The "Progressive" Mentality
For as many years as I can remember, I have been trying to get my hands around the mentality of people on the political left. In all honesty, I cannot for the life of me understand the way they think. To me, leftist thinking is inimical to individual liberty and freedom as it favors the collective rather than the individual. To that end, I decided to examine the differences between the Left and the Right (I'm capitalizing these terms to distinguish them as political philosophies as opposed to directions). I see no need to compare the well-known positions on the usual issues; rather I want to focus on the fundamental differences in the two philosophies.
Here's my basic premise: conservatives accept nature and work within it; "progressives" try to change it. Example - there is a practice known as "gender-bending" whereupon the differences between male and female are deliberately blurred or played down. I have heard of couples actually bringing up a male baby as a genderless entity (actually the word should be sexless but that has other connotations) - dressing him in girl's clothes, etc. Then they deny the natural desire of male children to play with toy guns, GI Joe, etc. Of course, much to their consternation, the kid usually asserts his masculinity and ends up doing "boy things" as nature takes its course. (By the way, I'm using "progressive" as a catch-all phrase for leftist philosophy "Liberal" is another term for this philosophy but today's liberals should not be confused with the "classical" liberals of the 19th century - they would likely be today's conservatives!)
Then there is the homosexual agenda whereupon homosexual behavior is not only to be accepted but celebrated. I have no gripe against homosexuals, nor do I wish to see them abused or ridiculed (as has happened many times in the past), but marriage is a sacrament in my religion (Roman Catholicism) and it is just as sacred in most other religions as well. Marriage between one man and one woman just seems the natural order of things. Conservatives believe the family is the foundation of society and "gay marriage" would fundamentally alter the definition of "family" which, of course, is just fine with those on the left. Again, trying to change what Mother Nature (or God, if you prefer) intended.
Progressives believe in social engineering, that is, making "adjustments" to societal strata through government intervention. In other words, using the coercive powers of government to redistribute wealth, regardless of the consequences. I strongly believe this is not what our Founding Fathers intended. Fundamental difference - equal opportunity (as conservatives believe) versus equal results.
There is a strong movement to erase all forms of religious belief in public discourse. This phenomenon manifests itself especially during the Christmas season. We are inundated with news stories of stores putting up "holiday trees" and proscribing their employees from saying "Merry Christmas," and so forth. (In my home state of Rhode Island, we have a very liberal governor who insists on calling the Christmas tree in the State House a "holiday tree." Last year, my wife and I were part of the "flash mob" who showed up for the tree lighting and let loose with a throaty rendition of "O Christmas Tree!" This year, he made the announcement of the tree lighting 30 minutes before it was to be lit, not giving anyone any time to organize a repeat!) Religion revolves around a set of rules and traditions, many of which progressives find "inconvenient."
(As an aside - I find odd the leftist defense of the Islamic cause, especially when it comes to Israel. I lived in England for about eight years and traveled extensively throughout Europe. European governments, most of which are left of center, will pounce on most any attempt to promulgate Christian philosophy in public discourse, but allow Islamic clergy to rail against homosexuality, etc. in the mosques, and say the most vile things about Christians and, especially, Jews. Islam makes no distinction between "church and state," and progressives would not want to live under Sharia Law, believe me. Homosexuality is proscribed and women' rights? Forget it. So why is this? Some people say it's fear of Islamic radicals retaliating against them. Fear of religious retaliation is no way to run a country.)
Then there is the controversy over gun ownership. It is natural (and just) for people to want to defend themselves. Progressives, however, loathe individual possession of firearms and constantly try to get around the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Why? They say it's for protection of the public and would cut down on crime and accidents. We (the conservatives) say it is because possession of firearms gives power to the individual over the collective. As I stated in another Hub, I would have written the Second Amendment thus: "An armed citizenry being the greatest guarantee against tyranny, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Unfortunately that is not how it was written so, thank God for the Supreme Court in their recent decisions, District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008) and in McDonald Vs. Chicago (2010) whereupon the individual's right to bear arms was upheld. (By the way, look up the cases and notice how the "progressive" members of the Court voted.)
This one is sure to be controversial but here goes: progressives believe there is no difference among the human races or ethnic groups besides the cosmetic (skin color, facial characteristics, etc,). Now no one wants to back to the days of Jim Crow, prejudice against Jews, the Irish, the Italians, the Hispanics, etc. But the left absolutely rejects any discussion, however, benign, about differences among peoples. (Remember the controversy over the book by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Bell Curve? This book discussed racial differences in intelligence and was roundly condemned by the "politically correct" crowd.) Eugene Davidson, the author of The Unmaking of Adolf Hitler (University of Missouri Press, 1996), in discussing Hitler's legacy, stated it thus: "Hitler made if impossible to cite problems of assimilation as a barrier to settlement in any Western country. A new all-inclusive ethos emerged--antiracist, antiwhite, even antimale--almost all of it professing true democracy and often imposing its own immutable rigidities called by its critics 'political correctness' in the place of free discussion." I don't know if the Third Reich is the major contributor to "political correctness" as Mr. Davidson purports, but does anyone dispute the fact that this ethos is not prevalent today?
I suppose I could go on but I'm sure you the reader get the point: conservatives accept nature and work within it; "progressives" try to change it. If they (progressives) have their way, we will probably end up thus (with apologies to Star Trek): We are the Progressives. Resistance is Futile. You will be assimilated.