The trouble with progressives: Or some of it, anyway

Published 6 years ago -  - 6y ago 17


Progressives are perpetual malcontents. They have little appreciation of the world and life and our civilization’s accomplishments. Somehow, deep inside them is the conviction that they, and they alone, can make it better. IT’s what leads them to their incessant drives for power. This is also at the heart of socialism and communism.

Also deep inside them is the conviction that Western Civilization and Christianity are frauds and have been responsible for most of the world’s troubles and consequently we are to be ashamed for their iniquities. It is their drive for power to effectuate their vision of perfection that leaves them at odds with the Judeo-Christian belief that mankind struggles with its own imperfection since its metaphorical emergence from ignorance and subsequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Force, always by them, is to prevail over voluntarism. They are their God.

A multiplicity of forces came together around the turn of the twentieth century that foresaw a triumph over our collective sorrows through the application of various ‘scientific principles’. At the heart of this was a kind of determinism that if progressives were entrusted with this power, then mankind’s problems would be surmounted. These forces were loosely called progressivism. They had been simmering for decades.

They became personified with the first activist president, Theodore Roosevelt. The Bully Pulpit would forever change the presidency from being the agent of Congress to being a superior director, far from the original intent of the Founders. America would never be the same.

Progressivism was multi-pronged. It encompassed the seemingly benign drive for universal education of John Dewey and the most sinister eugenicism of Margaret Sanger. The common goal to all was the betterment of society through control of individuals and their behavior.

Much of the impetus emerged from the socialism and even communism of the nineteenth century. They, in turn, arose from the changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution with its sudden diversity of consumer goods.

Established social orders that had existed for centuries were upended. No longer was wealth determined by one’s genetics. It was achievable for all and in many cases entrepreneurs and captains of industry accumulated fortunes in excess of royal families.

Wealth came to neighborhoods. A man down the street might be as well heeled as a prince the common man never saw. Mansions he may have helped build sprouted nearby and he walked past them daily while he may never have laid eyes on the nobleman’s castle. Along with these things, his diet diversified with foodstuffs from around the globe as their was no Atkins or Medifast diet plans at the time. He became aware of his clothes as more than protection from the elements. On all fronts, he prospered.

And just as his access to new things increased, the tools to produce them consumed resources and left debris nearby, visible and often ugly. As more entered the ranks of the wealthy, their presence was far more conspicuous. Commoners rejoiced and celebrated their new found prosperity. Progressives found them objects for derision.

It is no accident that progressivism took root in Germany, France and Britain, the most industrialized nations in Europe. In many ways progressivism, socialism and communism were responses to this upending of the established order. They are the reactionism; to prosperity, which in their souls, they abhor.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had little personal familiarity with poverty. Marx was from a comfortably middle class family, rabbis on both sides, and Engels’ family was much more than ‘well off’. His father owned a very successful textiles firm in Prussia.

Marx published his Manifesto, often called The Communist Manifesto, in 1848. It became the greatest selling political pamphlet in history and even today is read by millions.

The pamphlet is a rambling screed that outlines Marx’s view of history and mankind as solely economic. Mankind is reduced to a puppet, responding only to economic strings controlling him. He made no room for any other factors. Faith, hope, charity, love, honor, trust, the arts and the family were either mirages or economic frustrations.

To Marx, religion was the ultimate fraud, famously calling it the opiate of the masses. This explains the hostility to religion that lies at the heart of progressivism and its ultimate expression, communism. It is why progressive, socialist and communist societies must eliminate religion and replace all religious functions with governmental in their Church of Man. Religion and God must offer no refuge and no solace from the trials of this world for the human soul. They must come from government.

Progressives have always thought that the human race could be perfected through man’s institutions, institutions of their own making, through the application of scientific principles. Just figure out the equations and the rest falls into place.

A look at Marx’s agenda is instructive. This is directly from The Manifesto.

“Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.

These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of wasteland, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc, etc.”

Even a casual reading of this excerpt leaves one with the indelible impression that force is to be used to accomplish them, which goes a ways to explain how communist societies deteriorated into the violence and slaughter that characterized every last one of them. And although plank 10 seems admirable, one hesitates to wonder what it really means. Why does education need to be combined with industrial production? Is there an ultimate, more sinister goal? The answer is yes.

Education was meant to prepare students to become workers for the government. That’s what Karl Marx and Dewey meant. It wasn’t education for the fulfillment of the individual and the sake of education. It was to have a purpose, namely the fulfillment of the state’s needs. From autonomy to automatons.

And although, I have no use for the child factory labor practices that existed at that time nor do I think do most people, I have to wonder what was his true goal. Or does this just confirmation that even a stopped clock is right twice a day? Or is there something else I miss? I am not sure.

Inevitably, the progressives intersected with the eugenicism. It was a byproduct of Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’ that was published in 1859. Darwin and Marx were contemporaries.

Darwin concluded that most characteristics, including intelligence, were inherited through ‘survival of the fittest.’ So, if improvement of the species will be accomplished anyway through natural selection, why not accelerate it? Jump start it by deciding who the fittest are and eliminate the rest.

Proponents included Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw, progressive economist John Maynard Keynes, H. G. Wells and two American presidents, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. Yes, Theodore Roosevelt and the messianic, progressive Woodrow Wilson were eugenicists. Elitists at their cores.

Wilson who regularly makes the list of ‘near great’ presidents, was a racist and a true progressive, willing to impose his beliefs on the rest of the world through any means including war ‘to make the world safe for democracy’. No need to ask the rest of the world what it wanted.

Theodore Roosevelt isn’t far behind Woodrow Wilson and is enshrined on Mount Rushmore. It is no accident that Roosevelt and Wilson were proponents of the same philosophy that gave us Adolf Hitler’s extermination program.

Hitler, along with the other twentieth century mass murderers, Josip Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and Fidel Castro were cut from the same philosophic cloth. While people like Roosevelt and Wilson might be appalled at the extent to which these tyrants took it, nevertheless they are its descendants. Ideas have consequences.

The most telling of Marx’s statement though his first sentence, ” …, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic (italics mine) inroads on the rights of property,…,by means of measures,…, which appear economically insufficient and untenable,…, outstrip themselves, (and) necessitate further inroads upon the old social order,… ” This a direct rejection of his belief in the withering away of the state once communism was in place and in fact, it is his acknowledgment that there would be no end to the effort.

Marx was the ultimate progressive and this is part of the trouble with progressives. Violence and the destruction of society, along with all of its progress in the form of its material things are their direct descendants and without end. But you’ll never hear them acknowledge it.

Even a casual reading of this excerpt leaves one with the indelible impression that force is to be used to accomplish them, which goes a ways to explain how communist societies deteriorated into the violence and slaughter that characterized every last one of them. And although plank 10 seems admirable, one hesitates to wonder what it really means. Why does education need to be combined with industrial production? Is there an ultimate, more sinister goal? The answer is yes.

Education was meant to prepare students to become workers for the government. That’s what Karl Marx and Dewey meant. It wasn’t education for the fulfillment of the individual and the sake of education. It was to have a purpose, namely the fulfillment of the state’s needs. From autonomy to automatons.

And although, I have no use for the child factory labor practices that existed at that time nor do I think do most people, I have to wonder what was his true goal. Or does this just confirmation that even a stopped clock is right twice a day? Or is there something else I miss? I am not sure.

Inevitably, the progressives intersected with the eugenicism. It was a byproduct of Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’ that was published in 1859. Darwin and Marx were contemporaries.

Darwin concluded that most characteristics, including intelligence, were inherited through ‘survival of the fittest.’ So, if improvement of the species will be accomplished anyway through natural selection, why not accelerate it? Jump start it by deciding who the fittest are and eliminate the rest.

Proponents included Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw, progressive economist John Maynard Keynes, H. G. Wells and two American presidents, Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt. Yes, Theodore Roosevelt and the messianic, progressive Woodrow Wilson were eugenicists. Elitists at their cores.

Wilson who regularly makes the list of ‘near great’ presidents, was a racist and a true progressive, willing to impose his beliefs on the rest of the world through any means including war ‘to make the world safe for democracy’. No need to ask the rest of the world what it wanted.

Theodore Roosevelt isn’t far behind Woodrow Wilson and is enshrined on Mount Rushmore. It is no accident that Roosevelt and Wilson were proponents of the same philosophy that gave us Adolf Hitler’s extermination program.

Hitler, along with the other twentieth century mass murderers, Josip Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and Fidel Castro were cut from the same philosophic cloth. While people like Roosevelt and Wilson might be appalled at the extent to which these tyrants took it, nevertheless they are its descendants. Ideas have consequences.

The most telling of Marx’s statement though his first sentence, ” …, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic (italics mine) inroads on the rights of property,…,by means of measures,…, which appear economically insufficient and untenable,…, outstrip themselves, (and) necessitate further inroads upon the old social order,… ” This a direct rejection of his belief in the withering away of the state once communism was in place and in fact, it is his acknowledgment that there would be no end to the effort.

Marx was the ultimate progressive and this is part of the trouble with progressives. Violence and the destruction of society, along with all of its progress in the form of its material things are their direct descendants and without end. But you’ll never hear them acknowledge it.

Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

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