Posts Tagged ‘progressivism’

In his book Why Jews Should NOT Be Liberals (2001, rev. 2006), Larry F. Sternberg gives a bit of history, explaining how Jews in the late-18th & early-19th centuries came to think so highly of “socialism”. Unfortunately, they did not understand the true, basic tenets of the system, and it cost them and their descendants greatly.

Russia's Czar Alexander III

Russia's Czar Alexander III, who began the pogroms against the Jews after inheriting the throne in 1881

The link between Jews and socialism in modern times can be traced to the mass exodus that took place from Eastern Europe to the United States, beginning in 1881. Jews fleeing the tyranny of the czar followed the liberal cause, which was to liberate them from the ghettos. Liberal was a heroic term in Europe, and to break the czar’s rule, socialism was the doctrine most often preached as the way to a better life. Probably most Jews accepting socialism really were not aware of the dictionary definition: “Control by the state of all means of production and economic activity.” They knew only that anything was better than living under the czar, and socialism, with its veneer of brotherhood and charity and sharing, was appealing….

Socialism seemed to progress by pretending to be a liberal, revolutionary movement, freeing up the lives of its supporters, when in reality its basic doctrine is more state control over peoples’ lives. The Nazi Party was known as the National Socialist Party. Communism in Russia was identified as the International Socialist Movement. It was no coincidence that the word “socialist” appears prominently in both of these totalitarian regimes, which together practically decimated European Jewry. Still, there is little doubt that socialism continues to cast its enticing spell over many of our intellectuals today, some of whom have influential teaching positions in our leading universities.

The irony of it all is as [Elie] Koudurie writes [in his book The Jewish World], American Jews have long believed anti-Semitism was encouraged by the political right in America, with the right’s alleged ignoring of the social problems of poverty, prejudice, and its alleged practice of discrimination against Jews in business. Only recently are American Jews discovering that many of our problems emanate from the left with its affluence, permissiveness, wishful thinking, and its substitute of secular liberalism for their own Jewish religion.

What American Jews must always remember is that totalitarian regimes come to power by promising everything to everybody, and then remain in power through force and intimidation. And when things eventually go bad for them, there is always the need for a scapegoat, and who else fits that role but the Jew. Sidney Hook, a liberal for much of his life, is quoted as saying,

‘I was guilty of judging capitalism by its operations and socialism by its hopes and aspirations; capitalism by its works and socialism by its literature.’

Winston Churchill wrote,

‘The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.’

…I tend to believe that the socialist theory of life is not making that much headway among the baby boomers in America. Certainly, if one leans toward Judaism in practically any way, and if one does any studying of the history of socialism and its links to present day liberalism, one would have to reject following socialism in any of its forms.

Beyond all of this, there must be the realization that socialism, and its twin liberalism, by granting more and more power to the state, by looking to the state to solve all of our social, economic, and even personal problems, in effect makes the state the “God” whom all should worship. By elevating the state to this supreme position, socialism or liberalism by definition does thereby demote the eternal and One God to an inferior position. In so doing, these philosophies defy the Second Commandment, when God thundered to Moses and the Israelites on Mt. Sinai,

‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'”

So, it seems that the first point here is the danger in latching onto a particular movement without fully understanding the doctrines/ideology behind it. The Jews have certainly paid the price, as they may again, but the lesson serves for all of us who value our freedom. I think the American “Progressives” and their agenda — particularly the secularist flavor — serve as the current example to beware of.

[On a lighter note, I keep thinking of the immortal words of Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride, who said to his companion, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”]

The second point is a warning against the subtle replacement of God with the State in people’s minds. Not that it is worshiped in quite the same way, of course. But, not all idolatry is directed at a divine being or a statue or icon of one.

<em><a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1589803833?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=sirrahc-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1589803833″>Why Jews Should NOT Be Liberals</a></em><img style=”border: none!important; margin: 0!important;” src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=sirrahc-20&amp;l=as2&amp;o=1&amp;a=1589803833&#8243; border=”0″ alt=”” width=”1″ height=”1″ /> (2001, rev. 2006)
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“[Maxine Waters] is one of the most self-serving, hate-filled, race-obsessed politicians in America. [And] the Democratic Party doesn’t just embrace her. It kneels at her feet.” — Michelle Malkin

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has been in the news of late, due to accusations of ethics violations being leveled against her and investigated by the House Ethics Committee. While formal charges have yet to be announced, she is accused of inappropriately using her influence to get favorable treatment (i.e., a $12 million bailout in TARP funds) for minority-owned OneUnited Bank, where she and her husband just happened to have substantial investments. (It seems that the bank had been heavily invested in Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, so it was hit REAL hard when the government “intervened” in those corporations in 2008.) What’s more, her husband was once on the bank’s board of directors.

This isn’t the first time Waters has aided businesses with links to her family, either, to their mutual benefit. A 2004 L.A. Times article claimed that her relatives — e.g., son Edward and daughter Karen — profited to the tune of over $1 million (over 8 years) from Maxine’s connections. She indignantly denies any wrongdoing in all cases, of course. (She even manages, in this latest case, to turn it around and imply racism by President Bush’s administration.) But, that’s not the focus of this post.

Maxine Waters speaking from a podiumI don’t know about you, but I didn’t really know much about Congresswoman Waters. Sure, I knew she is Black, quite liberal, outspoken, and influential. But, beyond that, she’s never really been on my radar before. Now she is, and I’ve found out a few things that give me a much better idea of who & what she is.

Before being elected to Congress in 1991, Ms. Waters served for 15 years in the California State Assembly. While there, she campaigned for divestment of state pension funds from the then-apartheid nation of South Africa. A noble cause. Since being elected to the House of Representatives for California’s 35th District, Waters has… well… not done much of benefit. Sure, as a good liberal, she fights for “social justice” and housing and education issues, etc. But many of the bills she tends to sponsor or vote for (e.g., Obamacare; the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009) and other things she gets in the news for (e.g. the debate over King Drew Medical Center; the current ethics hearings) do more damage, in my opinion, than good. (She was one of thirteen (i.e., one-third) Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members to vote against the DISCLOSE Act, but only because she/they couldn’t stomach the NRA exemption.)

Five years ago, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Los Angeles honored Maxine Waters with the Martin Luther King Legacy Award. Are you kidding me?! Based on what I’ve read/seen of how Waters and her fellow race-baiters in “black leadership” (e.g., Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson) have co-opted MLK’s name and twisted his dream, I daresay Rev. King shook his head in dismay & exasperation when he looked “down from above” on that award banquet.

In order to get a better feel for Representative Waters’ attitudes and positions, let me bring a few issues and events to your attention.

During the 1992 riots that devastated so much of the 35th District in South Central Los Angeles, the livelihoods of thousands of Waters’ constituents were ruined by looting and arson. Did Waters publicly condemn the violence or take the rioters to task? On the contrary, she tried to defend the criminals by renaming & reframing what happened.

If you call it a riot it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable.” So, what did she call it? A “rebellion… a spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice and a lot of alienation and frustration.”

In case that wasn’t enough justification, Waters added some pathos with statements such as:

There were mothers who took this as an opportunity to take some milk, to take some bread, to take some shoes. Maybe they shouldn’t have done it, but the atmosphere was such that they did it. They are not crooks.”

Look, I understand there’s something about getting caught up in a “mob mentality”, but people still have free will whether or not to participate. Does Ms. Waters believe that two wrongs can make a right? If so, then how does stealing TVs (or shoes), raiding liquor stores & local markets, setting fire to stores & cars, and other riot-related crimes help one “deal with”, let alone correct, injustice? Did any of it benefit Rodney King? Does the insertion of a “race factor” make it excusable? Why didn’t she stick up for the many Koreans whose shops were ransacked and/or destroyed by rioters? (Perhaps she did so later, but it obviously wasn’t her first instinct.) I don’t get it, but maybe it’s just that “progressive logic” I don’t understand….

Waters is also of the ilk that believe nefarious conspiracies have been perpetrated by certain governmental parties upon her “people”. For example, she believes that the drug epidemic in urban America can be blamed on the CIA who (apparently) created the problem by encouraging drug use in the inner cities. No matter that Blacks are not the only ones affected by the drug epidemic. (And make no mistake — being Black trumps all in Waters’ mind.) No matter that there is no rational explanation for why the CIA would do such a thing. No matter that this theory was exposed as a hoax by the Washington Post, L.A. Times, and New York Times, among many others. Waters still clings to this ridiculous theory because it fits with her philosophy of minorities (particularly Blacks) being forever victimized by the powerful and more privileged.

If I never do anything else in this career as a member of Congress,” she vowed, “I’m going to make somebody pay for what they’ve done to my community and to my people.”

Then, there is Waters’ support for escaped cop-killer Joanne Chesimard (aka Assata Olugbala Shakur), a former leader of the Black Panthers and the Black Liberation Army. Chesimard didn’t just shoot NJ State Trooper Werner Foerster once; she shot him again at point-blank range to finish the job. That was in 1973, and Chesimard was sentenced to life in prison for Foerster’s death, plus armed robbery and other felonies. She escaped in 1979 and eventually fled to Cuba, where Fidel Castro gave her political asylum. Congress passed a resolution urging her extradition to America. But, Rep. Waters took it upon herself to personally write Castro to plead for extended asylum for Chesimard. She even had the gall to compare Chesimard to Martin Luther King, claiming “She was persecuted as a result of her political beliefs and affiliations.”

No, Maxine! Chesimard is a dangerous militant who shot a man in cold blood (among other crimes). She deserves to be thrown back in an American high-security prison. Better yet, give her the death penalty. But, Castro took pity on poor, persecuted Ms. Chesimard, and she still lives in Cuba to this day. Meanwhile, there have been several extradition pleas, and in 2005 the FBI classified her a “domestic terrorist” and began offering $1 million for assistance in her capture. Sadly, she has become somewhat of a folk hero to the hip-hop community — partly because of her “cause,” partly because of her being the step-aunt of the late Tupac Shakur. But, I digress…

Maxine Waters speaks out

Maxine Waters speaks out (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Oh, yeah. Is it any surprise that Rep. Waters thinks Castro is the bees knees, too?

Here is what Michelle Malkin wrote about Waters 10 years ago:

This is a woman who danced the electric slide with Crips and Bloods gang members, and then noted in her official biography that ‘Many young people, including those in the hip-hop music community, praise her for her fearless support and understanding of young people and their efforts at self-expression.’

This is a woman who visited the home of Damian Williams, the infamous thug who ‘expressed himself’ by hurling a chunk of concrete at white truck driver Reginald Denny and performing a victory dance over the innocent bystander.

This is a woman who rose to power by badmouthing the white ‘Establishment,’ and then shamelessly abused it to secure an ambassadorship to the Bahamas for her husband -– a former pro football player and car salesman whose main qualification was having traveled to the island for a vacation.

This is a woman who repeatedly excoriates ‘the white press’ whenever negative stories about black politicians appear.”

Not much has changed, apparently.

Of course, Waters includes many liberal/progressive causes in her repertoire, as well. She consistently votes for human embryonic stem-cell research and against anything that would ban or otherwise restrict any form of abortion. She is for anything that furthers the gay agenda. She never met a bailout or stimulus package she didn’t like. She supports any legislation backed by the climate change alarmists. She has an aversion to free-trade agreements. She loves gun control and the idea of suing makers & sellers of guns. Open borders and looser immigration policies are just fine by Ms. Waters. The AFL-CIO gives her a 100% pro-union voting record. Like many of her fellow “progressives”, Waters appears to have an affinity for socialistic policies, having expressed, for example, her desire to nationalize all U.S. oil companies. You get the picture, right?

Not surprisingly, Waters is also an outspoken anti-war critic. As chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus, she has been on the frontlines not only pushing for immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq but making accusations against President Bush and trying to get V.P. Cheney impeached for supposed “false statements” about the war.

The president is a liar. Dick Cheney, the chief architect of the Big Lie, is not only a liar, he is a thief.”

What do the Beltway watchdogs think of Representative Waters? The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) listed her among the corrupt members of Congress in its 2005, 2006, & 2009 reports. She has an affinity for earmarks, too. The Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named her the June 2009 Porker of the Month. Why, specifically? Waters tried to get federal funds earmarked for the “Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center.”

Maxine Waters glares at someone

Glaring Maxine Waters (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Maxine Waters is a powerful player in Washington, with extremely few in her own party willing to take her on, particularly when there’s an opportunity for her to play the race card. Joe Lieberman tried it. He once expressed some “reservations about affirmative action” and gave “tentative support to school vouchers” (which would benefit minority children, by the way). Fairly moderate positions, all in all. When Lieberman got put on the 2000 Democratic ticket for V.P., Ms. Waters demanded to know why she hadn’t first been consulted on the matter and insisted that Lieberman “explain” himself before the black caucus of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). As a result, Lieberman effectively backed off from his earlier statements in order to get the support of Waters and her compatriots. That is, he was bullied into submission.

Whether Congresswoman Waters is found guilty of the current ethics charges or not, let’s be clear. This woman is the epitome of black racism & elitist progressivism in American politics. She has been peddling her race-baiting garbage and double standards in & from the House for nearly 20 years, and she needs to go.

“[E]ven more disturbing than the threats from foreign terrorists is a second threat that is right here at home. It is an ideology so fundamentally at odds with historic American values that it threatens to undo the cultural ethics that have made our country great. I call it ‘secular-socialism.'”
— Newt Gingrich
New Gingrich speaking and pointing

Newt making a point (Photo by Rick Diamond/WireImage)

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a family member who is politically conservative and religiously agnostic. He was complaining about a video clip he had recently watched (from the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (SRLC) in New Orleans) of Newt Gingrich discussing the need for Republicans & conservatives to unite against what he has dubbed the “secular socialist machine”. My relative was annoyed & offended, because he felt that Newt was demonizing secularists, as if they couldn’t be anything but socialists. “Does he really think that only Christians (or religious people or non-secularists) are true Americans? Or that those who don’t believe in a Higher Power can’t be legitimate conservatives? I usually like and respect what Newt has to say, but he’s disappointed me, and I’ll think twice about trusting him now.”

Not having seen the clip, I wasn’t sure what to say. I know Newt is a professed Christian, and as one myself, I understand his concerns about secularist influences. So, I decided to watch the video clip myself and try to understand what Newt was getting at. If you’re interested, here it is:

Newt does mention “secularism” a couple times in the beginning, but doesn’t mention it again until near the end. For the bulk of the spliced-together clip, he defines and elaborates on the corruption, incompetence, and arrogance of Obama’s radical-Left administration and their comrades in Congress. He emphasizes their determination to ram through transformational legislation, often without even reading (let alone fully understanding) what they are voting for, and against the desires of the majority of the American people. By the way, the “machine” consists not just of those in the Executive and Legislative Branches, but also certain Federal judges, many labor union leaders, tenured faculty and news media on the hard left, and other groups who put Obama in office.

The clip ends with Newt saying:

This is a fundamental fight over the core definition of America, and it is going to require us to talk, I think, in a very different language than normal politics. I think it requires us to talk about the American culture, not American politics. Does work ethic matter, or is redistribution the alternative? It’s very central. Are we endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, among which are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness? Or, does Government define who we are?… And I believe the radicalism of this administration and the incompetence of this administration make it possible to have a decisive choice for every American. And we need to make sure it’s a choice of two positive versions, not Obama versus anti-Obama, but America versus a secular socialist machine.”

I really don’t think Gingrich was implying that only Christians (or non-secularists) are true Americans. Nor do I think he was implying that secularists in general are bad people or… whatever. Even if he believed it, he’s savvy enough not to say it in public… repeatedly.

Perhaps I’m being charitable, but if I were to guess, I’d say Gingrich’s purpose for specifying the secular aspect of “the machine” is twofold. First, it distinguishes a certain brand or branch of socialism from another (i.e., “religious socialism”, as with those that hold to a “liberation theology”). If this is accurate, then I see no problem with calling it as it is. It isn’t meant to unfairly label all secularists as socialists any more than referring to “Islamist” (or “Islamic”) terrorists is meant to unfairly label all Muslims as terrorists. (Of course, that’s what the PC crowd tries to tell us it does.) Or, all terrorists as Muslims, for that matter.

Secondly, I think the “secular” term is a reminder that the “progressives” that are pushing our nation Leftward are the same ones that most often try to remove all religious symbols and expressions from the public arena or to silence “religious” people, while brandishing their “separation of church and state” slogan. Not only is it a gross misrepresentation of what Thomas Jefferson was promoting in his letter to the Danbury Baptists, but it is a slap in the face to — and, in some cases, a denial of — the Judeo-Christian principles upon which this nation was founded, as evident in the writings of our Founders and Framers. (I’m not denying some Enlightenment ideas were involved, but that’s a different discussion.)

[Aside: Of course, there are also “secularists” (i.e., atheists & agnostics) on the political Right who would like to eliminate all religion and symbols thereof from the public square (even from society at large) — e.g., Christopher Hitchens. But, I think more of them are like my relative, who recognize the good that religion can & does have in society — some, at least — and who personally have a more “live and let live” attitude, as long as no one tries to “force” religion on them or punish them for not believing as they do.]

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution (painting by Howard Chandler Christy)

It is precisely those principles that inspired the (Protestant) “work ethic” that Gingrich mentions. It was the understanding that basic, human rights can ultimately only be granted by a Higher Power and not by some government that can take them away at the whim of whomever happens to be in power. I would also add that America is much more accepting and tolerant of various religions, worldviews, & ethnicities than any other nation, whether secularist (e.g, N. Korea or Soviet Russia), theocratic (e.g., Iran), or whatever. The ideology that recognizes these things is what America was founded on, it is what makes it unique, and THAT is the America that Gingrich says is at war with the “secular socialist machine”.

I’ll finish up here with an illustrative excerpt from the transcript of the full SRLC speech that did not make it into the above video:

Let me give you an example that I find absolutely amazing, and it explains part of why I have ‘secular’ in the term ‘secular socialist machine.’ Rick Tyler, who runs Renewing American Leadership, at my request left Los Angeles and drove three and a half hours out U.S. 15 and turned south and drove eight and a half miles on a two lane road in the middle of the Mojave Desert. He came across a cross which had been erected in the desert in 1934 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars on behalf of the American dead in World War I. That cross today is surrounded by a plywood box because a government employee decided they were offended that this cross was on Federal land, and the ACLU has filed a lawsuit.

Now, from my personal perspective, a secularist who is terrified of a cross in the middle of the Mojave Desert is a totalitarian. They are so frightened of any choice, of any freedom, of any option that I think they verge on being deranged. [Applause.] And I think a country which was founded on the premise that our rights come from our Creator has some right to decide that our Creator can appear in public life.”

It’s not just any secularism, and not just socialism, per se. The big threat is the combination of the two, which is taking over our nation. “The Left has thoroughly infiltrated nearly every cultural commanding height of our civilization,” he says. “That is, they hold power, influence and control of academia, the elite news media, Hollywood, union leaders, trial lawyers, the courts, the Congress, and the bureaucracy at all levels of government.”

Now, of course, Newt has just released a new book titled To Save America: Stopping Obama’s Secular-Socialist Machine.  So, I guess we can all read it to find out what exactly he does mean.

Any Right-leaning secularists want to weigh in with their thoughts on Newt’s term-of-choice?

I was reading the other day in Dinesh D’Souza’s book What’s So Great about America?. There is a chapter in which D’Souza discusses how the West became the dominant civilization in the modern era owing to its “invention” of science, democracy, & capitalism. A concept central to the flourishing of these enterprises is “the idea of development itself — the idea of progress.” The notion is understood in everything from the exasperated “How can you still believe that? Join the 21st century, already!” to the general expectation that, despite current downturns & problems, our economy and knowledge will continue to grow and our children will live in a better (safer? more affluent?) world.

Here is what D’Souza has to say about this very interesting and important notion:

The idea of progress, like the idea of reason, is a doctrine that cannot be proved but must be taken on faith. The Greeks didn’t have this faith: they believed that history moves in cycles. One may say that the Greeks believed in change, but not in progress. To the degree that the Greeks found a pattern in this change, it was largely one of degeneration. For many Greek thinkers, the golden age was in the past and things had been going steadily downhill since then. Of course the Greeks admitted that things could get better, but they believed that they could just as easily get worse. What governed human destiny was chance or fate. These notions of cyclical change and degeneration and fate were not unique to the Greeks. They were shared by the Hindus, the Muslims, the Buddhists, the Confucian Chinese, and by virtually everyone else in the world.

Painting of Plato

Painting of Plato

The modern West is the only civilization to entertain the idea that there is a meaningful pattern in history, that this pattern is onward and upward, that knowledge is cumulative and that its applications to human betterment are continuous and never-ending, that the future is certain to be better than the past. “Utopia” is in this sense a Western concept, because it locates perfection in the future. For most people in the world these notions — that history is somehow encoded with meaning, that we know in advance that things will improve instead of degenerate — are even today considered nothing short of ridiculous. In the West, too, the idea of progress continues to be debated. For instance, there is ongoing argument about whether progress is comprehensive, i.e., whether progress involves only material gains or also moral gains. But in some form the faith in progress is very widespread in the West, and the belief in it holds because it is supported by the contemporary experience of the people of the West.

Where, then, did the Western belief in progress come from? From Christianity. It is Christianity that introduced the idea of a divine plan for man and the world. In this view, history was not one meaningless event after another: it represented the fulfillment of a story line — a story line that began with the Fall but would end in triumph with the Second Coming of Christ. The Christian narrative is one of Creation, [Fall, ]Incarnation, and Last Judgment. As J.B. Bury points out in The Idea of Progress, the Christian doctrine by itself does not generate the notion of progress; for this to happen it must be secularized. This is done by keeping the concept of development but introducing man as its author and instrument. Human beings, building upon the discoveries of the past and of each other, will assure the continual advance of knowledge and its application to the betterment of the human condition. This is the idea that we recognize as ‘progress.’ The idea of progress is a secular expression of the idea of providence.”

Now, that in itself is interesting. But, then I got to thinking about how a certain contingent within American politics — not just the politicians, mind you, but like-minded individuals in academia, media, etc. — likes to describe themselves as “progressive”. “Progress” by what means? Towards what?

Since the “progressive” label is predominantly associated with the political Left, it is often used interchangeably with “liberal” or “Democrat”. (I know I’m guilty of this.) But, of course, these words are distinctively different. For awhile there, this group was content to call themselves “liberal”. But, recently, the “progressive” label has come back in vogue, particularly as a means of distinguishing social liberals from those of a more “classic liberal” bent (i.e., natural rights, civil liberties, free markets, limited government). Indeed, within today’s Democratic Party, the more conservative liberals (e.g., “Blue Dogs”) are often at odds with the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) over “social issues” and the proper reach of government. The CPC includes people like Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Barney Frank (D-MA), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Charlie Rangel (D-NY), John Conyers (D-MI), and Henry Waxman (D-CA). Former members include Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sec. of Labor Hilda Solis (D-CA). Not surprisingly, the CPC’s far-Left agenda enjoys the support of the ACLU, The Nation magazine, La Raza, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, MoveOn.org, NAACP, etc.

So, what exactly is the “progressive” agenda? Modern progressivism in general holds to a broad, “non-ideological” ideology of reform. Its supposed freedom from ideological ties makes it more flexible & pragmatic than the usual political ideology, they say. This from Wikipedia:

According to John Halpin, senior advisor on the staff of the Center for American Progress, ‘Progressivism is an orientation towards politics. It’s not a long-standing ideology like liberalism, but an historically-grounded concept… that accepts the world as dynamic.’ Progressives see progressivism as an attitude towards the world of politics that is broader than conservatism vs. liberalism, and as an attempt to break free from what they consider to be a false and divisive dichotomy.”

Um, yeah, okay. But, what do they want? What are they trying to do? How about…

The CPC’s founding statement of purpose states that it was ‘organized around the principles of social and economic justice, a non-discriminatory society, and national priorities which represent the interests of all people, not just the wealthy and powerful’.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. It’s value-driven, with an emphasis on justice & equality. Sounds good, but…. Here are just a few ways in which this modern “progressive” idea plays out in the real world:

  • progressive taxation (i.e., the more you earn, the larger percentage the government takes); this means tax cuts for the poor and tax increases for the “wealthy” and businesses
  • wealth redistribution (i.e., taxing the rich & corporations to substantially increase federal funding for welfare and other “social programs”)
  • recklessly racking up humongous debts with deficit spending, bailouts, and creation of more government bureaucracies and huge entitlement programs
  • unflagging support for organized labor and trade unions, no matter how unneeded they may be, how unfair or financially draining their pensions & other special contracts are, or how much bullying & corruption they are guilty of
  • general distrust of corporations, banks, and anyone that makes a profit (i.e., they don’t like capitalism)
  • promotion of Affirmative Action and other legislation in the name of “equality of opportunity” for minorities and ending racism, when they are no longer needed and/or actually do a disservice to the ones they are supposed to help, not to mention resulting in reverse-discrimination of qualified non-minorities; also, accusing anyone who disagrees with them on this of being racist
  • a universal health care system that would ultimately increase costs (and tax burden), decrease quality of care (w/ longer waits and govt-rationing), dis-incentivise people from getting into or staying in medicine (especially general practice) because of lower pay, relinquish more control over personal decisions to the government, etc.
  • often extremist views on environmentalism (i.e., more so than mainstream liberals), resulting in legislation that prevents access to accessible energy and increases taxes and costs of energy usage; often gives preference to plants & animals over humans
  • government regulation of increasingly more areas of our personal lives and businesses (e.g., “Cap-n-Trade”, “Fairness Doctrine”, and “hate crimes” legislation)
  • advocacy of “gay rights” agenda and legalization of same-sex marriage
  • championing of even the most barbaric “abortion rights” (e.g., partial-birth abortion)
  • cutting of military spending, turning our backs on international allies, and trying to “make nice” with dictators & terrorists (who laugh at our weak threats and calls for sanctions)
  • paying mere lip-service, if that, to the problems of illegal immigration, while promoting amnesty
  • doing whatever they can get away with to deny the religious heritage of our nation and the Judeo-Christian principles upon which it was built, using an inaccurate concept of “separation of church and state” as a legal contrivance, and to undermine age-old, traditional values & moral standards
Obaman on phone with Netanyahu

The Progressive-in-Chief

It is this interpretation of “progressivism” that drives the radical Left, who are most actively moving our government and our nation away from the founding principles of our Constitution and towards being a largely secular, socialist state. That’s a system that erodes people’s freedoms, replaces traditional values & moral standards with “tolerance” and relativism, encourages dependency on the state, compromises national safety & security, and eventually leads to national bankruptcy. How exactly does this lead to the betterment of mankind? How is this “progress”?

What about those who don’t hold to the progressivist agenda? Can they be progressive? Of course. In fact, for several decades the largest conservative party in Canada was the Progressive Conservative Party. There are groups in Europe that use the term “progressive” and run from centrist (or “classic liberal”) to quite diverse in membership. And, as a political conservative myself, I can say without hesitation that I and my fellow-conservatives are fully in favor of true progress in many areas of life — from advances in science & technology to improving international relations to increasing people’s standard of living across the board. In some cases, we may even share some basic goals with “progressives” — e.g., eliminating war, poverty, disease, racism; better stewardship of the planet; recognition of human rights for all. The main differences are how we view & approach the issues. For example, who or what is responsible and to what degree? What and how much can or should be done, and by whom? What should be our priorities? How we answer these questions is based not only on facts — else, we would all agree — but on our understanding of the world and the values and principles directing us. It comes down to one’s worldview.

The first group to be identified with a term or idea in the minds of their countrymen usually gets to reap the benefits. It’s as true in politics as it is in advertising. “Progressive” is one of those words that sounds superior and can be used in an exclusivist way: “We’re progressive, so we are the ones pushing for progress and the betterment of mankind. The other guys, therefore,… aren’t.” In fact, in this case, the “other guys” (usually conservatives) are sometimes called “regressive”, as if they are advocating things that would cause civilization to move backwards. This is ridiculous. But, that’s OK. I don’t really think the American “progressives” are convincing anyone but themselves (and their European counterparts) of their own superiority or that they are the only ones working to improve our world.

What do you think?