Was reading Alec Baldwin’s “goodbye” this morning and saw this comment:
As progressive as I’ve been in my politics, there are other things I don’t think of as liberal or progressive, just common sense.
This statement concisely summarizes why progressivism, and progressives, are dangerous. They do not view a large number of their viewpoints, up to and including some of their more controversial ones, as a function of their ideology. In advocating for them, they are not being political; no, they are just standing on the side of “common sense.” If they actually believe this, they are lying to themselves. But the elite progressives know better; they are just lying. If something were “common sense” it would not need advocating for, it would just be. What we actually see, then, is progressives hoisting their ‘common sense’ upon others, and doing whatever they can to undermine that which actually is common, and change the attitudes of the populace (or change the populace itself) so that they conform with their ideology.
Setting aside the deception and self-deception, that is not what makes the sentiment dangerous. To the extent that they really believe they are advocating for something that is “common sense”, there is no ideological or moral “check and balances” to their advocacy. They will push, and push, and push, and push, never thinking that they have pushed too hard, always oriented (they say) towards the ‘common good.’ And if some individuals are trampled along the way, or if individual rights are obliterated, that’s alright; it’s just the cost of achieving “common sense” social ‘justice.’
Baldwin’s comment made me think of a comment made by C. S. Lewis in the essay “The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment”, which is included in the collection of his essays, God in the Dock (Page 292). I have quoted it before on this blog:
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”
See also this.
Of all the things I fear most today, it is the love of my fellow man. It literally knows no bounds.