Can a generation marked by privilege and arrogance be reasoned with?

Frontpage: Writing last week about the new affection for socialism on the part of Millennials, electoral maven Karl Rove warned us not to ignore or dismiss this enthusiasm. Socialism’s long record of failure “doesn’t mean new forms of socialism can’t gain a following.” Rove’s solution is for Republicans to “do the hard work of updating old arguments,” and “hone their arguments” against socialist policies in preparation for the 2020 presidential race.

Welcome to 2500 years of dubious thinking about the power of rational persuasion and coherent argument to talk people out of bad ideas. It didn’t save Socrates from the hemlock, and it’s unlikely to change the minds of the worst-educated, most self-centered, and most pampered cohort in American history.

This stubborn belief in the power of rational thought and knowledge to improve human life lies at the heart of modern political ideologies like Marxism and progressivism. Both assume that the knowledge useful for politically organizing a state or society is “scientific,” comprising principles and techniques that are beyond ideology and universally true. Hence the need for enlightened technocratic elites to control social institutions and use power in order to rationally arrange human existence more justly and efficiently.

The flaw in this thinking was first identified by contemporaries of Plato, whose Republic imagined a utopia of elite Guardians educated to exercise totalitarian control over society. And the earliest critics of Plato’s flawed assumptions about human nature were likewise Greek writers such as Thucydides and Sophocles. Both argued that a human nature universally subject to irrational passions, free will, and a tragic world would always to some degree triumph over the rational mind.

Yet despite the subsequent millennia in which history has demonstrated that the road to utopia is lined with mountains of corpses, the dream of creating heaven on earth by applying rational techniques of control and improvement over human beings has not lost its allure. In modern times, the decline of faith and the belief in a transcendent reality has made us even more vulnerable to political religions, those delusional visions of human power and will alone able to eliminate the tragic limits of earthly life, such as inequality, suffering, injustice, and violence.  read more

24 Comments on Can a generation marked by privilege and arrogance be reasoned with?

  1. “Can a generation marked by privilege and arrogance be reasoned with?”


    Next question.

  2. First you have to purge their “educators/mind controllers.” Then you have to purge the demoncrats. Then you have to purge the “activists” judges. Then you have to purge Antifa and it’s supporters like soros and melinda gates.

    a non a moose

  3. Hugo Chavez was democratically elected.
    Just before Barack Obama.
    Luckily we have a Constitution to slow down the despot inclined.
    And that Obama is generally incompetent in leading.
    But the right person could surely spin up the Leftist masses.
    And the Constitution can be ignored.
    We must remain vigilant.
    When I was a kid we had the Iron Curtain. And people getting shot for escaping Communism. We no longer have such a stark example of Communism’s failure. And the media and academia gloss over the evils of Communism.
    We must remain vigilant the best we can.

  4. If humans were capable of planning rationally and then acting in a way to achieve the probable outcome, then perhaps socialism would work. But behavioral scientists have demonstrated over and over that people first come up with an outcome they desire, and then rationalize their arguments to support that outcome.

    Socialist theory also discounts some all-to-frequent human goals and behaviors like greed, lust for power, ego mania, sloth, etc. The Russians built communism roughly on the ideas of Marx, and then got Stalin who didn’t give a hoot about theoretical communism and enjoyed killing people. The main problem with socialism is that once a society grants absolute power to a central government, folks with primary goals of greed, lust for power and ego mania gravitate to where ever there is the best opportunity to obtain those goals in life, and if they achieve positions of government power they never willingly give them up. Imagine Ocasio-Cortez in complete control of a Fortune 500 company, and then imagine her in charge of a Fortune 500 company with no ability to terminate her services.

    Capitalism is a messy system, but the system itself tends to eliminate many of the bad actors. Socialism is a much cleaner system at first glance, but gets far messier than capitalism when people realize that the system only exists to perpetuate itself.

  5. We will have creeping Socialism here, just like Europe. And since it crept in, inch by inch, it will slowly die out, just like Europe. Before you know it, our country’s economy will be smothered like a blanket by massive governmental regulations, taxes, transfer payments, etc.
    No disruptive revolution, and then fast implosion as in the former USSR, with 70 years of economic stagnation between those two catastrophic events.

    There are too many millennials that think like Governor Cuomo – that this country was never great. They look elsewhere for greatness (Europe, USSR ?), not knowing that they are looking in all the wrong places.

  6. The huge elephant in the room is that the highly malignant cancer of liberal socialism has metasized into every aspect of US life, the schools, sports, Hollywood, media, military, academia etc. Oh so carefully and slowly injected into the system years ago and as planned it has taken off. And like a true cancer the longer it’s present the faster it spreads and the stronger it grows until the host dies. The only thing that will rid us of it is a very brutal and extremely bloody war with the deaths of the advocates and practioneers of this farse. Appeasement or aquiesnce to any of it means the cancer will merely go dormant for short while and then it will come back worse then ever. So it cannot be reasoned with, it must be utterly destroyed.

  7. Excellent read.

    I wouldn’t want to be young in this environment. Until we purge the list that @a non a moose gave, we will continue to develop children who think other people giving them free stuff is the way to go.

  8. Can they be reasoned with?
    I think it’s possible. Resinstitue the draft and let’s revisit the question.

  9. The problem doesn’t lie with the ‘theory of rational argument.’ The problem lies with the arguments people rationalize, thus becoming irrational people.

  10. I disagree with this author, I don’t think deficits etc. are going to stop socialism. It is going to continue and spread. Until a state actually collapses under it the threat of deficits and unfunded pensions etc isn’t going to change the march into socialism. Particularly if we bail out the states. I vote socialism fails but it gets implemented pretty heavily in America and particularly in blue states and the quality of living is going to drastically be different among states embracing and states rejecting. And we probably end up having another civil war because there is no way middle America / middle class are going to accept and buy into this BS particularly when they come for guns. At the end of the day gun ownership is what stops this. With a gun you are citizen, without a gun you are a subject. You need subjects for socialism’s tyranny to work. Why it will be blue states that it takes ahold of where gun ownership has been greatly eroded.

  11. The word “ideology” was not yet invented when the Constitution was formulated and written. If it had “ideology” would have been recognized as a form or religion and treated as such in the First Amendment. LIARS have always been word manipulators and iberal/socialists are masters at this. If socialism (economic), political correctness, etc. were to be recognized as aspects of a RELIGION, then they would be banished to a voluntary realm, fail on their own lack of merits, and would soon fade away.

  12. I think the problem with conventional people like Karl Rove is they believe that the politics of the Left is about the issues they advocate. Health care, climate change, whatever…

    But politically speaking that isn’t what the Left is FOR. Politically what Bernie Sanders believes is that Bernie Sanders is the sole arbiter of what is right and wrong and Bernie Sanders should be able to force the rest of society to do what he says; or else!

    Same with that new idiot in congress what’s-her-name.

    The argument against socialism isn’t the issue de jour. The argument against socialism is the argument against dictatorship.

    Their politics is that they should rule over us as their subjects.

  13. *Can* millennials be reasoned with?

    I honestly don’t know – I haven’t met enough of them to find one reasonable.

  14. I disagree with the few here who have called for reinstating the draft. It is too close to slavery regardless of any benefits derived for either the draftees or the rest of us.

    However, I would agree with a system that would make such service voluntary, much as we have today, but with one very important difference:

  15. It’s a joke Uncle Al, I hold no desire to reinstitute the draft.
    The suggestion of tying vol service to voting rights have even less chance of implementation…. see California, Georgia, where illegals get to vote.

  16. MR ANTH

    NOt so! 20 years ago I had 2 friends who were Venezuelan refugees. They said Hugo was the leader of a bloody Coup! You can not believe the MSM. I believe 2 survivors. Es por que yo halbo Espanol. Me entienden.

    I admit I’v had a bias against the leftist MSM for 70 years.


Comments are closed.