The hidden relationship between progressivism and capitialism
Progressivism is always criticized for being wrong in many ways, but there is one element to it that is often missed. It deserves criticism, but it also is something that actually explains why it is adopted by so many. And that element is permissiveness.
At its core, progressivism is the destruction of limitations and boundaries. And what makes this work so well for both progressivism and capitalism is permissiveness to choose without restraint.
In The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left, author Yuri Levin describes freedom coming from tradition and obligation as envisioned by Burke. From Paine, the original liberal, it comes from choice. So by extension, limiting choice in the liberal tradition would be limiting freedom, therefore permissiveness becomes the means to create and enhance personal freedom.
So from the philosophy of Paine, permissiveness has grown to become a key driver in our capitalistic system – choice. Problems begin in myriad ways when unlimited choice occurs not just in the marketplace, but also into the social realm.
At the root of conservatism and biblical morality is limitation. It is easy to see, then, that once you try to limit something, you are going to have a problem with those who believe in freedom through choice and don’t want to be told “no, you can’t do that.”
The most obvious example is abortion. Women have been indoctrinated by progressivism that their freedom of choice is being taken away from them by being denied the option to terminate a pregnancy. Their slogan “pro-choice” says it all: “Don’t tell me what I can or cannot do with my body, you are taking away my personal freedom.”
The same goes for the legalization of marijuana. Like everything with progressivism, the incrementalism of tearing down taboos and making them mainstream, the movement has succeeded in turning the use of an illicit and dangerous drug into benign recreation.
For the capitalistic system, unknowingly or not, people who live without limits are actually beneficial. For example, compulsive shoppers or alcoholics who can’t restrain themselves can only be helpful to corporate bottom lines. For progressives, living without limits or restraints, it’s the foundation of their ideology that makes them so appealing and successful. So for each, it is mutually beneficial: progressivism gives permission to the person to drink too much, smoke too much, shop too much, while capitalism is all too happy to accept their money for their destructive habits.
From abortion and pot to gay marriage and transgenderism to illegal immigration and refugees, breaking down boundaries, literally and figuratively, only helps their “bottom lines.” But for the shopper who spends too much, the person who smokes too much pot or drinks too much, or the millions of illegal aliens who go to Walmart or CVS, each benefits the capitalistic system while at the same time causing harm to the individual and society as a whole.
Capitalists can be just as irreligious as progressives. Although they don’t actively seek to tear down Christianity as progressives are always doing, it explains why they’ve adopted progressivism in so many ways. “Thou shalt not…” goes against the grain for both.