Mistakes of the Left

The Left embraces Progressivism, even though I suspect that many of them are not clear what that really means. Progressives that do know, want to advance new ideas that are based on science and technology, or so they claim.  That is what Karl Marx proposed when he wrote the Communist Manifesto, “new ideas based on science.” Many of these new ideas are untested and come from the minds of Marx, Engel, and others who actually never had any formal experience or training in economics, government, social science, or psychology. They just made it up!

Take, for example, rent control, a good idea with disastrous consequences. Landlords are prevented from going above a certain point in raising rents.  As things get more expensive to maintain, landlords stop fixing things, and the building gets run down.  Sooner or later, the building and the neighborhood become a slum.  Another dubious practice is when you send checks to people that are not gainfully employed, fewer people will seek work (think universal basic income -UBI). That is the nature of people, especially if the system is rigged so that you actually make more money not working, and that is not unheard of.

Woodrow Wilson’s administration was the beginning of Progressivism’s opposition to constitutionalism.  Wilson was firmly convinced that individuals are not capable of governing themselves, much less participating in the governance of the nation.  He felt that it required technocrats to make the rules and set the standards.

The Constitution provided for three branches of government, legislative, judicial, and executive, to provide a system of checks and balances to govern.  Progressivism favors technocrats that organize, create, and make the roadmap for us.  The Progressives are gradually winning the war against the separation of powers, not realizing, the more one concentrates power, the more government resembles Fascism.   They, who are the most arduous Antifa, employing many Nazi tactics, are in fact the real Fascists, with their demagogic leadership, extolling the virtues of violence, destroying other people’s property, employing the culture erasing tactics used extensively by the Nazis, such as book burning, taking down statues (book-burning on steroids), and violently attacking journalists that don’t agree with them.

Fascism is a very complex form of leadership that is almost impossible to define because each “Führer” has his own interpretation.  Capitalism has a central theme, money. Communism’s central theme is state ownership and control.  Fascism does not have a central philosophy. It is more of a feeling of national pride, strength, obedience to a strong leader, always a male alpha wolf. It is this charismatic strong-man who steers the ship of state. This “Führer” changes the direction to suit himself and his philosophies. It is because of this that Fascism is different in various countries that have adopted Fascism. For example, with Hitler, the Jews were the main hated enemy that needed to be eliminated.  Not so with Mussolini, who had Jews in his inner circle; even his mistress was Jewish. The Fascism of Francisco Franco’s Spain was entirely different, bringing back the Monarchy and even remaining neutral in World War II. Today’s political strategies have elements of a variety of philosophies, and it is more of a matter of how much Fascism, Communism, and Capitalism we have in each of our systems of government.  It is all on a sliding scale.  Venezuela, for example, has a lot of Communism, almost no Capitalism, and a healthy dash of Maduro’s brand of Fascism. On the other hand, we still possess a lot of Capitalism but are getting more and more Socialistic with very little Fascism, our alpha wolf was voted out of office on November 3rd, and I don’t think anyone would call Biden an alpha wolf. 

Progressives are really Socialists in sheep’s clothing, and they chose to name it “Progressivism” because it sounds a heck of a lot better than “Socialism.” Bernie Sanders is one of the few honest ones that call it what it is. The problem with that is they espouse to control production. This is anti-property and, as a consequence, anti-freedom.  Property and democratic principles go together. A government can’t own and control the means of production without getting rid of capital and those who control it, which includes all of us that have even a small ownership in it. Property and the control of it by individuals are at the heart of liberty. The ability to go out and start your own business is intimately linked to free enterprise, the soul of Democracy.  Capitalism and Democracy are inexorably linked.  

Without property rights, we revert to a kind of feudal system where the individual belongs to the land instead of the land belonging to the individual.  This system is what drove the migration of Europeans to America.  People did not want to be indentured serfs, did not want to worship the God of their Lord, did not want to be dependent on the good intention and whims of the landowner, their Lord. Property gives the individual a stake (skin in the game).  When Stalin collectivized the farms, there was no incentive to grow crops because the state took them all and gave the peasant only a small share of what he had earned with the labor of his own hands. The Socialists depend on “communal ownership,” which means nobody really owns it. If everyone is responsible, no one is responsible. Humans respond to “what’s in it for me.” If we all get the same whether or not we put in the time and effort, we tend to “slack off.” Let someone else do it is a veritable trait of humans involved in groupthink, group work, and communal effort. China learned that lesson.  Once they gave the farmer his own little piece of the land, suddenly, the food shortages disappeared.

Few people know the story of the beginning of American Democracy.  King Charles II gave all the land between the Delaware and Connecticut rivers to the Duke of York, his brother. Land was then parceled out to Lord John Berkely and Sir George Carteret.  The inhabitants were expected to pay rent to the new owners. They explained to the two nobles that they owned the land already and did not wish to pay rent to anyone and certainly did not need a Lord to govern them.  A civil war raged from 1660 for almost a hundred years.  They called themselves the “Freeholders” and named their county seat “Freehold.” They eventually triumphed and outlawed what was essentially Feudalism. Democracy and property rights were born in Freehold, New Jersey, incidentally the hometown of Bruce Springsteen.

The majority don’t want Feudalism, Socialism, Communism, or Fascism either. Woodrow Wilson’s idea that the common man is not able to govern himself is the epitome of privilege of the aristocracy to which Wilson belonged. The central theme of Democracy is that the common man knows better than anyone what is best for him or her, and the majority comes up with the right path for all of us more often than the central committee or the alpha wolf. We do not need technocrats, social engineers, charismatic “Führers,” Lords, Kings, or the Central Committee to govern us and decide what is best for us.  Democracy and Capitalism has a 265-year track record with spectacular success to date. Let’s not fix what isn’t broken.