[Revision of April, 2006 Feature.]

August, 2012 Feature--Truth Based Logic

Social Reform: Confusion & "Unintended Consequences?"


Synopsis
Social Reform: Compulsion, conspiracy & misguided idealism stimulate mass movements demanding change, yet are not ultimate cause for societal breakdown. Primary disaster mechanism, the 'unintended consequences,' results from conceptual confusion. Understanding confusion caused by conceptual myopia--the inability to see the forest for the trees--that is destroying the West. Essential difference between Social Reformers (Marx, Lenin, Hitler, Obama) & Political Reformers (Reagan, Thatcher & the Founding Fathers).

For all the wonder-filled scientific breakthroughs, the Twentieth Century was in many respects yet more noteworthy for compulsion driven demonstrations of mass psychology--behavior, unfortunately, no less obvious since that Century ended. It was also an age of great international conspiracies among cynical opportunists, seeking to exploit grievances (whether real or imagined) & the compulsions or fanaticism of others: Conspiracies, such as the Bolshevik (later fragmented into Stalinist & Trotskyite factions, with many a home grown 'want to be' imitation or adaptation across the planet), as well as more culturally specialized utilitarian (Fabian & National Socialist) manifestations of a common intolerant mindset. Some of these employed tactics that would have made the small, localized, Renaissance era schemes of the Borgias & Medicis appear tame & amateurish by comparison.

Our purpose, here, is not to dwell either on fanatics or compulsive behavior, nor on real or imagined grievances, nor on the conspiracies or schemes of revolutionaries, seeking to exploit such behavior (or any convenient social problem) to demand fundamental social change. Nor will the primary focus be on misguided idealism of those among the educated classes, who allow themselves to serve those plotting against any social order, as Lenin's "useful idiots." Individual malefactors have surely contributed to a serious problem for the defenders of tradition, property & cultural achievement. Yet they are not the ultimate cause for societal breakdown. Rather, we would demonstrate that the primary mechanism for social disaster has been the very notion of centrally directed Social Reform; a variety of conceptual confusion, which while it may drive the "useful idiots," also appears to afflict many, whom we would ordinarily expect to be among the defenders of heritage.

One frequently hears comments about the "unintended consequences" of Social Reform: Public initiatives, Government programs, intended to solve one problem, but unleashing a whole series of entirely new ones. The implication is that some not reasonably foreseeable mechanism has intervened. We would suggest that what is involved--the actual dynamics--are absolutely predictable consequences of misguided analysis; obvious consequences, only overlooked because of a conceptual myopia which, while having multiple causes, renders much of the public unable to see "the forest for the trees." We hope, by demonstrating the recurrence of the same malady in the development of reform policies in very diverse areas of concern, we may clarify the actual pathology, to induce remedial thought patterns. In this, we deal not with new subject matter, but with varied perspectives on the focus of the Reformer--perspectives analogous to those of the six blind Hindus, examining an unseen elephant, in the British fable.

Self-Righteous Stupidity--Addressing A Problem Out Of Context

From the tenured Professor seeking fame in the Social Sciences, to the College Sophomore looking for a cause, to the aspiring journalist hoping for a Pulitzer Prize or some equivalent, to the ambitious politician trying to find the one issue that will distinguish him from the pack, there is great appeal in identifying & promoting a "necessary reform"--perhaps being among the first to recognize an "idea [cause], whose time has come." Unfortunately, few of such participants in reform movements ever demonstrate the slightest concept of how to approach a subject chosen for "reform." To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, the approach of the Social Reformer is almost always either "cloud" or "wind-borne." Once "need" is identified--the crisis or "injustice" to which the Reformer claims to be responding--the competition rapidly becomes one as to whom can cut most directly to the "solution" a particular Reformer feels will have the most immediate impact in the direction chosen. And, of course, there is intense competition to show the greatest self-righteous fervor in the quest.

Why characterize such reform pursuits as "self-righteous stupidity?" Because no existing society, with all its problems or achievements, happened by pure chance. Because all human progress or regression involves a myriad of dynamic factors, including the interaction of both human & natural factors that may positively or negatively effect the actions of those involved in a targeted institution or situation. Because to intrude Government or any social collective into any situation, without having clear understanding of the confluence of the varied dynamic factors, likely to impact or be impacted by the application of the proposed reform, is to confuse "wishes with horses." And, yet, how often have you heard a prominent Reformer discuss a social phenomenon, he or she would alter, in a manner that suggests real comprehension of why things are as they are; why rational folk, not fancied degenerates, would have embraced or allowed the institution, under attack, to develop as it has?

To be sure, Social Reformers know how to draw verbal cartoons; to hurl aspersions at those who appear, to their tunnel perception, to benefit from targeted behavior. But you will look in vain for any demonstration of real comprehension of the rational bases or argument for the status quo. We refer to those who would destroy without ever seeking to understand--a collection of fanatics, opportunists, pseudo-intellectual sycophants & neurotics, to whom "Reform" is a mission, but reasoned analysis of cause & effect, as foreign as a conception of the phases of the moon to one blind from birth.

The examples are legion. Whether the problem is poverty, poor race relations, unemployment or unsatisfactory working conditions, relations between the sexes, a natural disaster or some sympathy driving catastrophe overseas, the Reformer demands new public initiatives--more from Government--and the sooner the better. Yet almost no one, in the rush of the "enlightened" to embrace the new cause, ever bothers to ask why, in some human society, which has been developing & evolving for thousands of years, has the problem not been properly addressed before the enthusiasts of this generation demanded action? Are there reasons why the proposed solution was not embraced earlier? Such questions seldom occur. We are told we must act! Too much analysis is seen as a tool for those who would reject "progress" & continue "injustice." The only analysis the Reformer will tolerate, is that which shows the gravity of the "problem," for which--like a true fanatic--he demands immediate resolution.

The Fallacy Of Collective Solutions To Individual Problems

The initial premise for virtually every great "Reform" of the past century was itself irretrievably flawed. This was true whether the "problem" addressed was, by nature, peculiar to each afflicted individual or actually common to a definable group. Consider, first, those which involved an attempt to solve problems inherently individual in nature, by collective action; that is, by arbitrarily classifying the individual with a particular problem as a member of a group of the afflicted, defined by the problem itself, before legislating for that "group" as a group--such as "poor people" or unwed mothers. In this approach, the Reformers, in their enthusiasm, scarcely paused to consider how a Reform might impact the intended beneficiaries, in other areas of individual interest or concern. Full of self-righteous fervor against imagined "injustice," they ignored the impact of the Reform on societal interests or concerns of a more general import. Thus it should be no mystery why, in virtually every instance, only social disaster followed.

In political economics, there has been an over two generation pursuit of collective "solutions" to the effects of poverty. The resulting Welfare system ignores what actually works in human endeavor, even as it ignores much of what actually causes individual failure. In dealing with unemployment, or the threat of unemployment, we have seen the deliberate fostering of unproductive, even wasteful, programs, calculated to trigger massive Federal deficits; a Keynesian approach to "managing" economic cycles, in part by masking a reduction in real wages. In what is likely the single most emotionally driven species of Social Reform, similarly myopic reformers have sought to indulge feminist anger over grievances, real or imagined, in the traditional family structure, by making divorce so easy as to trivialize marriage; by taking the stigma out of bearing children out-of-wedlock, thus aggravating a social disintegration already encouraged by the modern Welfare system; and by undermining respect for traditional sex roles, including the once nearly universal esteem for a wife & mother.

In each case--as in those we will discuss under "The Collective Mucking Up Of Group Dynamics"--the result has been precisely what anyone, able to consider factors relevant to a determination of probable consequences for proposed action, would have foreseen. If those consequences were "unintended," it was only because of the myopia of the Reformer. For a starting point, consider the issue of Prohibition, well covered in the essay by former Senator James A. Reed, on "The Pestilence of Fanaticism," linked below. The United States, in response to intense lobbying by the Anti-Saloon League and others, adopted an Amendment to the Federal Constitution intended to treat problems, which some individuals have with alcoholic beverages, by outlawing alcoholic beverages for all individuals, across the length & breadth of the Federal Union. The Reed article, written for H. L. Mencken's American Mercury, five years into the "Great Experiment," captures the essence of a confused mindset, analyzing a fanaticism often present in projects to reform society. Let us look, next, at reforms directed at poverty, to illustrate other confusion driven reforms since 1930:

Perhaps nothing more clearly illustrates an underlying confusion, than the fact that so many on the Left will embrace any reform that suggests a "cure for poverty" in America. (Some of those, among the first to characterize others as "poor," are the very ones who cry out against racial or ethnic "profiling"--against categorizing people based upon real traits, their biology or lines of descent.)

It is a major fallacy to consider the "poor" as an aggrieved class. People are poor for a great variety of reasons. Many lack any of the essential aptitudes for success; others may have had the aptitudes, but suffered some setback, which for another great variety of reasons, they were never able to overcome. Then there are those, who have simply lost the incentive to apply themselves. Some may have violated some law or standard of conduct, which led to their ostracism from respectable contacts. The old Church managed Welfare system, discussed by Jefferson in his Notes On The State Of Virginia, & reprinted in Chapter 1 of the Debate Handbook (see below) could differentiate among those "in need," in ways that the present Welfare State can not. It could make ethical judgments, invoking traditional moral values--the now largely discarded incentives to constructive behavior.

To the extent that any politically driven program provides a cushion to those not completely crippled, it stultifies incentive to perform at an optimal level. To the extent that it creates the illusion that humanity owes everyone a decent living, regardless of what one brings to the table, it undermines essential moral codes. In this it produces more, not less, poverty. Of course, this is perfectly clear to anyone who understands human nature; anyone who observes human conduct over an extended period. That those in the forefront of Reform seem unable to grasp the obvious is the point. But the consequences of the modern Welfare State, are not limited to the contemporary generation.

One specific reform, under the more general umbrella of Welfare & Social Services, that most clearly demonstrated intellectual confusion, was "Aid To Dependent Children," a program launched in the late 1930s. While there were & are women, widowed or divorced without being adequately provided for, the bulk of ADC beneficiaries were children borne to women out-of-wedlock. These were also often in situations, where there was no other family members available, to help the single mother with those children. The Reformer saw this as a problem requiring not only Federal funds--after all, coming basically from the same taxpayers, whose local taxes had once funded emergency programs for the poor on a County by County basis;--but as one requiring social engineering to take away the stigma--the social penalty--from having children outside of marriage.

The argument for not stigmatizing illegitimacy, of course, is that the stigma hurts children, who bear no fault for their mother's conduct. That is certainly a correct statement of the nature of the tree--to return to the metaphor--on which the Reformers behind ADC had focused. But traditional Society stigmatizes illegitimacy to discourage it. A healthy society passes on the achievements of each generation through the family. Strong families provide a foundation for the social infra-structure. As most unwed mothers come from the least successful segments of society, subsidizing such breeding outside a traditional family structure undermines both the family & basic aptitudes in a population. While not the only factor tending to lower standards in public school education in major American cities, ADC has unquestionably been a significant contributing cause.

It is not easy to classify all of the innovations in Depression era America. That they involved intellectual confusion is clear from the still massive unemployment at the start of World War II. But Keynesian deception--for that is what the deliberate creation of an inflationary model, intended to reduce real wages while seeming not to, most certainly is--does not usually evoke the same myopic enthusiasm for folly, as is likely with other "Reforms," better focused on social engineering, as opposed to economic manipulation.

On the other hand, Federal efforts in the 1930s to force citizens to turn in their gold coins, while repudiating gold payment clauses in bonds, sold as protection against the very monetary devaluation taking place, certainly undermined the moral fiber of American commerce; destroying the trust & reliance of those participating in a once "free" economy, in the stability of the currency, sanctity of contracts & "uniform weights & measures"; all essential promises in our written Constitution. Since such trust is basic to the confidence that enables long term commitment of capital resources to productive enterprise, it was inevitable that there would be unfortunate consequences from such actions. While the full extent may be impossible to quantify, that does not make the folly less egregious.

One must remember that the macro statistics, by which we measure--or attempt to measure--economic activity, are only statistical aggregations. What is actually being measured is an estimated composite of all micro transactions & interactions within the sphere of that macro aggregation. And what undermines the confidence of a significant number of players, obviously reduces the aggregation.

The damage done by a later appeasement of the Feminist movement, may well be the single most serious example of myopic confusion in effecting Social Reform in America during the past century. While roughly half the population is male, half female, relations between men & women fundamentally involve individual, not group, dynamics. We are not competing interest groups. Each of us needs one of the opposite sex to be complete, to be able to continue from generation to generation. The fact that millions of people may have similar problems in their most important personal relationship, does not turn that intimate personal relationship into a group problem. Whatever the similarities, the most striking feature of any intimate personal relationship is that it is unique, particular in its most important aspect--the aspect that drives it, in the first place, to the two participants.

Attempting to apply macro solutions to such intensely personal situations may reflect a different form of confusion than do attempts to apply macro solutions to poverty. The confusion is all the more destructive, because relations between man & woman are yet more basic than the mere level of material well being. Personal fortunes may rise or fall--even as the mode of measurement changes from era to era. But the mating necessity, among sentient life, is much as it was at the dawn of history.

The essay on "Women Hostage To Contrived Delusion" (see below) & Chapter Eight of the Conservative Debate Handbook address many aspects of the intellectual confusion behind the Feminist movement. The social reforms adopted in response to that movement have seriously undermined both traditional family structure and duration. Since the family is the mechanism by which the material & cultural gains of each generation in a free society are passed on to the next, this is hardly an inconsequential effect. Yet how often, in discussions of easy or no fault divorce, or of a coerced trivialization of sex roles, have you heard this facet discussed? Early in the onslaught--the frenetic demands for "Reform"--Conservative religious leaders attempted to defend traditional values. And while some denominations have tried to stand their ground, the dictates of Conservative theology have been considerably muted by the fanatic fury of the advocates for such "Reform."

Second only to the damage to traditional family structure, has been the effect of a Feminist assault on sex roles in virtually every aspect of Society outside the home. In this we refer not only to the idiotic practices of "Affirmative Action"--the deliberate hiring of women in roles where they are actually at a distinct disadvantage--but to the inculcation of new attitudes into young Americans of both sexes; attitudes which not only greatly diminish moral values, but the sense of romance & joy in the mating quest, so important to the pursuit of individual happiness in both male & female.

Nothing better epitomizes the confusion behind Feminist driven Social Reform than the spate of "Domestic Violence" laws at both the State & Federal level. We do not suggest that no husband or wife ever went berserk and seriously injured the other. Certainly, a significant percentage of murder cases have always been family related. There are also people with vicious streaks, to whom brutality seems natural. None of this requires special legislation, to intrude society more deeply into the most intimate relationships than into daily lives in general. It is only because advocates are fixated on an obsessive need to intrude into other people's personal relationships, that they cannot appreciate the obvious. The laws that apply to other situations, with regard to assault, maiming & killing, already applied & were perfectly adequate to deal with domestic strife. The special provisions, adopted in recent years to specifically focus on family life, are not directed at a new form of criminal conduct; rather at the independence & privacy of man & woman.

Consider two situations, each involving two twenty year old college students, in a typical Domestic Violence State; in each, the precise same level of violence: In the first, two male college roommates, living in a Dormitory; in the other, a married couple living off campus, in a home which they are buying & working to fix up. There is an argument--tempers flare. In each case, one of the occupants of the residence punches the other. A neighbor hears the ruckus, and calls the local police. In many, perhaps most, afflicted States, the police would inquire whether the roommate, punched in the Dormitory, wanted to file a charge for assault. If there was little or no visual injury, they would probably try to discourage him from doing so.

With the married couple the Police would have no option--even if there was no visual injury. They would have to "identify" & arrest a "primary aggressor," who would then ordinarily be ordered (on threat of new charges) to stay away from his or her spouse, and from the common residence, until the case was resolved. In such situation, pleas from a putative "victim" for an early dismissal of charges against a beloved spouse would usually go unheeded by a Judge afraid of Feminist outcry, if despite the trust of such "victim," a "primary aggressor" were later to inflict more serious harm. Often the only way to obtain dismissal without trial would be for that "primary aggressor" to attend a series of humiliating group therapy sessions, run by a hostile social worker with a biased agenda.

Now note, here, a complete inversion of fundamental concepts & priorities, which result from the myopic vision of the Social Reformer. Throughout our previous social history, normal stress in the emotional involvement between husband & wife was recognized as a mitigating factor in assessing culpability for "crimes of passion." "Domestic Violence" laws make an intimate relationship between the sexes not only an aggravating factor in justifying Police intervention in the home, but one that completely reverses the most basic principles of due process & individual rights.

What would be no more than a minor offense, if the same level of "violence"--sometimes no more than an emotional threat or slap--occurred between any other two individuals, becomes an immediate basis for the most extreme form of societal intervention; often separating a couple against their will; banishing those, neither tried nor convicted, from their own homes; prohibiting them to even call or write to the person to whom they have formally committed their lives. Has the world gone mad? Or is this just one more very clear example of the confusion of the Social Reformer--here totally focused on one type of problem, to the exclusion of every relevant consideration, which once governed rational thinking.

The Collective Mucking Up Of Group Dynamics

The Reformer's track record is no better in dealing with group problems, interests & dynamics, than in dealing with the less than happy individual. Here, also, the rush to deal with a perceived problem [or opportunity, if the Reformer be opportunist, rather than compulsion driven neurotic, fanatic or cloud-borne idealist] has overruled careful analysis of cause & effect. And here, also, the long term damage, both to the interests of supposed beneficiaries & to Society, in general, has been immense.

Consider the great "reform" of the New Deal in Labor/Management relations, the Wagner Act, which created the National Labor Relations Board & defined an alliance between a Union and the ownership of an American Company as an "unfair labor practice." To instill a concept of class warfare at the core of Labor/Management relations, was not the only purpose of the Wagner Act. The main thrust was to intrude the Executive branch of the Federal Government into such relations under the pretended authority of the Interstate Commerce clause in the Federal Constitution. Guaranteeing antagonism between the players was one way to increase opportunity to invoke an asserted Federal role.

But the consequences of the Reformers' gamesmanship, here, has not been confined to a greater number of man hours lost to strikes or lock-outs. Creating a built in antagonism between capital & labor, in any business, puts that business at a competitive disadvantage when compared to one where management & labor are more focused on a common interest in producing & selling a good product. This became agonizingly clear, when major Japanese manufacturers began to build plants in the United States that imported concepts of Labor/Management relations, reminiscent of an America before Social Reformers held sway.

The most obvious examples of confused zeal for Reform, have come in manifestations of what have been loosely labeled, "Civil Rights." No other social reforms have been more ambitious, more controversial; none have more clearly demonstrated myopic confusion in mucking up group dynamics. Chapter 5 of the Debate Handbook deals with the damage to education, with particular emphasis to the harm done to the minorities--whom the Reformers claimed would benefit--because of a refusal to recognize differences in specific aptitudes. Chapter 19 deals with the extreme implications to the rights of employers & property owners. (Click on the Table Of Contents, below, to provide instant access to either Chapter & also to Chapter 10, which discusses the question of universal suffrage, an older "Reform" sometimes included under the "Civil Rights" umbrella.)

While those Chapters detail much of what is wrong with specific reforms, the consequences are still developing. For example, the matrix of forbidden considerations in employment or housing, in the 1964 & 1965 Federal "Civil Rights" Acts, included not only race, religion & sex, but national origin. With an increased--and now even more rapidly increasing population coming from Third World nations--the effective thrust of that inclusion is also rapidly increasing, to the detriment of what remains of any sense of community or continuity in many regions of the United States. (Although those, who claim that social environment determines human behavior and personality, seek to suppress discussion of this phenomenon, it is imperative that those who would preserve a unique American heritage discuss it fully.)

Another reasonably predictable consequence, largely unanticipated by Reformers in the 1960s, was the coming agitation to expand the original matrix: Thus demands--some already fulfilled--to add "Sexual Orientation" to the list of forbidden considerations in employment & housing. Since we do not have a policy of snooping into people's bedrooms anywhere in America, forbidding discrimination on the basis of "Sexual Orientation" is not just about forcing people to hire or rent property to those whose conduct, people of Biblically based faiths consider to be an "abomination." It is about forcing people to hire or rent to those who have elected to flaunt offensive conduct. Those who keep private things private, are really not affected one way or another.

Is it reasonable to believe that the assault on personal freedom over private property will stop, even here? Will not people with other perversions & idiosyncrasies, which others find offensive, also demand "protection?" Will not ex-Convicts & people with loathsome diseases? What about the physically ugly; people with offensive political or social views? Is there really any limit to the Reformers' frenzy to strip away rights of a property owner to exercise personal preferences & personal judgment in the use of his own property?

The single most outrageous, if not dangerous, aspect of the premises underlying "Civil Rights" legislation, is that they make a supposed utilitarian use of private property, by a collective, appear acceptable in a new America. It is no longer seen as extreme by anyone but a few stubborn Conservatives, still so "bigoted" as to believe in the American tradition of private rights in private property. What Social Reformers have accomplished, under the "Civil Rights" umbrella, is but a philosophic hair-breadth from outright confiscation of private property and/or the rights of inheritance, sacred in the English speaking world since Magna Carta.

Consider the Girard Testamentary Trust Case, decided in 1957, well before passage of the "Civil Rights Acts" in the mid-1960s. The Warren Supreme Court, packed with Social Reformers appointed since the New Deal, invalidated the key provision, expressing the Grantor's purpose in establishing a Testamentary Trust that had funded a school for the benefit of poor White male orphans for well over a century, by interdicting the racial criteria. Surely, if one can no longer give money, earned in life, at death to those of one's choosing; property rights, recognized as sacred for almost eight hundred years, have been largely discarded. Why in a free society, would anyone even suggest that it is wrong to favor those with whom one shares a kinship--close or distant--over the world at large, with one's own money? If you understand the myopic focus of the Social Reformer, you may perceive how we have come to this strange passage.

Pretending That Everyone Is Equal, Or May Be Made So

The inequality of man or woman--that is the reality of inequality--impacts all aspects of comparative economic & social development, even as it impacts what will appear to be most significant to each of us, in the pursuits available for individual progress & development. It also impacts those areas where the concern--the "problem" a Reformer would tackle--actually is truly a group phenomenon. Absent a compulsion to deny the unique qualities of every individual--to pretend an equality of potential in any area of interest or concern--the first thing which should occur to one analyzing a "problem" based upon observed differences in achievement, or in any form of social interaction, would be to study the possibility of innate differences between the subjects in such comparison; certainly relevant innate characteristics of the individual or group, perceived to have the problem. That program, after program, has been launched without such analysis, demonstrates not the tolerance or enlightenment of the Reformer, but a compulsive need to deny a reality, which the advocate, for whatever reason, is simply unable to face.

We have explored many aspects of this compulsion to deny reality, in other essays--including several linked below. Consider the absurd difference between the recognition of genetically determined proclivities--differences between resistance & susceptibility levels of various racial groups to various pathogens, or with respect to problematic conditions--and the absolute refusal of many "Reformers" in our Society, to explore differing racial distributions of aptitude, both scholastic & physical. Since the thrust of Reform, for the past eighty years, has been in the direction of an ever greater denial of reality, one may surely wonder whether Medical science will someday experience a similar phenomenon--bringing the same "benefit" to medicine that it has brought to American education.

Regular visitors may be aware of the chronology, as to when different species of Social Reformer first embraced coerced racial denial as a favored cause. But many may be new to the subject. Although there were certainly racial issues in America before the Twentieth Century, and some Abolitionists also sought to trivialize the importance of natural human differences; most were more focused on the concept of human slavery. Thus, the initial launch of the NAACP, in 1909, by a small group of White Fabian Socialists--one, admittedly, the child of a famous Abolitionist--drew only limited initial support from the broader spectrum of would-be Social Reformers. However, when over the next two decades, the hard-core Marxist element in Social Reform came to realize that the rhetoric of class warfare was far less effective in America & South Africa, than it had been in parts of Europe, they turned to "Race" as a metaphor for Class in the 1920s; and by 1928, the more militant Social Reformers had openly embraced a wide spectrum of racially framed demands.

You know the rest.

It is because the Left correctly perceived sensitivity, in the character of many in the American ethnic mainstream, to being mislabeled as racial or religious bigots, that many of our cultural institutions, both public & private, have been so heavily impacted by the "Civil Rights" onslaught. New Rights--"civil rights," granted by Government against the traditional rights of the individual or community--have radically altered perceptions of liberty, education, private property & freedom of personal association. Yet fewer & fewer seem even aware of what has happened. As the movement was unleashed to force recognition of a human equality that does not exist, it has accomplished almost nothing of positive value. To be sure, opportunists in each community, who knew how to play in the new legal climate, have personally benefitted. But, as demonstrated in Chapters 5 & 19 of the Debate Handbook, most members of each affected race, have lost far more than they have gained. Yet, precisely because of that perceived sensitivity, most of the "Reforms" continue to go unchallenged. That does not make the net effect less disastrous.

We bear no hostility to any social class, community, tribe, faith, race or nation--quite the opposite. Yet we recognize that no class, community, tribe, faith, race or nation, ever benefits from a program premised on a lie. Only those who would tear down the achievements of others, for ulterior purpose, stand to benefit. Social Reformers, of course, come in many stripes. Those who largely understand our point--such as opportunists of the Communist & Nazi variants of Utilitarianism--may seek power in monolithic & totalitarian aggregations of people. The Parlor theorists, on the other hand, remain all 'at sea'--Lenin's "useful idiots." But regardless of whether opportunistic or delusional, "Social Reform," in our time, is still best defined as Kipling's "Social Progress":

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man--
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Does Any Government Engineered Reform Not Spring From Confusion?

Can any proposed reform, promoted by Government, actually provide a net social benefit? And, if so, what type of reform?

There is no great mystery here. While political efforts to alter society--to engineer major cultural changes--are virtually certain to do more harm than good because of the intellectual confusion discussed; when Government seeks to reform itself, it deals with what it actually knows or should know, with infinitely greater likelihood for success. This is the essential difference between the Reagan reforms in America and the "New Deal," "Great Society" & Clinton/Bush eras. It is the difference between what Margaret Thatcher achieved in Great Britain & what the Social Reformers in the Labour Party have wrought whenever they had the chance.

Reagan & Thatcher--as America's Founding Fathers--backed Government out of some of what burdened & retarded the ability of the individual to succeed. The difference between their approach & that of the social engineers could not be more obvious. The Social Reformers sought to make Government a common crutch; and, in so doing, foisted an intolerable weight on the creative elite. Reagan & Thatcher understood that the crutch mentality had failed; that the burden was totally counter-productive. Their approach replaced confusion with mental clarity; the myopic vision of the compulsion driven, with a broad perspective on the human condition & the mechanics of human achievement.

We have not actually addressed valid Reform in this essay, because our subject has been the intellectual confusion of those who have tried to co-opt the concept, the Social Reformers--self-appointed meddlers in the lives of others. The term "Social Reformer" does not apply to those who seek to reform themselves, whether as a Government or individual.

Conclusion

Whether it was an effort to solve the problems of individuals, change inter-group or intra-group dynamics, or reform perceptions, the modern American Social Reformer has accomplished virtually nothing of positive long term benefit to anyone. By contrast, he has done an almost incalculable amount of harm. Too enthusiastic over problems, sometimes imagined, sometimes contrived; far too full of his own self-righteous fixations, the generic Reformer has been too biased to even explore any interpretation for observed phenomena, that did not appear to support the necessity for the reform demanded. Once launched on such pursuit, he has treated every reasoned argument as to the probability of harmful effects from his reform, with contempt & disdain. With the zeal of the fanatic, with the mental clumsiness of a metaphorical "bull in a china shop," the modern Reformer wreaks havoc upon the social order, both in America and other lands, wherever he is able to influence those susceptible to his defective analysis.

While the intent may, in many cases, have been "to do good"; the confusion, in both analysis & execution, has been to precisely opposite effect. It has little mattered whether the Reformer was an idealistic enthusiast, a compulsive neurotic, a fanatic or an opportunist. Few, if any, of the most despicable figures in human history have ever caused greater harm, to longer term effect, than our confused subjects. Understanding the dynamics involved, in this conceptual myopia, is essential to first containing, then reversing, the effects of the social disaster they have wrought.

William Flax


[N.B. Those familiar with dynamic analysis will have realized a common error in every effort at centrally directed "Social Reform," long before coming to our conclusion. It is the same error encountered in the equally idiotic notion of a "Planned Economy." The free market unleashes the greatest productivity by involving all factors of production & consumption, in a way that no plan can duplicate. Those denied a free market, react instinctively to frustrate efforts to arbitrarily control factors of production & consumption. So, too, an organically evolving human society, where custom & attitude have been hammered out through the multi-generational interaction of a people responding to one another--not as "politically correct" mannequins, but as sentient creatures, with unique personalities & some volition as to belief & attitude--will not go easily into the night of a "planned society." This factor will compound those which flow directly from the confusion, detailed.

Note, also: There may be some question as to the appropriateness of including the Keynesian deception--reducing real wages & salaries by triggering inflation--as "social reform," rather than economic manipulation. It is primarily the latter, of course. But to the extent that it lowers the status of some segments of society in relation to others, it also effectively manipulates the social infra-structure.]




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Footnote On Absurd Egalitarian Compulsion

June, 2013>>
Jason Richwine & The Assault On America's Future

May, 2013>>
Agenda Serving Bullies, Crack-Pots Betraying Duty?

April, 2013>>
Implied Powers? Clearly Implied Limitations!

March, 2013>>
Compounding Disintegration

February, 2013>>
Missing Link To An Armed Citizenry

January, 2013>>
The Missing Link To Reality

December, 2012>>
Whither American Conservatism?

November, 2012>>
Obama Or America--Clarity On Irreconcilable Differences

October, 2012>>
Losing America's Multi-Generational Purpose

September, 2012>>
Why & How? Support Romney/Ryan

July, 2012>>
Cloud Dancing Revisited--A Spreading Contagion

May, 2012>>
Blame & Envy--Demagogues' Path To Power

April, 2012>>
"Diversity" In Context: Reality vs. Leftist Fantasy

March, 2012>>
World Government? Norman Cousins & Surrender By Subterfuge!

February, 2012>>
Conflicting Premises For A Social Order

January, 2012>>
Pseudo Pragmatism--Political Folly, Foreign & Domestic

December, 2011>>
"Occupy Wall Street": Fruits Of Corrupt Education

November, 2011>>
Reality--Paths To Success & A Path To Failure

October, 2011>>
Socialist Macro Policy Effects On Specific Groups

September, 2011>>
Debt Default In America

August, 2011>>
Egalitarian Collectivism Sabotages Human Potential

July, 2011>>
Pursuit Of "Diversity," A Return To Babel?

June, 2011>>
Gold & Money In America, II

May, 2011>>
Freedom Of Choice? Gulliver Discovers America!

Libya, America & The Law Of Nations

Greatest Mischief Ever Wrought

Social Security? Threats To Social Security Cont.

Social Security? Enemy Of Social Security!

Perception Of Reality--Or Lack Of It

The Better Term: "Liberal" Or "Mipip?"

"Social Justice"--Not Social & Not Just

A Place For The America We Knew?

American Essentials

Cloud Dancing--Social Medium For Scoundrels, Neurotics & Dolts

Answer To "Cloud Dancing">>
America, Built On Experience & Reason

Keynesian Harvest, 2008 & Beyond

Saving For A Future

Gold & Money In America

Leftist Intolerance--2009

Health Care--The Real Issue

Gaming The Question--Staple of Demagogues

Economics Of A Sociopath>>
Keynes & The Keynesian Appeal

Addiction: An Economy Dependent Upon Easy Credit

The Function Of Money--A Medium Of Exchange

Congress & Regulation Of Commerce

Obama--The Week After: A Dissent

The Price Of Egalitarianism

Reflections On An Unfortunate Milestone--The Accidental American

Our Duty, If Present Trends Continue?

Leftwing Chickens Coming Home (Obama)

Race & Ethnic Politics--America, 2008

Liberty: The Basics

Responsibility Factor

Reason Or Compulsion--The Future At Stake

Talk With Your 'Kids'--Drugs, Truth & Family Purpose

Promoting Hate--SPLC In Action

Death Of Community

2006--Dangerous Intellectual Confusion Of A President

2006--Bush Grovels To The NAACP

Rebuke To President Bush On Immigration

Context: Essential, Nearly Lost, Attribute Of Reason

George Washington vs. George W. Bush on American Foreign Policy

Letter To The New Graduate

Compulsion For Uniformity

How The Welfare State Works

Declaration Of Independence--With Study Guide

Feminism: Women Hostage To Contrived Delusion

Faces Of Fanaticism

Booker T. Washington Address To Atlanta Exposition

Kipling Poem--Quoted In Article:
The Gods Of The Copybook Headings

Conservative Resource Menu--180+ Items