Why Liberalism and Progressives cannot truly believe in a God.
Progressives I believe, as described in Thomas Sowell’s book; “A conflict of Visions” subscribe to the unconstrained vision, which sees man with no limits on the nature of man. The knowledge that will propel the human race into a collective good, is only held in the hands of a few, who are the intellectuals of society. They(intellectuals) believe that man is “perfectible” through a process of programs and institutions. Meaning that human beings have the capabilities to change and shape mankind for the better. This philosophy contradicts the idea, that mankind looks to something greater than himself in order to live up to a “Godly” standard that would put their values and knowledge higher than oneself. This standard would be constantly changed and adapted every time one of these intellectuals believed that they have come across some new way to “perfect” mankind, therefore there would have to be a huge shift in ideology and change in society. Almost like a wave that would turn the tide, and crush every aspect of the society. All departments of society would have to be involved in order to make this change possible. The schools, media, Hollywood, and the entire Progressive machine. Everything that had influence on the population would have to be part of this massive sweeping societal change in order for the few intellectuals to actually put their vision into play. Thus you would need an entirely centralized government, that had control over everything in society(state run TV). Government run schools(Dept of Education), media outlets(Media Matters) that work with the government, with those two institutions alone, you could influence generations upon generations; and they have. “Given that explicitly articulated knowledge is special and concentrated, in the unconstrained vision, the best conduct of social activities depends upon the special knowledge of the few being used to guide the actions of the many” (A Conflict of Visions p43).
The concept that those who subscribe to this type of vision have been working toward a society where they are the ones in control and direct society as they see fit. This idea however has been contradicted by many individuals throughout history. Adam Smith is one of those individuals, when he said, ” The statesman who should attempt to direct people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could be safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it” (The Wealth of Nations p 423).
This group of individuals who have “deemed” themselves better decision makers over our lives than we are, have tried to direct and control society for centuries. Up until our Founding Fathers gathered for those four months, there had never been a governmental system that was built around a “constrained vision” which is a vision that acknowledges the limits on mankind and realizes that it cannot be changed, but given an incentive to do good through a series of trade-offs. “The unconstrained vision has tended historically toward creating more equalized economic and social conditions in society, even if the means chosen imply great inequality in the right to decide such issues and choose such means” (A Conflict of Visions p55).
With both of these visions at play in today’s society, the left and right have merged at some point. People of both parties seem to subscribe to the unconstrained vision and continue to believe that they know better than the rest of us. One prime example is all of the “zoning” that is sweeping across the nation. “Zoning” steals the private property rights of the individual and puts the property under the control of the government. Once a government “zones” you in a certain area, you are now under any new or old regulations that these intellectuals have instituted even if you did not know about it. One purpose of these zoning issues to is control where the population lives and works. The government is now in the business of directing the society as we see it. What gives them the right to dictate to us what we should or should not do with the our property, and our rights?
If these individuals who deem themselves better to direct and change mankind for the better, what room is left for the belief in God? Why should they even need the Almighty? They already believe that they are better than everyone else. At what point do we as citizens begin to realize the truth about this matter? If they say, they can perfect man, they also believe that the ends justifies the means. Therefore they do not mind breaking a few eggs to make an omelet. Progressives believe that some sacrifice is needed to perfect mankind or lost in the turn of society. The select few believe they have the knowledge in order to change and perfect mankind through their programs and institutions.
Progressives fall into the category of the unconstrained vision because they believe that laws or traditions hold back the evolution of society, however it is that very slow evolution that has shaped our society. Through trial and errors, humans have learned what the best systems to govern each other area. Hayek said;
“The most dangerous state in the growth of civilization may well be that in which man has come to regard all these beliefs as superstitions and refuses to accept or to submit to anything which he does not rationally understand. The rationalist whose reason is not sufficient to teach him those limitations of the power of conscious reason, and who despises all the institutions and customs which have not been consciously designed, would this become the destroyer of the civilization built upon them”(The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies on the Abuses of Reason(Indianapolis:Liberty Press 1979) p162-163).
Basically following traditions and using them as a guide throughout our lives goes against what Progressives believe, because it holds them back. So when we do not follow those traditions or “superstitions” it will destroy the society in which we live. “Change” is not always good for a society. Moving “Forward” as well is not always beneficial to society. Society like languages evolve over time and over that time period that which works best and is decided upon by the society is what stays and is used. It is not decided upon by a group of select intellectuals.
This is the battle we are facing now in this election year. A clash of visions. One that wishes for us to be moving “Forward” and disregarding our past. The other, holding true to who we are, using our traditions and past and present knowledge as a guide into the future.