It was so good to have a modicum of sports, especially baseball, to distract me from the political, medical and cultural woes that have befallen our country. Still something is not right with us and I do not mean the Wuhan-19 virus. In reading about one of the playoff games in professional basketball, I was taken back by one sentence that appeared verbatim in three different newspaper accounts. A reserve forward, named Sami Whitcomb was leaving the bubble and returning home to be with her wife during the birth of their child. Whitcomb plays for the champion Seattle Storm of the WNBA. The new lexicon of political correctness has achieved an mundane status in our culture that morality once occupied. All of this falls under the rubric of progressive reform.
Between his acting career and his political career, Ronald Reagan worked for General Electric. He began each weekly episode of General Electric Theater, which he hosted from 1954-1962, with these words: I’m Ronald Reagan speaking for General Electric. At General Electric, Progress is our most important product. The progress he described sounds like something President Trump might use on the campaign stump...All great human enterprises begin at a frontier. The pioneering of hostile lands…the mushrooming of the Atomic Age with its mixed blessing of destruction and construction…the rolling back of space frontiers beyond the planets to the stars…and the beginning of the information-handling revolution. ALL these had a common starting point–a frontier of Progress. When Reagan started his political career, he expanded America progress to include the extension of personal freedom.
Is this the Progress our leaders tout today? No, their philosophy has taken an 180 degree reversal that is a more destructive force of, not only America’s cultural traditions, but also Western Civilization from which it has emerged. The first progressive thinkers owe their viability to Henry George‘s book Progress and Poverty. George’s supporters called themselves progressives. They were diametrically opposed to the traditionalists, who supported private property. Another book that helped accelerate the Progressive Movement was Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward. Bellamy used the label of Nationalism to argue for more government involvement in American life.
Progressivism emerged from the vast social changes brought about by industrialization in the Western world in the late-19th century. They believed that economic and social progress was being stifled by the vast inequality between the rich and the poor; as well as an unfettered laissez-faire capitalism, populated with monopolistic corporations that caused the intense and often violent conflict between capitalists and workers.
As Progressivism grew, it needed to find a more modern corps of intellectuals to inspire it, as well as provide a format for its ideological progress. Their political thought relied heavily on the ideas of Herbert Croly while their educational theory owed its success to John Dewey. For a generation as an editor, political philosopher and a co-founder of the magazine The New Republic, Croly served as a beacon for Progressivism in the early 20th America. His political philosophy influenced many leading government officials, including Theodore Roosevelt, as well as his close friends Judge Learned Hand and Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter.
In his 1909 book The Promise of American Life, Herbert Croly formulated his argument for a progressive government that was more Marist than liberal. Today progressive and Marxist are fungible. Croly saw democracy as the defining American trait but defined it, not as a government devoted to equal rights, but as one with the aim of bestowing a share of the responsibility and the benefits, derived from political economic association, upon the whole community. I remember learning in Graduate School that Croly made a revolutionary association that changed the nature of politics in American history. He combined the idea of Hamilton’s use of Big Government to foster, not the needs of Big Business, but the Jefferson needs of the poor and the oppressed. Since then, it has been the major driving force of our political system.
Croly totally rejected the thesis that the liberal tradition in the United States was inhospitable to anti-capitalist alternatives. He interpreted the American past, as a revolutionary resistance to capitalist wage relations that was fundamentally liberal. He also reclaimed the idea that working for wages was a lesser form of liberty. This is more Marx than Madison. Croly became increasingly skeptical of the effectiveness of social welfare legislation to remedy social ills. He argued that America’s liberal promise could be redeemed only by syndicalist reforms involving workplace democracy. Think Socialism.
Croly’s book was manna from Heaven for the political souls of our first two Progressive Presidents, namely Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. As candidates for the presidency in 1912, they garnered nearly 70% of the vote in a four-party election. The only conservative, in the historic election was Republican incumbent, William Taft, who got most of the remaining votes. Socialist Eugene V. Debs and his 6% of the vote could easily have been added to the progressive tag-team. Had Roosevelt, who Bull Moosed his own party in this election not run, Taft might have been returned to the White House.
John Dewey is considered the Father of Progressive Education. Progressive education can be traced back to the works of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Considered one of the first of the British empiricists, Locke believed that truth and knowledge… arise out of observation and experience rather than manipulation of accepted or given ideas. He further discussed the need for children to have concrete experiences in order to learn. Rousseau deepened this line of thinking in his books, Emile and On Education where he disparaged the reliance on the subordination of students to teachers and memorization of facts. Children learned empirically, that is by doing.
Education begins at birth as children unconsciously learn as they encounter new and even quotidian experiences. Dewey believed that the schools, not the parents should be responsible for a child’s moral and ethical development as well. This thought is a reminder of composer, Cole Porter’s 1934 hit, Anything Goes. The song perfectly reflected, not only his homosexual lifestyle, but also what has been taught in public schools since the Clinton years. The onlyThing that has been excluded from this new educational equation has been God. We have all read the sordid stories of what bizarre pedagogical theories and homosexuality propaganda have been passed on to students under the protective mantle of Sex Education. Current moral deviations from the public school system clearly demonstrates why it was one of Karl Marx’s 10 Commandments in his Communist Manifesto. One can also see the seeds of Hillary Clinton’s call for it takes a village to raise a child. Only she meant the extended notion of a village into the Federal Government.
Dewey also stressed that the study of traditional subjects, such as language, science, history, should just be part of a curriculum that included the study of cooking, sewing, and manual training. Dewey stressed that progress is not in the succession of studies but in the development of new attitudes towards, and new interests in, experience. Nowhere do the words, thinking, discernment and wisdom appear. These ideas are as alien to his thinking as Theology and Philosophy.
Religion, especially the Catholic Faith, was the lifeblood of Western Civilization. It was largely responsible for much of its achievements in education, science and philosophy. Essayist and physician, Dr. Roger Taylor underscored the fact that Progressives were promoting a secular kind of religious faith, that was vehemently opposed to the Judeo-Christian origins of American culture, which has rested on its triune pillars of faith, family and natural law.
By its nature Progressivism clashes violently with formal religion of any kind. Christianity teaches that mankind is sinful and cannot save itself. Progressives believe that men can be perfected to create a utopian society, devoid of anything like human nature. Christianity believes that God cares for each individual. Progressives proclaim that individuals exist for the good of the state. Christians believe in the 10 Commandments as a moral code. Moral codes are irrelevant to the Marxists. Anything goes. Christianity values the sanctity of life. Under their influence we now have legalized abortion with euthanasia, waiting in the Marxist wings.
Many on the left would be repulsed by the notion that they are following the dictates of a religion. In fact the progressive experience of the last 100 years show that have become America’s first bona fide established religion, in direct violation of its Constitution. If we look at Progressivism through the prism of religion, we may better understand the actions of its countless apostles. Progressive clergymen dominate the academic world on virtually all levels while conservative doctrines are anathema. Many professors use their classrooms as their bully pulpits. Secular sinners are not just cancelled but excommunicated from the body politic. This is true in other fields, such as Hollywood, the mainstream media and partisan politics.
Christianity also had great influence on our Founders. Its idea of individual freedom has become part of our national DNA. This all brings me back to our most important product. Our freedom to think and do the right thing is our historical American birthright. Christianity has been traditionally the best guardian of this freedom. In order for Progressivism to conquer America and discard our Constitution, it would be necessary to destroy Christianity or render it impotent. The definition of marriage quickly became a Marxist battleground. The Bible defines only two sexes: male and female. The Catholic Church considers a valid marriage, only between a man and a woman. This issue has been the tool to unhinge their opposition.
The Progressive attack on traditional marriage like abortion, began in the courts that resulted in homosexual marriages being validated. This Porterian definition of marriage has started an avalanche of Marxist episodes that have limited our freedom to act in society. We now must endure the nonsense of multiple genders. It is not outside the realm of their alternate reality to take the next step to inter-species marriage, or marriage with pets or zoo animals. And maybe later, a tuna sandwich. Many liberal churches have already adopted many of these notions.
Progressives in America have been whittling away at our heritage for more than a century. With their philosophy firmly in place on all levels our culture, the next step has been their Marxist-based praxis. Critical Theory was exported to this country by a number of social theorists from the notorious Frankfurt School. Their leading proponent on the American college campus, was Herbert Marcuse. Andrew Breitbart put it succinctly when he wrote: Marcuse’s mission was to dismantle American society by using diversity and ‘multiculturalism’ as crowbars with which to pry the structure apart, piece by piece. He wanted to set blacks in opposition to whites, set all ‘victim groups’ in opposition to the society at large. Marcuse’s theory of victimhood as the new proletariat…found an outlet in academia, where it became the basis for the post-structural movement–Gender Studies, LGBT/’Queer’ Studies, African-American Studies, Chicano Studies.
All of these studies have very little academic value. Their main purpose has been to undermine the tenuous unity of a nation, putting not only our different classes at war with one another but pitting men and women, black against white and so on. In effect they wanted to divide our national house into so many fractions, so that like Humpty Dumpty after his fall, we would never be whole again. Just read the headlines and one can see their handy work.
And after eight years of Barack Obama, who promised to fundamentally change America, the left became arrogant. They were convinced that the Marxist trajectory of history was within their grasp. They just needed to elect Hillary Clinton to make it permanent. They had already virtually destroyed the nuclear family, holy matrimony, harmony between the sexes, and the sanctity of life. They gamboled in the moral anarchy they had created. Along came Donald Trump to sabotage the agenda. The Donald was considered to be one of them at one time. But for some inexplicable reason, (God’s grace?) he changed. Cynics will say he did it just for the power. But he has delivered on many of his promises which have cost him dearly. No American politician has been more vilified, than President Trump, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. Trump is a traitor, a liberal who had deserted their church.
Progressives’ main focus in 2020 has been their twin goals of equality and unity. They are powerful concepts that serve as the Trojan Horse to bring the West down. The only way that these ideas can become a reality in a Marxist society, is simply when coercion and violence reduces the nation to mass poverty in a dystopia run by a wealthy Marxist elite. It is happening here, though many people do not understand. This explains how Sami Whitcomb’s marital situation is accepted without a second thought by millions of Americans, who are slowly having their brains washed while they leisurely read the sports pages. The year 2020 marks the most serious jeopardy for our best product since 1776.