Changing the Game To Defeat Progressivism
By Edward Amatetti
From American Thinker
Armed with virtually every advantage in terms of empirical evidence, moral integrity, and logic, those fighting progressivism cannot move the needle of societal thought except for brief interludes; and even these are usually triggered by the left themselves through manifestations of their sheer ineptitude which are then soon forgotten, leaving the ball to once again start rolling to the “left.” It is time to break the mold. We can begin by focusing on three simple, but critical, principles of political philosophy.
Principle #1: Public Opinion Is What Matters, Not Politics. David Hume’s most basic, but critical, observation in his First Principles of Government was that, “FORCE is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing but opinion to support them. It is therefore on opinion only that government is founded.” He even extended this maxim to the “most despotic” regimes. Political thinkers ranging from Machiavelli to Locke to Rousseau expressed the same idea. It means that Barack Obama’s threat to use his “pen and phone” is not as dangerous as the public’s opinion that this is a good thing, or at least, not a bad thing. Opinions lead laws (and lawlessness), not the other way around. Opinions also lead elections. Political campaigns are merely a manifestation, or intensification, of the underlying influences that have already shaped opinions.
Principle #2: Opinions Are Simple, Emotional Constructs. Public opinions are rarely well thought-out conclusions and few people are willing to expend the energy to develop their views. This is possibly the most difficult notion for deeper thinkers or well-informed people, such as those fighting progressivism, to accept. You can blame it on intellectual laziness, but this is how people organize information throughout their lives. Instead, public opinion is largely formed through repetition, simple slogans and symbols, pivotal events and strong personalities, and personal experiences, biases, and worldviews. The influence of groupthink magnifies all this, in large measure because it is more agreeable to live one’s life conforming to socially correct opinion (Ayn Rand’s ‘consensus reality’). Finally, opinion is more strongly based in emotion than anything else. Scientists studying the formation and strengthening of neuron connections find that emotions always trump intellect and, in fact, are the foundation of intellect.