Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Bernification of America?

One of the recurring themes fascinating the Recovering Bureaucrat is the stubborn persistence of socialist longings among far too many of his fellow Americans.  In spite of the overwhelming evidence produced by the twentieth century that every form of socialism is far inferior to free market-based political economies, upwards of half of us are still willing to overthrow our founding principles in favor of a government-run society.  The blood of countless millions of our fellow human beings and the devastation of economies and environments are ignored in the evergreen determination to make the world work according to our yearnings.

Utopia dies hard, if ever.

The RB examined this mystifying syndrome in several posts under the title “The Earnestness of the Left,” noting
the average leftist is concerned with the welfare of the entire community.  He sees elements of what constitute and promote this welfare in ways that too many of his fellow citizens do not.  He is able to see these because he is bright and moral enough to account for the impacts of human activity that cause harm to health and liberty.  He believes that a nation that promotes the blessings of liberty but does not deliver them is hypocritical and immoral.  He accepts that government generally and the federal government particularly constitute the only effective instrument of redress.  He will not rest until all groups enjoy equally in the prosperity of the nation.  He believes that the chief resistance to his policy goals comes from selfish individuals who either don’t see or don’t care about the impacts of their behaviors upon others and the community as a whole.  He has no particular allegiance to the nation’s founding principles or the U. S. Constitution when these tend to stand in the way of universal prosperity.
. . . It is also safe to say that he “feels” these things rather than thinks about them; as a thoroughly postmodernized citizen he shares the pomo conviction that Reason is a dead white man’s tool of oppression.  Feeling therefore trumps logic and rationality.  The embrace of this pattern of emotional impressions makes him a good and reliable congregant in the Church of the All Powerful State, whose clerisy promises him delivery of his most fervent desires on behalf of “the community.”
It also enables a species of groupthink that is characteristic of tribal forms of consciousness: disagreement with the prevailing mythos is grounds for expulsion because it threatens the viability of the tribe.  Orwell was particularly devastating in his critique of this unfortunate tendency.
The RB theorized that much of this longing comes from still-powerful currents of humanity’s tribal experience, millennia in duration, during which we were imprinted by the unexamined conviction that our daily responsibility is to the welfare of the tribe or clan, and that the sacrifice of individual tribe members to this cause is necessary and unremarkable.  In return for playing assigned roles, members are offered security and validation.