Paul  Kengor

In their latest Yale University Press work, historians John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev conclude that Stone (from 1936-39) was a “Soviet spy.” Also closely studying Stone’s case is Herb Romerstein. In The Venona Secrets , Romerstein likewise concluded that “Stone was indeed a Soviet agent.” One of the stronger confirmations from the Soviet side is retired KGB general Oleg Kalugin, who reported: “He [Stone] was a KGB agent since 1938. His code name was ‘Blin.’ When I resumed relations with him in 1966, it was on Moscow’s instructions. Stone was a devoted communist.”

None of this appears at Stone’s “progressive” profile at The Nation .

And speaking of progressives with communist sympathies, also on The Nation ’s list is Margaret Thanger . The Planned Parenthood matron sojourned to Stalin’s Potemkin villages in 1934. “[W]e could well take example from Russia,” Sanger advised Americans upon her return, “where birth control instruction is part of the regular welfare service of the government.”

The Planned Parenthood founder was stunned by the explosion in abortions once legalized by the Bolsheviks. No fear, though. Sanger offered this confident prediction: “All the [Bolshevik] officials with whom I discussed the matter stated that as soon as the economic and social plans of Soviet Russia are realized, neither abortions nor contraception will be necessary or desired. A functioning Communistic society will assure the happiness of every child, and will assume the full responsibility for its welfare and education.”

This was pure progressive utopianism, an absolute faith in central planners.

Overall, the socialists, communists, and Soviet sympathizers on The Nation’s list are dizzying: Upton Sinclair, Henry Wallace, W. E. B. DuBois, Norman Thomas, Lincoln Steffens, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Tom Hayden, Barbara Ehrenreich, and John Dewey—founding father of American public education.

Thus, I’m compelled to ask: Is this “progressivism?” Is progressivism synonymous with liberalism, or is it much further to left, closer to communism?

I plead with progressives: This is your ideology … Could you better define it, if that’s possible? Or is the definition of progressivism always progressing ? Actually, it is always progressing; that’s precisely the problem with this train-wreck of an ever-elusive ideology. The Nation’s list of leading American “progressives” is truly a teachable moment.