An Introduction to Left Brain


Politics and sociological trends are best observed with the objective, Left-Brain function. For the emotional evaluation of these mechanisms has often led to misguided conclusions that have prompted irrational responses.

I know that many of you have arrived here – at the Left Brain, in particular – as refugees from my long-lived, talk radio site. It was there that you came for the satirical appraisals of my friends in talk radio – and the outright ridicule of those who weren’t. And, as one would expect from a ‘talk’ site, the current socio-political events were chronicled with a unique and often caustic treatment. It’s who I was. It is who I remain to be.

Surely, my acquired audience could count on a fairly large dose of conservative-bashing – as one might predict from a New York raised, college educated, arts-engaged, self-absorbed, ‘leftist liberal’ (whoops … liberals aren’t to be ‘self-absorbed’, so scratch that … silly me ... the people of Zimbabwe, green planet, Bono, all that …).

And, as best I could, I precariously defended contemporary liberal ideas and ideals – or, more precisely – what liberalism had become, as it had since twisted and morphed into a set of modalities that I hadn’t originally signed on for – and I knew it. But I further considered that liberalism may well have been the otherwise honorable victim of liberals, themselves, as the very ones who debased an epicenter more noble and better-intentioned. And in conversations, along with correspondences more private, I began to express a certain disillusionment – not in what liberalism was, but rather, in what it had since mutated in to …

Far more recently I received an email from a talk host who had just finished dinner with yet another veteran talk radio personality, during which I had seemingly been one topic of conversation. Her correspondence recounted, “Rick said you had become much more conservative.” … This wasn’t entirely true, however – not as I assessed it. I still regarded and continue to think of myself as ‘liberal’. After all, I remain Pro-Choice, ended up tenuously favoring Barrack Obama in 2008, and still regard Christianity – among other faiths – as a childhood, bedtime-fable ruse, perpetuated by terrified adults who are comforted by the belief that someone outside of themselves is in charge and can further shift responsibility for the world, run amok, to the likes of Satan. How convenient. And this, most often passionately trumpeted by the ‘personal responsibility’ crowd.

I recalled watching a documentary on Barry Goldwater where columnist, George Will offered this paraphrased appraisal regarding the legendary conservative senator: “People said that, in his later years, Goldwater had changed – had become more liberal. But Goldwater didn’t change. The issues had.” Whether one agrees with Will’s assessment of Goldwater or not, it nevertheless rang true to me, as it related to … myself. I’m not entirely sure if I’ve somehow become more conservative – or less liberal – or if it’s just the issues that have changed. Perhaps, as previously implied, it is liberalism that has since become ‘disfigured’.

But I do know that when I registered as a Democrat within a week of my 18th birthday, I was rendering the decision based more on legacy, rather than what the party was already becoming. I would think of Truman and Robert Kennedy, perhaps, never imagining a Nancy Pelosi. And besides, all of the ‘cool’ people were Democrats … Musicians. Film directors. Most writers. Yes, even then, the mindless political meanderings of the Hollywood crowd made me wince, but the overriding ‘Cool Factor’ still prevailed. Who, after all, was I to foresee Sean Penn and his Shakespearian eloquence provided in the seemingly crazed example of, “those who bathe in the moisture of your soiled and blood-soaked underwear”? Right, I still can’t entirely decipher it either, but I do happen to know that weeks of work went into it. 21 days in the mirror, preparing for the moment ... There’s nothing more sad than one who believes they have turned a phrase – writing the words, all by themselves – that will transform the newly-enlightened world with its unprecedented insightfulness.

But one has to understand … Actors, as artists, simply feel more than you poor, unfortunate, commoner saps. As such, they articulate things for you that you, yourself, never could … and do so in a way that you could not ever conceive of … without giggling.

And yet, still, I remain a registered Democrat … and a liberal – or one of liberal thought, more accurately … And it is here that one may find a critical point of distinction …

The contemporary ‘Liberal’ rejects all conservative thought, out of hand, by simple default. The liberal mind, however, welcomes both Michael Moore and Ann Coulter. In truth, I have far more respect for Ann. At least there’s an air of honesty – or genuineness, if sometimes theatrically presented – to her comedy. And while I don’t know Michael Moore, personally, by several accounts provided by those who do, he’s just so incredibly full of shit – even in areas where one may essentially agree with some of his general points. The bigger problem is that he seldom lives the rhetoric – or even makes much of an effort to do so. But it doesn’t matter in either case. The liberal mind – not to be confused, in any way, with liberalism – welcomes it all.

"Our liberalism has often been fraught with noble intentions. But many of our medicines were not only worse than the illnesses, they further fortified and spread the very viruses we sought to eradicate, much like an experimental trial vaccine, gone wrong. For us to retain any future viability or validity at all, we as liberals must come to terms with that. And the first step in that process is in admitting it."

- Joseph -

And it is this liberal mind that proves to be the most liberating – in the mere consideration … ‘of it all’. Liberal thinking doesn’t engage in ‘movements’ to remove Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves. Of all conservative ‘personalities’ – some of them, friends of mine – Limbaugh has never quite done it for me. Despite his fan-base ‘numbers’, I regard him as a pure entertainer, rather than a credible analyst or strategist, certainly. But to wish him ‘dead-air’ simply because of the positions he takes or has assumed? No. It’s a wilted posture of cowardice for the liberal to wish for the complete eradication of opposing thought. It indicates an intellectual frailty in its desire ... and further demonstrates just how ‘un-liberal’ liberals can often times be.

So, ‘My Left Brain’ may be regarded as an act of betrayal by some of those who cite themselves as liberal – even as I scorn some of the thinking associated with – or adopted by – the contemporary conservative movement … some of it at odds with the true nature of conservatism. For conservative thinking has also been seized, hijacked, twisted and sullied, relative to its original intent.

But objective thinking – associated with the ‘Left-Brain' – will inevitably find some degree of agreement with both socio-political sides, relative to the subject at hand. After all, liberalism can’t always be right, no more than conservatism can always be wrong. To think otherwise would be irrational. And the ‘Left-Brain’ rejects such foolishness. So either side can be argued from the same individual, skewed and calibrated only by the particular issue, itself.

It is, admittedly, often easier to generate intellectual and rational arguments for the side of conservatism. For liberal thinking is often crippled by emotional underpinnings. This, as an odd state of affairs when liberalism is so often associated with “intellectuals”. It’s true that conservative thought also has its emotional components … abortion, faith, and firearms – odd that one could be so emotional over a handgun and rifle in the Yosemite Sam tradition, but there you have it. Nevertheless, for liberalism, emotion is at its foundation – whether it be the actual bricks or simply the mortar. But it is the lack of reason that has often diminished liberalism's capacity, no matter how capable it may have otherwise been.

What one has to consider, if with some degree of discomfort, is whether the emotional serves us well as it relates to the sociological. It could be argued that it makes for a good individual, on the human level. And it’s regarded as a requisite for high art – aside from the pretentious variety. But as it relates to a society and its organizational systems, it can at least be entertained that the emotional response to a variety of issues has, perhaps … only fucked us. And, in the end, it may be considered that it’s better to simply call them as you see them … rather than how you feel them.

But let it further be said that when decisions are rendered by power … or by greed, then neither the emotional or the intellectual are even in the room … On that, there’s no debate.


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