Great article, Joe!
The psychology of progressives and socialists (getting hard to tell the difference between those two) is endlessly fascinating. "Control Freak" is a descriptor not found in the DSM or in a course on Psychpathology, but we all get what it really is. Someone who is driven or obsessed with having things their way. I'd guess that most of us know that the underlying motivation is some kind of fear that things would go wrong if they don't control others, or that they feel so superior to others and dislike them and believe only they should be in charge. Fear, anger, narcisissm, loathing.... not pretty motivations.
And then there are those Joe mentioned who feel compelled to appease. Appease Hitler, appease the USSR, appears terrorists, appease criminals, appease angry protestors or rioters, appease the angry cries of those wanting to be given stuff. I can't help but think that this is pure fear.
If a person feels at a deep level that they are incompetent when it comes to providing value in free enterprise world, I'd expect them to feal fear or anger against a world that seems malevolent to them. It's a short hop from there to envy, then resentment of those who rise to our attention by virtue of their ability to produce. Unfairness, becomes the moral cry masking the real cause of the fear and anger. What they feel is that it is unfair they can't have the undeserved, unearned... that no one wants to give them wealth. (And "unfair" that they can't have everything their way.) Short hop from there to cobbling up rationales that justify taking from those they loath and envy - and controling them.
As long as our culture doesn't admire these fears and angers, - they will have to be hidden. This is almost like the very beginning and foundation of what Progressivism and Marxism have in common - deception.
- No one is going to come up to you and say we need a system that lets me be in control and tell you and everyone else what to do, because otherwise I'll be frightened. No one is going to say, "Yeah, I'm a control freak, and it is more important that I get to have my way then it is for you to have your liberty."
- No one is going to say that they are frightened of negative feelings in others or threats, and that they will do almost anything to run from them, and that includes not only appeasing people that feel threatening, but even helping them out so that they won't get angry in the future. "Please don't hurt me." "Please don't dislike me."
- No one is going to admit, "I feel totally incapable of succeeding in a situation where people expect value for value, and that really scares me. So, we are going to change the rules so that I get to take stuff from others and don't have to rely on them seeing in value in me."
- No one is going to say, "I really envy those people who know how to make stuff, and I hate them for doing what I fear I can't. So it is their stuff I want."
- No one is going to say, "Redistribution and social justice and concern for the needy and all that other Progressive/Marxist stuff is just crap - it is just stuff that lets us take your stuff and control you because we are scared or angry and we can't admit that."
There is something else that goes on with cultural/political factionalism - something where people choose sides and close themselves off to the other side. And then people can end up taking a side that may have been born of (and is very suited to) a fear and anger driven position, but without sharing that base motivation. Choosing sides and going to war brings up its own motivation and talking points become weapons instead of shields to hide behind.