July 27, 2011
Delusions of Adequacy

I subscribe to Newsweek, but normally skip right past the tweety bird of the right, George Will. So I missed this rather amusing trifle back in February, but Alternet’s Sarah Jaffe didn’t.

Generations hence, when the river of time has worn this presidency’s importance to a small, smooth pebble in the stream of history, people will still marvel that its defining trait was a mania for high-speed rail projects. This disorder illuminates the progressive mind…

Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons — to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they—unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted—are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

Will gives away the game with the phrase “delusions of adequacy.” It is pure projection, since the whole point of the GOP’s own marketing is to keep the suckers quiet with delusions of adequacy. If the boobs can drive their car anywhere they damn please, no damn government Nazi is going push them around (that’s the bank’s job, the minute they’re late with a payment.) An AK-47 over every hearth is adequate to the task of protecting freedom-loving Americans from the feds who would otherwise enslave them (never mind Waco or Ruby Ridge.) And of course there’s nothing like a submissive wife and obedient children to make a fellow feel adequate. Except maybe pushing around a minority while you’re still, precariously, in the majority. Or that greatest delusion of adequacy of them all: belief in American exceptionalism as our ship of fools slowly sinks under the weight of their delusions.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at July 27, 2011 09:18 PM
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"the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism."


Really? That's the real reason I like trains? I always thought it was those cool little roomettes and the bar car.

Posted by: nroberts on July 28, 2011 11:28 AM

So, why did Ayn Rand like trains?

Posted by: Tim on July 28, 2011 12:49 PM

Because of the big, thrusting pistons.

Posted by: Fast Eddie on July 28, 2011 3:33 PM

Hey, nroberts. I'm with you. Also, how wonderful it is when you can have your very own chauffeur!!!


Posted by: Mary Faye on July 28, 2011 3:52 PM
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