The word “progressive” has been so overused in the past thirty years that no one today is quite sure what it means. In the 18th century Immanuel Kant defined progress as being a movement away from barbarism toward civilization.
It included, of course, advances in science, technology, economic development, and social organization. It evolved from the Industrial Era, a belief that economic inequities impeded social progress. The argument was adopted almost entirely by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, two clever men who discovered how easy it was to divide societies for their purposes.
As with many words, “progressivism” has had many meanings. In the early 20th century, American progressivism began as an intellectual rebellion against Constitutionalism, whereby enumerated powers limit government authority. No modern progressive respects the Constitution, which has become the crux of socio-political disagreement in the 21st Century. After Theodore Roosevelt, progressivism became identified with eugenics — the notion that human populations can be improved by excluding inferior groups and promoting people of “superior” quality. No political party embraced this concept more than American Democrats and German Fascists. Thankfully, we’ve managed to rid ourselves of the German Fascists; we remain plagued with Democrats, however.
More recently, American Democrats have cloaked their long-held belief of racial superiority within their demand for public policies that guarantee socio-political supremacy. Claiming to represent the interests of “ordinary people,” modern progressives insist on more government control of nearly every aspect of American lifestyles, including the economy. The juxtaposition, of course, is that progressives claim to champion the ordinary man while at the same time harboring deep resentment for populists.
Populists are the people who cling to their Bibles and their guns, who deeply resent the progressive elitists because of their haughty assertions that they know what is best for everyone else. Populists passionately detest progressives because of their overwhelming repudiation of Constitutionalism and their embrace of communism/Marxism. Mind you, many populists suffered the loss of loved ones and relatives who were combat veterans in wars against communism.
Despite two hundred years of “progress,” our world has not become a better place. One would think that after two world wars (and numerous lesser-sized conflicts, albeit equally deadly to those who participated in them), Americans might at least have learned a few lessons. For instance, progressive-minded people might have learned something from the collapse of the Soviet Union; they might have learned something about communism from the millions of innocent dead who were the victims of communism. But — no.
No sensible person today anxiously embraces the horror of what communism presented to the world — which, I think, is my point. We today find ourselves confronting a long line of irrational human beings, utterly incapable of knowing, much less understanding the essential elements of enlightened thought. We must understand this, of course, in the context of their deep commitment to communism, where such things as freedom of speech, association, religion are as abhorrent to them as gulags and firing squads are to ordinary people. There may be rational progressives, somewhere, but if there are, they have become grossly overshadowed by the supremely ignorant, foolish, and absurd. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stands at the head of that line.
But at least now we know the enemy — which is the right word to use. They are not “opposition,” as in polite discourse. They are a dangerous enemy, but it is the civilized process of electioneering that must defeat them. We can, of course, shoot them in self-defense, but we must not deny them their right to have an opinion or express it — no more than they are entitled to refuse populists their Constitutional rights, as established in the Bill of Rights. But what must change are the people we choose to represent the American point of view in Congress.
First, however, we must know what the American point of view is, and then we must find people capable of articulating it. The Republican Party no longer measures up to even our lowest expectations. The Democrats have not embraced American values since 1828. We must find a different way.
What say you, citizens of Bunkerville?
Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar