BLUF: The great irony of successful Progressives, then, is that they’re able to resist the incentives that they have established.
“I’m not the first one to note this, but the problem with the affluent, successful left is that they don’t preach what they practice. Stay in school, stay out of prison, don’t get pregnant as a teenager, don’t sleep around, work hard, don’t fuel consumption with debt, wait until adulthood to get married, stay married when times get tough (especially if children are involved), get involved in social/community institutions (clubs, churches, PTA groups) – if you do all of these things, you and your family can pretty much guarantee general happiness and at least middle-class prosperity. These sound like retrograde, conservative concepts, but *the successful left does them*, by and large. That’s why they’re rich.
“But the left doesn’t demand that others follow this path. You won’t find someone on the left who will actually come out and say “drop out of school and bail on your marriage when you get tired of it,” but they incentivize and enable those poor life choices. And it’s not just the left. It’s the squishy middle, who don’t want to be seen as judgmental, who think that people find themselves in tough spots and need a little government help here and there. They help to wear down the remaining stigmas against this sort of destructive behavior.
“The great irony of successful Progressives, then, is that they’re able to resist the incentives that they have established.”
Related: Our distributed sympathies have the same sinister effect as our distributed conscience; as responsibility is spread over the crowd the sense of personal obligation grows faint. … Of spasmodic and inadequate relief it has been wittily said that it creates one-half of the misery it relieves, but cannot relieve one-half the misery it creates. George Arthur Butterick, in a sermon, On Neighborliness