Bending Over Forward to Please the State
But in truth, the signs were already there, what with the race riots that had begun in 1963-'64 before really hitting stride in '67-'68.
The French Revolutionaries also believed they could begin mankind anew, in their case by eschewing everything but Reason.
But again, the pscyche is whole; one can no more sever oneself from the upper and lower vertical (unconscious and supraconscious) than one may declare that the brain can function in the absence of a beating heart. A human being is an integrated organism at every level; the parts are always subordinate to the whole, not vice versa.
Indeed, pathology -- both physiological and psychological -- can be understood as a part that doesn't know its place, and either usurps the rightful domain of other parts or ceases functioning for the benefit of the whole. My pancreas went on strike seven years ago, but it's not as if there are no implications for the rest of me.
But most diabetic patients I see act just this way (many do the same with hypertension). They live in blissful denial of their diabetes, which is why they end up with strokes, heart attacks and kidney disease in their 40s and 50s. As Homer Simpson once lamented, Why do my actions always have to have consequences!
Mendel is undoubtedly correct in highlighting "the rationalists' problem," which is the absence of any "solid ground of being and purpose to replace religious faith." Thus, in actuality, although they always talk about ends, the left really has no means to get there. Rather, they have only means, which explains quite a bit about self-styled "progressives."
For what is the end toward which the progressive believes the state to be progressing? This end doesn't actually exist; or, even if it did exist as a fantasy of some sort, it could never exist on earth.
Again, if one considers actual ends -- empirical reality -- we see that our gargantuan state and its unsustainable debt are the direct result of the application of progressive means, decade after decade. Yes, here we are, liberal paradise. Isn't it beautiful?
The ubiquitous liberal problem is that it has no intrinsic boundary, no limiting factor. Yes, it is Never Enough: liberals insist
"that the government must do more -- much more -- to help the poor, to increase economic security, to promote social justice and solidarity, to reduce inequality, and to mitigate the harshness of capitalism. Nonetheless, liberals have never answered, or even acknowledged, the corresponding question: What would be the size and nature of a welfare state that was not contemptibly austere, that did not urgently need new programs, bigger budgets, and a broader mandate? Even though the federal government’s outlays have doubled every eighteen years since 1940, liberal rhetoric is always addressed to a nation trapped in Groundhog Day, where every year is 1932, and none of the existing welfare state programs that spend tens of billions of dollars matter, or even exist. "
No liberal ever says, "okay, that's big enough. The present size of the state is perfect." Likewise, they never tell us how high taxes have to be before they are too high. After being forced by the electorate to abandon his liberal agenda, President Clinton bowed to reality and proclaimed that "the era of big government is over." But it was just resting. A new era of Bigger Government commenced on January 20, 2009, with Clinton's full-throated support. Clintonomics!
Now, two of the important modes of unconscious thought are omnipotence and omniscience. Why is this the case? Just logic. To simplify, the deep unconscious knows no clear and unambiguous boundaries, and a boundary is a limit. It also transcends -- or subtends -- linear time, and only knows the now. Add those together, and it is possible to live in a kind of boundless eternity.
I should emphasize that this is by no means inherently pathological. To the contrary, we all long to spend a little timelessness in this mode, but most of us do it in appropriate ways, e.g., religion, meditation, hobbies, family, music, cosmic blogging, sex, grog, etc.
But what if you are the type of person who is unsatisfied or cannot be satisfied with his own life? These are the most dangerous people on earth, especially when given political power. For some reason, the personal happiness -- and even identity -- of these persons is bound up with "helping" others.
Nothing wrong with that -- one cannot be human in the absence of the charitable impulse -- but this is quite different.
For just what makes a person want to force a second person to pay for something he believes a third person needs? Why do we have to radically transform our whole medical system and inconvenience millions of people, just because some vulgar community agitator thinks it's a good idea?
I understand the charitable instinct, but I do not understand the infinite self-belief -- the presumption of omniscience and omnipotence, backed by the force of state violence to impose his will. Have we any right whatsoever to imagine that the people who will administer this system will be wiser, kinder, and more moral than we are?
Here's an idea: how about our government actually making itself useful by fostering the market conditions that would make the medical system more functional? As it stands, the system is so distorted that it has few meaningful price signals, and in a free market economy, price is everything. Once price no longer conveys up-to-date meaningful information, we enter an irrational and incoherent world of too much or too little of what we want and need, and at the wrong price.
A state takeover can only make this worse, not better, for no one knows the actual cost of anything in a command economy. Nor does anyone know whether it is worthwhile to do this or that. There are infinite decisions to be made, with no rational basis to make them, and each with unforeseen and unforeseeable consequences. It is why we had to pass Obamacare in order to find out what's in it (and we still don't know).
Pelosi was being unintentionally honest here, because her statement is literally true. No one can pretend to know the consequences of a 2,500+ page bill on 17% of the economy, which is in turn connected to everything else. The bill could have been 5,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 pages, but one could still never predict its impact, since the information it pretends to understand is literally infinite (Hayek's knowledge problem). The map would have to be as large as the territory, which is both impossible and redundant.
Note that freedom and inequality are two sides of the same coin. We are free because unequal, and unequal because free. If everyone were the same, it would be another way of saying that we are not free to be unique.
socialist brain of a liberal Democrat, there are large areas devoted to embedded groupthink, generous spending of other peoples money, and smarter-than-thou intellectual sanctimony, but mere remnants of common sense and personal responsibility.
In a command economy, we are only "free" to be what the state wishes us to be, which is no freedom at all. The state is the agent and we are the receiver; it is the manly pitcher while we must lean forward and be the passive catcher. It rewards certain thoughts and behaviors, and punishes others, which places a new and completely unjust cost on the development of individualism.
For Margaret Thatcher, this was the wickedness at the heart of leftism. I found it surprising and fascinating to discover that Thatcher had deduced her economics from moral principles. But as soon as I thought about it, I realized that the left does the identical thing, except they begin with the wrong moral principles. For someone like Paul Krugman, his economics is clearly posterior to his morality -- or, to be precise, his hate-drenched moralism.
As Berlinski explains, "socialism itself" has a corrosive effect on human nature; it has "turned good citizens into bad ones; it turned strong nations into weak ones; it promoted vice and discouraged virtue; and even when it did not lead directly to the Gulags, it transformed formerly hardworking and self-reliant men and women into whining, weak and flabby loafers." It is not a noble idea badly applied, but "an inherently wicked idea," one not susceptible to "perfecting." Rather, it works every time, only in ways unintended.
Thatcher also felt -- and this would apply to Obama's America -- that "Britain's decline was not an inevitable fate, but a punishment" (emphasis mine). No, not for those sins that preoccupy the liberal brain -- imperialism, racism, homophobia, greed, and all the rest -- but "for the sin of socialism." Thatcher:
"How could anyone expect that the idea of 'more of the same' which has nearly brought us to our knees could be seriously entertained?"
For socialism is not just "a folly, but a heresy" (Berlinski); it is actually bad theology, because it is rooted in "the belief that Man is perfectible" (Thatcher). In this naive but pernicious view, "we must do good. We know how to do good, and we have the money to do good. And that inevitably became, and you will be done good to! (Bernard Ingham, in Berlinski).
So, bend over and be done good to, comrade!