Progressivism Is Dying

Obama2by Cato   8/3/14
In the mid-1970s James Earl Carter, a classic bleeding heart liberal if there ever was one, was elected POTUS.  He and the Democrats of Congress set out to finalize the welfare state that had begun with the Great Society initiatives of Lyndon Baines Johnson in the 1960s, programs that had been slowed or interrupted by Richard Milhous Nixon and Gerald Rudolph Ford.

Jimmy Carter was no progressive.  He believed in the Constitution.  He worked with and through Congress.  Carter was a classic liberal of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt school.  With the massive foreign policy and economic failures of the Carter presidency the liberal quest of the perfected welfare state began to die.  It crashed and burned.  It self-immolated.[pullquote]Just as Carter killed the classic welfare state by fully implementing it, so Obama is killing the progressive totalitarian state by shoving it down American’s throats.[/pullquote]

Out of the ashes of the Carter welfare state agenda, programs reaching all the way back to FDR’s first term, arose Ronald Wilson Reagan. 

Reagan was given two landslide election victories, in 1980 and 1984.  Only a stolen election by Democrats in Minnesota, Walter Frederick Mondale’s home state, to which Reagan turned a blind eye, prevented America from awarding Reagan a 50 state victory.  America reborn was Reagan’s Phoenix.

Classic liberalism was not totally dead, though.  Hillary Rodham Clinton’s attempt to resurrect the classic liberal welfare agenda in the early 1990s … in the form of “HillaryCare”, her version of universal healthcare … collapsed in ridicule, derided as folly, almost before it was fully written down.  William Jefferson Clinton spent the remainder of this two terms doing deals with Newt Gingrich and the Republicans.  Never again would FDR-era liberal welfare politics anchor a Democratic campaign.

Liberal welfare ideology was finally dead.  It remains so today.  The redistribution policies of progressives are cynical shadows, mere crude attempts at buying votes, compared to those bleeding hearts like Carter installed.  Democrats responded to Reagan’s routs by moving far left.

Liberalism was replaced with a progressive agenda built upon an authoritarian credo anchored in race baiting, gender politics, economic victimhood, fascistic abuse of anyone in opposition, and total disregard for written law.  Progressivism reviles American Exceptionalism, seeking to transfer all American influence into international bodies.  Progressives built and unionized a bureaucracy of autocrats out of which regulations and dictat flowed, divorced from the oversight of Congress.

Embedded in the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama this authoritarianism, hatred of American influence and power, determined abuse of regulatory bureaucracy and deep animus to individual freedom of speech and thought is now open and visible.  At the center of this Obama-led subversion of 225 years of American tradition is a visceral progressive contempt for the US Constitution and the separation of powers it demands.

With the presidency of Barack Obama progressivism has come out of the shadows.  Progressives don’t feel the need to lie about their goals, their intentions and their methods any longer.  They don’t feel they need to sugar coat their demands.  They are now blatantly open about abusing the IRS to silence political opponents, sneering at those of us demanding equal treatment; sticking a middle finger in our faces.  They are plain spoken in their desire to destroy the coal, natural gas and oil industries.  They are no longer circumspect about bypassing Congress to built a dictatorship of the regulatory state.  Every commission and agency has become its own little dictatorial kingdom.  The Department of Justice in particular is an Orwellian institution, run by a man, Eric Holder, who is infested with racial paranoia; seeming to be driven by a bitter hatred of all things White; totally politicized and severely biased in enforcement of laws; a American Black progressive version of a European Aryan fascist.

All of this is now obvious even to the most oblivious.  What is less obvious is that the progressive assault on America is beginning to lose its balance.  Like all jihads it is self-immolating.  The program is beginning to collapse in upon itself in a hundred small ways.  Cracks and fissures are showing up everywhere.  The failure of one policy after another.  The pushback from the destruction of entire industries with losses of hundreds of thousands of jobs.  The abusive structure of ObamaCare … forcing millions out of their policies and to accept in its place inferior insurance at inflated prices.  All of this and much, much more is gradually killing progressivism.

Just as Carter killed the classic welfare state by fully implementing it, so Obama is killing the progressive totalitarian state by shoving it down American’s throats. The old axiom “the best way to kill a bad law is to fully enforce it” was never more true than it is right now.

Americans are not an intellectual people.  We aren’t policy wonks.  We don’t think things through logically.  Americans are entrepreneurs and experimenters.  We learn by doing; by trial and error.  We try out ideas and we reject the ones that don’t work.  We’ve always been this way.  We tried Carter’s welfare state and we learned.  We are trying Obama’s progressive autocracy and we are learning.

26 states sued Obama in resistance to ObamaCare’s demands, to the cheers of vast majorities of Americans.  The suit won, 34 states have now refused to abide by ObamaCare’s strictures.  Democrats have lost control of the House of Representatives, 29 governorships and dozens of state Houses and Senates.  The US Senate should be lost to progressives this year and the presidency in 2016.  The resistance grows daily, as we learn.  And Obama’s presidency is falling apart.

I smile at the thought of what is to come once this learning experience is finally done, when Obama’s progressive jihad joins Carter’s liberal crusade on America’s scrap heap of failed and rejected politics.


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27 Responses to Progressivism Is Dying

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Sorry, while I hope you are correct, I find much of the sentiment expressed reminiscent of whistling past the graveyard.

    The federal government has done nothing but grow since Carter. Transfer payments absorb an ever increasing percentage of the national expenditure. Virtually half of the population does not believe in self reliance and think the government is there to fix just about everything. This percentage is growing yearly with the large number of immigrants flooding into the country.

    More importantly, where are the people who will take hold of government and shrink it in any meaningful way?

    Until there are more people who vote to cut government spending and will pay attention to politics for more than five minutes every four years, I think small victories are all that can be hoped for. Of course, I prefer such small victories to defeats.

    • Cato says:

      KFZ and others of this sentiment:
      While I certainly understand your pessimism I can’t share it. Perhaps you aren’t old enough to have experienced the Carter years but I am. I know first hand what “malaise” was referring to. Start with a 10% pay raise in 1979 that was offset by 13% inflation; that will make you pessimistic in a hurry.

      But what came next, in the person and persona of Ron Reagan, was not just an accident. It grew out of the very experience of the inflation, foreign policy debacles and gross ineptitude of the Carter Administration. See any parallels with the current disasters in WDC under Obama?

      I am not and will not be a cynic. I’ve seen the American people at their worst and at their best. The taking of the House was not the last victory.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Cato, thanks for bringing your optimistic vision to StubbornThings. It’s certainly not outlawed here.

        But given the thoroughly Progressive indoctrination that people receive from the education system, the media, and the entertainment culture, I don’t foresee anything in our future but an every-growing nanny state. To cut it back will be extremely difficult.

        Certainly a lot of the bad stuff we are going through now could cause a more conservative president to be elected. We might even elect another Ronald Reagan. But even Reagan couldn’t stop Progressivism. He was a momentary reversal in a trend that is still trending.

        Here’s the problem that any one president, or even a series of calamities, won’t likely reverse:

        1) Most Americans are addicted to entitlements of some sort. And once you receive an entitlement, they are viewed as a “right,” even by (in my experience) the most die-hard conservatives. This is a problem not just because of the money and debt involved, but because entitlements change the very nature of the relationship between the state and the individual. As Mark Steyn says, it changes the relationship between the citizen and government to that of an addict and a pusher.

        2) The unelected bureaucracy is vast. As Mark Steyn notes about the typical European government, the party in power may change from time to time, but the bureaucracy still rules. And that bureaucracy is inherently Progressive or statist.

        3) The reigning worldview/religion of America is no longer Christianity. It’s Leftism. The former is the underpinning for unalienable individual rights. The latter is a constant recipe for collectivism. And this religion of Leftism has infected almost all of Judaism and I would say holds significant sway over 60% of Christians (whether they know it or not).

        The few bright spots in all this are home-schooling (someone has to break the back of the indoctrination centers, otherwise known as “public education”), the internet (where there is at least a chance to do an end run around the Pravda-like mainstream media), and…well¬I can’t really think of anything offhand other than the natural limits of economics.

        And one of the prime problems we face today — even if people are getting fed up with the way things are now — is that the phenomenon of the “low information voter” is very real. People don’t have a grounding in civics. They can know that they don’t like what is occurring now, but they will not be able to comprehend why. Nor will they recognize the answer when it is offered to them.

        It also doesn’t help (alluded to in point #2 above) that we are being divided into The Ruling Class and everyone else. The state, the politicians, the parties, the bureaucracy — they have all created a climate and a culture that will be tough to break, short of revolution. And it might come to that. But the American Revolution was an anomaly. Most revolutions turn out badly.

        And then there’s just the sheer magnitude of having a culture be in whatever particular place it is. That’s why the Democrats and the Left stress “forward.” They understand both the problem of the inertia of culture and the power of changing it. This relates to what Jefferson said in the Declaration of Independence: …mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed…. Right now we live in a Progressive culture.

        For better or for worse, people have become used to “equality” (as the Left defines it), “diversity” (as the Left defines it), entitlements, socialism, “compassion” (as defined by how much the government spends), and on and on. You have to give credit to the Left for at least having a vision. The Republican Party does not have a vision other than trying to play Democrat Light. And when someone with a vision of America as she should be comes along (Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz), they are dumped on by all sides (an indication that there really is a Ruling Class phenomenon).

        This site intends to chip away just a little bit at these sanctimonious libtards and show them for the barbarians that they are. We will make fun of them. We will delve into the real and true history of this country and Western Civilization. And we will skewer the low-brow Progressive culture noting how everything the Left touches (as Dennis Prager often says), they make worse.

        But I personally have no pretensions regarding changing the world. I think we’re at the middle state at the moment. The wheels are in motion and the next stage is to see what happens when the consequences and costs (both monetary and cultural) come due. We don’t know how that will play out. But I don’t see any way to slow this great freight train of a republic from its destiny with those costs.

        • Cato says:

          Brad and KFZ and others of this mind:

          I can’t disagree with either of you that things are sour and I won’t suggest some political miracle worker will come along able to make it right again. The last thing we need is a conservative Obama.

          The thing is, and my point over the articles I offer to ST in the future: we don’t need a miracle worker. The core of my thinking is “what lives by the sword dies by the sword”.

          Why did the USSR just stop existing one day? Was it tanks and planes? It was the dead inertia of its own governmental detritus. The same is true of all command economy states, of all economies run by central command and regulation. Why did China shut down the communes and light the fires of entrepreneurial commerce as soon as Mao’s body was cold? Because they know what I’m saying about the suicidal nature of socialism is true.

          Cut to the chase. What I will try to convince you of over the next few months … and Brad, your welcome to ST’s pages is very much appreciated … is that ALL such command economies and autocratic politics are self-liquidating and self-immolating. ALL. ALWAYS.

          The failure I allude to is systemic. It’s inherent in the misallocation of capital and labor. It’s inherent in the central planners constantly “fighting the last war”, so to speak. It’s inherent in the corruption of politics: witness the very public campaign in China in this regard presently.

          There has never been and in my never humble estimation never will be an economically sound, politically successful progressive state.

          More to come on this and the burden of proof is on me.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Cato, you make a good case for a kind of “half-life” to Communism (Progressivism, socialism, and Leftism are the same breed).

            But the warning sign for me was the bail-outs in 2008 (the housing boom and bust). To me, the story behind that is clearly about socialism coming home to roost. But the narrative that has survived is that it was a failure of capitalism.

            My point is, when things blow up — as they surely will — there is absolutely no assurance that conservatism will fill the void and there is every reason to believe that the public at large (those low-information voters) will buy the idea that anybody but government is to blame. And for many people (enough…the so-called “tipping point”) get benefits from government which gives them an incentive for to believe the narrative offered (which will be one that blames anyone and anything but the actual problem — statism and socialism).

            I hope I’m wrong. I don’t think I’m being pessimistic but realistic. We can look to Europe to see our future. Instead of rejecting the ill effects of socialism/statism, we may regard double-digit unemployment as normal. We may regard all kinds of ill things as normal. Look at gay marriage and abortion, for example. And people who grow up in these states take on the new-normal as normal.

            Of course, long term you’re correct. This Progressive stuff can’t last, if only because of Utopia’s price tag. But it remains to be seen whether it is replaced by something else, foreign or domestic. That is, in the case of Europe, the demographics strongly suggest that it will be an Islamic continent by the end of the century (and perhaps earlier).

            As Mark Steyn notes, America will still be here. There will be a zip code. But it won’t be America in any way recognizable. And, of course, we best not forget that history doesn’t stay still. There is no guarantee that in a hundred years we will not have split up into four or five regions…or be a client state of China. And I say that in the knowledge of the kind of helpless sheep that Progressivism makes of a population. Again, as Steyn notes, it’s not bad just because we can’t afford it. It’s bad because of what it does to us as a culture.

            Some day we will face nuclear blackmail or some other military pressure. And just like we cannot, and will not, defined our southern border from an invader (for one BS reason or another), the spineless population being bred by Progressivism may blink when the time comes to defend itself. This kind of scenario (or many possible others) could play out simply because our population no longer believes in itself. It no longer has a cohesive idea about who we are and what we are about, except the passions of hedonism, nihilism, and narcissism.

            The soul of America has been rotted out and this has been going on for over 60 years now…at least since Wilson. That’s why I say only Baby Jesus can save us. And I mean by that that only a true spiritual awakening can save us. Our lives have to be about more than merely how many iPhones we own or planning our next vacation. And unless we have that awakening, it is inevitable that we will fall prey to those who do have a strong identity. This is the object lesson we are watching now in Europe.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              The soul of America has been rotted out and this has been going on for over 60 years now…at least since Wilson.

              The decline is speeding up. From the time I left in the middle/late 1970’s to my return in 2000, the country had changed dramatically.

              In the 14 years since my return, it has changed about as much as in previous the twenty five. The change is all for the worse.

            • Rosalys says:

              That’s why I say only Baby Jesus can save us. And I mean by that that only a true spiritual awakening can save us.

              I would like to amend this statement of yours just a bit. Baby Jesus grew up and died by crucifixion for our redemption. That’s it! Otherwise I agree absolutely! It will take another Great Awakening, a spiritual (by spiritual I mean Christian) revival. The left knows this (whether consciously or not – but surely the author of leftism, that old serpent himself knows!) And this is why there has been a real effort put into subverting the Church and changing it into the namby-pamby, feel good about yourself and don’t let anybody go home feeling bad about himself, putrid, stinking mass of relativism that it has largely become.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        Good day Cato,

        Sadly, I remember Carter. The first president who I was really conscious of was JFK. I can’t recall much about Eisenhower even though I was born during the first year of his term.

        I think the late 1960’s were a worse time for America than the Carter years, but that chiefly had to do with the racial riots and Vietnam War.

        I recall the Carter “malaise” speech and I thought only a fool could have given it.

        I think the country was very fortunate to have a Reagan on the stage when the curtain went up, but do not see a similar actor anywhere at present. Furthermore as Brad mentioned, Reagan only delayed Progressivism’s march. I think much of that might have to do with his main focus, which was to defeat the “Evil Empire”.

        While it is not good to be a cynic, a skeptical attitude toward much of life, particularly politics, is not a bad thing.

        As I said before, I hope you are correct. And what is more important, I am doing what I can to bring about the defeat of the Leftist hordes who infect our body politic.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          I think much of that might have to do with his main focus, which was to defeat the “Evil Empire”.

          The conventional conservative wisdom on that, Mr. Kung, is that anti-Communism united us. And with the supposed passing of the Soviet threat (I never believed that for an instant), we were left without a unifying factor.

          This also exposes what seems to be the one-way ratchet effect of government. It tends to grow. Very few politicians get anywhere by promising to eliminate something.

          So the natural impulse for “improvement” is passed through government. And government can obviously do a lot to improve our lives, which is why I’m no naive libertarian. I’m the first to admit that I like the advancements we’ve made in civilization, often via government. I wouldn’t want to do with municipal garbage and sewers, for instance, as well as police protection.

          But now that these basics are more or less taken care of (except in black neighborhoods where Democrats are content to leave them to rot), government (and those politicians looking to gain elective office) just tend to push the boundaries on what can, and should, be “improved.” Now all of the Western democracies have moved on from civic engineering (a useful and quite tangible benefit) to social engineering. And we conservatives stridently oppose the latter use of government. Build a bridge. Fine. But don’t try to be my surrogate parent or spouse.

          But it’s a tough PR battle and we know it, or should. When Obama or some other Democrat can roll someone up on the stage in a wheelchair and announce to the world some beneficiary of a government program that maybe saved a life, that’s an effective bit of PR. The conservative counter to that is, at best, “It’s not the domain of government.” The Progressive answer is, “Why not? It should be, for look at all the good we can do.”

          And there is no turning back. The expectations of what government can and should do are too expansive now, the bureaucracy supporting this paradigm too entrenched. The only thing we conservatives (at least those outside of government) have to do is to wonder whether this whole wobbly edifice will topple over and transform from a “soft,” nanny-state sort of liberal fascism to a harder one. Revolution is an option as well.

          Or maybe it’s not Reagan that Cato should pine for (as I, too, pine for). It’s Coolidge who actually and truly took a battle axe to government and cut it significantly. Mark Rubio, Jeb Bush, and any other Republican I can think of is not that man…or woman for that. And that is what it will take, along with a willing House and Senate.

          Even so, it does little good to cut government when the state education system simply acts to turn out more Progressive-minded people. But it will certainly help to turn off the spigot. Reductions are useless. Entire entitlements and departments need to be pulled up by the roots.

          • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

            The conventional conservative wisdom on that, Mr. Kung, is that anti-Communism united us. And with the supposed passing of the Soviet threat (I never believed that for an instant), we were left without a unifying factor.

            I suppose anti-Communism united us as Americans and international allies ala NATO. But the domestic anti-American crowd was still there and kept their heads down somewhat. Since Clinton, and even more so during the rein of B. Hussein Obamanation, they have come out of their holes covered with the slime and filth one associates with such slugs.

            But that was not my point. I believe that Reagan saw the Soviet threat as the more immediate and dangerous problem, thus he concentrated almost all his energy on that. Had there been no Soviet Union, I think it likely he would have spent more political capital on changing the government in America. I find his firing of the air-traffic controllers as proof of this.

            Of course, it is only conjecture.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I’m much more pessimistic than you are, obviously, but I will say that so far I still can’t bring myself to give up hope completely. I suspect that there is something inside me that won’t let me surrender.

        • Rosalys says:

          “Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.”

          – anon

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    One thing to note about the old bleeding-hearts is their extreme sanctimony. Thus, after both Carter and Clinton were replaced by Republicans, their staffers sabotaged the White House in various ways, a reflection of their inherent indiscipline and their spiteful sanctimony. And Carter (the most self-righteous president since Wilson), who had previously been a patriotic American in his own ineffectual way, became yet another America-hating leftist.

    Incidentally, is there any evidence that Mondale’s victory in Minnesota in 1984 was fraudulent? The state had a good reputation for honest government before Soros managed to get a radical leftist Secretary of State elected there a few elections back. (Good government and honest elections are among the traditions that leftists reflexively reject.)

    Unfortunately, I’m afraid that Kung Fu Zu is likely to be right. Barry Screwtape Obama has done a lot to expose the vile nature of modern leftism, but there are still a large number of leeches and sheep who will support him, and their fascist methods are still in operation at the IRS and elsewhere. It would be nice to believe that the Fascist Party (usually called the Democrats) would be utterly destroyed, but until that happens we still have the Enemy Within boring away at our civic culture.

  3. Anniel says:

    Someone once said of Carter that the only thing worse than a hypocrite is a sanctimonious hypocrite. Whenever he starts to lecture I bear that in mind.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I quite agree. Unfortunately, modern liberals are defined by exactly that, and usually to an extreme degree (especially Barry Screwtape Obama).

  4. Rosalys says:

    In this article I see yet another redefinition going on. Mr. Cato, you are now calling FDR, Carter and The Lizard Queen (Hillary) “Classic Liberals.” I thought a Classic Liberal was one who believes in the founding principles of our country. Please do not do that! Good grief! If you succeed in this redefinition I may have to resort to calling myself a Libertarian again – and I do not want to do that! It took me a long time, through the careful education by the good folks at ST to shed the label!

    Progressive, Liberal, Socialist, Fascist, National Socialist (NAZI), Communist may not technically be the same – the are all about nuance – but they are all cut out of the same cloth. Some believe in quick and violent means, others believe in cooking the frog through a slow boil. Some are more nationalistic in their approach, others are international. But they are all marching toward the same end. “We, the elite, don’t need a God to tell us what to do, but you benighted peons need Us to tell you what to do, where to go and how to get there!”

    I remember President Peanut. I remember him bemoaning the “fact” that the presidency was too big a job for any one person and that we needed a different approach. (Anyone else out there hear oligarchy?) These are not the sentiments of one who respects the Constitution!

    Ultimately I believe that a revival is the only hope for our country. Beyond that I believe that it is perfectly just to “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!” The fact that we have managed to stay the hands of the gun controllers brings joy to my heart. Getting rid of the gubmint indoctrination centers and turning them back into truly local, publicly run schools, plus allowing for vouchers would be very helpful. So I take heart also in the home school movement. Enforcing the immigration laws we already have (and have not been enforcing) rather than endlessly screeching for more new laws is a good idea, too – but I’m not holding my breath on this one.

    There is a natural end to the lunatic ideas of the left. Fiscally it is unsustainable. (Funny. The left is all about sustainability nowadays. Why can’t they see this one coming? Because they are either stupid or else this is just another faux idea and buzz word with which to beguile the low information voters.) History runs in cycles. But, there is no guarantee for what comes after the deluge.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      If you succeed in this redefinition I may have to resort to calling myself a Libertarian again – and I do not want to do that! It took me a long time, through the careful education by the good folks at ST to shed the label!

      This is good to hear. I think Brad will consider this one type of validation of ST.

      While I believe Cato is somewhat optimistic, I do believe we must do what we can to stop the downward spiral of our country. And influencing people’s ideas, in the right direction, is one of the most basic and important things all of us can do.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I noticed that too about “classic liberal”, but the proper term for those who favored limited government was “classical liberal”. However, the FDR types could be considered a way station between classical liberalism and modern liberalism (i.e., radical leftist totalitarianism). Robert Paxton in The Anatomy of Fascism said that traditional liberals believed in the goals of the French Revolution (liberty, equality, fraternity) — in particular, individual liberty and equal opportunity. The intermediate liberals began to put equality above liberty, and then degenerated further by seeking equality of result rather than equal opportunity. This eventually led to the modern form.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The headline of the Seattle Times newspaper this morning was all about the Palestinian “victims” of Israel with body counts and sympathetic photos. Your typical low-information voter would have garnered from that headline and article that Israel is a sort of Nazi of the Middle East, an aggressor without conscience.

    Whatever we want to call what we are living in now, that is the reality of our times. People are taking, and wanting to take, a vacation from reality. That is the heart of Progressivism. It’s yet another strain of Utopianism.

    I agree with your points, Rosalys, that in no way, shape, or form are FDR and Carter “classical liberals.” They were Big Government liberals, with FDR (along with Wilson) being the cornerstone of the Progressive era (and Carter having since gone on to show his hardcore Leftist interior, if only by his knee-jerk anti-Semitism and pro-Islam stances). But it’s only fair to point out that this Big Government liberalism did transform into Big Government Leftist Liberalism only later. FDR was not Barack Obama. But neither was he Thomas Jefferson, a truly “classical liberal” who actually acted to cut Federal government excesses (as he saw them). Jefferson sought to adhere to the Constitution while FDR tried to get around it as in the case of trying to pack the Supreme Court which had the nasty habit of ruling (correctly) against many of his extra-constitutional actions.

    Deciding where we want to go has a lot to do with understanding where we are now. Progressivism infects both parties and is well ensconced in the civic mind. Anyone who receives a Social Security check is implicit in the Ponzi scheme of Progressivism.

    For the purposes of this brief analysis, let’s call “Progressivism” that belief held by the Useful Idiots or Low Information Voters. I mean those who think the issue of CO2 really is about saving the planet, not an attempt to replace the free market with central planning. Yes, people such as Hillary call themselves “Progressives” but they are the upper tier (the others are the lower tier) and they use the word “Progressive” to hide the fact that they are actually Leftists, Marxists, and Communists. They mean to “totally transform” this country (as Obama said) because they do not like it. Your typical squishy, low-information “Progressive” who comes home from college full of kumbaya and notions of how the world can be made whole only by them has no inkling that he or she is but a tool of the hardcore Leftists, Marxists, and Communists. That doesn’t make them a bad person, but it does make them a fool and a facilitator of evil.

    The “Progressive” worldview could be defined thusly: Peace, prosperity, and good feelings are the natural state of humankind (using their euphemisms). It is only because of unenlightened views fostered by greed, racism, sexism, and an ethics anchored in superstition (read “Christianity,” not “Islam”…more on this later), not reason, that we have had the problems that we have in the world.

    America and the West got wealthy by exploiting the third world, therefore we have a responsibility to give it back. And most of the conflicts in the world have to do with unenlightened views where the other is not sufficiently understood. But if we take time to understand other cultures, we will come to see that they are just like us, just different, and we must celebrate those differences.

    Now, into the above analysis are also included the sclerosis of many hardcore and noxious Leftist ideas. This “kumbaya” Progressivism is not just the nice face as presented above. Much of it is tinted with hatred of America, of white people, of capitalism, but in smaller and more subtle (and often disguised) degrees as compared to the Leftist leaders (such as Obama). But mostly your dime-store Progressive is a tool and a fool of the hardcore Leftists. He or she truly believes that the way to be a good and moral person is to believe all this “diversity” and “relativism” stuff. That it causes them to be anti-Semitic, in practice, and apologists for murder and deceit (in the case of Hamas) doesn’t seem to penetrate their brain, if only because one of the pillars of Progressivism is narcissism. It is much more important to feel that one is good than to actually do the hard work of being good.

    Progressives (hard or soft) also tend to be the biggest bigots in our country. As much as they might kumbaya regarding third-worlders or homosexuals, they have been fed a load of baloney regarding conservatives, Western Civilization, and America. The strength of the Progressive movement is actually in this bigotry, for the typical progressive cannot articulate his values or goals. But he or she is very sure that conservatives are all stupid knuckle-draggers who are second-class citizens, at best, and should be treated so (we see the leading edge of this in things such as the IRS scandal). At the end of the day all this “niceness” that they exude is paper-thin and built upon sand.

    Still, if we lived in a world in which there were no existential threats, this kumbaya attitude would be essentially harmless. But as it is, it acts as an effective set of civilizational blinkers. It blinds us to our problems. And because the goal of Progressives is utopia, they are of the mindset to try to automatically wish problems away if they can, no matter what nonsense they have to believe in order to do so. This is what is happening regarding Israel and Hamas, for example. It is easier to blame the Jews and thereby wish the gargantuan problem of Islam away.

    And this particular conflict also fits the narcissistic Progressive narrative whereby the big, bad, “imperialist” countries such as Israel are once again picking on the “ethnic,” small, helpless third-world peoples who are poor, not because of their own sordid behavior, but because of someone else. In effect, a large component of Progressivism is therefore therapeutic. Facts don’t matter. “Feelings” do and typically wimpy ones at that. The Progressive gains a sense of moral and intellectual superiority by siding with victims and defining themselves as victims.

    Wilson was a rot-gut precursor to the Leftism we have today. FDR created the bloated state and legitimized the role of the Federal government as nanny. This set the stage for the ascendency of the hardcore Left which co-opted the nanny role while implemented its anti-American, Marxist policies…mostly in disguise, of course.

    So what country do we want to go back to if we could? Well, first we have to understand where we are now and how we got here.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      People fail to realize that a “bigot” is someone who is closed-minded to the point of being intolerant of opposing views. The connection to racism and other such prejudices (and the word “prejudice” comes from “pre-judging”) is that racists etc. tend to behave in a very bigoted fashion. (Mad once had a piece about how you can’t argue with a bigot which demonstrated this, probably accidentally.) So a modern liberal is pretty much automatically a bigot; it goes with the territory.

  6. Glenn Fairman says:

    Oh God, I pray you are correct, sir…..

  7. Tom Riehl TRiehl says:

    I read the article and the entire comment string. Glad I registered!

    The discussion about political labels never ends, but if you desire a lot more clarity, please read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. It’s not new, but it is illuminating. Be assured that he discusses the “Lizard Queen” Rosalys.

  8. I agree with Cato in that the tide does appear to be turning; it no longer feels like we’re alone in this fight. That being said, however, I have no idea if this ship is going to get turned around before it goes over the falls.

    It is true that we try things and fail and fix things and go on. Yes. However, it is also true that each time we head back toward the Constitution and biblical thinking, we change course back to left sooner, so slowly, slowly we’ve drifted into a current that we may not be able to handle. It is good that Jesus Christ controls history; we’re going to need Him.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Your last paragraph reminds me of Nathanael Greene’s comment during the American Revolution: “We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again.” No matter how hopeless the situation looks, there have been times when it looked even worse, and somehow we pulled through. There are lists of all the times when it seemed only a miracle would save the US in the 1770s (such as the suddenly foggy weather that enabled most of Washington’s forces to escape across the East River from Brooklyn to Manhattan). Read To Try Men’s Souls and Valley Forge by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen for a reminder of what our forefathers faced — and won anyway.

  9. Anniel says:

    When my 18 year old grandson tells me that it will be his generation’s job to pick up the pieces and rebuild the country, and I see the Cato Institute Constitution always in his shirt pocket, I take heart for our country. He also says his grandpa and I need to stay the course as long as we can.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I have 3 copies of the Cato copy of the Declaration and the Constitution. I keep one handy to my laptop, within easy reach. It’s amazing how often I find a reason to quote from one or the other document.

  10. Tooie Hales says:

    Trump…the culmination of your article.

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