Idealistic Dreams and the Decline of Society

America’s “low information voters” didn’t just appear.  They are the present iteration of the idealists who are willing to follow a messianic figure into stagnation. 

In a February 2013 interview with Charlie Rose, Lincoln screenwriter Tony Kushner uttered the following:


“We have no hope for survival as a species if we continue down the path of this kind of psychotic individualism.”


Kushner may be considered a brilliant screenwriter, but he obviously knows absolutely nothing about the realities of life, the universe and especially human survival.  


Throughout history philosophers and political writers have postulated idealistic societies beginning (to our knowledge) with Plato’s Republic.  Then came Utopia, and Erehwon (nowhere spelled backwards) and finally Marx’s Communist Manifesto.  What ties all of these idealistic dreams together is that they all require the individual to give up what makes him or her and individual and subject themselves to what was described by an author encountered in my youth, and whose name I have now forgotten, as “antlike communism.”  This author was referring specifically to Plato, but the other writings, if studied reveal a common theme; the individual must give up individuality to the community in order to achieve the ideal.


What is fascinating about this situation is the simple fact that Kushner is engaged in a creative arts field; the entertainment industry.  He writes, and what makes his writing of interest exists in the individual qualities that he brings to his product.  What makes a great actor or a great writer?  Certainly they are not interchangeable. 


The same is true in the sciences.  What was it that made Marie Curie distinctive in chemistry, or Albert Einstein in physics?  What was it that made it possible for Isaac Newton to develop the calculus and the theory of gravity?  Why was it that Fleming noticed the ring where no bacteria grew around the bread mold in his contaminated Petri dish?  The answer lies in their individuality; their personal drive, their ability to see what others don’t, or to speculate into ideas that are new and different.  Take that away and you have someone just like everyone else; who is incapable of doing anything different from all the other interchangeable parts of society. 


In contrast, a society that celebrates individuality provides the maximum possibilities for creativity and the creation (and implementation) of new ideas.  This may not always be a good thing, as some people are ambitious in anti-social ways; Al Capone, for example, so a free and individualistic society must be vigilant against such eventualities. However, such is the price of a creative, individualistic society.  There are no guarantees and no certainties.  The good must co-exist with the bad.  Non-conformity is the rule, which presents both problems and opportunities. 

Kushner appears to have developed his ideas about society from the modern left’s school of thought that suggests that an unchanging and static society that never changes can exist as a practical matter.  This is pure foolishness.  A healthy society mirrors the universe where change is the only constant.  Disciples of Al Gore who seems to think that the environment should never change, and that any change that does occur is the result of human intervention are ignoring the obvious.  It is this kind of foolishness that leads to the question of whether the recent meteor impact in Russia was related to “global warming.” 


The sad fact is that the leftists who spend so much time concentrating on promoting science, as opposed to religion, fail to apply science when it is inconvenient, or when they can promote a political agenda by ignoring it.  Thus, the meteor would have missed the earth if we weren’t here and supposedly causing the world’s temperature to rise.  One might as well assume that when the proverbial tree falls in the forest it only makes a sound because someone is there to hear it.  The animals that live in the forest probably don’t have ears and won’t hear a thing.  And meteor impacts aren’t the only thing the pseudo-scientists are ignoring; there are earthquakes, tropical cyclones, tornados, floods, draughts, volcanoes and so on.  The earth is not a static place, and the major events that occur are not the result of human habitation. 


The idea that imperfect humans can create a perfect society is one that has, been around for over two thousand years and has been a failure every time it has been tried.  Plato purportedly tried to institute his “republic” idea in one Greek city, only to be forcibly removed when the results were impossible to accept.  Russian Soviet Communism failed to perform as advertised and became, as did all Eastern European Communism, Chinese Communism, North Korean Communism and Cuban Communism, a system in which the powerful could maintain political and economic control for themselves, while forcing the rest of society to the status of serfs, or slaves.  Such idealisms are, in fact, attempts to return to “failed policies of the past” when accepting a little chaos, real, constant change, and the attendant risks. 


What the modern idealists are seeking is not change, but elimination of change.  They are seeking a static society where nothing changes except the names of the people in control.  Where innovation is eliminated because it is dangerous to the status quo, and where politics controls everything.  If you have power you get what you want.  If you don’t, you take what is left.  This is the opposite of a truly free market where freedom of exit, the freedom to fail is a constant risk.  But the power holders don’t want to fail.  They want guaranteed power and personal success; a guarantee that can only be achieved by guaranteeing failure for everyone else.


When a society opts for stasis, and avoids change there will be no progress.  Progress requires opportunity and opportunity implies risk.  But people who want to avoid risk exist both at the top and bottom of society.  Those at the top want permanent power; at the bottom to be taken care of without cost, risk or effort.  Those in the middle get squeezed and civilization disappears with them.  It is a recipe for disaster, not for hope.  The sooner America learns that risk and self reliance is a more certain road to success than depending on others, the better off we will all be.   

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