Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Roots of the Dems' Progressive Therapeutic Society

When it occurs to you that Obama and the Democrats are promising far more than they can deliver, it is helpful to think in terms of "collective." And in the case of the current Democrat Party position on life-issues, it is "collective-therapeutic."

As usual, Deneen has excellent analysis. He begins with a brief on a Gerson essay.

Michael Gerson has written a masterful short essay on the contradiction at the heart of the Left, namely, a stated compassion for the weak combined with a ardent support of a progressive ideology that has resulted in practical eugenics. While it is not apparent to many, this contradiction lies at the heart of responses to the nomination of Sarah Palin for the Vice Presidency: the condescending dismissal of her backwardness thinly veils the Progressive assumptions about what constitutes a properly enlightened person.

The Left's Modern Project has hallmarks. One small example is their advocacy of 'the Pill' (or equivalents--rubbers or abortions) as a "remedy" for teenage sexual activity. In fact, 'the Pill' does not address the disease but the manifestation. That's 'therapy' as opposed to facing the reality. Another slightly more complex "therapy" is killing human beings to use them as the base-material for improving OTHER human beings, ESCR.

Going on, Deneen quotes a chunk of Gerson:

...the pro-choice radicalism held by [most Democrats] -- the absolute elevation of individual autonomy over the rights of the weak -- has enabled the new eugenics. It has also created a moral conflict at the heart of the Democratic Party. If traditional Democratic ideology means anything, it is the assertion that America is a single moral community that includes everyone.

Some of the 3.2 regular readers of this blog recall my comments on the "Field Switch" which occurred betweent the Parties during the 1960's. That post showed that the Republicans were allied with the Progressives at the turn of the century--and like today's Progressives (now largely Democrats) they advocated for ridding "the collective' of less-than-perfect humans. Except now the therapy is abortion instead of sterilization, and ESCR instead of permanent institutionalization.

And where does Deneen find the roots of the Therapeutic (and collective) society?

The aspirations for achievement of a "single moral community" was deeply premised on the elimination of all particular communities. John Stuart Mill, for instance, constantly attacked "custom" and "tradition" in an effort to liberate individuals and their capacities as "progressive beings"; similarly, while he praised a diversity of "experiments in living," he had no tolerance for the particular experiment called "Calvinism" (or, more broadly, Augustinianism), which, by definition, asserted that humans were fallen, imperfect, and imperfectible by their own devices. Traditional societies and religions needed elimination (thus, Mill justified multiple votes for educated individuals and enslavement of "backward" populations until they could be brought up to speed). At the same time, he promised that the elimination of various forms of particularism, as well as religions that called to mind human imperfection, would set humanity on a progressive path to a worldwide human community. The elimination of particular religions would usher in "the religion of humanity" - that "single moral community" of which Gerson speaks. In the name of the progressive apotheosis of humankind, the aggressive elimination of "backwardness" was to be justified. In its name the eugenics policies of the 19th-century were inaugurated - policies now associated in the popular imagination with Adolph Hitler, but in their time propounded universally by the most advanced and "progressive" thinkers, such as H. G. Wells and G. B. Shaw.

(I need not remind you that "the Collective" has connotations--not only Hitler, but Stalin & Co.)

What is truly amazing about all this is the Democrats' wholesale purchase of the Progressive ideology. As my linked entry demonstrates, the Catholic Church (inter alia) vociferously opposed the solutions proposed by the Progressives--and it is entirely likely that the Church's opposition to the Progressive ideology led to the Democrat dominance of Government for the first half of the 20th Century. There were others who objected, of course, but the Catholic vote meant a lot, and a unified-opposing Catholic vote was fatal.

Only the country-club Republicans hold to the vestiges of the Therapeutic Progressive movement, and they are slowly being eliminated--largely because they are rightfully regarded as elitists.

(No surprise they like to quote Mill and attend My Fair Lady revivals.)

What led the Democrat leaders to adopt a sure-loser position; the Progressive Therapeutic Collective model?

Don't ask me. Ask them.

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