The War On Human Nature Continues

As a follow up to yesterday's post, I offer a piece from Victor Davis Hanson that gets into the one thing that always trips up our Progressive brethren and ensures the failure of their grand dream – human nature. They either try to ignore or re-engineer it, but in general they make war against human nature, and constantly lose. And so it is with the Obama administration.

At some critical point, everyone makes choices based on incentives and his own perception of self-interest. Somehow the Obama administration has forgotten that natural law.

A therapeutic sense of self-sacrifice is fine in the abstract, but in the concrete such magnanimity causes far more harm to the innocent than does a realistic appraisal of self-interest and a tragic acceptance of the flawed nature of man. The theme of the present administration is that it possesses the wisdom and resources to know better what people should do than they do themselves. From that premise arose most of catastrophes that have befallen this administration.

It is not just the Obama administration that has made this mistake, but many other nations have done so as well, most of which no longer exist as a political entity.

A couple of simple examples of how the Obama administration's efforts to 'help' the people has backfired because it has ignored human nature.

Do we operate on the T-ball philosophy that effort and happy talk can substitute for achievement?

Do the unemployed more eagerly seek employment when they are provided increases in food stamps, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, and assorted housing, legal, and education subsidies, or are they more likely to remain on public assistance, to become more indifferent to full-time employment, and to augment their subsidies with off-the-books cash income?

If Americans receive essentially zero interest on their passbook accounts, are they more or less likely to save?

Does assuring the country that the successful businessman did not really build his own operation encourage others to take such entrepreneurial risks, or does it dissuade them? If someone makes profits in business or a profession, can he expect to be praised for his success or targeted as making too much more money than others? And what effect on the general economy does such an attitude portend?

The problem with ignoring the role of unchanging human nature is that usually someone other than the utopian gets killed, runs out of money, or must live with the chaos brought about by the actions of the better-off, who are permitted by their money, leisure, power, and influence to dream that we are something that we are not.

Ignoring human nature has almost always caused grief and misery, particularly when those discounting human nature are the government.

One of the longest running experiments to re-engineer human nature failed spectacularly when the Soviet Union ceased to exist. It tried to create “The New Soviet Man” who would give of himself to the good of the state even to his own detriment or to that of his family. The Soviets tried to engineer a perpetually altruistic human but found out it wasn't possible as human nature was stronger than their Marxist ideology. For the most part Soviet citizens wanted nothing to do with the experiment as they were too busy trying to provide for themselves and their families.

Anyone in government who believes they can get around human nature is living in a world of self-delusion. What's worse is that there are plenty of others who believe the same thing despite hundreds of years of evidence to the contrary.