Michael Eriksson
A Swede in Germany
Home » Politics | About me Impressum Contact Sitemap

Zero tolerance of the Left

Introduction

Based on what I have seen of the Left going back to the mid- to late 1980s, and on what I have read in countless sources, including history books going back half-an-eternity, we need to institute a zero tolerance of the Left. This especially with an eye at (a) the massive negative effects on education, science, freedom of speech, and similar of the last few decades; and (b) the far longer history of widespread violations of basic human rights, like “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, attempts to reduce the individual to a drone in a Borg collective, whatnot. Below, I will discuss some aspects of this issue. (For the time being, focused on limitations on the zero tolerance. More will likely come in due time. For more on why a zero tolerance is needed, I point, for now, to the many previous texts about the Left.)


Side-note:

What “half-an-eternity” implies is hard to say, as there are great troubles with drawing limits. For instance, should the French Revolution or some factions among the revolutionaries be viewed as Leftist, in a modern sense, or as something else? For instance, were various “Whigs” sufficiently far to the Left to be included, or might they have been more Centrist or, even , Rightwing by modern standards?

The point, however, is that certain attitudes, misbehaviors, and whatnots of the Left are not recent—they tend to appear where and when there is a Left, not just in, say, the Western world of 2023/the time of writing.

Another complication is that the (clear-cut) Left was rarely in power before the 20th century, which makes it hard to evaluate the pre 20th-century Left in the manner that we can the Left of the 20th and 21st centuries. On another dimension, a division between a Marxist or quasi-Marxist and a non-Marxist Left might be beneficial, and might give a more nuanced view of the Left of yore.



Side-note:

The negative effects of the Left are, of course, not limited to the examples. However, those given under (a) are particularly dangerous through the way that they can cause a vicious circle. Other great negatives include a severe hampering of economic growth, but this hampering does not have the same strong dangers beyond economic growth, it self.

(A vicious circle can be argued, in that lower growth, let alone Venezuelan-style economic destruction, can lead to a paradoxical increase in support for further Leftist policies, especially when combined with rhetoric about “evil capitalists”, “social justice”, whatnot; however, the effects are more indirect and the effects on specifically opinion corridors, Overton windows, and the like, are much smaller. Those given under (b) are also less prone to evil circles, but they strike so hard at the heart of human rights that no evil circle is needed.)

This is also restricted to what appears to be extremely common (today, almost universal) Leftist developments. The mass murders perpetrated by various Communist dictatorships were even worse, no doubt, but there are and were many Leftist whatnots that have not engaged in mass murder. Such mass murders might then lead to a zero tolerance towards certain portions of the Left, e.g. adherents of Lenin, Stalin, or Mao, but not the Left as a whole.


The Left—not Leftists

I urge for zero tolerance of the Left. It is of great importance not to confuse this with zero tolerance of Leftists. Individual Leftists might or might not require zero tolerance, depending on their individual behaviors, but not in a blanket manner and certainly not merely for being Leftists: Actions count over opinions and evil is as evil does.

The majority of Leftists seem to be fairly regular humans, who just happen to have fallen victim to distorting propaganda, misleading emotional arguments, or similar. (Beware of duplicating the common Leftist fallacy of considering those with the “wrong” opinions to be un-/nonpersons.) They are one or both of poor thinkers and poorly informed, but they, unlike the Left as an abstraction, are not automatically evil. Most seem to be utterly convinced that they are the “good guys” and/or “fight the good fight” (a very common human trait, in general), and are excellent examples of how the road to Hell is paved with good intentions—useful idiots. In particular, it might make great sense to differ between groups like voters and passive sympathisers, activists, political leaders, and ideologues when looking at the Left (and many other political leanings). An interesting complication is that many support the Left in the misguided belief that the Left would be in favor of something that it actually opposes or vice versa. (TODO write separate text on this and link.)

While zero tolerance should not be extended merely because of Leftist opinions, many Leftists should nevertheless be condemned, including those who engage in or encourage physical violence against political opponents for no better reason than differences in opinion. Ditto those who favor censorship based on differences in opinion. Ditto those who knowingly spread lies about their opponents, the situation in the world, what is scientific fact and what merely Leftist propaganda, etc. Ditto those who wilfully try to ruin language, science, or education in order to further Leftist agendas. Ditto whatnot. (The same, of course, applies to non-Leftists with similar misbehaviors, but these seem to be far rarer.)


Side-note:

One of the texts in my backlog deals with topics like violence against the violent, censorship against censors, bans of organisations favoring bans, etc. The general idea, in great abbreviation, can be seen as a mixture of self-defense and an extrapolation of the “Golden Rule”. For instance, the German extreme-Left party MLPD has repeatedly called for the widespread ban of other parties based on opinions (and e.g. called for revolution in public), while a common Leftist opinion, even in less extreme parties, is that the mostly harmless AfD should be banned. Parties like the MLPD deserve to, themselves, be banned and calling for a ban of them is acceptable—just like using physical violence in self-defense is acceptable, even though physical violence as an act of unprovoked aggression against someone innocent is not.

On the detail level, a call for a ban (censorship, a beating, whatnot) goes beyond the opinion that one should take place. For instance, the (expressed or silent) belief that the AfD should be banned, or that the world would be better if the AfD were banned, is an opinion, while calling for a ban is an action. (Borderline cases notwithstanding, including when an opinion is expressed in the belief and for the purpose that it will lead to actions by others, even absent an explicit call for such actions.)


Note the strong contrast to the repeated Leftist take that those who support the “wrong” party (e.g. the Swedish SD; cf. [1]) or the “wrong” candidate (e.g. Donald Trump), or say the “wrong” thing in a public forum (cf. the massive issues with “cancel culture” in recent years), must be ostracized, banned on Facebook, removed from (offline) friendships, fired, or even disowned as family members. A zero tolerance of Leftists would commit the same inhumane error. (However, compatible with the above side-note, ostracizing the ostracizers would be acceptable.)

Forms of zero tolerance

Exactly what forms zero tolerance should and may take is a tricky question. Evil is as evil does, and non-Leftist actions that make the same errors as Leftist actions so often do, might, in the end, replace one evil with another. The fact that the Left is evil to a large part goes back to exactly a “the end justifies the means” mentality, which dictates that evil actions should be allowed when they aim for a (usually mis-)perceived good. While this point can legitimately be reached, as with violence, or even killing, in self-defense, the bar must be much higher than that usually applied by the Left (which is often quite low, arbitrary, opportunistic, self-serving, cheaply utilitarian, or otherwise insufficient); and we must never forget that while a necessary evil might be necessary, the necessity does not make it a good.

For instance, a reduction of free speech for the purpose of preventing the Left from polluting the minds of the gullible might be tempting, but is no better, from an ethical point of view, than the similar reductions that the Left has so often tried to impose. Free speech must apply to everyone and to all opinions or it is not free speech.

A clear issue is politics: Sane and serious political parties must never form coalitions with Leftist parties, must never support Leftist issues, must never (in e.g. an intra-parliamentary vote) support a Leftist candidate for a political office/position of responsibility/whatnot, etc. (Note, in case of doubt, that the Left has pioneered this approach against e.g. the likes of AfD and SD, which adds similar aspects of self-defense and “Golden Rule” as above.)


Side-note:

However, even with this clear issue, the details are not necessarily clear.

For instance, not all suggestions made by someone on the Left are automatically Leftist (at least, in a stricter sense). If a Leftist party suggests a tax decrease, it would be foolish to reject it out of hand because the suggestion came from the Left. It might even be argued that a proper evaluation of issues on their merits would obviate a ban on support of Leftist suggestions, because the harmful, unjust, whatnot suggestions so often coming from the Left will fail on these merits. An important reason to reject Leftist suggestions, however, can come from the surrounding rhetoric, context, and long-term trends, as with e.g. a “We need to raise taxes so that the rich pay their fair share!!!”. A mere “We need to raise taxes to finance X.” might well fail on the merits, but the “fair share” example fails on being Leftism in a different manner. Likewise, restrictions can be necessary to prevent bartering, e.g. in that a Leftist suggestion is accepted by the non-Left in exchange for Leftist support for some non-Leftist suggestion. Likewise, some care might be needed to avoid an accumulation of damage through harmless-seeming Leftist suggestions, e.g. a continual growth of government or a continual undermining of free speech. Likewise, a too forgiving attitude increases the risk that Leftist suggestions with mass appeal are passed for fear of lost votes, even when ultimately damaging.

For instance, the restriction to political offices (etc.) above is important. Taking the U.S. as an example, supreme court justice is not (or, with an eye at Sotomayor et al., “should not be”) a political office, and there is no automatic hindrance to a Republican voting in favor of a Leftist nominee. Here other criteria take precedence, including perceived competence level and, above all, a willingness to do the job without judicial activism. That a ban on judicial activism would have filtered out the likes of Sotomayor is true, but this is only indirectly related to her being a Leftist. There is a strong correlation between Leftism and judicial activism; however, it is not a perfect one and Leftist judicial activists are evil because of the “judicial activist” part—not the “Leftist” part.


If we look at e.g. employment of individuals, it would be manifestly absurd to ban someone from a particular job because of opinions in an area unrelated to the job. (Notwithstanding that the Left has often tried exactly that. The restriction to “unrelated” is important, as opinions related might be detrimental to work performance or, in very rare cases, inherently unconscionable in context, as with e.g. the employment of a Satanist by a Christian church). However, there is a considerable problem with Leftists abusing their professional roles to further their own agendas, often at the cost of the employer, the customers, the tax-payers, or what might apply in any given case. Consider teachers and the risk that a teacher with a poisonous mind proceeds to poison the minds of the children in (usually) her care. Ditto HR members who abuse their positions to hire, fire, and promote based on ideological conformance. Ditto, as above, judges who engage in judicial activism. Here control mechanisms are warranted, provided that they focus on actions, not opinions. For instance, a teacher should not be banned for having unfortunate political (or other) opinions, but might be so for e.g. abusing the classroom for Leftist propaganda or attempts to force the children into “action civics”. In a next step, however, drawing borders between the one and the other can be quite hard—to the point that even a teacher set on being neutral might err unconsciously. Certainly, care must be taken not to ban a neutral, objective, and proportionate presentation of Leftist ideas in the context of politics, history of thought, and what else might reasonably apply.


Side-note:

Another complication with teachers (and analogously in other areas) is that the sheer number of teachers, administrators, whatnot, that are Leftists and willing to abuse their positions for activism is so large that it would be a major uphill battle to reverse the trend. That activist administrators push teachers in a negative direction, even against their will, seems to be fairly common. Then we have complications like teachers being indoctrinated into certain ideologies and with a message of “Once you are a teacher, it is your duty to indoctrinate the children!”, which causes an evil circle that is very hard to break.

(For the sake of precision: I use “indoctrinate” and its variations in the border-line brain-washing sense, not in the rarer sense of approximately “teach”. Faulting a teacher for teaching would be paradoxical. Of course, chances are that a Leftist would have chosen a different word or formulation to begin with, but the ultimate meaning is the same.)


Looking more at actions, Leftist actions should clearly often be met with zero tolerance, e.g. when it comes to manipulating language, to dictate that words have a new meaning that everyone else must adhere to, to tear down monuments for hateful reasons, to distort history, to bowdlerize children’s classics because they do not match a woke worldview, to prevent non-Leftist speakers from being heard through violence or noise-making, whatnot. For instance, some of the disgraceful, anti-academic, anti-intellectual, and anti-whatnot actions by Leftist college students should be met with immediate and non-negotiable expulsion—preferably, followed by criminal charges for assault or whatever might apply in the individual case. For instance, any bowdlerized publication should be boycotted. (More generally, we must aim for “Go woke, go broke!”.) For instance, we must insist on using words in their proper meanings.


Side-note:

“Early intervention”, as towards a college student, has the advantage that the lesson can sink in that much sooner—not to mention that colleges are an unusually large source of Leftist misbehavior. (Intervening before the college age can be even better, but comes with limits on what actions are proportionate, ethical, and/or legal against minors.)

When it comes to issues relating to free speech, as with e.g. college speakers and the contents of books, it is important to bear in mind that evil actions do not just prevent the speaker from speaking—they also prevent the prospective hearer from hearing. Here, again, Leftist college students are particularly problematic as they seem to be driven by a perfidious and inexcusable attitude: It is not enough that they, themselves, do not listen—they actively try to prevent others from listening. (Where “listen[ing]” might need replacement depending on the situation. Cf. e.g. below; note e.g. the difference between (a) using a word in an invented, non-standard meaning oneself and (b) insisting that everyone else must abandon the standard meaning in favor of the invented meaning.)

To take a more personal example: For parts of 1997 and 1998, during my time as an exchange student, there was a massive “strike” among large groups of German university students. These were not content with simply not participating in lectures and whatnots. Instead, they actively prevented others from going to lectures, or even entering university buildings, including through actions like physically barricading doors. As I said back then, those who go to such excesses should have been expelled—and I say it again today. Such shits have forfeited their right to be students at the university at hand through their own actions. Moreover, the police should have intervened, removed the barricades, and arrested the evil-doers. (Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, no true consequences of any kind followed.)

(As an aside, the point of such “strikes” is dubious to begin with: This was a state-funded university with minimal fees and, unlike e.g. for a car-maker, the strike did not cut down production and reduce profits. There were two groups hurt—the strikers, themselves, and the non-striking students who were illegally kept out of the university by the strikers. To boot, the strikers were very vague on what they wanted to achieve and provided no argumentation for why they were in the right.)


However, again, great care must be taken, as not all Leftist actions are automatically evil. (And, again, evil arises from actions—not opinions.) There is no excuse for e.g. shouting down or throwing eggs at a non-Leftist speaker, but the Left must have the same right as the non-Left to e.g. put up “Vote for [candidate]!” signs. The ever-recurring problem is simply that actually evil actions are far, far more likely to come from the Left than the non-Left.

Excursion on Marcuse

I have for many years had the intention to write something on Marcuse, especially his hateful and lying ideas that, paraphrased, “We of the noble Left must not tolerate the depraved Right, because the Right is intolerant!”. While the general idea is not that different from the above, such reasoning requires that we fight fire with fire—not anything random that we happen to disagree with. Even back then, however, the Left was a far greater source of intolerance (when given the opportunity) than the non-Left. Left: beam. Non-Left: mote.

(And, again, “evil is as evil does”: My aversion of the Left is largely based on what the Left does. The Leftist aversion of others is very often based on what the others believe—not in what they do. Equally, Leftist aversion is very often based on group belonging, regardless of actual actions, e.g. in forms like “X is a member of the bourgeois; ergo, X is evil”. Ditto variations with “is rich”, “is White”, “is Christian”, “supports Trump”, whatnot, depending on who, when, and where.)

Every time that I attempt to write more than a few lines, as I do here, I have so far had to give up, because my (literal or metaphorical) blood pressure goes through the roof. The claims of Marcuse turn the world on its head—and, most likely, through a deliberate attempt to mislead. Moreover, they do so in an utterly disgusting manner. Imagine already contemplating issues like when Leftist intolerance and whatnot must be tolerated and when intolerance must be fought with intolerance (likely, in the year leading up to the 2010 Swedish election, cf. [1]), and then to be exposed to the hateful nonsense of Marcuse, to be told that the Left is justified in its intolerance and its absurd anti-democratic and anti-whatnot behavior because the non-Left (!!!) would be intolerant...


Side-note:

Another text in my backlog, and one much more likely to be written, relates to a bigger issue of portions of the Left welcoming, with open arms, “Bibles” that give the Left a pseudo-justification to believe what it already wants to believe, to implement the policies that it already wants to implement, to agitate the voters that it already wants to agitate, and similar—never mind that these “Bibles” are more based on words, rhetoric, and wishful thinking than on true thought and real science; and never mind what the truth actually is, what science actually says, what empirical evidence actually shows, whatnot. Ditto that works are evaluated, positively or negatively, not based on the quality of reasoning, gathering and interpretation of data, or similar, but based on whether they support or conflict with this-or-that Leftist narrative.

Good examples include Lysenkoism, Keynesianism, the “nurture only” nonsense, and, more recently, various “all Whites are evil racists” books. (The works of Marx are similar, but might have done more to create the Left than they have been welcomed by the Left.) Chances are that the same applies to “Marcusianism”. In the other direction, the likes of Charles Murray are condemned as evil, fraudulent, racist, whatnot, because of their findings—not because of their values or original opinions, any actual attempts at fraud, any actual gross mistakes, whatnot.

Note e.g. how Keynes flawed and outdated “General Theory” is still raised to the skies by many Leftists and/or Big-Government proponents, who are often not even remotely acquainted with its actual contents, and how Gould’s long discredited and, likely, actually fraudulent “The Mismeasure of Man” is still seen as “proof” that IQ-this and IQ-that by ignorants.