The End Game

Progressivism is a grudging and pernicious ideology. It is a vision of the state with neither Democratic nor Republican principles to distract from the central idea of one-party rule. It is a vision of the state without political choices. It is a vision of usurpation.

But usurpation is a task of many seasons. Its seed is scattered on the travelled ways and on the ways not taken. A necessary few survive, but always the seed germinates in darkness. Its cause is no less a threat to America than was the cause of slavery. In either brood of depravity, we find the argument for both an intolerable expansion of programmatic injustices and for separation from the idea of America. Through the catastrophe of Civil War, our nation ended the horrible condition of human servitude; but we have yet to recognize the effects of human error that come of serving an ideology of force. Progressive elements are in thrall to an imperious design that no written amendment will cancel. Those who prefer the genius of government to the genius of society have already accepted the weaker argument. They are slaves of their own uneducated desires, to the teachers of intolerance and power and to a debased culture of political correctness -- for they are only slaves who do not know how to be free.

We need not wait for the oracle of history to tell us how the liberal myth will end, for the invention and sport of our delusions has no ending. It is better that we plan for a restoration of original principles -- a difficult but necessary correction -- for the liberal, in his waxed and polished arrogance, has turned the nation towards a fool’s bargain with evil. We are set on a course of foolish expectations, of political and moral decline. We have lost years and purpose; and we have gained only an understanding of the corruption of modern liberal instruction -- its determined will to power, its unscrupulous vote farming tactics, its forcible wealth redistribution schemes -- all under the banner of "social justice."

But "social justice" is a term of art. One may stand a totem in the place of truth and call it many pleasing names. The prejudices of ideology obscure the clear path available to common sense, and the wrong way altogether too often becomes the travelled way. But if we know the passage through a strenuous and hostile territory, we cannot prefer ignorance. We wonder, however, at our human capacity to tolerate error -- that we often desire not truth, but names to hang upon our ignorance. There is progressivism. Its name is error -- the counterfeit and shape of reason. It is the critic of excellence, and the critic is never the maker. Its message is the promise of a new world order of governing authority -- scientific, just, perfect and inevitable. But where its confederates build upon this earth -- whether among the socialized states of modern Europe or the inner cities of America -- the promise also falls. Its beginnings end quickly, persisting only in the songs of an old mythology.

One may admire the liberal's passion for social reform, but passion is not principle, and corruption is not "Change we can believe in." The new liberal order not only obliges us to submit to federal programs for our subsistence, but it makes robbers and cheaters of us all, scrapping for the gain of others in a sustainable program of class warfare. Its forcible trespass upon our social and political institutions removes the citizen of his personal initiative and self-reliance, his dignity and his virtue, rendering him corrupt, dependent and complicit in the general crime. It is the way of gangs -- drawing and binding the individual into group interests, showing the force of organized political action and creating a code of shared guilt that is death to violate. It is the Chicago street made into national polity: when you invite the guilty into the houses of Congress, the guilty will write the laws. Nor does it matter if the laws are just in regards to the governed, only that the laws protect the governing interests. Justice for the governed then becomes a matter of obedience to these laws, and justice approves the governing class because the laws sustain its advantage. Under the shame culture that defines the modern liberal political class, the only place for a citizen of good conscience, as Thoreau concluded in "Civil Disobedience", is in prison.

Because of their skills in propaganda and in the targeting of populations useful for their purposes, organized progressive interests in America will remain an enduring challenge. Because the modern cult of liberalism is an idea without principle, its activists will change its shape, reinvent its argument and speak again in newer dialects in order to pursue their absolutist objectives. Socialized government requires only the compliance -- not the consent -- of the governed. It is true, many Americans allowed the liberal to take the great lie into the soul of the nation with songs and instruments that charmed their better senses; but the gathering of immediate threats both foreign and domestic, and a sense of important things falling -- the wrongness of it all! -- have awakened an entire country to the urgency of correction.

The people do not consent! The weaker argument cannot move America from her original principles. Progressive forces -- if they would succeed in this world of real events and consequences -- will have to conquer the American people again, again and yet again, for the human desire for freedom from the coercive powers of the state shall stand in need of eternal overthrow. History will make an accounting of the liberal problem; but as for now, it is enough to know that the liberal has chosen the prospect of a new kind of civil war, and he will not be cheated of what he hopes to gain from it. He draws comfort from our differences, not our similarities; he argues for division, never for reconciliation. Always, the cause is victory, not progress. He hunts for omens and social algorithms most favorable to support a course of political imperialism he has already taken. He consistently asks the wrong questions of history out of fear that the right questions will lead to answers that will dissuade him from action: he asks of the oracle the best way to win the war -- he does not ask if the war is necessary or just.

But the demagogues and their crowds must part. The truth, though ill arrived, is now altogether too obvious: the entire force of progressive doctrine moves always towards tyranny, never from it -- and for this reason alone, disregarding countless others, the line of liberal succession must be cut. As force may destroy liberty, so must greater force preserve it. The contest before us is one of historical definition -- our true understanding of justice, or, in effect, our idea of America. The people must decide the issue: either we overcome our civil strife or, by repeating the calamities of old Europe, we shall become too familiar with it. In the language of common sense that speaks above politics -- either liberalism or America must fail.

Anyone wishing to agree or disagree with the author may contact him at his email address: phahl@icloud.com.

Progressivism is a grudging and pernicious ideology. It is a vision of the state with neither Democratic nor Republican principles to distract from the central idea of one-party rule. It is a vision of the state without political choices. It is a vision of usurpation.

But usurpation is a task of many seasons. Its seed is scattered on the travelled ways and on the ways not taken. A necessary few survive, but always the seed germinates in darkness. Its cause is no less a threat to America than was the cause of slavery. In either brood of depravity, we find the argument for both an intolerable expansion of programmatic injustices and for separation from the idea of America. Through the catastrophe of Civil War, our nation ended the horrible condition of human servitude; but we have yet to recognize the effects of human error that come of serving an ideology of force. Progressive elements are in thrall to an imperious design that no written amendment will cancel. Those who prefer the genius of government to the genius of society have already accepted the weaker argument. They are slaves of their own uneducated desires, to the teachers of intolerance and power and to a debased culture of political correctness -- for they are only slaves who do not know how to be free.

We need not wait for the oracle of history to tell us how the liberal myth will end, for the invention and sport of our delusions has no ending. It is better that we plan for a restoration of original principles -- a difficult but necessary correction -- for the liberal, in his waxed and polished arrogance, has turned the nation towards a fool’s bargain with evil. We are set on a course of foolish expectations, of political and moral decline. We have lost years and purpose; and we have gained only an understanding of the corruption of modern liberal instruction -- its determined will to power, its unscrupulous vote farming tactics, its forcible wealth redistribution schemes -- all under the banner of "social justice."

But "social justice" is a term of art. One may stand a totem in the place of truth and call it many pleasing names. The prejudices of ideology obscure the clear path available to common sense, and the wrong way altogether too often becomes the travelled way. But if we know the passage through a strenuous and hostile territory, we cannot prefer ignorance. We wonder, however, at our human capacity to tolerate error -- that we often desire not truth, but names to hang upon our ignorance. There is progressivism. Its name is error -- the counterfeit and shape of reason. It is the critic of excellence, and the critic is never the maker. Its message is the promise of a new world order of governing authority -- scientific, just, perfect and inevitable. But where its confederates build upon this earth -- whether among the socialized states of modern Europe or the inner cities of America -- the promise also falls. Its beginnings end quickly, persisting only in the songs of an old mythology.

One may admire the liberal's passion for social reform, but passion is not principle, and corruption is not "Change we can believe in." The new liberal order not only obliges us to submit to federal programs for our subsistence, but it makes robbers and cheaters of us all, scrapping for the gain of others in a sustainable program of class warfare. Its forcible trespass upon our social and political institutions removes the citizen of his personal initiative and self-reliance, his dignity and his virtue, rendering him corrupt, dependent and complicit in the general crime. It is the way of gangs -- drawing and binding the individual into group interests, showing the force of organized political action and creating a code of shared guilt that is death to violate. It is the Chicago street made into national polity: when you invite the guilty into the houses of Congress, the guilty will write the laws. Nor does it matter if the laws are just in regards to the governed, only that the laws protect the governing interests. Justice for the governed then becomes a matter of obedience to these laws, and justice approves the governing class because the laws sustain its advantage. Under the shame culture that defines the modern liberal political class, the only place for a citizen of good conscience, as Thoreau concluded in "Civil Disobedience", is in prison.

Because of their skills in propaganda and in the targeting of populations useful for their purposes, organized progressive interests in America will remain an enduring challenge. Because the modern cult of liberalism is an idea without principle, its activists will change its shape, reinvent its argument and speak again in newer dialects in order to pursue their absolutist objectives. Socialized government requires only the compliance -- not the consent -- of the governed. It is true, many Americans allowed the liberal to take the great lie into the soul of the nation with songs and instruments that charmed their better senses; but the gathering of immediate threats both foreign and domestic, and a sense of important things falling -- the wrongness of it all! -- have awakened an entire country to the urgency of correction.

The people do not consent! The weaker argument cannot move America from her original principles. Progressive forces -- if they would succeed in this world of real events and consequences -- will have to conquer the American people again, again and yet again, for the human desire for freedom from the coercive powers of the state shall stand in need of eternal overthrow. History will make an accounting of the liberal problem; but as for now, it is enough to know that the liberal has chosen the prospect of a new kind of civil war, and he will not be cheated of what he hopes to gain from it. He draws comfort from our differences, not our similarities; he argues for division, never for reconciliation. Always, the cause is victory, not progress. He hunts for omens and social algorithms most favorable to support a course of political imperialism he has already taken. He consistently asks the wrong questions of history out of fear that the right questions will lead to answers that will dissuade him from action: he asks of the oracle the best way to win the war -- he does not ask if the war is necessary or just.

But the demagogues and their crowds must part. The truth, though ill arrived, is now altogether too obvious: the entire force of progressive doctrine moves always towards tyranny, never from it -- and for this reason alone, disregarding countless others, the line of liberal succession must be cut. As force may destroy liberty, so must greater force preserve it. The contest before us is one of historical definition -- our true understanding of justice, or, in effect, our idea of America. The people must decide the issue: either we overcome our civil strife or, by repeating the calamities of old Europe, we shall become too familiar with it. In the language of common sense that speaks above politics -- either liberalism or America must fail.

Anyone wishing to agree or disagree with the author may contact him at his email address: phahl@icloud.com.