In George Bernard Shaw’s Back to Methuselah, the serpent says to Eve in the Garden of Eden: “You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’”
What’s funny is that a version of this quote is often ascribed to Robert F. Kennedy as the perfect distillation of progressive idealism.
I don’t think Kennedy’s idealism was the root of all evil, or even remotely evil in its intent. But this idea—on display at the Democratic convention this week and an article of faith in Democratic politics—that all that prevents us from doing profound, “transformative” things is our lack of imagination can have objectively evil consequences.
Many of the Democrats who sought their party’s nomination this year didn’t just promise to socialize medicine, enact the Green New Deal, ban fracking, etc. They also insisted that it would be fairly easy to do. The only things that prevented such transformational policies were obstruction by villainous billionaires or special interests and the failure of previous politicians to think big enough.