Reflections on “The System”

“Property is theft” is the cleverest expression of greed and envy. It is greed masked as righteousness, and envy proffered as insight.

Every enlightened person today — from every successful social science professor, acclaimed film director, and bestselling pop singer, to every socially adjusted teenager and right-thinking government office worker — says “the system” is set up to enrich the few at the expense of the many; that “the system” is destroying the planet; that “the system” enables the rich to get richer while the poor get poorer; that “the system” perpetuates modern slavery; that “the system” oppresses women and denies human rights to people with non-standard sexual proclivities. Therefore, these enlightened ones tell us, “the system” must be overturned, destroyed, replaced.

They learned these premises of enlightened rebellion against “the system” in public school, which is to say in “the system’s” compulsory training facility.

What is the likelihood that any of these enlightened ones will ever take a hard look at that last fact — that “paradox” — and think deeply about what it implies? Zero, of course; for the inability of “the many” to look at themselves honestly, i.e., without the unstated presumption of being the enlightened ones, is another thing they learned in public school, which is to say from “the system.”

To accept the beliefs that today’s enlightened progressives regard as truisms about society, economic class, and something they call “capitalism,” one has to carefully avoid drawing attention to the lessons and implications of thousands of years of human history and thought — especially to avoid drawing one’s own attention to these lessons and implications. The chief mechanism of this psychological avoidance, progressivism’s self-imposed missing premise, is the Marxist historical dialectic. Like all our now-presupposed historical dialectics — originally concoctions of nineteenth-century German romantic nationalism — this radically reductionist and anti-individual (i.e., illiberal) system of historical interpretation is the product of a mind so eager to hide from a million humiliating and falsifying realities that it is prepared to simply block its ears, like an indignant twelve-year-old facing parental common sense, and scream, “I can’t hear you! I won’t listen! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!”

What could be more convenient, to one hoping to reconfigure reality in the shape of his personal envy and moral paralysis, than to opine, “Our elders have nothing to teach us, for their truths are obsolete”? And a man who could articulate such an emotionally self-interested position in the form of a scientific theory — albeit a theory oozing barely-suppressed anger from every crack — would hold the key to mobilizing the weaklings of the world behind his vengeful assault on the lives he envies, and the human nature he fears.

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