Ever get locked into debate with a “progressive” who’s so off-base on every topic that you realize you have nothing in common except the fact you’re both human – and his bot-like talking points have you questioning even that? Ever find yourself wishing there was some way to break through the ten-inch thick skull and shine a cleansing ray of truth, light and goodness?
Well, there isn’t.
But I do think there’s a Big Question you can introduce that will go a long way toward predicting whether or not your bot-like humanoid leftist friend has a chance in hell of ever seeing the light. And that Big Question is – what is your fundamental view of human nature?
Do you think man is ultimately perfectible? If we just came up with the right society, the right laws, the right situation – man could create a utopian society, right? We could eradicate evil, right? We would all take care of each other in a never-ending hippie circle of peace and hope and change and stuff… right?
If your lefty friend’s eyes glaze over with a misty, faraway look when you put this question to him – if he nods enthusiastically about the heaven-on-earth we are just THIS CLOSE to creating (if we could only get the dumb Republicans to sign on) – if, in short, he answers yes in any way, shape or form… then he’s got a snowball’s chance in hell of ever getting his head on straight.
You can relegate him to your circle of friends with whom it’s not particularly wise to debate the issues of the day, because he is coming at life from a diametrically opposed point of view, and he will likely never agree with even your smallest point due to his foundation being in exactly the wrong place. All you can do is pray for an intellectual miracle.
If, however, your friend scratches his head, looks puzzled, says he’s not sure – and especially if he says no, he doesn’t believe that humans can or will create their own utopia – well, my friend, you have a potential convert to the Side of Goodness and Light.
See, as wiser pundits than me have pointed out, this human nature question is really at the heart of everything. The wiser pundit I’m leaning on most heavily here is Bill Whittle, whose DVD “Firewall: What We Believe” is utter brilliance. He clearly and concisely lays out the case for conservatism – if you have kids, you MUST make sure they watch this, in little 10-minute easy-to -swallow segments. I’ll be writing more about this soon, but for now, back to that Big Question.
If you believe that humans can create their own nirvana, that we are a perfectible species, then you will move heaven and earth to CREATE heaven ON earth. You will gleefully undertake all manner of nanny state social engineering, all manner of political chicanery, all manner of power and money grabbing via tax and regulation – because the means justify the end, which is creating a perfect society where nobody has too little, and everyone has just enough. (See? It sounds so nice.)
If you’re busily building heaven here on earth, you will also undertake a lot of questionable stuff, like banning light bulbs and cupcakes and oil drilling and DDT – not because science has proven that they’re so deadly as to merit banning, but because YOU, the utopian, believe that all of us would be better off without them. And you are always right. So for the greater good, we all are forced to agree with you. That “force” part is key. The utopians believe the all-powerful State has the right to take your property (and your life) if it serves the great cause of equality and social justice. And why are we complaining? It’s all for our own good. Or it’s for the children. Or something.
Actually – it’s tyranny. And it’s the opposite of liberty. And – here’s the kicker – it’s not a new approach. It’s been done, and done, and done. To death (literally). It has never, ever worked.
Yep. Every time in recorded history where do-gooder utopians have tried the central-planning-collectivist approach – it has failed, and left behind (again literally) a bloody mess.
Bill Whittle points out some 30-50 million human beings were slaughtered in Russia to further the greater good. China killed or starved to death another 50 million or so. Not all the failures have been this spectacular, granted, but they have all been failures. Even the French revolution, which is often compared (at least by ignoramuses) to our American revolution, saw a thousand people losing their heads every week as the revolutionaries attempted to create a new man free of religion and income disparity.
We should call these people utopians, because they’re certainly NOT progressive, which is the title they wish to be known by. But there’s nothing progressive about old, tired, failed ideas.
There was this ONE progressive idea that really was different, back about 235 years ago or so, as Whittle notes. It was the idea that we actually take human nature into account when forming a system of governance. The idea that, because human nature really never changes, and that all human beings are enormously motivated by their own self-interest, that we build in lots of checks and balances to keep utopian tyrants from ruining everything for the rest of us.
That’s the great American experiment. The idea of legally limited the power of government know-it-alls to tell us what to do, as Whittle says – limiting the power of those who might be attracted to “public service” because they really crave power over others (*coughobamapelosireidcough*). Creating those limits, for the first time in history – now THAT’S progressive (to quote an annoying TV ad). And it’s worked amazingly well for those 235 years.
And that’s why conservatives and tea partiers and others who don’t care for our current state of affairs are not racist or bigoted or small-minded or stupid. They are, as Whittle notes, believers in limited, responsible and frugal government – and they are standing up, now, against those who would build an all-powerful state, who think they are entitled to all our money, and any of our freedoms. How else to remake us all into perfect little bot-like citizens of the utopia that exists only in their fevered imaginations?