Sunday, January 30, 2005

Old Beads Restrung: The Progressives.

By Robert Wolf

If there is anything positive to be said for modern socialists, it is that they have cleaned up nicely.

For much of the twentieth century, they had a shabby look about them, throwing bombs and assassinating heads of state in the 1st third of the 20th century, and pointing with pride to the great successes of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China in the 40s, 50s, and even as late as the 60s. Now, reborn as Progressives, they tell us that Russia and China were failures, not of collectivism, but of big government. If this is true, one would think the remedy would be less government, not more.

Socialists no longer sport the scrufty look, aside from a few professional protestors, nor do they kidnap the descendants of William Randolph Hearst. Today’s so called “Progressives” work at appearing chic and ever so civilized. “Nothing to fear from us,” they say, “we’re for the poor and the down trodden. We support the little guy in his battle against greedy corporations,” chortling like the proper metrosexuals they are. “Evil Corporations corrupt legislators in exchange for corporate welfare”, they titter as they down their designer martinis. The point is valid, but the remedy obtuse. If politicians are corrupted by big business who is the villain, politicians and government or business?

Socialism is defined as any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership/administration of the means of production and distribution of goods. Progressives favor among other things proactive government, universal health care, a foreign policy dictated by the UN, a living wage, free (sic) education Pre-K through College, and expanded Social Security benefits, yet they deny they are socialists. Not only do they not know they are socialists (or refuse to admit it), but they display an abysmal ignorance of history by adopting the appellation Progressive, which means the opposite of what they intend.

Contrary to popular opinion, the original Progressive movement did not favor more political power for the disenfranchised; Progressives preferred the status quo. The movement was a knee jerk aversion to the rising political power of newly arrived immigrants. Elections, for example, were moved from Saturday to Tuesday in an attempt to reduce the working-class immigrant vote. Progressives centralized the government, making it more professional and less personal. By the end of the 1920s, most cities had adopted some form of municipal civil service and members of school boards and city councils were elected citywide rather than on a district-by-district basis. This made it exceedingly difficult for ethnic groups to elect their own representatives and significantly increased the cost of campaigning, thus empowering wealthier special interest contributors. The modern ‘Progressives’ have nothing in common with their namesake, with the expectation of wanting more government. Their philosophical antecedents lie with the socialist movement.

Their public and private views are quite distinct, however, the unkind might even say hypocritical. It is interesting to observe how progressives, who never met a tax or redistribution scheme they didn’t like, or have the ability to distinquish between the deserving and undeserving poor, handle charity and other acts of kindness in their personal lives.

A cousin or brother-in-law in need is a worthless bum and told to go out and get a job (education, life, etc.). He is definitely not provided for in the household budget; nor, is the beleaguered relative lent money. “The ‘loser’ won’t pay it back,” these lovers of humanity cry. Yet with unctuous piety, they demand that funds be disbursed to this wretch from the public treasury post haste knowing full well the beneficiary of this purloined largess will be the very person they deemed unworthy of help in the first place. Frederic Bastiat could not have been more correct when he said, "Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

It is also a fiction that the poor are their real concern. They have an romantic, idyllic “noble savage” image of the virtuous poor that defies reality. This should not be surprising because the real poor are kept far away from their gated communities, something to do with property values. The real poor are the butt of their jokes, usually dismissed as trailer trash, red necks, the great unwashed, etc., and they reject, out of hand, the opinion, even the humanity, of one who is poorly dressed or drives a pickup or beat up car.

If government largess were limited to the needy, the Republic could probably survive, however their favorite programs are mostly for the middle class in the name of the poor. Topping that list are living wage, college funding, mass feedings in government schools, after school programs, child care, home mortgage deductions, and employment for the army of bureaucrats required to run the programs.

What they want to do for the poor is what they have done for their children, grant every wish, make no demands, instill no responsibility, grant total license. Without making the connection, they fail to understand why their children are still students or living in the basement at age 35, and knowingly ignore the fact that there are as many poor now as when they signed up for the war on poverty. Their offspring and the poor alike, with everything provided by someone else, are entirely dependent upon others and totally disinterested in anything that requires effort.

Progressives preach peace, but fight over parking spaces, riot at sporting events and key a rival’s car. The weasels whine that life should not be competitive, demand scoreless sporting events for their children, while lying on their resumes and undermining co-workers whenever there is a job to be had. In reverent tones they lecture us about charity, while every penny of their personal income is leveraged to purchase stuff, fancier homes and cars designed to impress or embarrass their neighbors. They harness the muscle of government backed unions to get more pay and better benefits for themselves and their kin, not because they are skilled, but because they were first. The scab is beaten, his family threatened and his home vandalized for the crime of being his own agent. Yet, it is corporations that are violent and greedy.

They preach peace, love and brotherhood at their rallies, then trample their brothers to be first to the parking lot. They advocate for the elderly but won’t interact with them, certain they are better off in a nursing home. They urge their daughters to avoid pregnancy and marry well, yet encourage poor women to remain unwed and accept public support for their children; unless a husband shows up, then, it’s out in the cold.

They lavish their money on security systems for their private homes and their fancy cars as a necessity, while believing government spending for national security or the military is a waste of funds. They dismiss patriots in military service as cretins unfit for any other career. They argue against guns while secreting loaded revolvers in their dresser drawers. They are against war, desire peace, but, at the drop of a hat, will fight with a neighbor over the size of his lawn ornament. They will kiss the backside of the vile and the odious to get a good job, good grades or admission to a country club, but view as unforgivable the fact that the U.S. might once have supported Saddam.

Chop Suey.

©2005 by Robert Wolf. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 14, 2005


By Robert Wolf

Is it just me? Harry Wales a prince of England wears a Nazi costume to a masquerade and the world loses it. What is the rule about costumes? Are any others forbidden? If not, why not? What is are the rules? If one were to choose a scary costume for a party what choice would be scarier?

Your just a lad, Harry, and have not yet capitulated to the PC, to go along to get along. Sadly, you’ll probably learn.

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