It has to be stressful being a progressive liberal these days. A quote from Hillary, “I believe in an America always moving into the future” defines an inanity which seems to be prevalent in the last 40 or so years. In the administration of T. Roosevelt, he and his minions were known as progressives. There were many ills those days: stifling monopolies, arduous child labor, unsafe working conditions, a 60-hour work week, and other issues less pressing but worthy of consideration, like the standardization of spelling. Roosevelt was fighting against the establishment big money guys, the Rockefellers, the Carrnegies, the Vanderbilts, and J P Morgan – those leaders of oil, steel, railroad, and banking, which made the U.S. the richest country in the world but at the same time created monopolies which strangled upward movement of the classes. His struggles resulted in a fairer society in which prosperity was available for those who would work for it, the key word here being “work”.
Progressivism has changed its definition of itself. To be a progressive today means to be in conflict solely with establishment – that being the established rules of civility, civil authority, ethical absolutes and college presidents.
Barak Obama wrote in his “Audacity of Hope” that he wants American life to be a mainstay of comity and deference which necessitates “a rejection of absolute truth” which, in his mind, is an enslavement to any idea or ideology that locks people into a single, unalterable course. In the end he says that Americans should be free to pursue our own absolute truths. What is truth? Simply put, it is that which conforms to reality. Plato’s university, the first such institution, was dedicated to a philosophical disposition toward every object of knowledge: “an attitude toward the world which is concerned only with the fact that things reveal themselves as they are – which is what truth actually consists of.” Yet progressives disdain these absolutes even knowing that there are natural laws which they are not capable of changing and focus on the more abstract, societal absolutes. I would love to see one atop a building flap his arms and try to fly to San Marcos. Physical limitations and gravity are against him. The same goes with societal laws. The “Lord of the Flies” exhibits the chaos when a majority eschews simple laws of civility such as “Thou shall not murder.” If a person has a right to create his own absolute values, as Obama maintains, where is the incentive to behavior which takes into consideration that we are not alone. The result of the rejection of truth and any absolute values is leading to chaos. Try building a house without considering the structural limitations of the materials to be used. Avoid thinking about geometry, plumb and level, and have disdain for tape measurements. See what results. In the same way progressives attempt to reorganize society without absolutes using sand as a foundation.
In universities, the creation of “safe zones” where a person might go when an idea offends him flies in the face of the academic freedom for which they have fought for years. Consider the BLM movement. To be sure there are unjustified police shootings but when the evidence is beyond conclusive that it was justified, they encourage burning and rioting and all kinds of lawlessness. In this way they heap criticism on themselves. Consider a policeman with his own set of absolutes. In court he is found not guilty because his customized absolutes justified his actions.
When confronted with absolute truth, I have heard liberals say,“Well, what about Bush!”
I imagine them placing their hands over their ears and chanting “la la la la…” Maybe that’s the problem.
Ray Wolbrecht is retired from his dental practice in Kyle. He still reads his emails and his newspapers, but these days he thinks about philosophy.