Progressives gave us
You often hear advocates claiming, "if it wasn't for progressives, you wouldn't have X...", then they explain without progressives, we wouldn't have roads, schools, police, fireman, military, or some other thing we had for decades or centuries before progressives. But I wanted to compile the other side of the equation (the balances). Here's a reminder of what they gave us that wasn't so great, or started off fine but entropied into something bad, so people can decide if jumping on every new big-government bandwagon is a good idea… or if a little prudence, caution and research is warranted before gobbling up the bandwagon fallacy and putting on that Che Guevara T-Shirt.
The short list of losers would include the following:
- Financial servitude: centralized banking/money (the Fed), fiat currency backed by debt (and the inflation that results in), they gave us the 16th amendment, the IRS, the worst tax code in the free world (73,954 pages), they fought for every tax increase and against all relief or simplification (to fund themselves), and then they piled on 174,545 pages of regulations (over 1,040,940 restrictions spread among them) in our regulatory code, and that’s not touching the 23,000 pages in our federal legal code (and over 300,000 criminal punishments burried within the discretion of administrative agencies).
- Bigotry: centralized education with the admitted intent of reprogramming the youth (against their immigrant/catholic parents), they were champions of racism (and still are in affirmative action), supported eugenics, created our anti-immigration quotas and policies as a favor to unions (then call anyone that wants to enforce those laws a xenophobe), FDR blocked all immigration for a while, interned even 2nd generation Japanese, Germans and Italians,
- General Statism: they replaced the constitution with federalism (jurisprudence and precedence over original intent), invented supreme court stacking and judicial activism, they gave us the 17th amendment (popular vote senate which broke the constitution and states rights completely), they gave government the power to take our property (eminent domain, national parks/federal lands), and to control what we can do on our land (via the EPA and other agencies)
- Too big to fail: they have always been in bed with big business (like organized labor) and created the biggest cartels and trusts in the nation (utilities, unions, federal reserve, banking, Fanny/Freddy, tort lawyers, AMA, and so on),
- Enemies of liberty: they gave us Prohibition and the post-prohibition drug war, they granted the Fed it's own unconstitutional police forces (FBI, NSA, DEA, OSS/CIA, IRS), centralized transportation (like Amtrak), used centralized road as a way to force things on the states that were unconstitutional (like the 55MPH speed limit, forced raised the drinking age, and so on), then they complain that our federally mandated highways and bridges are crumbling (the agencies they created, failing to do their charter), they invented the anti-liberty regulatory state: the FDA was created so they could control what we put in our own bodies, the FCC and fairness doctrine were created to control our free speech (so FDR could bully any TV/Radio stations that did unfavorable pieces on the administration or it’s policies), they gave us FISA warrants and invented domestic spying (look at Espionage and Sedition Acts of the 1917-1918 and how they empowered government to read our mail, listen on phone calls, and how they undermined free speech), they created American imperialism (and got us into the Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Kosovo, Bosnia, Vietnam, and Central/South America), they gave us conscription/draft, they took away our guns for our own good, invented the poverty industrial complex (which is over 2/3rds of our budget and 9/10ths of our future liabilities), they made it harder to save for our retirement and replaced it with a youth-tax ponzi scam calls Social Security, then they raided the Social Security Trust fund and left IOU’s in their place (for our kids to pay for our debts/sins), they invented congressional appointed agencies to give congress plausible deniability and more opacity in government, and most of all, they won’t accept responsibility for any of it. It’s all the Republicans fault.
Politicos will mention the benefits of something they “gave us”, and omit the costs. Skeptics, look at the balances/costs, before deciding net win or loss. Equations should balance. So when I hear people argue about government gave us X, Y and Z — I always think, "compared to what?" How was it before, and what might we had instead? And of course, “at what cost?” The longer list of things the progressives gave us (and the costs/consequences), with a little more descriptive text includes:
- (1) centralized banking/money (the Federal reserve)
- (2) fiat currency backed by debt (and the inflation that results in)
- (3) the 16th amendment and the IRS and the worst tax code in the free world (73,954 pages),
- (4) the creation of the regulatory state (which are just taxes by another name).
The cost of regulation compliance alone is about $1.8 trillion (or $14,768 per household, as of 1994), but without that, you’d be a lot better off than that. A couple studies estimated that if we stopped regulating at 1949 levels (well after we created the FDA, FCC, EPA, and an alphabet soup of agencies), our economy would be double it's current size. How much better off would you and poorer people be with double your current income and wealth? That’s not even including the costs of over-legislation and criminalization and incarceration for minor crimes, nor the costs of tax compliance.
- If you want to dive into this topic more, read: Suffocating Liberty - the cost of red tape: http://igeek.com/0993
Remember, most of this stuff was unconstitutional, so they either changed with constitution (16th Amendment), stacked the supreme court to rubberstamp their extraconstitutional creations, or just invented a “living document” metaphor to distort a static contract into something they wish it had said (circumventing the proper legislative process). For example:
- The Constitution didn’t allow fiat currency (which they knew of from “the Continentals” of the revolution) -- which is money that's only backed by debt/fath and not a tangible asset. The Constitution intentionally only allowed printing money/coin (backed by Gold or Silver). But inflation helped the bankers and politicians take our money, so with JP Morgan and friends paying Teddy to spoil the election for Taft, they got Wilson elected as their puppet. And they created the unconstitutional Federal Reserve Bank. (The Constitution says that Congress can’t delegate their responsibilities or powers to outside agencies: but that’s what the privately held and controlled Federal Reserve Bank is — it is replacing Congresses powers over printing coin, with a Private Federal Reserve to create cash out of thin air, and dilute the value of any cash the public owns). The results have been a 97% drop in purchasing power (that’s the drop the value of our currency caused by inflation since the Federal Reserves creation). This is a hidden tax to people who don’t keep their money in banks (so that the savings interest rates offset some of inflation).
- Now, I actually think the Fed and currency manipulation can help (to a point), but it's also been abused. I'm no advocating we go back to the restrictions of real money/coin. But I am pointing out that it was (a) unconstitutional, and (b) a big cost to the common man -- they either hand their money over to bankers, or watch it depreciate (thanks to fed driving inflation).
- They changed the constitution with the 16th Amendment to allow income taxes (which would only be a 5% surcharge on the top 1%, honest), partly because they wanted to give us prohibition (without another tax source, they couldn't eliminate alcohol), but mostly because they wanted to control us (believe in centralized control). So viola, they lied to the people about scale and scope, got it passed, and we’ve never been as free as we were before we had the 16th and the IRS.
You are only as free as how much of your own work you get to keep. And progressives have given us over 50% tax rates. More if you add up all your tax and regulatory burdens,, as well as those on everything you buy, and include the 97%+ drop in the value of our currency (inflation is just a tax by another name). So how free do you feel?
Too big to fail:
(b) increased trusts (under the false claim of breaking them up). Too big to fail was done by empowering government and their special interest puppet masters. They excluded Labor/Unions from Cartel/Trust laws, then created AT&T, AFL/CIO, Comcast, etc., while breaking up smaller companies because they didn’t support the progressive politicians. Look at public utilities as an example, where most cities had 4 or 6 providers of power and phone lines before the government fixed it. There were less problems with competition before trusts were broken up (there was more companies and competition in all the areas the government fixed), and every time the government has regulated an industry, they INCREASED the barriers to entry for new competition, with the expected effects of consolidation in the industry (which they almost always approve). So trust-busting is fascism: the state picking winning/losing businesses in an industry, based on support of the politicians.
(6) They have always been in bed with big business (like organized labor) and created the biggest cartels and trusts in the nation (utilities, unions, federal reserve, banking, Fanny/Freddy, tort lawyers, AMA, and so on). Before them, we had 6 or more competing companies for electricity, phones, and so on. Afterwards, one or two per market, at most.
(9) they gave us centralized transportation (like Amtrak), and used centralized road as a way to force things on the states that were unconstitutional (like the 55MPH speed limit, forced raised the drinking age, and so on). Then they complain that our federally mandated highways and bridges are crumbling (they’re failing at doing their jobs) and the solution is to tax us more, to fix what they broke.
(14) They created the poverty industrial complex (which is over 2/3rds of our budget and 9/10ths of our future liabilities). This has been responsible for spikes in crime, single parenthood,, the decay of black culture (blacks were class climbing much more before welfare state than after). They also made it harder to plan/save for our retirement, and gave us LESS control over OUR savings, in exchange for a feeble youth-tax of a pension system (Social Security). They raided the Social Security Trust fund, and left IOU’s in their place, for our kids to pay for our debts/sins.
For example, they broke up Standard Oil because despite having under half of U.S. production (only 29% of California and 10% of gulf coast), and less of the world wide production. And despite the price of Kerosine dropping from $.58/gallon to $.07 by 1890, they were broken up. After the break-up, what happened? The stock of all the smaller companies rose (investors didn’t think the monopoly was a competitive advantage), and by helping us, today the cost of Kerosene is about $3.10/gallon (44x what it was with that evil monopoly). Explain why if the standard oil trust was so bad, how did driving down costs, increasing capacity and distribution work against us? How come when they broke up, they were valued MORE than before?
On the other hand, the government created or granted monopolies to AT&T, Comcast, almost all public utilities (most major cities had multiple phone and power providers, until regulators stepped in), monsanto, GM, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, Postal services, lawyers, patent laws, doctors, Unions, and so on. Whenever a government “nationalizes” something, it’s a monopoly. When they regulate it, they usually artificially reduce choice and competition, in the name of “Standards”. Meanwhile quality and capacity rarely increases as fast as it was doing so before, and costs usually rise in the long term (not fall).
Racism, Bigotry and re-education:
(2) centralized indoctrination/education with the admitted intent of reprogramming the youth to be more anti-immigrant, and pro-progressive. They taught protestantism in schools and taught anti-catholic rhetoric as part of their anti-immigrant lessons. (3) They were champions of racism (and still are in affirmative action). In fact, part of centralizing education was to further their views on eugenics (and the superiority of WASPS). Margaret Sanger championed Planned Parenthood and abortions to 'kill all the infer black and brown babies’, and help the white race. They created our anti-immigration policies (as a favor to unions) then call anyone that wants to enforce those laws a “racist".
Nationalism / Imperialism:
(4) They replaced the constitution with federalism. They empowered jurisprudence and precedence over original intent — and created the lie that the Constitution was a "living document” (instead of a fixed contract protecting natural rights from the government) to dupe the gullible. Then they abused every “re-interpretation” to take away guaranteed or recognized liberties. And when that didn’t work well enough, they invented supreme court stacking and gave us the 17th amendment (popular vote senate which broke the constitution and states rights completely). They invented (or at least magnified) Judicial activism, and then use propaganda to pretend that going back to original intent is activist. All the fiction that comes from one state trying to tell the others what to do, is a consequence of this. (Abortion, Gay Marriage, etc., all these battles are a consequence of telling people that they don’t get to self govern, other states/communities get to govern them).
(11) They created American imperialism. The Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Kosovo, Bosnia, Vietnam, and Central/South America, were all progressive wars. They destroyed the concept that had existed before, which was that the Constitution follows the flag (that people/lands we take are under protection of the Constitution). But during the Spanish American war, they didn’t want those Filipinos, Guam, and other Islanders to have the same rights and path to statehood as other territories — so they got treated as protectorates, and weren’t given the same rights as other American lands. And Torture in Iraq was nothing compared to what they gave us in Spanish American, WWI and WWII.
(12) They gave us conscription. While we had used small variants of the draft before (basically quotas from States), it grew dramatically in scale and scope, openly violated the 13th amendment (and set supreme court precedences) with conscription. Before Teddy and Wilson, we didn’t have the draft, and wars had to be popular and about national defense. Afterwards, they could be about empire.
Reduced Liberties and Transparency
(8) they gave us Prohibition and the Drug War, then granted the Fed it's own unconstitutional police forces (FBI, NSA, DEA, OSS/CIA, IRS) =
Progressives gave us unconstitutional privacy intrusions like FBI, NSA, DEA. (There is nothing in the constitution that allows the Federal Government to run their own police force, let alone have that police supersede the state and local polices). Progressives complain about FISA (passed by Carter), then ignore that GWB’s one time expansion during a crisis, was not only voted for by progressives and renewed under Obama (when the need had abated), but it was also expanded by him. And FISA stemmed from what?
(f) in areas of liberty, they gave government the power to take our property (eminent domain, national parks/federal lands to steal the state and community land), they control what we can do on our land (EPA). They also gave us, Prohibition and the Drug War. (They pushed the 19th, just because they knew Women were more gullible voters, and they could use them to get the prohibition passed). They were champions of racism (and still are in affirmative action). They created and expanded the draft/conscription (and made it criminal to oppose it). While we had used small variants of the draft before, it grew dramatically in scale and scope, openly violated the 13th amendment (and set supreme court precedences) with conscription.
The FCC, which was a program given to us by FDR for the express purposes of bullying enemies of the State. (The state being defined as FDR’s administration).
(5) They gave government the power to take our property (eminent domain, national parks/federal lands) and they wanted control what we can do on our land (via the EPA).
(7) they gave us the 16th amendment / the IRS and the worst tax code in the free world (73,954 pages). They promised it would only be a 6% on the very rich (those making over $12M in income), then fought for every tax increase, and against all relief or simplification. They needed this alternate revenue source so they could take away alcohol (and offset the tax revenues that generated).
(10) they invented the anti-liberty regulatory state. The FDA was created so they could control what we put in our own bodies. It was justified when Upton Sinclair wrote his fiction piece called "the jungle" to protect us from a non-problem — it was a known lie at the time, but is still taught today, as justification for why we needed the FDA. The FCC and fairness doctrine were created to control our free speech, so FDR could bully any TV/Radio stations that did unfavorable pieces on the administration or it’s policies. They gave us FISA warrants and invented domestic spying (look at Espionage and Sedition Acts of the 1917-1918 and how they empowered government to read our mail, listen on phone calls, and how they undermined free speech).
(15) Opacity of government. Before progressives, Congress was accountable to the people, Senate was accountable to the States, and the numbers had to be public. After them, they created agencies and unconstitutionally delegated congressional powers to those committees and agencies to hide what they were doing. They created a regulatory state for business transparency, but excluded congress and government from having to follow the same laws. Before we had 50 States trying different things, and you could compare results and learn, so they eliminated that, to have only the one-true D.C. mandated central policies so you couldn’t test, observe and learn from competing states.
(16) They gave us political lies. OK, those existed before, but not to the same scale. If you have a philosophy that is unpopular (that the ruling elite should eliminate our liberty, and control the unwashed masses, for our own good), then you can’t win by telling the truth. So progressivism, at its basest, is about the big lie. Spinning the truth in ways that will get people to support things they wouldn’t support if you told them the whole truth. So every issue becomes a distraction, for their own good. The ends justifies the means. (Especially if you ignore the ends, the means, and attack anyone that questions any of it).
Undermining the Constitution
, the unconstitutional , Prohibition and the Drug War, they were champions of racism (and still are in affirmative action), they empowered jurisprudence and precedence over original intent (undermined the constitution), created our anti-immigration policies (as a favor to unions), and the anti-liberty regulatory state: the FDA was created after Upton Sinclair wrote his fiction piece called "the jungle" to protect us from a non-problem, and the FCC and fairness doctrine was created so FDR could bully any TV/Radio stations that did unfavorable pieces, they have always been in bed with big business (like organized labor) and created the biggest cartels in our country, they took away our guns for our own good (20,000 gun control laws still aren't enough), and they created the poverty industrial complex (which is over 2/3rds of our budget and 9/10ths of our future liabilities). And the solution to the problems they created or made worse? In their delusional minds it is to empower government even more, because they're here to help us.
(c) Progressives claim they love America, that’s why they want to destroy it and remake it into something else. All the worst changes to our constitution can be traced to progressives: some legally (as amendments 16, 17, 18) most illegally (supreme court stacking, the idea of precedence/living document over originalism/law), and so on. The fed could not do whatever it wanted if the Senate was beholden to the States (put there to protect States interests against the Fed): so the progressives broke the bi-cameral design of our legislature (put there by our constitution), so that directly elected senators would do whatever bad idea the people could be duped into, instead of what the states wanted. (You could never have forced the states into voting for them taking on the burdens imposed by the fed, without it).
They broke the constitution. This was at the same time, the progressives created the FCC and Propaganda ministries for WWI (and later WWII) to control the messaging that the people got.
(d) Destruction of the first amendment: In the name of Free Speech, the progressives gave us the FCC (and “fairness doctine’s”) to tell us what speech was “fair” or not. Remember what the first says, "Congress shall make NO LAW…”. No law. None. Nada. Zilch. They first convinced the gullible, that some laws were allowed, using “Fire in a crowded theater” fallacy. The thing is that was the State’s authority to legislate, NOT the Fed’s. Then under that false premise, they passed Espionage and Sedition Acts of the 1917-1918 (not counting earlier versions in Civil war, or war of 1812), where congress did pass a law that said free speech was not allowed, if it threatened the state in a time of war. They tapped phones, they read people’s mail, and they arrested people for saying you didn’t have to register for the draft. FISA was theirs (passed under Carter) which was an extension of the FCC (passed by FDR) which was a way for democrats to persecute their political opposition.
(13) They took away our guns for our own good (20,000 gun control laws still aren't enough), they want to repeal the 2nd (which requires eliminating the 4th and 10th as well).
I'm not saying they've never done anything good. But I am saying almost every problem that needs fixing today, can be traced back to problems made worse by progressive fixes of the past. So what should we learn from that? Conservatives and libertarians learned that progressive solutions have made far more things worse than they helped. Progressives don't learn, because they don't consider mistakes of the past, important, unless they can blame them on someone else. Thus they revise history, and learned that they need more power to fix all these things, because until they have complete power over every aspect of our lives, they have an excuse for why anything is broken. They ignore the failings of all their prior “fixes” and focus on how much more they could fix, if we just eliminated a little more liberty.
Before the progressives, we had many States self-governing, and trying different things. We could see those variants and learn from it. And if you didn’t like what your state was going, you could move to the one next door that was doing it better (or force your state to copy it). But if you want to control people and eliminate choice, that’s way too much liberty. So progressives wanted to centralize and control us all. To do that, they need to divide us into groups, polarize us against each other, then conquer us… one liberty at a time. Pit each group against the other, and hope they don’t notice, or have read enough history to know that government works best when it governs least, and when people are freer to choose how they want their communities to work.
Q: Why do billionaires buy off politicians? A: Because that's where the power is.
So the reason the business has power over our lives, is they can buy that power from the government that progressives empowered (by centralizing) in the first place. And progressive's solution is: give government even more power, under the false promise of fixing it. Then they'll just broker away our rights to the highest bidder, even more.
NOTE: I’m not saying progressives are all evil. We need them. But it’s about balances. They’re like gravity — a little is good, too much crushes you under their own weight, and too many collapses in on itself and creates something so dense that no light or matter can escape their power of suck.