Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Prof. Laura Hollis draws a line in the lexicon in Don't Call Them Progressives:
The Lefties are at it again. Having completely destroyed that fine word, “liberal,” along with the enlightened 18th century sensibilities that went with it, they have now moved on like locusts through the lexicon, and want to be called “progressives.” An astonishing number of conservative commentators are going along with it.
It is always easy to point out the flaws in liberal ideology so big you could drive a truck through them. But recent events keenly expose the utter absurdity of referring to liberals as “progressives.” The policies they advance, the behavior they display in support of them, and their inevitable consequences are taking this country backward, not forward, as these same policies have every time they have reared their ugly heads throughout human history. If liberals want a new moniker, they should be called regressives.
Bubbling up within last week’s media paean to Teddy Kennedy was a running theme of the regressive: if your death advances the party line, you’re expendable. Teddy Kennedy left poor Mary Jo Kopechne to drown in his sinking car 40 years ago. But she is collateral damage; just “a controversial footnote in a dynasty’’; a necessary casualty of the larger worldwide struggle for the proletariat. Huffington Post blogger Melissa Lafsky even went so far as to surmise that Kopechne might have thought her death was “worth it” for Ted Kennedy’s “life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded.”
Well, gee, given the 100 million other people who died in the fruitless pursuit of contemporary collectivist dystopias, what’s one more? I’d call this Stalinesque, but even Stalin was more tempered. He reportedly said, “One death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.” Apparently, today’s regressive does not even view the single death as a tragedy, at least if it is a stepping stone to the greater good.
Regressives also showed their true colors two weeks ago when Whole Foods CEO John Mackey offered a libertarian free market alternative to Obamacare. Did they defend his right to free speech? No. They howled “betrayal,” screamed obscenities on YouTube, and called for nationwide boycotts of the stores. That is their right, but demanding ideological lockstep is not. In one characteristically asinine remark, a (former) patron said, "I think a CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that [sic] his beliefs reflect at least the majority of his clients." (CEOs now join beauty pageant contestants on that score.) Good luck with that one.
Critics may raise the spectre of right-wing hostility at August townhalls. Ah, but there is a difference. Townhall protesters are angry about the money that is taken from them by force; no one threatens Whole Foods customers with jail time if they don’t shop there.
For all of the regressives’ self-righteous posturing, John Mackey is their moral superior many times over. Did he ask them to take a loyalty oath or administer a litmus test of ideological purity before he let these people in the door to shop? No. They wanted fresh, wholesome, organically grown and healthfully produced foods. John Mackey obtained and sold these to them, and all he ever asked in return was the voluntary exchange of their money for his goods. So we see the regressives’ deceit exposed again. It isn't really about businesses producing healthful products, or supporting sustainable agriculture. It isn't about free exchange. It isn't even about "corporate social responsibility." It is, think like us, or we will destroy you.
But nothing demonstrates the regressive nature of liberals’ beliefs like their participation in and encouragement of the cult of Obama. Surrounded by temple columns, billowing clouds, or Photoshopped halos, Obama is hailed as a Caesar, a god among us; his every pronouncement heralds a better tomorrow for all; opposition is heresy, and opponents are insulted, smeared, vilified, and denigrated in the Pravda press.
What is “progressive” about America is its grounding in individual liberty and human freedom. We hear Obama talk about many things, but liberty and freedom are rarely among them. He has no particular love for the American Constitution, which he views as “flawed.” He displays an astonishing and inexcusable ignorance of the Founding Fathers’ knowledge of history and understanding of human nature, and their corresponding reasons for drafting the Constitution the way they did. He resents the prosperity produced by individual initiative and free exchange, seeing it rather as the ill-gotten gains of those who have stolen from others in a racist system. These are disturbing and destructive ideas in the leader of the freest, most prosperous country in the world.
He also seems to be a conflicted man who has personally profited from living by the values his white grandparents instilled in him (love, hard work, academic achievement, financial autonomy, and individual personal responsibility), while resisting their applicability to those whose lives he hopes to improve. If Obama cannot embrace the African father who abandoned him, at least he can embrace the man’s failed collectivist philosophies. And he does it all amidst the clamor and tumult of adoring throngs, who hear precisely what he wants them to hear.
This is not brilliance. It is political megalomania fueled by ideological schizophrenia.
Despite Obama’s obvious philosophical inconsistencies (and his apparent inability to speak without a teleprompter), the media and other chattering regressives still try to maintain the tired trope that Obama is supremely, uniquely gifted. This is idiocy, intended for the masses that the media view as idiots. Praising Obama for his political brilliance is like complimenting the naked emperor for his sartorial style: it’s not skill if you decide to be deceived.
So let’s recap: incensed mobs demanding collective adherence to failed ideologies; the abolition of personal freedom; millions of impoverished individuals dependent upon a handful of self-appointed elites; the confiscation of more and more individual wealth to satisfy the appetite of an insatiable and bankrupt government; the elevation of deeply flawed human leaders to the status of gods, and the willingness to sacrifice other human beings to appease them. You can call these behaviors many things, but “progressive” they are not; one need know only a little history to see the frequency with which they occur.
That is not to say that there is nothing “progressive” about liberals’ policies: our public schools are progressively worse, and our population is progressively more ignorant. Our families are progressively more shattered, and more and more of our children are fatherless and illegitimate. Our citizens are progressively more dependent upon a government which is progressively more fiscally irresponsible, unaccountable, and profligate.
Most of what liberals espouse has not only not brought progress, it is sending us hurtling back into Neanderthal territory (with apologies to Neanderthals). Regressives have already disproven their belief in free speech, tolerance, individual liberties and personal responsibility. They had better take care – at this rate they will disprove the theory of evolution as well.