What I’ve learned about progressives…so far

Posted: July 11, 2009 in Uncategorized
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So far I’m about 100 pages into American Progressivism and what I’ve learned up to this point is amazing. The central idea behind progressives seems to be society. Our founders believed in individual inherent rights. They believed we were endowed with certain rights by our creator from the moment our lives began. Rights which no man, government, or entity could ever take away. They believed we had the right to life, liberty, and property (which was later changed to the pursuit of happiness for reasons I won’t go into here). Progressives believe that society should determine what rights we have, when we have them, and when they can be taken away.

It occurred to me that this is where the abortion, or right to choose, movement started. If we aren’t endowed by our creator a right to life from the moment our lives begin (which, in my opinion, is at conception), then what right does a fetus have to live? Perhaps that’s too big of a leap for some of you, but it makes perfect sense to me.

Woodrow Wilson once said that in order to understand the true meaning of the Declaration of Independence, you shouldn’t read the preface. The biggest problem with that, however, is that the preface is the foundation of our independence. And it’s a solid foundation. Without that, this experiment we call a republic (and what I like to call the greatest nation on Earth) would be built on nothing and would have collapsed long ago. Are not all men created equal? Do we not all have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?

Progressives also promote a “true democracy” while also promoting government control of business. Is it just me or does this seem oxymoronic? I just can’t wrap my head around this idea. How exactly would this work?

They believe that the Constitution was good for its time, but it needs to change as society evolves. That’s what’s known as a “living” Constitution, which I didn’t understand until about a monthago. This is another idea which I disagree with. Our Constitution is and exquisite work of art. It can be amended. Amendments can be repealed. But the foundation on which it was built is still strong, still relevant. It’s also been said that the Constitution was written in such a way as to benefit and protect the framers financially before anyone else. This is just preposterous speculation which cannot be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

They don’t believe in our system of checks and balances. Wilson compared our system to the inner workings of our bodies. He said you can’t have one organ working against another. When that happens, you die. It’s a good analogy. It’s completely wrong, but it’s a good analogy. The fact of the matter is that our individual organs can’t become more powerful that the others. Our individual branches of government, however, can. That’s why we need checks and balances (it’s also why we need to stop creating czars, but that’s another story).

Another of their beliefs is that all children need to overcome the “prejudices” of their parents, the prejudices being small government, individual responsibility, natural rights, etc. This is an idea that has been argued recently (to elementary school kids) by Al Gore in regards to the environment. I understand that many parents are set in their ways, which can be bad, but they also have much to teach us. We can’t just turn our backs on them.

They believe in massive government expansion. They compare it to the expansion of the American frontier and how beneficial that was to the country. But I don’t believe that an over-reaching, ever-expanding, nanny-state government is what our founders had in mind. As a matter of fact, I believe that was the whole reason for declaring our independence from Britain.

I started reading this book because I’ve heard many people blame progressives for many problems in this country. I wanted to understand their philosophy before I pointed my finger. Although I’m less than halfway through the book,  I can already see that progressivism is just a pretty word for socialism, borderline fascism. Perhaps as I continue my studies I’ll change that opinion, but not at this time. And just so you know, American Progressivism is a compilation of speeches and writings by early 20th century progressives such as Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, among others. There is no interpretation of their writings by a biased conservative pundit. The writers only voice their arguments in the introduction and explain the importance of each person to the progressive movement at the beginning of each chapter. Other than that it’s open to interpretation by the reader. Also, it’s a resource for students and professors (and anyone else interested) to better understand the beginnings of the progressive movement.

On a side note, an avowed socialist senator, Bernie Sanders, has co-sponsored a bill in the Senate with Republican Jim Demint, S 604, which is a companion bill to H.R. 1207, a House bill which would allow for the audit of the Federal Reserve. When a self-proclaimed Socialist is worried about the power of the fed and wants to make sure they don’t implement policies which would endanger the dollar, we need to listen. Call your senators and representatives and make sure these bills are passed and made into law.


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