From: https://acton.org/pub/religion-liberty/volume-8-number-5/renewing-our-experiment-ordered-liberty quoting Pope John Paul II.
“Self-government did not imply simply freedom to live as one wishes but, rather, the capacity to fulfill one’s duties and responsibilities toward family and toward the common good of the community. The Founding Fathers, he noted, “clearly understood that there could be no true freedom without moral responsibility and accountability, and no happiness without respect and support for the natural units or groupings through which people exist, develop, and seek the higher purposes of life in concert with others.”
November 23, 2013
“Government power derives from collectivization of the people’s property. When government – a small group of other people after all – owns or controls vast amounts of the people’s property it is thereby empowered – like the Borg – to employ others to carry out its predictably self-serving desires – where resistance is supposedly futile. Flush with the people’s property, and thereby their power, collectivist government can also redistribute property to a government–dependentso-called proletariat class in return for votes – while at the same time expropriating property from the laboring middle class – the social engineering of economic class struggle. Total collectivization of property into the hands of a Marxist-type government leads to total government power; thus Karl Marx, in Orwellian fashion, advocated the abolition of private property, not for “social justice,” but as a means to concentrate property, and thereby power, into the hands of a few.”
January 14, 2015
“In its essence Marxism, the core ideology of modern Socialism, is an irrational, utopian and coercive perversion of human equality. Marxism seeks equality where equality does not exist, demanding legal enforcement of equal social outcomes, including those related to economics, higher education, athletics, religion and human sexuality. This ideology even extends to international relationships whereby no nation is allowed to excessively prosper or achieve greatness, i.e.: all nations must be “equal.” Never mind that when people are free their human nature leads to inequality of outcomes – some are hard-working and some are lazy – some are more intelligent and some are less intelligent – some are stronger and some are weaker – some are tall and some are short. Unequal results occur naturally without force when people possess rightful liberty. Based on their degree of truly Free Enterprise nations similarly divide themselves unequally into various degrees of prosperity or depravity.”
May 10, 2009
This administration has big business in its sights. While there are a couple of corporations like G.E. who are court favorites because they do the Progressives’ bidding…the current government’s attitude toward commerce is that they exploit the masses as labor or consumer, are run by fat-cats who don’t pay their “fair share”, and should be regulated by the government which is working in “the best interests of the People”.
Only one thing matters to the Progressives-in the Oval Office and in Congress-and that is growing the central government and its power.
Illegal immigration, like abortion is a cause celebre…and Progressives will resist the smallest limitation on the grounds that it might lead to the idea that there are legitimate reasons to control borders.
They use the same “logic” with abortion: Letting live babies die unattended in broom closets after botched abortions must not be outlawed because it might lead to the further limitation of a woman’s right to “choose”.
Progressives offer all sorts of explanations for their bizarre, inefficient, ineffective, illogical, irrational, contradictory, and demonstrably failed theories and policies. But that’s just their puppet show; their circuses for public consumption.
There is one goal, and one goal only for Progressives…Government growth and its intrusion into every aspect of our lives. When you understand that, all their apparently idiotic policies make perfect sense.
During the swine flu scare, the administration did not refuse to close the border because of “commerce”, or because the “horses are already out of the barn” as Obama so creatively suggested. They refused to close the border, regardless of consequences to the citizens and our medical system, because the more illegals in America, the bigger the government required to take care of them. And the higher the likelihood they will re-elect the Progressives who provide them with myriad free government services and promise more, more, more.
That’s the reason for in-state tuition rates, sanctuary cities, social security payments, housing, welfare, food-stamps, and free medical care for illegals. They don’t give a damn about the education, safety, health or financial security of illegal aliens.
Haven’t we all been astonished at the seemingly indulgent care the government shows to illegals but withholds from citizens?
Progressives don’t care about illegals any more than about citizens. They just know their addition to the population and their dependence on government puts a huge sector of the population, immediately and relatively painlessly under their direct control. It would be harder to force tens of millions of relatively self-sustaining and resistant Americans to become dependent on government. Exploiting ignorant peasants is so much faster and easier.
Growing government is the real reason Progressives are pushing socialized medicine. They know perfectly well it doesn’t work. They are neither blind nor stupid. They don’t care about your health, or what healthcare costs you now, or about rationing or low quality care. No arguments about the inadequacy of government-run healthcare will move them. Socialized Medicine grows government, and gives it total power over our bodies. They will literally, with the stroke of a pen, have life and death power over every single person in the country. It doesn’t get more totalitarian than that.
The reason for gun registration is not the safety of citizens, they know perfectly well that most legal gun owners are responsible and, in fact, have fewer accidents with firearms than most police departments. They don’t care if you get shot by a criminal. They don’t care if criminals are the only people with guns. They don’t care if the streets are safe or not. They don’t care if criminals get brazen and bold like they are now in England & Australia where they have confiscated legal guns. What they do care about is that registering guns gives government more power over more people in more ways. And they know guns in the hands of citizens is a direct threat to their power-lust ambitions.
They don’t care about the “Earth”. Controlling energy gives them total control of the means of production. Which translates as total control over food, shelter, goods and services. It’s the perfect, undercover communist/fascist coup…as they wrap themselves in virtue for “saving the planet.” Hitler was an “environmentalist” too.
They don’t care about endangered species. They care about being able to control private property, the single most important bulwark against government tyranny.
Progressives don’t care about children. They care about growing the next generation of zombies believe in, support and trust Big Government. Does anyone aware of the education system in America believe that those who run it care about “the children” when it graduates illiterates, indoctrinates rather than informs, and literally requires that children not think for themselves, that punished “diverse” thought, that discourages excellence and achievement and competition?
Progressives don’t care about women. The only ‘liberation’ they want for mothers, is from husbands who could keep them from being dependent on the state.
They don’t care about blacks. They only want to keep them on the plantation, voting for Progressives en masse while receiving just enough to keep them ignorant, broken, hungry and angry, so they’ll believe they need their masters, the Federal Government, to eat, and despise and fear any path that would make them independent…like God, good marriages, children with fathers, pride of accomplishment, respect for education, or a focus beyond race.
Progressives don’t care about gays. They only want to break marriage, damage the culture, hurt the morals, virtues and culture of a strong and prosperous middle class…which so undermines totalitarianism.
They don’t care about “social justice” or “fairness”. They just want cover to loot and cripple the productive, the independent, the individualists, the entrepreneurs. A strong industrial/businessclass is dangerous to authoritarians. Free-Marketeers are the enemies of tyranny.
The government Progressives’ arguments, excuses, reasons and explanations seem stupid and irrational because they are false. It’s why Obama so often sounds like an idiot, contradicting himself regularly, and why Pelosi keeps getting caught in outright lies.
There is just one goal for Progressives’. No matter what nonsense they spew, bigger government is the real objective.
Every single time.
The Legacy of Progressivism
While Franklin Delano Roosevelt narrowly missed being Time Magazine’s “Man of the Century,” there is no doubt that the man who prolonged the Great Depression and helped lay the groundwork for World War II looms large in the consciousness of statist journalists and historians. Although FDR’s role in the Second World War is of utmost importance to the pundits, his main historical role seems to be the New Deal, which permanently established the welfare/warfare state in this country.
Contrary to popular belief, FDR’s New Deal was not the most significant legislative period of the 20th Century. In fact, had it not been for the reign of Progressivism more than two decades earlier, Franklin Roosevelt would simply have been a relatively obscure governor of New York, known more for being a distant cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt.
The New Deal did not rise out of a vacuum. Rather, the New Deal–and the subsequent canonization of FDR–came about as the result of the legal, bureaucratic, and intellectual framework that was laid down during the Progressive Era of the early 1900s.
Without Progressivism, the New Deal would and never could have come into existence. The vast expansion of the state apparatus that occurred during the 1930s moved along tracks already laid by politicians like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. By the mid-1930s, the New Deal, far from being a legislative aberration, naturally followed the economic crisis that Progressivism had caused.
Just what was Progressivism, what were its causes, and what followed from the Progressive Movement? Historians refer to it as an influential social movement that began in the late 1800s and ended with the United State’s 1917 entry into World War I.
Among the many “successes” of Progressivism were antitrust laws, state and national income taxes, increased business regulation, minimum wage laws, direct election of U.S. senators, creation of the Federal Reserve System, and prohibition of alcoholic beverages.
Other than prohibition, historians (and many economists) almost uniformly praise Progressivism and its results. Take the passage of antitrust laws, for example. Whether it be from history texts, encyclopedias, or news stories, the story is almost always the same: huge business trusts were monopolizing the economy, artificially driving up prices, producing shoddy products, and generally dragging down the standard of living for most people. Aggressive enforcement of antitrust laws, especially after the passage of the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914, broke up many trusts and set the stage for future prosperity.
The only problem with this explanation is that it is patently untrue. First, if American businesses were stifling competition and charging monopoly prices, they had a strange way of doing it. By almost any standard of measurement, economic prospects for nearly everyone were increasing by the end of the 19th Century, as prices for most goods fell rapidly.
If this era is known for impressive economic accomplishments, it is also known for its journalistic excesses. Not only did William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer conspire to inflame Americans with war fever against Spain in 1898, but a group of writers called muckrakers created a false picture of life in the United States.
In fact, it seems that one of the most insidious things to come from the Progressive Era was the wedding of mainstream journalism and statism. The formerly independent journalist now became a flack for expansion of the power of the state, as the chief “beat” of news reporters became the various government agencies.
Most of the “muckrakers” were also socialists. For example Upton Sinclair is famous for his 1906 book, The Jungle, which, among other things, described what were supposedly horrific conditions in the meat packing industry in Chicago. While most history books treat his depiction of rats and even humans being processed into meat sold to consumers as gospel truth, his book was simply untrue and represented a crude attempt to convince Americans that socialism was their only hope. (Investigation after investigation of the meat packing industry showed Sinclair’s claims to be false.)
Sinclair admitted afterward that his book was an attempt to change the “American heart,” but instead managed only to affect “its stomach.” Historians often say that The Jungle led directly to the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. As usual, the truth is more complicated.
As Milton Friedman has pointed out, American meat processors were anxious to show Europeans that their products were not poisonous and the FDA became the mechanism to do that.
Ida Tarbell’s “The History of the Standard Oil Company,” an anti-Rockefeller screed which many historians treat as an accurate documentary of Standard Oil’s practices, must be seen in the light of the author herself. Tarbell, another socialist, was the daughter of an oil executive from a rival oil company that had lost the battle of the marketplace to Standard Oil.
Although competent economic historians have pointed out time and again that Rockefeller’s company gained its large market share through efficiency and lower prices, Progressivists who believed oil–like everything else–needed to come under the heavy hand of government spread the lie that Standard Oil had gained its dominant position through violence, fraud, and chicanery.
Nor was Progressivism the domain of just one political party, as both Republicans and Democrats vied with each other to see who could more thoroughly expand the state. Republicans, led by Theodore Roosevelt and Sen. Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin, pushed for high tariffs, government ownership of natural resources, antitrust legislation, and imperialistic adventures abroad.
Democrats, on the other hand, led by William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson, pushed the income tax, inflation through debasement of the money supply, and the internal protectionist device known as Jim Crow laws, which attempted to shield white workers from competition from blacks. Both parties favored expansion of voting rights to women. What is clear is that neither party had any intention of honoring the U.S. Constitution.
In fact, the Progressive Era would not have had its social and legal effect had it not been for its reworking of the Constitution through the amendment process. The 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th amendments reworked the political landscape and greatly expanded the scope of the central government, one of the main goals of progressives. The 16th Amendment was probably the worst, as it authorized Congress for the first time to levy an income tax that would not be struck down by the Supreme Court.
The 17th Amendment took power of appointment of U.S. senators from the state legislatures and and placed it in the hands of voters. This further helped make the states subservient to the national agenda of progressives. The 18th Amendment was the infamous prohibition of alcoholic beverages, while the 19th Amendment forced all states to permit women to vote.
The imposition of the income tax was a green light for unbridled growth of the central government by allowing politicians to confiscate willy-nilly the property of individuals — and especially the property of the most productive citizens. Prohibition further increased the power of the central government over the property of Americans, while the other two amendments permanently altered the delicate balance of powers that the framers of the Constitution so painstakenly laid out in 1787.
Entry into World War I in 1917 was not, as many historians have said, the end of Progressivism, but rather–as Murray Rothbard so aptly pointed out –its fulfillment. The advent of war empowered the central government to seize ownership of U.S. railroads, as well as to reorganize much of the economy into a series of cartels controlled by committees of business executives, military officers, and bureaucrats. Strong press censorship reigned, all with the express backing of mainstream journalists. The Progressivist dream of socialism came into being through the auspices of patriotism.
Although most historians lament the “demise” of Progressivism during the 1920s, in truth, it hardly disappeared. For one, the Federal Reserve System worked feverishly to maintain the artificial rate of exchange of the British Pound and the U.S. Dollar and expand the domestic money supply, feeding speculative bubbles which finally collapsed with Black Thursday on Wall Street. Second, even though Congress cut the top income tax rate from its World War I high of more than 60 percent to 25 percent, this tax still was the main source of revenue for a government that had not ever shrunk back to its prewar levels.
After the Fed-induced crash of 1929, President Herbert Hoover, a favorite of a large number of Progressives, decided to take a non laissez-faire approach to the economic downturn that followed the crash. Within a couple of years, Hoover had openly urged business owners to keep wages and prices artificially high, signed the disastrous Smoot-Hawley Tariff into law and oversaw the doubling of tax rates. As Rothbard noted in America’s Great Depression, all of these measures took what would have been a brief recession and turned it into the greatest economic calamity in U.S. history.
That Progressivism ultimately led to the Great Depression should be obvious. Not surprisingly, Franklin Roosevelt chose to expand the powers of the state. Not surprisingly, his actions prolonged the depression. And, not surprisingly, the Progressivist propaganda machine was able to convince the public that the solution lay not in elimination of government intervention, but rather in further expansion of government.
While the names of interventionist politicians have changed, the Progressive Era still remains. The modern regulatory state is firmly rooted in Progressivist legislation of 100 years ago, the income tax still confiscates hard-earned wealth of productive Americans, and the Fed continues to inflate. The U.S. Supreme Court, once the bulwark against the Progressivist agenda, today gives rubber stamp approval to the latest legislative outrages.
Just as the political classes turned liberalism upon its head with Liberalism, so have Progressivists undermined the meaning of progress. The rise of humanity from its existence of perpetual poverty to the modern standard of living has occurred precisely because people were free to dream, invent, and invest. Real progress has happened because the stifling chains of government were removed from people. It is false Progress which seeks to reimpose those shackles.
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Bonfire of the Confederate Vanities
Posted by Rita Dunaway on July 28, 2017
In their passion to achieve a government-crafted utopia, the liberal/progressive movement often does more harm than good. This is because their tool of choice – the government – can only apply superficial solutions that come with harmful side effects.
Efforts to correct “income inequality” and “fight poverty” through government entitlement programs are a prime example. As columnist George Will recently asked and answered, “[W]hat if large causes of poverty are not matters of material distribution but are behavioral – bad choices and the cultures that produce them? If so, policymakers must rethink their confidence in social salvation through economic abundance.”
Exactly. Even if the government could afford to provide for the basic needs of its citizens from a budgetary perspective (it can’t), doing so would not address many of the root causes of poverty: out-of-wedlock childbirth, divorce and unemployment.
Now consider the push to impose an increasing number and variety of legal restrictions and regulations upon gun ownership. While some basic requirements, like background checks, make sense as a way of making it harder for criminals to obtain weapons, many of the left’s proposals for “gun control” do more to burden law-abiding sportsmen and homeowners than to actually keep anyone safe from criminal activity.
Statistics show that the vast majority of crimes committed with firearms are not committed by the legal owner of the firearm, so it makes little sense to make it more difficult for citizens to legally acquire and carry guns; the citizens who jump through these legal hoops are not the problem.
Nevertheless, liberals like writer Warren Blumenfeld advocate onerous government restrictions upon the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, including limiting the number of firearms a person can own, the number of bullets a firearm clip can hold and “re-thinking” concealed-carry laws.
Right now, conservative watchdog group 2nd Vote, is conducting a scientific experiment to test its theory that in fact, “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” The group has set up a live “gun cam” to monitor one particular gun for criminal behavior.
It may be a silly stunt, but it makes the point: More rules and regulations aimed at an inanimate object aren’t going to make us safer from criminals intent upon destruction.
Let’s look at one more example: funding for education. We see a continuous push for government to invest more and more money in education. Anyone who opposes it is demonized.
I don’t think anyone would argue about the value of good education and its importance to society, so if increased spending on education translated into better-educated students, then it would make a lot of sense. But a study released by the Heritage Foundation several years ago revealed that the steady increase in funding for education over time has not produced corresponding gains in educational achievement.
What does make a difference? According to another Heritage study, the structure and stability of the child’s family and parental involvement in schoolwork have a huge impact on academic performance.
But, sadly for the government-is-the-answer crowd, these are not factors that can be addressed by budgetary line items.
There is a lot to be admired about the liberal/progressive movement. I believe most of the activists within this camp are truly motivated by a legitimate, noble concern for others. This should be recognized and commended. But there is a gaping hole in their worldview; it’s the vacant place where one looks for a link between the proposed solutions – which invariably involve government – and the problems meant to be solved.
Government is not a tool capable of resolving all human struggles, and in America, that was recognized from the start. As Thomas Paine wrote, in “Common Sense,” “Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively, by uniting our affections; the latter negatively, by restraining our vices.”
The role of government in improving human society is a narrowly limited one: to protect its citizens’ rights, to punish wrongdoing and to point people toward the universal Moral Law through basic legal codes that reinforce its fundamental tenets.
When government goes much beyond this, either by using such a broad brush to eliminate harm that it intrudes upon law-abiding citizens or by seeking to become, itself, a positive doer of good in society, the result will invariably be some combination of the following: a contraction of its citizens’ liberty, an erosion of their charitable instincts and personal responsibility, and a colossal waste of money.
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The Devil in One Generation