Another “quick takes” on items where there is too little to say to make a complete article, but is still important enough to comment on.
The focus this time: Fundamentally transform all the things!
First, a Brexit wisdom:
The Gramscian “long march through the institutions” has fully infested the administrative state:
“Whether they realize it or not, Americans are subject to the soft despotism of administrative law. The common-law system of ordered liberty and evolutionary correction that the United States inherited from England is hardly recognizable in our current legal system. Bureaucratic administrative agencies that are unaccountable to voters now determine many of the rules and regulations that have palpable effects on the everyday lives of ordinary citizens.
“In many important respects, we no longer live in a constitutional republic—we’re subject to the rule of an unaccountable administrative state.
“The justifying theory underlying the creation and existence of administrative agencies is that they consist of qualified experts in a specialized field. Whereas the legislature is made up of elected generalists who come and go, an agency is peopled by nonpartisan specialists with unique training and experience who hold permanent positions. Administrative agencies should thus be more reliable and efficient than legislative or executive bodies in promulgating or enforcing rules and regulations. Moreover, they should be isolated from political processes and partisan pressure. Yet this institutional independence that is touted as a virtue has in practice resulted in widespread unaccountability.”
Since the bureaucrats are often unassailable, with few even capable of challenging them, the bureaucracy becomes the perfect tool for getting rid of that pesky “liberty” that gets in the way of Progressives dreams of remaking society.
Sadly, for most people what is going on with the administrative state, it is “out of sight; out of mind”. But for others, it is a question of cowardice.
“This is how culture wars are lost: through the slow accumulation of individually defensible but collectively unjustifiable decisions not to resist. It’s the decision that objecting during diversity training simply isn’t worth the hassle. It’s the decision not to say anything when you see a colleague or fellow student facing persecution because of their beliefs. It’s a life habit of always taking the path of least resistance, keeping your head down, and doing your best to preserve your own family and career. The small fights don’t matter anyway, right?”
Ultimately, this is the single standard hiding beneath the seeming double standard of Progressive goals.
“Historians and political theorists have long puzzled over how to resolve the glaring contradiction of Progressive ideology—namely, that Progressive ‘reform’ emphasizes greater ‘democracy,’ and championed innovations like the direct election of Senators, the initiative and referendum, etc. Give the people what they want! Up with democracy! At the same time, Progressives also advanced the theory of government administration deliberately remote from politics and popular accountability—the Administrative State staffed by elite ‘experts.’ We can’t have those grubby people telling the government what to do! Down with democracy!
“It is hard to make out, but there is a deeper dialectic at work in the Progressive mind, not unlike that more famous dialectic conjured up by that hairy German fellow. The purpose of the Administrative State—best understood with Saint-Simon’s famous single sentence description about how ‘the government of men is replaced by the administration of things’—is to create a new people.”
Or, as a former Leninist stated:
“The liberal aim is thus clear. In order to transform the human condition, which is his deepest aim, the liberal seeks to make the political order fully dependent upon a transformed people. To achieve the transformation, he seeks the right kind of constitutional institutions to produce the right kind of party to produce the right kind of majority. At the very center of liberalism there is the theory of the truly democratic party—unified and coherent and thus capable of summoning up from the unformed mass the majority acquiescence in the liberal goals that, the liberal believes, is the natural inclination of the true majority. To such a majority, the Constitution with its ‘auxiliary precautions’ does indeed obstruct the way.”
This circle is squared, in their minds, is to differentiate between the people (i.e. the actual individuals who make up society) and Rousseau’s ” Volonté Générale” (i.e. the “General Will) which is a notion of a singular collective will that arises mystically from the people, and supercedes the hoi polloi who don’t know better.