We will merciless destroy anyone who, by his deeds or his thoughts—yes, by his thoughts—threatens the unity of the socialist state. To the complete destruction of all enemies, themselves and their kin!*
Joseph Stalin, November, 1937
We’re going to punish our enemies and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us…**
President Obama, October, 2010
From Karl Marx to the present day the modus operandi of the Left, whenever and wherever it competes for power, is not compromise with the opposition or even the defeat of the opposition, but its elimination. Power is to be completely owned, not shared. The ideology of the Left always drives its practitioners toward total monopoly. Competition when it exists is disdained and when possible, disallowed. Lenin defined the rules of political engagement from his earliest days – “Everything that is done in the interest of the proletarian cause is honest” ***– which was a remarkably honest declaration of the Leninist determination not to be bound by any rules, and in effect makes politics into a theater of total war with no quarter given to the enemy. Lenin’s prescription of politics as war still holds for his progeny.
The Left’s quest for a monopoly of power is and always has been inevitable because it derives from the foundational premise that every social evil comes into being and persists because the wrong people are in power. What these “wrong people” believe is delusion. What they say is false. What they do is self-serving. What they own is undeserved. All that matters is that they are removed: whatever means that accomplishes this is permitted.
“The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles,” as we remember from the Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels. The “final” struggle puts the right people, the proletariat, in charge, people free of false-consciousness, above personal and class interest, dedicated to creating a just society where everyone will have what they need and deserve what they get.
Opposition to the Left is defective in two fundamental regards. The first is intellectual. Those in opposition do not recognize their own ignorance and responsibility for the corrupt status quo that produces the misery of those they exploit. The second defect is moral. Their ignorance lives and grows through a rationalization of their self-interest which supports their false and pernicious views of the world. Phony, greedy and mean-spirited, not only do they benefit undeservedly from the status quo, they hypocritically rationalize it and defend it.
The Left in stark contrast is both intellectually and morally superior. They see through the rationalizations and delusions of the opposition and understand the world as it really is. With the audacity of hope they do not “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment….” Rising above naked self-interest, religious and ethnic bigotry, and sectarian small mindedness, their moral superiority comes from the altruistic purity of their motives, their unlimited benevolence and empathy for the oppressed, and the nobility of their aspirations.
This sense of vast superiority explains the Left’s monopolistic impulse for control – the opposition is unfit for power and should not be permitted to compete for it. Thus, when the Left does have to compete for power they regard the opposition not as worthy opponents to engage in a respectful rule-governed contest and defeat by showing the deficiency of their ideas and programs. Rather, they regard them as enemies and move against them as enemies. The character, motives and personalities of the opposition are the focus of attack, a relentlessly ad hominem barrage. The ideas and programs of the opponents of the Left do not even have to be seriously considered because they are formulated and advanced by people who are intellectually primitive, morally suspect and at times clinically deranged.
No norms or protocols of mutual respect, civil debate or procedural fair play will be observed by Leftist political strategists because they have no respect for those who do not share their ideological convictions or enthuse over their programs. There can be no serious debate about alternative ideas or approaches or perspectives because the truth is already settled and grasped only by those who lay claim to the gnosis of the Left. Those who dissent or disagree are stupid and simple minded. Or, their opposition comes from the corruption of their character and personalities. They are motivated by greed and full of hatred for those not like them. “Republicans want dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health care,”**** remarked President Obama recently. Of course they do. They are the wrong people – morally bankrupt, heartless and uncaring, servants of the rich. They are the enemy, and if they think that they will ever be treated otherwise, they are hopeless amnesiacs.
*Quoted from Jonathan Brent, Inside the Stalin Archives: Discovering the New Russia, Atlas, 2008, 272.
*** Quoted from: Richard Pipes, Russia under the Bolshevik Regime, New York: Random House, 1994, 275n.