Liberalism 101d: Disordered Perception

By | August 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Anorexia nervosa is a disorder of perception. The victims – usually young women – see themselves as fat, even when they are painfully thin. It is as if they are looking into a trick fun-house mirror that shows them as much wider than they really are. Efforts to convince them of reality often fail. As a result, they lose even more weight, sometimes with serious or even fatal results.

But there are other disorders of perception that can have equally serious results. Liberalism is one example. I came to realize this years ago, while reading a review of the film “Monster.” The film tells the story of Aileen Wuornos, a serial killer. The reviewer complained that when Charlize Theron accepted her Oscar for portraying Wuornos, she thanked everyone except the killer herself.

A serial murderer deserved thanks? True, there would be no story without her. But there also would be no story without her seven victims. Of course, the reviewer didn’t feel the victims deserved thanks. It was as if the reviewer couldn’t see the victims, though they were portrayed in the film. All he could see was the criminal. But despite the title of the film, he couldn’t see that she was a monster.

And when a real victim was murdered by a real killer, the same disorder of perception occurred in the same “news” paper. When Kathryn Michelle Steinle was shot to death by José Inés García Zárate at a San Francisco tourist attraction, columnists oozed sympathy for the five-time illegal immigrant who had been arrested on drug charges in three states.

No, he couldn’t possibly understand that when you fire a gun in a crowded area, someone might get hurt. But sympathy for the 32-year-old medical-supply worker with the close-knit family and the infectious smile? No, she faded from view until she became almost invisible.

Wuornos died by lethal injection in 2002. But by 2018, the disorder of perception had spread to afflict juries, not just columnists. García Zárate was acquitted of all charges except being a felon in possession of a firearm. And Kate Steinle had disappeared entirely ‒ both from this Earth, and from public awareness.

This bizarre disorder of perception is common in our liberal media. It is as if liberals were looking through a trick fun-house window, which distorts the world seen through it. What is nonessential, or even trivial, looks big, but what is really important looks small:

Criminals’ rights look big, but victims’ rights look small.

The lives of murderers on death row look big, but their victims’ lives look tiny.

Crooks shot by cops look big, but cops shot by crooks look small.

Mass murderers like Stalin and Mao look big, but their victims look minute.

Utopian theories look big, but the misery they cause vanishes from view.

Marxism looks big, but Ukrainian famine and Cambodian genocide look tiny.

Ho Chi Minh looks big, but a million Vietnamese boat people look small.

Fidel Castro looks big, but tens of thousands of Cuban boat people look small.

Unproductive bureaucrats look big, but people who produce look small.

Those who take look big, but those who give look small.

“Fairness” looks big, but freedom looks smaller and smaller.

Welfare programs look big, but religious charities and tithing look small.

The suffering of chickens on farms looks big, but the suffering of human fetuses during abortions looks trifling.

The right to “choose” looks big, but the rights of unborn babies vanish.

The rights of adults look big, but the rights of children look small.

Same-sex marriage looks big, but the right to a father and a mother looks tiny.

Teaching first-graders about homosexuality and “gender fluidity” looks big, but protecting young children’s innocence looks insignificant.

The rights of the healthy look big, but the rights of the disabled look small.

Political correctness looks big, but freedom of expression looks small.

The latest “progressive” idea looks big, but the wisdom of ages looks small.

What I feel like doing looks big, but the Bible shrivels to irrelevance.

My desires look huge, but what God wants shrinks to invisibility.

The latest court ruling looks big, but the Constitution disappears from view.

The faults of our nation look gigantic, but the faults of our enemies vanish.

Empty words look big, but bombed trains, busses, and pizzerias look small.

The Israeli security fence looks big, but the terrorism it blocks looks small.

Problems with the Patriot Act look big, but the terrorism it blocks looks small.

Our problems in Iraq look big, but the horrors Saddam caused look small.

Our mistakes look enormous, but collapsing Twin Towers are forgotten.

Those who talk about peace look big, but those who risk their lives to keep the peace fade from view.

The danger from those who fight terrorists looks huge, but the danger from terrorists looks trivial.

Theoretical “tolerance” and “diversity” look big, but blatant Jew hatred by a Democratic member of Congress fades until it is invisible to many of her colleagues.

The similarity to anorexia is striking. Anorexics don’t see themselves as skin-and-bones, but as fat. As a result, they worry about what isn’t dangerous, but don’t worry about a life-threatening danger – and allow it to get worse.

Similarly, liberals allow the threat of terrorism to get worse. It is as if they see the world through a trick fun-house window. But today’s world is very far from being a fun house. The distortion of reality is a result of their unrealistic, utopian ideas.

Distorted perceptions lead to unwise actions. If we misperceive the world around us, how can we know what to do? How can we distinguish friends from enemies? And if we can’t see where we are going, we are likely to fall into a hole and get hurt.

In the last century, we fell into some really deep holes – Nazism, fascism and communism. And hundreds of millions of people got hurt. Now we are threatened with yet another extremist ideology – militant Islamism. If we hope to defeat it, or even to survive, we must be able to see clearly. In this critical time, we simply can’t afford to have our perception distorted.

The key factor in crime is criminals, not “harassment” by our police who work to arrest them, or “inequality” in the most open society on Earth.

The key factor in terrorism is terrorists, not “aggression” by our military who fight to defeat them, or “legitimate grievances” ‒ which we all have, but somehow most of us refrain from mass murder.

Yes, criminals and terrorists may also have suffered, but their suffering is nothing compared to the suffering they inflict on their victims. And the victims may also have done wrong, but the wrong they did pales in comparison to the wrong done by those who maim and murder them.

Distinguishing criminals from victims requires clear vision. A film reviewer who wants to thank a serial murderer is merely annoying. People who can’t see that there are real monsters in the world are truly dangerous.

And speaking of clear vision, check out this photo:

Wish you were here

Author’s Note:

This concludes a series of four columns. Do they explain liberalism, or what now passes for liberalism, completely? Of course not. But I hope I struck at least a glancing blow at the task.

What I am describing is leftism, not classical liberalism. I consider myself a classical liberal – in fact, a John F. Kennedy Democrat. He was a decorated veteran of a war against totalitarianism. He was strongly anti-communist and favored a strong defense. He cut taxes, remarking, “A rising tide raises all boats.” And as a reward for his efforts they blew his brains out.

Still, I believe people and groups have the right to self-define. If overt leftists now call themselves liberals or progressives, so be it. If that now makes me a conservative, that’s okay with me. All I ask is that we get our terminology straight, so we know where we stand and what we are dealing with.

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