Saturday, April 12, 2008

Progressivism and Fear Revisited

The dominant mood of the past century's Progressive era has been fear. The movement that was founded on the claim that self-expression is of paramount importance; that democracy is sacred; and that institutions can be re-shaped to suit public ends has generated neither human fulfillment nor democracy. It has generated fear. It has done so by re-directing economic resources and potential growth toward large, established firms; regulating the economy and so foreclosing entrepreneurship; creating inflation and the income tax and so foreclosing independent wealth and saving. It restricts employment by favoring large firms over small by redirecting capital to the large firms through the governmentally-supported banking system. The re-direction of capital from personal savings into large corporations' treasuries resulted in the reduction in the number of jobs but also changed the character of jobs from those that reflect entrepreneurial initiative and creativity, hence human fuilfillment, to those that depend on conformity to a boss; teamwork; and fear of being fired. The dominant mood of the Progressives was teamwork and group behavior, the sacrifice of the individual to the group. This was paradoxically done in the name of encouraging self-fulfillment and self-expression. But the chief mood has been a century of fear. The Progressives created the Great Depression by first creating the Fed under Woodrow Wilson, with the Fed then mismanaging the money supply. This created a generation whose chief fear was unemployment and lack of "social security". The Roosevelt administration, following through with the Progressive program, intensified the Fed's power by abolishing the gold standard. The result has been mismanagement of the nation's credit supply; inflation; a reduction in the number of good (non-corporate) jobs; and fear. Fear of not conforming to the boss's whims. Fear of not being politically correct; fear of not following the Progressive elite's fashion of the moment; fear of unemployment because of non-conformity to the corporate and state's whimsical definitions of compatibility and interpersonal skills; fear of not laughing at Bill Maher's stale jokes; and fear of not getting a job at all.

Fear is not far removed from hate. Progressivism is not far removed from totalitarian rule and economic decline.

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