The Tyrannical Nature of Progressivism
Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 11:48PM
Joseph Kelley

Many, if not most of us like to think of ourselves as progressive thinkers. After all, the word “progressive” has many positive connotations.

Who, in their right mind would be against some flavor of social reform and/or innovation? As a realist, we understand the need to promote change in order to advance our society and improve our quality of life. Logically, if you aren’t progressive then you must be either stagnant or regressive. Nobody wants either of those two labels.

As with most things in life, progressivism can be viewed as positive or negative depending on degree. For instance, being skeptical in moderation is a good trait. It’s what prevents you from writing a check to the woeful Nigerian prince who’s simply looking to free his huge bank assets and giving you a cut, or sending cash to someone who sends you a chain letter. When taken to extreme, skepticism “progresses” to paranoia. Being skeptical of what you read in some newspaper is normal and even healthy, but not believing anything you read or see from any media source shrinks you into an isolated, paranoid state forcing you to create your own reality which may or may not reflect the real world.

The problem with many people who identify as a progressive today is that they seem to have no bounds when it comes to promotion of change. Adam Corolla, while appearing as a guest on Steve Hilton’s “The Next Revolution” provided a succinct analogy of progressivism taken to extreme. He used the “NO SMOKING” example. In the middle of the 20thcentury, restaurants responded to their clientele’s complaints about smoking by segregating smokers into “smoking sections” in their establishments. Over time, non-smokers weren’t happy with this solution, so smoking sections were eliminated, and smokers were forced to go to the bar or go outside to have a smoke. Eventually, not even the bar was far enough away to suit nonsmokers, so smoking inside was completely banned, sometimes by ordinance and all smokers were forced outside. Again, this wasn’t good enough for progressives, so most cities adopted a “no smoking within 25 feet of entrance” ordinance, forcing smokers to go even further away. Now it’s common for cities to outlaw use of any tobacco product in any public space. No smoking, no chewing no dipping, period. So, while tobacco in all forms is perfectly legal, its use has been virtually prohibited everywhere except on one’s own property. While you may agree with these policies, you have to admit that said policies have severely limited smokers’ freedom.

When I first heard Adam’s analogy, it made me think of other instances of applied progressivism taken to extreme. Being a staunch supporter of our 2ndamendment, I immediately thought of modern-day progressives’ battle to disarm law-abiding citizens. Unlike smoking, there is no logical “public health” argument against firearms but anti-gun activists continually try to make one. While smokers actively partake in lighting up and discharging smoke into the air that everyone breathes, law-abiding firearm owners almost never discharge their weapons and when they do it is overwhelmingly in response to a life-threatening situation. Legally carrying a firearm into a public space places no one in danger. Regardless, we are continually faced with ever more intrusive firearm restrictions. Like all “progressive” legislation, things begin small. In the early 20thcentury, the federal government made manufacturing, owning and possessing a fully automatic weapon (machine gun or sub-machine gun) illegal for virtually everyone except the military and police forces. This resulted from the lawless use of “tommy guns” by gangsters who used them for committing multiple mass killings of mostly other gangsters although there were many instances of considerable collateral damage to civilians and private property. Even though there were ample laws on the books making these acts illegal, progressives of the time splashed gruesome photos of bullet-riddled bodies across every front page and argued that such barbarism would not be possible were it not for the machine gun. Public sentiment was swayed by this salacious argument and pressure was brought to bear on elected representatives who ultimately outlawed all automatic weapons. Problem solved, right? Of course not. Hardened criminals didn’t (and still don’t) give a damn what the law says. The brutal killings continue to this day. Law-abiding citizens were the only ones to comply with the law, turning in the weapons they bought legally with their hard-earned money. This machine gun ban did nothing to sate the progressive appetite for ever more stringent firearm restrictions though. Despite Constitutional guarantees to the contrary, progressives have successfully outlawed suppressors (silencers), passed legislation strictly regulating things like gun barrel length and ammunition capacity.  There’s a whole host of firearm restrictions that make no sense whatsoever but are typical of “progressive” policies. Were it not for organizations like the National Rifle Association (NRA), its likely our 2ndamendment right to “keep and bear arms” would have been legislated out of existence years ago. The NRA spends millions upon millions of dollars fighting local, state and federal legislation in the courts. Many cases involve seemingly minor gun legislation at the state and local levels. They recognize the progressive nature of this type of anti-gun legislation and that failure to act upon these seemingly minor cases will ultimately result in the 2ndamendment succumbing to “death by a thousand cuts”.

In addition to their activism against firearms and our 2ndamendment, progressives have, for years, campaigned against the 1stamendment guarantee of our right to free speech. As with all things “progressive”, things began slowly. A couple of decades ago the term “hate speech” was coined. Progressives cited the “N word” and other racial slurs as unacceptable in modern discourse. Most Americans agreed, so laws were passed providing criminal penalties for “hate” speech and subsequently “hate crimes”. By their very nature, these laws are vague and ambiguous, and their enforcement is mostly left to the discrimination of judges. This has resulted in huge variations in the application of these laws making them wholly unfair. Now, progressives who run social media companies decide what is and isn’t “hate” speech and ban people from using their platform for frivolous and inconsistent reasons. These social media companies get to define what is and isn’t acceptable behavior and almost invariably punish those who hold opinions contrary to their “progressive” ideals. For example, calling Barack Obama a socialist tyrant will get you banned, but calling Donald Trump a NAZI is perfectly OK.

The main problem with progressivism in general is that there is no logical end to it. As with the “NO SMOKING” example, progressive law creation only stops when the targeted “offense” is completely outlawed. In short, tyranny. Being progressive, by definition means you must continually progress no matter how ridiculous that “progress” becomes. The most current example is our country’s immigration struggle. In the ‘80s, in an effort to placate progressives of the time, Ronald Reagan effectively granted amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants living within our borders. As time has gone by, courts have determined that our schools and hospitals must provide service to everyone, regardless of their legal status. Soon, we had progressive elected officials declaring their cities and even their states as “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens by refusal to abide by and/or enforce federal immigration laws. Now we have persons running for president campaigning for open borders and free health insurance for anyone who happens to set foot on American soil! Aside from being completely impossible, this progressive stance would have American taxpayers footing the medical bills for the entire world should they wish to come here through progressive-proposed open borders. What started out as a law viewed as a compassionate means of dealing with the millions of illegals living within our borders has now become a totally unworkable, hyper-expensive invitation to the world to come freeload off of the American taxpayer.

While I’m certainly someone who believes in progress, I would never put myself in the political progressive category. I do believe that laws must be created and amended to accommodate changes in the economic landscape, but I wholly reject the idea of moral progressivism when it attempts to alter the intent of the founders codified in our Constitution. Our uniquely American “grand experiment” in self-governance is fragile in the best of times when adherence to our Constitution is a given. Progressivism, taken to its logical end will destroy it faster than being ejected from a nice restaurant for lighting up a cigar.

Article originally appeared on Fighting the Left. TEXAS STYLE! (
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