Opinion

The Progressive Movement’s Sordid Past

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Posted: Dec 29, 2018 12:01 AM
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The Progressive Movement’s Sordid Past

The American left has perfected the art of changing the meaning of words or phrases. For example, gun confiscation is reshaped to now mean “sensible gun safety measures.” White male now means privileged. Republican and racist are now interchangeable words. Voter ID laws for fair and clean elections means voter suppression to liberals.  Moreover, political violence—torching buildings and bludgeoning innocent Americans on the street is now synonymous in their lexicon, as a peaceful protest. 

The American left has struggled for a long time dealing with another term: liberal. Conservatives were successful at demonizing the term when George H.W. Bush labeled his presidential opponent, Michael Dukakis as a card-carrying liberal. The term turned into a political pejorative and liability, so they went back in time and now proudly refer to themselves as Progressives. They are counting on people not researching the history about the founders of the Progressive movement.

Liberals have become skillful in revisionist history about their Party’s past, bamboozling voters along the way. They skillfully separated black people from their history ignoring the fact that the Democratic Party was the party of slavery whom pre-civil war fought hard in Congress to uphold the ugly institution. They ignore the reality that the Democratic Party opposed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of the 1960s. They want voters to forget that the Ku Klux Klan was their fighting force during the post-reconstruction and Jim Crow era that enforced southern Black Codes.  They are hoping voters never learn the Klan’s mission was to maintain white supremacy by violence and threats against newly freed blacks and Republicans. They hope voters are too intellectually lazy to research and discover it was the Republican Party that was founded on the principle of ending slavery and later pushed for and passed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act. 

The Democrats’ love affair with the idea of a bigger role for government in the lives of Americans was spawned in the Progressive movement of 1890 to 1920—a period that saw an increase in social activism. The architects of Progressivism were the leading college and university so-called intellectuals of that time.

As proud as Democrats are with the term Progressives, they don’t tell voters that the Progressive ideology architects were racist to their very core, who ignored the plight of blacks and were eugenicists 

Author and historian, Professor Thomas C. Leonard, in an article on the Progressive movement titled Illiberal Reformers, details several Progressive facts and directly quotes works from these Progressive racists, like Progressive Economist John Commons who said, “By the cataclysm of a war in which it took no part, this race (blacks) after many thousands of years of savagery, was suddenly let loose into the liberty of citizenship and the electoral suffrage. Black suffrage was not an expansion of Democracy but a corruption of it.”  Let that sink in for a moment. There’s more. 

Another Progressive Economist Richard T. Ely then said, “Negroes are for the most part grown-up children and should be treated as such. We have gotten far enough to recognize that there are certain human beings who are absolutely unfit and should be prevented from a continuation of their kind. Ely referred to minorities as a “human rubbish heap.”

Additional stunning evidence include when University of Wisconsin Progressive President Charles Van Hise had said, “Human defectives should no longer be allowed to propagate the race. We know enough about eugenics so that if knowledge were applied the defective classes would disappear within a generation.”

As if you are not already sick to your stomach, Progressive Sociologist Edward A. Ross had said, “Blacks given the right to vote is the root of political corruption. One man, one vote does not make Sambo equal to Socrates.”

The irony here is irrespective that Ross had made these racist remarks, former University of Wisconsin President Van Hise named the student housing building on the liberal campus after him. Why have there been no protest or demand that the university remove his name from that building?  At Yale University, student protests and activism led to the university changing the name of a building named after former vice-President John Calhoun, an ardent supporter of slavery. Apparently, news of this has not reached the University of Wisconsin campus activists, or they are clueless, or maybe they don’t care.

As you can tell, these leading Progressive architects weren’t reformers—they were arrogant, elitist, racists whose attitudes had shaped public policy. Leonard further points out in his article that they supported forced sterilization and believed in socially engineering a master race. They despised Jews, Asians, Catholics, women and the disabled. They thought these groups were too stupid to vote and should be prevented from doing so. Their interpretation of Democracy was control of the masses by a small group of bureaucratic experts.

Progressivism defined the Democratic Party then. I maintain it still does today. Look at their support of abortion, which was the eugenic idea toward population control for minorities during the Progressive era. Today more black babies are murdered by abortion than any other demographic. In 2014 in New York City, more black babies were aborted than were born. That same year 73 percent of all abortions were either black or Hispanic. The eugenicists of the 19th-century Progressive era would be proud to see they are continuing to control the population of minorities slyly by changing the meaning of the murder of babies to ‘women’s reproductive health.’

Need more evidence of Progressive’s link to their sordid past? Look at the state of K-12 public education. Black and Hispanic students are shackled to these failing schools. Many black and Hispanic children cannot read at grade level nor can they add, subtract, multiply or divide. Progressives oppose choice and charter schools that offer struggling parents a lifeline out of poverty. One would have to be a sociopath to keep these kids trapped in this abysmal environment.

Embracing the term Progressive is appalling.

Noted columnist George Will said in a column that, “As long as we are cleansing the public square of names and statues tainted by the historical connections with racism, the Progressive term’s racist pedigree will be forgiven if the term serves the left’s agenda.”

I am calling on Democrats and liberals to scrub the label Progressive from their vocabulary and never refer to themselves as Progressives or that disgusting period ever again.