Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The really irrational religion

Anyone who has read Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, which now has its own Wikipedia page, will know about the menace of what is known as progressivism though one could argue that it has nothing progressive about it in the real sense of the word.

On Pajamas Media Jeff Perren has an interesting article, which starts off by asking why President Obama keeps saying stupid things and, eschewing the obvious answer that he might not be all that bright but thinks he is, explains that he cannot help it as he is a fully paid up progressivist.

In the process Mr Perren discusses progressivism as the least rational of all religions. This should strike a cord with people on both sides of the Pond.
Unlike even semi-rational philosophies, progressivism is built on sheer fantasy. Other doctrines may make errors, some of them very serious, but most are built on at least some foundation of real-world evidence and logical analysis. Progressivism is one of the few that is actually anti-evidence and anti-logic.

That assertion is not a wild-eyed interpretation by a crazed right-winger. It’s the official view of progressive intellectuals themselves. Merging with its offshoot of postmodernism, progressivism holds that people are unable to grasp evidence first-hand or to be objective about its interpretation.

Postmodern philosophers from Hegel to Dewey to Heidegger, Herbert Marcuse, and Richard Rorty have said so. Their students and followers are just applying what they’ve been taught. Those individuals are the ones who shaped Obama, nurtured his education and careers, and helped get him elected.

But we needn’t rely on obscure philosophers or their abstruse writings for proof. Just read the comments of the majority of hard-core left-wingers. No matter what evidence is presented, no matter how things turn out when their wishes are followed, they continue to cling to their core beliefs and offer again the same ruinous recommendations.
There follow a number of examples from recent American history including the difference between the way a Depression was treated in the early twenties and the thirties:
In the early to mid-20th century, Herbert Hoover and FDR implemented progressive-inspired legislation that aimed left and more left, justified on the basis of “helping the Nation recover.” The result was the longest, deepest Depression in American history. By contrast, in response to the sharp, deflationary recession of the early 1920s, Warren Harding and Congress (ignoring Commerce Secretary Hoover’s advice) took almost no action, apart from cutting the federal budget in half. As a result, that severe contraction is barely remembered today because it was so short.
Well, nobody is going to say that about the present difficulties.

Mutatis mutandis, let us think about the endless arguments we have with our own progressivists, no matter which party they happen to favour with their membership and support on such subjects as international aid, ring-fenced by the Cleggeron Coalition. No argument about its immorality, no evidence of its failure, no appeal to practical considerations works against the endless repetition of the progressivist mantra: there is a problem and it can be solved only be some form of state hand-out.

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