Dostoevsky predicted this: Humans claim to want liberty but then shuck it off when its attendant responsibilities become irksome. I have come to judge “progressivism” itself to be a well-intentioned but deadly error. It overrates human innocence and goodness and underrates human weakness and preference for getting things for free rather than as a result of arduous work. It claims to want equality, but it does not grasp how that demand undermines the motive for initiative and hard work.
We all, as individuals and groups, have an ambivalent relationship to agency because it is always a call to the will. To be free, and to have ultimate responsibility for a problem, is to be called upon to exert one’s will to solve it. Agency demands that we find will even if we are mired in inertia. Thus one of the most common dodges in human experience is to deny agency by denying freedom. We say we are not free enough to have agency over our problem. We are not free enough for responsibility. If we can escape freedom, we can escape agency with its difficult call to will, sacrifice, effort and risk.