What is progressivism? It’s a fatal conceit with fatal flaws. Not only does it necessarily introduce economic distortions that, by definition hurt the economy, Beck points out it is riddled with internal inconsistency. It consists in identifying or inventing a crisis, getting the public all worked up, and then promising a cure that only progressive leadership can solve. The cure is to give them more power and more money. Of course, this doesn’t solve the problem, and so the next election cycle is rinse, repeat.
The problem with progressivism is it assumes an elect few know how to fix problems for everybody else. So much for their lines about equality. Adherents disdain the US Constitution, which was intended as a firewall against the progressivist goal of centralizing power. They describe it as a living, breathing document. They personify society and community the same way, as living and breathing. But when it comes to individuals, whose rights the Constitution was supposed to protect, progressives treat them like inanimate, non-thinking pawns on a chessboard that move and sit as the master makes them. People are material, human resources, in the hands of the state.
Since they don’t trust individual humans to make their own choices and can’t accept that “all men are created equal” means no one was born to lord it over another; they seek equality through redistribution of wealth. Again, with hubris akin to the unsinkable Titanic, they’re the only ones with the answer. Dismissing ancient theological notions that people come to earth to be tried and make wise choices, godless progressives believe they, “can save us from ourselves with more control.”
Beck addresses seven lies in the book, although there are many more. First, gun control is not about guns, but about control. More people die in automobile accidents than from gunfire, but legislators aren’t begging to take the keys from law-abiding, safe drivers because a kid could get in the car. After telling the story of a rape victim who wanted to protect her family, Beck says of gun-control enthusiasts, “They cannot fathom that plenty of responsible and sane citizens exist in America, people who want a gun for nothing more than their Constitutionally-guaranteed right to have one.”
Climate change is another racket. It pushes a “secular orthodoxy based on supposedly settled climate science.” Persons in higher echelons of climate enforcement administration have come out and said the climate change scare is not about saving Mother Earth so much as redistributing income. Climate scares have stopped the Keystone Pipeline and they’re killing the coal industry with all its private-sector jobs. The push encourages people to back off using resources that have lifted societies to a modern standard of living.
Progressives outwardly oppose income inequality, but progressive congressmen have a way of cutting out exemptions for themselves. Michael Moore refused to tell Piers Morgan his net worth as he Occupied Wall Street. It turns out Moore was worth $50 million when the cutoff for the 1 percent was $20 million. In light of progressive solutions, like minimum wages and rent controls that trickle around the economy to eventually raise the cost of living, Beck asks, “If liberals truly care about income inequality, why do they want to make being poor more expensive?”
Benjamin Franklin rightly belabored, “I am for doing good to the poor, but I think the best way of doing good to the poor is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less that was done for them, the more they did for themselves and became richer.” Beck notes happiness often comes as that rush one gets from accomplishing difficult things. Welfare abridges the pursuit of that kind of happiness.
On the equality of “other” types of people, Beck pulls horrible quotes from past progressive leaders. One was one of Hillary Clinton’s heroes, Margaret Sanger, the founder of what became Planned Parenthood. She spoke of “controlling the intake and output of morons, mental defectives, and epileptics.” Beck further accuses her of promoting eugenics against African-Americans. On a Supreme Court decision to sterilize a girl from a “feeble-minded” family, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote, “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. . . . Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
A fifth lie is that Republicans oppose progressivism. To illustrate, Beck pulls examples of drains on private-sector empowerment, like the ADA, TARP, and the Ex-Im Bank, from the two Bush administrations. He then tells stories of love-fests politicos and mediacrats have enjoyed with Fascists, Nazis, and Communists to debunk a sixth lie that progressives oppose those forms of government. A seventh lie is that progressives respect the Constitution. The amazing thing about this is he actually found statements where they spoke favorably.
Progressives often legislate with a two-pointed sword. For example, in spreading Democracy to the world, this country has at least twice gotten authoritarians to step down in nations where un-Democratic Islamicists were the majority. Our government has sold guns to drug lords to use as tracers, while costing hundreds of lives. And, back in the days of Prohibition, government agents poisoned whisky to create a trail of illness and death leading to speakeasies. This is the progressive heritage.
Now, we are told there is no master plan. Power centralizes, taxes go up, and dependency increases one self-serving, shortsighted decision at a time. Well, progressives believe in planning economies. They plan for growth. Why wouldn’t they have a plan for implementing the “fundamental transformation of America”? Beck speaks of two such plans in his book. One was published by Professors Richard Cloward and Frances Piven in an article in The Nation. Wrote Beck, “The idea was astoundingly simple – and sinister: overload the public welfare system at the state and local levels to precipitate a debt crisis that would plunge America even further into poverty. Washington, DC would then have no choice but to act and implement a federally-guaranteed minimum income level for every American.”
The blurb on the dust jacket puts it all in perspective. “Politicians may be sleazy and spineless, but they’re not stupid. They see that the way to win is by first telling people everything that is wrong with the world, and then painting a vision of the life they want – a Utopian vision that they’ll create right here on earth, one where no one is ever sick or hungry, jobless or homeless. All we have to do is surrender our freedom and someone else’s wallet and they’ll make it happen. . . . Self-reliance. Independence. Charity. Compassion. Kindness. Hope. These are the antidotes to the disease of progressivism.”