Thursday, April 18, 2013

Always wrong about everything. Always.

If you look at our country’s long history, from the days of the first stirrings of our revolutionary impulses against Britain to today, progressive leaders and progressive movements have moved this country forward in the face of bitter-- and frequently violent-- opposition from reactionaries and defenders of the status quo. Consider the major advances in American history: 
• The American Revolution• The Bill of Rights and the forging of a democracy• Universal white male suffrage• Public education• The emancipation of the slaves• The national park system• Food safety• The breakup of monopolies• The Homestead Act• Land grant universities• Rural electrification• Women’s suffrage• The abolition of child labor• The eight hour workday• The minimum wage• Social Security• Civil rights for minorities and women• Voting rights for minorities and the poor• Cleaning up our air, our water, and toxic dump sites• Consumer product safety• Medicare and Medicaid 
Every single one of those reforms, which are literally the reforms that made this country what it is today, was accomplished by the progressive movement standing up to the fierce opposition of conservative reactionaries who were trying to preserve their own power. American history is one long argument between progressivism and conservatism.


Anonymous said...

The problem is that, lately, progressivism is losing.

JohnR said...

I think that may be a little over-simplified. Change is not automatically for the better. It's not always right, let alone good. Conservatism (not the reactionary "Conservatism" of the GOP) is not always bad and wrong. Tradition is conservative. Bulldozing historical landmarks to put up shiny new malls is progressive. If you pick and choose your points, and stand back far enough, you can make any argument you please. Everything is a trade-off; everything has pluses and minuses. There are people who are wrong about everything, but those are people, not the belief system they claim to follow.

willf said...

Of all the things on that list, it's sad how many of them are now endangered by a supposedly democratic president;

Public education• The national park system•[...] Food safety• The breakup of monopolies• Rural electrification• The eight hour workday• The minimum wage• Social Security•[...] Cleaning up our air, our water, and toxic dump sites• Consumer product safety• Medicare and Medicaid

All of these institutions have been damaged either by the direct action of the Obama administration, or inaction on his part when some looter comes looking for a payout and sees a public good or service that can be privatized.

Yes, many of those good things came about because of liberals (not progressives, per se) and many of them are now endanger thanks to "progressives" like Obama, and the leadership of the DNC.

Anonymous said...

JohnR, I think you're being too literal about the definition of "progressive." Bulldozing historical landmarks to make way for Walmart is most definitely a politically conservative move, and not a progressive one. It may mean "progress" in the literal sense of the word, but you won't find conservatives standing arm and arm in protest against the bulldozing of an historical landmark. Unless it has a Confederate flag emblazoned on it somewhere.

Blue Texan said...

Well, social change in the form of more equal rights for people *is* always good -- and conservatives have resisted them all. I do agree, however, that there are good and noble traditions, and retaining them is conservative, by nature.

Rich Gardner said...

I was fascinated by a statement made by someone in a school history film. The character was discussing the issue of slavery and was scolded by another character "Uh, you're not going to take the side of those people, are you?"
I was like, "Wow! So condemning the liberals as subscribers to a fringe belief is nothing new!"

Anonymous said...

What about Liberal Fascism? Is that a good thing? DIdn't think so.