Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Liberals Want Their "Progressive" Name Back Again

Have you noticed that “Liberals” have started calling themselves “Progressives” again? That’s because “Liberal” has become a nasty word, and people are starting to associate bad policy with liberal policy. The funny thing is, the “Progressives” started using the name “Liberal” for the same reason back in the first half of the 20th Century.

The “Progressive” movement got started in its present form sometime in the early part of the 20th Century. The “Progressives” believe that history is a linear progression of human events that will result in the eventual perfection of human beings (if we would only allow it). They reject the idea that “history repeats itself”.
... today we know that history is progressive rather then cyclical, that biblical prophesies are irrelevant, and that new thinking is required to fit new circumstances. This makes the long-established American tendency to fall back on the wisdom of the founders in times of stress all the more inappropriate. In a high tech age, there is simply no excuse for blind worship of a grouop of preindustrial philosphes. ~ Daniel Lazare, The Frozen Republic (1996)
Why are biblical prophesies irrelevant, Daniel? Is it because you misunderstand the true nature of biblical prophesies? A biblical prophesy doesn't foretell the future any more than my father telling me "If you don't study, you'll fail mathematics" did. It is a prediction that I have the liberty to avoid, if I work at it.

And why are the founders now irrelevant? Has human nature changed one iota in all of recorded history? I think not. Tyranny is as popular and as dangerous as ever. A high-tech society has nothing whatever to do with it. And just so you know, we don't blindly worship the founders, we actually understand what they were trying to accomplish, and we admire them for that. We believe that their years of study and careful design yielded a Constitutional Republic that facilitated the most prosperous and generous nation in all of human history. To the extent that it is still allowed, their system of government is still working. To the extent that it is broken, well, they predicted that. They told us to guard against it, but we failed to heed their warning.

It's true, history doesn’t repeat itself like an endless loop from Groundhog Day, but those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it. Time is linear (to human observers), but historical events have an uncanny way of replicating themselves in disturbing ways if you don’t take steps to prevent it. The regression of individual liberty is one process I would like to reverse.

I for one am happy to see the left abandon the “Liberal” moniker. Their statist schemes are about as illiberal as you can get. They want bigger government, higher taxes, and more regulation (except for recreational drugs, illicit sex, sexual perversion and pornography – where, evidently, less regulation is better). But where it really matters, “social justice” inhibits and usurps liberty and justice for all. Soon, true believers can again call themselves “Liberal” and mean it in the original sense of the word: The Classical Liberal.

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