Evan Sayet was once a bona fide liberal. Starting out in Hollywood as a stand-up comic, he was discovered by David Letterman and went on to write for a variety of television shows and even worked on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect. The liberal comic and writer finally had a change of heart after 9/11 when he saw a side of the liberal mind previously unbeknownst to him, a more sinister and less patriotic part. From that point on, he began a serious quest to find the root of their thoughts. The mind of the liberal has confounded conservatives for several years and with his fresh and unique perspective, Sayet aims to educate us in his first book, KinderGarden Of Eden: How The Modern Liberal Thinks.
Sayet explores the liberal mind, offering explanations for its seemingly incapability to critically think as well as for the dominance of liberals in what he deems the “Rhetoric Industries” of entertainment, journalism, and academia. He wants to find out why liberals are wrong on every issue. He argues that since liberals tend not to actually produce or make anything, in his own words, “it really is true that all you ever really need to know you learned in kindergarten.” Developing this idea, Sayet makes a compelling argument for why liberals never had to foster intellectual discernment.
His book is far from perfect, though. For such an academic undertaking as understanding the psychology of the Left, it comes across as strikingly un-academic. In addition to this, the influence of his experience as a stand-up comedian comes through with the at times excessive use of hyperbole. This results in some jarring turns of phrase. He does not hesitate to call liberals “evil” and “retarded,” alienating some potential fans with his extreme rhetoric. At times, his logic is also lacking or overly simplistic. There are several big jumps he relies on the reader to take that he does not adequately back up, such as suggesting Darwin’s theory played a role in the Holocaust.
These faults present challenges to Sayet’s work. However, he still makes a compelling argument for explaining the differences between liberals and the rest of Americans. Thomas Sowell makes a similar argument in his work, Intellectuals and Society. Where Sowell used studies and decades of research to back up his points supporting his thesis, Sayet looks more at the anecdotal to justify his conjectures, choosing instead to rely on popular songs in liberal culture as evidence of their mentality. Of course, Sayet has a different goal. Sowell aimed to explain the influence of liberal academia and thinking on society but Sayet hopes to explain the source of that liberal thinking. The advantage to his more culturally oriented approach is an explanation of what creates a liberal, including their society, culture, and way of thinking.
Overall, Sayet’s first foray into book writing offers a different perspective as to why liberals behave the way they do and reading it provides insights into the liberal mind previously unconsidered or overlooked.