Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Liberalism and Progress

You’ve probably heard the claim by liberals and leftists that they consider themselves progressive. This is not disputed in mainstream discourse by even the liberal’s kept opponents so they’ve given their passive approval to this connotative larceny. Kinda like buggery being “gay”.

It is a bit of a stretch to associate the two (liberalism and progress) assuming one actually compares the agenda of The Left* with the definition of progress. Beyond a stretch it’s an obliteration of all pretext of objective meaning. Let’s examine.

Here is the definition of progress:

1 a (1) : a royal journey marked by pomp and pageant (2) : a state procession b : a tour or circuit made by an official (as a judge) c : an expedition, journey, or march through a region
2 : a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal) : advance
3 : gradual betterment; especially : the progressive development of humankind

Especially relevant is the third and it is what is clearly implied in how progressivism is thrown around the mainstream political domain. Gradual betterment.

Now here is the agenda of the modern progressive political ideology as represented by the platform of the Vermont Progressive Party. I’m sure there would be some haggling among Liberals/Progressives on some of these positions but taken as a whole I think it is a fair representation. This is pulled from Wikipedia hence the “they want…” After each plank I’ll add comments within [].

In terms of agriculture, their goal is to protect family farmers and their land in order to be capable of dealing with global climate change.

[Okay they started out good here since understanding the importance and necessity of protecting the production of real food raised by farmers as part of an organic family is foundational to most healthy societies. But why the hell do they condition it (“to be capable of”) on a supposed change to the world’s climate? It should be stood on its own.]

On civil rights, the state and local government should have affirmative action programs for full and equal access to jobs, housing, education, and public accommodations. There should be a "zero tolerance" policy against any form of discrimination or harassment. The VPP is pro-gay rights, pro-choice, pro-Equal Rights Amendment, and wants to expand First Amendment rights in the workplace.

[”Civil Rights” means the destruction of freedom of association for all people in theory but in reality only affects whites because of certain racial realities and legal/political double standards. Who is bettered by this? “Affirmative Action” means state-sponsored group entitlement (for preferred groups) and punishment (for whites). If there’s a zero tolerance of discrimination how can they support Affirmative Action? AA IS discrimination. What is “harassment”? Someone daring to oppose their dispossession as brought about by this type of agenda. Faggotry, abortion, and unisexualization aren’t progress; they are all anti-life. Is death progressive?]

In terms of the criminal justice system, it is anti-death penalty and it wants to focus on programs that keep people out of prison and from committing crimes in the first place.

[Failed policies purporting to rehabilitate psychopaths is progress? It is idiocy. There are a small percentage of people who will kill/steal/swindle/rape unceasingly or be killed. Modern prisons have to be among the most corrupting institutions that exist. Have these progressive advocates ever heard of prison rape? Is there anything more degrading? It’s no surprise that a victim of this is going to want to lash out at the society that not only allowed it but promoted it. A progressive view is to dramatically expand the use of the death penalty with a simultaneously drastic reduction in prisons along with a reform of how they function.]

For the economy they want to promote unions, living wages, full employment, locally owned businesses, and other things such as a $7.50 minimum wage.

[Promoting unions and wage floors and full employment? Did they even think when they wrote this up? One of the functions of unions is to limit the pool of labor available to a prospective employer so unions by definition create unemployment. Same thing with the minimum/living wage; it creates unemployment. My point here is not to say one or the other of these points is really progressive but to clarify their incompatibility. Not all people can or want to work. Some people are predatory and others are non-functional for other reasons. A political ideology that seriously wants to better Man must first understand that Man is not a commodity. There is full spectrum of quality from phenomenal to refuse. Man is no different from other life forms in this regards. Man is not interchangeable in a given ecology. A progressive system must allow for a natural vetting to occur.]

Educational policies they support include mainstreaming special education children, changing which taxes fund schools, and increased funding for higher education.

[There are limited resources in the real world to do anything so enhancing the education going to people with special needs detracts from that received by the average and exceptional students. All societies live or die based on the achievements and/or failures of their elite. Is the leveling of educational opportunities progress or regress? Based on the reality of intra-group and inter-group differences then this is progress only if giving an oak sapling and a daisy the same amount of water is also progress. Higher education for the masses of people definitely falls under the concept of diminishing marginal returns. Some gain is to be had but at costs far in excess including an expanded childhood and increased debt. The education/indoctrination racket benefits but not the society at large. Real progress involves seeing what works and applying it, not conforming to some feel-good template of stale and failed ideas.]

Environmentally, they want to undo the damage already done, prevent more from occurring (i.e. enforce the limits for pollution runoff), and protect Act 250 which allows citizen input into how land is developed.

[Act 250 is some Vermont thing but the rest is a bunch of fluff along the lines of being for baseball and apple pie. The question is how do we live within our environment holistically rather than abusing it to serve profits and ease.]

On families and children, the party calls for things such as affordable daycare, 12 weeks of maternity/paternity leave, and the ability of mothers to breastfeed in public.

[So it’s progress to continue the outsourcing of motherhood, aka daycare? Also how is it progress to pit men and women against each other in the work force such that one even needs to advocate leave. A progressive view would not only not promote women in the labor pool at the cost of men (affirmative action) but would actively discourage them since the healthy, organic family is characterized by masculine provision. I agree mother’s milk is better than baby formula so they got that one.]

In terms of government reform, they advocate for financial disclosure of candidates, instant runoff voting, and proportional representation in the state legislature.

[I doubt the Federal and State governments are quivering from such reform proposals since both need radical surgery to initiate progress not candy-coated vitamins.]

They advocate that healthcare should be universal and affordable for all.

[The healthcare industry is the receiving tentacle of the USA’s industrial food leviathan. The allopathic medical Western approach of conquering nature is a failure in many ways not the least of which is its primary objective of profit. A patient is a cash cow to the industry and their humanity is an afterthought. Health and wellness are affordable already. What’s not affordable is the modern industrial health system. It’s a racket fed in large part by the complementary industry of factory food. Mass produce synthetic, processed food by raping the environment and profits are made on the front end. The masses of people who consume this convenient and nominally cheap “food” for a lifetime then go out the back end for treatment of their chronic diseases generating more profits. Profit is not bad per se if it is kept in its place. In the West humanity is a commodity to both the capitalist and the communist. Allowing that beast to feed even more at the public teat is not exactly what I’d call progress. But conforming to the mold of what-a-caring-person-is-supposed-to-do is apparently what matters.]

They support affordable and public housing.

[”Affordable” housing sounds good but this should be a natural result of a society in-balance with just laws. Creating public housing to fix any flaws in the present system is more treatment of people as commodities – as lodging consumption units. If housing is not affordable to the masses of common folk then something else is very wrong requiring remedy. Handouts are the most dehumanizing anti-progress scheme that can be proposed for free people. If this proposal is for people incapable of functioning without the assistance of others I would ask how is it progressive for them to be sustained in this artificial fashion. Shouldn’t progressive life be characterized by sustainability and advancement? Providing for the perpetually weak by burdening the strong may be a lot of things but not a means of achieving progress.]

They encourage the development of personal privacy standards that guarantee how personally identifiable information is collected and distributed.

[Given the Police State that is slowly taking over in the USA this concern is understandable. Still it should be clear that this police state is not primarily concerned with typical individuals indulging in personally destructive behavior but with people attached to groups which threaten its hegemony. So, is progressivism joined at the hip to the Cult of the Individual? If so, why? Is it not characteristic of real progress to understand that there is a balance between the individual and the society they are a part of?]

They support cutting taxes for most citizens, and awareness of the social impact of taxation.

[Understanding the need to remove power from the government by moderating its claims on the fruits of its citizens is certainly progress. Unfortunately it is not compatible with the balance of this nanny-esque platform.]

In terms of transportation they support fixing the roads that exist before building new ones, supporting mass transportation systems over roads, eliminating excessive trucking, the idea that cars are a public health threat, and the need to "protect the livability of Vermont communities."

[I see nothing here that is anti-progress. So that is certainly progress in their platform.]

In terms of utilities they advocate for any restructuring to benefit citizens, and are against bailouts for utility companies. They promote local public power, renewables, efficiency, and conservation, and want to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant without selling it. They also want to strengthen the Certificate of Public Goods Process.

[Bailouts aren’t good for corporate entities just as they aren’t good for individuals (e.g. public housing). I wonder what is progressive about closing a nuclear power plant given that all of the viable alternatives of generating massive amounts of electricity also generate pollution. There seems to be a certain pacifistic mindset against anything nuclear. Yes, alternatives that generate less or preferably no waste by-products should be pursued.]

If you are REALLY in favor of PROGRESS do you want to be associated with stale, failed, counter-intuitive, anti-reality, ugliness and stupidity subsidizing, feel good, arrogant, ideology? Progressivism as now defined is anti-progress taken as a whole. Shouldn’t the definition of progress be advancement in the quality of Man? Does this not then insure advancement in Man’s accomplishments? Technology is not an end; happiness is not an end; ease is not an end. All these can and do denigrate Man not advance him since they make him softer. If progressivism isn’t trying to better Man then what is it bettering?

There’s a short number from the Benny Hill Show that describes the relationship between liberalism and (real) progress perfectly. A rather flabby wife said confidently to her husband in thick cockney, “I’ve got the body of an eighteen year old girl”. To which he retorts, “You’d better give it back then. You’re getting it all wrinkled”.

* Left/Right, Liberal/Conservative, Democrat/Republican. The opposition of these supposed conflicting visions is an illusion. They both play a part in bringing about an eventual synthesis of Talmudic “progress” to the body of the West initiated by the Left’s actions and the Right’s reactions. But this dance is “ever to the left, never to the right” to invert the words from the musical 1776.