Saturday, July 08, 2006

"What did we do wrong" vs. "Who did this to us"

Anonymous said...Dr. Godwin, what do you see as the key defining elements of
leftist liberalism and rightist conservatism? 9:35 AM
Michael Andreyakovich said...I can't answer for Bob, but I think the difference between attitudes on the Left and Right is summed up quite adequately by the two questions in the Bernard Lewis quote: "What did we do wrong" vs. "Who did this to us".
  • What did we do wrong? is the typical phrase that the right-wing politician asks himself; if a policy in place is not working, he prefers to throw it out and try something else - or at least ATTEMPT to throw it out. There must be a mistake somewhere in the policy itself - and that can be fixed, taking into account the imperfection of the citizens to whom the policy applies.
  • Leftist politicians ask Who did this to us? The failure of a policy is never their fault; they assume that it was sabotaged by their political opponents, or by the failure of society to live up to its full potential. Their response to a failed policy is to try it again, and yet again, until somebody somehow gets it right. The policy is perfect; it's other people that are the only real problem. 10:05 AM
Gagdad Bob said... I don't know that there is one key. If you search through the archives you will see that I have discussed the differences from many different angles. But if I had to pick just one, I would say that leftism in all its forms is a closed system that is alienated from the greater reality of the vertical. In the absence of a transcendent vertical telos, they are condemned to an ideology and existence that are ultimately unworthy of the dignity of man. 10:10 AM

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