Wednesday, October 28, 2009
The Left’s World of Fairy Tales
by Dennis Prager
Front Page Magazine
How is one to rationally explain the Democrats’ belief that the government taking over another one-sixth of the American economy is a good thing?
The answer is religion. Given the huge economic failures that the left itself attributes to Medicare and Medicaid and given the economic collapse or near collapse of these systems in other countries, the left’s prescriptions can only be explained in one way: The left has made its views a form of religion.
Most individuals on the left are not religious, but virtually all people, secular and religious, liberal and conservative, yearn to believe in dogma, i.e., absolute beliefs that transcend reason. For people on the left in Europe, the United States and elsewhere, belief in the state — the notion that the state can do a better job at helping people and making a good society — is one such dogma. This applies especially to educating the young and to health care.
Examples of left-wing dogmas that transcend reason are as numerous as any religion’s catechism. One example is the belief that men and women, boys and girls, are basically the same, that the vast majority of characteristics we ascribe to male and female natures are in fact socially induced. This irrational dogma was virtually universally believed and taught by the left-wing faculty when I attended college, and remains so today.
Another is the belief that manmade carbon dioxide emissions are heating the world to the point of imminent worldwide catastrophe, including island nations disappearing underwater, mass starvation, inundation of the world’s major coastal areas and much more. The fact that the world has been getting colder for the last eight years is as irrelevant to most people on the left as the absence of archaeological evidence for the biblical exodus is irrelevant to believing Jews and Christians. That includes me; I do not believe in the Hebrew exodus from Egypt because of scientific evidence, but because of faith. But unlike the left’s belief in manmade carbon emissions leading to unprecedented and calamitous heating of the planet, I admit my belief is a leap of faith. And my belief in the exodus will not ruin Western economies. In other words, my non-scientific belief in the Jews’ exodus is innocuous while the left’s non-scientific beliefs (though shrouded in scientific jargon and promulgated by scientists who put dogma over science) are forced on societies.
One cannot understand the left if one does not appreciate the world of dogmas in which most left-wing thinkers live. What the monastery is to monks, the university and the mainstream media are to the left.
That is the only way to explain the left’s belief that government-run health care, having the government take over so much more of society, raising taxes yet again, expanding government even more and increasing the number of people employed by the government will all be good for America.
Dogma explains why it is useless to point out to the left how the left has economically crippled California, once the most prosperous, most adventurous, most successful “country” in the world (it has an economy that would make it about the seventh largest country in the world). Likewise, it does not matter to blacks what Democrats have done to their cities. As they watch their cities crumble, they will once again vote overwhelmingly for the party that oversaw this destruction.
None of these facts matters because religious-like dogmas are not derived from facts.
In addition to dogma, the left relies for its policies on “hope,” which it often substitutes for analysis. People on the left rarely vote based on reality. They vote based on “hope.” That’s why the word “hope” is so much more significant to the left than to the right. The last two Democratic presidents ran as candidates of “hope.” The right doesn’t have “hope” candidates because conservatives don’t live on hope. They live in reality, meaning that people are not born basically good; that investing men and women with great state power leads inevitably to abuse of that power; that people stop innovating if they are taxed too highly; and that a perfect health care system is understood to be impossible.
And, finally, the left dreams. Robert F. Kennedy often cited the statement first made by George Bernard Shaw: “Some men see things as they are and say ‘why?’ I dream things that never were and say ‘why not?’” The left dreams of an America in which health care will constantly improve, health insurance will be given to every American at the same price irrespective of his or her health, doctors will be fairly reimbursed, there will be no waiting lines, and there will not be a dime’s increase in the national debt for all of this.
Frankly, I don’t yearn for what is unseen. Rather, having a realistic understanding of the limitations of human beings, I am in awe of what I already see — the unique American achievement of affluence, liberty, decency, opportunity and medical innovations.
And I see this all being squandered for the sake of left-wing dogma, left-wing hopes and left-wing dreams.