Why progressives can't progress

posted by Jeff | Sunday, October 25, 2020, 7:57 PM | comments: 0

I was reading a thread in a science group about the falling cost of putting things in space and the peripheral effort to make humans an interplanetary species. Science in space has had immeasurable benefit to humanity, and not just Velcro®. In the context of today's industry, smaller, less rich companies are able to launch communications satellites, the US is able to put up better ways to measure climate change, and SpaceX is well into the process of making Internet access possible literally everywhere in an affordable manner. And we don't even have to throw away the rockets after one use!

What the conversation devolved into was deep and unfounded criticism toward rich people, which is non-constructive. I take issue with two things. First, I don't understand how we got to a place where we now villainize the successful. Success is not antithetical to being a moral contributor to society. I mean, one of the most successful, Bill Gates, has had a part in eliminating polio. Like, it's almost gone from earth. The second issue is that there is an assumption that success comes at the expense of others. While there are certainly "successful" people who got rich screwing the little guy, these are anecdotes, not the trend.

Progressive policymakers have a lot of important and ambitious goals, many of which I agree with. They're morally correct when they find it absurd that a wealthy nation like ours can't cover the healthcare of all its citizens, creating a gateway to poverty and sickness, and making people risk averse to start a business because of the lack of healthcare access that may come with it. I'm on the fence about some other issues, but hopefully things like equality along every line (which is not the same as giving shit away, so relax with the socialism paranoia) are not controversial. The problem is that the progressives tend to make the successful the face of the problem, which doesn't make any sense.

The rich are just as much of a boogie man as people of color are to the other side. In my profession, I know a lot of really well-off people, and I would guess that the majority align with a lot of progressive goals, especially the healthcare. (And speaking personally, not being able to afford it for my family is the single biggest reason I've never in earnest tried to start a business, because I can't afford their care without a day job working for someone else.) The truth is that they're not the ones you need to convince... it's the other more moderate successful people. You won't win any hearts and minds by suggesting they're the problem, but I suspect many of them would agree that the system needs changing.

If progressives intend to make any progress, they have to stop scapegoating the people and start addressing the problems with the system.


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