Tom Licata: Tracing the Progress of American Politics

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This comment is from Tom Licata, a caregiver who lives in Burlington.

Progressivism is a euphemism for socialism, and in Marxist theory, socialism is the bridge between capitalism and communism. And while the goals of socialism remain the same – the domination of the individual soul by the state – its means have evolved in response to its failure.

After World War II, it became “obvious” to the academic socialist left that Karl Marx’s vision of socialism had failed. This vision included the “proletariat” overcoming the “bourgeoisie” and instituting a kind of shared, communal existence that would replace the competitive free market system. Instead, post-World War II capitalism gave many supposedly “poor” a comfortable, even affluent, middle-class lifestyle. Marx’s theory of class conflict has failed.

The university socialist left has begun to give itself the means to achieve its ends. This project is on full display within today’s Democratic Progressive Party, our academic institutions, and the vast majority of our media complex.

Today’s “means” are what I would describe as a sort of postmodern, neo-Marxist, and critical ideological amalgamation. They are postmodernist in the sense that they reject large portions of Enlightenment thought such as reason, rationality, open debate and liberalism writ large – they are now essentially illiberal; neo-Marxist in the sense that the class conflict of the rich versus the poor has been replaced by a conflict of race, gender and sexuality; critical theory in the sense of using outright lies and constant criticism (critical race theory, Black Lives Matter) to deconstruct founding principles and American institutions in order to start afresh – a kind of recasting of the French Revolution.

You cannot defeat the ideology of progressivism without understanding its philosophical ends, nor succeed it without an enlightened conviction of your defence.

The progressive ideology stems from the philosophy of history (remember President Obama’s “arc of justice”) with its extremities in the rational-scientific, almost limitless Hegelian administrative state. American constitutionalism derives from the philosophy of natural law and rights, with its ends in the individual soul and demanding a limited government necessitated by God and nature.

John Dewey, born and educated in Vermont and arguably the greatest progressive public thinker of the early 20th century, displayed his contempt for the philosophy of natural rights, writing, “Natural rights and natural liberties…exist only in the realm of mythological social zoology. ”

And then there was this quote from President Woodrow Wilson in 1908: “Undoubtedly much nonsense has been said about the inalienable rights of the individual. And Wilson perfectly captures the metaphysics of progressivism or the essence of humanity with this paraphrase: Man is first a member of the community and only then is he an individual.

And then there’s this from President Franklin Roosevelt in 1932: “The Declaration of Independence approaches the problem of government in terms of a contract. … Under such a contract, the rulers were granted power, and the people consented to that power in return for certain rights. The task of the statesman has always been the redefinition of these rights in terms of a changing and growing social order.

What follows from this progressive ideology is that intelligence becomes “a social asset”, and because it is society – not the individual or their God-given talents – that creates the mind, it It is society that is the rightful owner of this human intellect. and the resulting property. That’s the philosophy behind the “you didn’t build this” saying of Elizabeth Warren’s failed presidential campaign.

These statements accuse each other of derisively refuting the principles on which American constitutionalism was founded. FDR is most explicit in recasting the entire meaning of the Declaration as positive rights granted by all-powerful “rulers”, these rights being redefined in the philosophy of history “in terms of a changing and growing social order”.

So, no eternal law or natural law—only “changing and increasing” human law.

This is where the shift to postmodernism comes in, where reality itself is socially constructed through language, discourse, and hierarchies of power. Say something enough times with mass coercion and media saturation, and that’s how men can become women and women can become men; this is where the racism comes not from the individual heart, but from the American air you breathe.

Without significant debate or rebuttal, progressivism has nearly delegitimized the philosophy of natural rights and constitutionalism to near obsolescence.

And on this subject, Dewey was prescient: “Intellectual progress generally comes about by the pure and simple abandonment of questions… which results from their diminishing vitality and from an urgent change of interest. We don’t solve them: we overcome them.

“Everything in the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state” defines the totalitarian society. And that reveals the ends of the deceptive incrementalism of progressivism.

At Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln called for a constitutional revival – as we should now – when he said, “Let this nation, under God, have a new birth of freedom.

This freedom is in danger, because progressivism and constitutionalism are irreconcilable. And therein lies our House Divided — and America’s existential choice.

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