We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The original progressives of the early 20th century, just like today’s seemingly incoherent liberals, were populist and technocratic — they argued both for direct democracy and for expert rule. Even as they called for enlarging the scope of the federal government and putting a class of educated specialists in charge of it, they also called for radical democratic reforms of our constitutional system. In the 1912 election, the Progressive-party platform proposed not only the direct election of senators but also the enactment of federal laws by public initiative, and even advocated allowing the public to overturn some court decisions by referendum.
And the progressives generally did not see a contradiction between their technocracy and their populism. They expected their technocratic ideas to be popular, and so they expected populism to lead to more expert government.
Progesssives hope citizens will sell their independence to the expert technocrats, without their realizing how venal and power-hungry those pols and technocrats are. Cannot fool all of the people all of the time, and there is no fool like an educated fool.
My always-fragile trust in self-anointed experts and elites diminishes daily - see the EU, or Washington, DC, for plentiful current examples.
“The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.”
Think about what this means. All of the money and power would be focused in the state, but then the state would not do anything with that concentration of power. The state was innocent. There would be no cronyism, no corruption, no bureaucracy, and no concentration of stupidity so as to make mistakes much bigger.
This is precisely — without the proletarian aspects — the Obama worldview. Good citizens with high levels of education will be the philosopher kings, telling everyone what to eat, drive, and do for their own good. Naturally, these people would have no interests of their own. Naturally, their learning from books and theories rather than from real life would not lead them into really big mistakes.
Then, there is Marx’s view of what later became known as the withering away of the state:
“When…all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. … If the proletariat…makes itself the ruling class…then it will…thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.”
What we have here today is not the triumph of the proletariat but the triumph of the managerial-bureaucratic-intellectual-cultural elite. The best describer of this is not Marx but James Burnham, a former Marxist whose writings in the 1940s were the basis for George Orwell in writing 1984. Then there is Karl Popper, who pointed out that the greatest threat to freedom (the “open society”) were those who thought they knew everything.
Our rule of thumb at Maggie's: Never trust any human who wants any form of power, especially over you. No matter what they say, they do not mean well. If they claim they are doing it for your own good, run the other way as fast as possible. I am with George Washington:
Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
Why yes, yes it is (possible that lots of Americans do not understand America).
We have in this country two [i]'nations'[i] as that term is properly understood - about 65% traditional Americans who identify with the origins of this country, even if many are confused about their heritage and vote liberal and/or are reflexive Democrats, and the other 35%, the transnational-socialists and progressives, who do not identify with America, but think that Imperialist and Capitalist America is the font of all evil in the world. They may be citizens of the polity called the USA, but they are not members of the American [i]nation[i].
America is tough, and radical, as a concept. Its Constitution and Bill of Rights explicitly reverses the usual order of things, that a given population is subject and subordinate to a central authority and the rights of the people are derived from the existence of that authority.
The Constitution assumes that the people's rights preexist the government and subordinates government power to those rights. It also creates a government structure designed in to inhibit centralization of power and to significantly limit the scope of government power.
I think theses concepts are sort of instinctively wrong for a lot of people, even Americans. It's easy to forget that you, the individual, come before government; that it owes you for the fact of its power and existence.
Leviathan appears to exist of itself, impersonal, and much bigger and more powerful than you.
Americans lapse into appealing to it for their rights, say for "health care", rather than policing the power of their rights over it.