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.
Of course, you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. But it is remarkable what a large accumulation of eggshells we have piled up over the last century. (And then there is always Orwell’s embarrassing question: “Where’s the omelet?”) I forget the sage who described hope as the last evil in Pandora’s box. Unfair to hope, perhaps, but not inapplicable to that adamantine “faith in a better world” that has always been at the heart of the socialist enterprise. Talk about a hardy perennial! The socialist experiment has never worked out as advertised. But it continually blooms afresh in the human heart—those portions of it, anyway, colonized by intellectuals, that palpitating tribe Julien Benda memorably denominated “clercs,” as in “trahison de.” But why? What is it about intellectuals that makes them so profligately susceptible to the catnip of socialism?
In his last book, The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism (1988), Friedrich Hayek drily underscored the oddity:
The intellectuals’ vain search for a truly socialist community, which results in the idealisation of, and then disillusionment with, a seemingly endless string of “utopias”—the Soviet Union, then Cuba, China, Yugoslavia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Nicaragua—should suggest that there might be something about socialism that does not conform to certain facts.
It should, but it hasn’t. And the reason, Hayek suggests, lies in the peculiar rationalism to which a certain species of intellectual is addicted. The “fatal conceit” lay in believing that, by exercising his reason, mankind could recast society in a way that was at once equitable and prosperous, orderly and conducive to political liberty.
A key quote concerns a subject about which our Dr. Bliss is often concerned (she often discusses the regressive effects of the nanny state) - the psychological influences of different forms of government on its citizens:
Echoing and extending Tocqueville, Hayek argued that one of the most important effects of extensive government control was psychological, “an alteration of the character of the people.” We are the creatures as well as the creators of the institutions we inhabit. “The important point,” he concluded, “is that the political ideals of a people and its attitude toward authority are as much the effect as the cause of the political institutions under which it lives.”
I believe it is lack of hard real-world experiences that make intellectuals "so profligately susceptible to the catnip of socialism." Having lived in the sheltered halls of academia and government, they have never seen evil in action. They have also never seen the destructive consequences of good intentions aimed down the barrel of a bureaucracy.
Their ideas are based on ignorance and I treat them as those of children.
I have a sister-in-law who is a socialist professor. Her lifestlye is maintained by her millionaire parents. Those in the family who have to work for a living just roll our eyes and wink at each other when she starts preaching.
The “Fatal Conceit” of philosophy that leads to leftist politics and ideology is in the notion that hoping and wishing can change the immutable, that hoping and wishing will make the world square instead of round, that hoping and wishing will lead free and productive men to enslave themselves to the indolent.