Progressives oppose free market solutions to modern world problems as an article of faith. Despite their attestations, progressives do not treat the scientific method as sacred, particularly when it comes to ideology. Neither the mining of empirical evidence nor the rigorous testing of hypotheses are of much interest to the progs. Instead, everything is about “consensus.” If nine morons ardently believe our solar system operates on something other than heliocentric orbiting, they may arrive at consensus, but what is the point of consensus if it is flatly wrong? Progressives seem to think they need not bother with the scientific method and its attendant testing of assumptions, because, hey, we have consensus! Another way of describing “consensus” would be to call it group-think. When it comes to progressive consensus, the easiest way to understand how it is arrived at is to think of it as an example of religious faith.
If asked to rattle off a list of progressive policy initiatives, a conservative or libertarian can do so with relative ease. Carbon taxes to combat climate change; increased gun regulations; higher taxes and more redistribution of wealth to combat “income inequality;” an increased minimum wage; pacifism borne out of naivety and wishful-thinking; politically correct “multiculturalism;” and so on. If a progressive can likewise name conservative policies, he is bound to get stuck after mumbling something about how “you guys are just for low taxes for the rich and selfish individualism,” but even if a prog is versed in conservative ideological prescriptions for the country, he is unlikely to grasp the meaning behind the message. This is due to a remarkably arrogant conceit of the left: that conservative ideology and policy doesn’t even merit consideration or understanding because the motives are known and that is enough. People that identify as progressive undoubtedly grow up being taught or told that conservatives are evil and filled with bile and ill-intent, and as a result of these bitter white males and their lingering racial animus the Republican Party has gone “even more extreme” by contenting itself with “dog whistles” and “nativist” “rhetoric.” If you believe that your political opponents are not merely wrong but unqualified for polite society or civil debate, then you’re probably not going to concern yourself too much with what those “crazies” believe. Through this immature pose of self-righteousness the progressives do themselves a grave disservice. Perhaps they never took Sun Tzu to heart, but knowing thy enemy is a pretty basic tenet of any strategy. And it would be one thing if they wanted to learn more about what conservatism actually stands for but just couldn’t grasp it, but progressives are willfully ignorant about the free market. Maybe it is because they know in their hearts that the free market is always superior to central planning that progressives have to adopt an anti-free market dogma on faith.
Religious zeal for progressive ideology is unique to progressivism because most progressives actively dislike established religions (unless it’s Islam, of course), particularly Christianity. For people of faith, their religion and their politics are separate. Lines will blur and people on both sides will attempt to exploit religion for the occasional political gain, but for the most part religious people generally are able to distinguish between the political and the holy. While there are many religious leftists and progressives, in recent years it has become quite uncontroversial to observe the Republicans as religious and the Democrats as secular. As such, progressives look to politics as their religion and it has always been thus. Ideas like social justice, the income gap and the “moral equivalent of war” are examples of progressives looking to religious principles like justice and charity and giving in order to convince the public that their politics are akin to a holy calling of goodness, or something. When you instill in your politics the language of good versus evil and cast yourselves as the forces for fairness and equality striving to defeat the forces of corruption and avarice, it becomes self-evident why the “good guys” would not even bother to study up on the ideas and principles of the “bad guys.” When you construct your politics in this manner, everything is seen as light versus dark, enlightened versus reactionary. This is pure emotionalism. My view must be right and yours wrong because you yourself are wrong. Progressivism endures only by manipulating its enemy’s narrative. When the opposition is discredited at the outset, whatever follows from it is just noise.
Through this vile caricature of conservative thought and by assuming the absolute worst about conservative motives in any policy dispute, progressives take faith-based approaches in opposing their enemies. If conservatives are moral scum, then there is no legitimate reason to engage their equally scummy ideas. When confronted with empirical evidence that the free market is a success wherever applied, the progressive response is to first and foremost make sure that this truth not be allowed wide dissemination. The last thing progs need is to have their faiths challenged by scientific, tangible evidence. And because they accept on faith that conservatives are evil, and therefore so too is the free market (because those evil bastards seem to like it), progressives simply cannot digest that what the evil bastards are saying could possibly be true. The answer, of course, is to distort the truth, and align reality with their presumptions and preferences, because they can.
And that is the really sad thing. They can. Progressives create myths and religious fables about the wonders of socialism and the perils of capitalism because they can. Claiming seats high in the halls of academia, politics and entertainment, progressive Americans have been on a tenacious odyssey to remake the country in their own image, as the Fabian Socialists of late nineteenth century Britain championed. But I don’t think even the progressives understand what their own image is. They don’t really know what they want because they neglected to heed the other part of Sun Tzu’s maxim about knowing thy enemy… you also must know thyself. And progressives don’t know themselves. Their identity is cultivated on what they are not: Republicans and conservatives. The river of progressive hate for its opposition runs deep and flows red. Maybe if they spent a little less time dogmatically opposing whatever conservatives are for, they could discover something of a positive agenda within. Doubtful.
The same faith-based opposition to the free-market is found in progressive opposition to climate change skeptics, fossil fuels and free choice in anything besides abortion. Progressives object to individual liberty as a sacred principle. How else to explain the bevy of mandates and coercive federal regulations coming out of Washington during the Obama era? Progressives fight passionately to restrict school choice in our inner cities. They claim that narrow choices under Obamacare are better for the consumer, because to paternalists, father always knows best. In every arena that does not include Planned Parenthood, progressives are anti-choice, anti-individual and anti-liberty. They adhere to these insane beliefs thanks to faith and mysticism, not logic or empiricism. Given how frequently they charge conservatives as being “anti-science” and superstitious neanderthals, it is more than a bit ironic that it is they who resort to worship and dogma in the political arena, and that it is they who behave most like brainwashed religious cult followers.