The future of ‘progressivism’
The progressive movement is based on certain assumptions. It holds that human nature can be improved by mandating moral behavior through the application of regulations, incentives, and punishments. In addition, the philosophy believes that the power of the federal government can be harnessed to improve the individual, and transform society through political action. It seeks to establish a form of statism in which government experts scientifically administer a regulatory state for the common good.
Progressivism has become an increasingly influential force in shaping our culture, society, and government policy since its inception at the beginning of the 20th century. In its earlier days, the movement was instrumental in establishing women’s suffrage, worker’s rights, environmental protection measures, and welfare programs. As late as the 60s, it championed the Social Security and Medicare programs and supported the Civil Rights Act, despite the internal resistance of the Southern Democrat congressional bloc.
But the golden age of Progressivism is now behind it. Fast forward to the present. In no small part due to its pressures to purge human nature of its basic motivations and to engineer social and economic reform, we now have a nation which the majority feel is headed in the wrong direction. Congressional approval rating is below 20%. We have a cognitively impaired but woke-compliant president, an incompetent but diversity qualified VP, and neurologically-impaired senators. Identity politics divides the nation ideologically. CRT competes with the Three Rs in a failing education system. Equity replaces merit. Family structure is weakened by the forces of feminism. “Gender” is a choice. The young, having no identity other than that which is found in the alternate universe of social media, are increasingly depressed, anxious, drug addicted, and suicide prone. Our only enforced immigration policy restricts the immigration of productive foreigners. Drugs, homelessness, and crime escalate. The DoD declares the diversity inclusion initiative “critical” to its mission.
The basic tenets of the movement have hit a dead end. Progressivism cannot mandate its concepts of morality. Human nature cannot be improved via regulations, incentives, and punishment any more than can aging or libido. People are motivated by self-interest, not by social obligation or the common good. Bureaucratic “public servants” use their position to advance their personal agenda. Media pundits are not motivated by a desire to enlighten the public, but to manipulate it.
The power of the federal government can do little to improve the individual through political action. The War on Poverty, busing, urban renewal, affordable housing, and affirmative action have not appreciably elevated the Black community; quite the contrary. Since the 60s, marriage rates in the Black community have declined disproportionately, and the out-of-wedlock birth rate has risen in similar fashion. Advances made by individual Blacks have been due primarily to self-volition. Legalizing gay marriage has simply put a stamp of approval on what the culture has grown to accept.
Progressivism simultaneously seeks statism and individual freedoms. The two are mutually exclusive — unless the progressive elite is allowed to pick and choose those freedoms it advocates. Progressivism thus becomes authoritarian. In its current state of punitive, self-righteous, hyper-moral overreach — woke progressivism — it has evolved from acting as an advocate of the disadvantaged to waging war on the “privileged”.
Our nation is founded in the quest of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Progressive statism ultimately results in existence, conformity, and the pursuit of tedious mediocrity. Hopefully, the inanity of woke progressivism will be the movement’s dying gasp. Even if so — since human nature has indeed not changed, even for those on the left — its innately dissident, victimized, petulant social reformers will undoubtedly evolve a new “ism” in their need to orchestrate a great reset and a rules-based international order, and at the very least, “progressivism” will be relegated to the dustbin of history.
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