Monday, June 1, 2009


This afternoon I stumbled on a set of speakers on CSPAN discussing the future of progressivism (though under the title of the future of conservatism). What struck me was the their position was non-falsifiable. They had great faith in the ability of government to serve the people provided that the right people control government. The right people are the progressives and the wrong people are the conservatives. The present triumph of progressives opens up the possibility of a long reign of progressive rule that can only be stopped by mistakes of the progressives. Hence, if the policies of the Obama administration are disastrous resulting in electoral reversal, it will not be that the progressive policies were flawed. It will be that the people who implemented them were not good enough. True progressives will continue to advocate these policies, arguing that they will work next time provided that better people are carrying them out.

Everyone holds beliefs that are non-falsifiable. However, we should be able to recognize that that these beliefs are not scientific, but rather non-scientific and religious. It does strike me as a bit strange that the progressives seek to discredit conservative policies on empirical grounds (i.e., the present recession shows the failure of laissez-faire policies), but are unwilling to submit, a priori, their policies to similar empirical tests.

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