Monday, September 18, 2006

"Progressives" aren't progressive

A follow-on from my post of 15th.:

It's usually the people on the Left who joyfully choose to be called "progressive"-there are several left of center and far Left publications that contain "progressive" in their title, for example. In this instance, however, the designation fails to fit altogether. That is because instead of moving forward, getting away from past practices, in short, instead of making progress, those on the Left are actually regressive, even reactionary, in their politics. I give you one major example.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the fathers of the modern Left, proposed, in their Communist Manifesto, as their first order of business the abolition of private property. They and thousands of intellectuals who followed in their ideological lead over the last century and a half have believed, often sincerely, that this made them all progressives. But that is just not so.

In the era prior to the rise of modern capitalism there was virtually no acknowledgement of the right to private property for all but some at the top. It is government-by way of the monarch such as the king or czar or pharaoh-who was deemed to own everything. So when ordinary folks like you and me occupied and worked some plot of land, for example, the government had to grant this privilege. We had no right to private property, only a grant of privilege and we all had to pay taxes for it to boot. (Remember that Robin Hood didn't steal from the rich but from those who took taxes from us all, seeing how unjust this was!)

Clearly, then, the rejection of private property rights was part and parcel of much of pre-capitalist political economy, where it was government that deemed itself authorized to grant people rights. The idea that the individual has a natural-pre-political, pre-legal-right to private property was a radical, actually progressive notion which unseated government from its high and mighty position, robbed it of its phony sovereignty.

Contemporary Leftist "progressives," then, want to return to something very old fashioned and misguided, namely, the idea that government is supreme and we are all its subjects. (Sadly, the U. S. Supreme Court has given them support in this recently, via its July 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London, Ct.) There is absolutely nothing progressive about what the Left wants and please realize that the term is applied either because of rank ignorance or as a simple ruse. The Left is, in fact, reactionary and regressive.

More here



Judging from my emails, most readers of my blogs are American or Australian. Since I blog from Australia about mostly American issues, that is not at all surprising. I am a little disappointed however that I have so few British readers. I in fact give quite a wide coverage to British news and views on my blogs but the coverage is scattered across several blogs so it may not be obvious to British readers that I am, among other things, a "British blogger". In case it helps me to communicate more with British readers, therefore, I have decided to round up all the "British" posts from my various blogs every day and put them up all together on a single, separate blog. Once I have prepared something for posting, it takes me only seconds to put it up elsewhere so the new blog will not be any appreciable burden on my time. The new blog is now up and running and is called "Eye on Britain". I would be obliged if anybody who knows Brits would direct their attention to it.



I had rather a good weekend just past. I have put up a brief memoir of it here.

Victory for the American taxpayers: "Pardon me. I must crow. The public just won a big one. And it was in spite of little or no coverage in the mainstream press, not to mention underhanded trickery in the U.S. Senate. This major milestone was the passage in the U.S. Senate of a bill to increase budget accountability and transparency by establishing a public database to track federal grants and contracts. The Senate passed S.2590 on September 7, 2006 and the House passed HR 5060 on June 21, 2006. Both votes were unanimous."

The grand tax illusion: "Let us put ourselves into the position of those complaining. Wages should rise -- a noble goal. How, exactly, are we to achieve this? By what mechanism are we going to reshuffle the current distribution of income so that more flows into the moth-eaten wallets of the hardworking US citizens? Simple: Abolish the Corporate Income Tax .... For, you see, corporations don't actually pay taxes. Only people pay taxes. This is an idea called "tax incidence". It means that people we think aren't being taxed are in fact coughing up the dough demanded by a specific impost... as a working paper from the Congressional Budget Office tells us: "domestic labor bears slightly more than 70 percent of the burden of the corporate income tax."

Religious leaders bash the global market: "Religious activists are more outspoken than ever about the problem of global poverty. So why do they so often and so energetically attack multinational corporations -- the very organizations that are helping developing nations create jobs and grow through broader trade relations? To a certain way of thinking in religious circles, large global corporations are often perceived to make excessive profits, exploit the poor, damage the environment and exercise undue influence on governments -- especially struggling democratic nations in the developing world. In many ways, these companies are visible and easy targets for the anti-globalization crowd."

Strange new idea in SF: Enforce the law: "San Francisco police will begin enforcing the city's long-ignored curfew for young teenagers, send authorities to truants' homes and flood high-crime neighborhoods with officers on overtime as part of a $3.7 million package of measures that Mayor Gavin Newsom hopes will turn back a surge of violence in the city. The package emerged from meetings among mayoral aides, judges, probation officials, prosecutors and police that Newsom convened as the city's homicide rate spiked in recent weeks. Sixty-six people have been slain in San Francisco this year; at that pace, the year's total would about equal last year's 10-year high of 96 homicides. The plan would make greater use of laws already on the books and provide more money for existing strategies, disappointing some critics of Newsom who had called for a sweeping attack on crime that would include new social programs."

Voting shouldn't require a heroic act of patience: "Of all the issues that decide federal elections, the length of lines at polling stations shouldn't be one of them. Yet, as egregious as that would be, they may. And as implausible as that would be, nobody seems to care. After two straight close presidential elections, the 2006 midterms and the 2008 election are likely to be nail-biters, too. This means that the integrity of the election process matters more than ever. Is there cause for concern? Yes. Consider the 2000 presidential election. George W. Bush won the presidency by a margin of just 537 votes in Florida. Assume (optimistically) that all the voters were properly registered and marked their preferred candidate, and that no voting machines malfunctioned. Even then, if only 538 Floridians who came to the precincts did not vote due to the widely reported long lines, the election outcome would be in doubt."

Remember Reno!: "The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an established sect. Many FLDS families in the Utah and Arizona communities have lived there since well before the two states were formed. ... FLDS polygamists are peaceful people, engaged in what appear to be consensual living arrangements. Yet the federal government has described Jeffs, who was unarmed and did not resist arrest, as extremely dangerous. In May, the polygamist was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list, alongside Bin Laden. As the polygamists become part of the media's demonology, we'd do well to remember another crusading prosecutor, Attorney General Janet Reno."



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

Comments? Email me here (Hotmail address). If there are no recent posts here blame and visit my mirror site here or here. My Home Pages are here or here or here.


No comments: