Free Markets, Free People

On The Left: Who Are The Nihilists?

Andrew Sullivan (or one of the Andrew Sullivans), supposed “Republican” – or is it “libertarian”, I forget – has a post today in which he highlights a liberal reader’s lament.  It’s essence, of course, is this is all Bush’s fault and, for heaven sake, how can you expect the grand and wonderful Obama to have fixed his mess in a year?

Well, here’s a suggestion – how about by focusing on the problem instead of wandering off in other directions. The commenter centers his or her comments on the fact that they’re unemployed and their COBRA benefits are fast running out. And, of course, he or she has a preexisting condition. So the priority is to pass health care?

Really? Is it? Or is it to get that person back on a job?

That, of course, is the argument, isn’t it? And all the whining and crying about Bush, etc. won’t change the fact that the majority of all the problems now facing the country are best addressed by getting the economy moving. Tax cuts for business, policies that provide incentives for businesses to expand and hire – that is where the government’s energy should be focused. Not on ancillary issues that cost trillions and don’t even kick in for 4 or 5 years. Sullivan’s commenter acts as though getting this health care bill through will save them when their COBRA runs out in 5 months. Not even close.

Business is sitting on the sidelines afraid to expand or hire because of the unsettled business environment. They have no idea what this health care bill will cost them in marginal taxes, so until that becomes clear, why would they hire? Shelving or killing this health care monstrosity would actually help the employment situation. Immediately. Same with cap-and-trade.

The argument, which so enrages this commenter, is taking place now in a series of special elections. And what further enrages this commenter is his side is losing that argument. The answer then is to characterize those who oppose the direction this country is taking as “nihilists”. Nihilists?

I have to wonder if either Sullivan or the commenter understand the word? I’m more inclined to believe that it is instead used like “fascist” to really mean “anyone who disagrees with me”. But for your edification, here’s how nihilism is defined:

1. One who advocates the doctrine of nihilism; one who believes or teaches that nothing can be known, or asserted to exist.

2. (Politics) A member of a secret association (esp. in Russia), which is devoted to the destruction of the present political, religious, and social institutions.

Those definitions really don’t support the commenter’s premise. In fact, it is the contention of those with whom the commenter is so upset that this administration and the Democrats are engaged in the second definition of “nihilism” with a vengeance. “Libertarian” or “Republican” or whatever he is today Sullivan ends his post with:

For Gods sake, vote for Coakley. Not for Coakley. For the rest of us.

Which brings me to a second blogger who also discusses the Sullivan post and agrees with the lament (and, I would suppose, the characterization of those opposed to the government takeover of health care as “nihilists”). Nothing particularly compelling in his discussion until you get to this part:

It is at moments like this that I wish we had an authoritarian ruler who could take over for a few years, a clear-headed liberal in the classical sense who could ram things through and get them done without giving a thought to the shrieks and cackles of the deranged fringes of either side. It’s at moments like this when I think, “The USA could use a little China, or at least a little Singapore.” A benevolent despot who can engineer solutions and force them to happen.

Holy liberty loving Hannah.

How about a little USSR? A dab of Cuba? Some of Pol Pot’s Cambodia for leavening?

I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the left are closet authoritarians who, at the drop of a hat, would resort to what this blogger describes if they could get away with it, always with the naive belief that this dictator would be “a benevolent despot”. Of course, as pointed out previously, definitions mean little to the left who apparently don’t realize that “benevolent despot” is an oxymoron of the first degree.

The hidden desire in Sullivan’s last line – a fulfillment of the latter bloggers wish – is a vote to maintain the filibuster proof Senate with the authoritarian power to thwart the minority and ram through what the elite think we should have. Who care what the “nihilists” in flyover country want or don’t want. “The USA could use a little Cuba China” afterall.



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24 Responses to On The Left: Who Are The Nihilists?

  • I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the left are closet authoritarians

    If you have your head out of your rear-end, there’s nothing “closeted” about them. (See Goldberg’s Liberal Fascists.)
    Watch for about 200,000 suspicious votes being cast in the Massachusetts election today.
    Get ready with the tar, feathers, and rails.

  • The reason that the “blame Bush” strategy doesn’t work is as simple as it is obvious– we know that Obama inherited the countries’ problems.  This is not a mystery.  The reason he was elected was because those who voted for him believed that he could fix those problems.  Constantly reminding us that he inherited them comes off as exactly what it is– whining and making excuses.  No one likes a whiner.  And people get particularly irritated when the whiner is the person who is supposed to be in charge.
    Leave the whining to Olbermann.  He’s good at it, and easy to ignore.
    As for “benevolent despots,” isn’t that a linchpin of radical leftist thought?  Both the extreme right and the extreme left are of the mind that it is their duty to control your behavior, and if you won’t willingly submit, then they are justified in using whatever means they can in order to save us from ourselves.  Anyone who wishes that we were under the control of a dictator is subscribing to the extreme end of the political spectrum.

  • Thanks for the mention, but you leave out a key part of my quote about having a government like China:
    Of course, this is impossible, because once we agree to give up pluralism we lose control and anything can happen, as history has shown us. Franz Papen tried a similar experiment in 1933. Nothing can be more dangerous, considering the human frailties and temptations of anyone invested with vast power. But it’s nice to dream now and then.
    I would never, ever be in favor of any kind of despot ruling America, and thought I made that very, very clear. “Nothing can be more dangerous.”

  • You think Andy would feel quite the same if that benevolent despot was a conservative?

    Yeah……me neither.

    They never ever stop to think for 1 second that the guy with absolute power may just have different ideas than they do.

    Children. We’re dealing with children here.

  • benevolent despots
    This sort of thing always reminds me of the folks who would love to live in the Medieval Ages, but never as a serf. The world has never had enough room for more than a handful of princes and princesses.

    • That is why Huey Long ran on “every man a king”!  If Huey could come back alive today he sure would have a lot of gullible idiots to fleece.

  • Someone doesn’t know what a “liberal . . . in the classical sense” is.

    A classical liberal pushing through a government takeover of healthcare. WTF?

  • Wait, so if the commenter can afford to make COBRA payments, why can’t they afford a private health plan?  Assuming that they have had unbroken insurance coverage for a while, HIPAA pretty much takes care of the pre-existing condition problems.
    Hell, I’m currently unemployed (and, sadly, uninsured) and I don’t think this mess of a bill is my ticket to insurance.

  • Obama can’t focus on “the problem” because he doesn’t know what the problem is. Doesn’t have a clue. I saw a Rasmussen poll this morning that showed a national poll of voters that favored Brown in Mass. by app. 49-34. (I can’t verify that at the moment because Rasmussen’s site appears to have been hit with an attack.)

    If that poll is any indicator, Brown’s election would be as close to a recall of Obama as you can get before you get to the 2010 midterms. I’d been telling Mrs. McP for a few months that people can’t wait for the next election. And that appears to be true even in super-Democratic Mass.

    But watch this White House. It’s hellbent on enslaving Americans in its health care monstrosity. It’s not hope or change or transparency; it’s government as prison rape.

    • When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher’s knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross!

    • “…government as prison rape.”

  • Singapore: Corporate tax rates from 0% to max 17% (in 2010) and that income is not taxable thereafter as dividends (i.e. taxed only once.) There is no capital gains tax in Singapore.
    I guess this is “clasically” liberal though.
    I doubt the  “classically liberal” solution to healthcare would be even close to what these guys want to pass.

  • If that last idiot got a “classical Liberal” authoritarian (never mind the contradictions). Then he would be very upset with the results.  The first thing a classical liberal would do is cut all government programs down to only defense, the patent office, criminal justice, and maybe the park service.

  • If Brown wins today, Obamacare is dead in the water.

    Apropos choice of words, given the murdering drunkard who previously held that seat.

  • The Nihilism claim may be coming from an Emerging Mythology I’ve seen among Progressives.

    That programs like nationalized healthcare are a return to Golden Utopia of the New Deal Era.  Everything was perfect, rainbows and sunshine and the Evil Capitalists, Industrialists, and Republicans tore it down.

    Its kind of odd but there’s a merging of the ‘being on the Path to Socialism’ with actually being ‘there’.  Somehow the distinction is blurred.  And the fact we were on the path until Capitalism helped recover the economy in spite of the socialist policies matters not. 

    Therefore opposing socialist policies is actually opposing our return to the Golden Utopian State and extending our time in the Darkness. 

  • Well, to be fair to Sullivan’s complainer, “nihilist” also has a common enough meaning as one who rejects <I>all moral valuations</i> and asserts that nothing has value (or nothing has value in general, and all values are completely arbitrary) – a follower of the philosophy of <I>nihilism</i>. (Rather than the relatively obscure early-20th-century Russian political party.)
    I presume that’s what he meant, since that’s the only sensible meaning of the word in that context.
    <A href=””>M-W</a> has it as the FIRST meaning for nihilISM…

    • Why? Why can’t there be standard HTML markup, and paragraph breaks that don’t turn into unprintable characters…?

      • I’d like a preview button, too, as long as the wishing star is in the sky.

      • Having tested it out on another thread, it looks like you can use the <a href> tags, but you have to code them in via the HTML window accessed through the button on the far right side of the button bar.  Haven’t tried it with <p> or <br />, though.