We view the world in polar opposites, sets of two’s set against each other: men and women, white and black, night and day, love and hate, right and left. A person or a thing must be one of these; a thing can never be both polar opposites, or else it would be a contradiction and explode into some inward -8^8 dimension.
I don’t know if that’s an exact theory, but the gist’s correct: it can’t be night and day simultaneously, you can’t have war and peace at the same time, you aren’t going to turn the lights on by turning them off, and you’re not going to have rotten milk that’s fresh.
Therefor, we choose to value one polar-opposite over the other. It is better to be wise, good, and alive, than it is to be dumb, mean, and dead. Be greedy for yourself, or selfless for the masses. You can support Individualism, or you can support Collectivism.
Much of politics is framed around polar-opposition. If you’re against one, you’re for the other: you can be a Republican or a Democrat, Conservative or Liberal. And, if you don’t straight-forwardly identify with either or, you can only describe yourself, and you will only ever be described by others, as being more Red or more Blue.
Which brings me to Progressivism. Generally, Progressivism is a Collectivist ideology – find me a Progressive who disfavors unions, or who vocally supports personal greed at the expense of the community.
In our society, Collectivism is tied-up with Government – Government is of the people, for the people, by the people; Government is a social institution wherein people work together, collectively, for the collective good (ideally, anyway). Progressivism argues for collective government.
Which is where the Progressive Contradiction lies. Because, no matter how democratic a government is, a government is run by individuals. The President will have four years to individually pass whatever Executive Actions the President chooses. The FCC decided, on its own, to enforce Net Neutrality laws; the individuals who run Medicare/Medicaid have decided, on their own, to change the way they reimburse doctors; someone at the Pentagon decided to sell extraneous military equipment to police departments.
Our system of government relies on individuals who act on their own, or, at least in small groups.
Any system of government depends on authority to survive – these people must have authority over these other people. And, once a person is given authority over others, the collective becomes a series of individuals exerting power over other individuals.
Authority is the imposition of this will over another will.
There is nothing Collective about wielding authority over others, no matter how Progressive a policy is.
I’ll pose the argument that the only action that is collective is the action done for others, not to others. It is not collective or progressive to collect taxes, or pass regulation, or to have any government at all. It is only collective to work with others in non-compulsory agreement. It is only progressive to make a lot of money, and give it all to a children’s hospital. The only thing that is collective is cooperative, not authoritative.
I won’t pose the argument that we need to, in any short amount of time, disband all governments and organize into an anarchic society, but I will argue it’s where we should be heading, however slowly. All we need to do is stop quiveling about authority; instead, selflessly dedicate our time and efforts to others.