The humorless, totalitarian, fundamentalist Left

The humorless, totalitarian, fundamentalist Left

Yaacov Ben Moshe, at the “Breath of the Beast” blog, has a thoughtful post entitled “The Emergence of the Agélaste Left”. The “agélaste” are people who do not laugh because they have no sense of humor and, according to Rabelais, “…are convinced that the truth is obvious, that all men necessarily think the same thing, and that they themselves are exactly what they think they are.” Moshe sees this tendency all the more frequently among so many liberals. If you want to see it illustrated, go to any of the major left-wing bloggers and see the hatred spewed out at their ideological opponents in both posts and comments. It is true that hatred is not confined to the left, but there it is mainstream and reaches its full fatal flowering.

The moderate and progressive left for all its claims of good intentions and intellectual righteousness has for some time been slipping into a form of totalitarian fundamentalism.


Eliminating humor is essential to the totalitarian system. In His novel The Joke, Kundera has a Communist sympathizer saying, “No great movement designed to change the world can bear to be laughed at or belittled. Mockery is a rust that corrodes all it touches.” A sense of humor would allow people to see the irony in the internal contradictions and turn laughingly away from it. The modern Progressive, leftist and liberal movements lack any real humor. What passes for humor in those precincts is actually more accurately classified as ridicule and mockery. While driving the other day I saw an excellent example, bumper stickers that read, “So Many Right-Wing Christians So Few Lions”. This is not humor. It is, rather, a kind of puerile, jejune attempt to wrap a hate message in a clever phrase and hurl it through the windshield of any car that had the misfortune to be driving behind.

He also identifies the inconsistencies within the liberal left-wing movement, such as sympathy for totalitarian systems that would disdain them, such as Islamofascism, even as they hate those Liberal (in the classic sense) institutions you would think they would support, like a democratic Israeli state. The reason, he says, is because of the nature of totalitarian fundamentalist systems.

Totalitarian systems loath each other but they hate the individual human being, his sense of humor and his free thought much more. That is why the Totalitarian left and Caliphate Islam find common cause with each other. In each of them, it is the system not the people in it or the ideals they hold that are important; the individual is an object of suspicion and disdain. As Hannah Arendt wrote in The Origins of Totalitarianism, “Totalitarianism strives not toward despotic rule over men but toward a system in which men are superfluous,” The devotion to a strict fundamentalist interpretation of the Koran and the seemingly opposed devotion to the total and complete adherence to the intellectualized principals of the western left differ in their content but not in their disregard for reality and the complex nature of humanity.

There’s much more there. You should read the rest.

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  • I find it more distressing that the Liberals have become the least tolerant, that the feeders of sheep now promote the slaughter of lambs, that those most concerned with social justice have lost the meaning of ‘justice’, that those who believe they are most motivated by love no longer have enough love in them to sacrifice their popularity for the good of those they profess to “love” as Christ loves them. If they have lost their sense of humor as well, they are not alone. It’s hard to laugh joyfully in the midst of horror and chaos.And there’s NO WAY to say truthfully, that conservative writings can be as humorless as that of progressives. There’s anger and sorrow on both sides, and in the middle.
    As to the lion bumper sticker, I hate to say it, but I laughed. I can’t even remember which “wing” it was directed at—right or left, but the line itself WAS funny! smile Obviously, it was not meant literally.

  • I agree that totalitarians can’t laugh at anything, which reminds me—have you ever heard of the Al Gore diet? “I eat what I want and you starve.” (those carbon credits go a long way…)

  • I lived and worked in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship and found solace in the fact that ordinary Chilenos retained their sense of humor and freely shared jokes about the leadership, especially the despised Manuel Contreras who was considered equally brutal and stupid. These attitudes helped more than people realize to effect meaningful change in the society and eventually led to a peaceful revision of the power structure.
    My parents and relatives lived through the German terror of National Socialism and then the subsequent soul crushing of East German Socialism. Hushed jokes circulated among the populace in both, but the fear of consequences, including extrajudicial death, kept this much more underground. Humor is a litmus test for totalitarianism and the extent of its suppression is directly correlated to the severity of the state’s control over the individual.