Thursday, September 06, 2007

The industry of progressive liberalism

Have you ever wondered why it is that progressive liberalism has managed to achieve such political hegemony in Britain - in most of the western world in fact?

Why is an ideology that is essentially nothing more than another form of socialism - an ideology that has been proven again and again to fail - able to reach the point where a country like Britain can be effectively turned into a one party state? This should not be possible given our constitution, our parliamentary system and our political structures. But it has happened anyway.


Well, for starters it did not happen by accident, but nor was it organised or coordinated - at least at first. The process began even before the Second World War, but it was only in the 1960's and 1970's that it became an organised and coordinated movement and yet, in the space of a generation, it has all but wiped out political dissent and discussion in the mainstream leaving just the fringe elements - such as political blogging - as the only challenge to its dominance.

There can be no argument that progressive liberalism has failed. This is apparent everywhere - in schools, hospitals, the streets, our homes, in towns, cities, villages, in the countryside - everywhere. It is apparent to all of us who do not have the money or motivation to cloister ourselves behind the false facade of exclusivity.

The failure of progressive liberalism is underlined daily in the news - the explosion in crime, the crisis of our youth, the problems with drug addiction, family breakdown, societal breakdown and yet the news media invariably fail to attribute the cause of the problem to the real culprit.

Because they are part of it.

So how did it get this way?

As I mentioned, the process began in the 1930's. Progressive liberalism is, essentially, the political ideology of the Frankfurt School which is often referred to as "cultural Marxism". Many prominent and not so prominent "intellectuals" were seduced by the promise of a Utopian society that progressive liberalism as espoused by the Frankfurt School appeared to offer and these intellectuals began to spread that message of a new world through various essays, pamphlets and speeches prior to the war.

Their message was ignored by many, but picked up by some who would then spread the message themselves slowly building the base that was to launch the destructive onslaught that has now wreaked such havoc across our nation. Their influence spread particularly to the universities - where intellectualism has it's spiritual home -and once embedded in these institutions it was then just a matter of time before that message was passed on to those who were educated at these universities - people who were to become our political leaders, our teachers, our journalists - the very people who have the greatest influence on thought.

That was always the plan and it was a plan that F. A. Hayek tried to warn us of in his essay "Intellectuals and Socialism" when he said ...

In every country that has moved toward socialism, the phase of the development in which socialism becomes a determining influence on politics has been preceded for many years by a period during which socialist ideals governed the thinking of the more active intellectuals.

... though I'm not sure that even Hayek envisaged the speed or degree to which "socialism" would obtain political hegemony through the western world.

The political ideology of progressive liberalism is clearly a flawed and failing one. For a start, the Utopian society it strives to attain, though laudable as an ideal, is of course unachievable as it overlooks the one important factor that makes it such a fallacy.


People are not perfect - they have faults, imperfections, flaws of their own. Most will always try and be the best they can, but many will take advantage of a society that allows them the freedom to do so and this is the fatal flaw of progressive liberalism. Worse still, the fundamental basis of the ideology increases the likelihood that more and more people will stop trying to be the best they can and instead use the opportunity to be the worst they can.

And so we have the erosion of respect for law, the collapse of morality, the disappearance of manners and in their place we have an explosion in crime, falling moral standards and an abundance of rude and ill-mannered behaviour.

But surely, if progressive liberalism was such a failure it would by now have collapsed in on itself? Under normal circumstances it would have, but this is where the progressive liberals have been successful as they have created a support structure so huge, so crucial to millions of people that it means they lives are as dependent on the ideology as the ideology is on them.

This support structure is called the "public sector".

The expansion of the public sector was always crucial to socialism, but in previous incarnations of the ideology it was mostly through the acquisition by the state of industries. At the time this was because socialism was not just a political ideology, but also an economic one - and the control of industry was part of that economic ideology.

Of course that failed enormously. Not just in Britain, but in the most socialist of countries - USSR and China. Progressive liberalism took a different approach. It accepted the fundamental belief that the most successful economic ideology is capitalism - but with caveats - and subscribed, on the face of it, to the economic principles that capitalism promotes.

Freed from the need to obtain industries to create the support structure necessary to support the vacuous ideals of socialism, progressive liberals created a new industry - multiculturalism - and embarked on a programme to build the infrastructure which would sustain that industry and therefore their ideology.

They did this for other concepts too - sex equality, sexual rights, abortion rights, children's rights, human rights - all created for one reason; to expand the support structure that stops progressive liberalism imploding.

These concepts spawned new organisations of "expert bodies" - QUasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations; Quangos - whose purpose was to initiate and create regulation related to their supposed "expertise".

And these regulations needed to be monitored, inspected and enforced - so the various regional governments were required to employ more and more people in more and more roles related to monitoring, inspecting and enforcing these regulations.

And so the public sector expanded and new concepts were brought in - often to tackle problems that progressive liberalism had caused. Drug abuse, truanting, family breakdown, mental illness and many many others. The number of quangos expanded (they alone are now costing Britain £180 BILLION every year - more than double the amount spent on the NHS) and with it the regulatory bodies and the regional support structures in local government.

And thus a new industry was spawned - an industry created for the sole purpose of maintaining the hegemony of progressive liberalism. A hegemony that can not be challenged or overturned as the very livelihoods of so many people are now so heavily invested in the maintenance of the ideology - the myth of progressive liberalism.

Even if, unlikely as it is, a truly conservative party were to obtain power, they could never change this without a virtual revolution. Any attempt to begin to dismantle this support structure that progressive liberalism has put in place will be met by massive resistance by those people who depend on it.

Even so, eventually - and inevitably - progressive liberalism, just like every other brand of socialism, will collapse and fail. I can only hope that when it does, Britain is not too far gone to repair the damage, but I fear we are already past that point.


Henry North London said...

Good to see you back in action Stan

Stan said...

Thanks, Henry!

Actually, it's all down to the charming Mr Bob Crow and his ever so reasonable cronies on the RMT.

Thanks to them I've been working from home - which does have some benefits ;-)

'been around the block said...

Hey, great commentary, Stan. But I'm somewhat astonished that you never mentioned what it is, what it has always been, that motivates people to be and do their best, which would be religious convictions and adherence to an ethical code derived from one's faith.

In Europe and North America that "code" has for centuries been Judeo-Christian values which, simultaneously acknowledge the existence of God, whom we honour, and, counsel that we "love our neighbours as ourselves."

Socialism and socialistic Utopian doctrine scorn both love of God and neighbour, and everywhere Judeo-Christian values have been eschewed, we find the sorry mess that Britain, much of Europe, and now North America is becoming. These countries used to be known as “Christian” countries, with all of their ethical, judicial, and educational institutions based on Scriptural foundations of equality before God and freedom of the person—but not without the commensurate responsibilities.

IMO, you can't have a fully-rounded discussion about once-civil societies hurtling down the slippery slope into anarchy and worse without discussing the positive role of religion and faith in the lives of individuals, families, and society as a whole, specifically the role of Judeo-Christian values which were the hallmark and foundational ideas on which public institutions were estabished in democratic countries until very recently. Neither is there any hope, also IMHO, of positive change unless we humans have a systematic, yet compassionate, way of dealing with what you call our "faults" and what the Judeo-Christian faith calls "sin."

Socialist Utopians completely misread human nature, assuming that we start out “good.” They build their power and strength, as you point out, by managing the myriad of human foibles that proliferate in a society where there is no common agreement that if you leave human beings to their own devices, they’ll fall flat on their faces in about two seconds. Utopian societies take advantage of our fallen human natures, which they deny, whereas societies founded on Judeo-Christian concepts start from the position that we are fallen, that we will screw up, pretty much every minute of every day, and how can we instil individual responsibility for living life well, with a minimum of state interference?

I would like to see the positive place of the Christian religion acknowledged when discussions of how progressive liberalism spread like a wildfire in Britain, Europe and North America in the last century. It’s very much a part of the equation and not to mention it is like talking about birthing and never mentioning the mother.

Stan said...

Thanks for your comment, been around the block.

I haven't mentioned the Christian values on this occasion, but it is something I have mentioned several times in previous posts - what I call the "moral baseline".

In essence, the moral baseline was/is the minimum standard of morality which a community shares and this was, once, defined by Christianity.

But with the rise of secularism and moral relativism this moral baseline has blurred and we are now encouraged to have our own morals - so what was once an agreed level of morality which few people transgressed, has become a multitude of different levels of morality which has led to increasingly lower moral standards.

I didn't want to go through all that again as the post was long enough as it is, but thanks for pointing it out.

'been around the block said...

It never fails to amaze me that when religion is brought up in the context of commentary on the ills of progressive liberalism/socialism it's nearly always the end of the discussion!

It's as though faith issues in the latter part of the 20th century till the present have been relegated to the dust bin--which, I contend, is the very reason that progressive liberalism has proliferated like a wildfire in Western democracies. In other words, the very medicine we need to cure the ailment of socialist Utopianism has been thrown into the trash.

It's a most curious phenomenon.

Take a look at perhaps the one, albeit imperfect, example of a socialist gulag becoming a democracy against all predictions and likelihood: Poland.

What was it about Poland that alone of all of the communist countries enabled it to crawl back to a modicum of democracy after years of harsh totalitarianism on the part of its Soviet dictators?

Catholocism and Pope John Paul II were what made the monumental difference. Solidarity was not only a labour movement. It had deep roots in the Catholic faith, and gave the workers the strength and the resolve to question and resist Communism and its brutal dictates. This resistance involved sacrifice and suffering, both of which have always been central to the practice of the Christian faith. In other words, two distinctly foreign attributes to what Westerners would consider "the good life" were not unfamiliar to the workers of the Solidarity Movement, as their formation in the Catholic Christian faith would have acclimatized them to understand that no resistance movement can succeed without personal sacrifice. In other words, freedom comes at a cost.

Not seeming to understand in the West that there is a cost to freedom is a huge problem for us, where we're daily surrendering our freedoms to others who would hoodwink us into thinking they're doing us a favour as they insinuate themselves into every area of our lives, all in the name of being the "compassionate" and "caring" state. In order to resist them, we need to be resolute, we need to be able to name the problem, we need to be willing to put off instant gratification for a greater good down the road.

Being formed in the Christian faith helps us to do all of these things; being formed in the Christian faith helps us to name the problem in front of us and to say a resolute "No" to the increasing insinuation of the state into our personal lives. It helps us persevere in difficult times and to keep our eyes on a greater good down the road, as the Solidarity Movement was able to do.

Unfortunately, and to my utter frustration, we in the West have rejected any suggestion that centuries of Christianity, whose tenets and values have been the very bedrock of our Western democracies, has any place in the public square.

If it weren't for Pope John Paul II, for Maggie Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan, all practising Christians, strong in their faith, the Berlin Wall could never have come down in 1989. This seems to me to be empirical evidence of the strength and effectiveness of faith against progressively liberal and totalitarian schemes which would enslave us.

Surely, the issues that faith brings to bear on political machinations in the public square deserve to be heard, considered, and taken seriously. I predict that the refusal to do this will further enmesh the West in progressive (sic) liberalism.

'been around the block said...

Thanks, Stan, for your recent comment, which I missed because as you were writing yours, I was writing mine! Our comments crossed.

I appreciate your views on what you call the shifting "moral baseline" in the West, and couldn't agree more.