I am no admirer of Bill Barr, currently the Attorney General of the United States, but I find the comments he made in a speech last month worth pondering. He speaks the truth about “so-called progressives” (“Regressivists” or Tranzis and their ilk).
In any age, the so-called progressives treat politics as their religion. Their holy mission is to use the coercive power of the state to remake man and society in their own image, according to an abstract ideal of perfection. Whatever means they use are therefore justified because, by definition, they are a virtuous people pursing a deific end. They are willing to use any means necessary to gain momentary advantage in achieving their end, regardless of collateral consequences and the systemic implications. They never ask whether the actions they take could be justified as a general rule of conduct, equally applicable to all sides.William Barr, speech 15th November 2019
To summarize: the ends justify the means. Of course, this applies as much to Republicans and conservatives as to Democrats, though he would deny it, I’m sure.
Libertarians are frequently condemned as being “too idealistic” and assuming that men can be perfect. While I disagree with this assessment, the difference is that statists use coercion to try and make a perfect society. Lovers of liberty do not. Worse, the statists believe that they can FORCE humans to become and be perfect.
If politics is their religion, it is because the State – government – is their god. And their god practices and allows its followers to do many things. Actually, even demands that its followers (especially its priesthood) do many things. What things? To control and use others, to steal, to abuse and punish. In order to demonstrate the “awesome power” of their god.
These Regressivist politicians are the elite, the priesthood, of their Statist religion. Indeed, they (and the “progressive” bureaucrats) are PART of their god. Therefore, they deserve every one of the benefits, the prerequisites which their god can provide. Indeed, being allowed to exercise their perversions is proof to them that their god is all-powerful and supreme – and that their god favors them. Their belief in the State makes them superior to, and the natural predator, of all other humans.
What Barr and those like him – paleo- or neo-conservatives – do not want to admit is that they share many of these same traits. Their version of the State is not a god, but (in their eyes) is blessed by and serves God, and the results are often very much the same.
What can lovers of liberty do? Use the voluntary efforts of people like Barr to expose the evils of “so-called progressives” – and vice versa. At the same time, help them to see the evils of their own side and position. Let people – even the very political leaders themselves – see the evils of both (all) old parties and provide them information about the real alternative. Not just another flavor of statism, but the separation of state and society. That is, the end of coercive, mandatory human government.
And at the same, as individuals, work to thwart their efforts to force their religion on us. Resist, but do everything to avoid becoming like them.