A Treatise on Progressivism
First of all, in America, progressivism and liberalism are much the same things. Alternatively, it is referred to, generally, as the “left.”
I personally understand the right/left dichotomy as the complete loss of nation-state government control over the people on the extreme right, a.ka. anarchy, and on the extreme left, you have totalitarianism.
So, the radical right favors minimal government while the radical left favors maximum government. I don’t believe in the modern interpretation that puts totalitarianism on both the extreme right and left.
“Today, progressivism is profoundly one-sided. It is the dominant force within the Democratic Party and at best a tiny, rump, besieged minority in the Republican Party.” (http://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/janfeb-2015/why-a-second-progressive-era-is-emerging-and-how-not-to-blow-it/)
Preface: Where did it come from?
Originally, it started with good intentions by Christian reformers that wanted to get rid of political corruption take away the power that big corporations had, end business monopolies, make elections more democratic, protect workers, and make the gap between classes shorter.
But it didn’t take long before the movement was highjacked by the intellectual elite. “Many of the American Progressives studied in Germany, and were taught by students of Hegel. They brought the German model of education and German political ideas back to America with them and established Ph.D. programs in several areas of study, producing a new generation of professors and students who sought to replace the principles of the Founding with the new Progressive teaching on politics. These ideas, mixed with Darwinism and a deep faith in science, form the roots of modern American Liberalism.” (http://www.heritage.org/initiatives/first-principles/progressivism-and-liberalism)
Progressivism champions then became the proponents of eugenics and segregation. Hence, Abortion-advocate and progressive hero, Margaret Sanger, even gave a speech at one of the KKK’s rallies.
Karl Marx saw history as a sort of march of progress: primitive communism to slave society to feudalism to mercantilism to capitalism to socialism and finally to a perfected form of communism.
” Conservative Catholics and Bible Belt Protestants hated eugenics because it was an attempt by intellectual and scientific elites to play God. Progressives loved eugenics because it was on the side of reform rather than the status quo, activism rather than laissez-faire, and social responsibility rather than selfishness.”
Today, progressivism/liberalism has become a worldwide network of government programs, parties, bureaucracies, agencies, organizations, foundations, and hundreds of movements. It has no one single head, except maybe Satan, and has many different sects, much like an organized religion.
“Today’s liberalism and the policies that it has generated arose from a conscious repudiation of the principles of the American founding.”
…”Progressivism, as modified by later developments within contemporary liberalism, has become the predominant view in modern American education, media, popular culture, and politics. Today, people who call themselves conservatives and liberals alike accept much of the Progressive view of the world.”
Those outside that paradigm are looked at as mentally challenged, crazy and anti-establishment.
Ideologically, progressivism is a collectivist dogma. That is why it is so akin to socialism and communism. Many of the heroes of the left are the famous socialist and communist leaders like Marx and Lennon.
Now I want to tie it all together and explain how the modern feminist, homosexual, gender and even most civil rights (social justice warrior) movements have been co-opted by the radical left.
First of all, it shouldn’t seem strange that the left uses radical social change to take its totalitarian system to the people. Radical social restructuring is the perfect vehicle to both undermine the firm foundation of the western civilization and propagate a new paradigm.
When the Marxist experiment first failed in Germany, the leaders discovered a valuable lesson. In order to destroy a society, you must take out its moral and religious foundations.
“In 1918, Lukács became minister of culture in Bolshevik Hungary. During this time, Lukács realized that if the family unit and sexual morals were eroded, society could be broken down.
Lukács implemented a policy he titled “cultural terrorism,” which focused on these two objectives. A major part of the policy was to target children’s minds through lectures that encouraged them to deride and reject Christian ethics.
In these lectures, graphic sexual matter was presented to children, and they were taught about loose sexual conduct.
Here again, a Marxist theory had failed to take hold in the real world. The people were outraged at Lukács’ program, and he fled Hungary when Romania invaded in 1919.
The Birth of Cultural Marxism
All was quiet on the Marxist front until 1923 when the cultural terrorist turned up for a “Marxist study week” in Frankfurt, Germany. There, Lukács met a young, wealthy Marxist named Felix Weil.
Until Lukács showed up, classical Marxist theory was based solely on the economic changes needed to overthrow class conflict. Weil was enthused by Lukács’ cultural angle on Marxism.
Weil’s interest led him to fund a new Marxist think tank—the Institute for Social Research. It would later come to be known as simply The Frankfurt School.
In 1930, the school changed course under new director Max Horkheimer. The team began mixing the ideas of Sigmund Freud with those of Marx, and cultural Marxism was born.
In classical Marxism, the workers of the world were oppressed by the ruling classes. The new theory was that everyone in society was psychologically oppressed by the institutions of Western culture. The school concluded that this new focus would need new vanguards to spur the change. The workers were not able to rise up on their own.
As fate would have it, the National Socialists came to power in Germany in 1933. It was a bad time and place to be a Jewish Marxist, as most of the school’s faculty was. So, the school moved to New York City, the bastion of Western culture at the time.
Coming to America
In 1934, the school was reborn at Columbia University. Its members began to exert their ideas on American culture.
It was at Columbia University that the school honed the tool it would use to destroy Western culture: the printed word.
The school published a lot of popular material. The first of these was Critical Theory.
Next was a book Theodor Adorno co-authored, The Authoritarian Personality. It redefined traditional American views on gender roles and sexual mores as “prejudice.” Adorno compared them to the traditions that led to the rise of fascism in Europe.
Is it just a coincidence that the go-to slur for the politically correct today is “fascist”?
The school pushed its shift away from economics and toward Freud by publishing works on psychological repression.
Their works split society into two main groups: the oppressors and the victims. They argued that history and reality were shaped by those groups who controlled traditional institutions. At the time, that was code for males of European descent.
From there, they argued that the social roles of men and women were due to gender differences defined by the “oppressors.” In other words, gender did not exist in reality but was merely a “social construct.”
A Coalition of Victims
Adorno and Horkheimer returned to Germany when WWII ended. Herbert Marcuse, another member of the school, stayed in America. In 1955, he published Eros and Civilization.
In the book, Marcuse argued that Western culture was inherently repressive because it gave up happiness for social progress.
The book called for “polymorphous perversity,” a concept crafted by Freud. It posed the idea of sexual pleasure outside the traditional norms. Eros and Civilization would become very influential in shaping the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
Marcuse would be the one to answer Horkheimer’s question from the 1930s: Who would replace the working class as the new vanguards of the Marxist revolution?
Marcuse believed that it would be a victim coalition of minorities—blacks, women, and homosexuals.
The social movements of the 1960s—black power, feminism, gay rights, sexual liberation—gave Marcuse a unique vehicle to release cultural Marxist ideas into the mainstream. Railing against all things “establishment,” The Frankfurt School’s ideals caught on like wildfire across American universities.
Marcuse then published Repressive Tolerance in 1965 as the various social movements in America were in full swing. In it, he argued that tolerance of all values and ideas meant the repression of “correct” ideas.
It was here that Marcuse coined the term “liberating tolerance.” It called for tolerance of any ideas coming from the left but intolerance of those from the right. One of the overarching themes of the Frankfurt School was total intolerance for any viewpoint but its own. That is also a basic trait of today’s political correctness believers.
To quote Max Horkheimer, “Logic is not independent of content.”
Recalling the Words of Winston (Not That One)
The Frankfurt School’s work has had a deep impact on American culture. It has recast the homogenous America of the 1950s into today’s divided, animosity-filled nation.
In turn, this has contributed to the undeniable breakdown of the family unit, as well as identity politics, radical feminism, and racial polarization in America.
It’s hard to decide if today’s culture is more like Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World.
Never one to buck a populist trend, the political establishment in America has fully embraced the ideas of the Frankfurt School and has pushed them on American society through public miseducation.
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the beacons of progressivism, are both disciples of Saul Alinsky, a devoted cultural Marxist.
And so we now live in a hyper-sensitive society in which social memes and feelings have overtaken biological and objective reality as the main determinants of right and wrong.
Political correctness is a war on logic and reason.
To quote Winston, the protagonist in Orwell’s dystopia, “Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4.”
Today, America is not free.” (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-08-12/birth-cultural-marxism-how-frankfurt-school-changed-america)
Relativism Rules Progressivism
“First, in regard to science, today’s liberals have a far more ambivalent attitude than the Progressives did. The latter had no doubt that science either had all the answers or was on the road to discovering them. Today, although the prestige of science remains great, it has been greatly diminished by the multicultural perspective that sees science as just another point of view.
Two decades ago, in a widely publicized report of the American Council of Learned Societies, several leading professors in the humanities proclaimed that the “ideal of objectivity and disinterest,” which “has been essential to the development of science,” has been totally rejected by “the consensus of most of the dominant theories” of today. Instead, today’s consensus holds that “all thought does, indeed, develop from particular standpoints, perspectives, interests.” So science is just a Western perspective on reality, no more or less valid than the folk magic believed in by an African or Pacific Island tribe that has never been exposed to modern science.
Second, liberalism today has become preoccupied with sex. Sexual activity is to be freed from all traditional restraints. In the Founders’ view, sex was something that had to be regulated by government because of its tie to the production and raising of children. Practices such as abortion and homosexual conduct — the choice for which was recently equated by the Supreme Court with the right “to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life” — are considered fundamental rights.
The connection between sexual liberation and Progressivism is indirect, for the Progressives, who tended to follow Hegel in such matters, were rather old-fashioned in this regard. But there was one premise within Progressivism that may be said to have led to the current liberal understanding of sex. That is the disparagement of nature and the celebration of human will, the idea that everything of value in life is created by man’s choice, not by nature or necessity.
Once sexual conduct comes under the scrutiny of such a concern, it is not hard to see that limiting sexual expression to marriage — where it is clearly tied to nature’s concern for reproduction — could easily be seen as a kind of limitation of human liberty. Once self-realization (Dewey’s term, for whom it was still tied to reason and science) is transmuted into self-expression (today’s term), all barriers to one’s sexual idiosyncrasies must appear arbitrary and tyrannical.
Third, contemporary liberals no longer believe in progress. The Progressives’ faith in progress was rooted in their faith in science, as one can see especially in the European thinkers whom they admired, such as Hegel and Comte. When science is seen as just one perspective among many, then progress itself comes into question.
The idea of progress presupposes that the end result is superior to the point of departure, but contemporary liberals are generally wary of expressing any sense of the superiority of the West, whether intellectually, politically, or in any other way. They are therefore disinclined to support any foreign policy venture that contributes to the strength of America or of the West.”
There is a lot more that could be said about the progressive movement. I didn’t even do more than a cursory mention of how Alinsky and the Radical socialists of the Democratic Party have become tools of Social Marxist Warriors.
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