The View From 1776

The Cornerstone of Liberal-Progressive-Socialist Ideology

One must start with a deformed theory of human nature to comprehend the rationale for the welfare state.

The cornerstone of Western civilization, beginning with the Old Testament prophets and classical Greek philosophers, was the belief that human nature is constant, unchanging over the ages.  Liberal-progressive-socialist theory, inaugurated by French intellectuals before and after the bloody French Revolution of 1789, propounded the theory that human behavior can be controlled and changed by restructuring society.

In pre-French Revolutionary society, constancy of human nature meant that a good and just society depended upon every individual’s aligning himself with God-given natural law, intuited through religion and philosophy.  No matter whether the ruler was good or bad, every individual needed to do the right thing, to deal fairly with others, to aid widows, orphans, and others in need.  Every individual ultimately would be judged by his Maker.

Liberal-progressive-socialism, exemplified in psychology and the other so-called social sciences established by French intellectuals, hypothesizes in contrast that humans have no capacity to intuit a Divine Creator or a natural law imparted by His Mind, which created the universe.  Humans are just products of Darwinian evolution, beings whose fundamental characteristic is response to external agents of pleasure or pain.  Intellectuals therefore can manipulate evolution with laws and regulations to compel people in the mass to respond as the intellectuals intend.

The cornerstone question, then, is whether individuals can be relied upon to perceive their own best interests, or whether only Ivy League intellectuals and Democrat/Socialist Party politicians can know wherein lie the best interests of the masses, e.g., electric cars, shutting down industries that create jobs but emit CO2, and supporting mafia-style labor unions and “green” ventures.

If the Judeo-Christian Western civilizational paradigm is correct, government should encourage religion as the best means to impart individual morality and responsibility, and government should give maximum free rein to individual initiative and creativity.

If President Obama and his fellow liberal-progressive-socialists are correct, ultimately everyone should be employed by the government, because only government is able to improve peoples lives, only government perceives what is best for the masses, only government can protect helpless members of the mass from predations of capitalist businessmen.

Svetlana Kunin, who grew up under the liberal-progressive benevolence of the Soviet Union, explores the implications of those differing views in an op-ed piece appearing on the Investors’ Business Daily website.  Read Who Created Prosperity? Bureaucrats Or Individuals?