OUR FOUNDERING NATION: A BRIEF HISTORY of POLITICAL ETHICS (OR NOT…)
Parts I and II of this brief series described (briefly) how we got into our present situation. Parts III and IV will cover where we are and suggest where we’re going from here (hint: eliminating the distinction between the individual and the group will hasten the end of our Constitutional rights unless we are very careful).
To review: Progressivism, a broad-based reformist movement born of societal changes that reached its height early in the 20th century by embracing a technical and cultural elite of professionals and highly-paid bureaucrats. It developed as a response to the vast changes brought by industrialization, the growth of large corporations and fears of political corruption but in the 21st century has come to advocate peace, human rights, civil rights and liberties, social and economic justice, a preserved environment, gun control and nonviolence. Their ideological basis (agenda) is ‘big government’ that serves virtually every special interest group no matter how small (collectively these represent a very large voting bloc) while stripping the individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution. This requires the adjustment of constitutional law as society evolves.
The Progressive ethic is well on its way to becoming the American standard because of the public’s propensity for consuming distinctly liberal media rather than actively participating in affairs of state, and the resulting increasingly-depersonalized mode of interaction and lessening of vitality in the public sphere (read: public apathy). Too, political correctness is changing the dictionary and our behavior as well—one must be cautious so as not to offend the feelings of anyone, especially activist minority groups. There is even a professor (Lawrence Torcello at the Rochester Institute of Technology: email@example.com) who would declare those who disagree with him on the global warming issue ‘criminally negligent’—elitism to the max. The Frankfurt School has taken its toll, and most of us never saw it coming.
The Constitution still protects the individual from government, but the movement is afoot to change all that via the Courts. Congress alone is empowered to pass laws but the Executive branch is bypassing Congress in violation of the Constitution via Executive Order. But while the Constitution seems to be becoming less relevant, it remains the law of the land.
We’ve seen how individual rights have been eroded since the Frankfurt School’s assault on liberty in the early 20th Century. http://www.extremeethics.org/?p=576 Its appeal to emotion and feelings spawned PC and fueled the Progressive movement which, because of the widespread apathy of the electorate (that’s us), has gained considerable power. Conservatives have tended to not take the Progressive threat seriously because the Constitution—the law of the land—is on their side and they generally believe that it will protect individual rights. At least that was the original intent…
But the concept of the ‘living Constitution’ which holds that times have changed, and that the document must be interpreted in light of the present situation, fuels the Progressive movement. The typical methodology for promoting this agenda may be summarized as follows: ‘By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or…completely fabricating someone (else)’s argument, it’s much easier to present your own position as being reasonable…’’ (www.yourlogicalfallacyis.com)
This brand of dishonesty undermines honest rational (ethical) debate simply because it is neither honest nor rational. It is empirical. www.extremeethics.org/?p=1649
The Progressive agenda includes fostering a large collection of diverse factions. (Key word: faction)
Every individual is a unique being with his own mind, body, feelings and thoughts, the very life-source of the world we live in. But this creates a problem with regard to government; it is easier to regulate a group of similar individuals than it is to try to control a diverse collection of individual beings. So those in favor of government, especially BIG government, prefer to encourage groups, and the bigger the better. It is the group, that ubiquitous but non-vital entity, that is the source of problems that we must solve in order to live right. (This subject—and others—is covered in detail in To Tell The Truth…see sidebar.)
One individual can accomplish just so much, so to make things easier on himself he forms a group. The group combines the talents of many to get something done. And in its arrogance to remake the world in its own image, the group forges ahead. No matter that things are progressing in their own way and will continue to do so despite our efforts, some want to make the world the way they believe it should be, and the sooner the better, using what they think is state-of-the-art technology (but really is only limited knowledge), so they form their groups and crash on into the future. Of course, those who control the group can influence the direction it takes…
Not being a vital entity, the group must get its creative juices from its individual members. But to achieve solidarity, they must pull together in pursuit of their common cause, so they lose a portion of their individuality. Big government likes this (see above). It can exert more control over more people with less effort.
What does all this have to do with Progressivism? Well, progressives favor big government and special interests. In that effort they have come to support peace, human rights, civil rights and liberties, social and economic justice, a preserved environment, and nonviolence, so they create factions–activist groups–to achieve these ends. More often than not progressive groups are composed of extremists intent upon accomplishing their goals now to serve a particular special interest. How this is done will be covered in the concluding Part (IV) of this series.