Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Wrong Side

Our president, and those of our fellow citizens who are inclined to think likewise, are fond of declaring of those whose politics or world view they disagree with, that they are on the "the wrong side of history".  The president opposes ISIS, for instance, as well he should, but declares that that they are to be opposed because they are on the "the wrong side of history". Similarly, if one tells a person of liberal-minded belief that maybe it is not such a good idea that the country allow unlimited immigration and large numbers of refugees from a certain religious demographic that has proven to harbor a certain amount of hostility to the West in general and this country in particular, one gets told that one is simply full of hate and that one is, as the phrase goes, on the "the wrong side of history". Because History is this inevitable process, of course; destined to move in a certain direction and to favor one particular group's ideology and politics.

This is in line with how Marx thought, of course. History is a Science, and with a proper understanding of the past, man can discern the future. Marx was wrong, of course. Nearly all of his predictions of the future failed to materialize.

I am inclined to think of another historical figure, this one of the 20th century, of whom liberals have a certain affinity for — esteemed inventor and founder of our dystopia, Henry Ford, who famously declared that History was 'bunk'. Ford gave birth to one of the great inventions of the century, one for which he is duly celebrated as one of the great benefactors of mankind — the $5 work day. Oh, and he also invented a process to provide a new form of transportation to the masses. But the real trick, of course, was getting people to do the mind-numbing work that went into creating these machines. Because people did not like working on assembly lines, repeating the same repetitive task all day. They were quitting faster than old Ford could replace them. So Ford had to make the generous bribe — er... offer — of an unprecedented wage in order to keep them on the line. Progressives seem to think that he did it purely out of the generosity of his heart — but there was cold, naked self-interest at its core. 

Never mind that Ford spied on his employees and hired thugs to rough up Walter Reuther, the man obviously cared...

It was the $5 work day which created the middle-class auto worker as we know it today, and a reason Ford is so celebrated by Progressives. But really, it created a worker who could only be considered middle class in the sense of his income. Work ethic, skill, self-determination and agency, professionalism — the typical hallmarks of the middle class and by which it had created itself — went by the wayside as the new laboring class was only required to perform the most basic sort of tasks — a sort of work more fit for a monkey than a human being.

But, all this is a digression. The key question is whether history has a wrong or right side or whether it is all 'bunk'. Is history some impersonal force moving inexorably to its own conclusion? Or is it merely the dull record of human affairs, malleable to those Titans — such as that of Industry  who can exert their stamp on it and bend it to their will, perhaps? There is an inherent contradiction in the Progressive notion of history, it would seem.