What is a Progressive? As I watched Hillary Clinton during a debate for the 2008 election she said she rejects the term liberal and prefers to be called a "modern Progressive." She also said she was an admirer of Neo-Marxist Saul Alinsky (1909-1972), the inspiration behind ACORN. In fact she was offered a job by him. In 1969 she wrote There is Only the Fight...An analysis of the Alinsky model.
To quote Hillary on page 74 of her thesis which in many ways I believe she was speaking for herself: "The middle class is fertile ground for organizing, and Alinsky thinks, for radicalizing...(their frustration)...could be channelled into achieving radical goals. The secret...is that such goals must be perceived as paralleling self-interest."
Let's be clear that Hillary is no Marxist of the Saul Alinsky type who saw the underclass being organized from below to extract benefits from the larger society. He saw the "revolution" from the bottom up, Hillary and Progressives in general including President Obama see it from the top down.
We must examine very closely her statements that are largely deceptive. She defined classical liberalism (18-19th Century) as "freedom, the freedom to achieve to stand against big power in behalf of the individual..." She goes on the whine, "in the last 30-40 years it has been turned up on its head...made to seem describes big government..."
She is claiming term "liberal" is falsely debased to mean something bad (big government) when really it doesn't mean that. Well, yes it does today. The actual truth is classical liberalism which posited economic freedom (laissez faire capitalism) and individual liberty has no connection at all with either modern liberalism or Progressivism.
Individual liberty can't be severed from property rights and economic liberty. As she says "we are better as a society when we are working together..." What happened to individual achievement and individual rights-freedoms Mrs. Clinton? She says she believes in individual freedom but that is impossible with modern liberals and Progressives because they are socialists and socialism crushes individual freedom.
Being forced to "work together" under government coercion is not individual freedom anything. She just pulled what is called "bait and switch." Then she says, "when we find ways to help those who may not have all of the advantages..." What she is really selling is top-down collectivism the antithesis to individual liberty and freedom.
So perhaps she wants to avoid a negative label being pinned on her for political reasons during an election. If she is a Progressive and I believe her when she says so, then what exactly is a Progressive? As Hillary tells us Progressivism is really an "American" ideal, but is it?
Much of the ideas behind Progressivism was imported Germany (along with many other secular 'isms') starting with Otto von Bismark in the 19th century. They give the masses just enough of what they want in order to retain and expand power for the central government.
So what do Progressives believe? According to Michael Schwalbe (Common Dreams, May 30, 2008), a professor of sociology at North Carolina State University, you might be one if:
You think health care is a basic human right, and that single-payer national health insurance is a worthwhile reform on our way toward creating a non-profit national health care service.
You think that human rights ought always to trump property rights. (Stripping individuals of their property rights.)
You think public education should be free, not just from kindergarten through high school, but as far as a person is willing and able to go.
You think that electoral democracy is not enough, and that democracy must also be participatory and extend to workplaces. You think that strengthening the rights of all workers to unionize and bargain collectively is a useful step toward full economic democracy. (Economic democracy? Five wolves and one sheep get to vote for what's for dinner. Wonder how the sheep will make out?)
You think that as a society we have a (note the term) collective obligation to provide everyone who is willing and able to work with a job that pays a living wage and offers dignity.
You think that a class system which forces some people to do dirty, dangerous, boring work all the time, while others get to do clean, safe, interesting work all the time, can never deliver social justice.
You think that regulating big corporations isn't enough, and that such corporations, if they are allowed to exist at all, must either serve the common good or be put into public receivership. (Government ownership of production either outright or through taxation and regulation.)
You think that the legal doctrine granting corporations the same constitutional rights as natural persons is absurd and must be overturned.
You think it's wrong to allow individuals to accumulate wealth without limits, and that the highest incomes should be capped well before they begin to threaten community and democracy.
You think that wealth, not just income, should be taxed. (Read seizure of private property.)
You think it's crazy to use the Old Testament as a policy guide for the 21st century. (State atheism-Secular Humanism)
You believe in celebrating diversity (anti-white racism), while also recognizing that having women and people of color proportionately represented (in denial of individual achievement and merit) among the class of oppressors (Marxist' language) is not the goal we should be aiming for.
You think that national borders, while sometimes establishing territories of safety, more often establish territories of exploitation, much like gang turf. (More Marxist' rhetoric.)
You are open to considering how the privileges you enjoy because of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and/or physical ability might come at the expense of others.
You believe that voting every few years is a weak form of political participation, and that achieving social justice requires concerted effort before, during, and after elections. (Just how concerted? Where do we cross the line into state oppression or armed revolution?)
You think that, ideally, no one would have more wealth more than they need until everyone has at least as much as they need to live a safe, happy, decent life. (More Marxism)
You recognize that an economic system which requires continuous expansion, destroys the environment, relies on rapidly-depleting fossil fuels, exacerbates inequality, and leads to war after war is unsustainable and must be replaced. Score a bonus point if you understand that sticking to the existing system is what's unrealistic. (Marxists and other socialists have hijacked so-called climate change and related issues as a means to a political agenda. It has nothing to do with science.)
Progressivism as Democratic Totalitarianism
The fact is that all fascism is simply non-Soviet socialism that maintains an appearance of private ownership. It's also a loaded work devoid of meaning today other than attack others. All forms of socialism sacrifice individual freedom and liberty for the "collective good." Many make the excuse America is a "mixed" economy and not totally socialist. But at what point does government taxation, regulation, public-private partnerships, and government contracting-spending-employment make a socialist nation?
Socialism by its very nature is totalitarian. And when all of their efforts at "social justice" and other various forms of "justice" start constituting a police state? The Pew poll above illustrates that most of the American people distrust and fear the government and for good reasons. We must look back at the record of those early 20th Century Progressives Hillary so admires.
Progressives are Statist Tyrants that Violate Individual Liberties
All forms of fascism including Progressivism are statist' philosophies. All are atheistic like their Bolshevik cousins. As Christianity declined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries humanist' philosophies centered on "mankind" often replaced a defeated Christian worldview.
Much of this was imported into our institutions of higher learning from Europe. The state replaced god and was supposed to in theory to have represented the masses. The question became was how to control the masses?
American Progressivism mimics a Christian religious crusade though being entirely secular. No more waiting for some mythical god to provide paradise after death when man through science and reason could produce a paradise here on earth. Individual salvation through Christ has been replaced by collective salvation through the state. The state was often led through "faith" in a messiah like figure.
The Bolsheviks came to power by armed force overthrowing the nascent attempt in Russia to form a democracy. That "Provisional Government was an alliance between liberals and socialists who wanted political reform." (Wiki) We know who got the firing squad.
Think about those deluded liberals and leftists that joined forces with Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who are now finding themselves threatened by their ex-partners. Islamists today have merged European fascism with Muslim culture-religion.
In the case of Italy and Germany both Hitler and Mussolini (as the Islamists in Egypt, Libya, etc.) were elected to office in dysfunctional stabs at democracy. The idea of thrusting democracy on unstable nations and cultures has had dire consequences as we are learning with the so-called "Arab Spring."
Mussolini was a die-hard Marxist who rejected the international socialism of the Bolsheviks for a more Italian brand socialism. Hitler too was a socialist elected during a time of crisis and upheaval. Both simply ended democracy for the mess it was and most of their people were happy as long as the "trains ran on time."
This is where American Progressivism differs from its European cousins in they never overthrew democracy as such, just violated the Constitution by legal maneuvering or simply ignored it. Woodrow Wilson was in every way a war-mongering fascist' tyrant. He wanted into the war in Europe and simply used the Lusitania sinking and the loss of 1200 lives as an excuse to enter the war. It was proven later on by divers the ship was in fact carrying munitions as the Germans claimed and was a legitimate target.*
In a propaganda campaign inciting hatred against Germans (later copied by the Nazis) the government was very successful in stirring up ethnic hatred as an excuse for a war Wilson wanted and finally got. Using the crisis of manufactured war he then stripped citizens of their civil rights jailing over 100,000 political prisoners.
He used government force to seize control of entire industries using the crisis of war as an excuse to implement his Progressive social and political agendas. He would later invade Siberia as a means to embroil the county in more wars.
The only problem for Wilson and later FDR was they couldn't create a crisis so severe they could do away with democracy and the Constitution in the manner Hitler and Mussolini did. Public support just wasn't there.
The Progressive tyrant Wilson left office in 1921 to the relief of millions and his attempts at "war socialism" gave way to the "Roaring 20s". But Wilson's tactics, methods of propaganda and stirring up ethnic-racial hatred, and use of a crisis to seize unlimited power would be model followed by other fascist tyrants such as Hitler and Mussolini.
Until the late 1930s when Hitler and Mussolini were revealed to be war mongers like Wilson, they were much admired by American Progressives desiring to "fix" what they saw as a broken society awash in the sins of poverty and inequality. And what kind of crisis could come along to enable the government to once again expand its power and abuse its citizens?
That crisis would be the Great Depression which all of FDR's New Deal central planing never really fixed until World War II. He wanted America into war and partly instigated it when he shut off Japan's access to oil and raw materials. We had another repeat of Wilson's war socialism.
To summarize Progressives and fascists share common philosophical roots from the French and German Enlightenments. Progressivism differs from its European cousins in that it still maintained facade of democracy.
Progressives are Racists
In all of their efforts at collective salvation and fixing a broken society the thorny issue of race and societal fitness always rears its head. The Progressive Era of the 1920s-30s ranks in my opinion as the most racist period in American history.
It was during this time the Ku Klux Klan reached its height, restrictive immigration laws (Immigration Act of 1924) blocking Eastern and Southern Europeans and Jews were imposed, and anti-Semitism ran rampant. This lasted until 1965 when the 1924 law was repealed to in order to swamp the country with low-achieving third-world immigrants for reasons we will get to shortly.
Margaret Sanger (1879 - 1966) the queen of Planned Parenthood is often accused of racism and was a major advocate of eugenics or the science of racial social engineering. I watched a film clip of Betrand Russell who advocated the that the sick, unfit, etc. should be denied medical care, etc. and let them die to reduce the burden on society.
Hitler carried eugenics so admired of Progressives of that time to its logical extremes including outright murder. Sanger and Russell are not Nazis, but Nazis and Progressives influenced each other to varying degrees.
Hitler and Progressives alike were obsessed with health and the environment, ending smoking and alcohol, etc. The Nazi socialists were genocidal racists as where Progressive socialists were passive racists. Oddly Mussolini and the Italian fascists were not racist at all nor were they anti-Semitic.
They actively protected Jews and Jews fled to Italian occupied areas of France for safety. FDR blocked Jewish immigration even in the face of Nazi atrocities and did nothing to save a single Jew or drop a single bomb on a death camp even with their massive industrial complexes feeding the Nazi war machine.
British Progressives too were highly anti-Semitic blocking the escape of Jews from Nazi terror. The Struma Tragedy in 1942 cost 769 Romanian Jews their lives when the British blocked their rickety ship from getting into Turkey who was willing to take Jewish refugees. The British would have none of it.
Towing their disabled ship out to sea they allowed its passengers to drown. Anti-Semitism (today under the nonsense term anti-Zionism) is widespread on the political left in Britain.
Let's not forget that it was the Progressive FDR that rounded up Japanese Americans and stuck them in concentration camps and maintained a segregated (ended under Truman) armed forces.
Perhaps we are lucky FDR died on April 12, 1945. Because of his excesses the twenty-second amendment to Constitution was passed to limit the president to two terms.
Progressives are still racists and obsessed by racial equality as opposed to their racist' eugenics of the past, but not for the reason one thinks. They don't give a hoot about blacks or Latinos, they simply need them as useful idiots at election time. See Why Liberals and Progressives Became Racists.
They hope to use a coalition of minority victim groups and affluent white leftists to overwhelm the white middle class at the ballot box to cement their power. They incite anti-white racism as the reason for often self-inflicted failure of minorities while rewarding that same behavior with an ever expanding welfare state. Votes are so easy to buy from useful idiots.
Now that we had a brief view of the shady past of those early 20th century Progressives let's return to Hillary, Saul Alinsky, and Professor Michael Schwalbe. Considering the history of Progressivism we have a lot to fear.
Hillary Clinton: "I'm a modern Progressive"
As she clearly says she reveres the early Progressives, but uses the term "modern Progressive." A "modern Progressive" seems to differ from the older style FDR-Wilson Progressives in that they have given up on engineering some abstract utopia on earth, but still have the same evangelistic zeal they had when they forced Prohibition on an unwilling public.
They still have same socialist' economic agenda, but now Soviet style social equality seems to be the goal. They have certainly slid closer to communism as Michael Schwalbe has shown. He represents I believe much of the faculty at our elite universities and it's here that Alinsky's agenda of "radicalizing" or indoctrinating the middle class is coming from, in particular the hostility towards traditional values.
I think Professor Schwalbe states Hillary's modern Progressive political agenda very well and it has nothing to do with individual freedom Hillary only pays lip service to. (I left out his dislike of the military something to be expected from leftists, but perhaps not Hillary.)
Most of it seems to be democratic Marxism lite, but not outright state ownership of everything. There is no tolerance for individual autonomy, responsibility, or personal freedom, no respect for private property, and secular Humanism as a quasi-state religion.
Much of the same thinking is found in the Humanist Manifestos put out by the Humanist Society mostly written by a disgruntled communist known as Paul Kurtz.
In his tract In Defense of Eupraxophy he says, "Marx was no doubt the greatest humanist thinker of the nineteenth century..." He goes on how terrible it was that the Soviet Union couldn't wipe out the belief in God after 70 years of terror. While his focus is mostly promoting atheism, his various Humanist manifestos seem to be a new form of neo-Marxism or democratic socialism.
Under Progressivism then and today the State assumes the role of God. That pseudo-god is often led by a almost messiah like figure ready to lead us to "collective salvation." (Obama's words, not mine.)
So just what are Progressives like Hillary, Alinsky, Michael Schwalbe, Paul Kurtz, etc. really looking for and just what is a Progressive? None of these people have ever worked a real job in their lives being mainly academics, lawyers, etc. and have never struggled to put a meal on their table. They like Karl Marx have never set foot on a factory floor other than to visit or grip about those working there.
So why would they so want to destroy the very system that rewards them with material comfort and freedom unknown anywhere in the world? Because they are the disgruntled and radicalized upper-middle class brats that believe they know what's better for everyone else.
Most are not evil people and do mean well, but too often end up being used by those that are. As Enlightenment secularists many simply can't conceive the existence of innate human evil.
Progressives are not monolithic and even have competing interests, but do tend to form uneasy political coalitions. Nor is this some silly conspiracy because they operate right in the open even while attempting to silence their critics.
Progressivism they believe gives us all the benefits of Humanist philosophy without the extremism of the Bolsheviks and the destruction of democracy of the European fascists.
For its followers it assumes the force of a secular fundamentalist' religion. They have a complete blind faith in human goodness and see themselves as righteous crusaders in that cause.
Human nature can be fixed through concerted government action and central planing. Individual freedom must yield to the greater public good which they alone define.
Because of this extreme emotional, if not religious attachment to a proven failure, they must deny reality, reject reason, and live in a fantasy world. When reality threatens their new secular faith they react as any other fundamentalist would react.
Dissent and reason are crushed under the jackboot of political correctness and their trinity of diversity, multiculturalism, and affirmative action is protected at all cost - heresy isn't tolerated. In other words Progressivism in the hands of the right people using some real or manufactured crisis can easily slip back into the democratic totalitarianism it really is.
*See http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1098904/Secret-Lusitania-Arms-challenges-Allied-claims-solely-passenger-ship.html To quote,
The diving team estimates that around four million rounds of U.S.-manufactured Remington .303 bullets lie in the Lusitania's hold at a depth of 300ft. The Germans had insisted the Lusitania - the fastest liner in the North Atlantic - was being used as a weapons ship to break the blockade Berlin had been trying to impose around Britain since the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914.
Winston Churchill, who was first Lord of the Admiralty and has long been suspected of knowing more about the circumstances of the attack than he let on in public, wrote in a confidential letter shortly before the sinking that some German submarine attacks were to be welcomed. He said: 'It is most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hope especially of embroiling the U.S. with Germany.