In a comment on the post immediately below, The state is imposing a religion, Jack wrote in part (see the comment in full):
I think Environmentalism is a sub-ideology of egalitarianism. I think it is egalitarianism which is the Left’s secular civic religion. Egalitarianism is expressed in all the Left’s major ideologies: feminism, multiculturalism, socialism (welfare-statism in the watered down form), environmentalism, and pacifism. All of them revolve around the destruction of absolute standards and thus the denial that there are better and worse or good and evil. Egalitarianism mandates relativism. How this egalitarianism rose to conquer the West is an interesting historical and philosophical question. I think it occurred in the process of secularizing Christianity.
I agree with all of that. And to take up the point of Socialism being secularized Christianity: the colossal shipwreck of Socialism in Russia in the last century, and the painful flop of the European welfare-states now, demonstrate wonderfully why not only Socialism but its sentimental parent Christianity are both recipes for misery. Both ignore the truths of human nature. Both demand self-sacrifice. Both require of humankind what is humanly impossible, and by no means desirable to the whole human race. We do not, cannot, and should not love our fellow human beings indiscriminately. Not to make moral judgments is immoral.
People are not equal in the gifts of nature. Nor can they be equal in wealth, however much force is brought to bear to make them so. (And always those who bring the force to bear exempt themselves from its consequences.)
My novel L: A Novel History illustrates what happens when force is brought to bear in an attempt to create an egalitarian utopia.
L – a Marxist philosopher and theater director – articulates the absurd, romantic, egalitarian dream, thrilling millions of citizens who consequently vote for their own doom:
As socialists we shall continue … to take all land into public ownership. To employ every man and woman. Our aim must be to house them all, clothe them all, feed them all, teach them, heal them, organize their leisure. None shall be underprivileged, all shall be made equal. The underprivileged must be freed from all oppression, the oppression of being less lucky, less successful, less energetic or healthy than others. Positive discrimination will liberate women, youth, blacks. Especially the immigrants from those parts of the world which we exploited, raped, robbed and pillaged, who have come to share with us our greater good fortune must be liberated from their oppression. The first duty of the state is redistribution. There is no question of one man earning a reward greater than another. All must be balanced. If one man has a clean job, he must get less money than one who has a dirty job. The state must equalize with due regard not merely to externals but to inner feelings. There must be no prizes for one man to win who was better endowed by the accident of nature with stronger limbs or some fortuitous talent. No one can take credit for anything he does, and no one is to blame for anything he does. As Professor L teaches us, neither achievement nor guilt are individual. Society achieves, society is guilty. …. No man can decide his needs for himself. What he feels are wants and to indulge them is selfish, anti-social. But what others diagnose as his needs, those are his needs. And as his needs are shared with others, the problem of supply is a community problem. …. The state alone must be the source of the satisfaction of all needs. …
No one will ever again have to suffer envy for another man’s greater wealth, industriousness, enterprise, energy, cleverness, reward, or even luck. We shall be there to smooth out the random rewards of luck, like the random rewards of hard work, inspiration, inventiveness, or any gifts of nature. How comfortable it must make the majority, the “overwhelming majority” as [the socialists of] the Labour Party like to say, “at the end of the day” as they say so often. Their policies have been designed to give not just survival and material welfare to those who cannot look after themselves, but comfort to their feelings too. They must be given what they cannot get for themselves, “because they need it”. But must they not also be spared the feeling that others can get whatever it is for themselves, while they cannot? Of course they must. …
“The pursuit of equality requires the handicapping of the many in the interests of the disadvantaged few,” he said; “no man can be allowed to feel inferior to his neighbours.” …
The dream is turned into reality, and regret sets in.
The affluent children who squatted in the communes and protested against freedom calling it “repressive tolerance”, and those they elected, were caught in the trap of their own lies, and brought an end to liberty in the name of liberation; an end to plenty in the name of humanitarianism; and an end to the impersonality of the law before which all were equal, and the impersonality of the market in which all were equal, and created legal discrimination and class elitism, in the name of equality.
How L brings the nation to misery in an amazingly short time, how he choreographs anguish and doom, is the surprising part of the story which I won’t give away.
But I will give away part of the ending. England recovers from its historical episode as a Red Republic.
Americans have recently voted to set themselves on the path down which L led the English to ruin. America has yet to discover what it leads to. And eventual recovery cannot be predicted.
Jillian Becker December 2, 2012