Paul Ryan, progressive

posted at 7:16 pm on April 5, 2010 by CK MacLeod

Many people believe Democracy obsolete.
They are wrong.
Obsolete is the one thing
Democracy can never be.

R. Buckminster Fuller – “No More Secondhand God”

In responding to Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech to the Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs on March 31, even some of the constitutional conservatives on the HotAir headline thread and then again around the Quote of the Day gave both speech and speaker rave reviews. The general reaction to Ryan verges on “presidential boomlet,” and, really, why couldn’t this man be president, and as soon as we need him to be? He’s as qualified as… Woodrow Wilson was. He’s certainly as qualified as… Abraham Lincoln was. More qualified in many ways than various presidents any of us could bring up…

When people ask, as they often have over recent months, what I mean when I refer to “progressive conservatism,” I have often pointed to Paul Ryan. He’s not the only exemplar I could name, but he’s one of the best. Consider the entirety of his approach – and also consider passages in his speech like this one:

The Democratic leaders of Congress and in the White House hold a view they call “Progressivism.” Progressivism began in Wisconsin, where I come from. It came into our schools from European universities under the spell of intellectuals such as Hegel and Weber, and the German leader Bismarck. The best known Wisconsin Progressive was actually a Republican, Robert LaFollette.

Progressivism was a powerful strain in both political parties for many years. Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, and Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, both brought the Progressive movement to Washington.

Early Progressives wanted to empower and engage the people. They fought for populist reforms like initiative and referendum, recalls, judicial elections, the breakup of monopoly corporations, and the elimination of vote buying and urban patronage. But Progressivism turned away from popular control toward central government planning. It lost most Americans and consumed itself in paternalism, arrogance, and snobbish condescension. “Fighting Bob” LaFollette, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson would have scorned the self-proclaimed “Progressives” of our day for handing out bailout checks to giant corporations, corrupting the Congress to purchase votes for government controlled health care, and funneling billions in Jobs Stimulus money to local politicians to pay for make-work patronage. That’s not “Progressivism,” that’s what real Progressives fought against!

(Emphasis added.)

For all I know, Ryan’s been talking this way for years, and I’ll assume barring hard evidence to the contrary that he picked up on this theme on his own, not from posts at the HotAir Greenroom and Zombie Contentions. He probably just sees the same thing that, say, Newt Gingrich saw when he started speaking about “real progress and real change” sometime during the last decade. It’s a completely natural and congenial way, in my view one of the better ways, to approach our political moment both theoretically and practically – even if it seems to conflict with the tactic of all-out, all-conflating assault on and total condemnation of progressivism, an alternative but equally natural, if arguably less promising, response to our fundamental political disagreement with today’s nominal progressives.

The sections in Ryan’s speech that deal directly with “real progressives” vs “regressive” progressives represent only a small part of his manifesto, but the critique is interwoven throughout, and implicitly invoked whenever Ryan refers to “Progressivists” rather than to “progressives,” emphasizing the distinction between those who merely exploit a tradition or belief system, and those who represent its authentic spirit.

In short, Ryan wants to deny anyone the sole possession of this political turf. A proud Wisconsinite, he is understandably reluctant to reject his state’s political tradition – a brand of progressivism known as “the Wisconsin Idea.” And why shouldn’t Ryan be proud? As he points out, and as I have found myself repeatedly having to point out, many elements of progressivism are so deeply embedded in our political life, not just in progressive states but nationwide, that hardly anyone questions them at all. Instead, conservatives all across America have been and are making good use of them – including the primary campaign, the citizen initiative, the insistence on transparency and on the rights of an informed citizenry. Rather than asserting a fundamental contradiction between his “real” progressivism and constitutionalism, Ryan asserts and demonstrates their dynamic interdependence. And why shouldn’t Paul Ryan of WI seek to hold this ground, not just for his own sake, but for our sake in the effort to build a winning and, eventually, a governing coalition?

As for Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and their followers, they may not deserve association with the most evil tyrants in world history, but they really do have something in common with the worst traitors to real progressivism.  They have reversed the original progressive demand for citizen empowerment. In so doing they have, arguably, embraced what makes “liberal fascism” fascistic (and illiberal).  They have crossed – are crossing – the line between authentic political progress, real progressivism, and its opposite.

The spirit of the Progressive Era was much broader than the ideas and policies of any particular leader or intellectual, but the examples of TR and Wilson, whom Ryan describes as having “brought the Progressive movement to Washington,” remain instructive. Running for president on the Bull Moose/Progressive Party platform in 1912, Roosevelt and his allies called for national referenda and measures enabling the popular recall of federal officials. One of Wilson’s central criticisms of congress in the work that made his name was aimed at the customary secret deliberations of all-powerful committees.  First as governor of New Jersey and then as president, Wilson liked to call for “pitiless publicity” as the best means of exposing and ending corruption and misgovernment. In the battle to gain approval of the League of Nations, before being permanently sidelined by an incapacitating stroke, Wilson at one point proposed a national referendum on the issue, and had prepared to make the elections of 1920 into one. Earlier, the progressive opponents of Wilson – who included the Wisconsinite whom Ryan mentions, Robert LaFollette – had called for a national referendum on entering World War I. (They probably would have lost.)

Can anyone imagine Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, for all of their bluster about being on the side of the people, putting Obamacare to a popular vote?  Which side in the current fight is trying to make the 2010 elections into a referendum on a Obamaism?

Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to ask for the people’s direct OK on Obamacare. Maybe we should have been asked directly about TARP, about the bailouts, about raising the debt ceiling, about the Stimulus or Son of Stimulus. Maybe we should be consulted directly when the debt commission issues its recommendations. No value added taxation without referendum! I’d have a good feeling about a popular vote on some version of Ryan’s Road Map versus the Obama-Pelosi-Reid-style budget gimmickry.

I even find myself attracted sometimes to the ultra-progressive ideas of Buckminster Fuller, who, in his wonderfully excessive prose-poetic essay “No More Secondhand God,” written at the outset of World War II, proposed a system of direct mass democracy via a kind of proto-internet (“electrified democracy”), which he conceived of as the total repudiation and rejection of the barbarism then engulfing the world. He answered fears of “mob rule” with an idealistic faith in an educated citizenry, and with an engineer’s trust in the political design he drafted.

We don’t have to go that far, or even as far as TR wanted to go. This year’s mid-terms, which Ryan views as the last stop before the end of American exceptionalism and constitutional government, may be referendum enough if they put a congressional bloc in place sufficient to impair Obamacare’s implementation.

Still, I’d be happy to see the national question framed as follows, winner take all: Who are the real progressives in 2010, the real supporters of progress, the real spokespersons for a better future – the proponents or the opponents of Obamacare?

I know Paul Ryan’s answer. He makes it very clear. I agree with him, and I think that the American people, overall, agree with us.

cross-posted at Zombie Contentions

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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Sorry to repeat myself, but since most people probably won’t see the original comments…

This fixation on trying to adopt the latest buzzword the left has latched on to as a substitute for “liberal” is at best puzzling and vaguely troubling, and at worst, potentially very damaging to the cause of the conservative movement.

My perception is that the country is not in the mood to decide who is more deserving of a title which the Chinese and North Koreans bestowed upon P.O.W.s they’d been able to successfully “turn” to their side during the Korean War. I think the country is much more receptive to a return to the principles of our founding.

What was the term Zo used at one of the Tea Parties…ah yes, “Agents of Revival”. I like that.

Cylor on April 5, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Progressive is the antonym of conservative. Has been for decades. Attempting to hijack it is utter folly.

MadisonConservative on April 5, 2010 at 7:21 PM

Paul RyanRevere!!

canopfor on April 5, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Progressive is the antonym of conservative. Has been for decades. Attempting to hijack it is utter folly.

MadisonConservative on April 5, 2010 at 7:21 PM

THIS.

Leave the poor chicken alone.

TheUnrepentantGeek on April 5, 2010 at 7:22 PM

self-proclaimed “Progressives” of our day for handing out bailout checks to giant corporations, corrupting the Congress to purchase votes for government controlled health care, and funneling billions in Jobs Stimulus money to local politicians to pay for make-work patronage. That’s not “Progressivism,” that’s what real Progressives fought against!

ROFL……Ryan voted for the bank bailouts and the car company bailouts and he has the stones to say this?

Hypocrite thy name is Ryan

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 7:22 PM

The proper term is “Conservative activist”

Someone who advances conservativism as an active growing philosophy rather than just an anti Liberal reactionary ideology.

William Amos on April 5, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Just as the term liberal has nothing to do with classical liberalism.

Progressive=liberal=authoritarian=totalitarian. In today’s vernacular it all means the same, the equality of misery and quicker death.

jukin on April 5, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Ryan is simply trying to explain away his votes for the bailouts. nothing more nothing less. He does it well but still I take his votes over his pretty words

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 7:23 PM

Oh, and Woodrow Wilson had nothing but disdain for the Constitution. He let the American Protective League illegally imprison and even lynch people considered “unAmerican”…and the APL had no official capacity within the government. If there was ever a true fascist tyrant serving as POTUS, it was Wilson.

MadisonConservative on April 5, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Progressive is the antonym of conservative. Has been for decades. Attempting to hijack it is utter folly.

MadisonConservative on April 5, 2010 at 7:21 PM

MadisonConservative: I’ll add Progressive to my,
Grand Purge List!:)

canopfor on April 5, 2010 at 7:24 PM

I hope CK understands that wilson and Teddy brought about the concept of a living breathing consitution. how’s that working out?

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 7:25 PM

OK, I do not understand how ANYBODY who calls themselves a conservative can view Woodrow Wilson as anything other than the most evil president we have ever had. The man was a total bigot, a promoter of the KKK, and deliberately demonized and targetted entire segments of the citizenry for ridicule and destruction at a level even worse than the actions of FDR vis-a-vis the Japanese-American internment.

Edunai on April 5, 2010 at 7:29 PM

The quote about democracy nearly made me cry!

Wow. This Ck person is pretty smart. But why do these people with brains too often launch into stuff of limited relevancy like this?

That is how we get leaders like W and The One. All they understand is courting the base, saying anything that flies then lots of expediency and spending, spending, spending.

Which is what has gotten about 95% of our officials elected.
W disn’t lose his way. He just followed what was working for Dems in Congress for generations.

IlikedAUH2O on April 5, 2010 at 7:30 PM

I was going along until

Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to ask for the people’s direct OK on Obamacare. Maybe we should have been asked directly about TARP, about the bailouts, about raising the debt ceiling, about the Stimulus or Son of Stimulus. Maybe we should be consulted directly when the debt commission issues its recommendations. No value added taxation without referendum! I’d have a good feeling about a popular vote on some version of Ryan’s Road Map versus the Obama-Pelosi-Reid-style budget gimmickry.

I even find myself attracted sometimes to the ultra-progressive ideas of Buckminster Fuller, who, in his wonderfully excessive prose-poetic essay “No More Secondhand God,” written at the outset of World War II, proposed a system of direct mass democracy via a kind of proto-internet (“electrified democracy”), which he conceived of as the total repudiation and rejection of the barbarism then engulfing the world. He answered fears of “mob rule” with an idealistic faith in an educated citizenry, and with an engineer’s trust in the political design he drafted.

We were clearly understood by the Dhimmicrats concerning OCare. They ignore us–and the Constitution.

And we are a Republic. Let’s keep it that way.

davidk on April 5, 2010 at 7:30 PM

When people ask, as they often have over recent months, what I mean when I refer to “progressive conservatism,”

Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense.

Cheshire Cat on April 5, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Just so everyone is clear on what the progressive wilson brought to this great nation:

In 1913, the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the U.S. tax system. The amendment gave Congress legal authority to tax income and resulted in a revenue law that taxed incomes of both individuals and corporations. In fiscal year 1918, annual internal revenue collections for the first time passed the billion-dollar mark, rising to $5.4 billion by 1920.

Let’s be clear what we are talking about. I can not believe CK would bring Wilson into the discussion as a model of the correct way to govern:

In his first term, Wilson persuaded a Democratic Congress to pass the Federal Reserve Act,[3] Federal Trade Commission, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and America’s first-ever federal progressive income tax in the Revenue Act of 1913. Wilson brought many white Southerners into his administration, and tolerated their expansion of segregation in many federal agencies.

Progressive got a bad rap BECAUSE of TEDDY and WILSON. /they are the fathers of the destruction of this contry. the last 100 years of Big government growth, loss of Freedom of the individual lead back to these two.

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Anyone who uses the term Progressive knowing how others use and play with the meaning, makes me cringe on the rest of their thoughts and standings.

upinak on April 5, 2010 at 7:33 PM

“progressive conservatism”

The philosophy and name of an extinct Canadian political party.

Emperor Norton on April 5, 2010 at 7:33 PM

If Ryan is like Wilson and teddy run for the hills guys

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 7:34 PM

Bucky Fuller: He answered fears of “mob rule” with an idealistic faith in an educated citizenry, and with an engineer’s trust in the political design he drafted.

With the monopolistic, groupthink MSM acting as filter, it blanked large portions of current events from much public exposure. Fuller would have been horrified at the deprivation of his ‘educated citizenry’ of knowledge not supportive of the anti-conservative orientation recently in control of the MSM, Hollywood and the universities. He could no longer have counted on such an ‘educated citizenry’, whether or not it considered itself as correctly informed as an NPR announcer.

Insufficiently Sensitive on April 5, 2010 at 7:36 PM

Teddy was the father of RINOism. Wilson the father of socialism in this country.

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 7:36 PM

But Progressivism turned away from popular control toward central government planning. It lost most Americans and consumed itself in paternalism, arrogance, and snobbish condescension.

And regardless of what the word may have meant decades ago, that is what it means now, so unless you have invented and built a time machine and are going to go back decades in the past to talk to people you are talking a dead language.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 7:37 PM

MacLeod obviously was never spanked.

rayra on April 5, 2010 at 7:40 PM

Which is worse: Rod Dreher’s “Crunchy Con” movement or CKMacLeod’s back-from-the-dead “Progressive Conservatism”?

aengus on April 5, 2010 at 7:40 PM

In today’s vernacular “Progressive Conservative” is like “Atheist Catholic”.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 7:42 PM

This might not be completely on topic, but I have to say that my representative, Jay Inslee(D), here in Washington State, wrote back to me and personally signed the letter after I complained about his vote on the health care bill. I have written many letters and this is the first time I got such a personal response. I still hate this bill, find his vote and this bill repulsive, but he laid out his argument and acted like a true representative. His office says he personally responds to every letter.

Note to any Republican candidate: do the same and you’ll win back the whole enchilada. This type of “representation” is almost completely absent. This guy is on the job. I don’t like his policies or his party, but he is doing what he was elected to do.

Republicans take heed. The power is given to you by the people and you would be well served to mimic Mr. Inslee’s approach to representation.

Opposite Day on April 5, 2010 at 7:43 PM

I agree with CK. There is nothing “progressive” about a party that wants to send us back to the dark ages with their anti- capitalism stances. They would see the end of the automobile and put us all on buses and sub-ways. They would love to move us all out of the”country” and put us in easily manageable apartment building. Sounds like the Soviet Union 50 years ago or Venezuela now.Repressive not progressive is what I call the current administration.

sandee on April 5, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to ask for the people’s direct OK on Obamacare. Maybe we should have been asked directly about TARP, about the bailouts, about raising the debt ceiling, about the Stimulus or Son of Stimulus. Maybe we should be consulted directly when the debt commission issues its recommendations. No value added taxation without referendum! I’d have a good feeling about a popular vote on some version of Ryan’s Road Map versus the Obama-Pelosi-Reid-style budget gimmickry.

I even find myself attracted sometimes to the ultra-progressive ideas of Buckminster Fuller, who, in his wonderfully excessive prose-poetic essay “No More Secondhand God,” written at the outset of World War II, proposed a system of direct mass democracy via a kind of proto-internet (“electrified democracy”), which he conceived of as the total repudiation and rejection of the barbarism then engulfing the world. He answered fears of “mob rule” with an idealistic faith in an educated citizenry, and with an engineer’s trust in the political design he drafted.

Uh, no. We have a representative republic. If our represenation does not reflect our views, we vote them out.

The masses are fickle, many uneducated re the issues. To entrust our legislation to a referendum is a recipe for chaos and even more media manipulation or potential voting corruption. Are our experiences with ACORN not enough of an object lesson?

onlineanalyst on April 5, 2010 at 7:48 PM

If Sarah Palin were as smart as Paul Ryan I think people would have an easier time not laughing at her.

happyfeet on April 5, 2010 at 7:51 PM

Are there any progressive facets that don’t come at the cost of the haves vis-à-vis the government’s act of asset reallocation?

Isn’t conservatism purely the invisible hand that shares assets more efficiently by circumventing the government wheel?

ericdijon on April 5, 2010 at 7:55 PM

In today’s vernacular “Progressive Conservative” is like “Atheist Catholic”.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 7:42 PM

Sadly, both do exist.

But that doesn’t make it something to aspire to.

Cylor on April 5, 2010 at 7:56 PM

More qualified in many ways than various presidents any of us could bring up…

No one’s naming any names, of course…

Aronne on April 5, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Well, so much for Ryan. Bummer. He was showing so much promise…

Harpazo on April 5, 2010 at 7:58 PM

“progressive conservatism”
The philosophy and name of an extinct Canadian political party.

Emperor Norton on April 5, 2010 at 7:33 PM

You typed the words right off of my screen Norton! First thought that entered my mind … Brian Mulroney !!!! Yeeccchhh!!!

cableguy615 on April 5, 2010 at 8:02 PM

If Sarah Palin were as smart as Paul Ryan I think people would have an easier time not laughing at her.

When I grow up I will find a way to hack into all you racist neocons’s compooters and send you all viruses !! (giggle, drool, fart)

happyfeet libtroll d1ckface on April 5, 2010 at 7:51 PMwho cares when

cableguy615 on April 5, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Oh, I’m sure you guys will find something wrong with him. Remember Bobby jindal.

tomas on April 5, 2010 at 8:08 PM

I agree with CK. There is nothing “progressive” about a party that wants to send us back to the dark ages

sandee on April 5, 2010 at 7:48 PM

We should call them regressives, which I have been doing off and on for some time, but that doesn’t mean that conservatives should start calling themselves progressives.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 8:09 PM

This version of “Progressivism” sounds like direct democracy. Direct Democracy = Mobocracy = Mob Rule and that = bad. I’ll take a Constitutional Republic (if someone can give us ours back) please.

Dawnsblood on April 5, 2010 at 8:11 PM

Oh, for goodness’ sake, CK. Words mean things. It’s awfully tough to change a word’s commonly-understood meaning. No matter how desperately you desire to appropriate the term “progressive” for the conservative worldview, you’re going to fail. You’d have about as much luck turning “gay” back into a “happy.”

For the record, I suspect your worldview more closely mirrors TR’s and Wilson’s than it does Reagan’s. Thanks for being the token proggy Green Room blogger, though. It’s good to see foolishness every once in awhile … if only for the object lesson that’s in it.

OhioCoastie on April 5, 2010 at 8:19 PM

I meant “gay” back into “happy.”

OhioCoastie on April 5, 2010 at 8:21 PM

He’s even starting to look like Reagan…

labrat on April 5, 2010 at 8:22 PM

This is really off topic, but who did Michelle Malkin support in 2008? What are her thoughts on Romneycare? I haven’t seen her post anything about Romney and trying to repeal the bill if he is the nominee. Anyone have any links. Seems like Michelle Malkin would be going after Romneycare.

texasconserv on April 5, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Am I wrong, or did Paul Ryan really tout Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson as POSITIVE examples of Progressivism? Whoa. And I mean, deal killer whoa. I thought this guy was intelligent and knew his history.

There is nothing about Progressivism, and how it was employed by Roosevelt, Wilson, and the like — that is even remotely redeeming — especially from a so-called conservative.

jjraines on April 5, 2010 at 8:34 PM

cableguy615 on April 5, 2010 at 8:04 PM

Sweet!

Tim Zank on April 5, 2010 at 8:34 PM

You’d have about as much luck turning “gay” back into a “happy.”

OhioCoastie on April 5, 2010 at 8:19 PM

And we’ll all feel gay

When Johnny comes marching home.

MB4 on April 5, 2010 at 8:36 PM

Am I wrong, or did Paul Ryan really tout Teddy Roosevelt and Wilson as POSITIVE examples of Progressivism? Whoa. And I mean, deal killer whoa.

jjraines on April 5, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Bingo.

Harpazo on April 5, 2010 at 8:42 PM

The word “gay” means happy, glad and cheerful. It has taken on another meaning relatively recently. Unless someone happened to be homosexual, I wouldn’t recommend them calling themselves the Gay Candidate, even if they’re technically correct.

DrAllecon on April 5, 2010 at 9:01 PM

OhioCoastie on April 5, 2010 at 8:19 PM

Missed that, gmta.

DrAllecon on April 5, 2010 at 9:02 PM

You have one life, let it be gay
Don’t put it off till you’re dying
Now is the time to be flying
Grab up your one golden chance
Darlings, life is such romance
Life is tossing you a new bouquet
Meet your heart half-way
And your heart will say vivez!

PercyB on April 5, 2010 at 9:10 PM

Yes the words “liberal” and “progressive” have been hijacked and perverted by the left. But on the grand scale of things, this is like #2472 at the minute. In other words, who cares? Take the country back and then start thinking about reclaiming words. I don’t see any harm in pointing out that there is nothing “progressive” about the left, but a complete lexigraphical coup d’état is just silly at this point in time.

Sharke on April 5, 2010 at 9:13 PM

Say, instead of mobocracy and 50%+1 rule, why not go for the Maximum House of 1:30,000? It gets you diverse representation, accountable representatives and retains a federal system… makes it better by stalling out garbage in the House. So many conservatives complain about bad laws being passed, so the idea is to stop them where they should be stopped: the House of Representatives.

I do like TR! Really! Great guy… his ideology sucks like an electrolux, but his character and such were superb. Take his view on the his job in office, taken from Chapter X of his autobiography:

The most important factor in getting the right spirit in my Administration, next to the insistence upon courage, honesty, and a genuine democracy of desire to serve the plain people, was my insistence upon the theory that the executive power was limited only by specific restrictions and prohibitions appearing in the Constitution or imposed by the Congress under its Constitutional powers. My view was that every executive officer, and above all every executive officer in high position, was a steward of the people bound actively and affirmatively to do all he could for the people, and not to content himself with the negative merit of keeping his talents undamaged in a napkin. I declined to adopt the view that what was imperatively necessary for the Nation could not be done by the President unless he could find some specific authorization to do it. My belief was that it was not only his right but his duty to do anything that the needs of the Nation demanded unless such action was forbidden by the Constitution or by the laws. Under this interpretation of executive power I did and caused to be done many things not previously done by the President and the heads of the departments. I did not usurp power, but I did greatly broaden the use of executive power. In other words, I acted for the public welfare, I acted for the common well-being of all our people, whenever and in whatever manner was necessary, unless prevented by direct constitutional or legislative prohibition. I did not care a rap for the mere form and show of power; I cared immensely for the use that could be made of the substance. The Senate at one time objected to my communicating with them in printing, preferring the expensive, foolish, and laborious practice of writing out the messages by hand. It was not possible to return to the outworn archaism of hand writing; but we endeavored to have the printing made as pretty as possible. Whether I communicated with the Congress in writing or by word of mouth, and whether the writing was by a machine, or a pen, were equally, and absolutely, unimportant matters. The importance lay in what I said and in the heed paid to what I said. So as to my meeting and consulting Senators, Congressmen, politicians, financiers, and labor men. I consulted all who wished to see me; and if I wished to see any one, I sent for him; and where the consultation took place was a matter of supreme unimportance. I consulted every man with the sincere hope that I could profit by and follow his advice; I consulted every member of Congress who wished to be consulted, hoping to be able to come to an agreement of action with him; and I always finally acted as my conscience and common sense bade me act.

I’m a Law of Nations sort of guy, and those powers that come from our delegation to the President of the Law of Nations are his. Not others that aren’t given to the office. That is the way we designed the Constitution. Notice that part where TR inverts it to say that the President should get to do anything that isn’t enumerated to him, too? Broadening the powers?

I have a problem with that.

It leads to tyranny.

ajacksonian on April 5, 2010 at 9:14 PM

MadisonConservative: I’ll add Progressive to my,
Grand Purge List!:)

canopfor on April 5, 2010 at 7:24 PM

Too late. We got rid of the P in PC at least 5 years ago.

gh on April 5, 2010 at 9:17 PM

First CK coins the phrase “McCain haters” and engages in protracted rants (plural emphasized)about same and now he is having a symantic debate with himself about “progressives/…ism/…ites”-whatever- and I guess looking for fellow travelers. CK is a RINO obviously and is as consistent about conservatism as McCain. I thought HotAir was a site for conservative thinkers? Personally, I’m tired of CK and his McCainesque tendencies. I won’t be checking out anymore of his posts. Which no doubt will be A-OK with CK.

JimP on April 5, 2010 at 9:30 PM

And we are a Republic. Let’s keep it that way.

davidk on April 5, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Amen.

Well, so much for Ryan. Bummer. He was showing so much promise…

Harpazo on April 5, 2010 at 7:58 PM

Exactly. And to think I was starting to get excited about him…

This is really off topic, but who did Michelle Malkin support in 2008? What are her thoughts on Romneycare? I haven’t seen her post anything about Romney and trying to repeal the bill if he is the nominee. Anyone have any links. Seems like Michelle Malkin would be going after Romneycare.

texasconserv on April 5, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Maybe there’s no reason to go after RomneyCare since its very different than ObamaCare.

Conservative Samizdat on April 5, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Just as long as the GOPs next candidate doesn’t come from the panty waste RINOs in the GOP Senate, the GOP should be fine in 2012. Ryan would be a good choice on vision…

drfredc on April 5, 2010 at 9:44 PM

ROFL……Ryan voted for the bank bailouts and the car company bailouts and he has the stones to say this?

Hypocrite thy name is Ryan

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 7:22 PM

Get your facts straight before you call someone a hypocrite, hypocrite.

http://dailycaller.com/2010/02/14/paul-ryan-explains-his-votes-for-tarp-auto-bailouts-and-tax-on-aig-bonuses/

Wilson had his pluses and minuses, but the way that some of y’all heap everything you don’t like about the age in which he was living gets a little ridiculous.

Wilson took office in 1913, for instance, at around the time that the Income Tax was adopted, following a multi-year constitutional, bi- and tri-partisan process. The amendment was backed by all three candidates in the election of 1912, for instance, including the most conservative candidate, Robert Taft.

In his first term, Wilson persuaded a Democratic Congress to pass the Federal Reserve Act,[3] Federal Trade Commission, the Clayton Antitrust Act, the Federal Farm Loan Act and America’s first-ever federal progressive income tax in the Revenue Act of 1913.

As for the Federal Reserve, the FTC, the Clayton Act (in effect an updating of the Sherman Antitrust Act), these and other elements of the “New Freedom” all have their proponents and their critics to this day, but they hardly amount to the reign of terror, and it’s hard to see how you can call them “the destruction of this country” when, in the time since then, that destroyed country became the pre-eminent power on the face of the earth and victorious leader of the Free World against Nazism and Communism. I could go on, but, if that’s “destroyed,” how do you define success, and why do you hate the US of A so much?

Wilson brought many white Southerners into his administration, and tolerated their expansion of segregation in many federal agencies.

Shocking that a white Southerner brought a number of other white Southerners into his administration. Wilson’s record on civil rights – neglect on race, for the most part, too long a leash to his attorney general Palmer leash – is certainly regrettable, even most of Wilson’s admirers hold those flaws against him. However, there was a war on – a big war. On the other side of the ledger, he was more responsible than any other individual for purging the true white supremacists of the time from his party, who also tended to be isolationists, and he can fairly be credited for helping to turn the South into the political home of military-supporting, flag-waving patriotism.

What the proud Wilson-haters – THEIR word – ignore, is that the US of 1912-20 was an unimaginably different place from what it is today.

Try informing yourself for real rather than spitting up what you’ve been spoon fed when you make blanket judgments and start dealing in “hatred.”

First CK coins the phrase “McCain haters”

You just get started in politics last week, JimP?

I’ve got a basketball game to watch.

CK MacLeod on April 5, 2010 at 9:56 PM

I like it: progressive conservatism – has a nice ring to it, in a turning the tables on the radical liberals kind of way. Alinsky would be proud.

We have to control the narrative. If liberals are as intelligent as they think they are, it will force them to see their Emperor is wearing no clothes.

Ryan 2012.

HellCat on April 5, 2010 at 10:07 PM

Ahem. American Protective League.

OhioCoastie on April 5, 2010 at 10:37 PM

“You just get started in politics last week, JimP?”

LOL. You took the bait. You’re a real sorehead, CK. Hey, embrace you’re RINOism. Don’t bother pretending to be conservative.

JimP on April 5, 2010 at 10:47 PM

And we are a Republic. Let’s keep it that way.

davidk on April 5, 2010 at 7:30 PM

The masses are fickle, many uneducated re the issues. To entrust our legislation to a referendum is a recipe for chaos and even more media manipulation or potential voting corruption. Are our experiences with ACORN not enough of an object lesson?

onlineanalyst on April 5, 2010 at 7:48 PM

Absolutely true. Here in Texas we have a system that severely limits the State government. As a result, nearly anything of substance winds up having to be a constitutional amendment. It is not unusual to have a dozen or two amendments on the ballot. They are proposed by some special interest, and the majority of them are not the kind of things that will energize a wide public debate. They almost always pass.

Government by referendum is guaranteed to be even more at the mercy of special interests than what we currently have. There will be a hundred issues on a ballot – and the political circus of today will be a fond memory against the overwhelming cacophony of government by referendum. That cure is most assuredly worse than the disease.

ss396 on April 5, 2010 at 11:00 PM

Here’s the thing, any political ideology that pegs democracy as the metric for good governance is not conservative, in the American sense. Conservatism is defined by limited government, which runs counter to democracy and it’s majority-rule, what-the-people-say-goes thinking. A democratic mechanism is an integral part of a well-run limited government, but it must never be confused with the whole. The other parts of such a government, with its varying branches and separated powers, are all designed to check democracy, to make democracy safe for the world. It’s a system of vetoes, designed to ensure that democracy does not run roughshod over the rights of the people.

The problem with progressivism is found in Teddy Roosevelt’s focus on making government work. Since then, the whole progressive movement has focused on short-circuiting the checks and balances in our system while giving more power to democratic government at the expense of the private sphere. Yes, they do support some really good stuff in their effort to bolster democracy, such as transparency, but their end goal has always been to increase the power of the state without limits.

At best, Roosevelt and Wilson would disagree with the details about modern Democrat’s plans, but they wouldn’t disagree with the tactics or the grand vision.

JSchuler on April 5, 2010 at 11:01 PM

Get your facts straight before you call someone a hypocrite, hypocrite.

CK MacLeod on April 5, 2010 at 9:56 PM

Which part of the FACTS are wrong. Did he or did he not vote for the bank bailouts and the GM bailout?

the FACT his he voted for the BAILOUTS. that is a hard cold stone FACT. The SPIN is why he did it. Maybe you should get your FACTS straight before you attack someone.

What the proud Wilson-haters – THEIR word – ignore, is that the US of 1912-20 was an unimaginably different place from what it is today.

thanks for proving me point. The USA of 1912-1920 before the polices of Wilson had a couple decades to work their “magic” was different people were actually you know FREE. The Federal reserve act, income tax and other socialist polices led straight to the Great depression. The Wilson’s league of nations and Treaty of Versailles led directly to world war 2 and also led to the United Nations a world body that is completly useless and a drain on our economy and power in the world.

Wilson was an idiot much like Obama. his socalist polices opened the door for the failure of the economy and the Great depression which allowed an egomanic in the form of FDR to push massive socialist programs onto the USA all of which have failed. The last one social security is on its death bed, thank god and I hope it goes belly up soon. The governemnt has taken 15% of my income for my retirement for the lat 22 years and I have nothing to show for that work. FDR also threatened the entire idea of check and balances and divided government by threatening to pack the SCOTUS which caused the SCOTUS to “reinterpet” the commerce clause which has allowed the Federal government to grow uncheck for the last 70 years topping off with the massive governmental intervetion liike Tarp ands Obamacare bills which the government contends is consitutional because of that commerce clause case among others.

the idea of a progressive tax rate is insane as it punishes people for working harder. the idea of a income tax is just as bad. All brought to you by your friend Wilson which the amendment was rammed down America’s throat much like Obama rammed down obamacare.

As far as “hating” the country. Give me a freaking break that’s a second grade level comeback. The ideas of the founding, the idea of a free individual with limited government to protect and serve society is what I hold dear. Ideas are greater than any country and will outlast even this one.

Why CK are all your heroes socialists that want the power of government to control your life? Do you distrust the idea of freedom so much? Is freedom too messy for you?

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 11:15 PM

The leftists were smart to grab that word. Americans believe in progress. They want their kids to have an opportunity for a better life than they have. Republicans like Ryan have to stand for a future that is brighter than today, and if he wants to use that word to enunciate a positive stand and beat the pinkos with it, I’m fine with that.

motionview on April 5, 2010 at 11:17 PM

JSchuler on April 5, 2010 at 11:01 PM

good post. but you forgot one thing. the checks and balances, veteos etc are also designed so that government can not work except for the very important issues of the day. Those issues where >60% agree with. the founders designed the federal govenrment for gridlock to ensure individual freedom the the max. amount.

Embrace gridlock. embrace freedom. The only time our freedom is secure is when the government is unable to function except on the BIG events of the day.

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 11:22 PM

Well, I never heard it before, but it sounds uncommon nonsense.

Cheshire Cat on April 5, 2010 at 7:30 PM

Cat, you are smarter than most people.

Mock the term every time the lefties use it, but let them keep it. Just write it like this ‘progressive’, every single time. There is nothing progressive about them and they should not be credited/emulated with it, ever.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2010 at 11:40 PM

Serious disappointment. Progressives of all varieties have always been the enemy of the Constitution, individual rights and limited government. And that applies to warmonger and “trustbuster” T.R.

Kalapana on April 5, 2010 at 11:44 PM

Agree, or disagree with AP, but he knows how to pack a lot into a few phrases.

His brevity should be considered…

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2010 at 11:44 PM

CK MacLeod on April 5, 2010 at 9:56 PM

I’m speechless at your defense of what any fair minded person of good moral standing would clearly see as an evil individual.

This is what the modern GOP leadership represents, and exactly why I continue to tell everyone here that the GOP is going to betray them.

True_King on April 5, 2010 at 11:48 PM

the idea of a progressive tax rate is insane as it punishes people for working harder. the idea of a income tax is just as bad. All brought to you by your friend Wilson which the amendment was rammed down America’s throat much like Obama rammed down obamacare.

Believe whatever you like about Social Security, Medicare, taxes, and the Federal Reserve, just don’t expect anyone to take it seriously, and don’t hold your breath for the Republican Party or any other major party to get anywhere near what you’re advocating.

In the meantime, you might try get one fact straight: Income taxes had been on the scene since the Civil War, and they had elements of “progressivity” from the very beginning. The first version applied only to incomes over $800, for instance, a decently high income at that time. The Supreme Court Pollock decision in the 1890s made income taxes impossible. When the 16th Amendment was finally passed – by 3/4 of the states – Wilson, just taking office, had had little to do with the whole thing – since it was his predecessor and 1912 opponent Taft who had gotten the push started 4 years earlier, and since all three candidates supported the Amendment.

If that’s “socialism” to you, then I guess you’re gonna have to dial us all back to the “free” times of, say, 1859.

CK MacLeod on April 5, 2010 at 11:58 PM

Hmmm I would love to see a debate between Ryan and Beck. I am almost certain they agree on what is good for America but Beck has made it his mission to discredit the word “progressive” wherever it appears.

The actual definition of Progressive is pretty good. And Ryan makes excellent points about the beginnings of the movement… but he ignores the consequences of tampering with the constitution that have been the fruits of adopting progressive attitudes.

The idea that the Constitution is a “living document” a broad outline not necessarily to be followed exactly is the problem with Progressive politics. It is so dangerous!

This is how evil always gets the upper hand. Turning something undeniably good (more citizen control) into bad by over doing it (politicians enacting what is “best” for the people against the people’s will.)

Progressivism has been co-opted by tyrants, but the original ideas were a slippery slope that was bound to end up badly.

petunia on April 6, 2010 at 12:25 AM

Embrace gridlock. embrace freedom. The only time our freedom is secure is when the government is unable to function except on the BIG events of the day.

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 11:22 PM

EXACTLY! Progressives felt gridlock was holding back progress so they went around the Constitution to get things done!

Maybe some of that was necessary, once-upon-a-time. But now?

Now we are on the slippery slope and need brakes applied or all is lost.

Plus, we have plenty of examples of how the very “progress” today’s progressives are seeking ruins societies! And yet hold on for your life… liberty… and pursuit of happiness! It’s all threatened.

It doesn’t matter, the path was chosen long ago and they haven’t bothered to rethink the goals!

petunia on April 6, 2010 at 12:33 AM

The leftists were smart to grab that word.

motionview on April 5, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Really? I’ve never thought so.

My view has always been that if that’s the word they want to use, then so be it…let’s crucify them with it.

Especially when the specific context of the Korean War P.O.W.s is so very fitting for the mindset of the current Democrat leadership.

Cylor on April 6, 2010 at 12:54 AM

If that’s “socialism” to you, then I guess you’re gonna have to dial us all back to the “free” times of, say, 1859.

CK MacLeod on April 5, 2010 at 11:58 PM

You may not consider the progressive tax “socialism”… but it is one the ten measures for communism to take root listed inthe Communist Manifesto.

chicagotrauma on April 6, 2010 at 1:32 AM

…It’s awfully tough to change a word’s commonly-understood meaning. No matter how desperately you desire to appropriate the term “progressive” for the conservative worldview, you’re going to fail. You’d have about as much luck turning “gay” back into “happy.”

OhioCoastie on April 5, 2010 at 8:19 PM

CK, Ryan’s well delivered speech and history lessons aside, I think the above post hits the nail on the head in this debate.

As for the national question being framed as to who are the real progressives in 2010 it seems foolish. In 2010 “progressive conservatism” is a contradiction in terms. You don’t have enough time or ink to change this fact. If, hopefully, the progressive bums get tossed out in 2010, no matter how you spin it it won’t because the American voter has suddenly figured out who the “real progressives” are. It will be because they already know who the real progressives are–the Obama Zombies.

Gang-of-One on April 6, 2010 at 1:49 AM

If you think TR and Wilson were good guys, here is a link to Jonah Goldberg that throws a little light on them.

Jonah

Jasper61 on April 6, 2010 at 1:58 AM

petunia on April 6, 2010 at 12:25 AM
petunia on April 6, 2010 at 12:33 AM

The idea that the Constitution is a “living document” a broad outline not necessarily to be followed exactly is the problem with Progressive politics. It is so dangerous!

No one said life would be easy.

There is the basis of a real discussion there. Unfortunately, the originalists – or at least their popular interpreters like Beck – have adopted a view of originalism that is untenable and, to be blunt, fantastical. It’s nice to be idealistic about things, but idealism pursued without regard for intent and experience turns into rigid ideology with less and less connection to reality.

From the moment the Constitution was written, its meaning was in dispute, including among the writers themselves – as is inevitable for any written communication of any complexity. There is no moment in the history of the country during which aspects of the Constitution and the power of the federal government were not being questioned and re-interpreted. Look up the Whiskey Rebellion and the Nullification Crisis, just to pick two important early examples of many. Both concerned power of taxation(excise taxes and tariff), regulation of commerce, and Federalism. The first controversy came to insurrection, almost before the ink on the Constitution was dry. The second was a preview of the Civil War, its underlying issues not resolved until then – and, in the minds apparently of many people who comment at HotAir, still not resolved.

Jasper61 on April 6, 2010 at 1:58 AM

Goldberg has taken as his own and simplified a critique of progressivism borrowed from others, especially Ronald Pestritto of the Claremont Institute. He’s made a mint off of the effort, but you can read through Liberal Fascism and Goldberg’s other writings, and search in vain for more than passing glance at what Ryan is talking about.

Whether TR or Wilson were “good guys” is irrelevant. They were men of another era. They’re not my heroes, and I also don’t waste any brain cells “hating” them. If TR lost his bearings or Wilson was a racist, how does that help me sort out the elements of the Progressive Platform of 1912?

CK MacLeod on April 6, 2010 at 3:05 AM

If that’s “socialism” to you, then I guess you’re gonna have to dial us all back to the “free” times of, say, 1859.

CK MacLeod on April 5, 2010 at 11:58 PM

LOL…

It took 30 years for the SCOTUS to overturn the progressive tax as unconsitutional. the federal gov starved for money rammed the 16th amendment down the throats of America so that Wislon and his gang of “progressives” like Taft and Teddy and Hoover and FDR could continue to tinker with society for the “better”.

You really want to go there? Ok it was Wilson and the progressives that got the 17th amendment passed which fundementally changed the face of the government thru the direct election of senators. No longer were Senators the state rep in congress. The states lost power to the federal government allowing it to grow even more. And the progressives weren’t done there. they had to pass the 18th amendment too. they outlawed booze, which led to one of the highest crime sprees in this nations history, second only to the present drug crime wave.

the progressives allowed the Jim crow laws to flourish setting back race relations in this country for 100 years. they made an effort to exclude those they deemed inferior from voting including the uneducated, blacks, and new immigrants. they started the eugenics programs with you buddy your pal Wilson one of its biggest supporters.

They passed the 19th amendment giving the right for women to vote which was about the only good thing the progressives did during that time period. Yet they were not content to just give women the vote. they started the feminist movement which has morphed into the orgs like NOw and Planned parenthood they laid the seeds for federally funned abortion and the destruction of the nuclear family with divorce rates of 50% or more.

In world affairs the “progressives” found nothing wrong with drawing imaginary borders which “they” thought were good after WW1 and making new nation states out of thin air. A sitution we are still dealing with today around the world.

the progressives entire idea can be boiled down to this: they were the “smart ones” they knew better than others. they would order society to be more fair and better human civilization.

I will ask again How is that progressive worldview working out for the country. We now have rule by the elite. We now have states with little power due to the 17th amendment and the progressive idea to root out corruption in govenrment. thanks to them we now have the biggest corrupt government in our history with the power to tax everything, the power to control all commerce, the power to control our very own bodies. that is what progressivism has brought us.

and each time their ideas blow up in their face these progressives come along with a new bigger idea to fix all their mess from their previous ideas.

the idea that you can “fix” human nature is the most stupid idea human society has ever came up with. and the progressives led the way with that idea. Progressives found freedom a problem and they found freedom messy. they didn’t like the fact that all their grand ideas failed because people acted like people.

Progressives wanted to outlaw the 7 deadly sins and could never understand why it never worked. And they still do. Obama is not much different form Wilson nor Bush when the truth is told nor any president over the last 100 years or so. The difference with Obama is he now has all the fruits of the progressive effort over those 100 years and the will to use them and the belief that he is smarter than everyone else.

unseen on April 6, 2010 at 3:33 AM

Whether TR or Wilson were “good guys” is irrelevant. They were men of another era. They’re not my heroes, and I also don’t waste any brain cells “hating” them. If TR lost his bearings or Wilson was a racist, how does that help me sort out the elements of the Progressive Platform of 1912?
CK MacLeod on April 6, 2010 at 3:05 AM

how? you really don’t understand do you? It is important ecause it shows that “progressivism” is a function of the man/woman that has the reigns of power at that particular time irrregardless of what one thought their policy was going to do. It shows that human nature will always trump utopia schemes. Just like no battle plan survives first contact, no governmental policy survives implementation. The human factor comes into play. Call it the chaos theory, call it what you will.

This is the same reason why governments of Kings and Queens, dictators, socialists never work out long term. No matter how good a king, queen, or strongman you have there is no way to know what the son, daughter or next congress will be like.

Knowing that human nature is flawed the best solution is to not allow any one man, woman or group to have unlimited power. Even if that man is a Saint.

unseen on April 6, 2010 at 3:55 AM

Teddy was the father of RINOism. Wilson the father of socialism in this country.

unseen on April 5, 2010 at 7:36 PM

+1,000

BobAnthony on April 6, 2010 at 6:15 AM

Well, at least you conservatives aren’t waiting until someone becomes popular nationally before you start trashing them.

Great move. Much more subtle and less obvious than all the “Fred Thompson, Lazy” headlines.

Jaynie59 on April 6, 2010 at 7:38 AM

If Sarah Palin were as smart as Paul Ryan I think people would have an easier time not laughing at her.

happyfeet on April 5, 2010 at 7:51 PM
————
Off topic, troll.

Go hug one.

fossten on April 6, 2010 at 7:41 AM

Progressive Conservative = Meghan McCain

You think we want to be linked to that?

Trying to redefine Progressivism as anything but incremental socialism is a waist of time. To nuanced for the average Joe.

BrianA on April 6, 2010 at 8:31 AM

From the archives:

AMENDMENT XVI
Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

That allowed the progressive income tax by striking out the provisions that the federal government could not tax individuals disproportionately – all individuals were to have an equal amount due and the States were to figure out how to collect them as the moderator between the federal government and the people, thus putting the States in the role of holding the purse strings for the federal government. The Progressive movement hated this as it did not allow ‘modern’ centralized government to get the funding it ‘needed’ to ‘do things’. War time taxes were a necessary part of the Civil War and later Progressives complained that Lincoln took down the war time taxes and prohibitions on speech far too QUICKLY and should have leveraged the war-time necessities into a new form of federal government. Progressives of that late 19th century era loved the ‘order’ that war brought to society and welcomed it in the way in centralized power and created government mandated ‘order’. Bismarck reformed the civil service around military troop dispositions that saw 1 NCO per 16 infantry, and that was soon replicated in civil services elsewhere including the US and we have refined it to have far more than just 1:16 and often as high as 1:8. That creates overburden for the government, but its source is militarily acceptable overhead for unit cohesion. So just who are the civil services of the world FIGHTING that they need such cohesion?

A bit more from Ch. X by TR:

For the reasons I have already given in my chapter on the Governorship of New York, the Republican party, which in the days of Abraham Lincoln was founded as the radical progressive party of the Nation, had been obliged during the last decade of the nineteenth century to uphold the interests of popular government against a foolish and illjudged mock-radicalism. It remained the Nationalist as against the particularist or State’s rights party, and in so far it remained absolutely sound; for little permanent good can be done by any party which worships the State’s rights fetish or which fails to regard the State, like the county or the municipality, as merely a convenient unit for local self-government, while in all National matters, of importance to the whole people, the Nation is to be supreme over State, county, and town alike. But the State’s rights fetish, although still effectively used at certain times by both courts and Congress to block needed National legislation directed against the huge corporations or in the interests of workingmen, was not a prime issue at the time of which I speak.

To TR the Founders conception of the federal government to be a common force for the States, agreed to by the States, and representative of the States and the people is shoved aside by Progressivism and by TR. That view of National government dominating lower orders of government is a European one at its heart, where the National government decides the course for local governments and directs them what to do. This removes the States as sovereign entities as given in the Constitution and particularly backed up in Art. I, Sec. 10 which specificially allows the States to defend themselves in cases of invasion or Danger which will not admit of delay. Self-directing entities can do that, centrally ordered ones cannot. The Founders had reason and purpose behind the federalist conception of government to balance out now only internally, amongst the branches, but externally by the States and the people, the last of which are the absolute holders of all liberty and freedom in the US. TR isn’t doing such a good job of upholding that and the great joy is that he is telling you so with his own words.

The powers that Wilson, FDR, Johnson and others would promulgate removes the old internally coherent, self-checking system that was proposed at the Founding (even with extreme flaws, as I do read and even agree with a number of Anti-Federalists who were federal in outlook but critics of the type of federalism proposed) and replaced it with a more centralized, less well run, higher cost, lower accountability system that feels free to do ‘good things’ for the people instead of just treat us all as equals under the law. If the powers of the old National Bank were a threat to the Union, as President Jackson pointed out in his Veto, then the powers we have invested in the Federal Reserve, Fannie, Freddie, Sallie, Ginnie, Dept. of Ag, SBA, Dept. of Education, SSA, Medicare and Medicaid go so far beyond those prior limits that protected our liberty and freedom that they are lost over the horizon of common sense. I thought we were supposed to ‘progress’ away from burdening the common man with the taxman who would come to visit your home and extract your goods or sell them out from under you? That was supposed to be the States and the States could figure out how to tax people so that it did not fall upon the poor in their State. Instead we have ‘progressed’ to the citizen being centrally accountable to unelected officers able to run their own tax courts in their own way and the presumption of innocence goes out the window. Strange that we have ‘progressed’ to creating a centralized taxation system that any monarch of old would be enamored of, and the Founders be aghast at.

The Federal Reserve has gotten lending policy dead wrong in the 1920′s and in the 1980′s-2000′s, and twice has caused economic downturns to turn into something more drawn out, harder and nastier than they would have been otherwise. Both times the federal government has stepped in to ‘help’ by raising taxes during such a downturn and the first time killed off the natural recovery so that it took a World War to get us out of it. We don’t seem to be as lucky this time around… too bad the Progressives need luck to make their ill-schemes work for just long enough to get supporters for them, and ignore the Ponzi nature of them. It would really help if the Federal Reserve would actually call those schemes as they are, but that isn’t its function, now, is it? Nor the SEC. Nor FDIC, although they did examine the issue at least once but never made an official position. Say, just who is minding the numbers in the federal government, anyway? Not the IRS, thats for sure. Economic outlook for new taxes and ‘services’? CBO has proven to be game-able, so its out. And when the lovely Ponzi nature of SSA, Medicare and Medicaid are pointed out you got politicians saying: ‘We will figure out how to fix it, real soon now’. I remember that in the 1980′s. 1990′s. 2000′s.

Just who is watching the watchmen, for they have run amok.

ajacksonian on April 6, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Don’t you wtch Beck?

Progressives are the Enemy.

Do your homework and get with the program. Your heart may be in the right place but you confuse the issue.

SayNo2-O on April 6, 2010 at 9:43 AM

As an antidote to more of CK MacLeod’s Fifth Columnist intellectual dishonesty, I recommend reading Dr. Ronald Pestritto’s fine work on Progressivism.

American Progressivism: A Reader is an excellent anthology of source material.

You’ll find for yourself the evidence to show that TR and Wilson were anti-American, anti-individual rights, pro-big government, pro-central control. Of course, they did use the shibboleth of “special interests” to further their aims, as the Progressives do today. To call that a stand for popular democracy is, like everything else MacLeod says about Progressivism and its history, ridiculous, but there it is.

Dr. Pestritto’s other fine book Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism is harder going, very academic, but still very worthwhile.

Only a small amount of reading will amply demonstrate that to call Rep. Ryan – whatever his minor inconsistencies – a Progressive of any stripe is just ludicrous. So ludicrous, in fact, and so obviously so that I don’t believe MacLeod actually believes it. He’s just gaining an audience in the AP way, by stirring up the groundlings. Well, I commented, so it obviously worked. Well done!

P.S. Well done again, AP. You’re really playing the “Jane, you ignorant s**t” card very well here. It got me to click from Townhall and take the time to make this comment.

JDPerren on April 6, 2010 at 11:44 AM

By the way, I highly recommend Rep. Ryan’s full speech to the Oklahomans. He does make some minor errors – like giving TR and Wilson a partial pass – but for the most part, it’s excellent reading. It also shows why to call Ryan a Progressive is more than ridiculous, it’s deliberately deceptive.

JDPerren on April 6, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Believe whatever you like about Social Security, Medicare, taxes, and the Federal Reserve, just don’t expect anyone to take it seriously, and don’t hold your breath for the Republican Party or any other major party to get anywhere near what you’re advocating.

I take it seriously, as do thousands – perhaps millions now – of others, growing in number all the time.

Whether the GOP, or any other, will change is an open question. Nothing in human affairs is inevitable. Besides, what difference does that make to the issue of whether the view is right or wrong? That, as you likely know, is an ad populum fallacy.

Your Pragmatism is showing again.

JDPerren on April 6, 2010 at 12:06 PM

JDPerren on April 6, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Thought you were planning to leave.

I’m familiar with Pestritto’s critique, and with what others like Goldberg and Beck have made of it. I wouldn’t presume to put my scholarship up against Pestritto’s – that really would be absurd – but his work is criticizeable, and has been criticized by his colleagues, at the Claremont Institute and beyond, as is proper for seriously intended scholarly work. It’s not gospel, in other words, and you do it a disservice by treating it as gospel. Merely bringing up the name and then flinging accusations of “Fifth Columnist intellectual dishonesty” (get a grip, please) is a poor substitute for argument.

Ryan himself effectively adopts the mantle of what he calls “real” progressivism in the section of his speech that I quote, and throughout.

Your indictment of capital P Pragmatism makes no impression on me. There’s no reason why any of us should feel obligated to adopt your critique merely because you assert its inerrancy. I would argue that pragmatism in the broad sense infuses and conditions the American experience, and American exceptionalism in particular. The “essentialism” that you have elsewhere championed is rather alien to democratic capitalism, to the thinking of the Founders and Framers, and to American culture – and to a political system that allows for, requires, and encourages the co-existence of contradictory essentialisms, for good pragmatic as well as ideal reasons.

Try doing some research among other writers than ones with whom you already know you completely agree. You might learn something. You might learn, for instance, that the greatest devotee of that great (little p) pragmatist Edmund Burke – whom proud Wilson-hater Jonah Goldberg likes to call the father of American conservatism – was one Thomas Woodrow Wilson. Burke’s “expediency” qualifies as his own version of pragmatism, proposed as a counter to the bloody and terrorizing essentialist lunacies of the French Revolution. What was “expedient” or pragmatic for Burke, or for TR and Wilson, may not be so for us, considering that we live in the world they helped to construct. Presuming to judge them from on high as a supreme moral arbiter is comically vain, and itself morally suspect when it’s based on no apparent effort to understand what you’re judging. In America, the accused are entitled to a defense, not just to prosecution in your intellectual kangaroo court.

CK MacLeod on April 6, 2010 at 1:31 PM

ajacksonian on April 6, 2010 at 9:03 AM

As usual, you make interesting, well-informed arguments. I don’t think it serves anyone to be overly picky about a thread comment – or for that matter about a blog post – but there was one statement of yours that I consider typical of the kind of ahistorical and kneejerk criticism that people less well-read (and a lot less polite, too) than yourself tend to indulge in.

You write:

The Federal Reserve has gotten lending policy dead wrong in the 1920’s and in the 1980’s-2000’s, and twice has caused economic downturns to turn into something more drawn out, harder and nastier than they would have been otherwise.

I think many of even the greatest proponents of the Federal Reserve system, including certain former Chairs, agree with perspective. However, the criticism of the Fed too often forgets that it was created to address what was perceived at the time to be a crying need. It’s hardly as though prior to the Fed the U.S. had been immune to extended economic downturns, depressions, bank panics, and so on. They recurred throughout American history going all the way back to before the Founding, and with dreary regularity and sometimes to devastating effect throughout the first 120 or so years of the nation’s existence before the Fed. They were believed by many to be inevitable, and they may indeed be, leading to the familiar Keynes-Hayek disagreement that you sketch out above while taking the Hayek position on short, sharp, shocks being preferable to long drawn out economic hangovers.

At the time that Wilson got the Fed established, the country was just coming off a set of bank panics during which it had been forced to turn to private financiers, JP Morgan in particular, for economic rescue. This was felt strongly to be an untenable situation: A great nation of the sort the U.S. was becoming, and hoping to become, couldn’t have its fate controlled by a handful of super-wealthy individuals. Even if, unlike the large majority in that era and in this one, you wouldn’t be uncomfortable with that predicament on ideological grounds, it’s just no way to run a railroad.

No reason we should feel happy to criticize the Fed, or income taxes, or Prohibition (which arch-control freak Wilson, incidentally, opposed), or direct election of Senators, or Women’s Suffrage (which arch-centralizer Wilson, incidentally, preferred be left to the states), but it’s not illuminating, and leads to dead end extremism, constantly to attack these and other measures and proposals without any registration of the reasons why sensible people, indeed overwhelming majorities, following good constitutional procedure, embraced and adopted them. I would think that someone as well-versed in history as yourself would be the first to recognize this danger.

CK MacLeod on April 6, 2010 at 2:13 PM

correction to last comment, last paragraph, first sentence: “No reason we shouldn’t feel happy to criticize…” etc.

CK MacLeod on April 6, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Thought you were planning to leave.

I’m flattered you remember. After seeing the Townhall link I felt compelled to answer your slander against Rep. Ryan.

I’m familiar with Pestritto’s critique…his work is criticizeable, and has been criticized by his colleagues, at the Claremont Institute and beyond, as is proper for seriously intended scholarly work.

A truism. I agree. Anyone’s work is “criticizeable.”

It’s not gospel, in other words, and you do it a disservice by treating it as gospel.

Merely agreeing and expressing admiration is “treating it as gospel” simply because I didn’t recapitulate and defend Dr. Pestritto’s views here? If you want to imply that I’m a dogmatist say so explicitly, please.

Your indictment of capital P Pragmatism makes no impression on me. There’s no reason why any of us should feel obligated to adopt your critique merely because you assert its inerrancy.

I didn’t, but I do believe what I say is correct. That said, I agree with you completely. No one should take my word for what I said (or anything else, nor that of any one) merely because I said so. That’s one of the reasons I gave references and encouraged others to read them to judge for themselves.

Speaking of which…

Try doing some research among other writers than ones with whom you already know you completely agree.

Well, I read your posts didn’t I? (By the way, I don’t completely agree with anyone.)

Also, as the title suggests, Dr. Pestritto’s American Progressivism: A Reader is 90% original source material, with all commentary outside the selections. I.e. it is almost entirely material from the Progressive horse’s mouth. Apart from TR and Wilson, there’s Jane Addams, Charles Beard, Herbert Croly, and more, not least of which, the chief villain himself: John Dewey.

While I’m on the subject of defending my reading habits, though, let’s skim through a few selections on my bookshelves. I note Marx’s Das Kapital, Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Plato’s Complete Works, A Nietzsche Reader, Hume’s Treatise, Kant’s Critique… (to bore the audience by mentioning just a few).

There’s almost nothing in any of them I don’t have very deep disagreements with. I could say the same about dozens of contemporary books and newspapers around the entire political compass, including conservative and libertarian (and Objectivist) publications. Is this about me all of a sudden?

That said, once a person has studied Newton, Maxwell, Carnot, and Einstein is there really a lot of value in reading more commentary on the phlogiston theory or Cartesian vortices?

There is lots of room for reasonable disagreement on any subject, political philosophy most particularly. But some things should have been settled by now. It’s not like we don’t have 100 years of historical evidence about the actual workings of Progressivism vs 100 years of almost laissez-faire capitalism.

Last,

In America, the accused are entitled to a defense, not just to prosecution in your intellectual kangaroo court.

Progressives and Progressivism (and Pragmatists, generally) have had many able defenders the past century. That they were able is evidenced by the continuing popularity of those twin philosophies.

A question: is there a ‘prosecuter’ of Progressivism (or Pragmatism) you view with respect (whether or not you agree with him/her)?

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

P.S. I’m not a fan of Edmund Burke, either, but I was aware that Wilson was. So?

JDPerren on April 6, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Is this about me all of a sudden?

When someone repeatedly accuses me of “intellectual dishonesty,” now adding the charge “Fifth Columnist” (!), I may avail myself of the personal option.

I have little idea about you personally, but in your comments on my posts you express yourself dogmatically – and repetitiously. I haven’t yet noticed you engage the particulars of an argument. Instead, you rely on repeated appeals to authority – such as Pestritto – and definitions for which you offer no basis, merely your apparent presumption that others will accept them as obligatory. These non-arguments are often begin and end on exhortations against the sinner, me.

I reject as ridiculous the notion that I have “slandered” Ryan. He speaks for himself, and his embrace of aspects of the progressive tradition – precisely those aspects de-emphasized by Pestritto and also by today nominal progressives. I will note, however, that the title on this piece, when promoted by AP, was altered. My title was “Paul Ryan’s Real Progressivism,” as you can see if you check the sidebar. AP was, as usual, tweaking – and I don’t hold it against him, but I see Ryan as disputing the conventional definition – thus also, as I explained, his use of the word “progressivist,” which would translate as “pseudo-progressive,” “false progressive,” “phony progressive,” “Progressive in Name Only,” etc.

To answer your question, not only are there many critics of progressivism whom I respect, I consider myself to be, in my own feeble way, a critic of progressivism, and I do somewhat respect myself, however unjustifiably, I confess. In my view, however, the beliefs and actions of the original progressives, don’t reduce to the thinking of any particular intellectual or set of intellectuals. By the time Croly, Beard, and your bogeyman Dewey were writing, the word “progressive” had already been in broad usage for a generation at least. I noted with some amusement while reading lately a love letter from Wilson to his first wife, dated 1882 or so (IIRC) in which he happens to mention his desire to join the more “progressive” circles in the “New South” of those days.

At most, the authors you name represent a particular♠ intellectual school of progressivism, and may in that light be seen as the original traitors to the progressive impulse. What Croly or Dewey wanted progressivism to be may or may not be what progressivism really was. What they missed may in fact be the most important part of progressivism, while what they captured, or thought they had captured, proved to be, was doomed to be given the nature of intellectual life at the time, the most dispensable, least authentically progressive.

Burke? As I pointed out, the popular Wilson-hater Jonah Goldberg fancies himself a Burkeian, so did Wilson. Apparently the irony is lost on you. Burke is relevant a second time for, as I argued, his advocacy of a politics of expediency (as he and Wilson also understood the term) over revolutionism, and what you might call pragmatism over destructive forms of idealism. As I explained, and tire even as I prepare to explain again, it’s a way of discussing Americanism that I believe has great merit, and that I see embedded within the Constitution, in the acts of the Founders, and in the sane part of contemporary conservatism, too. It also happens to be a view of Americanism that sympathizers from de Tocqueville to Michael Novak have found congenial.

CK MacLeod on April 6, 2010 at 5:11 PM

A fair response, if unfortunately undercut by a bit of pot/kettle logic.

Since you, like I, value definitions – and according to your post Dewey doesn’t fit yours – perhaps you’d offer one for “Progressivism” and say who (de Tocqueville? Novak?) qualifies?

Apparently it’s not “the beliefs and actions of the original progressives [or] the thinking of any particular intellectual or set of intellectuals.” So, what is it? What is an “authentic progressive impulse”? Nothing more than the desire to see ‘society’ progress?

I can’t claim to have read everything you’ve posted but I don’t remember seeing one in your writings.

Note: Out of the office the rest of the day.

Jeff

P.S. My irony meter is rusty, but I don’t see any significant amount in the fact that Wilson liked Burke, Goldberg liked Burke, therefore… what? Goldberg should like Wilson? Wilson was a conservative? What?

Goldberg is tainted with Pragmatism, as are most conservatives, and most Americans generally. (Dewey’s influence has been strong, especially owing to his efforts to establish Progressive education in the public school system.) But Goldberg is not by any stretch a Progressive. Anyway, if you want not to comment, I acknowledge this is a side issue.

JDPerren on April 7, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Don’t know if you’ll see this, but I suspect we’ll have opportunity to continue this discussion at a later date.

I believe you misread my reference to “the beliefs and actions of the original progressives.” I explicitly was associating those beliefs and actions with a fair working definition of progressivism in the political and history context, but questioning whether they could be equated, at all, with the parochial definitions developed by some of their contemporaries and near-contemporaries, and by some later historians and critics. Once you’ve arrived at a more broadly applicable definition, preferably working from particulars upward rather than from abstractions (Dewey, Croly) downward, it’s then possible to associate progressivism with other political and cultural phenomena: You can find crypto-progressives, virtual progressives, true progressives, etc., or identify progressive impulses in the works of diverse authors or political actors.

You’re also welcome to take up this issue at my home blog – name-link – as long as you stop calling me a Fifth Columnist and otherwise accusing me of dishonorable intentions. There are regulars there who agree with you, and who would now doubt be happy to have someone taking their side.

At the suggestion of one of those anti-progressive constitutionalists, I’ve been re-reading Goldberg’s book lately and expect to be sharing some impressions. I’ve also been intending to review a bio of Woodrow Wilson. Not sure when or even whether I’ll post them to HotAir or not. I don’t mind controversy or disagreement, but I don’t want to be seen as always attacking conservatives, whether that’s a fair impression of what I’ve actually been arguing in these pieces or not.

CK MacLeod on April 7, 2010 at 1:10 PM

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