The View From 1776
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Today’s Revolutionary Aristocracy - Part 2
A distinguishing characteristic of the liberal-progressive aristocracy is the dichotomy between its doctrinaire emphasis upon caring for “the people” and its indifference to what actually happens to individuals under its policies.
Liberal-progressives’ profession of concern for “the little guy” is really a propaganda tool for gasping the power to dictate behavioral limits for abstract social, economic, sexual, and racial classes. Imposing liberal-progressives’ vision of social perfection, as Lenin supposedly said, figuratively at least has to come out of the business end of a gun barrel.
President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society grab-bag of welfare-state entitlements is a notorious example. LBJ told a Howard University audience that the Great Society aimed to produce, not just equality of opportunity, but equality of result.
This necessarily meant contravening the recently enacted Civil Rights legislation, which expressly forbade government discrimination among individuals or groups. It required forced equality of income and wealth, without regard to personal ability, effort, or achievement. That equality was to be achieved by confiscating property and income from workers and giving it to groups whose cultures glorified sexual promiscuity, marital infidelity, and obsession with sensual satisfaction of all types.
Results were the opposite of liberal-progressive expectations. Crime soared, unemployment skyrocketed, education fell off the cliff, drug addiction became common, single-parent families and illegitimate births rose to proportions never before experienced in history. Yet, the liberal-progressive aristocracy remains firmly wedded to the Great Society and similar programs dating back to President Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Liberal-progressives fought tooth and nail against welfare reform. But it produced none of the feared results. Instead, it reduced welfare rolls, greatly improved people’s lives, and gave them a sense of personal worth and accomplishment as they began to support themselves with real jobs.
The same blindness to reality was exhibited during the 1920s and 1930s, when liberal-progressives worshipfully supported the Soviet Union’s liquidation of millions of its own people in the name of a theoretical, perfect political society to be realized at some undetermined future date.
There are two main explanations for this disconnect between utopian, liberal-progressive theory and real world results.
First is the sense of entitlement-to-rule that liberal-progressives derive from their self-perception as beings of superior worth and intelligence, compared to ordinary working people. See Today’s Revolutionary Aristocracy and Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
A second explanation for the disconnect between policy and reality is liberal-progressives’ affection for abstract, ivory-tower, academic theory. As is said of the French, who inflicted socialism upon the world, they love theories, especially when the theories don’t work.
The common element in liberal-progressive theorizing is reifying, or treating theoretical categories as if they were single, objective things that respond predictably to government policy: fairness, the poor, blacks, Hispanics, women, education, the economy, the world community.
Spiritual needs, of course, do not exist in the secular world of liberal-progressivism. Liberal-progressive sociologists and psychologists see humans as merely receptors of sensual pain or pleasure, induced by manipulating physical conditions. Liberal-progressive policies, of necessity, always relate to providing or withholding material things, such as money, housing, medical care, clothing, and education. Spirituality and personal morality, for liberal-progressives, are relics of Judeo-Christian ignorance.
A prominent present-day example of reification is Keynesian macroeconomics, which treats the economy as a single “thing” that can be manipulated precisely and predictably by raising taxes, imposing business regulations, and indulging in Federal deficit spending. The nation’s economic activities are conducted by many millions of individual people, but liberal-progressives see only abstract, reified economic classes.
The intellectual heresy of reification underlies 19th century theories of history propounded by Hegel in Germany, Comte in France, and Marx in his travels from Germany, to France, thence to England. All three viewed history as a “thing in itself,” a unified phenomenon that could be analyzed “scientifically” and could therefore be predicted. Comte preached the inevitable arrival of the age of science, the highest branch of which was to be his new abstraction, sociology. Marx proclaimed the inevitable triumph of so-called scientific socialism.
The fundamental obstacle to liberal-progressives’ expectation that they can control the course of history with their welfare-state programs is that socialism is not science. It’s a secular religion based on false premises.
Physical sciences like chemistry, cosmology, engineering, and nuclear particle physics deal with specific, tangible things. These objects of scientific inquiry, allowing for surrounding conditions, are the same anywhere on earth that scientists study them.
Sociology and psychology have no laws like those of chemistry or physics, which can predict chemical and atomic particle reactions with extraordinary accuracy. Behavior of individual humans and social groups of humans is almost the polar opposite. Human nature imposes broad limits upon emotions and physical capabilities. But expecting individual humans all to act in accordance with liberal-progressive designs is wishful thinking. Socialism’s faith that government programs can change human nature is dangerous ignorance.
Science is observation and analysis of natural processes occurring in the physical world. Scientists, in the physical disciplines like chemistry and physics, hypothesize possible explanations of observable behavior, which must be tested and confirmed by other scientists in order to become accepted science.
Liberal-progressive intellectuals reverse the scientific process. They posit an abstract theory, then select bits and pieces of history to