The View From 1776

The Information-Closed Universe of Liberal-Progressivism

Worshippers of the secular, materialistic religion of liberal-progressivism, particularly since Darwin’s 1859 Origin of Species, accept as an unquestioned article of faith that there is a one-on-one relationship between edicts of the political state and results of such political action.  If liberal-progressives conceive it, it is an accomplished fact.

Liberal-progressives have been energized by their doctrinaire certainty that God, through His externally imposed intelligent design, is no more than ignorant superstition.  Their corollary faith is that all of life on earth is the product of random collisions of material force.  This leads liberal-progressives to assert that, their superior intelligence having discerned this supposed reality, they are enabled by their superior knowledge to conquer nature and to structure political society in ways that guarantee perfection of humanity. 

This faith in secular, materialistic religion, however, blinds them to the fact that matters seldom work as they predict.

We have seen this in spades during the past eight years in the Federal Reserve’s dogged adherence to Keynesian economics, the product of an economic theory that posits the political state as the primary, if not sole, source of the nation’s economic wellbeing.  Ditto with regard to the entirety of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society entitlements programs and the president’s ObamaCare.

As countless commentators have noted, liberal-progressivism excludes the possibility that individuals may know, better then the political state, what is best for them.  Also banished from public square discussion is the age-old truth that the spiritual realm, most evident in the West’s Judeo-Christian heritage, is ultimately more powerful than the political state’s secular and materialistic religion.

Read Seth Mandel’s There Is No Such Thing as a Secular Politics, posted on the Commentary website.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/10 at 09:44 PM
  1. Thomas,

    Your opening sentence suggesting that when liberals come up with an idea, it automatically becomes a reality, is belied by the last four years of congressional obstruction. Since 2012 not even a simple highway bill (let alone anything progressive) has become "an accomplished fact," due to conservative obstruction.

    An understanding of science may not imply superior intelligence, compared with those who deny clear evidence before their lying eyes, so much as a more fortunate early exposure to gifted teachers.

    But your posted item, Seth Mandel on Paul Ryan, does not, however, seem to bear on the questions you raise. How does Paul Ryan's trip to Texas relate to whether the actions of the FED have been good for the economy?

    In the eyes of most rational people, the continuing recovery of the economy is an obvious vindication of Keynesian theory in practice. Contrast that to the disasters of the European Union where the austerity policies favored by your favorite economist Von Mises have failed spectacularly.

    And finally, there is no evidence that religious discussion has been banished from "the public square," as you suggest, unless you conflate keeping participation in government free of religious tests with "banishment." Fortunately for us, unlike the Taliban or ISIS, our constitution does not allow religion to intrude into government and dictate what we must believe.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/11  at  09:33 AM
  2. Jay-- I have studied science, and been taught by gifted teachers, and learned to sort out evidence, and I see no evidence that "the continuing recovery of the economy (sic) is an obvious vindication of Keynesian theory in practice.

    Indeed, the recovery seems very limited. There are thousands of economic statistics, and many show that most Americans have not progressed, the nation's financial position has weakened, and our foreign policy has, at great cost, done more harm than good for both America and most foreign nations, while adding trillion dollars to our debt.

    It is a sign of intellectual failure to argue that Keynesian theory has been vindicated. First of all, that assertion cannot be proven. And it avoids the question of what policy might have done better. You assume that that one economic approach is best and that it was applied excellently. Your assumption is either dictated by a lazy mind or blind religious belief in an ideology and your leader in the Oval office.

    Admit it--there must have been a better way! There always is! You argue in absolutes with no subtlety or nuance--the symptoms of a closed mind. And did Obama have to enrich the bankers who stole the public blind with bailouts and low interest rates so they could reap record bonuses this year?

    The real evidence supporting Thomas' point about liberals holding fast to a cherished but failed idea is shown by the current tenacious defense of the diplomatic talks with Iran. When will Obama backtrack and reverse this foolish and naive course? Not quickly, because his knee-jerk reaction against Netanyahu, combined with Netanyahu's boisterous and adoring welcome in Congress, has reinforced his stubborn adherence to a failed policy. His passionate belief in negotiations is being pursued as if it was a spiritual belief--virtually a religious outlet that this lonely and baffled man clings to, vainly hoping to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And admit this too--Do you really think he will win anything from his and Kerry's year-long meetings with Iran?
    Posted by BILL GREENE  on  03/11  at  07:46 PM
  3. Mr. Jay:

    • You write, “Your opening sentence suggesting that when liberals come up with an idea, it automatically becomes a reality…” My point is the opposite: Liberal-progressives believe that they can control the entirely of the economy and political society simply by passing laws enacting new social welfare programs. But, as I noted, those expectations seldom materialize.

    • You write, “But your posted item, Seth Mandel on Paul Ryan, does not, however, seem to bear on the questions you raise. How does Paul Ryan's trip to Texas relate to whether the actions of the FED have been good for the economy?”

    First, my post was not about Fed policy, but about the liberal-progressive fantasy that only they know the answer to every problem of human life and that their untested, one-size-fits-all Federal fiats will benefit everybody, with no disastrous secondary and tertiary effects. Fed policy is merely one of many examples of this presumptuousness.

    Second, with regard to the point of the linked article, perhaps you missed this:

    “The left has demonized Ryan not because he’s wrong (he’s often unquestionably correct on the facts) but because their deity–the state–views him as a false prophet.

    “It’s Ryan, not his leftist critics, who sees the issue with proper compassion and humility: “The big takeaway is listen and learn, because people speak things differently,” Ryan told Yahoo. “They have different experiences, and they do hurt in different ways. And I think it’s really important to try and glean another person’s perspective, so that you’re better informed and you can learn from it.”

    “But to the glorious state there is only one truth.”

    • You wrote, “In the eyes of most rational people, the continuing recovery of the economy is an obvious vindication of Keynesian theory in practice. Contrast that to the disasters of the European Union where the austerity policies favored by your favorite economist Von Mises have failed spectacularly.”

    With respect to the economy’s “recovery,” Bill Greene’s comment answers your unverifiable and undocumented assertion.

    Regarding your misunderstanding of Ludwig von Mises, Austrian school economics is decidedly tilted toward libertarianism (though I regard myself as a traditionalist in the 1776 mold, not as a libertarian).

    Austerity as practiced in the EU is little more than Germany, overwhelmingly the dominant EU economy, demanding that governments and banks, from Spain, to Italy, to Greece and Cyprus, repay their debts to northern EU banks, no matter what the local economic and social costs might be.

    In sharp contrast, Austrian school economics is focused on preventing major economic recessions by forestalling the vast floods of cheap money pumped into the financial system by the Fed and other central banks that follow the prescriptions of Keynesian economics.

    Had there been a gold-standard system or other forceful restraint on the Fed between the time of Alan Greenspan’s infamous 1987 “stock-market put” and the overbuilding of the housing market and its collapse in 2007-08, there would have been no recession to deal with.

    What you may mistake as austerity policy is the Austrians’ point that, once major sectors of the economy have been vastly overbuilt in response to the Fed’s loose money policy, the fastest and least damaging way to get out of the recession is to allow over expanded companies to go into bankruptcy and to liquidate business supply elements that have exceeded real (i.e., without phony money from the Fed) demand.

    Austrian economic policies were followed in the 1920-21 recession, which was far more severe than our 2008 - 2015 fiasco. In 1920-21, Federal debt was reduced, Federal spending was cut, and taxes were lowered. Over expanded businesses were liquidated, and workers were unemployed for a short while. But the economy came roaring back in roughly 18 months, because the government didn’t interfere.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/13  at  05:01 PM
  4. Why can't the libs just believe in God?! It's so much simpler and does no harm.

    But, no! They have to believe fervently in abstruse theories that no one can understand and usually don't work. It's so much wiser to leave the fervor and Faith to spiritual matters, and apply logic to our economic affairs.

    They just get it backwards--Passion for politics and the economy and cold reason on religion. No wonder they fail at both!
    Posted by BILL GREENE  on  03/13  at  07:10 PM
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