The History of Progressivism
One could write a book on the subject, but this will be a condensed summary of the events beginning with the birth of Progressivism in modern America. First we must ask, “What is Progressivism?” Progressivism is a belief in a strong central government to take a leading role in the shaping of the economic, cultural and societal disposition of it’s country and citizenry. That is MY definition. Progressivism has been around since shortly after the nation’s founding but did not take root until 1912 when the movement’s first president was elected.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson, elected as the 28th president of the United States is considered by most historians as the father of modern American Progressivism. Using his progressive agenda Woodrow Wilson was responsible for many progressive programs and ideas. He secured passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 which established the Fed as the proprietors of the nation’s banking concerns. Woodrow Wilson was the first to challenge the governmental orthodoxy with a solid progressive agenda and used his executive powers to extreme, most say illegally to further his cause.
Progressives such as Woodrow Wilson did not believe in civil rights for blacks. Woodrow Wilson believed that giving blacks the right to vote was “the foundation of every evil in this country”. He was the first president after the Civil War to re-segregate portions of the federal government requiring separate bathrooms for blacks in many government buildings. One of Wilson’s biggest heroes was Abraham Lincoln, but not as the Great Emancipator but for his reputational fortitude to impose his will on the country. Wilson admired Lincoln’s dictates to suspend habeas corpus, enforce the draft and his willingness to project power across the land. Wilson presided over World War I exercising what many historians consider the most dictatorial American presidency ever by imprisoning American citizens of German descent and suspending habeas corpus. Wilson took it a step further by actually imprisoning political prisoners, not just Germans. He believed in extreme venues some of which were adopted by Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini, such as eugenics, political propaganda, Socialism and the gas chamber. Indeed, Adolph Hitler got many of his ideas from Woodrow Wilson and American Progressives. Besides Adoph Hitler, Wilson had many admirers of his ideas on how “to groom a better society through eugenics and the social state” including the Founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells. Progressives of this era believed in a kind of eugenic hegomony to weed out bad human traits and were prone to the belief that certain races were inferior, especially of African descent and needed to be controlled through eugenic sterilization programs. These are things you will not find in the modern day history books, as liberals write the history books, but can be verified with a little digging.
By the pre-World War II era American Progressives were firmly entrenched in American society, not just in politics. They had taken over higher education and were working to secure control over elementary and secondary education. Progressive domination started in the universities primarily in the Ivy League schools and spread across the land until most university professors were considered mainstream Progressives. Indoctrination would proceed with teachers and professors at the higher level and descend with their teachings to the lower levels, a sort of TOP-DOWN then BOTTOM-UP approach, the bottom being the foot soldiers who would then support the progressive agenda. Book publishers and their editors were overwhelmingly progressive and controlled the print media almost in its entirety.
In politics, American Progressives were initially supportive of Benito Mussolini in his rise to power in Italy where he sought to bring economic reforms in the form of what we today call Fascism. But what is Fascism and why did Progressives identify with it? Like Progressivism and similar to Socialism, Fascism was a governmental system heavy in the use of central power to exert it’s influence and sometimes outright will on it’s citizens. Fascism sought to control all business and industry interests that were not outright nationalized by the government. It differed from Communism in that Communism sought to own everything. Socialism was just fascist or communist light merely seeking to control and/or own most of the business and industry interests using only as much power as necessary to achieve those ends. Just remember, Fascism is control, Communism is ownership and Socialism is some aspects of both. Mussolini was known by Progressives as the Father of Fascism. American Fascists, Socialists and Progressives were almost indistinguishable in the 1920s and 30s. Columbia University became the clearing house for budding Fascists in 1926 when it established Casa Ilaliana, a center for the study of Italian culture – fascist Italian culture. Mussolini had personally contributed to the school to promote his ideas in America as he was actually looking for allies and saw the United States as one possibility.
The rise of Mussolini was soon followed by the rise of Adolph Hitler, both of whom were Fascists who studied marxist and socialist doctrine from Russia and patterned their ideas after Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. By the start of World War II the world was dominated by the derivative cousins of Marxism, Fascism, Communism, Socialism and Progressivism. It wasn’t until Hitler began to slaughter the Jews that American Progressives began to turn on he and Mussolini. In those days Progressivism was just a softer version of Fascism seeking to control as much as possible without outright ownership. But Progressivism would later evolve to eventually accept some aspects of federal business ownership. Progressives supported eugenics to groom society, but believed it could be done more humanely than what was being practiced by NAZI Germany. Progressives gradually distanced themselves from Fascist Germany and Italy and at some point began to refer to themselves as liberals, same people, different name, as they’re progressive brand had been throughly damaged by Hitler and Mussolini mainly for their campaign against the Jewish people. History was rewritten to the claim that Hitler was modeled after right-wing ideology. Most Americans wrongly identify right-wing extremists as Hitler types. NAZI is derived from the German word NAtionalialsoZIalist a derivative of the German Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or National Socialist German Workers’ Party in English. Does that sound right-wing to you? Of course not!
Progressives continued to use the liberal label until 2008 when they were reborn again as Progressives in a primary debate with Hillary Clinton declaring herself a modern Progressive. Liberals had ruined their name like the Progressives before them and now must revert back to their former label to complete a 100 year cycle. But are they any less radical? No. Their ideas are still composed of elements of the same ole doctrine of the same ole Marxists, Socialists, Communists and Fascists. They still believe in Keynesian Economics. They still believe in programs to maintain the socio-economic status quo; that will keep a loyal voting block using government handouts. They still believe in a strong central government, a Federal Government with many unchecked powers. Eugenics has morphed into abortion, human genetic engineering and human euthanasia having adopted these new modern tools to “groom a better society”. Their latest tool, a semi-nationalization of health care can now be expanded to control and groom society through diet control, health care rationing and age care justification regulation. The same people who have been arguing for years for government to “get out of the wombs of women” now want complete control of ALL citizens’ bodies AND their body parts. Progressivism continues to evolve. That is the nature of it’s origin, that is to progress is to constantly change, but many of their new ideas are beginning to look very similar to the old ones. Some progressives are now arguing for government controlled sterilization programs and are open to the idea of genetic engineered reproduction. The only thing missing in bringing them full circle back to eugenics is the issue of race. But modern progressives now know they can get around this roadblock by applying social economic factors to any proposed regulations and obtain the desired results. Some Progressives have also recently proposed much more liberal abortion regulation arguing that babies can be legally aborted up to the age of self-awareness, of which they have arbitrarily set to 2 years old. Sounds crazy? It is, but most people thought of partial birth abortion as extreme. But many Progressives argued for it. And even crazier, very few, but some Progressives were supportive of the idea of letting botched abortive babies who survived the procedure die by withholding food and water. One such individual who supported that idea and argued against the Born Alive Protection Act is now President of the United States.
No matter what you call the extreme isms, Marxism, Communism, Fascism, Socialism, Progressivism or Liberalism, they all have one thing in common – a powerful central government that has ALWAYS led to and ALWAYS will lead to tyranny for the people. So it now appears that Liberals have now transformed themselves into the New Progressives and really have returned to their roots, their extreme progressive roots. Now the rest of us just need to catch up and learn about those roots so we will know where they are headed.