Power & Market

Progressives’ Automaticity Kills (and Kills and Kills)

Proto-Progressives didn’t stand back and let a porous border emancipate slaves into rising prosperity. Instead, proto-Progressives used the new industrialization, railroads, and telegraphs to power industrial-scale conscription, killing, maiming, and destruction.

Progressives didn’t stand back and let European governments wage a first total war against Europe’s people. Instead, Progressives used their new income tax and new chemical technology to also send our own men into trenches to their deaths, and to also kill other men using poison gas.

Progressives didn’t stand back and let customers and businesses work together in the 1920s and 1930s. Instead, Progressives used their new Fed to print money, creating an artificial bubble and crash, and then kept prices high for both labor and products, stopping customers and businesses from adjusting prices themselves and working out the optimum path to recovery on their own. This greatly weakened the nation, incentivizing the Axis governments to attack and drag the nation’s people into WWII.

Progressives introduced inadequate studies and a media storm to ban the pesticide DDT. The resulting resurge of malaria killed millions.

Progressives introduced new procedures for abortion and used these to kill millions.

Progressives engineered a virus to be more transmissible by humans and deadly to humans. They locked down workplaces. They blocked and greatly-delayed fast home tests, punished doctors who used generic antivirals, and threatened businesspeople who sold the clot-reducing supplement NAC.

They mandated vaccines that cause new variants to evolve, lessen natural immunity, and produce clots potentially across the lifespan. If nonlethal strokes increase, dramatically decreasing the quality of life for many people, Progressives will be there to bury this problem they created by assisting their victims in committing suicide.

Once you know what you’re looking for, the extent of the misery that has been blamed on businesspeople or on acts of God but that has actually been caused by Progressives will take your breath away.

Progressives have limited awareness of their roles in all these harms, thanks to certain tricks that people’s minds play on them.

One particularly-powerful trick gets played by a Progressives’ mind on itself: denial.

Denial is greatly facilitated by focusing away from horrific consequences and focusing instead on other people’s supposed evil motives, on being the first in history to prevent a depression, on alleged weakening of eggshells, on temporary liberty for women, on being first in history to save people from a deadly scourge, and on and on.

Another powerful trick works almost the same way: urgency.

To a Progressive, a crisis screams deafeningly for his most-powerful savior to take action, immediately.

The more stressful the perceived urgency, the harder it is for anyone to think clearly. Stress produces “cognitive rigidity.”

The result is that only a very-few limited possibilities even surface in Progressives’ awareness. To not take some centralized action, any centralized action, is completely out of the question. Lives would most definitely be lost. (And the people to blame would be the people who knew better—the Progressives, of course.)

Tragic, isn’t it? A mere belief that government people are moral and capable, while customers and businesspeople are naïve or immoral (so their capabilities don’t matter), is enough, in a crisis, to seemingly compel action that’s disastrous.

So then, interestingly, Progressives don’t even have to think that they must not let a crisis go to waste.

And yet, conveniently, the actions they would take without thinking just happen to be exactly the same actions they would take if they consciously determined to not let a crisis go to waste. Which in fact is what Progressives determine to do.

Progressives act, and people die. Doesn’t rhyme, but is actually true.

As Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most-terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” True that.

Remember that in every crisis.

Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.
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