Green Room

The Conservation of Liberty

posted at 4:11 pm on March 8, 2010 by

New York Times house “conservative” David Brooks recently dismissed the Tea Party movement by comparing it to the New Left radicals of the Sixties. After remarking on the fondness of both movements for mass protests and street theater, he identifies their “core commonality” as a belief in “mass innocence”:

Members of both movements believe in what you might call mass innocence. Both movements are built on the assumption that the people are pure and virtuous and that evil is introduced into society by corrupt elites and rotten authority structures. “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains,” is how Rousseau put it.

According to Brooks, this similarity leads the Tea Party to paranoia and nihilism:

Because of this assumption, members of both movements go in big for conspiracy theories. The ’60s left developed elaborate theories of how world history was being manipulated by shadowy corporatist/imperialist networks — theories that live on in the works of Noam Chomsky. In its short life, the Tea Party movement has developed a dizzying array of conspiracy theories involving the Fed, the F.B.I., the big banks and corporations and black helicopters.

Because of this assumption, members of the Tea Party right, like the members of the New Left, spend a lot of time worrying about being co-opted. They worry that the corrupt forces of the establishment are perpetually trying to infiltrate the purity of their ranks.

Because of this assumption, members of both movements have a problem with authority. Both have a mostly negative agenda: destroy the corrupt structures; defeat the establishment. Like the New Left, the Tea Party movement has no clear set of plans for what to do beyond the golden moment of personal liberation, when the federal leviathan is brought low.

So, only a belief that people are “pure and virtuous” can justify distrust of the elite, and resistance to Big Government? And, since people are not pure and virtuous, opposition to the designs of the elite always leads to paranoia, plus an appetite for wanton destruction? Damning the Tea Party movement for “hating authority” is like declaring the survivors of Jurassic Park to be anti-lizard extremists. This is nonsense designed to reinforce the boundless self-regard of snobs, and disguise the inherent failure and corruption of a system “moderates” like Brooks apparently believe they can fix through fine tuning.

It also demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the Sixties radicals. The cutesy title of Brooks’ essay is “The Wal-Mart Hippies,” but the Tea Party differs from the New Left in far more than its preference for big-box retailers over head shops. No branch of the Left has any faith in the purity and virtue of the people. Quite the opposite – they believe the people are greedy, vicious, stupid, and helpless. That’s why every aspect of their lives must be regulated and subsidized, under the wise guidance of a socialist elite… guidance which must occasionally be supplied at gunpoint. At best, a liberal sees the public as victims and dupes of Big Business interests, which can only be defeated by even bigger government. Left to their own devices, the proletariat tends to engage in poisonous activities like capitalism, and draw arbitrary lines against the power of righteous government, based on mindless reverence for the philosophy of dead white males.

The entire point of our Constitution is that people don’t have to be pure and virtuous to earn their liberty. Liberty is not a gift from the State, bestowed upon qualified applicants. Insisting on the restraint of government does not require naive faith in the virtue of citizens.

Statists mistakenly believe the economy is a zero-sum game, in which the prosperity of one means the poverty of others. They hold this belief so tightly that it leaves them incapable of processing evidence to the contrary. Even liberals with advanced economic degrees are reduced to babbling idiots in the face of increased Treasury revenue through reduced tax rates. There is one crucial ingredient to prosperity whose supply is fixed: freedom. It is not a “renewable resource.” Every power seized by the government diminishes it. Each tax and subsidy melts down more of our liberty, to be forged into more pipes for a monstrous system of political plumbing. The ominous leaking and shuddering of those pipes heralds the utter failure and collapse of the system.

There’s nothing paranoid about pointing this out. The Tea Party critique of banks and the Fed has far too much documentation to be dismissed as a “conspiracy theory.” The assumption that government is “pure and virtuous” has led us to ruin. The truth is that once it reaches a certain size, it becomes all but incapable of virtuous action. The precious commodity of liberty has diminished so much that any further extraction of it becomes agonizing – a matter of brute force instead of persuasion. You can ask a rich man for a dollar, but you must take it from a pauper. We have all become impoverished in the coin of freedom, and in order to make his health-care scheme work, the President demands our bottom dollar.

David Brooks, David Frum, Christopher Buckley, and other members of the “moderate” chorus want to define conservatism as marginal improvement of the self-replicating machinery of the State. They accept the founding principle of therapeutic government: faith in the power of intelligent politicians to carefully design an improved future, or at least cushion the damage from inevitable American decline. The only inevitability is the abject failure of the well-creased pants and first-class temperaments they adore.

It doesn’t take starry-eyed love for an imaginary, angelic population to see that American citizens, and the free market that sizzles between their independent desires and endeavors, hold solutions beyond the comprehension of our political class. Visceral hatred of authority is not required to see the ambitions of Big Government come at the expense of its just and lawful duties. The signature difference between the Tea Party protests of today, and the counter-culture protests of forty years ago, is that the Left was wrong then, and they’re wrong now.

A bitter rain from the approaching tsunami of total failure has washed the glamor away from their promises, revealing a grim engine that nourishes a few, while devouring everyone slowly. The path away from its gears and chains is a fundamentally conservative one… the conservation of liberty. Arrogant elitists make poor guides along that path. They keep looking over their shoulders, and dreaming of what a properly educated master could do with such an engine.

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.

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I hadn’t realized how totally clueless David Brooks and his fellow Northeast Corridor “Conservatives” were about the fundamentally different world views of progressives and conservatives. As I wrote last year in Human nature is predictable and thus tragic:

One would have thought that the fall of Communism had taught us once and for all — even those persons of the left still desperately clinging to their youthful embrace of Rousseau’s pipe dream of the Noble Savage — that you can’t fool Mother Nature. There are certain laws of human nature that will always out. Incentives are all. Reward anti-social behavior by telling the perpetrator he’s a victim of society and it isn’t his fault, and like any infant he’ll keep on behaving badly.

sissywillis on March 8, 2010 at 4:31 PM

But…Brooks is smart! He quoted Rousseau, for crying out loud.

Nosferightu on March 8, 2010 at 4:53 PM

The longer the left misunderstands the Tea Party movement, the better.

percysunshine on March 8, 2010 at 5:14 PM

Damning the Tea Party movement for “hating authority” is like declaring the survivors of Jurassic Park to be anti-lizard extremists.

LOL

This is nonsense designed to reinforce the boundless self-regard of snobs, and disguise the inherent failure and corruption of a system “moderates” like Brooks apparently believe they can fix through fine tuning.

No branch of the Left has any faith in the purity and virtue of the people. Quite the opposite – they believe the people are greedy, vicious, stupid, and helpless. That’s why every aspect of their lives must be regulated and subsidized, under the wise guidance of a socialist elite… guidance which must occasionally be supplied at gunpoint.

Liberty is not a gift from the State, bestowed upon qualified applicants. Insisting on the restraint of government does not require naive faith in the virtue of citizens.

It doesn’t take starry-eyed love for an imaginary, angelic population to see that American citizens, and the free market that sizzles between their independent desires and endeavors, hold solutions beyond the comprehension of our political class. Visceral hatred of authority is not required to see the ambitions of Big Government come at the expense of its just and lawful duties.

The signature difference between the Tea Party protests of today, and the counter-culture protests of forty years ago, is that the Left was wrong then, and they’re wrong now.

The Divine Doctor Z strikes again. Superb.

beachgirlusa on March 9, 2010 at 12:01 AM

The lie of the Liberal, Progressive movement and it’s message is wrapped in “faux-compassion”.

I recently told a friend of the O’s plan to “help” folks who were in the process of foreclosure of their mortgages. The administration wants it to be compulsory for banks to review and modify their mortgages and if terms are not then kept, $1,500 would be made available for the foreclosed upon to move. She thought this was fantastic and showed how compassionate this President is.

She is typical of people who will let their Liberty slip away in the name of “compassion”.

I make barely enough to save for a down payment and she doesn’t get it that my taxes will pay for that “moving money” to “help” someone who just might have bought to much house. Or maybe they lost their job, I don’t know.

I do know this: this “help” is nothing more than taking one person’s result of their labor and giving to another.

It is theft. Not compassion.

Oh, and Mr. Brooks: The ’60s left developed elaborate theories of how world history was being manipulated by shadowy corporatist/imperialist networks?

I could swear the “axis of thuggery” that is this White House waxes on daily the same theories. Why didn’t the “O” today charge the health insurance industry with “filling the airwaves with deceptive and dishonest ads” and “funding studies designed to mislead the American people.”?

Opposite Day on March 9, 2010 at 1:35 AM

And another thing…….

When has Government shrunk?

It has grown since our Founding. and hasn’t ever stopped. Ever.

So…..one has to assume the powers will never cut it down to size and it will always grow and if that is the case, how big will the People allow it to be? What should the limit be for “limited government”?

Ask the Progressive. How big? What is the limit? Demand they answer you. If health care is a “right”, how could food or shelter not be? If “health care for all” is a noble Progressive goal? Is “food for all”? If not, why not? Take them down that road and ask them where it stops and if they give you a definitive stopping point ask: why stop there?

Opposite Day on March 9, 2010 at 1:48 AM

One more thing………..

Dr Zero: WRITE. A. BOOK.

We, the many, will buy it ….

Opposite Day on March 9, 2010 at 1:52 AM

Brooks is a dirtbag

bill30097 on March 9, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Statists mistakenly believe the economy is a zero-sum game,

Abstractly it is not…but the resources required for growth are finite.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Here’s the thing. A free economy solves problems like a distributed computer network with all sorts of peers issuing commands and returning output. A command economy is like a single mainframe.

Except that the mainframe controls tanks and jets and nukes. Given the choice, I think the distributed network is less likely to solve problems by using the aforementioned hardware.

So I know I’m mixing metaphors here, but it works.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 9, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Abstractly it is not…but the resources required for growth are finite.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Except that the upper limit for that resource amount is extremely difficult to calculate because it changes depending on conditions in the economy.

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 9, 2010 at 2:14 PM

TheUnrepentantGeek on March 9, 2010 at 2:13 PM

Interesting metaphor. A free economy as bit-torrent cloud, though its not exactly efficient. Decentralization is a most wonderful thing, to be sure, but efficiency is not one of its hallmarks.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:16 PM

The far – left national socialist moonbats in the Democratic party have to be really kicking themselves these days.

They’re probably thinking, you know, Lenin and Mao had it right – one glorious ‘Change’ where the proletariat overthrows the evil bourgeoisie in one fell swoop.

That way you can implement your Communist agenda and system of State terror – Cheka, gestapo, etc. to keep the people in line without having to resort to those messing ‘Democracy’ gimmicks.

The precepts of Socialism and Progressivism (and all the other applicable labels) urge one to gradually implement a Statist agenda before people figure how much that type of system sucks.

The really big downside to incrementally making these changes is that people see what you’ve already done and they realize that the initial moves didn’t work and thus they reject the later parts of the agenda.

Look at the attempted healthcare Rahmdown, people see how the government royally screws up what it’s already done with healthcare and they quickly figure out that more of the same won’t actually fix the problem, but just make it worse, not to mention mucking up the economy.

They see how Medicare and Medicaid are rife with waste, fraud and abuse and the fact that they alone are massively contributing to the bankrupting of the nation, and they realize that piling on another governmental healthcare bureaucracy will only exacerbate the situation.

They’re probably thinking that trying to Progressively move to a Communist “worker’s paradise” is the wrong way to go.

It gives people too much time to realize you economic model sucks big time.
No they are probably thinking that it’s better to just have to hoodwink people once and not every time they Progress to a Socialist h@ll hole.

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Good stuff.

Minor quibble:

We have all become impoverished in the coin of freedom

I don’t think we can really say this — we are still sitting pretty on this, just not as well as we could be. But what the left has planned for us would drag us down to the level of the rest of the world.

Count to 10 on March 9, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Decentralization is a most wonderful thing, to be sure, but efficiency is not one of its hallmarks.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:16 PM

?
Centrally organized systems have major problems efficiency wise when something happens to the central hub. Decentralized systems adapt and keep on chugging. In any setting where reliability is a frequent concern, decentralized systems get a significant boost as far as efficiency goes. This is also true in cases of incomplete information.

Count to 10 on March 9, 2010 at 2:33 PM

They’re probably thinking, you know, Lenin and Mao had it right – one glorious ‘Change’ where the proletariat overthrows the evil bourgeoisie in one fell swoop.

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Actually, these days left wing intellectuals are quite adamant that Lenin and Mao bastardized the marxist ideology. If you read both Marx and Lenin, it becomes apparent that Marxism assumes a natural transitition to socialism and then to state-less communism. It was Lenin who insisted that professional revolutionaries and an overbearing state are required for revolution. Also, where Marx lauds capitalism as a necessary evolutionary step in the relations of production. Without it, and industry, one could never have Marxist revolution. Lenin and later Mao also dispensed with this very central notion. Your insistence of equating liberalism with progressivism with socialism with leninism with maoism with marxism weakens your argument considerably.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM

Count to 10 on March 9, 2010 at 2:33 PM

Economies of scale are real and powerful. Centralized energy generation is cheaper in material cost than a decentralized ‘grid’. Food production is also cheaper to do en masse.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Your insistence of equating liberalism with progressivism with socialism with leninism with maoism with marxism weakens your argument considerably.
ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM

It doesn’t really matter what they wrote, it’s what they put into practice that matters – and part of that is why they needed to institute a system of State Terror to keep the people in line.

What is the difference between progressivism and socialism?

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Members of both movements believe in what you might call mass innocence. Both movements are built on the assumption that the people are pure and virtuous and that evil is introduced into society by corrupt elites and rotten authority structures. “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains,” is how Rousseau put it.

This statement speaks volumes about David Brooks. It shows that he does not understand the Tea Party and that he does not understand conservatism either. Mr. Brooks has fallen into the trap that the “intellectual elites” are consistently captured by. He has so much confidence that he has the answers that he manufactures them to fit his world view and argument de jour.

It is possible that Brooks may be partially correct. The Tea Party does have some left wing adherents that would be likely to fit his perception. But the idea that conservative Tea Party participants would think alike is neither accurate or sensible. Each person finds their own reason for participation. The fact that it appeals across both the left and the right is only a testament to the power of the truth that lies behind it. It is powerful enough to unite diametrically opposed political views into a common cause.

I am a conservative Tea Party adherent. But my sense of humanity is most definitely not Utopian. I feel that human beings are intrinsically selfish and amoral. Centuries of barbarism in our history prove my point. When the strictures of society are removed we revert to the Law of the Jungle in the anarchy that follows. It is proven after every large disaster in the roving gangs and looting. Where society fails, human nature takes over and it is NOT pretty.

I feel that our government officials have become so drunk with their power that they now feel they are above the masses. These paragons of human egotism have taken greed to breathtaking levels by enacting policies that are horribly damaging to their own country for the promise of extending their own power and influence. Some have certainly profited from the exchange.

I feel that our society has degraded from the emergence of secular humanism and moral relativism. A large portion of our population is now desensitized to the point where they are capable of ethical failures that would have horrified the founding fathers. We have become our own worst enemies in our greed for individual power and profits.

I do not believe that is a conspiracy of the elites. I believe the elites are betrayed by their naive assumptions of superiority into rationalizing acts that would be disgusting by previous moral standards. But in the atmosphere of moral relativity such acts are routinely justified by their superior intellect. All hail the intellectual elite. the architects of our demise!

Hawthorne on March 9, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Arrogant elitists make poor guides along that path. They keep looking over their shoulders, and dreaming of what a properly educated master could do with such an engine.

What is thy bidding, O Dark Master?

pseudonominus on March 9, 2010 at 3:11 PM

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM

What is the difference between progressivism and socialism?

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 3:30 PM

What is the difference between progressivism and socialism?

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 3:30 PM

One is a loosly defined political ideology, the other one is a model of political economy. One accepts capitalism as the basis for economic exchange and uses policy to alleviate the issues of inequality that come with it, the other breaks from the whole notion of private capital in an attempt to completely eradicate inequality.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Great stuff as usual, Doc! The language was a bit more literary that sometimes, but I like the use of stuff like this:

The ominous leaking and shuddering of those pipes heralds the utter failure and collapse of the system.

The truth is that we could shrink government for years before we got back to the level of freedom that our Founding Fathers envisioned. But moderates insist any move in the direction of reducing government put us on the brink of anarchy.

hawksruleva on March 9, 2010 at 3:47 PM

I do not believe that is a conspiracy of the elites. I believe the elites are betrayed by their naive assumptions of superiority into rationalizing acts that would be disgusting by previous moral standards. But in the atmosphere of moral relativity such acts are routinely justified by their superior intellect. All hail the intellectual elite. the architects of our demise!

Hawthorne on March 9, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Well said. The intellectual elite are blind to their own lack of wisdom.

hawksruleva on March 9, 2010 at 3:49 PM

One is a loosly defined political ideology, the other one is a model of political economy.

So it could be the other ideology?
Sort of like ‘Hopenchange’?

One accepts capitalism as the basis for economic exchange and uses policy to alleviate the issues of inequality that come with it, the other breaks from the whole notion of private capital in an attempt to completely eradicate inequality.
ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Actually Socialism ( if that’s what you are referring to in the last section of your comment) has been defined as:

Socialism
1.Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

2.The stage in Marxist-Leninist theory intermediate between capitalism and communism, in which collective ownership of the economy under the dictatorship of the proletariat has not yet been successfully achieved.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:
socialism
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
2 a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
3 : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done

Note in both of those, references to an “intermediate stage” and “transitional” [Change] between capitalism and communism.

So, bottom line, there is no difference, correct?

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 3:53 PM

“like declaring the survivors of Jurassic Park to be anti-lizard extremists.”

Welcome to State-run Park! … I spared no expenses!

PoliTech on March 9, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Left to their own devices, the proletariat tends to engage in poisonous activities like capitalism, and draw arbitrary lines against the power of righteous government, based on mindless reverence for the philosophy of dead white males.

Thank you.

The only inevitability is the abject failure of the well-creased pants and first-class temperaments they adore.

Thanks again.

the conservation of liberty

Truly, thank you very much.

Blacksmith8 on March 9, 2010 at 4:02 PM

So, bottom line, there is no difference, correct?

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Okay, maybe I’m being a bit too blunt in that assessment, but if you have a loosely defined word, it can pretty much mean anything you want.

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 4:03 PM

Okay, maybe I’m being a bit too blunt in that assessment, but if you have a loosely defined word, it can pretty much mean anything you want.

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 4:03 PM

It most certainly IS loosely defined, which is why I have a distaste for its use as a synonym for progressivism or liberalism. And besides, dig a little deeper than the dictionary and you’ll find more vast differences. As a matter of fact, using the term marxist-leninist is such an unfounded assertion in and of itself that any conclusion drawn thereafter its use will almost certainly be off the mark.

Either way, this sort of stipulation is the best I can do in Doc Zero threads. His logic is sound, the comments reflect that. But he, along with commenters, still has a habit of using non-analogous terms interchangeably.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Abstractly it is not…but the resources required for growth are finite.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Back in the early to mid seventies, I was enrolled in a local community college’s electronics curriculum – and doing quite well thank you very much.

My instructor came to me one day just before semester’s end and told me that he hated to see me wasting my aptitude on electronics – a stale industry.

“We have diodes and transistors” he said, “The resources are finite” (to borrow your lexicon). He advised me to apply my skills in an industry with a future. So I did – joined the navy and became a machinist.

Several years later, the silicon chip was invented.

Little did he know that the resource pool would be enriched by sand.

oldfiveanddimer on March 9, 2010 at 4:16 PM

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 4:09 PM

Well, my point is that with the term loosely defined, it could an innocuous euphemism socialism.

And from what most people have seen so far, it’s looks like that is the case.

Consider this as well:

“In certain basic respects – a totalitarian state structure, a single party, a leader, a secret police, a hatred of political, cultural and intellectual freedom – fascism and communism are clearly more like each other than they are like anything in between. “

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. New York Times Magazine, Sunday, April 4, 1948

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 4:22 PM

Your insistence of equating liberalism with progressivism with socialism with leninism with maoism with marxism weakens your argument considerably.
ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:34 PM

It doesn’t really matter what they wrote, it’s what they put into practice that matters – and part of that is why they needed to institute a system of State Terror to keep the people in line.

What is the difference between progressivism and socialism?

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 2:58 PM

What is the difference between progressivism and socialism?

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 3:30 PM

One is a loosly defined political ideology, the other one is a model of political economy. One accepts capitalism as the basis for economic exchange and uses policy to alleviate the issues of inequality that come with it, the other breaks from the whole notion of private capital in an attempt to completely eradicate inequality.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 3:36 PM

I appreciate both of your sentiments here.

I’m not an edumacted man but I can tell which way the wind is blowin.

Any government that is allowed, by its constituency, to take the “statist” path will inevitably evolve into an “ism”. What the history books end up calling it – and how its idiosyncrasies are delineated are more a function of the guy calling the shots.

In 100 years, we will more than likely be recovering from Obamism and someone who has spent years in study will take great sport in defining how it differs from all the preceding “isms”.

oldfiveanddimer on March 9, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Chip,

While the “progressive” mantle has been taken up by the socialists, it is not exclusive to them. Fascist movements have also used the “progressive” label to describe themselves. In fact American Progressive movement prior to and during WWII was a fascist party that was ideologically aligned to the Nazis.

Progressivism is simply a term use to imply progress toward improving the human condition for all people. This claim is not made exclusively by the socialists/communist left wing. The same clam has repeatedly been used by the right wing in fascist states. It is used hand in hand with the concept of “social justice” as a broad ideological justification for changes to society.

The one thing that is consistent about the terms “progressive” and “social justice” is that they are just as misused by the power hungry as religion. They are used as a doctrine. They become a replacement for religion as a motivation for violence. Your confusion over the term progressive may come from the fact that since WWII there has been a visceral repulsion of the Nazi philosophy and therefore you only see the progressive message coming form the left for the last 60 years or so.

Hawthorne on March 9, 2010 at 4:38 PM

Economies of scale are real and powerful. Centralized energy generation is cheaper in material cost than a decentralized ‘grid’. Food production is also cheaper to do en masse.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:35 PM

And the spectacular failures that happen when the central hub goes down is anything but efficient. Particularly if it happens frequently.

Count to 10 on March 9, 2010 at 4:40 PM

I appreciate both of your sentiments here.
I’m not an edumacted man but I can tell which way the wind is blowin.
Any government that is allowed, by its constituency, to take the “statist” path will inevitably evolve into an “ism”. What the history books end up calling it – and how its idiosyncrasies are delineated are more a function of the guy calling the shots.
In 100 years, we will more than likely be recovering from Obamism and someone who has spent years in study will take great sport in defining how it differs from all the preceding “isms”.
oldfiveanddimer on March 9, 2010 at 4:30 PM

The one thing that is consistent about the terms “progressive” and “social justice” is that they are just as misused by the power hungry as religion. They are used as a doctrine. They become a replacement for religion as a motivation for violence. Your confusion over the term progressive may come from the fact that since WWII there has been a visceral repulsion of the Nazi philosophy and therefore you only see the progressive message coming form the left for the last 60 years or so.
Hawthorne on March 9, 2010 at 4:38 PM

I’m not really confused over the terms, I see all of those entities as a version of Statism and thus it’s a case where it’s a ‘distinction without a difference’.

The final results, and the basic principles of all of those ideologies are very closely related and it’s more like some wanting to make excuses for past failures of virtually the same ideology.

The idea is that they can come out and say – no, this time our brand of ______ ism will work – it’s nothing like those other versions that have utterly failed in the past, this is new and different.

Chip on March 9, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Decentralization is a most wonderful thing, to be sure, but efficiency is not one of its hallmarks

For the Founding Fathers, that exactly was the point.

Sarjex on March 9, 2010 at 6:43 PM

The intellectual elite are blind to their own lack of wisdom.

hawksruleva

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:22).

beachgirlusa on March 9, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Abstractly it is not…but the resources required for growth are finite.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:06 PM

No they aren’t.
Because the only resource that matters is human intelligence. That’s what is constantly allowing us to do more with less.

Typical of a liberal to think in such a constricted manner.

MarkTheGreat on March 10, 2010 at 7:36 AM

This is also true in cases of incomplete information.

Count to 10 on March 9, 2010 at 2:33 PM

In the real world, information is always incomplete.

MarkTheGreat on March 10, 2010 at 7:39 AM

Economies of scale are real and powerful.

ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 2:35 PM

Dis-economies of scale are real and much more powerfull.

MarkTheGreat on March 10, 2010 at 7:40 AM

other breaks from the whole notion of private capital in an attempt to completely eradicate inequality.
ernesto on March 9, 2010 at 3:36 PM

The only way to eliminate inequality is to eliminate capitalism completely. Then free will as well.

MarkTheGreat on March 10, 2010 at 7:43 AM

The only way to eliminate inequality is to eliminate capitalism completely. Then free will as well.

MarkTheGreat on March 10, 2010 at 7:43 AM

Nonsense. Despite calls of “Communist!”, granting equal rights to blacks didn’t destroy capitalism. That started when the Democrats decided to buy themselves a voting block.

Neither “the free market” nor “the government”, on their own, is capable of eliminating all equality. The best results are had when the government shields basic individual rights (not wants), and defines reasonable minimal standards of safety.

BTW, thank you all for providing such intriguing discussion. Ernesto, Dr.Zero and TheUnrepentantGeek especially. Plenty of good food for thought.

Dark-Star on March 10, 2010 at 8:59 PM

..that should be ‘eliminating all INequality’.

Dark-Star on March 10, 2010 at 9:00 PM