Despite the proliferation of wild communications technologies, our society is becoming more medieval. We have guilds, a secular clergy and a population too fragmented for nationalism. Republics are giving way to feudalism as people value being cared for more than opportunity. Even the old religious wars are returning with the special forces as our knights, the skyscrapers as our castles and the dole keeping the peasants on the urban voting farm.
Much of the progressive infrastructure exists to eliminate competition. Jobs and higher education are assigned by race, gender, orientation union membership and political affiliation. Starting a business grows harder each year without political connections. Success has less to do with the marketplace, than with the political picture.
The entire “You Didn’t Build That” platform is about the end of competition. Policy statements like that lay out the proper place of the individual. Success doesn’t come from competition, but from the decisions made by the government. If the decisions are wise, then competition is unnecessary. If they are unwise, then competition is futile.
The merit in meritocracy doesn’t come from individual striving tested against the real world, but from the decision making process of political leaders. Merit is redefined, not in terms relevant to the field, but to the bigger political picture. It’s not a matter of the best engineer, businessman or architect, but the engineer, businessman or architect whose identity and vision are harmonious with the big picture.
Holistic think global and act local politics of that nature is very orderly, in that it has no room for the individual. It is too concerned with the forest to care about a tree, let alone the lumberjack or the family that needs an affordable home. And the outcome of that mass dehumanization is a politics in which only the people in the inner circle of power are truly human and truly matter.
China and the Soviet Union killed millions for ideas and then finally for personal power. The end of a system that dehumanizes millions for a collective is a system that dehumanizes millions for the few who run it, the few who really matter and the few whose decisions build everything. Once you reduce the worth of a society to the few philosopher-kings, the commissars of correctness and the technocratic czars, then it becomes very easy to dump all the ideas that got them there and fall back on the old notions that some people are better than others.
Progressivism is about the management of chaos through the impersonal means of government authority. Eliminate enough of the chaos and what remains is a stultifying order that is not based on reason, but on power. The more power is consolidated in the name of something, the more institutions are mobilized to achieve its goals and the more every aspect of life is centralized, the less room there is for the wild creative chaos that moves societies forward through great leaps and bounds.
Civilization is haunted by the old industrial utopian idea that a rational society will be completely managed from the top down. Every progressive goal depends on a rigid system of authority that answers to calls from some civilian non-profits run by community organizers playing the role of the old soviets. The soviets were an illusion. A country was never going to be run by them. It was going to be run by powerful men like Lenin or Stalin who took control of the revolutionary chaos and imposed their own murderous order.
The progressive state is not going to be run by people who want more homeless shelters or more illegal immigration or more abortions. Those people are useful for putting the system into place by giving it the illusion of popular will, but they are unwanted once that has taken place. Once the power has been consolidated, the flimsy coalitions of activists who got it there quickly become a nuisance.
The trouble with all this isn’t humanitarianism. It’s not wrong to care about others. It is wrong to pass that caring off to an impersonal bureaucracy or to set up a system of mandatory caring or to disrupt the lives of others on a massive scale out of spiteful self-righteousness because they don’t care enough. That is why studies show that while conservatives give charity, liberals give government.