Which all seems so very obvious, reasonable and commonsensical. Right? And once upon a time in The West, not only would it be thought possible and normal to distinguish between a 'fact' and a 'lie', there would have been no dispute about the wisdom of correcting it with what was Right and True.
But that sort of sense is no longer acknowledged by those in places of intellectual power over the world we are living in. Most such folks will deny that there is any connection between what IS, and what Ought to be done about it (and that definitely depends upon what you think the meaning of 'is' is). To be sure, these 'thought leaders' are exceedingly quick to tell you what is right for you to do, but they will, often in the same breath, also tell you that there is no way to know what is True or Right.
This progressive reversal of perceptions and moral fortunes has been turning the Western world upside down, and has been brought upon us by those who have the nerve to call themselves 'Progressives', and the effects of it reach far beneath those appearances which they prefer to stay above. From academics to policy wonks to media gadflies and political activists, they feel the zeal to tell others what they should do, while also saying that no one can know what is true, and somehow they have the effrontery to call this position 'Progress!'.
The Rule of Law in Progress or Regress
Because I've gotta tell you, especially for those of you who do have a negative view of 'Progressives', if you think that their ideology is somehow equivalent to being a corrupt bureaucrat, or a corrupt businessmen, or a crook, or even if you believe that it's equivalent to being an authoritarian 'Statist', or even a flat out 'Tyrant', you are not only greatly mistaken, but your mistake is aiding and abetting that same pro-regressive 'Progressive' agenda that you have such a negative view of, in much the same way a cold blooded murderer would benefit from being treated no more seriously than you would a swindler.
One thing which this series of posts on 'Progress and Regress and the Rule of Law', has been illustrating, is that simple abuse of power, and abuse of the law for political power, is what we've had with us throughout all of human history - but abusive, tyrannical government is not how you identify
a Progressive. Neither can you properly identify them by the policies they support, policies that have been with us since the closing days of the Roman Republic, and on through its emperors such as Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Diocletian and more, or the totalitarian monarchy of France's King Louis XIV, or even our own former King George V, they all supported policies which we now associate with Progressives today, from economic price controls, to The Dole to gain political popularity, participated and fostered graft and corruption, mandated state sponsored monopolies and mercantilism and so much more... and yet... they were not Progressives, and they weren't able to measure down to the worst that Pro-Regressive Progressives are easily capable of descending to.
To be sure, the old style tyrants oppressed people, ruined lives and racked up body counts beyond our imagination, but they were not Progressives, they were merely tyrants - and I am most definitely using the word 'merely', advisedly.
What I mean by that, is that prior to the bright side of Modernity, mankind was mostly ignorant of individual rights, property and the Rule of Law, and those who were tyrants prior to that understanding, they should not and cannot be, properly equated with those on the dark side of Modernity who do have that knowledge, and yet deliberately evade, deny, reject and set out to eliminate all understanding of it. To a certain extent, we need to view the tyrants of the past, and even some of those who'd engage in such tyrannical behavior today, as we would view similar behavior from a pre-modern medical doctor, and a modern medical doctor.
A doctor who neither understood or knew of modern medicine, that bled their patients to death, or poisoned them by administering mercury to them through doses of pills and enemas, in tragically ignorant efforts to heal them, must be regarded very differently from a doctor who, with full knowledge of modern medicine, deliberately bleeds their patients, poisons them with doses of mercury pills and enemas, and intentionally destroys the health of their patient 'for their own good'. However much wrong both such medical doctors might bring about, the actions of the later are infinitely more dangerous and horrifying than those of the former.
It is not only from the actions that you identify a Pro-Regressive Progressive, but from those ideas and beliefs which drive them to take those actions. If you are observing and determining and calling a politician a 'Progressive!' simply because they associate themselves with such policies and behaviors... you are missing the essential, defining, fundamentals, of what Progressives are, and why I call them Pro-Regressives.
Tyrants have been with us since the dawn of time, but Progressivism was only recently introduced upon the world stage with the coming of Modernity at the end of the Age of Enlightenment, and along with all of the dazzling technological progress that modernity has brought with it (and remember, correlation is not causation), it also brought about new philosophical aims and techniques - it brought a very new way of observing and thinking about the world - which induces those followers that we can identify as 'Progressives', to go not just beyond the old lines of bad and unethical behavior, but to plunge through and deep beneath those old boundaries, while loudly proclaiming that they do so 'for the greater good!'. That new view, when coupled with the power of a nation state and The Law, is what brought about the 100+ million dead of the 20th Century, from the hands of the various flavors and faces of Pro-Regressivism, in Socialism, Marxism, Communism, Fascism.
In previous posts (see inset links), I've gone into where real civil progress in the Rule of Law began, how it developed, and those fundamentals that began to give it true shape and the ability to defend all the people; how true progress was unLocked by the clarification of Individual Rights, and of the vital importance that Property Rights has in anchoring all of our Individual Rights into the reality of our everyday lives. In the last post, I pointed out how the Rule of Law, is being transformed into its evil twin, the Doppelganger's Rule of Rules, which through the more popular ideas of modernity, we have been severing ourselves from that anchor in the law which property provides for our individual rights. Today our best and brightest are being taught to confuse the dangerous state of drift which we are being swept away on, with navigational progress.
In this post, I'll do my best to point out as briefly as I'm able to (ahem), some key landmarks which Progressives have been using as the intellectual equivalents of optical illusions, making it possible to think of a wrong turn, as being a right one, that have made it possible for people today who think of themselves as being 'educated', to mistake that dangerous intellectual drifting upon the moment with purposive navigation. These are the landmarks that we've been travelling by, and whose crowning achievement has been to bring our society to the point of affirming and believing that a man can identify as having changed his gender to being a female, while using the law to force you to accept such men as women, in even the most uncomfortable and vulnerable of situations.
Note: This has nothing to do with those who're afflicted with being transgendered; I'm not interested in troubling the mentally ill person who is truly afflicted with confusion over whether or not they're a man or a woman, or to lock them away for having such views. What I am interested in here, is the healthy sicko who is willing to not only reinforce the delusions of the mentally ill, but will use them to gain the political power to force you and your children into participating in those delusions, and to behave as if such contradictions between perceptions and physical facts, can and should be believed and accepted as facts as you see them.
I'm interested in drawing attention to those who would demand that you, as George Orwell put it, must "...really and truly believe that 2+2=5", because there are consequences to such things being believed and accepted, and none of them are good.
Perspective - Seeing yourself as 'Progessives' see you
I made some note a few years back of some early pro-regressive 'Progressives', such as a fellow named Ellwood P. Cubberly, someone you probably think little of, but who has a great deal to do with how and what you do think, as his ideas greatly aided in forming the structure of our modern educational system, in some ways even moreso than John Dewey. One of his swell statements, back in the 'good ol' days' of 1909, was his positively delighted boast that,
"Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent."If you're like most people, who assumed that our schools started going bad in the 1960's, that date is a little surprising - and it should be, but only because even by 1909, that process had been well underway for several decades. The early 1900's was the high time of the 'Progressive' era, and it was marked by lots of smart folk who were deeply impressed with their own smarts, such as another fellow from the late 1800's, early 1900's, whom you've probably also never heard of, Lester Ward, who also had quite a lot to do with what you think, as he - at the time called 'the American Aristotle' (!) - had a great deal to do with decisively moving Education away from a system that helped humans become more humane, to one that trained you peoples to become as useful to society as some few experts could imagine them being - and preferably no more so. I'd noted that Lester Ward had,
"...carefully went about redefining the word ‘Education’ in his book “Dynamic sociology”, though he didn't hide how he intended to use his newly redefined word:And how did they want to leverage that power to nudge us? By getting us to rethink what was worth thinking about, and individual liberty was what these 'progressive' minded people most wanted us to think the least about and the less of. As Thomas Leonard notes in his new book "Illiberal Reformers", early Progressive thought leaders, such as Washington Gladden, thought and taught about our American ideas of Liberty, that
"…if the word can be made to embrace the notion of imparting a knowledge of the materials and forces of nature to all the members of society, there can be no objection to the employment of this word education as the embodiment of all that is progressive.The lever to which the power must be applied. Can you say ‘Nudge’?..."
Education thus defined is the available means of setting progressive wheels of society in motion; it is, as it were, the lever to which the power must be applied.”
"The tradition of respect for individual liberty, Gladden preached, was "a radical defect in the thinking of the average American."Why? Because they thought liberty to be an old, outdated idea, and worse, our attraction to liberty made it more difficult for them to do to us, what they thought that their ideas of 'Progress' required to be done. As another Progressive maven, Edward A. Ross, taught that the concept of social control,
"...Individuals, Ross maintained, were but "plastic lumps of human dough," to be formed on the great "social kneading board.And make no mistake, the Pro-Regressive to this day still sees you as the clay, and they see themselves as the 'experts' whose duty is to sculpt you into that which will adorn their superior vision, to remake reality according to their visions, a vision they see as also giving them the power to discard those sub-standard lumps of human clay which they deem to be not so useful to their purposes (See the SCOTUS case 'Buck vs. Bell', which I earlier noted in this post). Self described 'Progressives' pursued the prevention of marriage between races; they publicly and high-mindedly sought to eliminate the 'botched'; they even deceptively experimented on unsuspecting patients (as with Tuskegee Syphilis Study), even poisoned and killed thousands of Americans in the name of Prohibition ("...the federal poisoning program, by some estimates, had killed at least 10,000 people..."), because they saw such actions as being pragmatic means for addressing those problems which they desired to 'cure' society of. As Leonard notes,
Ross was not merely touting bigger government. He was asserting that the autonomous, self-reliant individual, a figure in both the liberal and republican traditions, was now a fiction in the age of industrialization....." [emphasis mine]
"...Progressives embraced holism, drawn by a powerful confluence of postbellum intellectual currents: the German Historical School's view that a nation was an organism, something greater than the sum of the individuals it comprised, Darwinian evolution's implication that the individuals inalienable natural rights were only a pleasant fiction, the Protestant social gospel's move from individual salvation to a collective project of redeeming America (indeed, the world), and the liberating effects of philosophical Pragmatism, which seemed to license most any departure from previous absolutes, provided it proved useful. ..."[emphasis mine]Because they are working so hard to get us to rethink and unthink what 's worth thinking about, you might want to think a bit more carefully about who you think that you are; do you think of yourself as being an American? Why do you think that? What do you mean by that? It can't be ethnicity or race - Americans are mongrels mixed from the world's 'pure-breds' and always have been, being an American can't be defined by only where you're from, without cheapening and disrespecting the one thing that being an American actually means.
If being an American has any meaning at all, it means a person dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal - not in the sense of physical characteristics and abilities, but in the sense that by the nature of being human, all men have been endowed by their creator (and in this narrow sense, whether you think that creator is the Deity, or Biology, the point is unchanged) with certain inalienable rights - which means respecting and upholding the ability to take those actions which are essential to the nature of being human: to live, speak, act, associate, produce, preserve and protect, etc., and that no person could be said to be living a fully human life, if they are being forcibly prevented from taking those actions which they thought were the best decisions for them; it means believing that such individuals who respect the rights of their fellows to do the same, are capable of, and ought to engage in, the art of self governance, under a system of laws designed to limit the power of their government to the purpose of defending those rights. It is that spirit and understanding of America which has enabled Americans to enjoy living in liberty in society with their fellows, and the spectacular explosion of wealth that followed from a nation being dedicated to putting such ideas into practise.
One implication of that idea of what America means, is that those who deliberately define themselves as 'Progressives' were, and are, in that sense decidedly, vocally, anti-American, and proudly so. If you snicker at my saying that, you do so out of ignorance - yours (I suggest you read through the links above, and these obvious ones here: Teddy Roosevelt's 1st Address to Congress & his New Nationalism, and his Who is a Progressive?, Woodrow Wilson's Constitutionalism, his What is Progress?, and the links still to come - then get back to me). Such 'Progressive' feelings might justifiably be described as patriotic anti-Americanism, and it was and is their view, that that same system of laws by which Americans secured Liberty for ourselves, is the very same means by which they have for so long intended to rid us of that same liberty.
Or do you somehow suppose that Washington Gladden's assertion that,
"The tradition of respect for individual liberty, was "a radical defect in the thinking of the average American.", has some other meaning? What other meaning could it have?
The image of The Law as Right Reason, forced through a mirror darkly
Real societal Progress is enabled, among other things, with rightful Laws, and societal Regress follows from the misuse, abuse or absence of, such rightful laws, and real regress will follow, no matter how good or different your intentions might have been, for those 'Change!'s you brought about.
Those rules which are worthy of being legitimately thought of as Law, are developed from observing how people coexist over time, how they interact with each other, socialize, trade, argue, etc, which enable us to look through the passing fashions and passions of the day, to discern both timeless truths and common fallacies, from people's actions and their justifications for them. Laws which positively contribute to the Rule of Law are derived from the reality of that real nature of our being human beings who're attempting to rise above our baser, natural, natures; who're attempting, in Cicero's words, to order their actions by "Right Reason in agreement with nature", to define reasonable rules which enable a people's interactions to continue, insofar as they are honestly directed, while punishing those who'd negligently or deliberately abuse their fellows.
Laws lose their legitimacy as they abandon that foundation, and become only Rules posing as 'Law', rules seeking to force compliance from people, rather than to facilitate their consent, and usually for the benefit of those who have no other right in such matters, than the favor of those who have power over them all. Such 'Rules' as those are the dark mirror image of laws and the Rule of Law, what I've called its Doppelganger, and its darkened mirror image strains to take us in the opposite direction, appealing to our baser natures in order to entice, revel in, and live down to, that baser nature, for a time being parasitic on a just system of Law until it becomes strong enough to replace it, controlling or prohibiting a peoples rightful actions and behaviors.
That is not me making derisive comments about Progressives, but me describing the books and essays and speeches that they've written and acted upon.
What actually is rightful in ideas and Laws, tends to follow from a bottom up view of the reality of human nature, which, not surprisingly, is not where Pro-Regressive ideas spring from.
The Pro-Regressive 'Progressive' does do not start reasoning from tangibles such as land, possessions, contracts, a respect for social arrangements or other facts of how people actually live their lives, towards those abstractions which enable people to think more clearly about them. Instead the Progressive begins by rationalizing how things 'could be' best conceived of, with which one person or group of like-minded persons, who, confident in their more impressive intelligence, believe their own expertise could be used to improve upon how you deal with mundane tangibles in your life, for you; they like to think about what you should think, and do, and believe, delighting in imagining how much better your life would be, if only they had the power to live it for you. Confident that they know your mind and interests better than you do, they intend to use the power of government to 'lead' you into having to do what they believe is best for you, as Teddy Roosevelt put it:
“I do not represent public opinion,” he wrote to the journalist Ray Stannard Baker. “I represent the public. There is a wide difference between the two, between the real interests of the public and the public’s opinion of these interests.” He spoke of the common good as if such a unitary thing were not hard to identify, at least for him. ....", and as Woodrow Wilson said, in noting the similarities between Democracy and Socialism (he nominally preferred the former, but was more than ok with the later),
"...Men as communities are supreme over men as individuals. Limits of wisdom and convenience to the public control there may be: limits of principle there are, upon strict analysis, none...."The Pro-Regressive 'Progressive' means to do good to you, as they see fit for you - no matter how you might feel about it.
One of the most irritating things that I often hear, is when Pro-Regressive Leftists are referred to as being "Liberals". Yes, they refer to themselves as being 'Liberals', but that term itself refers to the belief that men can and should live in liberty, and Leftists believe no such thing - they are not Liberal, they are Illiberal. Pro-Regressive Progressives, and the Leftists who carry on their ideas, used to openly deride the Liberal ideas of our Founders era, and they only retreated into that label after their own term 'Progressive' was given such a bad name after the likes of T.R., Wilson and Hoover. It is only now, when that too recent history has been nearly forgotten, that they openly dare to return to their original name, of 'Progressive'.
In an interview with Thomas C. Leonard, author of Illiberal Reformers, he notes:
"...The progressives disparaged 19th-century liberalism as laissez-faire and led a crusade to dismantle it, remaking American economic life with a new instrument of reform they blueprinted and built, the regulatory welfare state. The progressives were reformers, to be sure, but they were no liberals. Indeed, they disdained individual liberties—not least those enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights—as archaic impediments to their reform project of improving American society’s health, welfare, and morals. Woodrow Wilson, among many others, dismissed talk of individual rights against the state as “nonsense.”They had no extensive reflections to justify that, they, as did the college students in those videos from the last post, have only the most shallow of appearances with which to base a snap judgment upon - and they are eager to do it. They will rush in with something such as:
There is an additional sense in which in the progressives were illiberal. Before “liberal” entered the political lexicon, it described a person who was open-minded, tolerant, and free from prejudice or bigotry. As Illiberal Reformers painstakingly documents, a shockingly high percentage of the progressive economists were close-minded, intolerant, and bigoted. Indeed, they campaigned to exclude the disabled, immigrants, women, and other maligned groups from the U.S. workforce, on the grounds that the economic competition of hereditary inferiors threatened the American working man and Anglo-Saxon race integrity...."..."
"... I feel like sometimes, people use the 'Constitution' as an excuse to not... think..."and then follow that up with such thoughtless thoughts, as,
'When it was written, we were considering things that absolutely don't apply today', as if concerns about how to, and how much power, to place in the hands of a human's nature, is no longer a matter for concern to us today.
The Progressive looks upon reality and is frustrated that it isn't as efficient as they'd like it to be, as it no doubt would be, if only they had the unrestricted power to remake the world in their own image. They want answers without trying to understand the questions, they despise the deep structure of questions and answers which Western Civilization has developed from over the course of three thousand years, because of the limitations which that understanding requires them to respect; they don't want Truth, they don't want Wisdom, they don't even really want Results, but only the expectation of what they want to result, from a world made to conform to their desires for it. IOW, they want to be Pragmatic.
At root, the Pro-Regressive 'Progressivism' is an ideology of easy answers, easily luring the follower into feeling as if they are 'helping' improve their fellows lives, building one good intention upon another, creating a foundation so shot full of unforeseen errors and falsehoods, that it easily ruins all that it comes into contact with.
And as they have - and approve of - little or no contact with reality, that seems just fine to them, after all, its your life they're experimenting with, not theirs, and they don't really want to have anything to do with you... beyond living your life for you.
And when you come down to it, that IS what they most oppose - the possibility of you living your own life, and they rebel against is anything which thwarts their good intentions for you. The desire to 'do good for others', justifies their good intentions for you - their ends justify their means.
And as discovered in the previous post, they discovered they could accomplish that, by breaching the integrity of Rights, Property and Law, and by nudging people into tolerating what is not true (and not even true), nudging them into permitting any well intentioned' lie ("... a video cause the Benghazi riots... if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor..."), as justifying their means... almost in a sort of secularized version of the Islamic 'Taqya', where all lies are permitted, so long as they further the faith. That, together with an eagerness to mock what is right and true, is by such means by which external power, rather than your own personal responsibility to what is true, becomes dominant in your relations with your fellows, and with your own self, and it is through that mental and spiritual breach that the Doppelganger rushes in.
And in that rush, with power no longer bound by laws respecting individual rights or a people who have respect for them, that is the type of world where the 'little guy' no longer stands as tall in court as the wealthy 'elite', where no longer does the state 'have their back' so that 'every man's house is his castle' - when the Doppelganger rules over you by rules rather than laws, it doesn't 'have your back', it holds a gun to it - for your own good - reducing all of your property to merely those physical possessions that are held onto by the strongest (or by those who've curried their favor).
We tend to not realize just how much we miss when we overlook the fact that our regard for the truth is what enables us to gauge the brutality of an action, and without that, any brutality is easily reduced to, and induced to being seen as, simply a useful means to a more efficient end.
Pro-Regressives, however, add something more and something new, to the mere quest for power over others, where the old fashioned tyrant knew that they were behaving as brutes, and didn't care, knew that they were doing wrong, but did so anyway, the pro-regressive actually feels justified in doing evil, because he feels that because 'the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few', then what they see as being the greater good, justifies their doing any lesser evil, so long as he feels that their intentions are lofty enough to justify them. And with no serious convictions about what is true or false, right or wrong... how would they not feel so?
Those who feel unrestrained by either our Constitution or the ideas it was derived from, will willingly use power to take life altering positions and judgments, upon such a shallow basis as pragmatic snap-judgments about 'what will work for the moment', are not the sort of people who'll be content to let their ideas stop at installing warning labels, stop signs or moderating penal codes. The policies formulated in academia and popularized in popular culture and the media, seek after using the force of law to realize their dreams for you. They fully and eagerly intend to enter that most private of property, that hitherto undiscovered country - your mind - in order to plunder, pillage and colonize it with their own notions of 'right' and 'wrong', despite their having little or no real relation to reality, and everything to do with their precious theories of remaking the word in their own image.
It is in that way that any who tamper with or infringe upon the inviolable right of property, pose a threat to the entire community. Such rationalizations as those of the 'Progressives' ideology, are only made possible by removing the links between thought and action.
The strategy which the Pro-Regressive follows, whether Socialist, Fascist or Communist, is the one which Marx defined as being the key to unlimited power: the abolition of Private Property, and the modern American Administrative State - the signal creation of 19th Century pro-regressive 'Progressives' - has proved to be the most amazingly effective means of progressively achieving their goals of living our lives for us, right out in the open, slowly usurping increasing amounts of power and control from our lives, for all to see and ignore, through those regulations of administrative agencies which deprive individuals of their property in their property, replacing them with the bureaucratic controls of Govt power.
By whatever name you call it - regulation, appropriation, communal property, oversight - the cell door which the Rule of Law had imprisoned the Doppelganger with, was picked all the same, freeing it to take from each according to his ability, and to redistribute it to each according to their needs (as determined by our Doppelgangers), abandoning every individual to the age old primitive contest of who has enough muscle, will, guile and power, to take what they want from the weaker, whenever they feel a desire to - for their own good.
I'll ask again, what I asked in an earlier post,
"What 'Right' of yours can you expect to be respected, from people who don't believe in Rights?"To which I'll add another question:
"How can you expect to get the truth or be treated justly by, people do do not believe that truth exists, or that 'justice' is anything other than what they say it is?"The spooky Trick or Treats of Halloween have nothing on that.
In tomorrow's post, how the 'Progressive' sees Regress as Progress