The View From 1776
Sunday, September 09, 2012
Liberal-progressivism, the supposedly scientific religion of materialistic determinism, at its foundation level rests upon two contradictory theories of human nature.
Bill Greene, in response to a recent post, commented:
Buchanan makes the excellent point that atheists represent a large segment of the odd Democratic coalition of gays, unions, radical environmentalists, teachers, anti-business, tort lawyers, utopianists, and welfare recipients. The obvious self-interest motives common to most of these groups makes clear that they are more FOR themselves than for the good long-term health of the nation.
The paradox is that those who most believe they are self-sufficient and have no need for religion are the very ones that want Big Government to either take care of them or provide special favors and treatment.
Liberal-progressives’ picture of the world requires simultaneously two mutually exclusive theories of human nature: in the one, humans must be naturally good, absent the corruptions of political and social structures, in the other, humans must be characterless and passive receptors of external influences that produce sensual pleasure or pain.
Both of these theories stand in opposition to the traditions of Western civilization that picture humans as created in the image of God, but born with sinful natures. Humans have the potential for both good and evil; the course followed depends upon individual free will and personal responsibility.
When the religion of socialism was taking shape, in the half century before the 1789 French Revolution, the liberal-progressive theory was that humans originally, in the State of Nature, were entirely good, benevolent, cooperative, and generous. The invention of private property and a social and political structure that protected private property corrupted human nature and brought aggression, crime, and wars to human life.
In the decades following the French Revolution, when the religion of socialism attained its final definition, a so-called scientific element was introduced. Liberal-progressives denied that humans have a fixed nature of Divine origin, from which come spiritual religion, moral codes, and traditions of right and wrong in political governance. Instead, they proclaimed that there is no fixed human nature, and that human nature is a variable thing that can be controlled by an intellectual elite employing political power. The implication is that these intellectual rulers have the knowledge, and thereby the power, to perfect humanity.
This is a Darwinian sort of doctrine. Human nature is perceived to evolve over time. Liberal-progressives will just direct and expedite the process. It therefore is a synthesis of sorts between the biology of evolution, which states that evolution is without design or purpose, and Comtean Positivism, a gnostic doctrine, proclaiming that through human reason alone intellectuals can attain a knowledge of history’s secrets. With that knowledge intellectuals uniquely are enabled to direct the affairs of humanity toward earthly perfection.
These two mythical pictures of human nature and political society exist only in the minds of intellectuals and their fellow worshippers of socialism. In present-day liberal-progressive-socialism, the two theories, though mutually contradictory, are mixed in a way that produces dangerous political and social policies.
On the one hand, liberals are unwilling to deal realistically with the real evil displayed by some human beings. On the other hand, liberals are captivated by the intellectualist fallacy that whatever intellectual planners decide to do can easily be accomplished in the real world. To date results have ranged from disappointing to barbaric.