The psychology of the new American liberal

Dec 5, 2012 by

Dean Kalahar

By Dean Kalahar –

With the fiscal cliff, $16 trillion deficit, and bankrupt entitlement programs dragging down our way of life; businessmen and conservatives take heed. If you want to be successful, you better know who you are dealing with and be prepared to fight an opponent that does not think like you.

The psychology of the American liberal is based on a set of perceptions of how the world works that is the antithesis of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Recognizing the new majority and realizing what makes them tick is an important examination for anyone who wants to understand America in the 21st century and fight for survival.

What is a modern liberal? James Q. Wilson explained that “in the early 19th century a liberal was a person who favored personal and economic liberty; that is freedom from the control and power of the state. A conservative was originally a person who opposed the excesses of the French Revolution and its emphasis on personal freedom and favored a restoration of the power of the state, the church and the aristocracy.” Today that has been flipped; liberals want the restoration of power in the state, secretly masking their shame by sincerely claiming they are fighting to protect your liberty.

The name of the liberal vision changes each and every time its precepts are discredited but the ideology never wavers. As such liberals have called themselves Communists, Progressives, Collectivists, Keynesians, Historicists, Socialists, Democrats, and Leftists at one time or another. Today the term “progressive” is being recycled. Tomorrow we’ll hear other lofty oxymora to hide their true intentions.

At the heart of liberalism, as defined by Thomas Sowell, “is the naïve belief that people are basically good and that humans can be perfected through the rule of self anointed experts who should be telling the rest of us, through the power of government, what we ought to do, what we can do and what we cannot do.”

Unfettered individual judgment and conscience known as secular humanism, moral relativity, and non-judgmentalism are at the heart of the liberal vision. And since they do not subscribe to and are least habituated to existing institutions, traditions, and values, they feel especially suited to act as social change agents.

Liberals wish to define for us what is good and what is bad in order to remake us in their image; because they believe they hold superior wisdom and virtue over the rest of the “society” they view as ignorant. They express their arrogance of a self imposed superiority through self congratulatory actions and smug condescending rhetoric.

The irony according to Peter Berkowitz is that progressives see themselves as the only legitimate representatives of ordinary people and yet when the people make choices contrary to progressive dictates we see contempt among the experts for the very people whose interests they claim to alone represent.

Sowell says the left “believe ills such as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from “society,” rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by “society.” As a result of this belief, according to Dennis Prager, liberals rarely blame people for the evil they do. Instead, they blame economics, parents, capitalism, racism, and anything else that can let the individual off the hook.”

And yet the left speak in democratic terms to create authoritarian outcomes. In order to carry out what they blindly believe are compassionate and good intentioned plans, the left has as its core a never-ending expansion of the arbitrary powers of the federal government.  “Do-gooders,” based on dreams of lollypops and unicorns in a wonderland they envision, direct decisions on others who need “fixing” while ignoring costs and paying no personal price for their grandiose schemes. In short, as Sowell describes the madness, “liberalism is totalitarianism with a human face.”

Liberals deal in feelings and emotions not reason and reality. They passionately speak in terms of innovation and excitement and read their childish feelings as principled thought. It never dawns on a liberal the possibility that passion without principle is just the raw emotion of human nature.

Liberals have a tendency to be infuriated and lash out at anyone who does not agree with their Pollyannaish worldview. As Jonah Goldberg states: “Liberalism is never wrong, because essential to the concept of liberalism is the idea that it must always be right.” As such they must become masters of white wash, blame shifting, and talking out of both sides of their mouths. Liberals never apologize for actions they take that cause calamity. Instead, morally outraged liberals demand a right to results instead of defending the morality of property rights, personal freedom, and liberty.

What outrages the left is resistance or even non-compliance with their agenda. Their motto is: If you are not with us, you’re against us; which means we are against you and will do any and everything in our power to silence you. The ends justify the liberal means and they will wage war on anyone challenging their utopian worldview that ironically believes war is wrong.

For a liberal, according to Sowell, “it is desperately important to win, not simply because they believe that one policy or set of beliefs and values is better for society, but because their whole sense of themselves is at stake.” “It is not hard to find an attitude” with liberals because it is the “threat to their egos that they hate,” which comes from anything that challenges their cause as “saviors of the poor, the environment, and other busybody tasks.”

It is no wonder the lefts’ agenda takes on a pseudo-religious faith in their certainty (i.e. global warming, GMF’s, DDT, pink slime, windmills?) and reacts to any alternative viewpoints not only as wrong but as a sin against the church they worship- themselves. This is why they advance their beliefs from a purely emotional and ideological dogma. Their anger is misdirected fear that their worldview might come crashing down, if anything indeed was allowed to challenge their false reality. The liberal’s vision affirms a life of identity confusion being played out as self-assuredness. This forces their arrogance to grow with every opposing viewpoint because, as John Stossel points out, “the conceit of the anointed knows no bounds.”

Victor Davis Hanson further explains that “Liberals feel terrible about their own exclusivity and the abyss between what is professed and what is lived.” And explains why “angst over their voluntary segregation … is ameliorated by loudly and cheaply alleging that someone else is racist,” bigoted, sexist, fascist, or any emotional bomb throwing nomenclature that seeks to destroy another so as to avoid self awareness.

Sowell states: “many, if not most, people on the left find it inexplicable how any decent and intelligent person could be on the right.” While “Most people on the right have no problem understanding people on the left because many, if not most, were on the left themselves when they were younger.” The conservative views the liberal as fine, just uninformed, while the liberal views the conservative with distain and contempt. In short, liberals have yet to grow up, mature, and realize the world for what it is, not what they fantasize.

Sowell explains:

Most of us learn that from experience but experience is precisely what the young are lacking. “Experience” is often just a fancy word for the mistakes that we belatedly realized we were making, only after the realities of the world made us pay a painful price for being wrong. Those who are insulated from that pain; whether by being born into affluence or wealth, or shielded by the welfare state, or insulated by tenure in academia or in the federal judiciary can remain in a state of perpetual immaturity. Individuals can refuse to grow up, especially when surrounded in their work and in their social life by similarly situated and like-minded people. Even people born into normal lives, but who have been able through talent or luck to escape into a world of celebrity and wealth, can likewise find themselves in the enviable position of being able to choose whether to grow up or not. Those of us who can recall what it was like to be an adolescent must know that growing up can be a painful transition from the sheltered world of childhood. No matter how much we may have wanted adult freedom, there was seldom the same enthusiasm for taking on the burdens of adult responsibilities and having to weigh painful trade-offs in a world that hemmed us in on all sides, long after we were liberated from parental restrictions. Should we be surprised that the strongest supporters of the political Left are found among the young, academics, limousine liberals with trust funds, media celebrities, and federal judges?

To liberals it is always “societies” fault or America’s fault for any and all ills. Heaven forbid the liberal mind take personal responsibility and grow. Self awareness is far too painful and thus external blame is the default setting that protects their fragile cognitive house of cards. Liberals misperceive and distort the world in lieu of answering the difficult yet fundamental question of life, “Who am I.” Since they do not know who they are, they want to control what you are to make them feel as if they are “something special.”

The liberal lives in a world where reality is deconstructed into a matter of perceptions. These perceptions, mind you, can never be misperceptions. Liberals live in a world where pompous self indulgence separates and insulates “the special” from accountability and suffering of the type those who live in the real world know all too well.

And liberal leaders who sit in their academic “ivory towers” or endless “collaborative” meetings have little contact with the knowledge of the people. Their world of style over substance symbolism insulates them from the harshness of the human condition and allows them to bask in the warm glow of self approval. Yet, sadly, they are the first to proclaim they “feel your pain” and “understand your needs.” It’s an ironic condescension that is an all too typical reaction from a group who deals in feelings instead of facts.

Sowell argues correctly that “no one can really understand the political left without understanding that they are about making themselves feel superior, however much they may talk piously about what they are going to do to help others.” Therefore they must psychologically believe they are the “thinking people” who are “the brightest and the best.” As such they must play a special role in society by outlining the moral stand. Proof of this is that “the left’s lack of interest in testing the actual results of their bright ideas against hard facts betrays what their real interest is.”

Victor Davis Hansen points out that to liberals “our mastery of nature must extend to human nature as well. A society that can call anywhere in the world on a cell phone, must just as easily end war, poverty, or unhappiness, as if these pathologies are strictly materially caused, not impoverishments of the soul.”

And Michael Knox Beran explains, “Modern liberalism regards suffering not as something inherent in the very nature of life but as an anomaly to be eradicated by reason and science and social legislation.” The left thinks it has a right to a perfect life free of pain. This lack of even a basic understanding of human nature and history makes their denial of reality all but certain.

And while the left dominates the academic world, Sowell documents they are found in the “soft humanities, where there are no facts to challenge the fantasies that abound. Leftists head for similar fact-free zones outside of academia.” The faith of “science” is heralded by the left, while the actual use of science is ignored.

Yet the liberal vision, according to Friedrich Hayek, has a fatal error in thinking. Leftists believe they can alter forces more powerful than they and can comprehend and reason without limits. In short, the liberal mind does not believe it is held back by such fussy things as limits, costs, scarcity, and natural laws.


Liberal faith is placed in “reason” and the unlimited potential of an infallible ego-centric man; not in a faith of a greater power and a humbled acceptance of the limits to man’s reason because of a flawed human nature. They believe if it can’t be “reasoned,” it does not exist. In short, liberals can’t see something greater than self, so a power greater than self does not exist, which makes their power absolute.

Sowell states: “Many on the political left are so entranced by the beauty of their vision that they cannot see the ugly reality they are creating in the real world.” “Good Things have costs, often costs out of all proportion to whatever good they might do. But notions like trade-offs and diminishing returns seldom deter zealots, whose own egos are served by their zealotry in imposing their vision, however costly or counterproductive it may be for others.”

The elite left of today, Sowell says, are hardly “Karl Marx’s proletarians, who were supposed to bring on the revolution.” In contradiction, “the working class are in fact today among those most skeptical about the visions of the Left.”

The liberal anointed also romanticize about earlier peoples who they believed were, as Sowell describes, “noble savages” …”who supposedly lived in some sort of Eden before evil was introduced from outside by modern Western society. Of course the left conveniently forgets facts about the carnage, oppression, or brutality in such societies have been gilded over, totally ignored, or brazenly denied.” The left wants American society to go back to a more simple and sustainable time. Sadly, that was a time of greater poverty, crime, death, disease, and suffering not just for American’s but for everyone. John Milton said, Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. Going further, liberals would sooner live in hell than share in heaven.

Not only is their ignorance, but the hypocrisy of the ideology is breathtaking. Liberals hold evolutionary theory as a cornerstone of reason and yet feel the need to ignore its principles and supplant natural law with man as the social engineer. And according to Sowell, “People who believe in evolution in biology often believe in creationism in government. In other words, they believe that the universe and all the creatures in it could have evolved spontaneously, but that the economy is too complicated to operate without being directed by politicians.”  What is even more intellectually inconsistent is the same demigods who blame institutions for man’s evil nature dismiss the fact that men, like themselves, created the institutions.

Ludwig von Mises exposed the hypocrisy by stating: “they call themselves progressives, but they recommend a system which is characterized by rigid observance of routine and by a resistance to every kind of improvement. They call themselves liberals, but they are intent upon abolishing liberty. They call themselves democrats, but they yearn for dictatorship. They call themselves revolutionaries, but they want to make the government omnipotent.”

Sowell explains, “the dirty little secret of liberal politics is that it is not about the poor or ‘social justice’ but is about the political careers and moral exaltation of liberals themselves.” In other words, “idealism in words is not idealism in deeds.”

Sowell continues by pointing out that for liberals, who champion for the people and cry for equality, “there is remarkably little concern with allowing those other people to live their own lives as they see fit” Instead, they shamelessly promote “the most dangerous of all inequalities; the inequality of unaccountable power.” “Ever increasing and ever more minute regulation of other people’s lives has now reached the point where we cannot even take a shower, flush a toilet, or take out our garbage the way we want to.”

Sowell reminds us that: “the left’s ideological bigotry has become the norm on even our most prestigious campuses, where students can go for years without reading or hearing anything that challenges the left vision.” Universities no longer espouse the universal freedom of ideas. Instead, speech codes, political correctness, and censorship permeate what are supposed to be our most open forums of thought.

And liberals have distain for “crass material things.” But these same materialistic things “has released hundreds of millions of human beings from the curse of grinding poverty, endless toil, and given them longer lives,” according to Sowell. This hypocrisy is unseen or ignored by the left who thrive in the insulation of a self congratulatory fog.

What will be the Results of the new American Liberalism? Hayek said, “The vision of human limits offers a best case view, while the vision of ever expanding human capacity pushes civilization in a direction that will ultimately create a scenario of human decline.” Sadly, the left has won the culture war and we have past a tipping point in America. The results of the last 50 years of liberal warfare have left the nation scarred. Take a look at our family, economic, religious, educational, and government institutions, and the only a conclusion you can reach is one of American decline.

History is full of examples of collectivist failures: Jamestown, East Germany, Plymouth, Chavez’s Venezuela. Glen Risley states “The Soviet Union, Cuba, Vietnam, and North Korea are all examples of oppressive failures based on wealth redistribution.” He asks, “How can modern liberals embrace the tyrannical system that robs incentive and dooms an entire society to a mediocre standard of living dictated by central planning?

Sowell offers a simple question for liberals who emerged in the 60’s and rule today. “Do people on the left ever wonder why we do not suffer the poverty of India, the oppression of North Korea, the anarchy of Liberia, the slaughters of Rwanda, etc.? Would it ever occur to them that it might have anything to do with those very values and traditions which they are striving so hard to undermine or dismantle.” How can the left come to terms with the “undermining of such basic institutions as the family, law enforcement and education? Food stamps are no substitute for a father, busing is no substitute for a decent education and racial breast-beating is no substitute for being able to walk the streets without fear of hoodlums and murderers.”

It does not matter if Liberalism’s foundations are from a genetic nature or environmental nurture. It does not matter if liberalism’s dogma is a natural occurrence for humans who have not yet moved through the sequential and orderly process of maturation. It does not matter if liberalism is an outward expression of inner turmoil masking their neuroticism. The bottom line, liberalism’s cognitive reality is void of the brutal lessons of life’s reality coupled to human nature, scarcity, and the infinite dynamics of a universe we can’t possible begin to understand.

If you are not prepared to defend your nation, your business, and your family from the liberal mind, be prepared to live in barbarism. The new American liberal wants to go off the fiscal cliff, bankrupt the nation, and redistribute wealth until we are all equally living in poverty. It is time to understand the foe you are up against. Protecting their psyche at all costs is at the core of the liberal existence. Until that utopian view is demolished by an equal amount of focus, energy, and fight, liberalism will continue to win the battles and destroy the nation.

Dean Kalahar

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1 Comment

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    “Protecting her psyche” is what Hillary Clinton’s paranoia is all about. It’s that darned vast right wing conspiracy that has been foiling her righteous ambitions all along. Or at least since her basic criminality was discovered during Watergate. She has been protecting her psyche from the reality of having been fired, ever since.

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