It’s a familiar maxim, ” never bet on evil when stupid is an option.” I am inclined to agree with this when it comes to evaluating 21st century progressives in America. However it is also misleading, implying as it does that this is zero-sum where stupidity has wiped evil completely from the equation. Logically speaking, a person can be both evil and stupid, which means this applies equally to ideologies.
Modern progressives, particularly the activists and true-believers, do have malice in their hearts. Anyone who subscribes to the paternalist construct that says those enlightened elites know best how to “plan” society, and then seeks only to use the federal government as a means to their utopian ends, has a bit of evil in them. But it is hard to conclude anything beyond “no, stupid is the winner” when you look at the execution of the progressive project in the age of Obama. The ACA is clearly the featured player in this much-mocked production, but supporting players like Benghazi, Cash for Clunkers, Syria, stimulus, quantitative easing and Jay Carney have earned their time in the spotlight as well. Other players skew more malicious but are incessantly brushed undder the rug by way of the incompetence defense, which has to lead us back to stupid. The IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, the Fast and Furious gun-running scheme and the utter malevolence of the progressive campaign apparatus all are categorical examples of progressive evil.
Ultimately, it depends on the temperament of the judge. Today I am feeling somewhat magnanimous and thus my judgment is that the maxim holds true. Progressives are more stupid than they are evil. But tomorrow I will likely flip the script, as they are most definitely both.