The Destruction and Destructiveness of Progressivism

As a consequence of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, certain hard truths* have emerged even as America busied itself with discovering the proper use of pronouns. Chief among them is that modern liberalism, let’s call it the American variant, is a smoking ruin. 

*Trigger warning. The use of the term “Truth” is deliberate, meant to imply that there is actually such a thing. Those who find the term offensive—second trigger warning on the way—can go jump in a lake. 

Anyway, back to the substance. 

American liberalism isn’t merely responsible for the catastrophe that is the Russia-Ukraine war. The underlying philosophy of American liberalism has produced a whole catalogue of mini-catastrophes that in the aggregate serve to repudiate the oft-stated claim that liberalism represents pragmatic governance based on “what works”. 

To begin with, let us consider how well it has worked in foreign policy. President Biden, who, we should recall, was President Obama’s point man on Ukraine, decided to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine by broadcasting what our vaunted intelligence services knew, or claimed to know, about Russia’s plans.  Did President Biden achieve his stated objective? No. He failed. 

Where then, it is fair to ask, is the famed “international community” we keep hearing about? Nowhere to be found. Except perhaps for an emergency meeting of the  United Nations Security Council, called after the invasion had already begun. The chair of the Security Council was—wait for it—Russia. Enough said.

And just how is NATO looking today? Germany still refuses to turn its nuclear power plants back on. With its aggressive green agenda, Germany has made itself vulnerable to an energy squeeze by Russia. Mr Biden has done his bit by shutting down the Keystone Pipeline. He has also nominated Fed governors who have advocated using stress tests and other regulatory measures to deny financing to the fossil fuel industry. 

And then while cheering on Germany’s renunciation of nuclear power, the Biden Administration continues to pursue re-opening the Iran nuclear deal. The result will be to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons while pretending to develop nuclear energy for “peaceful” purposes. Kind of like the riots in the summer of 2020 were mostly peaceful. 

Then there is the ignominy of the U.S. surrender in Afghanistan that was engineered by Joe Biden. A surrender surely noticed by Vladimir Putin. As a result of it, American citizens and green card holders are trapped in that country, now under Taliban rule. In addition millions of Afghans face the possibility of starvation. All because what started out as a defense of the U.S. homeland after the 9/11 attack morphed into a doomed Wilsonian exercise in nation-building under President George W Bush. 

And let’s not leave out the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which among other things was predicated on our famed intelligence services assertion—with “high confidence” a “slam dunk”—that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Weapons that have yet to be found, and never will be. But as is typical of government, the author of the slam dunk quote, George Tenet, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. For what exactly is the question that comes to mind.

The fiasco that is foreign policy is mirrored by the cascade of domestic policy failures that is the hallmark of the Biden Administration.  Remember that Mr. Biden was going to shut down the virus by July 4, of 2021? How did that work out? More people have died of Covid under Mr. Biden than did so under Mr. Trump. That is true when adjusted for comparable time periods, as well as in absolute terms. At least Mr. Trump got effective vaccines developed in record time thanks to Operation Warp Speed, saving countless lives.

And now all of a sudden, and just in time for the State of the Union message, the supposedly independent CDC has discovered—mirabile dictu—new science that allows them to greatly relax mask mandates. Never mind that there were already plenty of studies demonstrating the absurdity of the policy regime. 

But Mr. Biden, along with AG Merrick Garland, of the supposedly independent DOJ made great strides in painting parents of school children as “terrorists” because they objected to the mask mandates and public school propaganda in general. The infamous Garland memo equating parents with terrorism arrived with help from the teachers unions who “suggested” the terms to be used. 

Of course there is the temporary problem of inflation. That’s the inflation that Mr Biden assured us was not going to happen. He also assured us that any uptick would merely be transitory. Well it’s been transitory for about 9 months now and shows no sign of abating. 

But he has a solution to the problem that was caused by excessive spending, borrowing and money creation. Spend and borrow even more money. Create even more demand, and regulate production even more stringently. Bernie Sanders is in favor. So is Elizabeth Warren. And Nancy Pelosi. And Chuck Schumer. And Dick Durbin. And the Squad. That should settle it.

Of course there is the crime surge to deal with. That’s the crime surge that is happening all across the major urban areas of the U.S. that just so happen to be run by—liberal Democrats. Not only that, with the help of prodigious fund raising by progressive groups (when Republicans raise campaign funds it’s called “dark money”) they have elected extremely progressive District Attorneys who refuse to prosecute crimes like burglary and robbery. 

Not surprisingly, there have been severe outbreaks of crime. Companies whose stores have been robbed and ransacked by thugs with impunity—firms like CVS—have announced lots of store closures in urban areas. Just wait for a few months for the wailing to begin about how corporate America is redlining urban areas as if that is the real story.

While all this is going on, traditional public school performance has plummeted, particularly in low income income areas, where performance was already lagging badly. Needless to say, no one this side of sanity actually believes that mandatory mask wearing for 5 year olds makes (or made) the slightest bit of difference in stopping the Corona virus. But closing the schools has had a very large negative impact both on learning and the social development of kids, especially minority kids. And it goes without saying that the school districts most negatively impacted are those located smack dab in the middle of deep blue cities. 

However the school boards of those cities do have certain accomplishments. They have removed the names of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln from schools. They have instructed 5-year olds in the finer points of gender fluidity and they have rewarded teachers unions handsomely. 

So why is this laundry list of policy failures—and that is what they are—the result of American liberalism. Note I said “liberalism” with a small L, to distinguish it from the Classical Liberalism of the Scottish Enlightenment. Underlying the current American variant is the profoundly mistaken belief that human nature is infinitely malleable. That through proper social engineering human beings can be programmed to behave “correctly”. All that needs to happen is for conditions on the ground to be closely managed by central planners. Hence the Administrative State. 

That is why we have mask mandates; why schools are being turned into propaganda factories; why language is deliberately being used to obfuscate rather than elucidate (see pronouns); why obvious sex differences are being redefined as gender “choice”; why dissenting opinion is stomped out through cancellation. 

In short contemporary liberalism is at war with human nature. Consequently, it is also at war with the foundational tenets of Western Civilization. It denies the agency and dignity of the individual human person. It deems individuals as mere cogs in a machine; that decision making by individuals is simply an illusion cloaking what really matters: things like race, class and gender. Ultimately they argue, it is power that is at the heart of all human relations. Power without decency or restraint. Like Mr. Putin’s for example. 

That is the power that contemporary liberals crave. What else explains the liberal assault on free speech, on religious practice and the adoption of cancel culture? They know what’s best for you.

In the end the burgeoning authoritarianism of contemporary liberalism will fail because authoritarianism always fails when faced with freedom. All signs point to the new authoritarians losing badly when November rolls around. The question is: Will the Republicans reject Donald J Trump, act like adults, win in November and lay the groundwork for a restoration of liberty in the United States? 

It seems increasingly likely that the Republicans will win handily in November. All to the good. The jury is still out on the rest of it though. 


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