Peeling the onion of progressive delusion

Read a broad cross section of on-line news and commentary sites from outside the progressive echo chamber and you'll see lots of seemingly intelligent and thoughtful people arguing that labeled groups such as Marxists, Greens, the Woke, or just Radical Democrats are communists out to destroy the United States. These people are broadly correct: many of those groups are either implicitly or explicitly committed to destroying the American constitutional idea, but they're also wrong in that the conflict isn't between right and left or capitalism versus socialism: it is between those who favor the American ideal of an egalitarian society built on individual responsibility and those who want to replace it with a pyramidal social structure on the feudal model.

In this context the often viciously fought over differences between many of the isms, including communism, socialism, nazism, fundamentalism, environmentalism, and wokeism, reflect minor differences in the sizzles each group uses to sell the same imaginary steak - one which inevitably disappoints recruits sold a vision of solidarity and environmental harmony in the worker's paradise when reality turns out to be a slave state like Venezuela, Jonestown, or North Korea in which the group with the biggest guns gets smaller, richer, and more isolated while the majority gets bigger, poorer, and increasingly willing to rape mother nature in the struggle for personal survival. Thus the formulation: "I'll do me, you do you" marks the belief progressives of all stripes are most opposed to - largely because it leads directly to the American constitutional idea in which a society of equals stands up a government to handle those few social responsibilities best managed collectively.

To see why, consider that totalitarian feudal social structures are instinctually appropriate to a community facing a threat of extinction: drop an unsupported group on an arctic island, or have them find sanctuary on a Nebraska ranch after nuclear apocalypse, and an intensely hierarchal control structure will almost instantly evolve. In the progressive case that unifying threat comes from Malthusian economic fantasy - the fear that there are too many useless eaters in other places, other cultures, other families, drives the conclusion that long term survival depends on strong leaders capable of the sociopathic decisions needed to bring those people under control, force reductions in consumption, cull the useless, and shut down the precursors of further harmful growth: education, individual freedom, science, and exploration.

Fundamentally the conflict is between those who see the world as threatening, and those who see opportunity. Unload a bus full of pre-schoolers on an empty beach and they'll scatter into a moving shout in the general direction of the water but put an obvious threat, like a couple of Dobermen, into the picture and they'll cluster up quietly waiting for direction from an adult.

In reality, however, Thomas Malthus did not predict that over-population would inevitably lead to resource constraints and mass death - quite the opposite: he posited "gedanken experiment" scenarios originally reflecting observed variations in the local rabbit population but eventually concluded, after Adam Smith (who also argued that economic growth would benefit the poor more than the rich), that the disaster would only happen if social and economic change did not bring morality to the lower classes and so reduce the rate of population growth to near zero while making commoners more productive.

Most of the English language discussion around the original Essay on Population and its later revisions recognized the primality of his moral concern for the physical and spiritual well being of commoners, but over the first half of the 19th century a burgeoning class of self-proclaiming parasitical intellectuals in continental Europe misunderstood both his and Adam Smith's views on markets as making human economic competition about resources while largely eliding or mis-representing his moral position to develop the basis for what we now characterize as socialism by using what they liked from his work to re-imagine basic Christian ideas about charity and man's responsibility to man according to their personal needs as coffee house talking heads who had to keep their aristocratic hosts and paymasters happy.

Malthus was an English pastor who saw the threat of extinction through resource exhaustion as a lever with which to move the political and religious leadership of his time in the direction he wanted them to go - toward improving the lot of commoners through education, morality, and food security - but later generations within the European intellectual tradition responding to very different financial and moral imperatives combined the disaster scenarios with socialism and some over-simplified Darwin to evolve the core beliefs of today's multiferous isms in which an elite modelled on their 19th century hosts and paymasters had a responsibility to save the human race from extinction by controlling all resources -a process that would include breeding better, but fewer, commoners.

All of which leads to an astonishing conclusion: the reason the isms in all their forms always fail to produce the results they promise is that the night terrors underlying their entire worldview are based on a mistake; effectively a false prophecy. 

As someone in science once said if the theory predicts "A", but you consistently get "Not A", the theory is wrong - thus the great fear uniting all of the isms is that of Malthusian extinction and that, in turn, is based on mis-understanding both his work and the nature of human economic interaction as about resources. All of that's wrong: in reality Malthus was primarily a moralist who understood that human economic interaction is about people, not resources - and because their entire understanding of how an economy works is wrong every prediction made on that basis by members of some ism or other, from Neitzche to "The Population Bomb" and idiotic bets about the price of nickel, has proven wrong while every attempt to implement the economic agenda put forward by any of the isms has been a dismal and destructive failure.


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