For centuries, people have wanted to change societies and the way the world works. For a long time, Never-ending social experiments have been tested and failed. The “Great Reset” is nothing more than yet another attempt.
We can categorize political thought through time, very broadly into two major groups:
Group One thinks, that we can learn from the past, we can build upon what we have learned and we can strive for a better future by leaving men alone to take his educated decisions – this means freedom of the individual, free entrepreneurship, low taxes, no redistribution but charity, and minimum regulation. (Conservatives and classical liberals fall into this group and only differ in what needs to be learned and upheld from the past and in moral questions.)
This group thinks that the multitude of preferences, priorities, and decisions of millions of people, will lead to the best possible outcome, if not always in the short run, then at in the mid and long term. Moreover, this group also understands, that in order to make responsible decisions, which also include the good of our neighbors and society as a whole, we need to understand our responsibility and accountability towards our neighbor and to a higher instance, commonly referred to as God, which has set certain pre-defined rules and conditions for the best of mankind and all creation. The shortest and best summary of these basic rules can be found in the Ten Commandments. The two most famous representatives of this group of thought were Edmund Burke, commonly considered as the father of all conservatism and Adam Smith, who is considered to be the role model of classical liberalism. Interestingly, both knew each other and shared common beliefs. Burke actually was introduced to Smith by David Hume and highly appreciated Smith’s fundamental work The Theory of Moral Sentiments.
The other major group, Group Two, thinks, that the multitude of choices will not lead to the best possible outcome, but politics and bureaucrats have to intervene, regulate, steer society, and plan and control it all the way. They do not trust the honesty and decency of the human being (probably because they are not honest and decent themselves). For that, they need to build up huge bureaucracies which cost a lot of money, and more than that, they have to pay off their constituencies via the redistribution of funds.: This leads to high regulation and high taxes – and ultimately all that leads to diminishing individual freedom, entrepreneurship, innovation and development. Freedom itself is the constituting element of the human being. Victor Frankl in The Unconscious God says that the real human being begins where someone is no longer driven by his pure instincts and emotions, but where the person actively starts taking decisions and therefore where he starts being responsible for his actions. Without being able to decide on our own, we cannot be held responsible for what we do. Responsibility requires the freedom to act and deliberately to take decisions. But being responsible means becoming a human person, according to Frankl. Responsibility, and thus the freedom to choose, makes the difference.
This second group understands only too well, that everything that holds them back from achieving their goal of an all-regulated society must be eliminated. This includes all social groups and entities outside their control, where people find and live their freedom, morals, and responsibilities towards others, and especially this highest entity, to whom we are ultimately always responsible.
In order to be successful with their new social engineering, the old, established and well-working social entities need to be destroyed: this is especially marriage and the family, the church and faith in God, private charities, and most private institutions.
We have seen this over and over again – in Asia (China, Korea, Vietnam), Latin- and South America (Cuba, Argentina under the Kirchners), Eastern Europe, Russia – and it’s always the same story.
The Great Reset is nothing new – it’s the same old story: The government can do better! This is Group Two alive and fighting.
But this whole battle between the two groups of thought already started a long time ago: the last time was during the High Enlightenment with the Encyclopedists, who also strove to re-write history, in order to eliminate the experience of the past, un-root the people, destroy traditional groups and foundations.
Born of this were nationalism and the nation-state because something had to take the place of God and the church as the true universal and international body, which became adored and venerated like a fetish. So was socialism – because the state had to take over, what was left behind when old structures were abolished (such as the friendly societies, which were replaced by social welfare and social security)? So was rugged individualism, materialism and unbridled reason – consider the parallels today during the recent pandemic with all the virologists, mathematicians and statisticians, epidemiologists, medical doctors, and pharmacologists, to say nothing of the climate change experts, etc. And all of them are generally always wrong.
After the well-known socialist revolutions around the world and the consecutive breakdowns of the political systems created by them, came new prophets of Group Two: F.e. the Club of Rome and its teaching of overpopulation – many smart people had argued for a long time, that this theory was simply wrong, but were mocked and ridiculed. Now we see clearly: there is a demographic break-down all around the globe with many connected problems; than the Cold War with its threat of a nuclear fallout; or the invention of fiat money and the abandonment of asset backed currencies; or the climate alarmists; and most recently the pandemic.
Though some of the underlying thoughts, mentioned above, may well be considerable and we need to find proper answers to these problems, much of it is used to achieve exactly the same ends as Group Two has always tried to achieve. The wrong conclusion then would be to follow the teachings of the latest prophet of Group Two – Klaus Schwab and his friends and their teaching of the Great Reset. The right conclusions would be, to follow the teaching of Group One – believe in educated reason and the morals of the human being; trust in our ultimate responsibility before God but also His guidance and healing powers, and become proud, self-reliable, responsible, morally strong and well-educated human beings, who are free to choose, and through the positive mechanism of competition, find the best possible solutions for any existing or upcoming problem.
Christof Zeller-Zellenberg is an economist, investor and chairman of the Europa Institut. He is involved in private equity and is a sought-after lecturer in the fields of economics and ethics. Zeller-Zellenberg is a member of the kath.net editorial team.
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