Understanding the Threat of Progressivism's Equality
The core of progressivism is radical egalitarianism, a utopian, immature, idealistic, and impractical version of equality popularized today as "fairness." It is the Liberal/Progressive's most highly regarded ideal above all others. Quite possibly, among many of this group, it is their only ideal and it is often pursued with a religious-like zeal.
It's the product of a primitive part of the human psyche -- the collectivist way in which groups organized themselves when humans existed primarily in small bands or tribes. Psychology studies have documented the immature sense of equality or fairness that is operational in 4 year olds, where rewards of treats are given for completing certain tasks. When subjects were given the authority to change the amounts of the rewards obtained, the preschoolers invariably redistributed them in equal amounts regardless of the number of tasks completed by the individual subjects who earned the rewards.
This immature sense of equality or fairness also has a visceral appeal to many adults as well, especially those dictated primarily by emotion and "feelings" rather than by reason. For example, we've all seen interviews with ultraliberal celebrities who emphatically say in justification of their radical egalitarian opinions; "All people are created equal! It says so in our Declaration of Independence!" (Which they disingenuously quote only when convenient for their point of view.) However, people are obviously not equal. If they bothered to carefully read our founding documents and the writings of the men who created them, people are created equal in one respect only -- they are endowed equally with inalienable rights and must be treated equally under the rule of law in the protection of these rights.
Our founders were learned men who understood that as societies grew and evolved, humans found that a collectivist, egalitarian organization wasn't a feasible way to sustain larger, diverse populations. Because people are different in almost every way, those of differing talents, intellect, physical strength, desires, levels of motivation, and biology (male/female,) gravitated to certain tasks. The division of labor, a critical evolutionary leap forward, spontaneously developed, enabling larger, more complex, and more efficient and prosperous societies to develop.
Furthermore, differences in remuneration in these advanced orders of civilization will be as infinitely variable as the differences in people and the tasks that they perform. Some will be more capable or better suited to do certain things than others. Some will be more industrious than others. Some will be more successful than others. As a result, some will have "more" than others. Some will even have quite a bit more than others. This is neither good nor bad. This is truly the "fairest" distribution method possible in large, complex, specialized societies. Society, or the collective, or more specifically the "market," decides which tasks are highly valued or in greater demand and rewards them commensurately. What could be more democratic than that in serving the best interest of society? People who perform these high-value tasks with the greatest level of proficiency will be rewarded the most of all. This "system" encourages people to do their best. To aspire to greater levels of achievement because they are incentivized to do so by the "collective," or the society, which progresses because of it.
Contrary to contemporary popular belief, only when some person, or group, or government intercedes and arbitrarily decides distribution levels disconnected from value and demand does it become unfair. More importantly, it is counterproductive, since doing so undermines the necessary incentives that allowed societies to evolve the complexity required to sustain their vast populations. Similarly, the notion that a predetermined distribution, or quota, of particular subgroups within the population should be represented in particular jobs or fields of endeavor, regardless of the individual's suitability, capability, intellect, physical strength, etc., is detrimental to the intricately efficient division of labor and is equally counterproductive for societal maintenance and progress.
In addition, a culture also developed with customs, traditions, principles, and taboos to bolster and to codify this organization and the civil society that arose around it. Through fits and starts and trial and error, over the centuries, a "best practices", if you will, began evolving for societal organization.
Then along came the radical egalitarians. Theoreticians and scholars as early as Plato postulated alternative organizations for society that had a visceral appeal because they indulged a primitive part of the human psyche -- the desire for a utopia, a heaven on earth, a return to the Garden of Eden. This new society was to be administered by the best and brightest "philosopher kings" and based on the utopian, idealist, primitive version of equality and collectivism that once implemented would free mankind from the "struggle to survive." Once freed from this burden, men would be able to concentrate on "higher pursuits of civilization" in hope of perfecting human nature... or so they theorized. From Plato to Rousseau to Marx, these grand notions have captivated intellectuals and pseudointellectuals ever since. They are the dominant notions in academia to this day. These notions are also satisfying to the immature sense of "fairness" and primitive sense of equality and are appealing to the most zealous do-gooders, as well as to the least industrious members of society.
The first such attempt at transforming a society along these lines was the French Revolution. "Liberty, equality, and fraternity" was its motto. A "reign of terror" resulted where thousands were guillotined and their property confiscated and redistributed by "the people." The guillotines were then used against those who led the revolution, as the new democracy deteriorated into mob rule, the fate of all pure democracies previously attempted in the ancient Grecian city-states and subsequently abandoned. Later, Marx's utopian theories of "scientific socialism" gave rise to revolutionary applied socialism, or Communism, that was forced on societies throughout the 20th century. The record of impoverishment, human misery, tyranny, and death associated with these societal transformations is well documented.
Marxian scientific socialism also influenced Western European intellectuals who advocated the Fabian model of non-militant socialist transformation. The late 19th century American intellectuals who received advanced degrees in these European academies were exposed to this brand of socialism. They returned to staff institutions of higher learning in the United States where the first generation of American "Progressives" like Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, John Dewey and others, encountered the ideas of collectivism and egalitarianism.
The Progressives began their "long march through the institutions" in America with this ideology as their foundation. Their attempts at helping society "progress" under an administrative state guided by experts (like Plato's philosopher kings -- or President Obama's "czars" today) were initially thwarted by obstacles such as America's reverence for the Constitution, the success of free-market capitalism in raising the standard of living, and the strong ethic of American individualism. The Progressives soon realized that in order to be successful, their authoritarian, redistributive agenda needed to be disguised in the nonthreatening terminology of "fairness," "democracy," and "social justice."
Stealthy transformation also required that American culture, which codified and supported the principles of self-determination, self-reliance, individual freedom, belief in god, etc. had to be undermined through criticism and ridicule. The Constitution had to be marginalized. Capitalism had to be demonized and blamed. Victims needed to be identified, and crusades undertaken against their oppressors, which often could not be identified directly but conveniently blamed on generic greed or discrimination that had to be stamped out. The rule of law had to be bent in favor of identified victims groups to level the playing fields and make amends. All of these objectives are mission critical in the implementation of a collectivist ethic ("you didn't build that") and egalitarian redistribution.
It's taken nearly a century, but through gradual infiltration of the educational system and the media, they have been successful in controlling public opinion by instilling a liberal/progressive groupthink protected by political correctness that has enabled them to undermine our culture as well as our economic and political systems through the electoral process. They are now firmly in control of our corrupted government.
There is only one type of equality that is compatible with freedom, and that is the equality of treatment of all individuals by their fellow members of society. Each equally endowed as part of their humanity to enjoy the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (which includes the right to property and their right to protect their lives and property among others.) Radical egalitarian redistribution requires unequal treatment by force and a subordination of the rights of some to the dictates of the collective. Mob rule. Arbitrary application of laws. Imposed servitude.
Liberal /Progressives value their utopian, immature, and demonstrably impractical version of equality more than they value freedom. They advocate that it's acceptable to give up a little liberty for "the good of society", for fairness, and for security. A compliant population is gradually conditioned as their loss of liberty occurs in increments. Modern Progressivism is, in fact, Regressivism. Through the pursuit of radical egalitarian equality they are undermining the centuries of true progress of western civilization and threaten its very existence.
Like it or not, we're all being taken along on this ride. The question is: What are we prepared to do about it?