Posted under Political Philosophy
Kevin Drum is upset people are trying to define Progressivism before he does:
PROGRESSIVES….Holy cats. Are conservatives really gearing up to do the same thing to “progressive” that they’ve spent the last few decades doing to “liberal”? Over at The Corner, Yuval Levin takes a shot at it:
“Progressivism, after all, has a very mixed history in American politics, which takes in not only efforts to reform labor laws, bust trusts, and create national parks but also some serious doses of racism, social Darwinism, eugenics, and a very strange mix of authoritarianism and out of control populism….Ross [Douthat] suggests it is no coincidence that the growing preference for the term “progressive” comes at a time when a new eugenics is rearing its head, and when the left is increasingly emphasizing its self-identification as the party of science.”
Lovely, no? Did you know before now that a “new eugenics” was rearing its head? Did you even know there was a new eugenics? And that apparently us progressive types endorse it? And furthermore that if we call ourselves progressives we’re implicitly endorsing every odious view of every person who’s ever called himself a progressive?
Good gravy. These guys really don’t know when to quit, do they?
The only problem is, is for every small-scale Progressive likeÂ Robert LaFollette, William Allen White, Hirma Johnson and Burton K. Wheeler, there’s going to be change-the-world Progressives likeÂ Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Dewey and Margaret K. Sanger along with the Prohibition movement as well.
So which one are you going to be Kevin? A LaFollette or a Wilson?