The Conceit of Progressivism

Roger Kimball on the hidden cost of collectivized medicine in Massachusetts:

This morning, a cardiologist friend of mine sent me a note that contained a link to an excellent article in The Wall Street Journal about RomneyCare as a guide to ObamaCare. By “cardiologist” I mean “former cardiologist,” for like many doctors I know, he has left the practice in medicine in disgust — disgust over the government steady encroachment on his income, in part, but also disgust over the way government was intruding on the doctor/patient relationship and bureaucratizing the practice of medicine, transforming doctors into wards of the state and patients into abstract consumers of scarce medical “resources” that the government was set to ration.


Anybody but a vile prog could tell you: Our best and brightest will eat only so much crap sandwich. But collectivism — the heart and soul of progressivism — is the idea that people aren’t individuals, they’re units of groups.

One of those people-groups are doctors. Another people-group is businessmen. Or teachers. If you make the teacher-group big enough relative to the size of the student group, education will happen. Doctors will keep on doctoring under any conditions, because that’s what each little doctor-unit does. And businessmen will keep on …businessing… because making money, however that happens, is what those particular units do. People-units behave as they do, because it’s what their group does.

It simply isn’t a thought that crosses the progressive mind, that a businessman might go Galt, or a doctor might retire out of frustration, or that there’s more to education than feel-good class-sizing. That’s because progressivism has become an essentially feudal civic religion. It seeks to freeze the economy in place by protecting big players; to freeze workers in place through bullying unionization; to return control of medicine to the modern church elders by mandating and proscribing procedures; and to cement politics in place through racial (and other people-group) polarization. Finally, all this action on “green energy” is just an excuse to increase the cost of doing things, so that would-be entrepreneurs will find it too expensive to upset any apple carts.


Far from moving anything “forward,” progressivism puts a modern gloss on a political-economic system which would be instantly recognizable to any 11th Century feudal baron. Give the Islamists some credit — at least they admit that they want to take humankind backwards a thousand years or more.



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