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Progressives Are Hard to Figure Out

Progressives Are Hard to Figure Out

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Is it too much to ask of government that it do a small job right before it takes on a much bigger one?

If you’re wearing the sight-proof blindfolds that most so-called “progressives” (or socialists) wear, the answer is probably “YES.” Their answer to almost every problem is more government, even when government was the problem in the first place.

The federal government’s gift to Native Americans is the reservation system. An Indian reservation is a welfare state microcosm, with government in charge, doling out benefits and running the schools. It’s an unmitigated social disaster but that doesn’t matter to progressives. They want to turn the whole country into something similar.

The Veterans Administration runs a health care system with lots of hospitals and subsidies. It’s a microcosm of the state-run scheme progressives want for the rest of the country, its scandalous inefficiencies notwithstanding.

If you haven’t noticed yet, the top priority of today’s progressives is to put government in charge. It doesn’t seem to matter to them what the outcome might be or even if we can afford to try. History, logic, reason, facts, morals, costs—progressives don’t give a damn.

This raises a much more fundamental question about these big government folks: What’s up with their thought process? It’s so riddled with inconsistencies, contradictions and dubious notions that the rest of us are often left scratching our heads in disbelief.

Over the years, I’ve observed quite a few attributes of the progressive thought process that are, to be polite, rather questionable. Here’s a short list:

  • They spend more time promoting dependency than they do encouraging self-reliance.
  • Deceptions (for example, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan”) don’t rankle most of them because they believe their ends justify almost any means.
  • They think intentions matter far more than actual results.
  • They lump people into groups and assign them fictitious rights.
  • They learn little or nothing from history or economics, so they don’t recognize what has failed endless times in the past.
  • They think emotions, slogans and bumper-stickers trump reason and logic.
  • Compassion is their favorite word even as they put a gun to your head to get the money they want to pass around.
  • They respect property if it’s theirs, but not if it’s yours.
  • They’d rather shut you up than engage you in serious debate.
  • Individuals are never among the minorities they say they support. You have to be in a favored group before they care about you.
  • When the first conservative or libertarian faculty member is hired at their university, they think it’s a hostile takeover.
  • They think a welfare check is an entitlement, but a paycheck isn’t.
  • When their policies flop, they assume no responsibility and demand more of the same.
  • They’re always busy reforming you even if their own lives are dysfunctional.
  • They claim to know the future while showing no evidence they even understand the past.
  • They dislike business less because they have sound arguments against it and more because they have no idea how to start or run one themselves.
  • They criticize people and companies for not paying more in taxes than they are legally required to, yet never make any “donations” to government themselves beyond their own legal tax liability.
  • They are angry most of the time, have no sense of humor, find victims under every bed, smear people they don’t like, and can’t even tell a joke that’s reasonably funny.
  • They’ve perfected the fine art of the double-standard, exempting their own from the very actions they criticize in others.
  • They appeal to the worst in us by emphasizing racial divisions, pitting class against class, and buying votes with other people’s money.

These characteristics may not all apply to every progressive, but enough of them do most of the time that I must ask this question: What the hell is wrong with these people?

Lawrence writes a weekly op-ed for El American. He is President Emeritus of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in Atlanta, Georgia; and is the author of “Real heroes: inspiring true stories of courage, character, and conviction“ and the best-seller “Was Jesus a Socialist?“ //
Lawrence escribe un artículo de opinión semanal para El American. Es presidente emérito de la Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) en Atlanta, Georgia; y es el autor de “Héroes reales: inspirando historias reales de coraje, carácter y convicción” y el best-seller “¿Fue Jesús un socialista?”

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