397. The clinging (VIII)
I once said to a Marxist friend that the division between the left and the right can be seen in ancient Greece; he replied that it only went back to 1789, to the famous division in the French National Assembly between the different factions, seated accordingly. If you think about it for a moment, there is a good reason for why he would say so: the left holds that man is easily mutable and can be remade at will; consequently, they cannot hold that the division between left and right is very old—if the division is very old it suggests that there is a quality to man that is unchanging; ergo, the right is correct.
So the leftist is bound to argue that the left-right division started around 1789—or perhaps, at a push, the English Civil War. At a superficial level—the level the left prefers—they are correct: discussions about private property, aristocracy, and so on were put forward in a novel way from around 1789 onwards; then again, Plato advocates for what is recognisably communism and feminism.
Man is said to have come into being in a form recognisable to us around 200,000 years ago; our genes change, and the change is relatively slow; the motivations, actions, and desires seen in the Old Testament and Homer are completely understandable to us—the past is another country, but it is not another planet. How likely is it that a completely new behavioural dynamic, never seen before, appeared from nowhere in 1789? No; only at a superficial level was there a change. The right stands for responsible behaviour in accordance with reality; the left stands for irresponsibility, usually mediated by lies. The leftist position is permanent adolescence: left-wing people would rather die than look uncool (“Refugees welcome here,” they say, even when the terrorists murder their children; being a “good person” comes first) and when they are not keeping a close eye on what others consider “cool”, lest they fall behind, they are cooking up plausible excuses for when it all goes wrong and someone needs to avoid responsibility.
Many people never get much beyond fourteen emotionally; except it so happens that these people also command armies, determine health policies, and chart the fate of millions. You will notice that politicians—certainly democratic politicians—are effectively de facto adolescents; to hold the role you have to behave in an adolescent way—which in an adult is basically criminal. The leftist is the fifteen-year-old who drinks whisky, “borrows” mom’s car, crashes it into a tree…but it totally totally wasn’t my fault…I swear to God…if you’d hear me out…OMG this is so unfair.
How different was Bill Clinton pretending that he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky to a fifteen-year-old maintaining that he “borrowed the car without asking”? (“That depends on what you mean by ‘sex’…” “It was a special type of borrowing…” ). None at all, except that people, for various reasons, had to pretend to believe Clinton—or it was in their interests to do so. So there has always been a left and a right, in various forms; call the division “greys” and “oranges” if it helps—there were “greys” who wanted to increase Rome’s bread dole, and “oranges” who wanted to cut back on lions at the Colosseum this year; especially since Christians were scarce at that moment. Admittedly, since we have found ways to insulate irresponsible people from death the dynamic has become considerably worse; and that accounts for why the left is a more visible and coherent force today—the emancipation of women, incapable of mature behaviour, added to the problem as well.
There are certain techniques that could reduce this problem somewhat—perhaps regular cold showers so that people feel less comfortable and impressed with themselves, or the old religions that tell people they are not the most wonderful thing ever just because they exist. Ultimately, however, this is a fixed biological condition; it must be bred out.