Years ago Marxist-socialist leftists, embarrassed at being Marxist-socialist leftists, made up a shiny new name for themselves, “progressives.” It’s a word that sounds like a garden of forward-thinking delights, but is simply code for the failed, human-spirit-destroying government-command-and control that birthed all the evil “isms” of the past. That’s why every time I hear a conservative commentator in print, radio, or on TV call lefty-socialists “progressives” my 200 billion brain cells swoon.
The Fourth of July brings to mind how far alleged progressivism deviates from this nation’s founding freedoms. The government command-and-control against which the American revolutionaries fought was King George III and British rule that denied the colonists’ basic human rights and the freedom to govern themselves. The King’s officials and soldiers bullied the colonists and tried to break their independent spirit with oppressive laws. The Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights gave citizens the electoral power to choose their own leaders, make their own laws, and the right to freely speak their minds without reprisal from the powerful.
But today, “progressives” are trying to destroy our God-given Constitutional rights by force and intimidation, the traditional tactics of despotism. Wearing black masks, they smash cars and stores, rioting at college campuses and violating the law and the First Amendment to shut down speakers they don’t like. Prominent progressive voices in the media, celebrities, even some in Congress actually call for physically harming conservatives. Some actually gloated when Rep. Steve Scalise and other Republicans were attacked at a baseball practice by a leftist wacko whose heroine is leftist wacko Rachel Maddow.
Once content with telling us what light bulbs we could buy and how much soda we could drink, now progressives mimic ISIS terrorists by holding up a bloody fake beheaded Trump, or not too subtly suggest presidential assassination in a public play partly funded by taxpayers. Celebrities adored by millions of impressionable fans say they want to blow up the White House or ruminate about actors assassinating presidents.
These are the behaviors of tyrannical anarchists who are the very opposite of progressive which Webster defines as “continuous improvement; the development of an individual or group in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level.” There’s nothing beneficial for us as citizens or our nation about lawlessness, property and First Amendment destruction, deadly threats, and calls for personal attacks and assassination. Yet as long as we let them get away with calling themselves progressive, we allow them to claim moral and intellectual superiority over the rest of us.
It’s an insult to all Americans when so-called progressives try to claim they are the new revolutionaries, freedom fighters like the original colonist tea-dumpers. They’re actually freedom-destroyers, bent on ripping apart the freedom of expression and the elective will of the voters, scorning the Constitution and torching the flag of liberty. Their goal is the death of liberty, not its advancement. Their heroes are murdering monsters Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, while they revile white-privileged Washington and Jefferson who pledged their lives for freedom.
The progressive credo is the same as the Cuban dictators and their mentors Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot: oppressive government control under the guise of “leveling the playing field” or “equality” and “redistribution of wealth.” But the people on the receiving end of the progressive promises of that era—variously known as socialism, Communism, or Marxism—rather than thriving, have instead died in huge numbers thanks to the benevolent “progressive” policies imposed on them. The innocent victims of progressivism amount to 120 million or so expiring at the hands of their own governments, according to historians.
Now multi-billionaire progressives like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and entrepreneur Elon Musk are calling for an exciting new way for government to ensure equality, today called “social justice.” While America was founded by brave settlers who built the new nation with their fierce spirit of independence, personal responsibility and achievement based on hard work, Zuckerberg (whose name means Sugar Mountain in German) wants to replace all that with the ultimate Sugar Daddy, a government that would provide everyone with a “universal basic income.”
Zuckerberg feels guilty that not everyone has the financial safety net to become entrepreneurial billionaires like he did with Facebook. But everyone should – it’s only fair! Hopefully millions of people immediately sent him their addresses so he could start cutting their monthly checks.
Actually a universal basic income is already here for millions. The number of Americans receiving assistance from about 79 federal poverty programs is up 32 percent since 2008, the year Barack Obama was elected president. Now more than 100 million — nearly one in three Americans — get benefits from at least one of these programs, not including Social Security and Medicare payments.
This huge redistribution of taxpayer wealth toward welfare benefits is making America’s founding values of personal responsibility and self-reliance seem not only quaint, but unnecessary. Amazingly, in 35 states combined welfare benefits pay more than minimum-wage jobs, which means many have no reason to work. According to a Cato Institute study, a worker would need to make more than $60,000 in Hawaii, and more than $50,000 in Washington D.C. and Massachusetts, to earn more than collecting welfare would bring.
So it’s no mystery that U.S. labor participation is at an all-time low – and that those numbers pretty much mirror the number of people collecting government benefits. Just before the 2016 elections fully 37.2 percent of our non-institutionalized, civilian population over 16 was not working or even looking for work. Of course, free money becomes an effective bribe to vote for the party that will keep the checks coming: the Democrats.
Given human nature, it only makes sense that for many, if you don’t need to work to support yourself and your family, you won’t. Those who continue to work will be ridiculed by those who feed at the government sugar dispenser.
But the satisfaction of work, almost any kind of work, is essential for a healthy sense of self-worth in humans. Even FDR, the Democrat president who created the New Deal to aid the jobless in the Great Depression, warned against the habit of welfare; “relief” as it was called then. “The lessons of history show that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber,” he said in 1935. “To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. The federal government must and shall quit this business of relief.” But it has only increased.
Government is a fickle master as the victims of the “isms” discovered. Dependency breeds subservience and finally bondage after it destroys the aspirational nature fundamental to human happiness.
Since it’s been abundantly demonstrated for centuries that the “progressive” approach leads to more human suffering rather than an improvement in the human condition, the leftist/socialist/Marxistists are actually taking us backwards, not forward. Their plans would regress humanity to an earlier and utterly failed model that’s left a trail of blood across human history. So let’s call them what they are: “regressives,” not progressives. And let’s celebrate Independence Day, not Dependence Day.
Joy Overbeck is a Colorado journalist and author who writes for Townhall.com, The Daily Caller, The Washington Times, American Thinker, BarbWire and elsewhere. More columns: https://www.facebook.com/JoyOverbeckColumnist Follow her on Twitter @JoyOverbeck1