There's Never Been a More Important Time to Choose Wisely
This critical election is a choice between progressive government and its collective baggage and representative government and its free enterprise.
Progressives take their cue from Marx, Alinsky, and outfits like BLM. The other approach is rooted in American tradition and freedom. They couldn't be more different. They are entirely incompatible. Victory of either is bad news for the other. Both sides know it.
So-called "progressives" brought us such societal horrors as the War on Poverty. Progressives are rooted in the intellectual arrogance of self-anointed "experts." Not only are their theories proven 180 degrees wrong, but they never pay the price for their failures. They just move on to "solve" the next problem, leaving their mess behind.
Exhibit 1 is the War on Poverty. Contrary to good intentions, it devastated minority communities for generations and created fatherless homes for 70% of blacks without making a dent in actual poverty.
Progressives applaud "reducing" poverty from 19% of the population in 1964 to 14.8% in 2014. But they ignore that much "improvement" simply moved people onto public support, building a dependency on welfare, food stamps, "free" lunches, and other subsidies. That's far from economic gains deserving victory laps. It's crippling reliance on paternalistic government, not economic independence.
Black economist Walter Williams notes that in 1900, black unemployment was 15 percent lower than white unemployment. By 2017, it was 30 percent higher.
"In 1960, just 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families. Fifty years later, more than 70 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families," Williams writes.
Ronald Reagan sardonically explained: "The federal government declared war on poverty, and poverty won."
Even progressives, despite trillions spent and millions of lives harmed by their policies since the 1960s, tell us unequal wealth remains a "problem." Rather than concede failure, progressives promise more of the same "solutions." It's like the 18th-century "solution" of bleeding patients to cure them.
As Reagan also said, "it isn't so much that liberals are ignorant. It's just that they know so many things that aren't so."
The hubris of continuing to advance their counter-productive "solutions" despite repeated failure is what economist Thomas Sowell described as the arrogance of the so-called "intellectual" set. Self-identified "intellectuals" are disproportionally found among progressives, often insulated from reality by ivory tower vocations or unaccountable government jobs.
What explains their unbreakable bond with repeatedly failed schemes?
Sowell says it's because intellectuals are not interested in empirically testing hypotheses to see what works. Rather, they insist on forcing square pegs into round holes. Real-world tests of the consequences of their improbably schemes and wishful thinking are avoided "for fear that they might be proven wrong."
"They have a huge ego stake in a given set of conclusions," Sowell said. "[I]f you believe in free markets and you know traditional values, there is no exaltation that comes with that. You're just somebody who believes in free markets and traditional values."
"[B]ut if you believe in social justice and saving the environment ... you are really something. And so ... the people with that viewpoint have a huge ego."
Consequently, intellectuals also have a huge personal stake and fierce resistance to risking their exalted status by testing their theories.
This dishonest approach is found in everything from alarmist global warming theory to paper face mask mandates. Proponents presume the conclusions. No debate permitted.
Progressives say CO2 emissions will devastatingly heat the planet, and wearing face masks will stop transmission of microscopic virus. Even when testing these suppositions demonstrates CO2 is an essential food to grow crops and harmless in historic atmospheric concentrations far greater than today's; even when rigorous scientific testing repeatedly demonstrates face masks' utter ineffectiveness to prevent spreading viruses, intellectuals remain unpersuaded. They know better, they say.
Not only do they reject testing, but they demonize anyone who suggests that their theories should be tested. To test amounts to heresy in the "Church of Us Who Know Better." They abide no heresy.
In the academic and scientific institutions these people now control, such heresy kills careers, denies research funding, and ostracizes decent people for bucking the presumed wisdom. Such heresy can even render offenders racist, "anti-scientific," greedy, or some other invented sin against progressive dogma.
This explains why socialism is continually promoted by intellectuals despite centuries of failure everywhere it's been widely adopted. Intellectuals disregard the long track record of human rights abuses, mass murder, state-ordered starvation, gulags, extermination camps, "re-education" camps, and the economic catastrophes that turned once prosperous nations into economic basket cases like Venezuela. Nothing to see here, progressives insist.
When pressed, progressives say they will do better next time. That means next time they will take greater amounts of other peoples' money and impose even more oppressive controls.
Sowell's book, Intellectuals and Society, lays bare the smarty-pants set. He wisecracked, "[W]henever there's a great disaster there always needs to be a Harvard man in the middle of it[.]" Think the Vietnam War, brought you to by the self-proclaimed "best and brightest" and proclaimed by the self-exalted media as a U.S. military defeat, despite never losing a single battle. Think the War on Poverty.
"The human race began in poverty so there's no mysterious explanation as to why some people are poor," Sowell said. "The question is, why some people have gotten prosperous and in particular why have some gotten prosperous to a greater degree than others."
"Poverty is not a mystery to be solved by intellectuals ... [who] have no interest in what creates wealth and what inhibits the creation of wealth. They are very concerned about the distribution of it."
That tragic approach ignores economic laws like supply and demand to "solve" unequal wealth distribution. As with ignoring gravity, sooner or later, you fall.
Intellectual "solutions" also ignore another Sowell truism: there are no solutions. There are only tradeoffs.
"You can make this a little bit better by making something a little bit worse or you can make it a little bit better by making something a lot worse," explains Sowell.
Rarely do the self-anointed ponder trade-off costs. If they had, the War on Poverty would not have been declared because of the damage it posed to minority families by encouraging sloth and dependency rather than work and incentivizing fathers to abandon wives and children.
That's not the end of progressives' gruesome legacy. Their failed policies also gave the poor an additional handicap: a sense of victimhood.
On Nov. 3, voters won't merely choose between progressive and historic options. They also will determine the nation's legacy.