The head start

The expression, “unintended consequences,” is a charitable dodge. It is what old-fashioned, polite, civic-minded people say about the fallout from progressive social policies. It implies that their authors have overlooked something, or made some innocent mistake. For unfortunately, the policies do the exact opposite of what was promised. Surely the “reformers” didn’t mean to force decent, reasonable people to do things that any decent, reasonable person would consider to be satanic. Yet somehow, that was the result.

By contrast, these reformers despise the tactics of the bourgeois. Rather than argue, they prefer to drown out their opponents with slogans. Rather than coherently reply, they characterize any asking questions as “fascist,” “misogynist,” “racist,” “hate criminals,” &c. Those who have exposed scandals are personally smeared, slandered, doxxed. This isn’t new. It is the way the Left has always “debated,” going back long before Lenin. Once they have the police working for them, opponents get the knock in the middle of the night.

There are, incidentally, two kinds of “reform,” corresponding to the two political persuasions. One happens without planning, and is an organic response to things no longer working properly. Try, in good faith, to make the old system work, and it will subtly change. The “problems” fix themselves, when they are allowed to. The other kind is “reform” according to a theory. A huge, mostly imaginary “problem” is created, so a “solution” may be imposed. Every tool must be applied, to get everyone onside for the task: fake news, fake science, fake history, and miscellaneous fakery. For as every godless person knows, “the end justifies the means.”

Luckier than most, raised in “liberal” environments, I was able to discern this from an early age. By chance I acquired many friends who were refugees from Communist (especially Soviet-occupied) countries. But it was not just that. Having been trained counter-culturally, by non-conformist “classically liberal” teachers, and also having learnt to read for myself, I was already fairly alert. The clincher for me was a native disposition, not only to think independently, but to resist being a putz. It was not in my nature to assume that the enemies of real liberalism (which requires honesty) had good intentions. Reason, and experiment, demonstrated that they had not.

For instance, I early realized that leftwing factions formed a Party of Privilege. Every policy they advanced favoured individuals with relatively more wealth and power, against individuals with less. Unions were a good example. They represented the better-paid. The labour laws they advocated were designed to exclude the young and the poor from labour-market competition. They secured the allegiance of thuggish union members through crassly self-interested schemes. They opposed legitimate rewards for labour; for skill and hard work. Instead they enforced universal mediocrity, and punished intelligent enterprise. Legitimate labour interests, once represented by cooperative and self-managing guilds, were replaced by the interests of (untalented) union organizers.

As ever, I am proposing not to write a book, simply noting obvious things. Once one discards the commonplace idea that “reformers” are misinformed or stupid, the world makes more sense. Assume, rather, that they fully intend the consequences of their actions, even when their ineptitude defeats their own plot.

Power wants more power. This reality extends beyond the moment. That power corrupts, was known before Lord Acton, as well as that it corrupts more and more — even before the 20th century had raised the background tragedy of fallen man to murderous, high-tech farce. Never imagine the man who takes your freedom in a “crisis,” plans to give it back once the “crisis” is over. This applies, ultimately, to both Left and Right.

But when a man starts from a position that is dishonest, he may achieve material evils much faster. Being “liberal,” “leftist,” and “progressive,” gives him a significant head start.


TODAY — did you remember to mark it down? — is the eight hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the murder of the saint, Thomas à Becket, in Canterbury Cathedral, at the suggestion of King Henry II. It was an event that reverberated across all Europe, all Christendom; and it echoes still. I must have been asleep at the switch. Happily, I am reminded by Mr Donald J. Trump:

“On this day, we celebrate and revere Becket’s courageous stand for religious liberty, and we reaffirm our call to end religious persecution worldwide. …

“A society without religion cannot prosper. A nation without faith cannot endure — because justice, goodness, and peace cannot prevail without the grace of God.”