15 January 2012

The Fundamental Principle of Leftism

Robin Hanson weighs in:
In our society, “sympathy” by high status folks for low status folks usually functions similarly — it affirms their high status while giving little net benefit to the low status.
I noted in a previous post how liberals have basically no underlying principles to their policies, which is why they can simultaneously support feminism and oppose gun control, even though gun ownership is quite beneficial for women.  This assertion is not quite correct, as liberals do have one underlying principle, which is sympathy.  This can also be called solidarity.

For liberals, the main point of their policies is to signal their support for certain ideals and visions, particularly ideals that sympathize with the so-called oppressed.  The relevant question is not whether their policies actually help the groups with whom they claim to sympathize.  Rather, the relevant question is whether their policies show sympathy to certain oppressed groups.  In essence, the underlying philosophy of liberalism is focused not on results but processes.

Incidentally, the application of liberal principles indicates the Bible’s wisdom. Recall what Christ said on his sermon on the mount:
Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret…
If you are forbidden from doing good for the praise of men, you will likely become more concerned about results.  That liberals prefer to look like they’re implementing helpful policies rather than actually implementing demonstrably helpful policies, the conclusion that one can draw is that liberals are more concerned with attaining status than with doing good.  In essence, liberals don’t care about oppressed people; they care about appearing to care about oppressed people.

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