Day: July 17, 2014

A Progressive Belief: Great Social Evil Is Improbable

Traditional Americans believed that they must carefully guard against great society-wide human evil. To them, history provided many examples – tyranny, slavery, Nazi death camps, soviet gulags – of humanity’s dark potential. But newthinkers, to repeat a point, don’t even think in terms of “evil.” It’s not one of their virtue categories. While they do worry about society-wide crises occurring due to human stupidity, they are generally unconcerned with the possibility of great social evil because it doesn’t fit their template for vice. It’s not that they would condone evil behavior; they just tend to be blind to it.

The unconscious logic supporting this belief goes like this, starting from the “Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble” branch of the newthink worldview tree:

• Human beings are inherently and transcendentally noble.
• Great social evil is improbable.

The unconscious logic branching out of this belief is:

• We don’t need to tirelessly guard against genocide, war or tyranny.
• Since all humans are inherently noble, if we can show strangers that our motives are inherently noble, they will exist peacefully with us.

 

Pacifism is a conspicuous part of progressivism largely because of the newthink belief that the inherent nobility of humans makes great social evil improbable. Progressives think the great scourges of humanity unlikely to occur among the progressively virtuous; they believe that as the benighted are educated about progressive virtue, they will be less likely to occur at all, and that those who purposely shun progressive virtue — the “evil conservatives” — will always be a small anomaly. That, for instance, is why progressives are happy to shrink the Defense Department and direct the savings elsewhere: on a very fundamental level, they assume that it won’t be necessary in the near progressive future.