Shortly after the election, former Ron Paul staffer Eric Dondero wrote a piece in which he declared Obama supporters his sworn enemies, “enemies of liberty” as he called them. He cut off all contact with friends, neighbors, and relatives who backed the President’s reelection campaign, calling them “enemies of freedom”, and took his boycott to all areas of his life. Like most others in the conservative/libertarian coalition, I didn’t think much of it, and dismissed his reaction as childish. It wasn’t so much that I disagreed with his assessment of them, but after all, personal relationships transcend politics. I was half wrong.
What I failed sufficiently to consider was the infinite gulf between how individualists and collectivists view the world. Although many, including me, have generally thought of this primarily in terms of politics, the issues about which the talking heads shout on the news networks every night are merely a reflection of the real difference, not the difference itself. The real difference is much more fundamental.
Consider for a moment just how many conservative/libertarian friends have cut off contact with you for political reasons. There may be people with whom you speak less because of politics, but it is unlikely that you’ll find a person who solely for political reasons uttered the words, “I’m never speaking to you again.” Now ask yourself the same question about leftists. Chances are that number is considerably higher. Understanding why that is the case is critically important moving forward.
Here is the inherent difference that we have not fully considered: conservatives and libertarians believe in the inherent rights and value of the individual. To be sure, the two groups disagree on a whole host of issues, but those disagreements are simply different branches of the same tree. For example, many conservatives oppose legal gambling because they believe it to be in conflict with the inherent dignity of the individual while libertarians generally support it based on the notion that such dignity requires that each person be able to make that choice for himself.
By contrast, leftists have no such respect for individual rights or dignity. In their view, the world must operate according to what makes them feel good, or what seems “fair” to them. That is why they view the Constitution not as a living document but as a moot one. In their ideology, written rules and individual rights are passé. The “enlightened” individual must submit himself to the collective, and those unwilling to do so must be ignored, mocked, defeated, or, if necessary, destroyed.
That difference is why you will generally find that leftists will cut off relationships with you for political purposes, but conservatives and libertarians generally will not. Regardless of political differences, the latter treat people as individuals with inherent dignity. A person is not simply a liberal, Democrat, or even Communist. It’s Bob, and he has a job, a family, hobbies, goals, quirks, etc. Leftists, however, viewing people as members of the collective, treat those who do not reinforce their views as evil. There is no inherent human dignity. Their friend or relative is not Bob but some archaic barbarian rube who is nothing more than an obstacle to “progress”.
Why is this important?
Over the last six or so years since now-President Obama began his campaign, his cult of personality has overtaken the left in a way that no previous President has done with a group of this size in US history. Unlike Dondero, I will say that this doesn’t apply to all of the President’s voters, but certainly a critical mass of them. With demoralization having long been completed and destabilization well under way, tens of millions of minds that have been turned to mush by an education system that makes them incapable of critical thinking have ceded their thought process wholesale to their messiah. You don’t find the anti-war protesters marching over Libya or Yemen. The gun grabbers ignore Fast and Furious. Many in the middle class praise the President for raising their taxes even after exalting him when he vowed not to do so. Those who decried the Bush Administration’s Wall Street connections didn’t even blink when Obama put the same people in power. Crickets all around as the President walks on water.
To be sure, it is critically important that we not make the same mistake the leftists have made. We must be extremely careful to continue to respect the rights and dignity of individuals even if they themselves fail to do the same. Doing otherwise would make us no better than them: we would defeat ourselves.
That said, beware. Do not expect the same of them: their world view does not allow it. Do not waste your time arguing with them: such attempts will be no more fruitful than arguing with those who say that fossils are Satan’s tricks. Their minds are not simply made up. They’ve been given away. Finally, while our world view demands that we continue to respect them as individuals with dignity and rights, it would be foolhardy to think that these people would not turn on you in a heartbeat if their deity demanded it. Be prepared for that moment.