For the first time in history, leftists are using the machinery of government to change the state. Through the ages, revolutionaries have appealed to the masses to change the state: conservative government versus popular radicalism was the standard equation. But democracy brought the popular element to power, and revolutionaries hijacked the government. The aristocratic class is no more, and bureaucracy no longer provides an adequate counterweight to leftist experiments. This situation is not likely to change anytime soon, despite the predictable transformation of radicals into bureaucrats: a revolutionary idea can be exhausted and its bearers become gray-suit bureaucrats, but leftists will never run out of experiments to conduct.

One hope is that the leftists will overplay their hand by resorting to totalitarianism. The more unnatural their demands become, more they will have to suppress the voters. That tendency is evident in socialist states, but also in the supreme courts of democracies ruling against popular will. Such totalitarianism may eventually result in the replacement of democracies with more conservative public orders, perhaps dictatorships. Though ugly, such dictatorships would stem social experimentation.

Earlier states were not averse to adventurism, but kept it mostly to foreign relations, generally in the form of military expeditions. That was a reasonable approach: experimenting on other communities, not one’s own. Now that advances in arms and health-care have made wars prohibitively expensive, affluent citizens are averse to risking their lives on battlefields, and family size has greatly decreased, making parents more concerned about the lives of their children, the state‚Äôs desire to extend its authority has been sublimated onto its own subjects. Unable to wage wars on foreigners, states wage them instead on citizens in the form of legal experimentation where court decisions on moral issues break the popular will no less than an occupying army breaks that of an enemy population.