Friday, April 18, 2014
Why I hate progressives (part 2)
To be fair, the term progressive as it is applied in any given social or political situation, is somewhat ambiguous. Like its cousins, liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc., it can mean different things to different people in different contexts. Nevertheless, there is a core nexus of beliefs, assumptions, and opinions—an underlying thought-form—that might be applied collectively to folks who adopt the progressive label.
Progressives take civilization as a given, as a natural part of the universe on par with oxygen or gravity. The existence of the system itself is never in question. It is an essential necessity, the ground from which all else is built. The problem is not the existence of a system, it’s that we haven’t got the specific details quite right. With a few minor tweaks (and perhaps a couple major ones) humankind can realize its manifest destiny as supremely civilized beings—or at least we can continue to progress in that direction.
thinkprogress.org, a typical repository of progressive-oriented notions, provides a list of the four pillars of progressivism that can help us flesh out some of the delusional contours of the progressive thought-form.
The first pillar is freedom. Sounds pretty good so far. But because progressives are so virulently pro-civilization, and since the history of civilization is a protracted tale of the violent oppression and eradication of every imaginable form of freedom, it is reasonable to approach this progressive pillar with a bit of skepticism.
The pillar of freedom apparently consists of two parts (sub-pillars? legs?): a freedom from and a freedom to. Let’s take a look at the freedom to first. The freedom to is defined as the “freedom to lead a fulfilling and secure life supported by the basic foundations of economic security and opportunity. This includes physical protections against bodily harm as well as adequate income, economic protections, health care and education, and other social provisions…” which translates pretty directly as “we should all be free to be fully functional servomechanisms of the global consumer cluster-fuck machine.” Freedom from refers to the freedom to operate in our personal lives in accordance with our personal beliefs without “undue” interference. The terms undue and interference, however, are left eerily open to interpretation. Presumably progressives believe that the government and/or unnamed powerful others should be allowed to interfere at some level or for some reasons. What this level is and what reasons would qualify aren’t specified, but apparently there are features of our personal lives—things we might do or believe—that are in need of regulation.
The second pillar, opportunity, is focused on political and economic equality. No need for detail here. Basically, everyone should have equal participatory access to the political and economic machine. All people from all demographic categories should be allowed to vie for positions in the service of their corporate masters that are consonant with their abilities, and the spoils should be apportioned according to merit.
The third pillar is responsibility. Apparently we all have responsibility for each other. I’m not sure where it came from. Maybe it is something like the Christian idea of original sin, something that we inherited because of some shit our ancestors did. The description of this pillar reads like that scene in the The Wrath of Khan where a dying Spock says “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Unfortunately Spock’s logic doesn’t work—it implies that needs are commensurate with each other, that they are comparable and somehow quantifiable. It also assumes that we are capable of adopting a psychological orientation toward strangers that is entirely alien from the perspective of our evolutionary heritage as social primates designed for life in small highly-intimate groups.
And then there is this nugget (worth quoting at length if only for the typo):
“This requires pubic [sic!] investments in things like transportation and trade, innovation, a skilled workforce, courts to protect patent rights and contract agreements, public safety and other measures that support the creation of wealth and help to make individual prosperity possible. It also requires progressive taxation, meaning those who have and earn more should pay more to help support the investments in things like schools, transportation, and economic competitiveness necessary to advance the interests of all.
A key component of responsibility involves ecological and social sustainability. This requires on-going stewardship of our land, water, air and natural resources, smart use of energy, and the responsible consumption of goods…”
The deep oxymoronic juxtaposition of those two paragraphs should be glaringly obvious. And this is where the progressive thought-form shows its true delusional genesis. Consumption and wealth creation are simply not compatible with ecological and social sustainability, respectively. Consumption means that what used to be there is not there anymore, and wealth is only created through systematic impoverishment.
The final pillar is cooperation. But what is meant by this is that we all learn to adopt the same progressive goals and that these goals somehow involve improving the lives of everyone. Here we are told that “Progressives believe that if we blindly pursue our own needs and ignore those of others, our society will degenerate.” This, however, flies directly in the face of historical fact. “Our” society came into being as a result of those in power blindly pursuing their own needs by actively preventing others from pursuing theirs. Welcome to civilization 101.
Truly, the use of the pillar metaphor is entirely unwarranted. Even rotted bamboo stilts would provide more supportive structure that this.
If left unanalyzed, the core of the progressive thought-form is superficially appealing, and in some ways almost irresistible. Freedom, opportunity, responsibility, and cooperation all make for delicious sound bites. But there is an ugliness lurking just beneath the surface. It’s like a rich and sweet artistically crafted dessert—the frosting on an expensive wedding cake, for example—where the flavors are rat-tested concoctions of artificial chemicals, the sweetness comes from diabetes-inducing concentrations of high-fructose corn syrup, and the richness comes from an overabundance of trans fats and related carcinogens.
Posted by OldDog at 3:57 PM