One of the most consistent claims that we hear from progressives and others on the Left is that theirs is the ideology of “the future.” This particular conceit is perhaps understandable for people who have sold to themselves the idea that there is a certain ineluctability to the success of their dogma. To listen to its propagandists, one would think that the Left is the home of “science” and “futurity,” the necessary precursor to the shiny, secular utopia that populates the hopes and dreams of millions of Reddit soyboys. If only something could be done about those regressive hillbillies in flyover country, we could be enjoying our futuristic, egalitarian, diverse, fully vaccinated technerd paradise.
One of the ideas we often hear floated in this vein is that of the secession of America’s large, commerce-driven cities like New York City, San Francisco, or Seattle, who would form their own independent, globally-minded and transnationally-linked city states apart from the more retrograde parts of America. These independent cities would then be able to fully pursue their paths of progressive politics, turning into high tech beacons for rational, scientifically minded citizens who don’t want to be saddled with Red State neanderthals. The assumption, of course, is that these cities would be free to unleash unparalleled prosperity and technological advancement, demonstrating the superiority of the progressive ideology.
The main problem with all of this is that there is absolutely nothing to suggest that it would actually work.
Now, don’t get me wrong – as someone who supports localism and decentralisation and who would be willing to support secessionist movements that would free normal people from the clutches of Washington, DC, I am actually all for these big, Democrat-infested cities leaving, and leaving the rest of us alone. If New York City wants to go it alone, I certainly wouldn’t try to stop them. In fact, it would even be beneficial for the Left to be the ones who initiate the coming national breakup since then they’d be marginally less likely to try to use force to hang onto their power over the rest of us, increasing the chances that this breakup would occur peacefully. So no, my doubts about their chances aren’t just cope or sour grapes.
Now, the obvious objection would be that without the hinterlands supplying food and other resources, big left-wing cities would grind to a halt and starve. How would they maintain millions of people jammed into a few square miles without a constant flow of Texas crude and Missouri corn to keep them running? This might be the case, though like Singapore (which actually is a high tech city-state that has been very successful) they would have access to the world market for these goods, the same way city-states in ancient Greece like Athens fed themselves by accessing Black Sea grains and Cretan timber.
Rather, the reason I don’t think their experiment would work is because there is absolutely no evidence that progressive leftists are competent enough to go it alone without access to masculine, salt of the earth Red Staters to keep them afloat. Despite their self-promoted image as uber-proficient technocratic wizards, the sad fact of progressivism is that its exemplars are typically some combination of dumb, corrupt, and fanatical. Progressive leaders are far less Mr. Spock and far more Lori Lightfoot.
Let’s look at the recent evidences. New York City cannot keep the lights on (literally). The reason for this was the entirely unforced error of pressuring the shut down of the Indian Point nuclear plant, which supplied NYC with enough power to light roughly 500,000 homes and was their most reliable energy source, because of an obsession with unreliable “renewable” energy sources. San Francisco is so far gone that they’ve given up on enforcing something as basic as keeping people from defecating in the streets. Chicago is so out of control that it can’t keep its own people from shooting each other by the dozens every weekend. Mostly black Chicagoans kill more people in one month than so-called “white supremacists” have in two decades. Portland and Los Angeles are essentially lawless tent cities occupied by burgeoning homeless populations.
Tell us again how defunding the police, decriminalising “victimless” crimes, switching everything over to wind power, and allowing unwashed antifa drek to run wild is going to usher in utopia.
Indeed, it’s been stock-in-trade for decades to observe that the more progressive a city’s government is, the more of an absolute septic tank it turns into. Does Detroit ring any bells? So there’s really no evidence at all to support the notion that secessionary progressive city-states, if freed from their chains, would evolve into sciency super-Singapores with maglev trains and gene therapy booths on every corner. More likely, they would continue their current trends into complete collapse, only it would occur more quickly because once they’re politically separated from the Red States, they’d have far fewer options for places to flee to.
The reality is that progressivism always and at all times leads to social decay. It creates the conditions necessary to cause societal collapse. And sooner or later, this social decay will manifest itself exoterically as physical decay. An ideology that can’t even figure out how many genders there are isn’t going to have the mental horsepower to figure out how to keep complex systems like power grids and transportation infrastructure operating. We’re already seeing this across the country, even in Red areas where progressives have managed to work their way into the political structures. It’s becoming obvious that America is fast becoming a Third World nation in more ways than one.
Now, progressives are very, very good at tearing down existing structures (both metaphorically and literally). But they’re terrible at building up workable alternatives. The reason for this is that, fundamentally, progressivism is an ideology based in large part on wish fulfillment. It has the very nominalist tendency to think that wanting something to be, or naming it as such, is the same as that thing actually existing. Unfortunately, simply claiming that a shiny science utopia built out of flawless central planning will somehow spring forth from the charred and smoking ruins of flyover country small businesses does not mean that one actually will. They assume that once the bugaboos of “whiteness” and “free enterprise” and “racism” are extirpated, their progressive paradise will spring forth as if by magic.
Which, of course, will not happen. Progressivism is an ideology of anti-reality. Its claims, its goals, its metholodogies are all contrary to the way the world and human society actually works. Far from building a lasting utopian edifice, the end result of progressivism will be its collapse followed by the restoration of more authoritarian forms of social organisation which likely will not tolerate the ridiculous tomfoolery that progressivism represents.
Ultimately, no matter how many institutions it manages to infiltrate nor how much public discourse it manages to cordycept, radical leftist progressivism will fail due to the combination of two things. First, there is progressivism’s unworkable hyperreality – no matter how much leftists believe themselves to live in a world where their principles are natural and right, it simply isn’t so, and sooner or later their virtual reality simulation is going to run out of batteries. Second, there is simply the fact that progressives are, by and large, profoundly dysgenic people. I mean, just look at this. Whether the metric is intelligence, virtue, or even mere physical attractiveness, it’s quite apparent that the progressive Left’s intersectionality alliance is not sending its best. That does not bode well for its long term capacity to truly remake society in its own image rather than just tear a lot of stuff up while stupidly trying.
In short, there is really no reason to believe the claims made by progressives that they are actually going to be able to build their crystal spires and togas wonderland, with or without red state Trumpsters. They’re definitely not going to be able to do it by sluicing off the cities that they’ve already been destroying. If left-wing cities ever did manage to secede and form their own independent city-states, they would likely either collapse into (even more) lawless hellscapes or else become wards of the Chinese Empire. But either way, shiny secular Robot City will not be in the cards for them.