In trying to understand what appears to be the reckless evil of the Left, one can have no recourse to any great philosophic writing or treatise. Neither in the Ancient world nor in the Modern has there been put forward a philosophic or scientific justification of the Left’s worldview in the form in which the Left appears to us today.
The Left has moved on from Marx’s empirically refuted Capital, or the mostly implemented policy recommendations of the Communist Manifesto. The Left’s ambitions have grown and not even the desperate modifications of the Frankfurt School to try to bring back the theory to reality has achieved success. Only the destructive consequences have been successful, not its intellectual underpinnings. Nor has Foucault’s focusing on power and sex changed this situation, though it marks a descent and willingness to wallow in squalor.
All that is left standing in the Academy is an eclectic mix of sexless and autistic John Rawls (whose theory rests on a logical fallacy of a petitio principii, viz, the mythical or supernatural “veil of ignorance”) and post-modern lightweights who do not even feel the need to provide justifications or reasoning – to the extent they are not simply soulless careerists or poseurs.
Into this vacuum stumbles such a person as Phillip Adams, who cherry-picks his justification for being a Leftist from what he understands of modern natural science and philosophy to bolster his politics, rather than looking at the world dispassionately and assessing how the chips have fallen out and to start from that basis to build a worldview or see which one most accurately captures the world in its wholeness.
Sometimes an idiot can give insight, by accident, into why a school of thought has stumbled into irrational proclivities which are unsupported by scientific research or philosophic justification. Such is the case with the ABC broadcaster, Phillip Adams, an ancient relic of Australia’s now lost prosperity which enabled him to get embedded at the ABC and extract economic rent from us while poisoning its audience and undermining the institution of public broadcaster.
This fussy and pompous pontificator was not formally educated. He did not complete high school (this was way back when you did not have to complete high school in order to get any job at all – when Australia was a land of opportunity, and not even having any talent meant you could get by, or in fact as his life attests, even prosper). The Australia that Adams and his generation brought about and now jealously guards no longer provides its citizens with such egalitarian opportunity and social mobility. Still, Adams hates what Australia was and is not grateful in any way at all. Strictly speaking Adams belongs to the Silent Generation, born just before the War, but his views are indistinguishable from the most benighted boomer. In fact, he is (like so many ABC journalists, past and present) a former Communist Party member in his youth (his words: “they were really sweet to [him]”). The right-wing equivalent of having once done this alone (however disavowed) would permanently and completely exclude you from appearing on radio or television in Australia. (ASIO kept track of young Phillip – back in the days when they actually did their job). He does not like the contemporary Labor Party, but only because it does not emulate his political hero, Paul Keating, enough: for him the Left needs to be even more Left and intransigent, like throwing petrol on a burning house with people still inside, whilst the Fire Brigade is being pelted with stones by his fellow travellers and is unable to assist in putting it out.
Adams’ lack of philosophic seriousness can be seen in his lackadaisical atheism, whereby he has “faith in science”. At the stately age of five he lost his faith, the prevailing winds of science or rather of scientists (despite however mutually inconsistent) is set up by him as his intellectual authority for politics. Adams has not reflected sufficiently upon the value-free and positivistic nature of modern natural science which cannot provide what he expects from it.
Adams gave a revealing interview to the University of Sydney’s student rag, Honi Soit (2009), which from time immemorial always allows no diversity of opinion or thought within its pages ever to appear. Like watching or listening to the ABC, it is here where the Left talks (only) to itself, not feeling the need to present other points of view or examine evidence which contradicts the political or ideological commitments made by them. But it is precisely in these intellectually hostile environments where not only the behaviour of the Left can be noted, but its deepest and most cherished beliefs, which are usually hidden from view.
For electoral politics, this strictly enforced Stalinist echo-chamber provides any political party opposed to the Left an inside front-row seat to what the Left is planning and it inadvertently displays those points on which the Left think they are most strong or weak, signalling their entire strategy to anyone with ears to hear or eyes to see. There are no surprises for the other side once an election has been announced and the word has come down to the ABC on what line to push. The hopes and fears of the Left are all laid bare for anyone watching. This is the only remaining service the ABC provides beyond pushing its own partisan Left political agenda.
In such an environment, anyone on the Left can relax, let their hair down, and speak openly about their motivations and dreams. This is the inherent weakness of being a public echo-chamber of the Left. By sheltering the Left and protecting it from critique there is no camouflage for it to hide behind. Similarly, on a much smaller scale, the situation of a university rag lets academics put Leftists at ease as they open up about its worldview in front of a docile and compliant audience.
In trying to give a justification of Leftism in the Honi Soitinterview, Adams focuses in on Richard Dawkins the animal ethologist and Peter Singer the philosophy lecturer in order to provide some intellectual basis for the Left and its worldview.
He thinks they provide him with “evolutionary account of where our morality comes from,” as if this suffices to provide a specific ethics amongst the vast range of conflicting moralities on offer in the world.
“What we call ethics or morality is hard wired into us.” This would be at odds with standard Leftist narratives about a totally malleable human nature, but he does not pause to reflect on this.
“We have empathetic, altruistic or anti-thetic, aggressive sentiments” This is not new or dropped down from Heaven like manna by Dawkins. One can scarcely imagine a more well-known description of the range of human (indeed of animal) feelings. It is the unsupported and unjustified leap that Adams makes that all moral value consists only of altruistic, empathetic feelings that is of significance.
“I see the struggle in moral terms about pushing the feelings of altruism further and further and minimising the impulse towards aggression.” It really is that simple for him: aggression = bad, altruism = good. This appears to be the ideological counterpart of Orange Man Bad. The complexity, interplay, and necessary mixing of these elements in appropriate amounts are totally dismissed in favour of an extreme valuation of only one side of the range of human feelings (how evolution got us into this situation if it is a bad one remains unexplained on his principles of following whatever the evolutionist Dawkins says).
Dawkins needs to instruct Adams on life for a creature which has no aggression living amongst those of greater numbers who do have this character, or for a society of such altruistic creatures which imports increasing numbers of more aggressive and more numerous creatures into their own societies. What will play out will not be Adams’ dream world of mutual co-existence, but rather exploitation by one group (the more aggressive one) over the other (more altruistic one), and systematic and pervasive free-loading at the host community’s expense. (This is what we are seeing playing out over the entire Western World). One can guarantee genocide for such a creature which adheres to Leftist ideology, or its descendants. The example of the Dodo (which seems to fit perfectly Adams’ philosophic ideal) seems to be beyond Adams’ capacity to extrapolate from. A Dodo can only exist in isolation from non-Dodos.
For Leftists it is not the truth but the Feelz that determine politics. Because they want a world without race divisions they have to invent “scientific racism” (and be able to say that term with a straight face). If science itself were able to distinguish race divisions (spoiler alert: it can), then the world itself is a scary place for Leftists. Facing this fundamental feature of the world requires a stricter, more mature, more robust stance and a corresponding philosophy which describes or at least accepts the world, the world we actually live in.