One of the few pleasures remaining during pandemania involves sports competitions where rules are followed and enforced by unbiased officials, so that teams or individuals win or lose based solely on the merit of their performances. Elsewhere with identity politics and political correctness, it is a different story. People on the right perceive accurately that their opponents on the left are not bound by the rules, and break them readily in order to win.
Brent E. Hamachek explains in his blog post Why They Cheat-a look at the behavioral differences between Team Right and Team Left. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
America is divided into two political teams; Team Right and Team Left. As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris assume office, many Team Right members are still trying to come to terms with the results of the 2020 election. They feel certain that Team Left cheated in a variety of ways in order to produce enough votes to secure victory.
Setting aside the MSM’s agreed-upon talking points of “baseless accusations” of election fraud and their “despite there being no evidence to support such claims” mantra, we now know that there was significant evidence of election tampering. That is actually a “fact” about which I’ve previously written. It is also, at this point, irrelevant. Joe Biden is in office. Focusing on 2020 election cheating is fine for investigators in various states if they so choose (there will be no federal investigation), but it is not helpful for ordinary citizens who would like to reverse trends.
The more helpful issue to explore in order to make a difference going forward is in answering this question: Why do Team Left members seem to be more willing to cheat than do Team Right members?
This is a question, I believe, that we can answer without needing any sort of physical proof. We can prove it solely through the use of our reason and with a clear understanding of the ethical structure, and attendant influences on behavior, of modern-day Team Left members (many of whom were election officials and vote counters).
When the typical person says they are “ethical,” they really mean that in their mind the things they do are the right things to do. This suggests a sort of self-legislating capability on the part of each person to know right from wrong. An idea like this can be found in the work of famous philosophers ranging from Immanuel Kant, to Karl Marx, to many others. They argue that each person is capable of such self-legislating and engage in the process constantly.
Very few people realize that there are actual ethical systems that have been “constructed” to help direct us on the path to making consistent and appropriate decisions as to how to act and behave in any given situation. We have the above-referenced Kant’s categorical imperative (if what I’m thinking of doing now were a rule that everyone had to follow, would it be workable for society?). We have Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism (pure cost-benefit analysis) or John Stuart Mill’s more refined and kinder version, which calls for for cost-benefit analysis with an allowance for the subjective nature of “higher” human values.
There are a number of ways to view the development and deployment of moral and ethical behavior, but the typical person knows little, if any, of this. Yet they will tell you that they are ethical, and others are not. By what standard? How do they know? This logical dilemma, by the way, exists in people whether they were supporters of Donald Trump or Joe Biden; whether they are members of Team Right or Team Left. There is absolutely no difference in that respect. There is a difference we will get to eventually, but it does not involve ethics.
Hobbes was right!
It is my opinion, based upon many years of studying political philosophy, working in a large corporate environment, working with and running privately owned businesses, and doing political advising and writing, that the greatest of all the political philosophers, the one who got the most important thing right, was Englishman Thomas Hobbes. Born in 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada, it is said that his mother went into premature labor upon seeing the ships off the English coast, thereby birthing poor Thomas out of fear.
Hobbes spent the rest of his life focusing on the fearful nature of humans, among other things.
He is the father of social contract theory, which describes man’s compact to enter into civil society as a way to control his more primitive impulses. He is famous for his line about man’s life in the state of nature, before the social contract, which he describes as being “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Hobbes suggested that, owing to their nature, men are unable to be left to govern themselves without stern direction. His diagnosis of us as people? Fearful and self-destructive. His prescription? A strong sovereign.
Hobbes is also the father of the idea of moral relativism. His contention is that, for the typical human, their calculation of whether or not something is “right or wrong” is nothing more than a reduction to looking at things that please them and things that offend them. They maximize the one and avoid the other. In that process, they create their own morality, or set of ethics, that is based solely upon their own desires and aversions.
My own fifty-eight years of study and empirical observations have led me to conclude that this theory of human behavior and ethical development most accurately describes the greatest number of people Assuming a human population existing under a bell curve, Hobbes’s ethical construct describes the greatest number of people gathered around the mean.
At this point you might think I’m suggesting that Biden supporters, Team Left members, are moral relativists and Trump supporters, Team Right members, are not. That somehow I believe we are inherently better creatures than are they. You’d be wrong. I am not. I believe that most people are moral relativists in general, and even that people who attempt to operate under a more disciplined structure of ethics, including the Christian ethic, can become moral relativists at the very moment that they find themselves placed most at risk.
Survival is in our nature. When it is in jeopardy, even the most truly righteous can attempt to hedge their ethical bets.
Since I am concluding that there is no fundamental difference in ethics between the typical Trump or the typical Biden supporter, why go through all the trouble to share this background on ethics? After all, the purpose is to demonstrate how we can prove that Team Left members are more likely to cheat. I walked through the ethical piece because people typically consider cheating to be “unethical.” Yet it happens, and it happens more by their team than by ours.
To understand why, I believe we need to look beyond ethics and consider Tom Hanks, World War II, and the ancient Stoics.
Duty as a differentiator
This notion of duty is a very Stoic concept. Stoicism, which dates back to Ancient Greece, emphasizes duty and the importance of virtue. There were four attributes of virtue: wisdom, justice, courage, and moderation. Doing one’s duty was central to the Stoics. Duty manifested itself in more than just following orders; it meant adhering to the four key elements of virtue and to keeping in sync with all of nature.
One does not have to buy into all of Stoic philosophy to grasp the importance of duty. It is with duty that we can begin to answer our question: How can we know that Team Left members will cheat?
The answer lies in the absence of a sense of duty to something outside themselves. The typical contemporary Team Left member does not have any external force that commands him or her to “behave better.”
Again, operating under the bell curve, the mainstream Trump supporter tries to follow either the voice of God, the call of patriotism, or both. Both are external to themselves. Both set standards for behavior that transcend their own personal calculations of convenience. Both provide fairly clear direction, either through Scripture or the Constitution. Both rest like weights upon their shoulders, burdening them with a non-ignorable sense of obligation.
It doesn’t mean they won’t fail. It doesn’t mean they will not behave badly. It simply means they have a better chance of making a better choice than does a person who is not encumbered by any sense of duty other than to themselves. Duty is typically viewed as a call to act. It can just as easily be seen as the antithesis to action, which means it can inhibit. I must because it’s my duty. I must not because it betrays my duty.
Common responses I have received from Team Left members over the years when I ask them about feeling a sense of duty include:
• I have a duty to those around me.
• I have a duty to those less fortunate than myself.
• I have a duty to humanity.
The shared characteristic of each of those “duties” is that although they sound as if they reside “outside” the individual, they are wholly subjective with regard to their definition. Each individual person gets to define their “duty to others” however they see fit. There is no separate standard. For those focused on a Christian duty, there is the reasonable clarity of the Bible. For those who pledge allegiance to the United States of America, there is our Constitution bolstered by the original Declaration of Independence.
For those, however, who say that they simply have a duty to help “others,” the others can be whomever they so choose, and need whatever kind of help it is the helper decides they should provide.
Machiavelli provides the final element
To succinctly summarize my thoughts to this point, it is my personal belief that the members of Team Right are not inherently any more ethical than are their counterparts on Team Left. When it comes right down to it, individual to individual, most people are basic moral relativists as identified and defined by Hobbes, and given no other considerations, most people conduct themselves under an ethical code that is simply one of convenience.
The difference between the two is that those who answer to a calling of duty that is outside themselves and more objective than subjective in nature can have their individual passions held in check. It gives their better angels a chance to be heard and followed.
Machiavelli’s statement about ends and means explains why the modern-day Team Left member, almost always a Democrat, is so willing to cheat. Existing as a typical moral relativist where little to nothing is malum in se, and being for the most part unconstrained by a sense of duty other than that which they conveniently self-define, any sort of activity is permissible so long as they end up getting what they want. They give cover to this behavior by saying their actions are necessary to “help others.” As has been shown, that statement can mean whatever they want it to mean.
By our nature as humans, we are flawed and sinful creatures. That goes for Trump supporters as well as those who lined up behind Joe Biden. The difference is that for those of us who truly have a good old-fashioned love for God, country, or both, we have a voice outside ourselves warning us to control our nature. It asks us to heed a higher calling. It limits us in a way that is beneficial to maintaining an ordered, predictable, and just society.
Those who operate without that sense of duty are left to do whatever their free will wishes, unbound by any real constraints. They can justify their actions through the simple pleasure they feel or the pain they avoid. Their ends always can justify their means. That is why they cheat. That is how we can use our reason to know they cheat.
Postscript: Dennis Prager sees the left/right distinction in terms of focus on politics vs. persons.
That’s a major difference between the right and the left, concerning the way each seeks to improve society. Conservatives believe that the way to a better society is almost always through the moral improvement of the individual by each person doing battle with his or her own weaknesses, and flaws. It is true that in violent and evil society such as fascist Communist or Islam is tyrannies, the individual must be preoccupied with battling outside forces. Almost everywhere else, though, certainly in a free and decent country such as America, the greatest Battle of the individual must be with inner forces, that is with his or her moral failings.
The left on the other hand, believes that the way to a better society is almost always through doing battle with society’s moral failings. Thus, in America, the left concentrates its efforts on combating sexism, racism, intolerance, xenophobia, homophobia, Islamophobia, and the many other evils that the left believes permeate American society.
One important consequence of this left right distinction is that those on the left are far more preoccupied with politics than those on the Right. Since the left is so much more interested in fixing society than in fixing the individual, politics inevitably becomes the vehicle for societal improvement. That’s why whenever the term activist is used, we almost always assume that the term refers to someone on the left.
See also: Left and Right on Climate (and so much else)
See also: Climate Science, Ethics and Religion