This is the final installment of a three part essay posted on Patch.com throughout Massachusetts outlining the political philosophy of Progressive Socialists in the Democratic party. Click here to read part 1 and part 2.
When speaking about Socialism Ronald Reagan famously quoted well known Socialist Norman Thomas:
“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.”
One only has to look at the history of the Progressive movement to see how they have adopted this tactic over time.
As mentioned in parts 1 & 2, Individualism vs. Collectivism is a battle that has been going on in America for over a hundred years. Progressives have gotten very good at making stirring emotional arguments to justify growing a government program or starting a new one.
The original “progressive” movement was very similar to the one we have today.
When support waned for progressives after Americans saw the dire consequences of their policies (1920's and 30's) they renamed themselves “liberals,” co-opting the word from “classical liberalism” which holds individual liberty paramount.
So what are the basics of winning against progressives?
Number 1, The Economy:
Government spending does not create jobs or grow the economy. Period. The oft repeated talking point from the left is that President Obama needed to spend $ trillions on the stimulus package to keep us from going over the cliff. This is nonsense. Recycling tax payer dollars does not create economic growth, it cannibalizes it.
The only way jobs are created is if someone in the private sector recognizes the need for labor in order to make a profit.
The government paying people to work – with money taken from productive people in the private sector – is simply recycling money in the most inefficient manner possible cannibalizing private sector growth itself.
The government doesn't make “investments” that pay off down the road such as building a bridge. Markets are not fooled by government's interventionist spending. They recognize that it is phony demand brought about by Keynesian theory rather than true economic need. Government spending on things such as infrastructure comes as a RESULT of economic growth. It is not the cause of it.
Economies grow because entrepreneurs take resources found on earth and turn them into a useful product or service for humanity. It is the freedom to pursue this action that has made the United States the wealthiest country on earth. The economy cannot be centrally planned by government bureaucrats.
The key to prosperity is creating an environment that lends itself to a favorable business climate, such as low tax rates and regulation that protects citizens instead of empowering bureaucrats.
Number 2, Individual Sovereignty:
The path to upward mobility lies within empowering the individual, not creating or prolonging government dependence. While there are countless anecdotal examples of government dependence that easily make headlines, the issue of greater importance is dooming individuals to a life of second class citizenry and creating a permanent dependency class.
The fundamental belief of all progressives is a “they know what is best for the rest of us” mindset. This belief is antithetical to our Constitution and the principles enshrined in that document by our founding fathers.
Progressives brought us the graduated income tax, which was originally not supposed to rise above 7%, but quickly skyrocketed to over 90% within a few years.
Progressives created the Federal Reserve system which heavily contributed to our current economic situation by artificially keeping interest rates low and flooding markets with new currency (essentially printing money) through quantitative easing.
Progressives are growing the “nanny state” right now which will continue to erode personal liberty.
For a classic, almost clichéd example of the rhetoric progressives use, watch the 1981 Warren Beatty movie 'Reds'. The same tone and often the exact same words were used in numerous 2012 Democratic campaigns.
Number 3, Reject the false premise!
Too often we have heard from President Obama ridiculous examples designed to divide, distort and put forth the false argument his opponents are not making. This is called a “straw man.”
In his second inaugural address President Obama said “We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.” He said this to promote the idea that those are our only two options, both of them bad, and that Republican opponents support both. It is an effective argument for a large segment of the population that doesn't pay much attention to politics.
The natural counter argument would be that “reform of programs that support our seniors is necessary to keep those programs solvent for current recipients AND future generations. Burying our head in the sand serves only to hurt both young and old.”
Straw man arguments are relatively easy to defeat if you have the forum to point them out and the ability to deconstruct the progressive narrative. This is where conservatives desperately need to make up ground and honestly, the biggest challenge conservatives face. However, while this is an uphill battle, it is through taking on challenges and overcoming adversity that we as a nation and as a people, have reached incredible heights.
Every citizen in this country is going to have to pick a side. If you are reading this, you are most likely aware of the dire situation we find ourselves in as a country. There is a path out, but it does not lie with Progressivism. Progressives are socialists. They are steeped in leftist philosophy and this form of government has failed every single time it has been tried.
America is at a very precarious time right now. Returning to common sense, Constitutional principles is the only viable option that will divert us from the path Progressive Democrats have put us on. We ARE headed for economic ruin. That is the unfortunate reality.
But perhaps if enough people realize what has taken place, they will come to the right conclusion that the only real choice is to vote Republican to put the pieces back together again.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of the Massachusetts Federation of Young Republicans.
Jeff Semon is the current Director of Communicatins for the Massachusetts Federation of Young Republicans and a former U.S. Congressional candidate in MA fifth district.