On Saturday’s show I mentioned a concept I picked up from Carrol Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope: that culture changes when children’s values are disconnected from their parents;’ this can happen in any of a number of ways from technological progress to outside cultural influences. I believe this method is deliberately used in the United States to move us from our individualist past to the “collectivist future.” Specifically I believe childhood education (literally disconnecting us from our parents), higher education (indoctrinating us to the state), high taxes (causing both parents to work), welfare (breaking up families), the drug war (creating outlaw subcultures), immigration policy (deliberately drawing in only the least educated) and culture infiltration (debasing rather than ennobling humanness), among other things, are deliberate manipulations designed to disconnect the values of future generations from the values on which the American Experiment was based. As a libertarian, I am particularly galled by this because I believe society is self-ordering and that such manipulations falsely undermine this liberating truth. In other words, truly left to our own devices, American society would be peaceful, prosperous and compassionate, but we are not left to our own devices, we are manipulated behind the scenes.
I have been trying to find the exact Quigley quote, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it. I did, however, find the passage below, which I think is even more illuminating and speaks to another reference I made on the show: Norman Dodd’s claim that the Carnegie Endowment, et al, deliberately set out to change this country by getting it involved in war. The passage below rests on Quigley’s premise that the World Wars were an organic manifestation of man’s badness. I think Dodd’s claim counters that. Dodd attests that it was due to a small group of bad men, not to man’s bad nature. Despite what is in my opinion this flaw in Quigley’s basic assumption, he eloquently encapsulates the fundamental difference between Our Founders’ philosophy and the prevailing philosophy today:
“In contrast with the nineteenth-century belief that human nature is innately good and that society is corrupting, the twentieth century came to believe that human nature is, if not innately bad, at least capable of being very evil. Left to himself, it seems today, man falls very easily to the level of the jungle or even lower, and this result can be prevented only by training and the coercive power of society. Thus, man is capable of great evil, but society can prevent this. Along with this change from good men and bad society to bad men and good society has appeared a reaction from optimism to pessimism and from secularism to religion. At the same time the view that evil is merely the absence of good has been replaced with the idea that evil is a very positive force which must be resisted and overcome. The horrors of Hitler’s concentration camps and of Stalin’s slave-labor units are chiefly responsible for this change.
“The belief that human abilities are innate and should be left free from social duress in order to display themselves has been replaced by the idea that human abilities are the result of social training and must be directed to socially acceptable ends. Thus liberalism* and laissez-faire are to be replaced, apparently, by social discipline and planning. The ‘community of interests’ which would appear if men were merely left to pursue their own desires has been replaced by the idea of the welfare community, which must be created by conscious organizing action. The belief in progress has been replaced by the fear of social retrogression or even human annihilation. The old march of democracy now yields to the insidious advance of authoritarianism, and the individual capitalism of the profit motive seems about to be replaced by the state capitalism of the welfare economy. Science, on all sides, is challenged by mysticisms, some of which march under the banner of science itself; urbanism has passed its peak and is replaced by suburbanism or even “flight to the country”; and nationalism finds its patriotic appeal challenged by appeals to much wider groups of class, ideological or continental scope. (From p28 of the First Edition of Tragedy & Hope.)
*Libertarianism in today’s terms.
Here is Dodd in his own words: