Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Obama's Progressive Duck Walk

Should Comrade President Obama be bragging about how "progressive" he is? Investors Business Daily (IBD) has a must-read editorial today that asks that question - and answers it, too. Excerpts from IBD's August 18 editorial, "Obama's 'Progressive' Failures": At a fundraiser Monday, the president boasted to Hollywood celebrities and deal makers about enacting "the most progressive legislative agenda" in decades. That may be true, but it's hardly something to be proud of. Why, you might be wondering, is being "progressive" not something to be proud of? What is it, and why is it shameful? IBD goes on: Much of the left today calls itself "progressive." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton does, and Democrats too numerous to name. It's part of an old tradition. In addition to many well-known activists, writers and philosophers, progressivism can claim many presidents — ranging from Woodrow Wilson, both Roosevelts and Herbert Hoover, to Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and, of course, Obama himself. Here's the kicker (with my emphasis added): So what is progressivism, you ask? Many things. But as a creed, it stresses the importance of centralized government control over Americans' lives as paramount. It actively seeks to diminish the constitutional limits on what government can — and can't — do. That's a nice, concise and scary desciption of progressivism. It's all about control. Power. The State (Big Brother) comes first and individualism is to be downplayed. A slightly longer description of progressivism comes from the Ludwig von Mises Institute (http://mises.org/). They describe themselves as "the world center of the Austrian School of economics and libertarian political and social theory." Here's an excerpt from "The Legacy of Progressivism" by William L. Anderson (with my emphasis added), in which he analyzes Progressivism in the United States: Without Progressivism, the New Deal would and never could have come into existence. The vast expansion of the state apparatus that occurred during the 1930s moved along tracks already laid by politicians like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. By the mid-1930s, the New Deal, far from being a legislative aberration, naturally followed the economic crisis that Progressivism had caused. Just what was Progressivism, what were its causes, and what followed from the Progressive Movement? Historians refer to it as an influential social movement that began in the late 1800s and ended with the United State’s 1917 entry into World War I. Among the many "successes" of Progressivism were antitrust laws, state and national income taxes, increased business regulation, minimum wage laws, direct election of U.S. senators, creation of the Federal Reserve System, and prohibition of alcoholic beverages. Are progressives exclusively Democrats? They haven't always been, explains Anderson (emphasis added): Nor was Progressivism the domain of just one political party, as both Republicans and Democrats vied with each other to see who could more thoroughly expand the state. Republicans, led by Theodore Roosevelt and Sen. Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin, pushed for high tariffs, government ownership of natural resources, antitrust legislation, and imperialistic adventures abroad. Democrats, on the other hand, led by William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson, pushed the income tax, inflation through debasement of the money supply, and the internal protectionist device known as Jim Crow laws, which attempted to shield white workers from competition from blacks. Both parties favored expansion of voting rights to women. What is clear is that neither party had any intention of honoring the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the Progressive Era would not have had its social and legal effect had it not been for its reworking of the Constitution through the amendment process. The 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th amendments reworked the political landscape and greatly expanded the scope of the central government, one of the main goals of progressives. The 16th Amendment was probably the worst, as it authorized Congress for the first time to levy an income tax that would not be struck down by the Supreme Court. The Investors Business Daily editorial noted that the American Progressivism movement was "Influenced heavily by European social theorists and American Utilitarian thought" and "took root after the Civil War. Adherents understood that the idea of limited government based on individualism, natural rights and property rights — as defined by the Founding Fathers — had to be discredited." IBD lists some of Obama's progressive "accomplishments," with a touch of sarcasm: • The epic $862 billion "stimulus," which has led to record long-term joblessness while bailing out Obama's union supporters and the most irresponsible states while punishing taxpayers and their heirs for decades to come.The $700 billion TARP program, which we were told would be used to give securities markets a boost but instead was used, essentially, to take over the auto industry, bail out friends of Obama and continue meddling in the markets. The massive medical care overhaul known as Obama- Care, which will eventually supplant the best medical system in the world with a government-run system modeled after the substandard contraptions found in Canada and Britain. The Tea Party movement is driven primarily by a desire to bring back "limited government based on individualism, natural rights and property rights." Time after time in recent years, we have seen many examples of the "progressives" mocking and attempting to discredit the Tea Party people and those who sympathize with them. Let's get back to Barack Obama boasting about how progressive he and his regime have been. Obama certainly fits the definition of "progessive," sort of, but many self-described progressives laughably argue that he's really "a center-right Democrat." It's all a matter of perspective, of course, and if you're sitting far enough on left end of the political ideology spectrum even Obama could look center-right, I suppose. Semantics are fun, but let's get down to objective fact: Whether or not Obama the man is "progressive," the government actions that he has initiated, pushed and supported certainly are. The duck might not be a duck, but by means of its walk and its quack it has shown that it aspires to be one. Obama has every right to be proud of his level of progressivism, whether he personally fits the definition or not. After all, Obama and his followers are true believers, and true believers are always proud of that in which they believe - even if what they believe in is evil cloaked in a false robe of goodness. That non-duck duck is undoubtedly proud of it's behavior. He's worked hard to fake that duck walk. RELATED: A Spectre Is Haunting America: An Interpretation of Progressivism - pdf mises.org Glenn Beck Exposes the Progressive Movements Fascist Agenda YouTube Matt Spalding on Progressivism's Assault on America's Founding YouTube The Dawn of Liberalism: Progressivism University of Wisconsin-Madison Great Myths of the Great Depression YouTube Barack Obama's Progressive Cannibalism Huffington Post The Century of Statism - William L. Anderson mises.org The Liberal-Fascist Axis World Net Daily Is Obama Progressive? Seeing The Forest Left-wing roots of the Nazis YouTube Marxism vs. the Majority mises.org Creeping Progressivism RedState Obama No The Progressive

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