Progressivism in America has always been a thuggish ideology. It rests on the notion that laws require no evidence to support their implementation, that intentions are all that matter and that those who oppose "change" of the sort progressives like are morally deficient. Progressivism requires Americans to separate off certain groups in American life as evil -- the rich ("greedy!"), gun owners ("hooligans!"), traditionally religious people ("sexists!"), Constitutional government advocates ("bigots!"). It requires that certain Americans be cast as good -- racial and ethnic minorities, low income earners and women ("victimized!"), irreligious people ("rationalists!") and big government advocates ("experts!").
Progressivism in America is actually regressivism. Progressivism sends us back to a time when philosophical differences were seen as rebellion against God-given monarchic authority. It sends us back to a time when the law of the community invariably outweighed the rights of the individual, rather than building government on the basis of protection of individual rights.
And most of all, progressivism prevents any possibility of real progress. The goal of the progressive agenda isn't to allow people to live more prosperously, more happily, better. Progressivism has achieved none of that. In capitalist countries, today's poor live better than yesterday's rich; tomorrow's poor will live better than today's rich. In progressive countries, the goal is to obliterate the very categories of rich and poor. In practice, today's poor aren't as poor as yesterday's poor, but they live no better than yesterday's middle class. And the next generation's poor will live the same as today's poor. Stagnancy is the theme of progressivism in material terms.
But material progress isn't their goal. The progressive goal is "progress" in generating a new version of human nature. That is why progressivism embraces and promotes false distinctions between human beings. Progressivism cannot accept the premise of voluntary commitments between human beings -- that would imply that the current state of affairs is relatively ideal since it is based mostly on consent. Capitalism means that the rich aren't rich because of greed -- after all, all human beings are greedy. They're rich because they engage in more voluntary transactions that help both sides. People are people, and they make agreements. There is no possibility of change in human nature.