A Short Interview With Evan Sayet About The Nature Of Liberalism
Evan Sayet has given not one, but two of the best talks I have ever heard about liberalism (You can see them here and here). So, I was very pleased to get an opportunity to get together with him for an interview to talk about liberals. What follows is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation.
You used to be a liberal, correct? So why are you no longer a liberal? What changed you around? What changed your perspective?
Yes, where I grew up you were a liberal or a Democrat. It was practically in your DNA. There was no intellectual rational reason that I was a Democrat. You went into schools. You leave your home. You leave your temple and by the time you go out into the real world to actually experience things, you’ve been bombarded with liberal ideology from day one.
You know, one of those things that I recognized later on when I went out and sought out Republicans, and attended a Republican meeting, was that it dawned on me that it was the first time I had ever heard what Republicans believed from Republicans.
Now you’ve been around a lot of liberals. You said that’s how you grew up — and you worked on Bill Maher’s show. So you certainly saw them there. What’s the difference between liberals and conservatives? What is the basic difference?
The basic difference is a recognition that good and evil, right and wrong, better and worse do exist and that’s what the conservative believes — and it becomes his job to do his best to seek out the good of fighting evil, to promote the better end and squelch the worse.
The opposite point of view is that nothing can be recognized as better or worse than anything, not because it doesn’t necessarily exist, but because as human beings we don’t have the objectivity to know if our belief that something is good is really because it’s good or if it’s a reflection of our bigotries.
So to eliminate the possibility that our beliefs are bigotries, to eliminate the evil of bigotry, the liberal eliminates all critical rational judgement.
Now you say, and this is related, that the modern liberal will invariably side with evil over good, wrong over right…
..Evil over good, wrong over right. You got it.
…And behaviors that lead to failure over behaviors that lead to success. You say it’s not because they’re not stupid or evil, so is it just because of that that they don’t discriminate?
It’s twofold. One, it may be because they don’t discriminate between right and wrong, good and evil, better and worse. But indiscriminateness of thought doesn’t lead to indiscriminateness of policy.
Indiscriminateness of thought leads to a society with evil, failure, and wrong because if nothing is better than anything else, then that which failed must have been victimized. If it’s just as good as everything else, then if it fails or if it’s just as good as everything else and it commits an evil act, that evil act must have been de facto, provoked.
College kids and celebrities are often very liberal. Can you explain why you think that is?
Sure. In order to hold onto the belief that nothing is better than anything else, you have to remove yourself or have been removed from the consequences of your beliefs. Because once you went to the real world, you recognize some things are right, some things are wrong.
…One of the lines I like to use is that stupidity is a luxury. And when you’re young and you’re on the college campuses and you don’t have a job, you’re not paying taxes. You’re not starting a business. You don’t have to worry about environmental policies that are ridiculous.
You’re living on these college campuses where no matter how much you binge drink, no matter how much you projectile vomit, no matter how much you go wild for the cameras in Cancun and strip naked, the next day you wake up on a campus with lush manicured lawns. You wake up in an ivy covered two room mansion. You wake up and somebody else has bought your food, cooked your food, serves you your food, and when you’re finished, cleans your dishes for you.
…Then you have the other side that you mentioned, the celebrities who have been retarded at the age of the child by their fabulous wealth. These are people who never have to recognize right and wrong, better and worse. They don’t have to make decisions in which those have consequences. You know, of course, Bruce Springsteen doesn’t have to choose between putting money away for his retirement or spending it now. He can spend it now and have hundreds of millions for retirement too.
Susan Sarandon doesn’t have to choose between not getting a new car this year because the rent may go up. She buys lots of houses and lots of new cars. But, the celebrity is isolated from the consequences of their beliefs by their money. This goes to professors as well that are on the left at college campuses. They can’t get fired no matter how bad they are at their job. That isolates them from the need to be smart. It isolates from the need to be right. It isolates from the need to be good — and these are things that allow somebody to hold onto their childish, foolish, and quite just plainly spoken, idiotic mentality that is modern liberalism.
Well, let me ask you, how does that apply to the media, for example? They certainly don’t make as much money. They’re not as privileged. They’re almost uniformly liberal though. How does that happen, do you think?
Remember the real world is an antidote to the stupidity of liberalism — and it used to be that journalists learned their craft in the real world. If you wanted to be a journalist, you got the most rotten job there was in journalism — the late night to 8 a.m. at the courthouse shift or whatever — and you learned your craft and you got a slight promotion. You got a slight raise — and then 20 or 30 years later maybe, you were the anchor of a network or whatever.
Now you don’t do any of those menial jobs where you actually learn your craft. You go to the Columbia School of Journalism where you were taught theoretics, not actuality — where your childhood is perpetuated not only through college but now through grad school. Suddenly instead of starting out as a working journalist, you start off with the credential from the Columbia School of Journalism — and you start already hosting the weekend news reports and you never get down and dirty. You never get to the grit. You instantly go from the fanciful life of college to the world of great personal power — and you’re dictating the truth to people — and the money ain’t bad either. Because once you graduate from the Columbia School of Journalism, you know, your entry level salary is pretty darn good.
I think we’ve got it all.
All right. Terrific.