Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The Paradox That Progressives are the Real Reactionaries

I don't pretend to know the real meaning of Hegel's dialectic. In fact I suspect that the dear chap gets himself lost in its contradictions and oppositions.

But I do believe that the Arrow of History concept, as in Progress, is wrong. Life, the universe, and everything is much more complicated than that.

It is in this sense that I believe that a "thesis" calls forth its "antithesis" and the resultant mess congeals, eventually, into a a new "synthesis."

Or, simply put, life is messy.

For instance, it is a wonder to me that the opposition to "advanced capitalism" and its unprecedented Great Enrichment that has increased the income of ordinary people by 3,000 percent in two centuries, wants to build a world of total administrative domination.

See, the way I look at it, the whole point of the economic growth of the last 200 years is that, against all odds, the political powers-that-be were unable to stop the successive waves of innovation, starting with textiles on through the latest turn of the internet.

The characteristic of the old world, before capitalism, was its hierarchical structure. Feudalism was a system of domination and subordination, from the king and his direct vassals down to the meanest serf on a lord's estate.

Then came the 19th century with ordinary people running all over the world without permission. It was in the middle of the 19th century that rich kids invented socialism proposing to reestablish the old regime of top-down control. Only the socialists called it the new regime, in fact the absence of all regimes.

Then we got the astonishing paradox that the socialism that was to liberate the masses from the horrors of capitalism enslaved them with the most murderous and disastrous political regimes in all history.

We had the paradox that just as the intellectual elite of Europe started a movement against slavery the industrial revolution appeared and enslaved the masses in regimented factories.

Or, right now, we have the paradox that the modern left, that insists on the right of protest, ruthlessly suppresses and all speech that challenges its hegemonic narrative. It calls itself the Resistance, but don't you dare resist it.

All this is why I am not particularly distressed that the Republican Senate cannot summon the gumption to "repeal and replace" Obamacare. Why I am not that exercised by lefty judges on the DC Court of Appeals arrogating to themselves the right to reverse an administrative decision of the Trump EPA. I am not even that exercised about immigration.

That's because I believe that despite the best hopes of today's political movers and shakers the future will not be what they imagine. And the reason is that they are idiots.

I was taking an acquaintance to the airport yesterday and she complained about the folly of wars. I replied that, up until yesterday, humans had to defend their land to the death because that land grew the food that gave them life. It is only today that land doesn't matter, because you can buy and sell food rather than grow it. So they don't need to defend their patch of land to the death. But it takes time for people to adjust to the new reality. Meanwhile they will react to all setbacks with wars and rumors of wars and by trying to return to the old ways that "worked"

There will be people telling us they are leading us to the future by returning to the failed politics of the past.

I guess my point is that everything in life is trial-and-error and cleaning up after one mistake after another. Whatever your grand and glorious plans, they will be pulverized by reality, as in the elder Moltke's dictum that "no campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy."

To me, the basic fact of today is that the great and glorious top-down administrative state is creaking and groaning in every joint.

And it is going to get worse before it gets better.

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