQ

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • You might be a lefty liberal if; you’re more worried about a few cows being tortured in the middle east then the 200,000 Christians being tortured and killed in Muslim countries.

    Luke Belik

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