I discuss some of the ideas contained in Roderick Long’s recent paper on how to build bridges between leftists and libertarians. I praise Long’s insightful analysis of what he calls the “aristocratic Left.” Long is rare among hard leftists in recognizing that liberalism is a totalitarian ideology and that its primary constituents are the affluent and wealthy. His concept of an “aristocratic Left” overlaps very well with my analysis of the relationship between class theory and ideology. But I seriously take Long to task for not following though with the easily discernible observation that PC (in which Long himself is a faithful believer) is itself an ideological expression of this same totalitarian liberal aristocratic Left. I also see some other problems with Long’s discussion that seem inconsistent with positions than he and many of his “left-libertarian” compatriots have taken in the past. More on that later.
One of the more important insights advanced by the “radical right” is the recognition that liberalism is in fact an ideology of the elite. Most hard leftists regard nearly everyone to the right of Leon Trotsky to be an “extreme right-winger” and it is not uncommon to see such people denounce moderate conservatives as “fascists” or “crypto-Nazis.” The publications of the hard left persistently lament the supposed ongoing drift of domestic American politics to the “far right” even though American society continues to become ever more liberal, and the ideas of yesterday’s loony leftists become ever more mainstream and respectable. For example, expressing support for gay marriage, which would have been regarded as insanity during the supposed Golden Age of Decadence of the 1960s and 1970s, is now just another somewhat controversial but still respectable middle-of-the-road, perhaps slightly left-of-center opinion.
Likewise, the election of the first Black president is somehow dismissed by the Left as just a cosmetic feature that hides what a horrid, racist, White supremacist society America really is, even though nothing destroys the reputation and career of a public figure any quicker than accusations racism, no matter how mild or dubious.
Further, Professor Long recognizes that the upper classes and affluent upper-middle classes are hardly consistent or even frequent proponents of ostensibly conservative economic values such as “free markets” or “limited government.” Rather the wealthy and affluent are like every other socioeconomic interest group in that they want state intervention into the economy on their own behalf, not “free enterprise” or “market discipline.” This is a sharp departure from the usual leftist habit of dismissing conservative and libertarian critics of state-managed economies as mere apologists for the plutocratic status quo. But what Professor Long is missing is the insight that perhaps many of those who present themselves as champions of the workers, the poor, minorities, women, gays, immigrants, and on down the list of the officially oppressed might also have less than honest or honorable motivations, and might in fact frequently be charlatans, crooks, scam artists, or aspiring tyrants. Nor does it occur to him that perhaps those “aristocratic leftists” whom he labels as “enemies of the human race,” and who are persistently agitating for repressive gun laws and intrusive economic regulations, might in fact be the same class of folks who are similarly pushing the vast array of attitudes, institutional policies, and bits of legislation that have collectively been given the popular label of “political correctness.”
For it is among this class of upper-middle income and wealthy liberals that Long describes that we typically find the most zealous proponents of affirmative action, amnesty for illegal immigrants, legislated “rights” for the organized gay lobby that in fact abridge the associational, religious, and economic liberties of others, radical feminists who are not downtrodden seamstresses in garment factories but tenured academics or activist attorneys or other professionals, university professors and administrators, public sector bureaucrats who oversee the managerial state, corporate executives who pride themselves on their extensive commitment to “diversity” and “sensitivity,” and so on. Might it not just be that this socioeconomic demographic, those “aristocratic leftists” who are “enemies of the human race,” are in fact the exact same people who are the most zealous proponents of PC fundamentalism? And might they indeed have sinister ulterior motives for assuming such a stance?