Friday, October 19, 2012

Regressivism Defined - Part 1 - Acquiring a Political Philosophy

Prior to examination of a particular political philosophy, it is generally helpful to discuss the manner in which an individual might acquire such a philosophy. Let's try a little thought experiment.

First imagine that this individual (say Bill Maher) was born into an orthodox Jewish family in Israel.
Now imagine if this very same individual was born into a Wahhabi family in Yemen.
In both cases "Bill" would be a religious fundamentalist, and that religiosity would almost completely inform his political outlook. In fact, you could easily imagine the Yemeni Bill as a potential suicide bomber, blowing himself up in an Israeli preschool to the shout of "Allāhu Akbar".

Obviously, their political outlooks are complete opposites. Why does this happen?
Yes, they're brought up in different cultures, but each should have some idea of others condition?
Wrong! In both cases, Bill's exposure to alternate viewpoints is severely limited.

This occurs even in the cases of "westernized" Islamists, since they simply force their outside world to fit into their predefined frame of reference.

Note that this would not be a significant problem if the culture in question did not deprecate reasoning, instead of relying on faith or emotion. This tends to create a lack of empathy, or even legitimacy, for other points of view.

Which brings us to Regressivism and the outlook of Regressives.

For a Conservative or Libertarian, it's pretty much impossible to not be exposed to the Regressive point of view. It permeates the popular culture, from TV and movies and music, to the news media, to primary and secondary education. From birth to death.

Since they're exposed early in life, almost all non-Regressives have a good understanding of the day to day workings of the Regressive philosophy. And yet they freely choose not adopt the Regressive philosophy for themselves (of course there are occasional exceptions - Ed Schultz comes to mind...)

The end result is that non-Regressives generally feel that Regressives are wrong, but well meaning.

A Regressive, however, can traverse their early life, and perhaps their entire life, with little or no exposure to non-Regressive ideas. Like the Wahhabi Bill, their exposure to alternate viewpoints is severely limited - all they have to do is to not listen to Fox News or talk radio, and their frame of reference is pretty much set.

Because of this relative isolation, Regressives can also force their outside world to fit into their predefined frame of reference. Reasoning is diminished and much of their thought process becomes "faith based".

But not religious faith. Marxism has been implemented many times, failed every time, and killed tens of millions. And yet may Regressives still have "faith" that it will work, it just needs to be implemented in the "right" way.

The end result is that Regressives do not believe non-Regressives are well meaning, but rather evil and driven by nefarious motives.The same way the Wahhabi Bill would view the Orthodox Jew. You see this all the time - non-Regressives are for dirty air and water, Oil Companies and Big Pharma, greedy Jewish bankers and shopkeepers, pushing granny off the cliff, millionaire and billionaire capitalists with their corporate jets who just want to steal from the rest of us. And on and on.

Why the term "Regressivism"?
The general overriding philosophy needed a name, nobody else had named it, and it fits.

The 20th century saw the rise and fall of the Marxists and Fascists, and now the 21st century is witnessing the spectacular failure of the Progressives, starting in Europe and moving to the U.S. All these statist systems have been found to conflict with basic human nature. We've learned and "evolved".

And yet there are still a great many people whose political philosophy makes them believe that Regressivism is the most "just" system, and despite clear evidence, will work if we can eliminate the "obstructionists" and ensure everybody contributes their "fair share" (e.g. it hasn't been implemented "correctly" yet). Essentially, to "devolve" (i.e. "regress") back to the first half of the 20th century, to the glory days where Marxists, Fascists, and Progressives cross-pollinated and collaborated while perfecting their associated "workers paradises".

Of course it's also a word play, in an attempt to better reflect the true nature of Progressivism, as it now can be understood.

Note that I do not include "Liberals" in this category, at least in the form of "Classical Liberalism", which has both personal and economic freedom as essential ingredients.
However, many (most?) modern "Progressives" misclassify themselves as "Liberals", even though their political philosophy clearly falls on the Regressive side.

to be continued...

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