Back in the day, we referred to the left (I mean the sane left, not the irrational radicals like the NDP or communists), as “liberals.” There were conservatives, and there were liberals. Once Canadians and Americans cottoned onto the massive public policy errors and the cultural horrors inherent in liberalism, they needed to ditch that label. And so they became “progressives.” As John C. Goodman wrote at the Independent Institute:
When is the last time you heard a liberal describe himself as a “liberal”? It’s probably been a long time. These days, those on the left are more likely to call themselves “progressives.”
And we hear them call themselves that daily in America and Canada. But now that we’ve cottoned onto the progressives, they apparently want to ditch that too. Here’s a tiny bit from an article about it today in The Hill.com (Hanna Trudo being no relation to Justin, that I know of):
It’s an interesting article even if they do try to fake you out by asking an “expert” (uh-oh) what “progressive” means in the political sense. True to form, The Hill appeals to a leftist, Dwight Bullard, whom they describe only as a senior adviser for Florida Rising and a local NAACP leader (The Hill left out a few details about Bullard). Turns out he’s too invested in contemporary, AOC-style pop-progressivism to know or be honest about it so he simply appealed to the plain old english meaning of the word, i.e., “moving forward.” He says, “To be a progressive is to be forward thinking or constantly in a push to improve.” Which is bull. To neglect the political connotations inherent in the word “progressive” — in any explanation of it — is patently dishonest.
As any thinking person erudite or not knows, one person’s “improve” is another person’s “make worse.” This is certainly true in politics. It is simply a matter of common knowledge that when you’re talking politics, and you insert the word “improve,” the words “in my opinion” are silently or invisibly attached. Not to some progressives though — apparently! Just as I always say that liberals speak as though everybody in the room agrees with them, they (liberals/progressives) think it’s simply an accepted fact that their version of “moving forward” or “push to improve” is a universal truth, settled science, and unambiguously known globally, to be The Correct Way To Think.
Neither Bullard nor The Hill dare to appeal to the historic roots of progressivism in America or the world. Because it ain’t pretty. They simply supplant it all with a pedantic definition that better suits them politically.
Progressivism as a political ideology or model goes back a long time, and it has come and gone as a model. Waves of it infamously arose during the Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt presidencies. And then as now, it had less to do with “moving forward” than with becoming an increasingly totalitarian government under which all (American, in this case) life would be increasingly — progressively — ruled and regulated and spied on and abused by the state, and the state’s powers would grow and grow, the constitution be damned. Goodman explains:
…The progressives saw the state as properly involved in almost every aspect of social life. Herbert Croly envisioned a government that would even regulate who could marry and procreate. In this respect, he reflected the almost universal belief of progressives in eugenics.
Jonah Goldberg wrote in 2008 about progressivism:
…In Senator Clinton’s case, the most vital intervention is intruding on the family. Mrs. Clinton proudly follows the “child saver” tradition of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Jane Addams. In 1996, she proclaimed “as adults we have to start thinking and believing that there isn’t really any such thing as someone else’s child.” In her book, “It Takes A Village,” she insists that children are born in crisis, requiring progressive government intervention from infancy on. She seems to subscribe to Wilson’s view, when president of Princeton, that the chief job of an educator is to make children as unlike their parents as possible.
In a Democratic debate, Clinton famously rejected the word “liberal” in favor of “progressive.” …
Progressives push for new and bigger social programs, rules, and regulations, and a bigger and bigger role for government and state control over every citizen, and so of the nation itself. A move forward for them is to advance those objectives. Moving back is never even an option. And to the extent that it is actually an option (because it is, actually), they brand it as a Very Bad Thing. You hear this sort of thing all the time from progressives: the conservatives will take us back to the 1950s! Their campaign slogans often invoke the word or the spirit of “forward.” Brainless bromides aside, the bigger point is that they won’t allow any walking back of any “progress” made, despite the often dubious — and certainly controversial — nature of this “progress.”
They make “progress,” inch by inch, one law or rule or regulation at a time, but will never — never — give back even an inch. It’s like a ratchet wrench.
Excellent examples are all over the place. The health care system is horrible and expensive and bloated, and their solution is to throw even more money at it, grow it, expand it. Only government can fix anything, even if the government made the mess to start with. The solution to progressives is never to go back to the drawing board and possibly try something truly new and truly different. That would reduce its power and prestige. (It’d fix it, but whatever!)
Take the poorly-termed issue of “homelessness” — which is really about drug abuse and mental illness rather than a lack of accommodations — which has grown to nearly unmanageable, third-world levels in big cities due entirely to liberal-left —progressive — governments and progressive ideologies (including by those considered more right-leaning but can’t stand the thought that someone on Twitter might say mean things about them). They continue to implement the same bad government policy after bad government policy, doubling down, making it worse and worse, always seeking more money, more government, more controls, and never going back to basics, or, say, actually treating the drug-addicted and the mentally ill. They now buy them drugs! Admitting it was the wrong policy would be admitting to defeat — the defeat of their entire ideological premise. Their dogma. And who could blame them for not wanting to do that? It would be their end.
The Hill article went on:
…Even Biden has made it clear he believes a return to the center is necessary.
“It is a reaction to progressivism somehow being attached to socialism or communism,” said Bullard. “You have a lot of apprehension, regression, people who just are scared.” …
Can you blame “people” for being scared of communism or socialism? I can’t. But none of this dispute over “progressive” is particularly new. I wrote about this issue of “who’s a progressive” back in the middle ages (2006 — yikes!), and according to communists and socialists back then, it included them. I wrote:
…Today, Team Paul Martin/Liberal even begged the Green Party and their “progressives” to join in the big “progressive” allied force against conservative Canadians like you and me, since we want to destroy the joint, as you know. They want every single cotton pickin “progressive” to join them. Party affiliation be damned! Be united! All of us! Together! As a progressive collective!
Which is when I stumbled on this rallying cry on another “progressive” campaign web site. This site also calls for a united “progressive” front against conservatives. Look here for example:
…We will also support efforts to unite all labour, democratic and progressive forces to prevent the election of a Liberal majority, and an even more dangerous Tory majority, and work to elect the largest possible bloc of progressive candidates and parties…
(I love that line “…an even more dangerous Tory majority…”.)
Here’s the website I got that quote from: https://communist-party.ca/.
So my free tip to progressive leader
LiberalProgressive Paul Martin is to remember to also ask the Communist Party of Canada to join them when he next calls out for all “progressives” to join in the war against evil. They’re “progressive” too! And you progressives are all about being inclusive!
The banner at the top of their website also says that it’s “Canada’s socialist party”, which will supremely tick off the you’ve got to be kidding party, since they — the NDP — are supposed to be Canada’s socialist party…
So now that “progressive” is falling out of vogue, what will they think of next? Honesty? Pfft.
Read that whole article for a look back at (a regression?) at “progressive” twaddle back in the scarey year of 2006 which we’d never want to go back to. “Paul Martin forgot some progressives! – PTBC (proudtobecanadian.ca)”
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