from Daniel Greenfield at Sultan Knish, Progressives without Progress
There isn’t very much progress in the progressive movement. Progress is the expansion of possibilities. Progressives however have a Malthusian obsession with the scarcity of all things. They believe that we are about to run out of everything from energy to water to wealth and education and that like starving survivors on a lifeboat we have to redistribute everything.
There is nothing as reactionary as utopia and no group as reactionary as utopians. A perfect society is a place that is immune to change. The search for such a society is the quest for an absolute way of living. Both the quest and the way of living become as unchallengeable as any theological utopia founded not on bad economics and political parochialism, but on a deeply spiritual faith.
The left is actually deeply conservative. It is difficult for people in countries being contested by the left to see this because they observe the left as revolutionary and destructive. But every attempted conquest is accompanied by violent disruptions. The domestic left destroys everything it does not control as part of a cultural war; not because it seeks an open society of perpetual creative ferment.
Once the left achieves its dream of absolute power in a nation, that nation becomes socially backward, technologically backward and culturally backward. There is a reason that the USSR, Cuba and North Korea were not producing compelling new cultural products for export the way that their sympathizers in Hollywood did and do. It’s the same reason that they don’t keep having revolutions.
The creative energies harnessed by the left are a revolutionary tool for achieving an ideal society. Once that miserably ideal society is achieved, everything is regimented and unplanned change is locked out of the equation because reactionary progressive utopias have to be relentlessly planned. Science and culture are forcibly slowed down. Individuality is discouraged. Conformity produces mediocrity in all fields. Time slows down and utopia sinks into its own progressive muck.
The left doesn’t think in terms of making more, but of redistributing what is available. Its goal is a static society in which everything is “fair”, rather than a rapidly progressing society that is unfairly distributed, but that focuses on creating, rather than sharing, and produces more for all.
Progressives equate progress to redistribution. They view the planet and every microcosmic society within it as a lifeboat with a finite amount of supplies to pass around for survival’s sake. Their idea of progress is achieved when the redistribution achieves their ideal of fairness and no further bouts of redistribution are needed. Since that day will never come, utopia becomes an economic police state.
There is no progress in progressivism. There is instead a deep fear of progress. Utopians fear the unregulated and unplanned and they replace the true expansive progress of the human spirit with the false progress of social controls. Human genius is sold on the block in exchange for bureaucracy.