Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Totalitarianism, Radical Progressivism, Fascism

Two items tonight:

1. The first thing is two pairs: One pair: Two letters to the editor in the Nov. 25 New Republic continue the leftist rant about Iraq: It’s all about oil, and the U.S. is taking itself to be above the law. Well, this seems to prove John Jay Ray’s point that leftism and fascism go hand in hand. Whatever the socialist authority - the UN - says, goes; whatever they say is law is therefore, by the very fact that they say it, just. The Authority can make no unjust law. And how dare the U.S. object that the law is immoral or bad for private interests! Determinations of justice will be posited by the authority and disobedience is not an option.

Another pair: Catherine MacKinnon, a professor at University of Michigan, said that she would disallow professors to teach that there are biologically based behavioral differences between men and women. Also in the news, in Iran teachers suffer anything from being barred from teaching to being sentenced to death if they questions the establishment’s values. Determinations of justice will be posited by the authority and disobedience is not an option.

Leftist, fascist, progressivist, reactionary - what’s the difference?

2. Cinderella has a nice post on historicism and radical progressivism. The post includes a speech by early 19th C. playwrite Georg Buechner. The speech contains the fundamental fallacy of radical progressivism:

"[A]ll are equal, ... therefore everyone should have advantages and none should have privileges, neither should there be a special or a lower or a higher class of individuals."

As John Adams pointed out, the fact that all men are created equal implies only that one should treat others in the same way unless there is a morally relevant reason not to do so. In other words, arbitrary and groundless distinctions in people's moral rights are unjust. (Examples: bigotry, fantasies about blue blood. In other words, if you let everyone be free except people with big feet, but you make exceptions for those amongst your group of friends with big feet, you're in violation of the principle of equality.) What this equality does not imply is that there should not be upper economic or social classes or advantages and privileges. It means only that anyone should be free to earn these things, either by hard work, talent, or luck. As Adams argued, a natural aristocracy will develop and we should accept this. The leftist doesn't understand any of this; he fails to distinguish the two kinds of equality. The result, as Cinderella's post shows, is often mass murder by fanatic revolutionaries. After all, shouldn't those who stand in the way of fundamental equality be cut down? The dead now number in the hundreds of millions.

"Determinations of justice will be posited by the authority and disobedience is not an option." Two paths: hundreds of millions of murders or a Lockean democratic republic. Locke said that there is a common-sense, natural morality, and we don't have to obey any government that violates it. Can you think of another path? I can't.