If I Were a Progressive

If we adopt the progressive agenda we may lose much or all of what we hold dear.

In this post, I imagine what I would believe if I were a progressive. It would sound something like the following.1

Education

Our schools are failing. This is a failure of government. Schools in rich neighborhoods have high student achievement, while those in poor neighborhoods do not. To get bad schools up to par, all we need to do is spend more money on them.

Students and parents have no responsibility for how well students do in school. The absence of fathers in black homes has nothing to do with kids in these families doing poorly in school.2

There is no such thing as a “culture of poverty.” I choose to ignore that some students and parents put a low value on education. I choose to ignore that disruptive students impede other students’ chances for learning. I choose to ignore that hard-working students in urban minority communities who excel, face intimidation and violence from their peers, and that this violence ruins their chances for academic success.

I am so averse to holding students and parents responsible for their learning that I blame “institutional racism” even though I cannot give an example of how this works.

Teachers’ unions are not responsible for bad learning outcomes for students. Firing bad teachers won’t help.

Schools should never compete for the best students. Vouchers and school choice are unfair. Government, rather than parents, does the best job of deciding which schools students should attend.

Standardized testing is racist and unfair. I oppose it, especially because it makes my favored minority groups look bad. The best way to tell if students have learned is if they adopt views that are similar to mine.

Law Enforcement

The government has flooded minority communities with incarceration. Incarceration has everything to do with racist laws and nothing to do with perpetrators’ behavior.

Police departments take advantage of minority communities by enforcing the law unfairly and extracting fines unfairly. The visible presence of police angers minority communities and this causes violence. When police are heavily armed they provoke even more anger and violence.

Higher rates of arrest and imprisonment in minority communities have nothing to do with the actions of people in those communities.

Racism is prevalent among police officers. Many laws are racist: they were created to single out minorities.

It is always wrong to conduct surveillance of mosques, no matter what goes on inside them. It is wrong for police to infiltrate groups with a history of violence unless they are white groups.

Visible vandalism in minority communities does not encourage more serious crimes. 

Immigration

Every person in the world who wants to come to the US should be allowed to do so. All immigrants — legal or illegal — are hard-working and law abiding persons who will strengthen the country. There are no “illegal” immigrants.

The US can absorb as many foreigners as want to come. I am unaware that there are over seven billion people in the world and that, with open borders a goodly portion of these people will come to the US. No matter how many immigrants we take from foreign lands, and how quickly we allow them in, our culture, values, freedom and economic success will not be affected in any way.

Even if we admit large numbers of foreigners from one country who all speak a common language other than English, after a short time these foreigners will become fully American. They will be integrated. They will not form segregated enclaves, at least not in the nice neighborhoods where I live.

There is no such thing as an immigrant whose values are inconsistent with American values. All cultures and all value systems are equal. There is nothing particularly good about American values and these values are not better than the values of other countries.

There is no need to monitor our borders or screen immigrants to bar those who would do us harm. There is no need for any immigration enforcement. The only harm is done by unscrupulous US immigration authorities and public officials who are prejudiced.

No terrorist has ever infiltrated our borders. In any case, any terrorist who may want to harm us is merely responding to the US invasion of his country.

Economic Systems

Capitalism and free enterprise have produced a few good outcomes, but I choose to talk only about their bad outcomes.

Entrepreneurs should not make a profit, or at least not too much of a profit.

Essential goods and services, such as education, health care and housing, should always be provided by government. It is immoral for entrepreneurs to make a profit by providing these essential services.

Individual initiative has never made the world a better place. Social progress has always been achieved only by organized groups such as the Suffragette Movement, the Labor Movement and the Civil Rights Movement.

Entrepreneurs who have built successful businesses are not to be thanked; no matter how hard they worked, or how innovative they have been, their success was built on the backs of others. The profits of these businesses are scraped from the work of others. Therefore, these profits should go to other people.

Capitalism results in unequal distribution of wealth. I never talk about the fact that all other systems, including socialism, do the same. When capitalists are successful, their profits should be taken from them by government and given to those who are less successful. Everyone deserves a share of the national wealth, even those who are unwilling to work, and those who engage in crime and other anti-social behaviors. Only in this way can we ensure an equitable society.

If we tax successful people we will never run out of money to provide what people need: subsidized housing, free medical care, free college tuition, and so on. High tax rates for the successful have no downside — wealthy individuals and companies will not move to other countries where they can keep more of their wealth.

I have never stopped to think that only a robust free enterprise system can generate the wealth necessary to pay for all the social benefits that I insist upon as rights. Oddly, I oppose that very system at the same time that I insist on a full menu of social benefits.

Health Care

Free health care for all is a human right.

The government should pay for the health care of everyone, including people who have ruined their health by their own actions: over-eating, smoking, engaging in dangerous activities, or consuming illegal drugs. Those who act responsibly will just have to absorb the costs for those who do not. That seems fair to me.

There is no problem in paying for free health care for all. We can fully fund it by taxing the rich.  I choose to ignore economic analyses that dispute this. I am unaware that health care expenditures make up almost one-fifth of our economy and that this share grows every year, a trend that will have to come to an end. I don’t believe in graphs or data.

I ignore the fact that government and consumer debt levels are so high that our economy is in dangerously uncharted territory. Therefore I blithely ignore that this is the worst time in our national history to start a massive new government entitlement that will add to the country’s debt.

Instead of relying on these economic facts, I rely instead on my subjective feeling that “we are a rich country and we can afford it.” The more times I say this the more I believe it.

Values

Even though I say that America is exceptional, I don’t believe it.

Besides, if Americans think they are exceptional, they will not be self-critical. A self-critical attitude is necessary to acknowledge all the evil things the US has done, for example, destroying Hiroshima with an atomic bomb; supporting foreign governments with poor human rights records; interning Japanese Americans during the Second World War; and having a history of slavery.

The US is just about the worst country in the world. We try to dominate the whole world. We have supported terrible dictators, engaged in slavery, as well as imperialism, colonialism and racism.

For the life of me I can’t understand why millions of foreigners are willing to risk their lives to become American. Don’t they realize that their home country is better than ours?

Foreign Policy

The single most destabilizing force in the world today is the United States military and the CIA.  The US is the world’s aggressor.

All terrorists groups were created solely in response to American aggression, especially American invasions of other countries such as Iraq and Libya. Terrorists also came about because of our support for oppressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia. When we stop our aggression and end our support for oppressive regimes, terrorism and armed conflict will end in the world.

The only reason for a strong US military is to satisfy the profit-needs of the military-industrial complex. We should withdraw all our troops from US bases around the world. We should end military support to other countries. We should let the world know we will never intervene in their countries.

I am unaware, or don’t care, that doing this will create a vacuum that will enable militaristic and despotic countries such as China, Russia, and Iran to dominate the world. There is no downside to closing down our military. It will not threaten our safety or prosperity. It will not cause a dark curtain of totalitarianism to descend on the world.

We should cut military budgets and instead spend the money on benefits for our people, benefits such as free health care. We should abolish the Department of Defense and in its place, create a Department of Peace. Isn’t peace better than war?

A Rebuttal to Progressives

British commentator Douglas Murray recently argued that western European leaders have been unprepared to deal with the destabilizing effects of massive Muslim immigration to Europe. According to Murray, Europe’s weak response to this immigration is due, in part, to Europeans’ loss of the “tragic sense of life.” 3 By this Murray means that western Europeans have known only freedom, affluence and security for so long, they no longer realize that everything they hold dear can suddenly be taken away from them by others.

Something similar has happened to America. It is exemplified by the utopian views of progressives.

For example, progressives find it so hard to imagine economic hardship and loss of freedom, that they are willing to advocate for socialism despite its long, consistent record of destroying economic wealth and personal freedom.

Progressives find it so hard to imagine that our country could become less free, open and tolerant, that they do not fear a massive and sudden influx of foreigners, many with values inconsistent with our own.

Progressives find it so hard to imagine our country being destroyed or dominated by a hostile foreign power, that they believe we don’t need a strong military.

Progressives find it so hard to imagine their communities being taken over by violent crime, that they do not believe we need a robust police force.

And to the progressive mind, American exceptionalism is jingoism.

Unfortunately, if we adopt the progressive agenda we may lose much or all of what we hold dear. By then it will be too late.

Footnotes

  1. I culled the progressive ideas and claims in this post from a wide variety of sources. These include left-leaning publications like the Huff Post and the Atlantic. Other rich sources of progressive thinking include: politicians such as Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Maxine Waters; as well as journalists, political pundits and intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky, Bill Ayers, Paul Krugman, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore, Amy Goodman Angela Davis, and many others.
  2. According to the US Census Bureau, 73% of black children are born to single mothers and 67% live in single-parent families. See: Jacobson, L., CNN’s Don Lemon Says More Than 72 Percent of African-American Births Are Out of Wedlock. Politifact. July 29, 2013. Retrieved October 7, 2081 from:

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/jul/29/don-lemon/cnns-don-lemon-says-more-72-percent-african-americ/

  1. Murray, D. The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam. Bloomsbury: London, 2017.

According to Murray:

……For even the mass movement of millions of people into Europe would not sound such a final note for the continent were it not for the fact that (coincidentally or otherwise) at the same time Europe lost faith in its beliefs, traditions, and legitimacy. Countless factors have contributed to this development, but one is the way in which Western Europeans have lost what the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno famously called the “tragic sense of life.” They have forgotten what the World War II generation so painfully learnt: that everything you love, even the greatest and most cultured civilizations in history, can be swept away by people who are unworthy of them.

About the Author
The author is a life-long Zionist and advocate for Israel. He believes that a strong Jewish state is invaluable, not only to Jews, but to the world-wide cause of democracy and human rights. Dr. Berger earned a PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and has twenty-seven years of teaching experience. He has authored and co-authored three books as well as over 45 professional journal articles and book chapters. His parents were Holocaust survivors. Dr. Berger also blogs at: https://realbulletpoints.wordpress.com/
Related Topics
Related Posts
Comments