This column by ACRU General Counsel and Senior Fellow for the Carleson Center for Public Policy (CCPP) Peter Ferrara was published August 2, 2012 on Forbes.com.
The Big Picture Lesson of the 20th century was that capitalism works and socialism and communism don’t. The rest of the world learned that lesson far better because they and their close neighbors suffered far more with the socialist and communist progeny of Saul Alinsky’s first radical. But America should know better because it has enjoyed most the workers paradise of capitalism.
Yet those who call themselves Progressive, a polite, Americanized word for Marxist, refuse to accept that obvious conclusion. That is why our politics have become so nasty. The Progressives know they can’t win a debate based on reason. So they turn to name calling, demonization, ostracism, anything to distract from and avoid a reasoned debate. Hence the widespread use of the term “dumbass” by pot smoking hippie Progressives in commenting on the reasoning of careful scholars that they disagree with, or the ubiquitous allegations that anyone who disagrees with them is lying, or bought off.
This reflects the despotic nature of the Progressive personality and philosophy. Progressives most fundamentally are certain that they are so much smarter than the rest of us, and that they are so much more moral than the rest of us. Because of that they are certain that they have the right to rule over the rest of us. It’s a very anti-social attitude that the rest of us should not be expected to have to live with.
That is why they are not interested in reason. They are interested in power, for themselves, over the rest of us. In their view, they have the unquestionable right to rule, and the rest of us have the unquestionable duty to obey. The last time America was authoritatively subject to that attitude was under the reign of King George III. And, of course, you know what happened then (unless you are in public school).
That is why the Progressives are so fundamentally in rebellion against the U.S. Constitution. That governing framework was designed to preserve the rights and liberties of the people, and to restrain the powers of government and of self-appointed, supposedly benevolent despots. But if you are so sure you are so much smarter and more moral than everyone else, then the Constitution is an outdated, 18th century barrier to your imposition of your notion of the perfect society on everyone else. That is why for over 100 years now, so-called Progressivism has been an open conspiracy against the Constitution, and so at its root treason.
All of the supposed fevered passions of the Progressives are really just props to justify more control over more money and power for them. The Progressives claim they will take care of the poor, if only we will give control over the money and power to the Progressives. They are not really interested in economic growth and prosperity, which is the only real solution to poverty. That does not expand their power and control over the rest of us. They are interested in promoting dependency, which builds their political machine, and their power.
That dependency perpetuates rather than solves poverty is not a problem for the so-called Progressives. They are perfectly happy with that vote buying, long term, status quo, even if that is really no damn good for the poor. See, e.g, Medicaid, under which the poor suffer and die, because the government won’t pay the doctors and hospitals enough to serve them.
Similarly, Progressives believe in Keynesian economics not because it works to promote economic recovery and growth. Borrowing a trillion dollars out of the private economy for the government to spend a trillion dollars back into it does nothing to promote economic recovery and growth on net. Obamanomics just proved that again.
Moreover, in a market economy there can be no such thing as inadequate demand, the central concern of Keynesian economics. That is because in a market, if demand is inadequate to sell the supply, prices just fall until supply equals demand.
But that logic and experience has no effect on Progressive devotion to Keynesian economics. That is because the real reason they are in favor of Keynesianism’s proven nonsense is not really because they think it works, but because it justifies what they want, which is more government spending, deficits, and debt, as that means more power and control for government and the all wise Progressives guiding us to their promised land.
The same can be said about the hoax of global warming, a greater scandal of science in the end than Lysenkoism. Carbon dioxide is a trace gas natural to the environment and essential to all life on the planet. There is no sound science demonstrating that it controls the climate, much less that the return closer to historic levels of CO2 in the atmosphere threatens catastrophic global warming. See the thorough scientific explanation that the pattern of global temperatures throughout the 20th century to today is dominantly controlled by natural causes definitively demonstrated in the more than 1,000 pages of the Heartland Institute’s Climate Change Reconsidered, published in 2010, and the succeeding Interim Report, published in 2011. This is why advocates of catastrophic, anthropogenic, global warming effectively admit that they cannot defend their claims in public debate.
But science has nothing to do with the belief of Progressives in the theory of man caused, catastrophic, global warming. Progressives worship it because again it means more power and control for governments the world over, from local governments, to national governments, to ultimately world government, which again means more power and control for Progressives to rule us in accordance with their benighted vision of the perfect world.
The greatest Progressive passion of all is supposed to be equality. That is not the classic liberal concept of equality under the law, or equal rules for everyone, which protects and maximizes individual liberty. It is the totalitarian concept of equality of results, which requires the abnegation of personal liberty to enforce.
A regime of equal incomes and equal wealth for all leads not only the more productive to flee the regime, but anyone who does not want to live in an economically stagnant, poor society. That is the result because under a regime of equal incomes and wealth for all, there are no grounds for any capital investment at all, the foundation of economic growth and prosperity. That is because capital investment and wealth increases the income and wealth of the investor, and so would have to be confiscated to enforce equal incomes and wealth, leaving no basis for anyone to pursue any such capital investment.
Moreover, under such a regime, there are no grounds for any work either. That is because if you work more than average, the extra income that would result would have to be confiscated as well. But if you work less than average, the government would pay you out of what is confiscated from the more productive to restore your income to the average. Consequently, there is no reason for anyone to work at all, because all would be paid the same as anyone else in any event.
This is where the Berlin Wall came from. But so-called, progressive, social justice equality requires even more egregious transgressions in personal and individual liberty. It would require reversing all the voluntary transactions in a free society that result in unequal incomes and wealth.
These are the reasons why social justice equality is the ultimate for supposed Progressives. It requires the reversal of all the preferences and choices of the common man, in favor of the vision of the all wise Progressives.
This all adds up to the conclusion logically that Progressivism is not just wrong, but evil, as it involves the assertion of despotism over the liberties of common men and women, and abnegation of their personal prosperity, as it has all over the world wherever Progressivism has been taken to its logical conclusion.
This is why as long as free elections are maintained, common men and women will always throw off the yoke of Progressivism. But this time, once the people are truly liberated, those who are certain that they are smarter and more moral than the rest of us must be empowered to exercise that superiority to the fullest, among themselves, through some form of separation from the rest of us.
But will free elections be maintained? Or how far down will America fall?