The path to hell is paved with good intentions
I love mind-blowing books on any subject from quantum physics to microbiology to political history. This book will blow your fucking mind. It’s a good thing that I love mind-blowing books, because when you’ve been brainwashed all your life, waking up to the real world by reading books like this is a good thing. The point of reading is not to be smart, to prove to the world what a nice, smart kid you are. The real point of reading (at least nonfiction) is to expose lies and reveal truths. It should be to learn what people tell you in school and on TV is mostly bullshit, and they have an agenda. Government wants you to be obedient and feel inadequate so you trust government to fix all your problems. TV ads wants to make you feel passive and inadequate so you give advertisers money to fix all your problems. Meanwhile, between taxes and wasting money on shit that won’t make you lose weight or gain friends, you become a wage slave, impoverished and indebted and forced to work more for the system. When you read books, especially books like this, it’s like uncovering the Wizard of Oz. This book is probably the most dangerous book for the government today, the one book that has uncovered how modern government came to be, became so frickin powerful, and made most American voters believe it was a good thing. You might argue that this is some kooky libertarian conspiracy book, and that is exactly how the state discredits independent thinkers. Tin foil hat-wearers don’t come up with their own ideas. They just join this cult called the libertarians and spread false ideas and news against government. Well, Thomas Leonard is not a libertarian. He is a Princeton Economics research scholar, a member of one of the greatest, most elite, leftwing bastions. This book does not promote classical or what I call true liberal ideals but rather discloses the origins of the neo-liberal or as he calls it illiberal progressive movement.
What you must first understand in order to understand this book and its importance is that the current political framework is distorted and incorrect. It goes something like this. There are people on the right who love country and god and are socially conservative and vote Republican. There are people on the left who are secular, urban, embrace diversity and socially liberal and vote Democrat. They are also known as liberals and progressives. Everyone else belongs to a radical, extremist cult with no practical use. Let us first approach the biggest lie. Liberals are not liberals. John Locke is considered to be the founder of political liberalism, but today, he would be described as a libertarian. His views are also described today as classical liberalism not liberalism. Progressives took the term liberal to imply that they were a natural extension of John Locke and the American revolutionaries. It gave them authority and historical context for what was actually a new, radical political philosophy adopted from Germany, and we all know where Germany went with it. American history textbooks portrays the Progressive Era as the great American Enlightenment, where we evolved from the chaos, inequities, and cruelties of the free market and established common sense laws, regulations, and regulatory agencies to protect the people. After reading this book, you will realize that the American textbooks, written by progressives, was nothing short of propaganda to justify and promote the progressive agenda.
So what is the difference between a “classical” liberal and a progressive liberal? John Locke believed that the common good was attained through liberties, that each individual, provided freedom, would act in self-interest, but the outcome would be good for all. With rights including the right to private property, the individual decides how to best allocate resources to achieve individual ends. Progressive liberalism believes that the common good can only be obtained through a benevolent state regulating individual behavior, that left to their own devices, individuals would create inefficiency, collusive behavior, and chaos. One philosophy is driven by consent while the other by coercion. One philosophy assumes that individuals are innately good while the other assumes they are innately greedy and evil. The result of one philosophy is the embrace of freedom whereas the other embraces restrictions, licenses, incarceration, and violence.
Many modern liberals like to think that liberalism is the embrace of peace, freedom, and equality. If America embraced liberalism, then why haven’t we achieved that? Why are we still embroiled in countless wars? Why did a progressive administration incarcerate US Japanese civilians and drop an atomic bomb on civilians? Why did a progressive administration (Clinton) sign one of the most devastatingly racist crime bills in 1994 leading to the incarceration of millions of blacks? Why do progressive politicians still embrace drug criminalization? Certainly, the anti-progressive Republicans can be blamed for a fair amount of war, violence, and inequality, but to argue that modern liberalism embraces peace, freedom, and equality has yet to be proven in history.
The author is an economist and writes the history of progressivism from an economist perspective in the first half of the book. And it’s ironic, because having a BA in Economics, I can tell you that Economics is a racket along with Psychology. Both social “sciences” suffer an inferiority complex with their distant cousins the natural sciences. In order to compensate, both have embraced anything and everything that appears scientific. Psychologists have mistakenly embraced pharmacology and countless social experiments that harmed countless college students including one Ted Kaczynski. Economists, similarly, embraced mathematics, charts, and formulas. It was all a charlatan’s or magician’s act of distraction. While you were befuddled and confused by all the formulas and charts that seemed to portray a serious, well-educated analysis, you failed to realize that it was all bullshit and lacked any predictive capacities. In the natural sciences, scientific experiments create predictive outcomes. Input X and the outcome is Y not A. However, there is no predictive ability in Economics, because the economy is a complex, multi-factored, dynamic system with constantly emergent new outcomes. The natural sciences can effectively isolate factors, but the result is predicting controlled events. Even weather and earthquakes cannot be accurately predicted, because they are multi-factored and dynamic. Human behavior is the most multi-factored and dynamic of all natural systems, so the idea of the social sciences being able to effectively explain and then predict human behavior individual or social, is a fantasy and scam.
If I told my progressive friends (most of them are) that the progressive reformists were racists, pro-big business, and believed in American empire and war, they would be shocked. Of course, they might counter-argue that the American founders were slave owners, but that would be like saying the progressive reformists promoted racial equality, small businesses, peace, and were anti-imperialists but owned stock in corporations. The American founders promoted an ideology that was fundamentally good whereas the progressive reformers promoted an ideology that was fundamentally flawed as well as evil. They developed false confidence when they witnessed American big businesses succeed by merging and then later, centralized planning helped America triumph in two world wars, so they erroneously created a universal law that consolidation and centralized planning was good. The flaw is that they were only good for industrialization and war, and you don’t really want war.
What they failed to understand and what still isn’t taught in most Economics classes is the diseconomies of scale and failures of centralized planning (e.g., the Soviet Union). The Information Age will hopefully cause progressives to at least question these fundamental biases toward scale. There is a thing called diseconomies of scale whereby the separation between customers and executives who decide what to provide customers creates customer dissatisfaction. Information flows poorly upstream. Also, workers in larger organizations experience more depersonalized relationships and dehumanizing conditions from a hierarchy that encourages obedience over teamwork or independent judgment. As a result, workers are less productive and creative, their health is worse causing even less productivity as well as the external health costs to society. If our government is following economic trends, perhaps this is a good thing, because the Information Age will demand a smaller, less intrusive, more dynamic and innovative government. Just as both world wars gave Americans confidence in collusion and scale, wins or losses in the Information Age race for technology will give Americans confidence in creativity and smaller scales.
While they used the façade of science to lend credibility to their existence and at least obfuscate their detractors, as a previous science book I read makes clear, there was nothing scientific about their policies or ideology. The Beginning of Infinity book relays how pre-scientific method, knowledge was relayed by weight of authority and parochialism. You couldn’t test or question the knowledge using an objective tool like science. Likewise, the ideology of progressivism may claim scientific weight but it is nothing but if they believe only the academic elite should rule society by fault of proximity to scientific knowledge. This is like saying, only clerics should rule society by fault of proximity to god. Fortunately, this book and hopefully many more to come will expose the scam, that there is no scientific knowledge in the social sciences that justify progressive ideologies and policies. Most disturbing is how progressives embraced eugenics and the idea of racial superiority which takes a similar path from Germany. Instead of embracing science, rather they embraced the irrational unscientific, unproven ideologies that arose from science just like Christians, instead of embracing the teachings of Jesus Christ, rather embraced the unchristian, hateful, oppressive ideologies that evolved from the bible.
One interesting concept of progressivism that is born from “scientific” industrial management is surveillance and measurement. In factories, if you could closely monitor the work being done, you could tell who was being unproductive and correct them. Sounds great on paper, but you can see where this is going quickly especially if you imagine yourself as the worker. Progressives extrapolated this incorrectly to life outside of work. If the human population could be better monitored and measured, you could find out who is a criminal, you could prescribe better behavior, and you could turn everyone into a stellar citizen. Yes, on paper it sounds wonderful, but again, you can see where this is leading. Unfortunately, the surveillance and lack of privacy world we live in today is rooted in this progressive ideology. The fundamental flaw in this idea is that stellar citizens are not made by monitoring and molding them. They don’t start out flawed.
First of all, the goal is not to create anyone’s idea of a perfect citizen but to accept everyone for who they are, flaws and all, and create a society that extracts their strengths and sufficiently handles their weaknesses. Second, who’s to say what a stellar citizen is? Most of the time, it’s usually the obedient citizen who doesn’t complain and threaten to change the status quo. Third, the monitoring system often involves violence corrective actions like murder, incarceration, sterilization, and impoverishing fines. When police step up patrols in a certain neighborhood, most people they pull over are not hardened criminals but rather generally law-abiding citizens who happen to be caught speeding, running red lights, or driving while slightly intoxicated. If someone monitored you closely, they would uncover countless faults and if there were a fine attached to each of these faults, you wouldn’t be empowered to be a model citizen in the end, you would be flat broke and wind up a slave doing community service for failure to pay outstanding fines.
The second half of the book covers progressivism and eugenics. Eugenics is simply the pseudo-science of human breeding, usually pertaining to race and racial superiority. “In the first three decades of the twentieth century, eugenic ideas were politically influential, culturally fashionable, and scientifically mainstream.” This must be distinguished from natural selection. The Progressives were anti-natural selection and pro-artificial selection. They believed nature and competition was wasteful and amoral. They believed humans should take the reins and regulate and manage human affairs including the commercial markets. Of course, keep in mind, they all misinterpreted the science of evolution to serve their political purposes just as they do today. Many progressives believed that “America must improve its hereditary resources by banning alcohol, barring immigration, and segregating or sterilizing the unfit.” Forced sterilization programs were enacted in 30 US states.
Now all the following horrors of US history can be better understood. What I am talking about is the forced incarceration of over a hundred thousand US Japanese citizens during World War II under a progressive President; the use of indiscriminate bombings, fire-bombings using incendiaries, and atomic bombing of civilians; covert forced sterilization of Latina women in California; covert infecting of prisoners and mental patients with syphilis; the mass incarceration of black men today; and covert mass surveillance. What we have here is quite simply the war against civil liberties and the elevation of executive management to a virtual autocratic, plutocratic level. This is not called executive management gone wrong or a few rogue administrators here and there but rather the well-executed, deliberate, and pre-meditated organized crime of bureaucratic elitists who have hijacked our government, our society, and our culture. Even worse, most all are now prostitutes for big business.
Many progressives along with America and the Western world used eugenics as a cover for neo-racism. Instead of believing they were superior to blacks and Native Americans because the church said they were non-Christian savages, white people now could abuse science to prove that they were superior. Even within the white race, the whites of “Nordic” European heritage viewed themselves as superior to the whites of “Alpine” or “Mediterranean” heritage. Ironically, they must have been so superior that they committed mass genocide against their own race in both world wars. As a result of the first world war, Americans became convinced that they were the chosen standard-bearers of the pure white race. As such, American empire and hegemony was essential to keep the inferior races of the world at bay while Europe recovered. Of course, most modern progressives don’t believe in any of this, but they aren’t the ones who run the show. Old men in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s run this show, and they were all brainwashed into believing all this in their youth or directly by their parents.
If these progressive elitists were proud of their work and convinced of its righteousness, then why didn’t they teach you what this book is teaching you? Why have they drowned and obfuscated their very own history if it was in fact the origins of greatness? The reason is because they are just like the Christian and aristocratic autocrats who preceded them. They did not originate with god or the Garden of Eden or Zeus giving birth to a human ruler. They originated from deception, lies, graft, conspiracy, and self-serving need. Progressive elitists knew that the masses would find their origins and true ideology unsavory. Progressives including Woodrow Wilson, openly discounted the US Constitution as a relic with its checks and balances and instead promoted autocracy. But they still taught the masses to embrace checks and balances and the truly liberal ideology of our founding fathers! Why? Because they knew that if the masses realized they had gotten rid of the checks and balances and undermined the US constitution, they would have to explain why progressivism replaced it. The answer is simply, because you are all too stupid to govern your own lives, and the progressive elites can govern it better for you, which also means surrendering freewill, freedom, and transparency to a secret cabal of elite who know what’s better for you. I don’t think anyone would find this a reassuring argument, and the masses would more likely revolt against it.
As the monarchs proved, as the church proved, as the Communists proved, nobody knows how to better manage your affairs than you do. What they do know how to do is steal from you in the name of the public good, to oppress and enslave you in the name of the public good, and to elevate and serve themselves in the name of the public good. Today, progressive elites both left and right, do their stint in federal agencies and then the big payoff is colluding with big business to draft regulations and alter them in their favor and then they retire and get paid off by big business or become their lobbyists and become multi-millionaires. There is no public good in anything just selfish greed. Certainly, most original progressives never intended this, the US population backing them never intended nor imagined this, but a few warned about it. A few warned that after the progressives created this omnipotent extra-judicial force of good, it could easily be infiltrated, influenced, and then controlled by big business for evil and self-serving intentions. The checks and balances and US constitution were all created to prevent this from happening, but the progressives threw the baby out with the bathwater in their zeal to make impose their ideology on every part of American life.
I have read books on brainwashing and mind control. When you confront someone on their beliefs, even if you provide overwhelming evidence by someone they can trust (this Princeton Economist author), they simply create distractions and excuses, more importantly, they blame. If only. If only there wasn’t so much Republican opposition, the true ideals of the progressive left would have come to fruition. All the evils of America are the result of Republicans while all the good is the result of the progressive left. The progressive left created a benevolent, kind, powerful government and it was hijacked from within and outside! If only, if only, if only. The problem lies in the foundation. You can’t just replace the roof. You have to dismantle the entire house of progressivism to fix a fundamentally flawed foundation. The foundation of progressivism is that a small group of people are better at running society than everyone just looking out for themselves. Progressives ironically forget that we are one of the most social creatures on the planet, and left to our own devices, we do not become selfish but rather we become extremely giving and kind.
In order for that small group to manage our affairs effectively, not only must they be empowered with carrots like privileged access to resources and sticks like fines and imprisonment, but the individual’s rights must be taken away so we cannot fight back. Many of my neo-liberal friends would argue, we should have free college tuition, free healthcare, a basic minimum income, minimum wage, subsidized housing, rent control, etc. My question is, what happens when a barber shop owner does not pay minimum wage to his son who cleans the shop? What happens to working people who refuse to subsidize their neighbor’s college education or healthcare, because their neighbor wants to study philosophy and they gorge themselves on junk food and smoke? What happens to someone who doesn’t want to rent his investment house for less than the mortgage? The answer is, they are imprisoned. In other words, they are coerced for fear of imprisonment. More often than not, in the neo-liberal utopia of free everything, it’s the middle class who studied and worked the hardest who are robbed, and the fruits of their labor reallocated not so much to the poor but to the massive bureaucracy that supposedly cares for the poor but ultimately is contemptuous of them. The rich meanwhile own the system so they create laws excluding them from taxation.
This country gained independence from an autocratic regime that we often forget, not only served aristocrats but the wealthy elite of England. Tea tax was a distracting matter, the real issues were English monopolies and restricted trade. The ideals of liberty and checks and balances were universal human ideals, so no matter what kind of economy came along, so long as we remained human, they remained valid. So why have we disposed of them and pretended like we didn’t? In fact, the government of England in 1776 was nowhere as intrusive, oppressive, and burdensome as the US government in 2017. We are taxed more than the colonists ever were. Libertarianism is not a new-fangled cult ideology from Mars. It is as close to the liberal ideology of our founding fathers there is. Progressivism is rather a new-fangled cult ideology imported from fascist Germany which used it to start two world wars taking over a hundred million lives and murder six million Jews. It is the philosophy of government not by consent but coercion. If every American knew about this book and the smarter ones read it, the world would change overnight for the better. Whenever a neoliberal tells you that a few smart people should manage society, ask them who, and ask them how do you stop them from being corrupted by that power? The answer is, big business ultimately takes over that group and then runs the country, often into the ground, for profit. Pretty soon, we will create an AI that is smarter than us, but it will be profoundly biased by its initial creators. Will they inform that AI that humans deserve universal liberty and each human should have the power to run their own lives protected by inalienable rights? Or will they inform the AI that being the most intelligent thing around, it should run our lives unmolested, unquestioned, unchecked, and unbalanced? You figure that one out.