Recently I ran across a line in my reading — I forget the author, but it may have been Theodore Dalrymple — that suggested that progressives dream of creating a society so perfect that there is no need to be good.
I was reminded of this when I saw a bit from an NYT piece from 1981 about Bernie Sanders:
”I don’t believe in charities,” said Mayor Sanders, bringing a shocked silence to a packed hotel banquet room. The Mayor, who is a Socialist, went on to question the ”fundamental concepts on which charities are based” and contended that government, rather than charity organizations, should take over responsibility for social programs.
Admittedly, Mr. Sanders may have changed his views of things over the last 35 years — I have. But this is a view of government as a proxy for virtue, which would presumably be allowed to atrophy. But what happens when power is in the hands of people with no need to be good?
Ultimately, the world Mr. Sanders seems to support is the world of T.H. White’s ants, where everything that is not forbidden is compulsory. There is no need for choice in his worldview — and that hasn’t changed.
But what of those of us who believe that choices — between right and wrong, good and evil, one path or another — are the very things that make us human? A world in which there is no need for people to be good is literally inhuman — a world with no need for people.