Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Progressives are Insatiable – and Unstoppable

 

Human beings, by nature, are hungry. A basic human need is to feed our hunger, and it shows up in many different ways. Our most fundamental hunger appears in our bodies telling us that we need to nourish ourselves, that we need to be fed. Some people hunger for recognition and even fame. Others are hungry for learning. Still others want to control others, either in their work or through authoritarian means. Many seek material possessions to satisfy their cravings. The question for me, though, is why do people crave the impractical or impossible, when they already have attained so much?

The possible answers have occurred to me, and they are dismal and tragic.

For one, people are not self-reflective enough to look into their hungers. Like a primitive people, they think the source of their perceived deprivation is outside themselves. The basic instinct which is intended to keep them alive and well has taken on enormous proportions, a life of its own. It grows larger, weighing down human beings, and instead of looking inside themselves for what might be missing, they decide to change the world in which they feel trapped.

They will try to satisfy this yearning through the material, if they have the means. New cars, new houses, expensive vacations, notoriety or fame. But the hunger lingers on. If they don’t have the means to acquire “things,” or to indulge in excesses, they may stop to look at the world around them. Unfortunately, they evaluate the world in terms of what it provides for them. And the dearth of opportunities (in their minds) is depressing, or they are not prepared to do the work required to explore them. They perceive others around them with all kinds of things, happy as larks, while they are miserable, and their disaffection grows. Their ability to reflect on the possibilities they could pursue is missing from their worldview. They only see emptiness, loss, loneliness, and experience a poverty of the soul.

So they dream. Dreaming only requires the imagination. It’s easy and always available and comforts them. In their dreams they can create the perfect world. Jobs for everyone. Wealth for everyone. Material riches for everyone. And how will they do it? Why, they can take the wealth from those who already have more than they need; they have plenty and owe it to all of those who don’t have enough to share what they have. There is a justice in that effort. A fairness. An equality. Over time, those who are forced to give up what they have will get accustomed to it. It’s a perfect plan.

They will find others who want a perfect world, easily acquired. They will all link arms in achieving this mission. They will dream together, promote their beliefs and values and recruit others who are as idealistic as they are, who want a perfect world. Some will not recognize that their efforts are selfish and self-serving; instead, they will satisfy their hunger with their illusions of serving humanity. Those who do not have enough will surely be grateful to those who spread the wealth. They will honor those who do this “work.” They will celebrate them. They may even elect them.

* * *

Those of us who realize the countless human casualties that will come out of these efforts are alarmed. How do we change the minds of these craving and craven souls? How do we convince them that they will be destroying the souls of the people they are trying to help? Given the “rewards” these idealists perceive that they will reap, I see little hope of changing their minds.

Thanks to @oldbathos for the inspiration to write this post.

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There are 42 comments.

  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    They only way to deal with that hunger is to practice gratitude. 

    • #1
    • November 19, 2019, at 8:41 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  2. Old Bathos Member

    The better off we are materially, the more vulnerable to really stupid values and ideologies.

    Adam and Eve had it good but ultimately refused to affirm the gift of their lives and conditions. The idea that God is hiding something good from us, that a non serviam will get us there appears to run deep. The political fault line appears to be between those who don’t expect perfection but believe that gratitude is warranted for what is real and those who refuse to affirm or be grateful.

    • #2
    • November 19, 2019, at 8:46 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    The better off we are materially, the more vulnerable to really stupid values and ideologies.

    Adam and Eve had it good but ultimately refused to affirm the gift of their lives and conditions. The idea that God is hiding something good from us, that a non serviam will get us there appears to run deep. The political fault line appears to be between those who don’t expect perfection but believe that gratitude is warranted for what is real and those who refuse to affirm or be grateful.

    Indeed. Although this does assume a belief in G-d. . .

    I do think that gratitude is sadly missing on the Left. If one never has enough, or what they are entitled to, then they have no reason to experience or express gratitude. Thanks, @oldbathos.

    • #3
    • November 19, 2019, at 8:51 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    They only way to deal with that hunger is to practice gratitude.

    I agree, @bryangstephens. But see #3 comment.

    • #4
    • November 19, 2019, at 8:52 AM PST
    • 1 like
  5. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Have you read this Quillette essay ? It is excellent and addresses your topic.

    https://quillette.com/2019/11/16/thorstein-veblens-theory-of-the-leisure-class-a-status-update/

     

    • #5
    • November 19, 2019, at 9:16 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Have you read this Quillette essay ? It is excellent and addresses your topic.

    https://quillette.com/2019/11/16/thorstein-veblens-theory-of-the-leisure-class-a-status-update/

     

    I now have read it–fascinating! I especially found this comment interesting:

    Affluent people promote open borders or the decriminalization of drugs because it advances their social standing, not least because they know that the adoption of those policies will cost them less than others. The logic is akin to conspicuous consumption—if you’re a student who has a large subsidy from your parents and I do not, you can afford to waste $900 and I can’t, so wearing a Canada Goose jacket is a good way of advertising your superior wealth and status. Proposing policies that will cost you as a member of the upper class less than they would cost me serve the same function. Advocating for open borders and drug experimentation are good ways of advertising your membership of the elite because, thanks to your wealth and social connections, they will cost you less than me.

    Thanks, @michaelkennedy.

    • #6
    • November 19, 2019, at 9:49 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  7. Manny Member

    Very interesting Susan. Here’s another possibility. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Could the inability to stop and be grateful be related whatever causes some to have the inability to stop eating? I hate to make it sound like a psychological problem. I’m trying not to. I’m not saying it’s a sickness, but just a personality variation, either inherent or acquired. Could the inability to stop and be rational be linked to some process in the mind that keeps pushing one to greater intensity? I don’t profess to know. Just a theory.

    • #7
    • November 19, 2019, at 10:25 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. namlliT noD Member

    Susan, I’m thinking that your premise runs counter to the classic adage “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

    (Often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, but who knows…)

     

    • #8
    • November 19, 2019, at 10:34 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Manny (View Comment):

    Very interesting Susan. Here’s another possibility. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Could the inability to stop and be grateful be related whatever causes some to have the inability to stop eating? I hate to make it sound like a psychological problem. I’m trying not to. I’m not saying it’s a sickness, but just a personality variation, either inherent or acquired. Could the inability to stop and be rational be linked to some process in the mind that keeps pushing one to greater intensity? I don’t profess to know. Just a theory.

    It could be all those things, @manny. I do think it is a deep psychological problem. Which makes it even harder to get at.

    • #9
    • November 19, 2019, at 10:45 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Susan, I’m thinking that your premise runs counter to the classic adage “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

    (Often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, but who knows…)

     

    I agree with Ralph, @dontillman. But he wrote pre-Progressivism, didn’t he. . .

    • #10
    • November 19, 2019, at 10:45 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. Samuel Block Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    They only way to deal with that hunger is to practice gratitude.

    But that is literally the opposite of privilege-pointing! And privilege-pointing is in these days.

    Excellent, as always, Susan.

    • #11
    • November 19, 2019, at 11:27 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    They only way to deal with that hunger is to practice gratitude.

    But that is literally the opposite of privilege-pointing! And privilege-pointing is in these days.

    Excellent, as always, Susan.

    You’re so right, @samuelblock. I think some humility is built in to gratitude, and that would never, never be acceptable! Thanks!

    • #12
    • November 19, 2019, at 11:33 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  13. Samuel Block Member

    namlliT noD (View Comment):

    Susan, I’m thinking that your premise runs counter to the classic adage “Life is a journey, not a destination.”

    (Often attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, but who knows…)

    Susan has no time for such hippie stuff and nonsense. 

    You guys remember when I posted a few words about play, right?

    • #13
    • November 19, 2019, at 11:33 AM PST
    • 1 like
  14. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    I remember Alan Watts, who was a Zen iconoclast. And I will partly disagree with him about the journey. I believe live is about the journey, not just working toward an end game, but enjoying life in each moment. The problem for Progressives is that they want each moment to be fun, joyful, easy. They don’t realize that life is about embracing all of it! We are called to comfort a friend who has lost someone dear to him or her; and celebrate birthdays. We are called to do our best to accept when sickness strikes; and to cheer on our friends to a victory. We have the opportunity to scream at disappointment and then come to terms with it at some point. It isn’t easy to live our lives this way, moment to moment. But that is what the journey is about. Taking in all of it. Accepting all of it. Loved the video, Samuel

    • #14
    • November 19, 2019, at 11:44 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  15. Samuel Block Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I remember Alan Watts, who was a Zen iconoclast. And I will partly disagree with him about the journey. I believe live is about the journey, not just working toward an end game, but enjoying life in each moment. The problem for Progressives is that they want each moment to be fun, joyful, easy. They don’t realize that life is about embracing all of it! We are called to comfort a friend who has lost someone dear to him or her; and celebrate birthdays. We are called to do our best to accept when sickness strikes; and to cheer on our friends to a victory. We have the opportunity to scream at disappointment and then come to terms with it at some point. It isn’t easy to live our lives this way, moment to moment. But that is what the journey is about. Taking in all of it. Accepting all of it. Loved the video, Simon

    I wish my name was Simon! Being a king maker is cool too though. 😉

    I agree. People definitely do not mean the same things when they use that phrase. Joseph Epstein had a great essay on the word “journey,” particularly on its many misuses.

    • #15
    • November 19, 2019, at 11:49 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Samuel Block (View Comment):
    I wish my name was Simon! Being a king maker is cool too though. 😉

    I’m so sorry, Samuel. See my post tomorrow. It will all become clear. ;-)

    What’s so interesting is that so many Lefties practice Buddhism, which is all about being in the moment. And without cognitive dissonance either!

    BTW, I am continually called Sally, over and over, by the same people. There’s a Sally Quinn. No relation, thank goodness!

    • #16
    • November 19, 2019, at 11:53 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Have you read this Quillette essay ? It is excellent and addresses your topic.

    https://quillette.com/2019/11/16/thorstein-veblens-theory-of-the-leisure-class-a-status-update/

     

    I now have read it–fascinating! I especially found this comment interesting:

    Affluent people promote open borders or the decriminalization of drugs because it advances their social standing, not least because they know that the adoption of those policies will cost them less than others. The logic is akin to conspicuous consumption—if you’re a student who has a large subsidy from your parents and I do not, you can afford to waste $900 and I can’t, so wearing a Canada Goose jacket is a good way of advertising your superior wealth and status. Proposing policies that will cost you as a member of the upper class less than they would cost me serve the same function. Advocating for open borders and drug experimentation are good ways of advertising your membership of the elite because, thanks to your wealth and social connections, they will cost you less than me.

    Thanks, @michaelkennedy.

    This explains the current corporate leadership of Chick-fil-a spitting in the sandwichs of their core customers and their founder’s face. It isn’t just business, it is entirely social status in their highly anti-Chistian elite circle.

    • #17
    • November 19, 2019, at 12:28 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Susan Quinn: The question for me, though, is why do people crave the impractical or impossible, when they already have attained so much?

    This post calls to mind a passage in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The cousin of the siblings central to the Narnia series has stumbled into Narnia while chasing them. He is alone, not in sight of the cousins he was chasing. The powerful witch who has Narnia under her spell, always winter but never Christmas, lures the boy into her sleigh and plies him with a dessert. He loves the first serving and keeps asking for more, while becoming less and less satisfied until it makes his stomach queasy.

    Similarly, there is the tale of an early business or banking titan asked by a reporter “how much is enough?” Answer: “Just a little more.”

    • #18
    • November 19, 2019, at 12:42 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: The question for me, though, is why do people crave the impractical or impossible, when they already have attained so much?

    This post calls to mind a passage in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The cousin of the siblings central to the Narnia series has stumbled into Narnia while chasing them. He is alone, not in sight of the cousins he was chasing. The powerful witch who has Narnia under her spell, always winter but never Christmas, lures the boy into her sleigh and plies him with a dessert. He loves the first serving and keeps asking for more, while becoming less and less satisfied until it makes his stomach queasy.

    Similarly, there is the tale of an early business or banking titan asked by a reporter “how much is enough?” Answer: “Just a little more.”

    I remember Dennis Prager asking a US Senator or Rep from CA a similar question–how much would be enough. And he stumbled around, not knowing what to say. Whenever I’ve asked Lefties how would they know the limits of what they could take from others, they always say,”We’ll figure it out.” After listening to Bernie and Liz, we know there are no limits.

    • #19
    • November 19, 2019, at 12:47 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  20. Bob Wainwright Member

    Manny (View Comment):

    Very interesting Susan. Here’s another possibility. Obsessive-compulsive disorder. Could the inability to stop and be grateful be related whatever causes some to have the inability to stop eating? I hate to make it sound like a psychological problem. I’m trying not to. I’m not saying it’s a sickness, but just a personality variation, either inherent or acquired. Could the inability to stop and be rational be linked to some process in the mind that keeps pushing one to greater intensity? I don’t profess to know. Just a theory.

    I’ve always suspected that the progressive obsession with equality is a form of OCD. In the same way that someone suffering from OCD might be obsessed with their shoelaces or fingernails or distance between their furniture being equal lengths, progressives feel mental pain when they think of incomes or wealth not being exactly equal.

    • #20
    • November 19, 2019, at 1:35 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  21. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    That Quillette essay I recommended is interesting also in the biography of the author. He lived in foster homes and his life is 180 degrees away from the lives of his Yale classmates. 

    I went back to school after I retired to get another degree in health policy. One of my classmates in that masters program at Dartmouth was a young woman who had a similar history. She had grown up in foster homes and told me she would rather have been in an orphanage. Her topic for her dissertation was on the “Utility of Regret.” I examined/interviewed a young black man joining the Army. He told me he had grown up in foster homes and had 17 half sibling, who he hoped never to see again.

    I doubt he will ever go to Yale but I was impressed by his desire to make something of himself.

    • #21
    • November 19, 2019, at 5:02 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    They only way to deal with that hunger is to practice gratitude.

    I agree, @bryangstephens. But see #3 comment.

    That is their problem. They are miserable all the time. Must suck to live that way.

     

     

    • #22
    • November 19, 2019, at 6:16 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  23. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn: The question for me, though, is why do people crave the impractical or impossible, when they already have attained so much?

    This post calls to mind a passage in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The cousin of the siblings central to the Narnia series has stumbled into Narnia while chasing them. He is alone, not in sight of the cousins he was chasing. The powerful witch who has Narnia under her spell, always winter but never Christmas, lures the boy into her sleigh and plies him with a dessert. He loves the first serving and keeps asking for more, while becoming less and less satisfied until it makes his stomach queasy.

    Similarly, there is the tale of an early business or banking titan asked by a reporter “how much is enough?” Answer: “Just a little more.”

    Clifford, your character identification is incorrect, though it does not affect your point. The boy who stumbles into Narnia is Edmund, one of the brothers, following his younger sister Lucy. All four siblings (the Pevensies — the others are Peter and Susan) ultimately end up in Narnia. There is a later book (made into the Dawn Treader film) in which a cousin, Eustace Scrubb, enters Narnia (with Lucy and Edmund). Eustace is useless, at first, but eventually learns his lesson and becomes a good guy.

    • #23
    • November 20, 2019, at 11:12 AM PST
    • Like
  24. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    They only way to deal with that hunger is to practice gratitude.

    I agree, @bryangstephens. But see #3 comment.

    That is their problem. They are miserable all the time. Must suck to live that way.

    Boy, I really disagree with this. I’m planning to deal with my current hunger by going out and getting something fried for lunch. :)

    • #24
    • November 20, 2019, at 11:13 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  25. David Foster Member

    This all ties in with a remark made by Sebastian Haffner, who grew up in Germany between the wars. He notes that when the political and economic situation stabilized (under the influence of Gustav Stresemann), most people breathed a sigh of relief and were happy:

    The last ten years were forgotten like a bad dream. The Day of Judgment was remote again, and there was no demand for saviors or revolutionaries…There was an ample measure of freedom, peace, and order, everywhere the most well-meaning liberal-mindedness, good wages, good food and a little political boredom. everyone was cordially invited to concentrate on their personal lives, to arrange their affairs according to their own taste and to find their own paths to happiness.

    But…and I think this is a particuarly important point…a return to private life was not to everyone’s taste:

    A generation of young Germans had become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions…Now that these deliveries suddently ceased, people were left helpless, impoverished, robbed, and disappointed. They had never learned how to live from within themselves, how to make an ordinary private life great, beautiful and worth while, how to enjoy it and make it interesting. So they regarded the end of political tension and the return of private liberty not as a gift, but as a deprivation. They were bored, their minds strayed to silly thoughts, and they began to sulk.

    and

    To be precise (the occasion demands precision, because in my opinion it provides the key to the contemporary period of history): it was not the entire generation of young Germans. Not every single individual reacted in this fashion. There were some who learned during this period, belatedly and a little clumsily, as it were, how to live. they began to enjoy their own lives, weaned themselves from the cheap intoxication of the sports of war and revolution, and started to develop their own personalities. It was at this time that, invisibly and unnoticed, the Germans divided into those who later became Nazis and those who would remain non-Nazis.

    I think that in America today we have a significant number of people who have become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions. This has a lot to do with why they are ‘insatiable’.

    (I reviewed Haffner’s important and well-written memoir here)

    • #25
    • November 20, 2019, at 5:27 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    David Foster (View Comment):
    I think that in America today we have a significant number of people who have become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions. This has a lot to do with why they are ‘insatiable’.

    I think making the connection between our public lives and our inner lives is critically important. It’s like the “Body/mind” connection–they exist symbiotically and inseparably. Thank you, @davidfoster. BTW, I don’t see the link in your comment.

    • #26
    • November 20, 2019, at 5:32 PM PST
    • 1 like
  27. David Foster Member

    Link should work now. Haffner’s memoir is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand what happened in Germany.

    • #27
    • November 20, 2019, at 5:48 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Have you read this Quillette essay ? It is excellent and addresses your topic.

    https://quillette.com/2019/11/16/thorstein-veblens-theory-of-the-leisure-class-a-status-update/

    I now have read it–fascinating! I especially found this comment interesting:

    Affluent people promote open borders or the decriminalization of drugs because it advances their social standing, not least because they know that the adoption of those policies will cost them less than others. The logic is akin to conspicuous consumption—if you’re a student who has a large subsidy from your parents and I do not, you can afford to waste $900 and I can’t, so wearing a Canada Goose jacket is a good way of advertising your superior wealth and status. Proposing policies that will cost you as a member of the upper class less than they would cost me serve the same function. Advocating for open borders and drug experimentation are good ways of advertising your membership of the elite because, thanks to your wealth and social connections, they will cost you less than me.

    Thanks, @michaelkennedy.

    Susan, it was eye opening for me when I tried to explain to a friend of mine that should we have open borders, I will directly bear the costs more than she would. She owns this $ 600K home on a lot astride the major lake in our area. Her home values will go soaring should our population increase by 50 or 100%. But due to Prop 13, she won’t pay one penny more in property taxes. Meanwhile, my rent could easily triple, which means I need to find an over-sized cardboard box to consider living in.

    For a moment she panicked. She realized perhaps I was considering that she had adopted her noble views on immigration because she wanted to financially enhance herself. So she immediately stated, “I have never once considered whether my political views would help me out financially or not. I am for immigration because Blah Blah Blah blah – I love humankind.”

    In a way this only made the situation worse. All I could think of was how very nice it must be, to be so well off that you wouldn’t even have to consider how a political program affects you financially.

    • #28
    • November 20, 2019, at 7:40 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  29. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    They only way to deal with that hunger is to practice gratitude.

    I agree, @bryangstephens. But see #3 comment.

    That is their problem. They are miserable all the time. Must suck to live that way.

    It’s also that while nothing make them happy, people who are happy make them angry, especially when they suspect money is in some way tied to that happiness. Add to that the hubris of thinking that they’re somehow smarter and caring than those other people, and you end up with a bunch of scowling types whose egos are tied up in the belief they’re among the Best and the Brightest, and therefore should be able to tell everyone else how to live their lives.

    • #29
    • November 20, 2019, at 7:51 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  30. Ammo.com Member

    Your post reminds me of Durkheim’s concept of Anomie. He described Anomie as ‘derangement’ and ‘an insatiable will.’ My favorite description that he used for it is ‘the malady of the infinite.’ If you’re unfamiliar with it, I would highly suggest looking into it. It’s a really underrated concept and very relevant to our time. 

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anomie

     

    • #30
    • November 20, 2019, at 9:02 PM PST
    • 1 like