“Change”, what’s it all about?

By Ted Belman

Dr John J Ray is as prolific a writer as you will find. His subject is Leftism and related subjects. Now that this election is all about “change” I wanted to post what Ray thought about it.

THE MOTIVATIONS OF POLITICAL LEFTISTS

By John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.)

Summary

It is now clear that Rightists are not opposed to change but that “Western” Leftists seek it eagerly — so attitude to social change is the defining characteristic of the political Left rather than of the political Right. Rightism (“conservatism”) and Leftism are not opposites or mirror images, however, so Rightists in general are neither for nor against change. The archetypal Leftist in the economically successful “Western” democracies (a “liberal” in contemporary North American terms) is a keen advocate of change not for its own sake but rather to fulfil his/her ego needs — needs for self-advertisement, self-promotion, excitement, influence and ultimately power. And the prime source of power is the state, so Leftists love the state. Leftists/liberals do nonetheless dislike neo-liberal (pro-market) change because it threatens their access to power. The old Soviet system showed that, once they have gained power, Leftists suddenly become very opposed to change. Change is just an instrument they use to gain their ultimate goal of power. And why is power sought so single-mindedly? Why the single-minded egotism? At its deepest level, Leftism appears to be psychopathic — with the psychopathic disregard for all norms, morals, standards and ethics in the ruthless quest for personal praise and satisfaction.

It is because of their quest for power that Leftists come into conflict with conservatives. History shows that what has always motivated conservatives is resistance to government power — in particular government encroachment on individual rights and liberties. So conservatives may either favour or oppose change to promote that cause.

A description of the political attitude domain in terms of two dimensions rather than a single Left/Right dimension is rejected on both empirical and theoretical grounds. The pervasiveness and evolutionary origins of egotism and reality denial generally are also briefly considered.

The causal chain proposed here, then, is as follows: Psychopathic personality > high ego need > hatred of an indifferent world > need for change > need for power > love of the State

(A short index to this monograph can be found Here)

[..]

A new proposal about attitude to the status quo

The initial proposal here may seem at first paradoxical but it is that attitude to the status quo characterizes Leftists rather than Rightists. It is proposed that it is not Rightists who are in favour of the status quo. They are in fact indifferent to it as such, and may equally favour it or oppose it according to circumstances. Leftists, on the other hand, characteristically RESENT the status quo — at least in the modern democracies. Whatever else the Leftist may be, the bedrock of Leftism is a strong dislike or even a hatred of the way the world is. So they have a strong desire or even a need for political change, often extreme change. As Hillary Clinton said in the run-up to the 2008 Democrat primaries:

“I want to make change, but I’ve already made change. I will continue to make change. I’m not just running on a promise of change, I’m running on 35 years of change. I’m running on having taken on the drug companies and the health insurance companies, taking on the oil companies. So, you know, I think it is clear that what we need is somebody who can deliver change.”

And Barack Obama too made change the theme of his run for the nomination.

This does not, of course, mean that Leftists will favour all sorts of change equally. As Mark Steyn points out, they certainly don’t favour the sort of change that capitalism is constantly bringing about. What sort of change the Leftist favours will depend on what it is about the world that the Leftist dislikes. It will depend on the needs that drive his/her desire for change — i.e. it will depend on WHY the Leftist hates the world about him/her. And there are even times when those needs dictate a defence of the status quo — as I discuss elsewhere. In the run-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Left even found virtue in the principles of the 1648 (Yes. 1648, not 1948) “Peace of Westphalia”!

The Rightist, by contrast, generally has no need either for change or its converse. If anything, Rightists favour progress — both material and social. So most Rightists are conservatives (cautious) not because of their attitude to change per se. On some occasions they may even agree with the particular policy outcomes that the Leftist claims to desire. They resist change, then, mainly when it appears incautious — and they are cautious (skeptical of the net benefits of particular policies) generally because of their realism about the limitations (selfishness, folly, shortsightedness, aggressiveness etc.) of many of their fellow humans (Ray, 1972b, 1974 & 1981). So it is only vis a vis Leftists that the Right can on some occasions and in some eras appear conservative (cautious about proposals for social change). It is the Leftists who WANT change, not the conservatives who oppose it.

Few writers have a better claim to representing historic conservative thought than Edmund Burke yet note this summary of what Burke said:

“Far from opposing all reform, Burke insisted, “A state without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.”

The issue was not reform versus no reform; it was between the view that reform was a simple matter that could be engaged in sweepingly and the view that it required prudence and was best approached incrementally”

So conservatives have NEVER opposed change per se and it is little more than a calumny to say that they do. Caution certainly characterizes conservatives but attitude to change as such does not.

This broad idea that what Leftists basically want does not have to be the exact opposite or mirror-image of what Rightists basically want — and vice versa — may seem at first surprising but does have some precedents. Kerlinger (1967) suggested that Leftists and Rightists have different “criterial referents” and even thought that he had found in his survey research a complete lack of opposition between Leftist and Rightist attitudes. Kerlinger’s reasoning is interesting but that he misinterpreted his research results has previously been shown in Ray (1980 & 1982 — online here and here). Whether Leftist and Rightist objectives are opposite or just simply different, how Leftists and Rightists go about achieving their different basic objectives certainly generates plenty of conflict and opposition between the two sides.

Whatever Rightists might want, however, wanting to change the existing system is the umbrella under which all Leftists meet. Even at the height of British socialism, for instance, British Leftists still wanted MORE socialism. That permanent and corrosive dissatisfaction with the society they live in is the one thing that clearly identifies all Leftists. That is the basic thing that they all have in common.

All explanations, however, merely push the need for explanation back one step, so the proposal offered above raises immediately the question of WHY anybody would have such a need for swingeing change. In the second half of this monograph, precisely that question will be addressed but first we need to look at how a need for change leads to the particular campaigns we usually associate with Leftism.

A major problem, however, is that common features in Leftism can be hard to find. Not only do they seem to advocate quite different things in different eras, but even within a given era Leftists are extremely fractious and can even be murderous towards one-another (e.g. Stalin versus Trotsky). It is in describing his fellow revolutionaries (Kautsky and others) that Lenin himself spoke swingeingly of “the full depth of their stupidity, pedantry, baseness and betrayal of working-class interests” (Lenin, 1952). He could hardly have spoken more contemptuously of the Tsar.

This divisiveness of the Left does not however stop them from generally having some identifiable broad policy themes in common. There was great hatred and antagonism between Russian and Chinese regimes in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, for instance, but they were nonetheless both Communist (though I will not argue with the Trotskyite view that they were both in fact Fascist — or “Bonapartist”, to use the correct Marxist jargon).

We will see below how many Leftist positions flow from that need for change — why, for instance, one of the most consistent themes to emerge in Leftist thinking is the claimed need for “equality” — and the belief in “equality” then tends to lead on to support for government activism in such matters as redistribution of wealth generally, heavily “progressive” income taxes, inheritance taxes, foreign aid, feminism, homosexual rights and socialized medicine. Again for reasons explored in more detail below, Leftists also tend to oppose religion and the churches and this in turn tends to mean that they favour abortion and oppose or obstruct religious schooling and religious observance in various ways. CONTINUE

February 16, 2008 | 8 Comments »

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  1. That article was a load of bollocks.

    I slice through the manufactured left-right paradigm at https://www.israpundit.org/2007/?p=5566

    Of course, there are legitimate differences between “leftists” and “rightists”, but these are obscured by the Orwellian smokescreen built up around these terms, and by the fact that most of the political leadership across the spectrum are essentially frauds working for The Syndicate who use various buzzphrases to appeal to different target audiences.

    Yamit says:

    You traded Catholicism for communism of the Trotsky variety which was a form of Freemasonries by another name but the objectives are quite similar.

    I wouldn’t have put it quite like that, but the essence is correct. When the Bolsheviks siezed power in Russia, they readmitted the Jesuit order into Russia. Curiously, it was later Jesuits through their infiltration of ostensibly Protestant organisations like the John Birch Society who successfully steered the attention of American Protestants away from the Vatican (who of course, had made concordats with all the fascist powers) and onto the big red bogeyman, giving the world McCarthyism and the Cold War hoax.

    No points for guessing who built the props for the Cold War theatre….
    http://reformed-theology.org/html/books/best_enemy/index.html
    http://reformed-theology.org/html/books/best_enemy/appendix_f.htm

    …..particularly when they brag about it!
    http://www.ge.com/ru/en/ourCompany/activities/gerussia.html

  2. I have never ever read such unadulterated bilge in all of my life as in the contribution above from Yamit. It is sociological crap from beginning to end. And I am going back to study the changes taking place in the real world and the meanderings in Yamit’s brain have got hardly anything to do with that.

    OK Felix what is really bothering you? you don’t like nor agree with my unadulterated bilge? Good but what is your objections to my main theme , which is that the changes(everybody has different concept and definition as to what is, and what changes he might want), reminds me of the word peace and since no two or three people can agree as to what Peace means it has lost any value as a term of reference and has become devoid of real meaning. Same goes with the term loosely thrown about by just about everybody,CHANGE has lost any real value or meaning, except for the stupid political Jingoisms in a political year. I have never seen a politician campaign on a more of the same platform have you.

    But changes are happening every min. of the day , and they seem to be accelerating at a very fast pace, faster than the modern world has ever seen till now and will in all likelihood accelerate even faster in time.

    I have said many times in almost every posting of mine that I look at the events of the World through a Narrow Jewish prism. First Question is : Is it good for the Jews? Not is it good for Humanity, Globalism, G W Bush or any thing or anyone else. Only the Jew and his present and future are on my plate.

    You traded Catholicism for communism of the Trotsky variety which was a form of Freemasonries by another name but the objectives are quite similar. But Catholicism and Communism are basically the same coin but nuanced on each side to differentiate one from the other. You traded one rigid dogma for another rigid dogma. Neither is valid both anachronistic both have failed in their primary aims. Both reject basic human nature and seek to redefine man in the image of their own dogma. No ism that goes against basic inherited instincts of man will long succeed. Man will rebel against that which is an antithesis to his primal nature or self.

    I sought to explain briefly as an overview more or less conceptually as to how the Jew has survived and in many cases for a time survived quite well. I sought to utilize the topic of change in the political sense to warn other Jews that the in meeting the challenges of future very rapid changes antisemetism may supersede anything we have known in the past. I stick by my position unadulterated bilge or not!

  3. I have never ever read such unadulterated bilge in all of my life as in the contribution above from Yamit. It is sociological crap from beginning to end. And I am going back to study the changes taking place in the real world and the meanderings in Yamit’s brain have got hardly anything to do with that.

    As for Zedagc

    As I said the guy we are discussing begins with this old lie, that babies are created as humans with original sin, as the catholics teach, so they have to be redeemed. Babies! What utter bilge.

    Note your expression:

    It is about Absolute Power, how to achieve it

    Your political and philosophical position is exactly the same as is Ray, as is Yamit and as is the other guy who called himself Randy

    I am sticking with the real political world, what the US and EU Imperialists are doing to the Serbs and what the same forces are doing to the Jews in Israel.

    Placing this guy on Israpundit is a complete waste of space, especially at a time like this. And I blame Ted for that.

  4. two people who goon a walking safari in Africa. Out of the corner of their eyes, they see a

    lion approaching. One of the walkers ­lets call him J ­ immediately

    changes into his running shoes. Why are you putting on your running shoes? the other man asks. You can¹t

    outrun a lion! I am not trying to outrun the lion,J replies. I am just trying to

    outrun you!!! So, who will succeed?
    Those who adapt to the changing environment faster than the

    others.

    two people who go

    two people go on a walking safari in Africa. Out of the corner of their eyes, they see a

    lion approaching. One of the walkers Lets call him J

    changes into his running shoes.

    Why are you putting on your running shoes? the other man asks. You can¹t

    outrun a lion!

    I am not trying to outrun the lion,J replies. I am just trying to

    outrun you!!!

    So, who will succeed?
    Those who adapt to the changing environment faster than the

    others.

    How does this story apply to the Jewish people and anti-Semitism?

    A friend of mine just back from a visit to Russia told me that many people hold the view that all

    problems, all wars, are because of the Jews. Karl Marx was a Jew. Lenin was

    a Jew, he claimed. And Trotsky for sure was a Jew ­ and look what they did

    to the world he said, raising his hands in despair. And he was serious.

    That made me think.
    For the past two thousand years, we, the Jews, have seen many, many

    threatening lions approaching. We have been threatened with gas, fire,

    beheading, rape, inquisition, expulsion and loss of our property. If there

    is a nation with the longest record of being under threat of extinction, it

    is the Jews.

    So in response, we have developed an incredible built-in antenna to

    monitor an incoming threat or opportunity, and we are faster on our feet

    than any other ethnic group. We are very intense, aren¹t we?

    ² We can almost feel incoming changes

    in our bones, and can identify the opportunities or threats ahead of any

    other ethnic group. And we act faster, because we are always afraid that our

    survival is at stake.

    It is a well-known joke that Jewish mothers want their children to be

    doctors. Why? Why, I asked my own mother, do you want me to be a doctor?

    Because you can be a medical doctor anywhere in the world, she answered

    seriously. In other words, in order to survive, it is best to have a

    profession that is useful anywhere in the world. Just in case.

    Jews have multiple passports. Just in case. Speak many languages. Just in

    case. Have extended families and friends all over the globe. Just in case.

    Dedicate themselves to being well educated. Why? Because knowledge will save

    you when you are forced to move to a new and alien place and find a way to

    survive.

    Because we respond to change faster and better than other ethnic groups, we

    end up leading change and eventually becoming the leaders in that field or

    industry. Thus it is not strange that many of the Russian revolutionary

    Communists were Jews. They led the change. I am just now reading a book

    about Tito of Yugoslavia, written by Yugoslav historians, and they claim

    that the brain behind Yugoslav Communism was Mosha Pijade, another Jew.

    But this phenomenon is not applicable only to Communism. Jews are now the

    leading capitalists of post-Communist Russia. We lead in all fields in which

    change requires a response that creates new opportunities for leadership to

    emerge. In all fields where Jews get involved, they start out as the

    innovators and end up as the leaders. The more change, the better we do. We

    were the first in motion pictures. Warner Bros. and Goldwyn and Mayer were

    all Jews. Las Vegas was invented by a Jewish gangster. We have been leaders

    in medicine, in art, in literature, in business, in economics and even as

    gangsters.

    Even if we are prohibited from going into a field (by quotas, for example),

    when we are eventually allowed in, after many years, we are such fierce

    competitors that we leave the others behind to be chewed by the lion. We

    identify the changes that need to be made, lead those changes, and end up on

    top again.

    As the changes in this world accelerate, the Jews will prosper more and

    more, outpacing others who are still wondering what is happening and what to

    do about it.

    But this success has a price. As Machiavelli said, Nothing is more

    difficult than to introduce a new order. Because the innovator has for

    enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm

    defenders in those who may do well under the new. In other words, if you

    want to be hated, try leading change.

    How do you think the guy being chewed by the lion feels about J, who

    escaped? As he lies there bleeding, do you think he applauds Js escape?

    And if he survives the lion, what is he going to do to ³J² when they meet

    again?

    Just as the Jews learned to run faster than anyone else, the world learned

    to suspect and resent them, even before the lion showed up on the scene.

    As changes accelerate, those who are more aware, more flexible and creative,

    more entrepreneurial, will do well. (In Russia, anyone who is

    successful economically is called a Jew, no matter what religion he or she

    may be.) Those who lack these traits will fall into sociological, cultural,

    or economic traps and end up having less and less. How, then, will they feel

    about the successful Jews? They will resent those who benefited from the

    changes and left them behind. More than likely, they will be jealous and

    seek revenge. Some simple-minded people will even accuse the Jews of

    bringing the lion in on purpose, in order to steal the meager resources and

    let the rest be eaten by the lion: Jews will create wars on purpose because

    they benefit from it.

    I believe as changes accelerate to unprecedented rates, and as the Jews

    exploit those changes and succeed, anti-Semitism will flourish to unknown

    dimensions.

    Change, as we know, can lead to problems or opportunities. Whether those

    changes are problems or opportunities depends on how fast one can adapt and

    proact. Jews are at their best in dealing with change. That creates jealousy

    and resentment and can lead to unprecedented tragedies, perhaps even worse

    than the Holocaust.

    I recommend learning Chinese. Seriously

  5. To Felix Quigley:

    Dear Felix,

    This time your comment took me by great surprise. Until this one I’ve been following your posts and agreed enthusiastically with at least ninety percent of what you were saying. This article by John J. Ray is the best piece I’ve so far encountered that attempts (and succeeds) to clearly define this plague or cancer of the contemporary civilization called ‘Leftism’. In the very beginning Ray states that ‘Rightism” is not an opposite of Leftism and ‘Leftism’ is the one in need of definition, which he successfully and elaborately does in this article. One of the key definitions in the article is “Leftism is in fact Protean. It has no fixed beliefs or principles and what Leftists advocate changes all the time.” So it is not that much about ideology, socialist or whatever and not about ideology nuances whether they are Marxism, Leninism, Trotskism, Stalinism, Nazism, Maoism, LABOR “Zionism” (with its sub nuances by Ben Gurion, Rabin, Peres, or Sharon). It is about Absolute Power, how to achieve it (through hate and agitation against the existing social order in the name of the dogmas of “equality” and “The State can fix it”) and how to maintain it (by means of bigger and bigger and bigger state bureaucracy). Hence, in order to reject this whole article one has to be “leftist” or some variation of it in form of “revolutionary” or “class wayfarer”.

    To Laura:

    IMHO, you are confusing between “conservatism” or more precisely “historical conservative movement” and political party activists pretending to represent it. In America, GOP already long time has little to do with conservative paradigm and GOP’s quest for power is not much different from the “leftist” Democrats. They also have borrowed from “Leftism” the notion that big-big- big state bureaucracy is actually THE way to maintain the Power. Hence today there is no much difference between Democrats and Republicans – both are basically “leftist” only Democrats are somewhat more. Oh, and by the way “Bush doctrine of democratizing the Middle East” is idiotic (as his idea that “Islam is religion of peace” was moronic), and “the invasion of Iraq” was dubious idea – at least because 9/11 was more on excuse for the invasion than a reason for it, and because to a large extent it was driven by Saudi interests.

  6. To Felix Quigley:

    Dear Felix,

    This time your comment took me by great surprise. Until this one I’ve been following your posts and agreed enthusiastically with at least ninety percent of what you were saying. This article by John J. Ray is the best piece I’ve so far encountered that attempts (and succeeds) to clearly define this plague or cancer of the contemporary civilization called ‘Leftism’. In the very beginning Ray states that ‘Rightism” is not an opposite of Leftism and ‘Leftism’ is the one in need of definition, which he successfully and elaborately does in this article. One of the key definitions in the article is “Leftism is in fact Protean. It has no fixed beliefs or principles and what Leftists advocate changes all the time.” So it is not that much about ideology, socialist or whatever and not about ideology nuances whether they are Marxist, Leninist, Trotskist, Stalinist, Hitlerist, Maoist, Ben Gurionist, Rabinists, Peresists, or Sharonist. It is about Absolute Power, how to achieve it (through hate and agitation against the existing social order in the name of the dogmas of “equality” and “The State can fix it”) and how to maintain it (by means of bigger and bigger and bigger state bureaucracy). Hence, in order to reject this whole article one has to be “leftist” or some variation of it in form of “revolutionary” or “class wayfarer”.

    To Laura:

    IMHO, you are confusing between “conservatism” or more precisely “historical conservative movement” and political party activists pretending to represent it. In America, GOP already long time has little to do with conservative paradigm and GOP’s quest for power is not much different from the “leftist” Democrats. They also have borrowed from “Leftism” the notion that big-big-big state bureaucracy is actually THE way to maintain the Power. Hence today there is no much difference between Democrats and Republicans – both are basically “leftist” only Democrats are somewhat more. Oh, and by the way “Bush doctrine of democratizing the Middle East” is idiotic (as his idea that “Islam is religion of peace” was moronic), and “the invasion of Iraq” was dubious idea – at least because 9/11 was more on excuse for the invasion than a reason for it, and because to a large extent it was driven by Saudi interests.

  7. It is because of their quest for power that Leftists come into conflict with conservatives. History shows that what has always motivated conservatives is resistance to government power — in particular government encroachment on individual rights and liberties. So conservatives may either favour or oppose change to promote that cause.

    And conservatives don’t seek power? They resist encroachment on individual rights and liberties? Since when? It’s true that conservatives resist government power so long as they are not the ones in power. There’s no indication that government power is decreased under conservatives, in fact quite the opposite is the case. The only difference between left and right is in what areas they choose to expand government power. The left wants more social programs, but the right favors more police powers.

    The Rightist, by contrast, generally has no need either for change or its converse. If anything, Rightists favour progress — both material and social. So most Rightists are conservatives (cautious) not because of their attitude to change per se. On some occasions they may even agree with the particular policy outcomes that the Leftist claims to desire. They resist change, then, mainly when it appears incautious — and they are cautious (skeptical of the net benefits of particular policies) generally because of their realism about the limitations (selfishness, folly, shortsightedness, aggressiveness etc.) of many of their fellow humans (Ray, 1972b, 1974 & 1981). So it is only vis a vis Leftists that the Right can on some occasions and in some eras appear conservative (cautious about proposals for social change). It is the Leftists who WANT change, not the conservatives who oppose it.

    I wouldn’t say conservatives have always wanted cautious change. What was the Reagan revolution about? Or the 1994 congressional takeover and Newt Gingrich’s contract with America? Or even the neocon and Bush doctrine of democratizing the Middle East and the invastion of Iraq (not that this was a bad idea, mind you). But certainly these are attempts at revolutionary, sweeping change.

  8. Ted

    Why do you publish such bilge? This is just such utter balderdash!

    All of this is just a rehash of what old Randy went on about. Man is created evil and was redeemed by baptism etc. So they then start telling lies about history, about the Russian Revolution, of hiding the distinction between Lenin and Stalin, between Stalin and Trotsky.

    Ask them to define their terms. Who are precisely these “Leftists”. Do they mean Leon Trotsky? Lenin? Marx? Was the analysis that Marx made of any value? has it been refuted? Where? What type of “Leftist” was Ben Gurion, was Rabin etc?

    This man Ray I have read him before is a bullshitter, do not spoil your site by giving him oxygen. Where are his specfics, he talks in generalities, the mark of a liar!