Writing at Human Events, Nancy Pearcy says “America Will Never Be Free until the Last Liberal Is Strangled in the Entrails of the Last Bureaucrat”
While I agree with much of what Ms. Pearcy says, every modern writer should be fully aware that “Liberals” are not the problem. 182 years ago last Wednesday, Noah Webster defined Liberal in these words:
LIB”ERAL, a. [L. liberalis, from liber, free. See Libe.]
1. Of a free heart; free to give or bestow; not close or contracted; munificent; bountiful; generous; giving largely; as a liberal donor; the liberal founders of a college or hospital. It expresses less than profuse or extravagant.
2. Generous; ample; large; as a liberal donation; a liberal allowance.
3. Not selfish, narrow on contracted; catholic; enlarged; embracing other interests than one”s own; as liberal sentiments or views; a liberal mind; liberal policy.
As you can see from Websters choice of words, “generous; giving largely; as a liberal donor; the liberal founders of a college or hospital” a “Liberal” is generous with his money. A Liberal may found a college of a hospital, give freely to a worthy cause, or be generous to those around him. But a Liberal is generous with his own money. The money he has earned by the sweat of his brow and the sharpness of his wits. Liberals generally have little interest in controlling anyone other than those they hire, and the course of government is not one of Liberal’s particular interests.
In contrast, here is Websters definition of “progressive:”
PROGRESS”IVE, a. Moving forward; proceeding onward; advancing; as progressive motion or course; opposed to retrograde.
That sounds all very well. Unfortunately, since the late 1890’s and Horace Croly, “progressive” has meant one who favors “socialism.” In particular, the most radical forms of socialism.
So just what is this “socialism?” A socialist is a person who believes State control of all the means of production and distribution of goods would improve the human condition.
Academic quibblers recognize more than 8,000 shades of socialism, divided across a wide spectrum of political theory between just two extremes. One extreme is Communism, with state ownership and control of literally everything. Including the individuals unlucky enough to live under Communist government. No matter how high minded the people are who start a Communist state, control soon falls to the worst of the lot. Who is in essence the master, while everyone else is a slave. That makes the head of a Communist State a very bad man indeed.
The other socialist extreme is currently called Fascism, with private ownership but state control of at least critical industries. For example, in the 1930’s the Krupp family retained ownership of their vast steel making plants, but day to day control was in the hands of central planners in Berlin. The only enterprises that escaped State control under past Fascist regimes were those that were of no use to the government. In large part, the “free” portion of Fascist societies consist of some few artists and entertainers. And, as with Communism, the people are the leader’s slaves, and leadership invariably devolves to the worst of the worst.
At present, the “progressives” tend toward the Communist extreme of Socialism. While that could change as the political winds blow, one thing will not.
Study after study has found Progressives are in favor of big government, and cradle to grave “safety nets.” In fact, Karl Marx provides the Progressives plan of action. Quoting the Wikipedia article on Marx:
“Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.”
While that is not quite what Marx taught, it is close enough for this brief post. The current course of “Progressiveism” is definitely toward the Communist extreme of socialism.
And while strangling every Progressive with the guts of bureaucrats is a bit rough on those bureaucrats who are usefully engaged – Ms. Pearcy’s sentiments are admirable.