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September 7, 2010
Five Best Books to Make Glenn Beck's Head Explode
The Wall Street Journal's Five Best column this week highlighted "first-person accounts of the Progressive era"-books by Progressive heroes Jane Addams, Theodore Roosevelt, Lincoln Steffens, Ida Tarbell and William Allen White. The column's author Louise Knight has recently published a biography of Jane Addams, which is described on her website:
The book traces how Addams's passion for social justice, which began as a fuzzy, romantic ideal, came to infuse her daily life and led her, in 1931, to become the first American woman - she is still one of only two - to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Another Nobel Peace Prize-winning community organizer and social justice advocate from Chicago?
Apparently Ms. Knight has not read Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism or listened to five minutes of the Glenn Beck Show. Both men make a convincing argument that Progressivism was a fascist movement promoting a totalitarian state that came to fruition under Woodrow Wilson's "war socialism" in 1917-18. The only suggestion of the insidious side of Progressivism appears in Knight's description of Lincoln Steffens:
The boy's dreaminess became the man's. His idealism fueled his groundbreaking articles and books about municipal political corruption, his fascination with socialism, and his later romances with revolution and communism... One must look elsewhere than this sometimes lyrical, sometimes hard-hitting life story to learn of Steffens's reputation as a "crank" who carried ideas too far.
"Elsewhere" one would find that Steffens was a cheerleader for Lenin, Stalin and Mussolini, who famously stated after visiting Bolshevik Russia in 1921, "I have been over into the future, and it works." At the time Lenin was conducting a campaign of mass arrests and executions known as the Red Terror. Why does fuzzy, dreamy idealism always seem to lead to internment camps?