Tag: Progressivism

Progressives Against Progress: Maybe the Saddest Thing You’ll Read All Day

 

shutterstock_320442644_productivity_better_futureIt is discouraging, sad almost, that Robert Atkinson felt he had to write “The Progressive Case for Productivity Growth: How a pro-productivity agenda can raise wages, lower inequality and sustain the middle class.”

If the left and the right cannot even agree that economic and productivity growth are good things, well, I dunno. Depressing. Atkinson:

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What Motivates Progressive Self-loathing?

 

shutterstock_236392684So much of the liberal progressive mentality seems ultimately to be grounded in self-loathing. There’s the environmental condemnation of Western civilization (or even humanity itself) because it’s destroying the planet; there’s the multicultural impulse that admires all other cultures but despises our own; there’s the Hollywood instinct to make Americans (especially those in the corporate or military worlds) the villain in every story. Self-loathing is a common thread.

What I don’t understand is where this comes from, psychologically speaking. A normal, healthy psyche does not seek out reasons to hate oneself or one’s own culture. Is it guilt over our affluence and success? Is it an adolescent attitude of rebellion? Elitism?

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America Looking Backward — 2050: Part II

 

Readers of my last post will perhaps recall that I left my depiction of America Looking Backward from the mid-21st century at the point where the Planned Parenthood Department (PPD — sorry, the last time I left out the “Department” designation) was in charge of all births in the Union of Consolidated Sectors (UCS — the successor to the United States), and that is when the killing began. Obviously, this matter requires some clarification. As a reminder, in Edward Bellamy’s original Looking Backward, which appeared in 1888 and is to a certain extent inspiring this speculation, an understanding and omniscient Dr. Leete guided the main character, Julian West, through the principal characteristics of America in the year 2000, often to the astonishment and delight of his obsequious companion.

West had every reason to be dumbfounded by what he encountered. In Dr. Leete’s world, demagoguery and corruption are historical curiosities; there are no bankers, merchants, money or wages; buying and selling are considered immoral, and castes, classes and menial tasks are nonexistent; there are no armies or navies or military organizations of any sort; traditional government departments such as Treasury or State no longer exist, and since there is no private property, there are no taxes or tax collectors. Indeed, absent private property with all its complications and supposed injustices, crime is practically nonexistent, and insanity “with its alternative, suicide” are rare. In short, the main institutions and practices of the 19th century are considered ancient social pathologies in the year 2000.

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Misremembering History: The Scopes Monkey Trial

 

Rather than the often repeated adage that the victors write the history of an event, the story of anything is actually determined by the unswerving adoption of one version of it, and the telling of that version by a determined cadre of writers. In time, the version with the most persistent adherents becomes the “truth.” – David & Jeanne Heidler in Henry Clay: The Essential American (2010)

I still recall my entire family getting in the car for the drive to Hartford, Connecticut. It was the late 1950s, and my father was taking us to pick up a monkey. My father had a small role as an Italian organ-grinder in a play put on by a local community theater group. The director wanted to use a prop monkey, but dad insisted on the real thing. We housed that monkey for the next week; I remember it as nasty and mean-tempered, but the audience loved it and my father in his bit part (he always had a knack for showmanship). The play was Inherit The Wind. Last week was the 90th anniversary of the start of the trial (July 10, 1925) on which the play was based, an event that became popularly known as the Scopes Monkey Trial.

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‘Comply’ is the New ‘Coexist’

 

Comply Logo

Several days have passed since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but the kulturkampf marches on. Nearly every media outlet unveiled rainbow flag versions of their logos, rainbow-filtered avatars filled social media, and the President lit up the White House itself in the colors of the pride banner.

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The Great Progressive Rewind: The Left Is in a Word War

 

Note: I should clarify this title, lest I invite confusion: the Left is not so much fighting an intellectual war through words, but one against words. And in this context, words mean spoken words, thoughts, or symbols.

From inane trivialities to proper comedic etiquette to authoritarian speech codes, the Left is deserting an expansive view of free speech that it once nourished during the Progressive Era. Where its forbearers defended with a vigorous voice a more fundamental right to free speech — particularly for those whose opinions were outside the mainstream of American political thought — the modern Left seeks out problematic views and quashes them. Whether inventions of First Amendment exclusions, punishment of climate heresy, or shaming of non-PC humor, the Left finds a new scourge on an almost weekly basis, oftentimes buried in American culture’s most innocuous places.

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Jerry Seinfeld and the Progressive Comedy Pause

 

flukeRTell a joke to a liberal. Between your punchline and his laughter, there is a Progressive Comedy Pause. In this second or two, the liberal will process the joke to make sure he is allowed to laugh.

Is that joke racist? He mentioned Obama, but didn’t make light of him, so to speak. He also mentioned Michelle, but I didn’t notice sexism. Is it dismissive of the LGBTQIA community? Latinos? Muslims? Vegans? Will this joke hurt progressive causes? Will my laughter trivialize oppressed communities? Will I appear intolerant? I think it’s okay if I laugh. Yes, I’ll laugh now to signal my appreciation and to indicate that I’m not a joyless liberal scold.

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Hillary’s the Inevitable Democratic Nominee? Not so Fast

 

shutterstock_155865410You’ve all heard the conventional wisdom: Hillary Clinton is a sure thing for the Democratic nomination. No one in the party is going to be able to muscle her aside. Don’t be so sure. As things stand right now, Hillary could lose the nomination without Fox News and the rest of the conservative media having to so much as lift a finger.

Don’t forget what happened back in 2008, when Hillary was also supposed to be inevitable. The Clinton machine was unstoppable—right until the moment it was overthrown by the progressive Left. They look at the Clintons and see political opportunists rather than true believers, Wall Street cronies instead of populist champions. They are not happy about this coronation. But, because the Clintons are powerful, wealthy, and ruthless, no one will take them on directly – the strategy has to be making Hillary’s candidacy untenable.

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Feminists Chase Avengers Director off Twitter

 

joss_whedon_heroJoss Whedon is the screenwriter and director responsible for both Avengers blockbusters, as well as television favorites Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Unsurprisingly, Whedon is also an outspoken leftist who uses his Twitter feed to mock and ridicule conservatives. He thinks politicians who deny climate change should be denied penicillin, believes men should be denied the vote on “reproductive health,” and despises Justice Clarence Thomas and organized religion.

He certainly hates all the right people — so why are progressives mad at him? It seems one of his strong female characters isn’t quite strong enough for radical, third-wave feminists.

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Why Are You Voting Against Your Own Interests?

 

shutterstock_99826235A major pet peeve of mine in the world of politics is the phrase “voting against their own interests.” It’s usually used to indicate a sense of exasperation and disbelief on the part of the speaker that a certain group of voters is favoring a candidate or political party whom the speaker believes does not represent their best interests (see here, here, and here, for examples).

More specifically, it’s often used by Progressives to bemoan the tendency of some female voters and some of lower socioeconomic status to vote for Republicans. The insinuation is that Republicans are the “party of the rich” and they support policies that might jeopardize “women’s health” (i.e., abortion), therefore they should be universally rejected by certain classes of voters. The writers of these pieces struggle to explain this behavior and they usually settle for some combination of religious belief, small-mindedness, fear, and stupidity.

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Same Old(er) Hillary

 

The six-year house party the activist left has been having with the country is coming to an end — and they know it. The death rattle for the antagonistic left began as soon as Wall Street grandmother Hillary Clinton announced her run for the presidency.

When a candidate is nominated for President, the party no longer drags them to their position; instead, it automatically becomes the party of that candidate. That’s why you see Bill de Blasio, Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama and Elizabeth Warren all curbing their enthusiasm. The moment Hillary accepts the nomination, their electoral talking points are for the most part rendered benign — the party becomes a Clinton party again. They also know the same dirty secret the rest of the country knows: Hillary can’t run on class warfare and pop-socialism. Democrats understand that any time Hillary plays class warrior, she falls over her gold-plated walker and hits her Life Alert for the media to bail her out.

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Tolerance and the Despot

 

obama as despot“That’s my reality!” she said over and over again. It was 1997, I believe, and I was relaxing with a few friends in the NCO Club at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina following my return from another tour of duty in the Mideast. A female NCO was at our table, where we all took turns telling stories from our various deployments over the years. As the number of empty beer bottles increased, so too did the eccentricity and humor of the stories, except, that is, for this solitary NCO whose demeanor became more emphatic and grim as time passed.

I forget the specifics of the stories she told, chiefly because of the startling manner in which she concluded each anecdote, leaning in for dramatic effect, her eyes widening all the while, and announcing, “THAT’S MY REALITY!” The effect was immediate and as she desired, for it foreclosed any further question or attempts to explore her perspective in depth. Indeed, it seemed that to trespass on her “reality” would have been akin to saying, “No, actually, I don’t think your children are attractive at all, and that crayon scrawl your jug-eared son drew suggests that the epilepsy meds aren’t working very well either.” Certain things just aren’t up for discussion after all, and that included her “reality.”

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At My Wits’ End in the Culture War

 

Bad-CommunicationI’ve never had great difficulty in getting along with my liberal friends. It is a skill I likely learned growing up with conservative instincts in the state of New Jersey. Most of life can be enjoyed with others without our political differences getting in the way. At the margins however, there are always issues. Some ideas permeate the culture so thoroughly, that a friend will often state what they believe to be an innocuous statement of truth in passing, working under the assumption that all good-hearted people will agree with it. Since I do not share many of their beliefs, the obvious implication is that I am not a good person.

It has always been a character flaw of mine that I cannot allow these remarks to pass without challenging them. Close friends know me well enough to either engage me in a friendly debate on the point, or concede that they probably shouldn’t have thrown the statement out like that. Casual friends and acquaintances are generally caught off guard by my challenges. Issues of taxation can be laughed off, along with any number of others in regards to the size and scope of government. It is only in the culture wars that friendships are lost.

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The Broader Problem with Starbucks’ Racialism

 
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Click image to embiggen.

In an effort to solve America’s race issues once and for all, Starbucks is offering a discussion guide named “Your Race Relations Reality Check.” The document is featured to the right. This is not a Photoshop. This is real. One of the biggest companies on Earth thought this was A Good Idea.

Starbucks asks how many of your friends are of a different race and how that compares to your parents’ and kids’ racial quotas. They want to know the racial makeup of your neighborhood, workplace and Facebook stream. Have you let people of other races into your home? Have you entered theirs? And why didn’t you keep up with that childhood friend of a different race?

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The Origin of the Minimum Wage in the Progressive Eugenics Movement

 

Maybe I knew this and just forgot about it somehow, I dunno. But this 2005 paper from Princeton economist Thomas Leonard on the racist/eugenics/progressive origin of the minimum wage is pretty fascinating stuff. It’s a strange world:


Progressive economists, like their neoclassical critics, believed that binding minimum wages would cause job losses. However, the progressive economists also believed that the job loss induced by minimum wages was a social benefit, as it performed the eugenic service of ridding the labor force of the “unemployable.” Sidney and Beatrice Webb put it plainly: “With regard to certain sections of the population [the “unemployable”], this unemployment is not a mark of social disease, but actually of social health.” “[O]f all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites,” Sidney Webb opined in the Journal of Political Economy, “the most ruinous to the community is to allow them to unrestrainedly compete as wage earners.” … A minimum wage was seen to operate eugenically through two channels: by deterring prospective immigrants and also by removing from employment the “unemployable,” who, thus identified, could be, for example, segregated in rural communities or sterilized. …

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Member Post

 

Recent posts on Ricochet have taken up the debate over abortion, specifically, asking whether there is or ever can be grounds for settling this issue – or at least reaching some mutually acceptable compromise – between pro- and anti-abortion proponents. While I might be willing to hold out hope of some sort of compromise if […]

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Member Post

 

During my long life I have always been puzzled by Progressive thought. Why do Progressives ignore 150 years of evidence that collectivism always fails (including the controlled studies conducted – at great human cost – in Germany and Korea)? Why has Diversity (formerly a mere nice-to-have) become the uber-virtue, against which all the other, formally […]

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Bask in the Crazy: Hate Speech

 

Though the bulk of a conservative’s time engaging liberal arguments is best spent addressing their most pointed and nuanced positions, I believe we should occasionally indulge ourselves by reveling in their worst arguments and fringe elements. Arguments such as this piece by Tanya Cohen which flips George Orwell the proverbial bird.

Published on the site Thought Catalogue — a name is straight out of an Orwell novel — Cohen makes the case that the United States trails far behind such paragons of virtue as Turkey, Jordan, Russia and India when it comes to basic human rights.

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How To Talk to Your Progressive Niece about Obamacare This Thanksgiving

 

As your family gathers around the table this Thanksgiving, the conversation may get a little heated if a left-wing relative brings up President Obama’s signature health law. The Affordable Care Act remains both unpopular and misunderstood among the American public — a combination that makes it likely fodder for holiday conflicts.

In fact, the website ThinkProgress posted an article titled “How To Talk To Your Tea Party Uncle About Obamacare This Thanksgiving.” So, if your niece blogs for ThinkProgress and starts making wild assertions about the Affordable Care Act, here are some key points that will help keep your conversation on track:

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Progressive Puritans Try to Ruin Halloween

 

Traditionally moral scolds have been characterized as creatures of the right, but today all the tsk-tsking arises from the fever swamps of progressive purity. The next victim of these pinched-face church(less) ladies is Halloween.

The College Fix (hat tip to John J. Miller) notes a series of advisories and admonishments being distributed to students around the country. They also reprint a letter issued by a Residence Life coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

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