The new Inquisition
America's progressives, led by Bernie Sanders, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden, have established an agenda and have sanctioned a strategy that harkens back to a much earlier day: the Inquisition that started in the 12th century.
The Inquisition was part of the Catholic Church's effort to identify and punish heresy. Heresy was any opinion contrary to the canons of the Church. Heretics were harshly punished, and their lives were often "canceled" (terminated). The earliest prosecutions seem to have been against Catholic splinter groups and later spread to Jews, Muslims, and Protestants, although Catholics who deviated from the Church's dictates were also subject to persecution.
America's progressives have their own "religion" and impose punishment on heretics as well. The progressives excommunicate, "cancel," heretics, banning them from jobs and access to the media. The primary targets for the progressive inquisition are citizens who desire limiting government control over their lives; support the Constitution (to include freedom of religion); support law and order; want schools to focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic; or, gasp! voted for Donald Trump. Dissenters from the progressive religion are not labeled heretics, since the similarity to the Inquisition would become too obvious. Instead, they are labeled "deplorables," "destroyers of democracy," and "semi-fascists."
Progressives eschew economics: cost-benefit analysis, supply and demand, and opportunity costs are irrelevant to their values and "logic." Once they determine a policy they like, it matters not how much it costs or how wasteful it is. The Green New Deal and the tuition debt forgiveness programs are cases in point. Asking if the money might be put to better use will mark the questioner as "selfish." Progressives raise illogic to a new level.
Progressives are also destroyers of history that they do not like. They accept no "false gods." Statues of the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln are pulled down and their names excised from schools and other buildings. Joseph Stalin rewrote Russian history for political gain. Progressives are doing the same.
The catechism of the progressives includes Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project, and the indoctrination of pre-pubescent children into transgender ideas. Progressive teachers, we are told, know best how to educate our children.
Progressives have found their own official inquisitors: the FBI and Department of Justice seem to have become part of the progressives' religion. They have hidden Hunter Biden's laptop and his crony capitalism and Joe Biden's nepotism. They have allowed Hillary Clinton to escape prosecution for mishandling sensitive government documents. Members of the "true faith" walk free while heretics are prosecuted.
Progressives, as true socialists, seize ownership of businesses in practice if not in name. They will regulate business to do their bidding by imposing ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) scores, packing boards of directors with public representatives (i.e., progressive faithful), and banish industries and oil pipelines not to their liking.
Progressives, in their intolerance of dissenting ideas and abhorrence of sharing political power, plan to make Washington, D.C. a state in order to add two new Democrat senators. They speak of packing the Supreme Court with progressive-friendly justices. For progressives, the end justifies the means. Progressives desire a one-party, one-religion state and will not stop until their mission is accomplished.
The original Inquisition lasted for several hundred years. The Enlightenment greatly helped to end it. Progressives now threaten these gains. They seek to banish competition and establish one-party (one-church) rule. Knowledge through reason, liberty, toleration, and constitutional government is under threat. Progressives are dangerous to individual freedom, and they must be called out for what they are: intolerant religious zealots, fascist-socialists, and power-hungry anti-intellectuals.
Burton Abrams is a professor emeritus of economics at the University of Delaware and a research fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. He is the author of The Terrible 10: A Century of Economic Folly.