Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Progressives: Marching Forward Into the Past (9.13.08)

Who can hope to obtain proper concepts of the present, without knowing the future? --Johann Georg Hamann

When we inquire into the meaning of history, facts alone cannot help us. This is because what we specifically wish to know is whether history means anything other than the numberless facts it leaves in its wake. As such, the meaning of history can only be found in the present, in an imaginative vision. But even that is not quite right, for we can only really understand the meaning of something by discerning where it is headed--by its direction and end.

As we have said before, this idea of history having a direction was a Judeo-Christian innovation, as all primitive and pagan cultures (including Islam) saw time as either a cyclical or degenerative process. But all of us in the west are so saturated with historical consciousness that we all believe in the directionality of history, even if we deny it.

For example, Josef Pieper writes, “Whoever says ‘historical development’ has already said and thought that history possesses an irreversible direction; this applies all the more to anyone who says ‘progress.’ In the most innocent use of the words ‘already’ and ‘still’ (‘the Greeks already knew...’)--such turns of phrase always contain the implication that history is leading up to something, that a particular state--of perfection or of impoverishment--is the end state.

“It therefore appears impossible to reflect upon history in a spirit of philosophical inquiry without at the same time inquiring, in some sense or other, as to the End. This question cannot be ‘left alone.’”

In the west we have two divergent political movements that would seem to define themselves in terms of their historical ends, “progressives” and “conservatives.” The progressive obviously believes in the a priori sanctity of the word “progress,” as if it is self-justifying. But there are many kinds of progress--for example, a progressive disease that has an inevitable end state called “death.” More often than not, what the progressive means by “progress” is merely change.

In a sense, progressivism is deeply ahistorical, for it merely examines the now, pronounces that it does not like the now, and proposes radical policies to change the character of the now. And this is why the policies so frequently end in disaster, for as Thomas Sowell has written, they never take the time to “think beyond stage one” and calculate the actual effect of their policies.

Welfare, for example, was a deeply “progressive” system. And yet, look at all the progress that has been made since it it was radically reformed a decade ago, thanks to “conservatives.” “Between 1965 and 1995 we spent more than $5 trillion on Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty, while welfare rolls, chronic unemployment, and illegitimacy rates all steadily grew” (National Review, 9-11-06).

But since Clinton signed the Republican reform into law, “welfare rolls have shrunk by more than 60 percent, the number of poor children has fallen by 1.4 million, and illegitimacy rates have stopped growing. Black-child poverty is at its lowest in history.” In order to achieve this end, it was necessary to overcome the compassion (what Buddhists call "idiot compassion") of all the usual progressive suspects--academics, government bureaucrats, the media, liberal church groups, etc.--but “the poor are richer for it.”

But do conservatives get any credit for helping the poor? Of course not. Again, by hijacking the word “progress” and incorporating it into their very name, everything progressives do is.... progressive, no matter how regressive--high taxes, redefining marriage, multiculturalism, moral relativism, appeasing terrorists.

Conservatives--at least this conservative--are interested in conserving the very conditions that allow progress to occur (especially psycho-spiritual progress), while progressives simply assume those historically rare conditions and try to tinker with the outcome, both in the micro realm (e.g., the family) and the macro realm (economics, foreign policy).

When it comes to economics, for example, conservatives are interested in the conditions that allow for the creation of wealth to occur, whereas liberals simply assume that the wealth is there, and that it is merely a matter of fairly distributing it. But by doing so, they unwittingly undermine the very conditions that allow the creation of wealth to begin with. Likewise, by appeasing terrorists in the name of "peace," they undermine the most important condition of peace, which is f*** with us and you are dead.

We saw this backward approach to economics in its naked form in communist countries, but it it is also happening in virtually all of the socialist countries of western Europe, which have stagnant economies and cannot sustain their huge government outlays for various welfare programs. The more progressive they are, the further behind they fall.

Likewise, countries that have abandoned socialist doctrine, such as India and Israel, have experienced phenomenal growth (imagine what an economic and technological powerhouse tiny Israel would be if it didn’t have to exhaust so much of its resources defending itself from Islamic barbarians).

What is the real end of history? How do we measure actual progress? Again, progress-which is relative--can only be measured in terms of some absolute, whether it is explicit or implicit. In the purely horizontal world of secular progressives, I suppose it can mean only one thing--material equality, as if it were somehow possible for everyone to be above average. But by definition, half the population is below average in whatever it is you are measuring. Therefore, to enforce equality in the name of progress might be fine for the lamb but is tyranny for the lion. No wonder “job one” of the Democratic party is converting people into lambs, otherwise known as victims.

The most important victims for the Democratic party are blacks, for the Democrats would no longer be a viable party in something like 26 states if they did not garner 90% of the black vote. So naturally they were against welfare reform, for this reduces the number of victims that can be both created and rescued by progressives. It probably also explains why they are against school choice, for it is obviously neccessary to maintain an intellectually crippled population that adheres to "progressivism" even after biological maturity has occurred (for progressivism is probably a normal condition for the ahistorical and emotion-driven adolescent psyche--see dailykos... or me when I was a post-biological adolescent in need of a progressive doctrine to justify my lack thereof).

And this also explains the implicit--and sometimes explicit---alliance of progressives and Islamists, for “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” The Islamists wish to march backward into the future, while the left wishes to march forward into the past. Different route, same end. Especially after the Islamist allahgator eats the progressives last. And then sheds q'rocodile tears.


will said...

Re: historical consciousness - I was a classic slacker in high school, can't remember much of those years other than playing guitar and going to parties. Still, when I graduated, I knew when the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, WW1 and 2, and the Korean Conflict had occurred. I knew what Gettysburg was about (July, 1863). I knew who the Allied and Axis powers were. I knew about Lincoln, Robert E Lee, Grant, Reconstruction. The Depression and Hiroshima. Werner von Braun. I had a basic understanding of Congressional/Executive "checks and balances". I could find New Zealand on a map, no problem. Maybe I picked this stuff up by osmosis, I don't know, but I knew it.

Now, maybe the observation that "the younger generations are the first in American history to not know anything about the generations that preceded them" is an exaggeration, but there's some truth to it, I fear. The osmosis mojo that worked for me doesn't seem to be fully operational. The reasons for this could be many: too many entertainment distractions, intellectual sloth brought about by prosperity, secularist obsession with the "now", etc.

Whatever the causes, the results play right into the hands of the "progressive" social engineers. Regarding history, there seems now to be a shared belief that everything that went before the modern age was "wrong", and that "We enlightened ones now know the truth", the "truth" being that before the modern age, all was religious superstition, racism, sexism, national chauvinism, homophobia, etc, etc. No proof is needed to support this, of course, and due to history-illiteracy, it wouldn't be forthcoming anyway. But there's a lot of scary passion behind this blind belief - it's fuel for the mob-inspired True Believer, the potential shock troops for the "progressive" types.

The phrase "the end of history" may have a lot of meanings, different resonances, some of them positive, but the erasure of historical consciousness is not one of the positives. When humans developed memory, it marked a huge leap into civilizational awareness. The current lack of historical awareness, I fear, marks a step toward uncivilized unconsciousness, a return to paganism. The barbarian jihadist absence of historical consciousness (save for their myths and magical thinking) has, unfortunately, its compliment right here in Western Civ.

Van said...

"...In a sense, progressivism is deeply ahistorical, for it merely examines the now, pronounces that it does not like the now, and proposes radical policies to change the character of the now. And this is why the policies so frequently end in disaster..."

So true. They've chosen what they want to be, over what is or what can be, which makes a coherent grasp of facts and Truth into their enemy.

To pull their approach off, you need to make all of your reasoning into convoluted complexity that can only be examined piece by piece, pushing Principles off the table (read any Hegel lately?). Someone like Bush who (attempts) to act on principle is absolutely terrifying to them - what if everyone respected, and thought in, Principles? The Pro-regressives unwashed Dodo-bird underwear would be on display for all to see.

I know that our first response to most leftist positions is "They can't really be that Stupid?!", but the answer is "Oh Yes they can!", which I looked at in my last post Fighting the Method of Intelligent Stupidity, and not only can they stupid, they have to be, and they need to intimidate everyone else into not examining their positions through procedures such as Political Correctness, in order to be able to maintain their positions.

To paraphrase Edmund Burke, "All that stupidity needs to prevail, is for smart people to stand by and say nothing"

Dana said...

I came across your blog by chance and was fascinated to read this post. Your use of weighted words works well as a subtle slanting of your own views. Cleverly constructed. I had never before thought of "progressives," for example, as always wanting "radical changes" to the "now." "Radical"?

Interesting how we view others throught the prism of our own belief systems.

jwm said...

Progressive thought for the day:

Never let the truth violate your God given right to believe whatever you damn well please.


joseph said...

Your brilliant post confirms my sense that most who go by the name of "conservatives" currently in office, are actually progressives, masquerading as conservatives. This is one reason why our political process is so convoluted. The "no child left behind" program and federal funding of agricultural nonsense or two perfect examples of "conservative" welfare.

A Moonbat Speaks said...

yIt's a darn cold world. "Progressives" do what they do because "lassaiz-faire capitalists" tend to victimize their fellow man. A mitigated capitalism (i.e, watered down socialism) is therefore the best system ever devised. Progressivism as a factor in economics has been proven to be essential over and over.

Regarding Bob and his Bobbleheads, the question is, what would happen if he or his people somehow come into power? What would be the fate of dissenters like materialists, gay married people, communists, atheists, Islamofascists and so forth? Does Bob believe that the biological extirpation of these factions is desirable?
Bob, this question if for you: if you were omnipotent, how would you deal with your enemies? Would you shoot moonbats if you could do so with impunity? Do spokesholes deserve to use up valuable resources? Should the Islamofascists go to the wall?
There is a wierd Mein Kampf atmosphere to your prose that prompts this question.

Joan of Argghh! said...

Dearest Moonbat,
I am soooo glad a capitalist is victimizing me by paying me a living wage with great benefits. It lets me live my life and ignore silly nonsense from folks like you. And when your footling fallacies give me a headache, why, victim that I am! I can go to the doctor and use my generous benefits to my own relief.

I work not too hard to be so elegantly victimized.

Moreover, unbidden I reply to your worry about the nuances of lassaiz-faire capitalists who somehow want to rule your every little move and cleanse the earth of your ilk... Um... which is it? Are we "hands off" or heavy handed?

Gagdad Bob said...


In answer to your question, no, I would not eliminate you. I mean, if I were omnipotent, I wouldn't have created you to begin with, so it's a moot point.

jwm said...

The moon bat asks:

What would be the fate of dissenters like materialists, gay married people, communists, atheists, Islamofascists and so forth?

Glad you asked. First we're gonna take you all to Hawaii and throw you in a volcano. Then we're going to tie you to the Space Shuttle and let them launch it. Then we're gonna put honey all over you and make you sit on an ant hill. Then we'll throw you off of a big cliff. After that you go to the detention camp where they make you drop acid and listen to a scratched Grateful Dead record all day long.

And that's just for starters.


A moonbat speaks said...

Joan of Arrgh cites her "living wages and great benefits" as the rewards of capitalists, but I would add that her employers are mitigated capitalists. They have no choice but to give her living wages and benefits because of progressive activism in the last century.
And finally, J of A asks the rhetorical question: are we (Bobbleheads) "heavy-handed" (militant) or "hands-off?"
Bob, in his reply, sheds but little light on the question of using deadly force in the service of his cause. Although he says he "would not kill me," a moonbat, he does says that if he were omnipotent, he "never would have created me in the first place." It's a passive way of saying it, but yes, Bob, if given his preference, would wish me out of existence.
In for a dime, in for a dollar, Bob. All real power comes from the barrel of a rifle. Any student of history knows that. So, are you a real player or just making noise?

hoarhey said...

It's interesting to see how socialists project their own tendencies for purging people onto others.
EVERY government of the twentieth century that enagaged in purges From Pol Pot to Stalin to Mao was socialist including National Socialists, the Nazis.

will said...

Moonbats - You reveal your eagerness to be victimized, a trait common to MBs.

Truth is, nobody's interested in eliminating you, only in protecting themselves from the spread of your MB idiocies. Yeah, yeah, I know it's fun to think of yourself as a martyr for the cause, but sorry. Besides, people like you and the philosophies you purvey have a way of destroying themselves over time.

Van said...

Will said it best, but I can't resist pressing the matter.

moonbat said "All real power comes from the barrel of a rifle. Any student of history knows that."

Nope, any real student of history knows that only those who know nothing of history think real power comes from the barrel of a rifle.

All tin-pot tyrants who believe that find themselves purged in short order. Real power comes from Ideas. Ideas stir people up, ideas can fill people with wisdom and courage such as:

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."

, or with a newly discovered sense of anger and entitlement such as with Lenin, Hitler, Mao and that most successful modern windy tyrant Fidel (leftist's one and all).

It is ideas that convince people to pick up guns and point them in the direction the speaker chooses. When they forget that and attempt to resort to force alone, they wind up like Musolini (another leftist) - hanged, drawn and shredded at the hands of those suddenly free of his words.

Incidently, it is usually those considered "Rightist’s" (they were actually more like socialists of the Right, but ... whatever) like Pinochet & the Shaw who forget that their power comes from ideas not guns, and so find themselves quickly out of power.

windarkwingod said...

Sorry for another jackboot kick Moonbat... ever google "Godwin's Law"?

Ben usn (ret) said...

Hey! You guy's didn't leave me much material to work with here!
Now I really have to make an effort.

You aren't where you think you are.
Remember, only you can prevent moonbats.

Now I'm exhausted, but I will be back!

Aristophanes said...


It is refreshing to see that at least one person has the courage to stand up to these backwards conservative knuckleheads.

Why can't they see that all the problems in the world today are instigated by the greedy capitalist corporations and their puppet American government?

America has become a totalitarian state in service of the corporations. The so-called "War on Terror" is just a creative marketing title given to "The War to Secure Money for the Oil Companies."

These conservative lunatics just want to maintain the status quo and ensure that white males stay in power for years to come. And they don't care who they disenfranchise en route to their goals.

Thanks again, Moonbat, for being a beacon of sanity in the midst of this ocean of conservative lunacy. but don't even bother trying to argue with these clowns. They just don't live in the same world as we do.

Morgan said...


Serious, or parodic?

Van said...

Aristophanes, I do believe that that's your best work since "The Clouds"!

jwm said...

Re aristophanes

You got it, space brother. Speak truth to power, man! But I gotta' run- got some serious disenfranchisin' to do today.


A moonbat speaks said...

Despite the flurry of messages from his supporters, Bob himself did not answer the question I posed for him, which is his stance on using violence to advance his spiritual/political aims. He uses rhetorical violence freely and I want to see if he intends to use physical violence later down the road, or if he has even thought about it. This is a legitimate concern.
Bob and Hitler are chillingly similar. Fill in the blank--
"Our nation's problems are the fault of ( jews, homosexuals, moonbats, liberals, progressives, communists, gypsies, Polish nationalists). Bob and Hitler have different targets but the game of labeling is well underway, always the first step towards genocide.
Hitler was a lowly house-painter who was initially dismissed as a crack-pot. Bob is a psychotherapist and cannot be dismissed as harmless by any means. Since his blog is a public forum, Bob is already a de-facto politician and the position comes with responsibilities.
Legitimate policy-makers like George Bush are careful with their rhetoric, and I don't think it unreasonable to advise that Bob tone it down too. I don't really believe that Bob harbors malice in his heart but he sure talks a whole lot of smack and that has gotten the attention of the Left Wing.
Does Bob advocate a Spiritocracy? What does Bob think should happen politically in this country? These things should be out on the table.
And thank you for your support, Aristophanes.

Anonymous said...


"Bob and Hitler are chillingly similar."

and later....

"Legitimate policy-makers like George Bush are careful with their rhetoric, and I don't think it unreasonable to advise that Bob tone it down too."

Joan of Argghh! said...

Moonbat dahling:

So, when Jesus cleared out the money-changers in the temple, was he using violence to propogate his religious point of view? Or was he defending his own house? And do you see a difference?

As for this bit of fluff, "They have no choice but to give her living wages and benefits because of progressive activism in the last century." I can only laugh out loud at such a narrow view of how the real world works. Don't make me conclude that you, a)are a tenured educator; b)a government worker (where your employer truly has no choice); or c)unemployed altogehter

adolf said...

I don't appreciate the odious comparisons to this Jew-loving Gagdad person.

Bleepless said...

One of the odd aspects of progressivist ahistoricality is its dedication to historicism. Good progressives all really know the path history has taken, is taking and will take. As they try to bend humanity to their will, they are convinced that they understand the inevitable course of history. This is accompanied by a combination of smugness about their superiority and panic at the stumbling blocks (me and thee).

Van said...

Sadly I'm a sucker for a foolish argument, so here goes another coffee break down the drain.

It's typical of Moonbat Proregressives (label!label!label! Ahh! Help I'm being repressed! Come see the repression inherent in the system!) to see/judge (hmm...probably comes from learning to read by See & Say) rather than to research, read, think and then judge.

Here's a tip, there's a link on the main page for the “Knowa's Arkive and Bloggereliquarium”, there's only a year or so there so it won't hurt that bad.

If you insist on starting with a conclusion (Bob advocates Killing Label people), see if you can find evidence for that first.

Note: Disapproval of label people does not equate to advocating their being killed. It may be too subtle a distinction for you, but be patient and work on it.

Note2: We're laughing at your superior intelligence.

Anonymous said...

But don't even bother trying to argue with these clowns. They just don't live in the same world as we do.

And if they sieze power (like 2006 or 2008), they get to force the rest of us to live in their world -- or else.

Just like the Ummah.

Lisa said...

Who made moonbat the speech police?

Typical Progressive!

A moonbat speaks said...

Joan of Arrgh, you wrote of my views that "I can only laugh out loud at such a narrow view of how the real world works." Yet, for the second time you have failed to rebut my contentions with anything solid. You hint that you know how the real world works--would you care to share it with me, please?
In what way do you not understand that except for progressive activism in the 20th century, you may not now make a living wage nor have benefits? These are union achievements.
And for all who have responded to this moonbat, I thank you, but to be of real help would you please call your master to the field of cyberbattle to confront me directly? Where the heck is he?

digdug said...

I love you, you teacher.
Whenever in my struggles as a human I encounter one blinded by a prideful attitude, I think of you. Thank you for that, Gagdad Bob. Carry on. Guard the nose and the shins.

Van said...

Ok Moonbat Nags, how can I put this gently... hmm, yes that would work, but there'd be no fun in it, so I'll try this route instead.

Your contentions are quite simple foolish and laughable - how and why would anyone take seriously such a randomly stupid accusation (Blogger Gagdad = dictator Hitler) as what you've made?

It doesn't take much reading here to realize that there's not a shred of basis to it, and anyone who doesn't
a) take the time to read a representative amount of past posts before firing off such inappropriate comments, or
b) does and isn't able to see there's no basis for such comments,
really isn't worth taking much time to rebut (personally I still get a juvenile guilty pleasure out of it - an old habit from a mispent youth that occasionally crops up).

I have no intent, and certainly no right or ability to speak for Gagdad, but after reviewing a number of past posts & similar random comments that have been made - I'd wager that he's just too plain bored with such Godwin's Law (see windarkwingod's previous comment) type comments, to bother addressing it further.

Bushquse me. said...

Then there's always this: Some understand that you can't hear the squeak of the leather while you're polishing the jackboot.

Bushquse me. said...

Man with a Van & fellow "freethinkers">
Well you could be right...
Then there's always this: Some people understand that you can't hear the squeak of the leather while you're polishing the jackboot.

Van said...

Ah, well, there you've pegged it (took a couple tries, but you got it - tricky things, those buttons).

Yep, jackboot polisher, enemy of Individual Rights & Free Speech me.
Insighted me to the bone.

My, the boredom does creep up on you. Nighty-knight.

Bushquse me. said...

Wow. You've master'd the art of deflection. Have you considered politics instead of fawning? Keep sukkin up. Work on your rhightoric and U2 might one day host a blog worthy of the anals of OwnCosmote.
BTW: I'm just waking up. I don't have to work. I'm a liberal.

Van said...

To Bushquse me,

Joan of Argghh! said...

Moonbat, if you need to me to describe the real world to you, it further indicates your place in it: Tenured, secure, safe, and healthy. Safe. Free from thought or worry. Safe.

I have lived extensively in the Third World (and not as some priveleged and rich person) and have all the experience I need to never be at the mercy of a mere (and silly)argument about our so-called oppressive marketplace.