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May 4, 2012

The Congressional Progressives

Joe Charlebois

What exactly is a progressive? To be more precise, what do members of the Progressive Caucus in the United States House of Representatives believe is the role of government?


Traditionally progressive ideals, goals and even legislation have sought to raise the standard of living for “the worker,” and the middle class in the confines of a capitalistic society. These ideals, goals and legislation brought about great changes in the workplace of the last century as well as those in the pharmaceutical and food industries. The progressive movement also sped along the women’s suffrage movement with the passing of the 19th Amendment.


The progressive movement also brought along the passage of the 18th Amendment prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol in the United States. It also brought eugenics into the mainstream of American thought and policy. Progressives of the early 20th Century were ethnic purists who sought to limit the number of undesirables entering the country as well limiting the number of children those same undesirables would have.


There are, of course, other issues that the progressives fought for, but one common thread was that they would employ the full force of government to limit the individual freedoms of the Americans through legislation and regulation.


The progressives of today may not be communists, or even socialists – depending on one’s definition – but they are indeed statists. They look to the government and the power of the masses to assure equality of results among the citizenry instead of providing equality of opportunity as a true laissez-faire society would.


In 2012 groups like the Progressive Democrats of America mimic the progressives of yesteryear in the fact that they look for the government through income taxes to provide for an ever expanding font of services and programs at the expense of future generations.

Recently Rep. Allen West (R., FL) made a statement that seemed to irritate anyone who considered themselves left-of-center politically. He was issuing a response to a question from the audience that addressed the issue of socialists in Washington. His response was: “I believe there are about 78 or 81 members of the Democrat Party that are members of the Communist Party.” He then paused for effect and added, “…it’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus.”


How far off was his statement? Well, to judge by the response you would have thought the congressman just threw someone in front of a D.C Metro bus. What do the congressmen from the House of Representatives who are members of the caucus believe? Portions of their mission statement entitled “The Progressive Promise – Fairness to All” is a litany of government controls and regulations and an elimination of individual choice in many areas of life.


Key points of the “Promise” include: the “right” to universal healthcare; indexing the minimum wage; the building of more affordable government housing; taking over the funding of construction of local schools; the institution of the so-called Fairness Doctrine through control of corporate media; the subjugation of the United States sovereignty to international organizations in matters of international import; reliance on unproven solar and wind technologies at the expense of current needs; continued subsidies to the solar and wind power industries with taxpayer monies; continued control of U.S. auto industry by forcing manufacturers to provide more fuel efficient vehicles whether or not demand for these products exists.


The progressives in the House of Representatives don’t like to be called socialist, liberal or communist, but they do believe that the rights of the citizen don’t come to us through natural rights. On the contrary, they believe that the state is the grantor of rights to its citizens. They believe that the state controls the means to establish fairness and equity in the society of today.


They may not be communists, but they definitely are statists.


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