Government Is Their God
Understanding the Progressive Mind
by William L. Anderson
With the recent re-election of Barack Obama and the overall resurgence of the left wing of the Democratic Party, Progressives must be thinking that E.J. Dionne was correct when he wrote They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era nearly 20 years ago. With the Obama administration about to force a huge increase in taxes and government spending (the “Fiscal Cliff” being a sick joke), and with government agencies increasing their domination of ordinary American life, Progressives are in the driver’s seat and as Identity Politics is the dominant political movement, it looks as though we will see a rerun of the 1960s when Democratic Progressives ratcheted up the Welfare/Warfare State.
As the misnamed “Fiscal Cliff” approaches, perhaps we need to better understand the mentality that is driving legislators to this point. On one side, there are the Democratic Progressives, and on the other side are the Republican Progressives, and if we are to make sense of why Congress is at this point, we should know that the people involved in this sorry affair have a way of thinking that is foreign to most regular LRC readers.
What I do in this article is to outline the thinking that Progressives on the Left have regarding various subjects and explain why Libertarian solutions to the problem gain no traction whatsoever with them. Readers won’t feel any better after having read this piece, but perhaps they will better understand why we are in this situation, and why the conventional legislative process cannot work. (Space does not permit me also to take a hard look at Progressives on the Right, something I will do in a future article.)
Most of us work and function in a world that is utterly hostile to Libertarian thinking. For example, I teach at a relatively small state university (about 5,000 students) and have come to know many students and faculty members where I work, and like the vast majority of college and university faculties, ours is almost uniformly Progressive in voting patterns.
I understood that point when I took the job and always keep in mind that when I engage fellow faculty members, I am engaging someone who generally subscribes to a way of thinking that holds to the primacy of the State. These people do not regard the State as do I; instead of seeing government as an entity that abuses people, confiscates their wealth and then wastes it upon those who are politically-connected, they see the State as a near-mystical organization that when in the hands of Democrats performs miracles and creates Good Things.