The Measure of Virtue

James V. DeLong
Anthony Daniels has a superb piece in the November edition of New Criterion that reviews the evidence that the intellectuals of the 1930s were fully informed about the nature of the Soviet regime and its deliberate creation of famine and starvation. He concludes:

[T]he Soviet Union was valued by contemporary [1930s] intellectuals not for the omelette, but for the broken eggs. They thought that if nothing great could be built without sacrifice, then so great a sacrifice must be building something great. The Soviets had the courage of their abstractions, which are often so much more important to intellectuals than living, breathing human beings.
 
This strikes me as a rather good characterization of our contemporary intellectuals. When I examine the detailed provisions of cap-and-trade, the endangered species regulations, the House health care bill, or the pullback from supporting allies, my first reaction is that these people cannot possibly understand the consequences.
 
My second reaction is a fear that today’s intellectual elites do understand the consequences, and that breaking the national eggs is actually the purpose of the enterprise because they believe that the disruption and pain (from which they will be somehow excused) must lead to something great.

Since our solipsistic rulers know themselves to be great, they think it a syllogistic certainty that whatever they propose, no matter how ill considered it appears to an outsider, must also be great.
Anthony Daniels has a superb piece in the November edition of New Criterion that reviews the evidence that the intellectuals of the 1930s were fully informed about the nature of the Soviet regime and its deliberate creation of famine and starvation. He concludes:

[T]he Soviet Union was valued by contemporary [1930s] intellectuals not for the omelette, but for the broken eggs. They thought that if nothing great could be built without sacrifice, then so great a sacrifice must be building something great. The Soviets had the courage of their abstractions, which are often so much more important to intellectuals than living, breathing human beings.
 
This strikes me as a rather good characterization of our contemporary intellectuals. When I examine the detailed provisions of cap-and-trade, the endangered species regulations, the House health care bill, or the pullback from supporting allies, my first reaction is that these people cannot possibly understand the consequences.
 
My second reaction is a fear that today’s intellectual elites do understand the consequences, and that breaking the national eggs is actually the purpose of the enterprise because they believe that the disruption and pain (from which they will be somehow excused) must lead to something great.

Since our solipsistic rulers know themselves to be great, they think it a syllogistic certainty that whatever they propose, no matter how ill considered it appears to an outsider, must also be great.