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Thread: Progressives

  1. #1
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    Progressives

    The original message was in the wrong place. I've moved it to this off-topic forum.

    This is a new title for the liberals. Watching Glenn Beck the other day and there was a discussion about progressives and what they are. I've copied and pasted below some interesting facts. There shouldn't be any copyright problems as I've included the authors name. IMHO the gun control people will be hiding behind the Progressive label. Hopefully this will not be construed as being too political. Enjoy

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    American Progressivism

    April 14, 2009 - 11:23 ET

    I. Who were the Progressives, and why are they important?

    R.J. Pestritto

    Shipley Professor of the American Constitution at Hillsdale College


    American Progressivism
    by Ronald J. Pestritto

    Glenn has asked me to expand a bit on our discussion of America’s Progressives from Friday’s television show, which I’ll do in this and four subsequent pieces for the newsletter. In today’s piece, I’ll explain who the Progressives were and why they were important.

    Many on the left today call themselves “progressive,” and they do so not just because it’s a nicer way of saying “liberal,” but also because they very much intend to revive the political principles of America’s original Progressives, from the Progressive Era of the 1880s through World War I. Why would leftist politicians, like Mrs. Clinton, purposely identify themselves with this Progressive movement?

    The reason is that America’s original Progressives were also its original, big-government liberals. Most people point to the New Deal era as the source of big government and the welfare state that we have today. While this is perfectly accurate, it is important to understand that the principles of the New Deal did not originate in the New Deal; rather, they came from the Progressives, who had dominated American politics and intellectual cultural a generation prior to the New Deal.

    We have no less an authority on this connection than Franklin Roosevelt himself. When FDR campaigned in 1932, he pointed to the Progressives – and in particular to Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson – as the source of his ideas about government.

    In terms of the personalities who made up the Progressive movement, some are familiar to us and others are less so. The movement was comprised of well known politicians like Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt; but it was also comprised of intellectuals and writers who are less well known but who have been very influential in America. There were folks like John Dewey, who was America’s public philosopher for much of the early 20th century. Even less well known was Herbert Croly, but Croly was highly influential, since he founded and was the first editor of The New Republic – which became the main organ of Progressive opinion in the United States, and is still one of the most important journals on the Left today. I should add here that Woodrow Wilson actually fell into both of these categories – he was both a well known politician and president, but also was, for decades prior to his entry into politics, a prominent intellectual (a college professor and president of Princeton) who wrote many books and influential articles.

    As I’ll explain in my next piece, these Progressives wanted a thorough transformation in America’s principles of government, from a government permanently dedicated to securing individual liberty to one whose ends and scope would change to take on any and all social and economic ills. Here’s the order of the points we’ll consider in the pieces to follow:

    1) What did Progressives think about the American founding, and why did they want to eradicate its principles?

    2) How did we get today’s excessively powerful presidency from the Progressives?

    3) What was the connection between Progressivism and Socialism? Were the Progressives actually Socialists?

    4) What are some of the critical connections between Progressivism and what’s going on in our country today?

    For more on the Progressives, two of my books may be of interest:

    1) American Progressivism, which I co-edited with American historian William Atto, contains a basic introduction to progressive ideas written by Professor Atto and me, and then several selections from the actual writings of Progressives like Wilson, TR, Dewey, Croly, and others.

    2) Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism, which is a much more in-depth look at Woodrow Wilson and how he was central to originating the liberalism that dominates America today. This is for those who are really interested in history and political theory.


    II. The Progressives and their Attack on America’s Founding


    As I mentioned in my last piece, America’s Progressives aimed for a thorough transformation in America’s principles of government. While our founders understood that our national government must have the capacity to be strong and vigorous (this is why the Articles of Confederation were failing), they also were very clear that this strength must always be confined to very limited ends or areas of responsibility; government, in other words, while not weak or tiny, was to be strictly limited.

    The Progressive conception of government, on the other hand, was quite the opposite; Progressives had an “evolving” or a “living” notion of government (yes, we get the term “living constitution” from the Progressives), and thus wanted government to take on whatever role and scope the times demanded. The Progressives reasoned that people of the founding era may have wanted a limited government, given their particular experience with George III, but they argued that people of their own time wanted a much more activist government, and that we should adjust accordingly.

    Quite simply, the Progressives detested the bedrock principles of American government. They detested the Declaration of Independence, which enshrines the protection of individual natural rights (like property) as the unchangeable purpose of government; and they detested the Constitution, which places permanent limits on the scope of government and is structured in a way that makes the extension of national power beyond its original purpose very difficult. “Progressivism” was, for them, all about progressing, or moving beyond, the principles of our founders.

    This is why the Progressives were the first generation of Americans to denounce openly our founding documents. Woodrow Wilson, for example, once warned that “if you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface” – i.e. that part of the Declaration which talks about securing individual natural rights as the only legitimate purpose of government. And Theodore Roosevelt, when using the federal government to take over private businesses during the 1902 coal strike, is reported to have remarked, “To hell with the Constitution when people want coal!” This remark may be apocryphal, but it is a fair representation of how TR viewed these matters.

    In the next piece, we’ll consider how the presidency was transformed under men like Wilson and TR.

    For more on the Progressives, two of my books may be of interest:

    1) American Progressivism, which I co-edited with American historian William Atto, contains a basic introduction to progressive ideas written by Professor Atto and me, and then several selections from the actual writings of Progressives like Wilson, TR, Dewey, Croly, and others.

    2) Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism, which is a much more in-depth look at Woodrow Wilson and how he was central to originating the liberalism that dominates America today. This is for those who are really interested in history and political theory.

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  3. So its progressives not Liberals that are the root of all evil!

  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockwerks View Post
    So its progressives not Liberals that are the root of all evil!
    They are actually the same. Just a new label to confuse us until it is too late . We have to remain alert to the fact that the Progressives/Liberals will try to sneak bills through Congress that will take away our ability to use our guns for hunting and target shooting.

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    Funny, these "Progressives" are so called linked to T.R., but T.R. wouldn't have even thought about impinging on gun ownership
    M1 Garand, Kimber Custom Carry II, Ruger P-95, Mossberg Persuader 12ga., Charles Daly 12ga(My gobbler gobbler)
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/311.html

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by DocBoCook View Post
    Funny, these "Progressives" are so called linked to T.R., but T.R. wouldn't have even thought about impinging on gun ownership
    Nope, he would have "impinged" them.
    The Avatar is my Great-Great Grandaddy, CPL Samuel Francis Bondurant, Co. D, 4th Alabama, Law's Brigade, Benning's Division, 1st Corp, Army of Northern Virginia, shot through right thigh 2 JUL 1863.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocBoCook View Post
    Funny, these "Progressives" are so called linked to T.R., but T.R. wouldn't have even thought about impinging on gun ownership
    These are the new breed Progressives.

  8. #7
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    actually, T.R. would have made them go hunting, with concealed weapons on National park lands. oh wait, he did that regularly
    M1 Garand, Kimber Custom Carry II, Ruger P-95, Mossberg Persuader 12ga., Charles Daly 12ga(My gobbler gobbler)
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/10/311.html

  9. #8
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    Progressive is as invented a term as "assault weapon". They invented assault weapon to mimick assault rifle, a reference to actual G.I. weaponry with the implied pejorative that the average citizen shouldn't have them, only police and the military. They are essentially incorrect in all aspects of that argument.

    They saw the writing on the wall, that Liberal was a loser of a label, and so sought to distance themselves from it like an animal with the sense to disregard its own feces. In seeking a new way to refer to themselves, they also sought a term they could use to distinguish themselves from their opposition. They couldn't just try to cast themselves in a positive light, they had to simultaneously cast the Right in a negative light.

    Thus, "Progressive" and "Regressive". Progress means to move forward, to the future, and Regress means to move backward, into the past. and everyone knows forward = good and backward = bad, future = better, past = worse, always, in all places, at all times. It's never, ever true that the policies of the future are worse than the policies of the past, that the lot of our children never is a harder life than the lot of our parents.

    Obviously, this line of thinking on the parts of the Liberals is as full of hokum as their thinking regarding "assault weapons".

    Ask them, "If you're Progressive, what are you progressing toward? Why is that way of doing things better than the way we do things now, keeping in mind that different is not a synonym for better?"

    Likewise, they call Conservatives, Regressive. They say that we want to go backward because we want to restore the supremacy of the Constitution, to roll back the erosions of individual liberty we have suffered over the decades. What's wrong with that? How is that bad?

    The most usual place you hear the Progressive and Regressive labels thrown around is in tax policy. Having a tiered taxing structure separated at certain income levels and marked by an increasing rate of taxation is Progressive, because we didn't used to do it that way, way back when, and then we did, and any attempt to do away with the tiered system, either flat tax or fair tax, is termed Regressive, because it wants to go back to the way taxes used to be, i.e. one rate for everyone, equality in "investments" in our government, i.e. tax burdens.

    Words mean things. Call things what they are. Liberals are not Progressive, they are Liberal. Semi-automatic rifles are not assault weapons, they are semi-automatic rifles. Taxes are not investments, they are taxes.
    When they "Nudge. Shove. Shoot.",
    Don't retreat. Just reload.

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