Left and Right


I have written before about why I am not a “conservative.” With all due respect to serious intellectual conservatives like my friends at the Charlemagne Institute, about 99% of American-style conservatives are the political equivalent of Joel Osteen fans even in their better moments.
I could make an extensive historical critique of progressive ideology by pointing out its origins in the Prussian prototype for the modern public administration state, fused with the scientism of the Enlightenment, and finding its full institutional expression in the managerial revolution of the 20th century. But to simplify a bit, these are the main limitations of folks who identify as “progressives” at the present time.
-The belief in the perpetual expansion of the welfare state as an end unto itself. I agree there should be a social safety net, and reasonable people can disagree on what form it should take, but the goal of progressivism is a system where everyone regards the state as their sugar daddy, of which they are permanent wards. See Hilaire Belloc’s “The Servile State.”
-The belief in an unrealistic environmentalism that functions as a modern pantheist religion. Like any reasonable person, I’m for clean air and water, and if the goal is to reduce carbon emissions, then nuclear power is the only viable alternative. The “no growth” economy favored by some Green types isn’t going to happen.
-I’ve always agreed with Thomas Szasz’s critique of the therapeutic state as the modern version of the theocratic state, but the “progressives” have really shown their hand with their “Health Uber Alles” fanaticism during the pandemic. Health and safety are important values, but they have to be balanced with other values like the material interests of the working class and keeping government power at bay.
-Progressives take reasonable concerns about the mistreatment of historically marginalized or excluded populations and turn this into another fanatical cult that is ultimately self-defeating, and contrary to the actual opinions of most members of actual historically marginalized groups.
-At the present time, too many progressives are trying to undermine traditional civil liberties (free speech, freedom of religion, academic freedom, freedom of association, due process, right to bear arms) when these become an obstacle to the progressive theocracy.
-Too many progressives are also compromising with the carceral state, even to the point of prominent progressives calling for police repression of the homeless.
-Most dreadful of all is the emergence of what I call “human rights imperialism” which was demonstrated perfectly by late Trotskyist-turned-neocon Christopher Hitchens’ call for bombing the Taliban “out of the Stone Age.”
While not every self-identified progressive holds to every one of these positions, it is usually true that most progressives hold to most of these positions, with various degrees of extremes, to the point of largely reducing “progressivism” to a worthless pile of shit. If this is “progress,” who needs it?

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  1. I suppose, “Why I’m not a Centrist” should be released as a proper conclusion to the “Why I’m not…” trilogy.

  2. “…and if the goal is to reduce carbon emissions, then nuclear power is the only viable alternative.”

    The nutty ‘progressive’ Left doesn’t realize that their parents, or even their grandparents, in the 1970’s discouraged the use of nuclear power, quite probably with the plea, ‘There is all that coal in the ground that we can use to make electrical power!!!’. Uh, yes…

    Some statistics I read in 2015 said that the world had burned about 100 billion tons of coal between 1980 and 2015, at least half of which wouldn’t have needed to burn if nuclear electric power had been sufficiently utilized.

    So, by and large it is THEIR FAULT for not anticipating that maybe we WON’T want to burn all that coal, releasing all that CO2.

    Yes, there is that high-level nuclear waste that must be disposed of, for at least thousands of years, (but that is probably one millionth the volume of the coal otherwise dug, or the coal ash that might otherwise have to be buried.)

    But long ago I figured out how to do that:

    Drill a 1 square meter area hole in the seabed, under hundreds of meters of water, for more specificity 5 kilometers deep, filling the bottom 3 km with high level waste, then plugging the top couple kilometers with concrete. Geologists will know that the area hasn’t been disturbed in millions of years, so will likely remain undisturbed for a million more.

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