Six weeks ago, after roughly a week of clashes between protestors rallied by George Floyd’s killing and Seattle police, a six-block section of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood was ‘occupied’ and declared the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). Soon, it was also/re-named the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest/Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP).

Roughly three weeks after it was formed, it fizzled out from a combination of lost interest and chaotic devolution that prompted Seattle’s mayor to order the police department to clean it up.

In that short span of time, we witnessed the emergence of government, walls and border control, laws and law enforcement, asset seizure, wealth redistribution, a “warlord,” several shootings, efforts at public sanitation, and entreaties for foreign aid (as in, please send food and supplies).

It was an incredibly illustrative experiment, in that it reinforces something that libertarians, conservatives, the Founding Fathers, and political thinkers across many centuries have long known: You can change the rules, but you can’t change human nature.

It also demonstrated that chaos is easy, but order is hard. Yet, it is order that elevates the human condition, that liberates people from subsistence living and the baseline state of struggle and misery, and that has advanced our living standards to what they are today. Anyone who has ever done a renovation project knows this: demolition takes very little time compared to reconstruction, and reconstruction is what matters.

The great flaw in today’s progressive/social-justice/woke movement lies in a belief that human nature either doesn’t exist or can be educated out of people. Lenin believed this, or at least publicly avowed such a belief (“Give us the child for eight years and it will be a Bolshevik forever”), and built a nation that deliberately killed tens of millions of its own citizens and impoverished hundreds of millions more, across a mere 7 decades. Mao held the same belief, and produced even more death and misery. History books offer us example after example of the same outcome: efforts to organize society around principles that don’t take human nature into account invariably decline into misery and chaos. Socialism/communism is predicated on people putting the national/collective good ahead of that of their own and their family/clan, and thus it’s always doomed to fail.

Individuals can and often do rise above their basic, selfish instincts, and achieve much good in the process. But, populations will always orbit around those instincts, and governments that are successful are those that are designed with acknowledgment of the permanency of those instincts, including and especially in the people who are put in charge of things.

Thus, the eternal truth of the adage “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Thus, the beauty of America’s Constitution, which limited power, distributed power, and safeguarded individuals against power.

Thus, Milton Friedman’s question “tell me where in the world you find these angels who are going to organize society for us?”

Unfortunately, one aspect of human nature is hubris, aptly explained by George Orwell: “Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”

So, we get demands from certain quarters that the entire existing system be torn down, and a new one that’s “better,” i.e. socialism/Marxism done right be put in its place. Leaders of the BLM organization are avowed Marxists, no matter the lessons of history.

To repeat, tearing down is easy. CHAZ proved that. Replacing that which has been torn down is difficult. CHAZ proved that as well.

How do our progressives expect their vision for our society to succeed, in the face of human nature? Their cultural-revolution renaming of everything and defenestrating of all that we know about people in favor of some massive new lexicon and alternate belief sets regarding race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and countless other aspects of human beings will not succeed where Lenin failed. Human nature will remain, and it will win out over any attempt to inculcate it out of existence.

Which brings me to the title of this essay. Progressives, to achieve their vision, need the “angels” that Friedman mentioned. They need leaders who are devoid of human instincts, proclivities, and desires.

They need aliens.

Real ones, as in Arthur C. Clarke’s Overlords. Real ones, as in not-human. Real ones, who also happen to be devoid of their equivalent of human nature that might get in the way of their benevolent, wise, and all-knowing stewardship. And, aliens with a far greater proclivity to rule, micromanage, punish, and reward, unlike the “mostly leave humanity alone” Overlords.

Despite the attestations of crop-circle abductees, aliens don’t exist, which means that the progressives’ pursuit of their dream society is an path to ruin.

An ex post facto spoiler alert. The Overlords in Childhood’s end look like devils. The book has been around since 1953, and the SYFY channel adaptation came out in 2015, so you’ve had your chance. Read one, watch the other, and make what you will of their appearance in relation to this essay.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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