Hopelessness and Conformity

Several folks (including myself) have posted about the WSJ editorial penned by Edie Littlefield, who is on the verge of losing her treatment program for stage-4 gallbladder cancer. Beyond the issues with the insurance, this indicates the larger problem with “progressivism” (i.e socialistic/Marxist) systems, that of forced conformity, an attempt at a “one-size-fits-all” standardization of life.

Life must be made more “efficient” – but you understand, don’t you comrades?

You can’t have that shirt in green because we have determined that all men’s 15-1/2 neck x 35 sleeve dress shirts shall only be offered in white cotton material. If you want green, you have to get the 17 x 37 in silk – we at the Federal Department of Distributive Clothing Exchanges know it is too big but your body will still fit in it, right? Sure, it is made of more material than you need, so why don’t you just tuck more of it in and roll up the sleeves. You don’t really mind paying more for something better, do you? You should just be happy that we allow you to have such a fine shirt.

“Progressivism” dwells on the worst in mankind and assumes that the worst is the norm, not the exception. There are many assumptions:

  • It assumes that life is a zero sum game – that the successful in life only achieve success at the expense of others – to have more wealth than another means that it was illegitimately taken, not created by value.
  • It assumes that people can be brought up by simply bringing others down.
  • It assumes that life can be planned, that it can be controlled and they are the only ones who are intelligent enough to do it.
  • It assumes that people are helpless and ignorant and must be ruled by a benevolent force, that we must be told what to eat, how to live and what to do.
  • It assumes that there is no such thing as Christian charity – that men will not be motivated by kindness and act with compassion toward the downtrodden – therefore they must be forced to contribute their treasure to the government for the purpose of redistribution.
  • It assumes that the individual cannot prosecute his life in the best interests of himself or that of society, that in Hobbesian fashion, he must be “guided” by a “sovereign” or some elite compelling force.
  • It assumes that a law is correct just because it is a law.
  • It assumes that everything is relative, that there is no objective truth; it is only what the contemporary societal arbiters say that it is.
  • It assumes that equality can be created by treating citizens unequally – i.e. affirmative action, minority set-asides, de-segregation.
  • It assumes that there is no individual responsibility, that life is an exercise in “no-fault” living, that bad acts can be excused by circumstances of life.
  • While many would argue, it does assume that there is no God, only secular humanism. Man is God and the laws of man trump natural laws, the laws of God.

To have any sort of collectivist economy, market or society, the commonly owned productive outputs must be planned, there has to be some method for that productive capacity to know everything from how much corn to grow, how many refrigerators to make and how many doctors to educate – every socialist worth his salt will tell you that. Planning will cause a collective group to tend toward a single point of control, a dictatorship, because that is the most efficient manner to plan and coerce others in the group to go along with the plan. Anyone who has ever tried to gain consensus in a group of more than two people can tell you how inefficient a committee based decision process is and how almost in every case, the decision tends to be made based on the strongest person or opinion.

This is just simple human organizational and behavioral dynamics. Hayek describes it as:

“There will be a stronger and stronger demand that some board or some single individual should be given power to act on their own responsibility. The cry for an economic dictator is a characteristic stage in the movement toward planning. Thus the legislative body will be reduced to choosing the persons who are to have practically absolute power. The whole system will tend toward that kind of dictatorship in which the head of the government is position by popular vote, but where he has all the powers at his command to make certain that the vote will go in the direction he desires. Planning leads to dictatorship because dictatorship is the most effective instrument of coercion and, as such, essential if central planning on a large scale is to be possible.”

One size doesn’t fit all.

“Progressivism” purports to be about hope and change – it seems to me to be about hopelessness and conformity.

5 thoughts on “Hopelessness and Conformity

  1. UTAH,
    Good post.
    I am constantly floored by the number of otherwise very intelligent people who buy into the whole Statist/ Central Planning Philosophy. Perhaps it is their high IQ’s that convince them that they should decide who does what , and when and where they should do it. Or the higher IQ distorts their view of other’s ability to make decisions regarding their own lives.
    And…there are any number of examples of successful people, who, having made it on their own, view themselves as superior to those who have not, and thus support the Central Planners, even though such philosophy would not have led to their own success.
    Trust in the innate benevolence of our fellow man is a result of freedom. A knowledge that as a human being I am responsible for me, and that sometimes our fellow humans need a hand up, is central to natural law, and the law of God.
    Marxist / Statists often point to the New Testament story where Jesus tells the rich young man to “sell all that you have and give to the poor” as Christ as a Socialist. The part they seem to miss is the part that didn’t say to ” sell all you have and give it to the government to distribute after eating up part of it to support the government agency that will distribute what’s left”. And they also miss the “follow me ” part.
    Matthew 19 :21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me
    The Statist Intelligentsia is, incredibly, willing to follow a man with a faulty plan, and not willing to follow a (God with us) man with a perfect plan.
    I have gone somewhat far afield from the original thought , but , I guess I am working toward we (Americans) have historically taken care of each other. My father’s maternal family survived the Johnstown Flood, and told many stories of the incredible help received, in a time with no FEMA, and limited federal assistance. As a matter of fact, by the time the Feds arrived at the scene most of the assistance was in place and systems were being restored well enough that the federal reps just stood by and watched.
    Those who long for the total “Nanny State” , seem to me by and large (above noted exceptions), to have a distinct lack of ambition, or just want someone else to assume responsibility for their wellbeing.

  2. First hand experience is the key to understanding. This is what most US citizens lack. By and far most are worldly inexperienced because they have never left the safety of the USA and have never lived in a collectivist society.

    I have been fortunate enough to have travelled throughout the world in my career both in the US Army and in my civilian career. From this experience I know the difference of living in a Black and White World (collectivist government) and a Colored World (free enterprise based government). From Cambodia to Vietnam you can understand why they all would die trying to land on our shores for freedom and opportunity. I have seen and experienced these places through my own senses of sight, smell, touch and taste. I wish every American could have done the same. They would fall on their knees and thank God they were fortunate enough to have been born in the greatest most free society that man could ever create with God as their guidepost.

    In 1974 while stationed in Germany I made a trip to West and East Berlin. I remember walking through the shopping centers and stores of West Berlin and seeing all of the latest fashions and consumer goods in every color imaginable. It was little different than shopping in the USA. We then donned our Dress Greens and made the perp walk through Check Point Charlie and centered into the bowels of Karl’s World, East Berlin. The most progressive city in world under the control of the USSR and German Stasi.

    We had now entered the world of Black and White. There were no red, blue, yellow colors in the store windows. You had a choice, one style and it came in black or white. And even their the selection was limited to maybe black. You likely even had to take a size that was too large or small for a personal fit.

    This is the Progressive World of one size/color fits all (ala Obama Care). Carried to it’s final outcome, communist/collectivist societies end up here. If you live in one and disagree your ultimate demise will be darkness as the bullet enters your brain and your optic nerves becomes inoperative due to death. You will conform, accept your fate as a slave to the greater good or be eliminated.

    Just remember, you have human spirit that is a permanent being and when it departs your earthly body, that spirit will either go to The Lord or head down to that final destination called Hell. If you travel the path to The Lord you will be in the Heaven of Color and if you travel the path to Hell you will be in World of Utter Darkness outside God’s realm and no one to converse with but yourself. There are no parties in Hell.

    Therefore, as the most interesting man in the world says, choose wisely my friend. Time is short.

  3. I heard Her speak today …. Rush played a tape of her being interviewed.

    What an articulate intelligent Person……very rational and she explained in clear language the utter insanity of ObamaCare as it impacts the average person. Illnesses may differ, situation may differ….but her story in some form or other will be ALL of our stories.

    Unless of course you are a Washington Employee or given select “favored” status for a time by the Washington Elites.

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