Contempt for Human Beings as a Political Stance

Have you noticed how much certain Liberals despise people? Here is a very vivid example provided by somebody who was incensed at my review of Frank’s Pity the Billionaire:

The argument that we should blame people for taking a loan that’s shoved in their face I find to be disigenuous. We all have a dream of home ownership. These loans were hawked by those who simply wanted to pass them off. I don’t believe the Tea Party argument deserves any credibility whatsoever. OF COURSE people will snap them up. Who can resist the “Free” Market. The Tea party notion that it’s ACORN’s fault that we had the housing collapse is utterly absurd, yet that is what this argument implies and it is completely and utterly false on every ground. Stop blaming the victims. If someone wants to sell something for free….they’ll find buyers.

See how this commenter despises his fellow human beings? If a loan is “shoved into your face”, there is absolutely no way you will be able to exercise your good judgment and make a rational decision not to take it. People are like dogs who “snap up” any old bone that you throw to them. They are as incapable as dogs of seeing that there is a piece of string tied to the bone, a piece of string that will drag them right to the slaughter-house.

This commenter sees people as “victims.” They fall into the category of a victim simply because they exist. You are born human? You are victim! From now on, pseudo-Liberals of this ilk will keep harping on the idea that you are not responsible for anything that happens to you. Buy a lot of useless garbage, take on loans it is mathematically impossible for you even to begin paying off, screw up your life in every possible way? Don’t worry, there is always some pseudo-Liberal out there to tell you how the helpless, pathetic little you is not responsible for anything.

Of course, Conservatives despise people, too. Just like many Liberals don’t believe that human beings are capable of being in charge of their own finances, the Conservatives can’t deal with the suggestion that humans can manage their own bodies without the guidance of politicians and religious leaders.

As I shared recently on this blog, I got into debt when I was a student. This created all kinds of problems for me (the debt is in Canada, I’m here, paying Canadian debts from an American bank account is extremely complicated, etc.). This entire issue tortured me for years. But if somebody told me that it wasn’t my fault, that I was a victim, that I couldn’t have been expected to resist the credit line that was “shoved into my face”, that I didn’t have a choice but to “snap it up”, I’d be as insulted as I am when I see politicians who try to police my uterus.

I am an adult. I am completely and totally responsible for my finances and my body. I manage them the way I see fit. And anybody who wants to dispute that responsibility is a person who despises me and infantilizes me. And I don’t respond well to that.

So here we are stuck between two political groups, both of which cannot bear the idea that human beings should have the right to make their own decisions and bear responsibility for them. Both Conservatives and Liberals often proceed from nothing but contempt for others.

We keep hearing about how this country is torn politically between two opposing camps. I used to think that, too. However, the more I observe this country’s Liberals and Conservatives (or, at least, the most vocal representatives of these groups), the more I am convinced that any differences between them are merely superficial.

P.S. Another pseudo-Liberal in the same thread just had the gall to compare the irresponsible borrowers to slaves or rape victims:

That mentality where the victim is made to believe that he/she is at fault for the predicament they are in is evidence of mental subjugation comparable to that of the slave or the rape victim.

What did I say about contempt?

42 thoughts on “Contempt for Human Beings as a Political Stance”

  1. I agree with you completely and there aren’t any candidates on the left or right worth voting for in November so I’m suggesting a better candidate.

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  2. It is important to realize that some people are legitimate victims. The fact is there are many adults who are ill prepared or just not competent enough to understand the ramifications of their actions. The problem is that there are many “other” adults who know this and prey on those vulnerabilities. It is rarely as simple as “you are all grown up now”.

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    1. “The fact is there are many adults who are ill prepared or just not competent enough to understand the ramifications of their actions. ”

      – You mean they are feeble-minded? Retarded? How come they live on their own if they suffer from retardation?

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      1. No, just poor information. And I’ve got debt from professional expenses the university ended up not reimbursing, for instance, and which I incurred anyway because I needed the promotion that would come from what I got done as a result of spending said money, etc.

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        1. With 5 degrees, 3 of which are from Ivy League? Speaking all the languages that I do and having the IQ that I do? 🙂 I don’t think that the times when this qualified as retardation really existed. You would have needed a general population with an IQ of over 200 for me to count as retarded. 🙂

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  3. On most matters, your point of view is in fact liberal. It just that in the states, it means something else than thre true meaning of the word.

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  4. bloggerclarissa :
    I want to mention this guy Andrews once again who got into a total financial mess with loans and mortgages while being the financial analyst for the NYTimes. What information was he lacking?
    “And I’ve got debt from professional expenses the university ended up not reimbursing”
    – That’s a completely different situation, though. Especially if you got the promotion in the end.

    I really don’t know. I’ve got a friend who can’t apply for more academic jobs because of having maxed out credit cards paying to go to the convention, etc., and now has to tell universities flat out, I will only take the on campus interview if I don’t have to leave it on a card until you reimburse. I wasn’t raised to save, and then when I became an adult virtually everyone’s cant was, you have to borrow now on the theory that it will make you richer later, and being more conservative with money was labeled self destructive and over cautious. This was in the 80s and 90s. There was a great amount of pressure. Had I not taken on debt to stay in academia, I would not have been tied to it and would have had some small savings to help me change careers. It’s not the mortgage that’s the problem, it’s as cheap as rent or cheaper; it’s the loans from credit unions to pay for: research materials, conferences, computers, the car, which one needs if one lives out in the country like this, etc. I don’t think it’s smart but I reiterate, these ideas were sold and sold again, and by administrators and department chairs not just the banks and one’s colleagues.

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    1. “these ideas were sold and sold again, and by administrators and department chairs not just the banks and one’s colleagues”

      – Oh, I know. Did I mention how the very first place where I was taken during my campus visit was a trip with a local REAL ESTATE AGENT? I said repeatedly that I had no interest but there was no getting out of it. The visit to the library was sacrificed in favor of this excursion to see “available properties.” I almost vomited at how shameless this peddling was. But I had a choice not to buy and I exercised that choice. Why should I now feel sorry for those who didn’t and who tanked the economy of the region in the process?

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  5. bloggerclarissa :
    With 5 degrees, 3 of which are from Ivy League? Speaking all the languages that I do and having the IQ that I do? I don’t think that the times when this qualified as retardation really existed. You would have needed a general population with an IQ of over 200 for me to count as retarded.

    There are many people, past and present who couldnt give two shits about your degree’s. They would watch your social interaction and easily assume your a retard. That we both can be sure of. 😦

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    1. “They would watch your social interaction and easily assume your a retard. That we both can be sure of.”

      – Erm. . . I was hired for my current job, in part, because of being “sociable, outgoing and fun”. What makes you think there is anything wrong with my social interactions? I’m the life of the party wherever I go. And I’m willing to bet actual money that I’m better at interacting with people than you are. 🙂

      Many people who know me in RL read the blog. They’ll correct me if I’m wrong.

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        1. I’m always glad to discuss autism. In this thread, however, I don’t see how this subject is relevant. Autism or not, I am responsible for every single decision (including financial) that I have made in my adult life. The only question here is whether I should hold everybody to the same standard that I hold myself. In my opinion, the only evidence of respect for others is to do so.

          P.S. On the subject of autism, just to clarify: the idea that the central challenges of autism have to do with social interactions is a myth played up by stupid TV shows. Some autistics face those challenges, but many don’t. My autism doesn’t manifest in the social interactions to any significant degree. Many autistics are characterized by others as “extremely charming.”

          People, let’s stop trusting stupid mainstream media on the subject of autism.

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  6. “Another pseudo-Liberal in the same thread just had the gall to compare the irresponsible borrowers to slaves or rape victims:

    That mentality where the victim is made to believe that he/she is at fault for the predicament they are in is evidence of mental subjugation comparable to that of the slave or the rape victim.”

    Seriously? Somebody seriously said that? The world we live in sometimes leaves me speechless. Compassion for people who were swindled by the banks is one thing. But comparing them to RAPE victimes? SLAVES?

    WTF?????????????????????

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  7. @Clarissa

    Actually it may be that your Autism is not relevant to this discussion but many others may be. The fact is that some people who have certain conditions and are independantly functioning adults may be more susceptible to coercion or plain ole “getting taken to the cleaners”. I think you opened that door by your use of the term “retard”.

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    1. Are you suggesting that all of those folks who took on mortgages they could never hope to pay back had “certain conditions”? Meaning they were sick in some way, or what? I’m trying to understand the point you are trying to make and I honestly can.

      I’m saying honestly that the conditions that made me get into debt are called “stupidity” and “irresponsibility.” I also happen to believe that this was the case with the absolute majority of people who took on these mortgages, credit lines, etc. This is my position on the issue. What’s yours?

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      1. My position is that there are situations when people are misled or bamboozled or just fucking taken advantage of. Do they hold responsibility in these situations, of course, but to overlook the fact that some people are ill equipped in certain areas is naive at best and malicious at worst. My problem is people who think that the “free market” market system is always free. In many instances there is a high price to pay. 😦
        Capitalism as a system is completely fucked up because it is all about consumption. It needs an ever increasing consumption to make it viable. Healthy, well balanced individuals do NOT consume as much, so as a system do you think it wants people to be well balanced and healthy. Dont answer that, just take a look outside and you will see the answer.

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        1. I don’t disagree with any of this. Of course, we need to remember that the communist system of the USSR was a lot more about consumption than anything you can even begin to imagine in any capitalist society. So the question arises, hoe does the emphasis on consumerism depend on the economic system in place. This will sound paradoxical, but I believe that consumerism has nothing to do with the system of economy whatsoever.

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  8. Clarissa:

    I agree with you completely. The reason that I agree ,however, may not sit perfectly with you. In my interpretation, contempt for individuals as responsible decision-makers stems largely from the progressives of all parties. They believe that they know better than others and enjoy trying to impose their own often bigoted preferences on ‘lesser’ individuals. Sadly, all too often, they do not know their own way to the bathroom and they are almost always completely blinkered concerning unintended consequences.

    That is why I am a classical liberal. For good or bad, individuals are responsible for the consequences of their own actions. They grow as human beings largely because of this. Take that responsibility away from them, and they never mature or flourish.

    Now this does not imply that there no exceptions to this general rule. Some individuals are incapacitated by mental illness or low intelligence. They do deserve help and support. The problem is filtering those relatively few individuals out without relieving the vast majority of their individual responsibilities.

    Your column is courageous and well-aimed.

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    1. “Now this does not imply that there no exceptions to this general rule. Some individuals are incapacitated by mental illness or low intelligence. They do deserve help and support. The problem is filtering those relatively few individuals out without relieving the vast majority of their individual responsibilities.”

      – That’s exactly what I’m trying to convey. What scares me, though, is how easily many of my fellow Liberals treat the majority as incapacitated or low-intelligence.

      “Your column is courageous and well-aimed.”

      – Thank you. This means a lot.

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  9. Interesting. Pseudo-liberals (The majority) are unable to categorise me as a victim, even if or when I am one. Rather, according to their binary logic, I am an oppressor. Whatever I say of do is very tricky and not to be trusted.

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    1. For them, the victims constitute the great nameless mass somewhere out there. The concrete human beings they meet are all privileged victimizers of somebody. This is a very neat trick that allows them to keep control of any conversation: compassion towards the absent anonymous and viciousness + guilt-tripping towards those present.

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  10. bloggerclarissa :
    For them, the victims constitute the great nameless mass somewhere out there. The concrete human beings they meet are all privileged victimizers of somebody. This is a very neat trick that allows them to keep control of any conversation: compassion towards the absent anonymous and viciousness + guilt-tripping towards those present.

    Lol, shit, if I didnt know better I would imagine you are describing certain feminists. 😉

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  11. I’ve already had this discussion with you Clarissa, but you really overuse the term “retard” or any derivation that may give the impression that people are mentally retarded. Maybe you feel so smart that it seems that way to you but the truth is a great many people would fit into your category of “retard,” so the word kind of loses its meaning when you apply it so liberally.

    Having said that, I completely agree with you on the issue at hand and love the way you put it. What these “pseudo-liberals” are saying amounts to a complete denial of personal responsibility and free will. This is why they love a big authoritarian government that takes care of them. Unfortunately we are all affected equallly even though we are not all irresponsible morons.

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    1. Buddy, read the discussion before posting. My point is precisely that the irresponsible borrowers do NOT suffer from any form of mental retardation and, hence, should be held fully responsible for their actions.

      It is very frustrating when people don’t even read but think they need to have an opinion.

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  12. I would be a bit more careful about jumping the liberals for being hypocrites. I know some liberals/socialists who have truly internalized that mentality and it is hurting them more than anybody else. I have this internet friend back in my own country (and, Clarissa, that is not a person from a certain forum)… She has achieved a lot, thanks to a lot of hard work, and without much support from her family. In fact, the family happily allows her to solve their problems. Despite that, she genuinely feels guilty for having all those fruits of her work, for having more than others, including those very people who are pulling her down. I one case I attempted to offer her support by pointing out all the effort she made, and suggesting it is something to celebrate. She sort of accepted it from me, because she knows me, but still she believes that openly attributing one’s success to anything but luck is not nice towards fellow human beings. And her other virtual friends jumped at me for being a libertarian, and not appreciating both my privilege and also how much everything is determined by luck rather than one’s efforts…

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    1. A question: those people who do believe that everything is determined by luck, are they liberals? I ask because I live with a person who drives me nuts with these discussions about how everything is luck or coincidence. If anybody knows a name for that attitude (other than a fatalist because that leads into unpleasant ethnic stereotypes), I’d appreciate. I need a more varied terminology for arguments.

      As for what you are saying about people internalizing this attitude, I know you are right. I find such people to be very incomprehensible but they do exist. N., for example, is planning to write a narrative where he will retell my post about his achievements from the point of view of how they are evidence that he actually achieved nothing. So, yeah, they exist.

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      1. There may be some additional difficulty discussing “liberals” with Russian-speakers. While in the US “liberals” are supposed to be socially progressive, the primary association to a “liberal” in the FSU is a “supporter of free unregulated market economy, bent on exploitation and destruction of the weak and the poor”. I.e. more of a caricature of a libertarian. Those people back home do not call themselves liberals, that would be a worst nightmare for them, they are calling themselves socialists, or social democrats.

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        1. “Those people back home do not call themselves liberals, that would be a worst nightmare for them, they are calling themselves socialists, or social democrats.”

          – No, N. is not a socialist. He’s a quant, so socialism is out of the question. 🙂 Will I be forced to accept the essentialist belief in the fatalism of all Russians? 🙂 (Kidding.)

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  13. Do you live on a chalkboard in an Economics seminar?

    Blind spots
    Biases
    Illusions
    Distortions

    You write as if we were not all subject to these irrationalities.

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