Abstract Emotionalism: The Language of the Left

Now that the 2020 circus is already starting (ugh), I’ll do you the favor of translating the language of leftism, so you can at least prevent yourself from going insane at all the bizarre things you’re going to hear. It also helps that you’ll be able to make predictions.

Did you ever think that “social justice” leftists speak another language compared to normal people? It’s little wonder why there’s so many misunderstandings, or how some people get deceived by them (as voters did in 2018). It’s also little wonder why the left obsesses so much about language, as Thomas Sowell went into great detail about in The Vision of the Anointed. To impose their vision, they need to change the language of ordinary people to reflect their perversions. Changing language is the best way to change thoughts. If you know their interpretation of the world, you’ll be better able to fight back against their control mechanisms and understand how to combat them.

All people operate more in stories than in the details abut them, but this is particularly true with leftists. If you’ve ever wondered why, for example, leftists never give an answer about how many “refugees” are enough, it’s because their thinking is always driven by abstract emotionalism.

The abstraction here is “we love immigrants,” based on the emotion of wanting to be kind and be seen as a “good person.” The policy considerations don’t matter. What matters is an abstract idea and the emotions that it gives them.

This is why you constantly see leftists talk about the Statue of Liberty or “a nation of immigrants” whenever there’s a debate about immigration. They want to feel the emotions of being “a good person,” and make their decisions based on these abstract notions. Other people will rely on data, and sometimes leftists do too, but it’s always secondary to the abstraction.

Another great example of abstract emotionalism would be the environmental debate. The abstraction is that “the planet is dying.” The emotion is again being a “good person,” one that wants to save it. Abstract symbols, like the color “green,” help to sell the leftist project. A “green New Deal” is one of the latest environmental crazes. The fact that the United States is one of the few developed countries that has actually cut its carbon emissions, despite the growth we’ve had over the past few years, is irrelevant.

Evidence or second-guesses are irrelevant, as Thomas Sowell would say, because the abstraction, the principle, is an end in itself to leftists. While few people are persuaded by evidence in the moment of an argument, thanks to the power of cognitive dissonance, leftists go a step further than normal, because the abstraction is sacred.

On almost any issue you can think of, the left thinks in abstractions. To find out what the abstraction is, always try to look at the symbols they talk about. One of the reasons they hate the wall so much is because, to them, it’s a symbol of “racism” and closed borders.

That’s why you won’t be able to make any sense of them, much less get through, if you try the approach of thinking in details instead of abstractions. You’ll be befuddled or attacked.

Normal people constantly miss this aspect about today’s left. They try to speak to them in ordinary language. It doesn’t work because that isn’t the language the left speaks.

Covington smirk.

Why was it so easy for the left to go hog wild on this image? The abstraction here is that white people are racist for confronting a “person of color.” The red MAGA hat is a symbol that enhances this truthism in leftist language. The emotion is that the white people that stand with “people of color” are “good” because they “aren’t racist.” The white people that don’t are “racist.”

That’s why it was easy for the mob to converge on this image and threaten these kids before they even saw the entire video. The abstraction of “white racism” is what drives them, not the details of what actually happened. This is why the attacks continued even after the truth came out.

Confirmation bias might be “the operating system,” as Scott Adams says in Win Bigly, but abstract emotionalism, fueled by symbolism, makes leftists even more prone to it.

If you’re on the other side of the left, be sure you understand this and avoid symbols that might attract an angry mob.

And as the 2020 madness ramps up, you’ll feel better when looking at the left this way. You’ll understand that the left is just speaking a different language than you are, and won’t need to take their babbling as personally.

Read Stumped to better understand how emotional levers move people, the left in particular. You’ll also want to keep it handy for 2020.