Monday, June 7, 2010

The Unparody-able Liberal

An interesting question came up this weekend that deserves a full post. The point was made that only a liberal can ultimately do a parody of the left. I disagree. Parody requires an eye for the absurd and a talent for pointing out the absurdity in a way that cannot be denied. There is no ideological requirement. But that’s not what I want to discuss. I want to talk about why liberals will never accept a parody of liberalism, no matter who does it.

Liberals have no sense of humor about their beliefs. There are several reasons for this, but I think the primary reason is how they see their beliefs. Modern liberals don’t really have a fixed set of views. Indeed, for them, situational ethics are the order of the day, where right and wrong are assessed independently in each situation they encounter. And the principle that they think guides them is: “I believe in helping people.”

But of course, this is a sanitized view of what they actually believe. For example, while liberals like to believe that “they” want to help people, they don’t actually want to do it with their own time or money, they want the government to take your time and money to do it. They talk about freedoms, like freedoms of speech, but they only apply those to certain people and actively advocate the government stopping speech with which they disagree. They claim to oppose discrimination, but they advocate reverse discrimination to achieve that. And so on and so on.

But liberals refuse to see this. Instead, they believe that in each instance, they are simply helping people. And since “I want to help people” really can’t be parodied, it is not possible to the liberal mind to parody liberalism.

Moreover, liberals have three defense mechanisms that prevent anyone from parodying their views.

1. “That’s different.”

What conservative hasn’t heard the phrase “that’s different” come from liberals? “That’s different” is a catch all mechanism that lets liberals gloss over the problems with their beliefs. It allows them to reconcile their self-professed views with their contradictory actions without ever admitting that they are acting hypocritically or that they apply their grandiose principles selectively. Thus, they can tell racist jokes without considering themselves racists -- something they do not accept from conservatives -- because “that’s different.” And when a liberal politician breaks a promise, it’s never as serious as when a conservative does, even if the promise and circumstances are identical because “that’s different.” Basically, this mechanism allows them to sustain their views in light of such hypocrisies, e.g. they can both say “I believe in free speech” while simultaneously calling for the banning of speech they don’t like because “that’s different,” and they can simultaneously say that we need to end discrimination, while they impose discrimination on others because “that’s different.”

This mechanism also lets them sidestep logic. Liberalism withers when confronted with logic. But if you ever confront a liberal with logic, and you point out that something they say is not true or cannot logically lead to the result they want, they don’t try to reason it out. . . they just say, “that’s different” and move on without ever admitting that they are wrong.

Not coincidentally, this same mechanism allows them to dismiss any parody of their views because they will simply see whatever scenario the parody is being based on as “different” from what they really believe.

Thus, when Robocop II parodied their views when the executive board put all kinds of liberal garbage into his programming, which resulted in Robocop becoming laughably ineffective, liberals didn’t see that as a criticism of liberalism. To them, this wasn't an attack on their beliefs because what was happening on screen was different than the liberalism in their heads. If anything, they focused on the “say no to drugs” comment and assumed this was a criticism of Nancy Reagan and how "the right wants to turn everyone into robots."

For another example, liberals never seem to get that the guy in every science fiction/war/action film who says “if we tell them we don’t want to hurt them, they’ll leave us alone” is a parody of liberalism. This is a view liberals have espoused in every context you can image -- from appeasing dictators, to unilateral nuclear disarmament, to appeasing terrorists, to dealing with criminals -- and yet, somehow, once this view is being parodied on film, liberals suddenly become incapable of recognizing this as something they routinely advocate. That’s called a defense mechanism, which is a form of delusion.

2. “I’m not being political.”

Related to the first point is something you see all the time with liberals: they don’t think that their views are political, they think they’re facts. I see this all the time with liberal sports writers, who will criticize conservatives to no end for “injecting politics into sports” if they so much as appear at a Republican rally. But these same liberal sports writers think nothing of raving about a Michael Moore film, praising some Democrat they like, talking about how it’s “obvious” that guns should be banned, or advocating any number of liberal causes right in the middle of a sports column.

One sports writer (gossip monger Mike Florio) said, “No matter what your politics are, you have to respect Robert Byrd and admit that he’s done great things for this country.” Another, (Peter King of S.I.) said, “Leaving politics aside, everyone should see An Inconvenient Truth because it’s so important that we do something to stop global warming.” And when he was called on this, King said: “I don’t know why everyone got so upset and why so many people tried to bring politics into this.” And that’s a fairly common response when these guys get called on their politicking.

These guys, like other liberals, simply don’t see their views as political. They see them as widely accepted facts that everyone believes, and they assume that anyone who would disagree with those “facts” is simply being political. To them, saying liberal things is nothing more than expressing that the Earth is round. Thus, if you parodied those views, it wouldn’t strike them as a parody of liberalism or their beliefs, it would strike them as a politicized attack on truth.

3. Disavowal.

Finally, liberals are extremely good at disavowing their failures. Liberal ideas fail because they conflict with human nature. But liberals don’t accept this because this would mean their entire worldview is wrong. Thus, whenever liberalism fails, they look to blame someone or something or they disavow that it was liberalism in the first place.

Indeed, if you listen to liberals, socialism has never failed because “it’s never really been tried.” Stalin apparently wasn’t a communist because he didn’t really put communism into place. Ditto East Germany, Cuba, China and so on. Hitler, who imposed all of the hallmarks of 1930s socialism on Germany (including eugenics, which was very popular with Western leftists at the time), found himself turned into a right-winger. Liberalism didn’t fail in places like England in the 1970s, it was betrayed by a bad economy, just like Obama’s policies aren’t failing now, they’re being betrayed by a bad economy. And his spending isn’t failing either, it’s being betrayed by huge deficits. And so on.

Basically, whenever liberalism fails, it's not liberalism, it's something else. This twisting of logic makes it impossible to parody liberalism because liberals simply will not accept any parody of their views that highlights the bad because they automatically disavow that the bad can be the result of liberalism. It's the perfect cocoon: “My beliefs can only lead to good things and if they lead to bad things, then it wasn’t my beliefs that were implemented.”

These are the reasons liberals will never accept a parody of liberalism, no matter who makes it. They don’t see their views as capable of being parodied, they can't recognize their views when they see them put in a negative light, they can't distinguish between their politicized views and established facts, and they will disavow any parody that suggests their views can be anything other than pure and saintly.


ScottDS said...

My God, what have I started? :-)

In retrospect, I should've phrased my original statement a little differently. I didn't mean to imply that only a liberal could come up with a great parody of the left, but that it was more than likely a great parody would come from, not someone on the right, but someone on the left who's been there and back. Or someone in the center-left, as opposed to the far left.

But as you say, there is no ideological requirement and a good parody can come from anywhere (or rather, any place where the people don't take themselves so seriously).

And I know you used it as an example yesterday but I don't know too many blogs that use RoboCop 2 as a reference for... well, anything!

StanH said...

This drives me crazy with liberals, that’s why when I come up on a full on barking moonbat, I don’t bother with debate because it’s impossible. You get the “everything is relative man,” hell I used to do the same thing in the ‘70s. It’s lazy, and a simple way to deflect facts and always leads to that oldie but goldie, “liberal projection,” …barf! Good read Andrew.

By the way, great work in LawhawkRFD’s absence, keeping Commentarama interesting and prescient.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, What can't Robocop II teach us? LOL! Actually, it's just one very easy example. There are many examples.

I think that when it comes to criticizing a politic side in a way that sticks, then you're right. No matter how convincing I can be about the left. You have to be a true believer before the true believers will accept your criticism.

But parody is different because parody is disarming as it's done with laughter. Parody (including great parody) will come from a great social observer, regardless of ideology.

But I just don't think that the left will ever accept a parody, no matter who does it, for the reasons that I mention. Ditto for some on the far right.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Stan! It's a lot of work, but it's worth it.

I agree with you about most liberals -- they aren't worth talking to because the don't make any sense. It's like talking to cultists. They just spout platitudes and point fingers, and they are impervious to logic and self-criticism, and they never let facts get in the way of their beliefs. So what's the point of talking to them, you can't reason with them.

I used to have very good arguments with a leftist college professor (a true socialist), who was a truly fascinating guy. We agreed on many of the problems, but none of the solutions. But what I could respect about the guy was the depth of his knowledge and the reasoning that he applied. He could defend everything he believed, though we ultimately disagreed on most of our premises. But I've rarely met liberals who are anywhere near as honest as this guy, and none who are as well informed. Most liberals just spout smug, hypocritical nonsense.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Liberals have one unifying belief: Love mankind, hate human beings. That kind of abstract intellectual disconnect allows them to satirize everyone but themselves. Individual human beings have thoughts, beliefs, and disagreements, and the collective simply sees that as tragicomedy which gives them fodder for satire. But how does one satirize an entire belief system which encompasses all of mankind?

And by the way, let me join StanH in praising you for keeping the blog going at full speed while I was having all my fun making the big move.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Lawhawk, It took a lot of caffeine, but we got it done around here! I just plagiarized a bunch of article from some guy at the New York Time. . . Jason Blair or something like that.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Mmm, I also noticed the writing style reminded me of a certain guy named Stephen Glass. But that's just sheer coincidence, right?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, Ichtnsa on the assglay!

MegaTroll said...

I agree. I see the same thing with some on the right, but I see this all the time on the left. Even "moderate" liberals are like this. They spit out bumperstickers, but don't know what they heck they really believe.

AndrewPrice said...

Mega, There is a lot of that in the world. And I have to say that I find liberal bumperstickers particularly stupid. I should do a post about them, poking fun at them.

Tennessee Jed said...

With liberals, only their intentions matter which is why they so easily brush off failure. This would seem to fly in the face of the most famous liberal mantra of them all: "the end justifies the means."

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I'm not sure that's really inconsistent. The ends justify the means is another way of saying "it doesn't matter what we did getting there so long as it all ended up in a good thing." That's totally consistent with liberal thinking.

Individualist said...

"Only a liberal can parody a liberal."

I assume that the we are talking about the same liberal for the subject and object of this sentence.


AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, Good point! LOL! You're probably correct about that!

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