2022-10-07 07:17:10 UTC
answered by Charles Tips, Unprogressive, Sep 4
For one very simple reason… their views are agenda-driven rather than simple idle preferences.
For a century and a half now, the progressive movement has had the agenda of scrapping our constitutional republicanism in which we are all equally citizens free to go about our business in the private and civil sectors regardless of our race or religion. What do they wish to replace it with? From the start it has been Otto von Bismarck’s stolen version of Karl Marx’s social democracy, the supposedly non-revolutionary version of Marx’s communism. Social democracy is not citizen government but statist rule with the people not free citizens but dutiful subjects. Guess who they see as being in charge.
Why that particular form of rule? The thousands of American college graduates laying low during and after the Civil War by seeking doctoral degrees in Germany marveled that their German fellow students were preparing for well-paying, powerful positions in Bismarck’s new administrative state, jobs that existed nowhere in our lean form of government. Bismarck had also had the genius to implement Marx’s graduated income tax [item #2 in The Communist Manifesto] which allowed him to take as much money as he deemed necessary from the liberals (a label properly applied to the entrepreneurial/free enterprise crowd) in order to reduce their political clout and fund his effort to transfer their growing popularity to “bribe the people” that it was instead the Kaiser and his monarchical rule that cared about their concerns.
Nifty little scheme. And so in 1871, with the virulently racist Conservative Democrats of the South sidelined by Reconstruction after the war and with young Republicans in the North having spent their idle time reading the virulently racist tracts of the day claiming that Charles Darwin had proved the white race to be superior (particularly the Anglo-Saxon Protestant branch) and racial mixing to be sure ruin of a nation, the progressive movement was born to oppose the drive of Grant’s Republicans to put our founding credo that “all men are created equal” on a firmer footing.
In the generation leading up to the Progressive Era (~1890 - 1920), young progressives tried to insinuate themselves into our emerging large corporations to help them become monopolistic conglomerates (or “Trusts” in the language of the day, with “Octopuses” the casual term). When captains of American industry rejected the idea of buying advice from green-behind-the-ears college students, they instead sold themselves to government as “trust-busters.” They started in earnest building out a Bismarckian-scale administrative state. By 1915, they had added the income tax, and the US began operating according to Prussian statism rather than our original Enlightenment values.
Indeed, Woodrow Wilson, president at the time the income tax was inaugurated, became widely admired in Europe as the first fascist regime in the world. Europe was abuzz with that form of anti-Marxist totalitarian statism, and here was America actually preferring it to our liberal ideals of freedom and citizenship! We gave Europe a big boost down that sorry road.
But here in the US, progressive had “screwed the pooch.” At the time Wilson was elected, some four-fifths of Anglo-Saxon Protestants, who in turn were four-fifths of the whole population—a near super-majority—identified as progressive. By the end of Wilson’s terms, “progressive” was a dirty word, and that owed mostly to Prohibition, that is making the sale of alcoholic beverages illegal. In Harding and Coolidge, America elected two straight liberals and got the booming economy of the Roaring Twenties (though some of the boom came from flaunting Prohibition).
The next two presidents were progressive, Republican Hoover and Democrat F. D. Roosevelt. They did not run as progressives. In fact, FDR misappropriated the word “liberal” to camouflage his politics. And this started the period in which progressives had to assiduously rewrite their ugly history.
No, progressives did not advance the cause of women and help them obtain the vote. It was Frederick Douglass at the Seneca Falls Conference a generation before progressivism started who convinced Mott and Cady-Stanton and Anthony, all actual liberals, that women’s suffrage was a worthy cause. When suffragettes marched, it was progressives who jeered them and often broke the lines and pummeled them. Meanwhile, progressive spokeswomen, like Julia Lathrop and Florence Kelly, were arguing that working women were essentially prostitutes and female college students were “infertiles” producing less than one child per woman on average. Women, according to their eugenics views, needed to stay home and raise large white families.
In the same vein, the entirety of progressive history has been rewritten. Take the Scopes trial in which valiant progressives supposedly stood up for the science of evolution against troglodyte conservatives. The textbook in question was in fact a vulgar eugenics screed of zero scientific merit, being attacked by the populist wing of the Democratic Party and defended by the progressive wing of that party.
Progressives kept the economy depressed from 1929 to 1947 (with an able assist from British Fabian—the UK equivalent of progressive—J. M. Keynes) and then we went back into the Truman recession of 1948. It was Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy, the only true liberal ever elected president from the Democratic Party, who got our economy chugging again, only to see it diminish under progressives Johnson and Nixon.
During that Cold War period, progressivism was flat again. During the depression, New Deal progressivism had never exceeded much more than a third of the populace. After 1950 and the start of the Korean War, Americans came to see that it had been our freedom and free enterprise, our actual liberalism, that had bested the decadent socialisms of Europe. The last visible progressives were the Conservative Democrats of the South (erased from history after presidential candidate George Wallace was shot and gravely injured in 1972, but you may know them as “the Dixiecrats”). The northern and western wings of the Democratic Party became fully liberal, not progressive, and they aligned with the Republican Party in passing three civil rights acts, with the Conservative Democrats, led by Johnson, unable to pull the enforcement teeth from the third one.
The almost century-long progressive war against racial equality was over. But, when the Conservative Democrats then left the party, that became an existential crisis. No, they did not cross over to the Republican Party. That’s another bit of progressive calumny to try to absolve progressives of their virulent racism. Rather, it was the Boomer generation in the South, in school at the time of integration and appalled by the viciousness of their own parent generation, who, in an eerie reversal of young northern Republicans a century earlier, changed outlooks.
Johnson, who knew better than anyone how vindictive the Conservative Democrats would be over racial equality, scrambled to pass his Great Society initiative and its War on Poverty legislation in the hopes of creating a Democratic voting coalition with racial minorities. Knowing that, unlike the case with FDR, empty promises would no longer be enough, he vowed to key southern politicians, “I’ll have these niggers voting Democrat for two-hundred years,” in order to get their support.
Meanwhile, the slain President Kennedy’s brothers, Bobby and Teddy, focused on appeals to the young student radicals of the period by reviving progressivism but with a communist leaning this time in accordance with their love of Che and Mao and Castro, etc., etc. Bobby was soon assassinated, but the appeals worked, greatly aided by the chance soon later to exact vengeance on Richard Nixon, who, though a fellow progressive, was from the Wilsonian fascist, anti-communist tradition, and the young communists could not wait to use their flencing knives on him.
This Version 3.0 of progressivism has never much exceeded 17 percent of the voting populace and has depended on voting coalitions with the very “deplorables” previous generations of progressives had openly deplored. In fact, under Obama, the “yellow dogs” (dogmatic progressives) got cocky enough to drive the “blue dogs” (moderates) from the Democratic Party, meaning the party had become ideologically progressive with a minority voting coalition that had to be carefully catered to.
How’s that working out? It has been damned hard to manage. As they replace lofty civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr, with intersectionality and critical race theory, as they force us to mask up and punish us if we do not vaccinate, as we resist their various pushes toward socialized medicine and against our rights of speech and gun ownership, they get quite pissy. It seems the idea of Americans wanting to live out their American heritage of freedom and prosperity is irksome to them.
Will they go down for the third (and last?) time? Or will they soon have us living their Bismarckian / Marxian / Maoist wet dream?