Like many, if not most of you, I thought this “progressive” thing on the left was a new thing. Yet another name change, like a bad Chinese restaurant.
Turns out I was wrong and suffer from historical blindness. Apparently progressivism was a thing of both parties in the early to mid twentieth century. FDR was progressive, but so was Eisenhower, and so, of course, was Nixon.
Progressivism was loosely defined as “dragging the American people to the future.” The kicking and screaming was implied.
As for the future, the dear little (big, actually) statists had forgotten the first rule of the future: it’s hard to tell what the future is. Because it hasn’t happened yet.
In their little shriveled power-hungry hearts they had seen the future. And it looked like Russia. Or Germany. (No seriously. That’s what they thought, before Germany imploded.) It was glorious future, comrade. The people at the top, the best men, you understand, told the masses how to live, and everyone was happy. I understand the peasants danced on the streets in celebration every other Thursday. Well, they did if they knew what was good for them.
And I can see you guys ruminating and saying “Yeah, but Sarah! Rural electrification. Highways! These are fair and just things to pursue.”
The thing is, were they? Were they really?
All of these bullshit directives from above might have “achieved” something. And from the perspective of us now, looking back they might seem right.
What I want to ask yourself is “Is it survivor bias?” “Was there an ignored path?” And “What about the squid farms on Mars?”
I guarantee the answers are “Yes. Yes.” And “We’ll never know, because it’s impossible to know if they’d have existed in another time line.” The squid farms on Mars are short hand for opportunity costs. For things that never existed. We don’t know what they are because they never existed.
The thing is, in almost every case where we have “another way” the “other way”, the way of individual choice is better: More efficient; less wasteful; more human.
Take the internet. Yes, I know it started as a military project. And was useless as tits on a bull for the general public, until it escaped via cat memes and porn and became the engine that transformed society in the very late twentieth century, and is transforming it again with a little help from covidiocy into a place where well… cities aren’t as important (reversing the trend of millenia) and parents can actually raise their own children (reversing the trend of centuries.)
France, which does statism on pro mode had a model for the internet. When I attended an extension of a French university (long story) in the 80s, an entire unit of teaching was devoted to it: how the government had planned everything, so in the near future, a woman in one end of the country could call her aunt in the other and learn to knit a pattern via the video phones that would be provided to everyone.
Meanwhile…. Yeah. Private enterprise, software, people wanting to see cat memes — and porn — and by fits and starts, Americans got there before this multi-decade, carefully directed French project.
Is it what the French government envisioned? Well, no. For one, they wouldn’t want us to share cat memes and porn. And certainly they wouldn’t allow people to coordinate opportunities for throwing burning smart cars at the Arc du Triomphe. Ca alors, non, you peasants.
There is a reason that all progressive efforts are so deeply unconstitutional that if the constitution were holy water they’d burn on contact.
Because they are against individual choice. The “progress” is “someone in the know” and their VISION of progress. Which might or might not have anything to do with real progress. In fact, most of the time all it is is another layer of distortions, forcing commerce and the future into another channel than the one it would have taken naturally.
Better or worse? Well, usually worse, because individuals do what is good for them. Not what other people think is good for them.
And before you tell me about sanitation and roads and…. yeah and? Do you know for sure what individuals would have achieved without these massive centrally administered “progressive” projects would be worse? Because I doubt it. Every project in my life time has been way worse if done by the government. More wasteful, and generally some form of insane.
It is very important to remember this, because the current progressives have soured.
Look, every progressive project implies and necessitates a certain level of disdain for the “masses” and the “common people.” If it didn’t, they wouldn’t think themselves anointed to tell others what to do.
But at least FDR and his successors IMAGINED themselves benevolent. They imagined a better future for humanity, even while they f*cked us over. They thought humanity could become, of its own volition, collectivist and non-greedy and– and it’s a case of their not having any introspection, yes — but they wanted to gift humanity things like electricity and better/faster industrial production and such.
The current progressives have soured. We broke their little RedMarxist wagon. The USSR was not as wonderful as they knew it was, because humans refused to play along. And here in the US we hold onto the constitution, which prevents them doing all their wonderful stuff.
They not only disdain us, they hate us. All humans. Every single man jack and woman jill of us. They want us reduced, destroyed, diminished, humiliated; forced to grovel in the dirt for their favor.
That’s the progress in their minds.
It’s important to remember that progressivism has always been wrong. Always been evil. It’s the imposition of a vision of the future by people who think of themselves as anointed. I don’t see any way it wasn’t always wasteful, evil and wrong, and forcing humanity into paths better left untrod.
It’s time to give progressives the good old heave-ho. They know it too. They know they’ve failed, which is why they’ve gone rabid.
Let the future build itself. One individual at a time, from our own decisions and beliefs.
Let no one command us to the vision in their diseased heads.
Let my people go.