Thursday, October 14, 2010

Stone-Age Thinking

I've previously posted on progressive promotion of collective over individual economic freedom--and on the failed outcome of such experiments.

But lefties' love of the nanny state lives on--and is expanding. Bruce Riggs writes in American Thinker:
The post-Cold War era has seen an unprecedented rise in America of European-bred, radical-Left political thought. The radical Left is defined here as any authoritarian Collectivism in which individual freedom is increasingly subsumed by the dictates of a dominant central government: Communism in particular, but revolutionary Socialism in general under its Fascist, Third Way, or Progressive pseudonyms. Regardless of descriptor, the common denominator is the elimination -- or at least the emasculation -- of Capitalism as the hated engine of disparate wealth distribution.

Today, this Collectivist ideology travels under the sanitized, if disingenuous, banner of "social justice" but remains essentially Marxist nevertheless. As Marx so succinctly put it, "Communism is the elimination of private property." This is an idea that may have been feasible in a tribal world of small, mono-cultural, agrarian communities, but it is completely irrational in today's world. Worse, it's a fatally flawed ideology built on the Left's implicit denial of human nature: man's "out-of-the-herd" evolutionary progress toward individual achievement and self-actualization.

To suppress human nature and human difference is, in essence, the Left's utopian ambition -- an ambition that requires the totalitarian state.

It requires a totalitarian state because it is a delusional quest to return man to an egalitarian herd from which he evolved thousands of years ago. And as the history of the twentieth century shows, humanity rebels against such coerced devolution. Marx's elimination of private property coincidentally strips incentives to produce. The result is social decay to a dismal level of perpetual shortages and shared poverty -- just ask the citizens who stood in the endless bread lines of the former USSR.
Riggs covers two critical points: First, collectivism pre-supposes suffocating totalitarianism. As Dr. Sanity once observed, "capitalism is the best system ever created for generating wealth: It is because capitalism does not need to change human nature to work in the real world."

Second, as Matt Ridley explains in his book The Rational Optimist, the simpler, sustainable life sought by collectivist green actually requires a return to the poorer past. As Ridley said in the Times (London) last spring:
Many of today’s extreme environmentalists . . . maintain that the only sustainable solution is to retreat -- to halt economic growth and enter progressive economic recession.

This means not just that increasing your company’s sales would be a crime, but that the failure to shrink them would be, too. Not only would inventing a new gadget be illegal, but so would failing to abandon existing technologies. Growing more food per acre would become a felony, as would failing to grow less.

Here’s the rub: this future sounds awfully like the feudal past. The Ming and Maoist emperors of China had rules that restricted the growth of businesses, punished innovation and limited the size of families. That, I fear, is the world the pessimists conjure up when they speak of retreat.
Make no mistake: modern man is far better off than its feudal ancestors. "Sustainable production" is another way of forcing everyone to be subsistence farmers.

Put differently, why return to a dictatorial dark age? That's back to the future.

1 comment:

OBloodyHell said...

> Growing more food per acre would become a felony, as would failing to grow less.

No, let's restate that:

How many people do you plan to *kill* to implement this sick fantasy, Mr. 'Green'?