We Are Ruled By Coalitions Of Fears


Prompted by Jccarlton who linked to It’s For Your Own Good! – NYTs and Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism – Book Excerpt and We want to rule you because you are stupid and powerless and we are wise – Samizdata.

I had a few further thoughts on the subject which I expounded on here and here. An excerpt from the first link (slightly) revised:

I think the basic problem is that we have a population that is Progressive at a fundamental level. It believes in government solutions for a host of problems. What we call the left has faith in government to solve one set of problems. On the right there is faith in solutions for a different set. But the faith is more or less the same. Kind of like Catholics vs Protestants. What ever happened to Reagan? “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

But I’m probably way overestimating the value of reason.

Update: You might also like the commentary at Amazon: Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism

Further update:

What most people caught up in the political dichotomy of today fail to get is that the left and the right both believe they favor liberty. And how is that justified by each side? “My fears are real, yours are imaginary.”

Once upon a time in the West we countered the fear problem with faith in God. That has given way to faith in Rome (government). We used to wish to be ruled by the “holy spirit” as it moved us individually. Now we want to be ruled by rules developed remotely. The more remote the rules and the more immediate the enforcement the better.

We in fact don’t have a government problem. We have a spiritual problem. A lack of trust in God. There was a guy 2,000 years ago who expounded on the problem. His current day followers appear to have missed the message. They prefer to act in the very way he railed against. “Stone her” is their rallying cry. Well maybe not to the point of death. Just a very long stretch in stir. Kinder and gentler.

In that vein, here is a list of other blogs discussing the issue.

Sarah Hoyt who hasn’t posted here for a while. I wish she would at least drop a link to her more memorable pieces every now and then.

Free Space

Upending Neurological Apartheid

As Country Club Republicans Link Up With The Democratic Ruling Class, Millions Of Voters Are Orphaned – also mentioned by Neil in the comments recently. My take on that was – I have no more faith in the country class than I do in the urban/liberal class. Why? They run on this rule: “My fears are real, yours are imaginary.” And it is that rule which is the deadly foundation of all our troubles. The country class does believe in less government. But how much less? Minimal (the libertarian view) or just affordable?

You should be forced to buy this book

Lots more links in the various articles including one to Megan McArdle which Eric covered in “a class of people who know everything about gas stations except what it takes to make one succeed”