I’ve mentioned Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of Politics before:
- Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
- Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
- The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.
Recently Andrew Sparrow of The Guardian linked to my post while discussing the British Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
It seems difficult to even have a bird watching society or cycling club, let alone a church or book club that doesn’t eventually end up spending its resources on pushing the ideological goals of Progressivism. If you can’t think of an example of such leftward drift at all stop reading now to compare Henry Ford to the Ford Foundation.
The most promising explanation, Burja suggests, relies on James A. Donald’s model of leftism as Phariseeism:
He uses the word Pharisee to mean a person who reckons that since he is holier than you, you should obey him. If this is an effective strategy you will see competitions among them to be holier than each other. He proposes this holier than thou spiral as a rough fit for what we know about how American Progressivism evolved from American Protestantism. The carriers of Puritan descended memeplexes where becoming holier and holier until they became holier than Jesus. This requires either claiming the same title for yourself or demoting him from the position of Son of God. They chose the latter, giving him the new title of Chief Community Organizer and having done so where free to demonstrate holiness by advocating violently freeing slaves, outlawing alcohol and rebuking St. Paul’s advice on marriage. After a short trip along this branch, the only way to escalate is a smooth transition from being Unitarian to being holier than that fictional god person in general. Welcome to liberal secular humanism.
If you aren’t very good at bird watching, or programming, or painting, or cycling gaining status by signalling holiness via progressive causes and initiating a local instance of such a spiral seems a good strategy. If so, it is likely one our social brain evolved for, it could easily be sensed and enacted without our conscious mind even noticing we are doing so. This is a plausible reason why this could sooner or later corrupt all institutions, it just takes a small push, under the right conditions that come about, sooner or later, for the ball to start rolling.