One of a series of posts titled “the cause of the crisis”, each discussing a different cause, but each of these causes caused or was caused by each of the other causes:
When the universal franchise was introduced a hundred years ago, people said the system would go to hell. Now it is going to hell.
Obviously a government cannot go on forever spending much more than it collects. For a while printing money and borrowing money will work, but eventually, it is bound to lead to trouble, and big trouble is approaching fast.
Government inexorably and rapidly gets more expensive and more intrusive. No doubt more taxes could be collected if they went after the politically well connected, but overall taxes are close to the Laffer maximum – if they raise taxes on those whom it is easy to raise taxes on, for example a tax on luxury yachts, they will get less money, not more money.
A tax on gas, beer, and cigarettes would work, but be unpopular with the electorate. A tax on bankers, educationists, and lawyers would work, but would be unpopular with the well connected – and even such taxes would merely postpone the day of reckoning. Government’s existing commitments are unsustainable with any politically realistic, or even politically unrealistic, tax rise.
The welfare state is simply running out of money.
There are two related problems: Theocracy and democracy. The masses are stupid, the elite is theocratic.
Because the elite is theocratic, they compete for power by each being holier than the other, that is to say, more politically correct than the other – but because their religion is this-worldly, they are required to have religious beliefs about this word rather than the next, thus each member of the elite competes to be further out of contact with reality than the other.
Because the masses are stupid, they succumb to politicians promising that the voters can vote themselves rich.
A hundred years ago, progressivism was a sect of Christianity with ambitions for theocracy and world conquest. To better pursue these goals, it discarded theism, becoming theologically indistinguishable from universalist Unitarianism, thus evading the restraints imposed by the first amendment.
Consider, for example, the doctrine that men and women are equal – therefore the same and interchangeable: Women, supposedly, can be firemen and soldiers. Men, supposedly, can marry other men.
The modern progressive theory of equality is in fact a variant of Christianity.
Equality of men and women, and of the races, makes no common sense or biological sense. Men and women, for example, are biologically so different, that pretty much however you decide to measure them, chances are slim that they will prove to be equal.
When I discuss the matter with leftists, the main argument is some kind of skepticism with regard to efforts to measure people (which always end up demonstrating sexual and racial differences). For example, Gould is skeptical about IQ and race.
Roissy wonders why the elites are so stuck on the obviously false idea of literal equality. Understood as a species of Christian belief, it makes sense, because the Christians believe that the most important part of the self is immaterial. If it’s immaterial, then material differences have nothing to do with it. So Christians are free to believe pretty much anything they want about this most important part of the self, unconstrained by material evidence of any sort. They are free to believe that deep inside everyone, there is a core, an essence, that is not the slightest diminished by bodily infirmity etc. etc. I.e., the soul.
The progressives jettison God, replacing God with, presumably, Nature. So “equality before God” becomes “equality before Nature”. That is, natural equality (of some unspecified sort). And this could be how the progressives manage to believe in some unspecified “natural” (biological or whatever) equality even though no evidence backs them up. Their belief is derived, not from evidence, but from the Christian heritage of progressivism. Their belief looks superficially like a scientific hypothesis because all the terms in it could be interpreted as referring to natural things, but it doesn’t really have any empirical content, because “equality”, while it could refer to something measurable, does not actually refer to anything measurable. Any attempt to measure something to test the claim of “equality” is attacked by progressives.
Progressives are using naturalistic-sounding words to talk about equality, but they are behaving as though it didn’t make any sense to try to measure it, which is how Christians would behave with respect to attempts to rigorously test equality before God. Their reaction would range from skepticism that it could be done, to the sense that it doesn’t even make sense to try, and finally to the certainty that it is heresy to even suggest such a thing and the person suggesting it is evil and possibly a sorcerer and should be burnt at the stake.
The progressive reaction to naturalistic attempts to assess equality is exactly the same as the Christian reaction would be.
The Christian view of equality is entirely impervious to empirical evidence, and so is the progressive view. It makes sense, then, to interpret progressives, when they talk about male and female equality, and about black and white equality, as really talking about the Christian soul, even though they themselves do not realize this is what they are doing because they have forgotten why they are going through these mental motions.